I’ve been on a huge paranormal M/M romance kick. For those of you who don’t know, M/M refers to love stories between men. During my newfound reading frenzy, I stumbled upon Lyssa Dering, among many others. (Shout outs to Dessa Lux, KJ Charles, and Jordan Hawk).
Something about Lyssa’s work really stood out to me, though, especially her new release HOW TO LOVE A MONSTER. Her lead character, Fiend, is a monster, okay? He eats brains … and yet, I loved him. I rooted for the monster. Yes, I adored the romantic interest: innocent, beautiful Seraphim. But Fiend! How did she make me love a brain-eating murderer?
I had to pick her brain … Oh, that was a bad joke. Braaaaaaains. Seriously, I had to know more about my newest author crush, Lyssa Dering.
I first and foremost have a fascination with vampires. It all started with Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ books when I was in middle school. I read In the Forests of the Night, Demon in My View, Shattered Glass, etc. Most of those stories were also love stories. Plus, Atwater-Rhodes got published as a young teen, and that really inspired me to be a writer.
In high school, I became obsessed with the movie Underworld, which features vampires and werewolves. I think my love of other paranormal elements naturally evolved from there. When I was seventeen, I discovered internet roleplaying on Xanga with the help of my high school best friend, and the first group RP I joined featured characters with superpowers. RPing was a great way for me to escape up until my first year after college, and I explored all kinds of paranormal elements weaved into sex and romance that way.
SDB: Why do you write M/M romance? What’s your fave thing about two dudes in love?
I’ve been drawn to M/M pairings since I first discovered fanfiction. My first fandom was Harry Potter, and though I also shipped some M/F pairings, I was a huge Harry/Draco shipper. I’ve come to the conclusion recently, after trying to understand why I’m not as drawn to F/F pairings, that M/M allows me to escape in ways other pairings don’t.
I’m nonbinary, but I am also AFAB (assigned female at birth), so reading and writing about characters assigned male at birth allows me to escape my female body and all the societal pressures I’m under as a result of it. Of course, M/M can feature trans and nonbinary characters, as well, but though I’ve written a male-bodied genderqueer character, I’m not in a place currently where I want to explore female-to-male trans characters in my work.
SDB: Your newest book, HOW TO LOVE A MONSTER, features a very strange creature. Tell us a bit about Fiend and the idea behind his “world.”
The idea for How to Love a Monster started a few years ago while I was browsing through the Superpower Wiki, trying to get inspired. I came upon the power of Absolute Will and tried to come up with a character from there. So Wish, the creator of Fiend’s world, came first. He has the power to create or destroy anything, but I put limits on his power to make the story more interesting.
The world Wish created is called Wish City because he’s a bit of a narcissist, and it’s a city because he grew up in one, so it’s easiest for him to create what he knows, just like for most writers. As I brainstormed, I came up with Fiend, who is Wish’s childhood monster or bogeyman who slips into Wish City unbeknownst to Wish.
I originally planned an angsty love story between Wish and Fiend, but it didn’t quite work out that way. When I came back to the story after much writing practice and education about structure, I came up with Seraphim and gave Wish a different role.
SDB: Your romantic interest in MONSTER is Seraphim. He lessens the darkness with some comic asides. Do you think comedy (and/or snark) is an important part of literature? Why?
Absolutely, especially in stories of a darker nature with a lot of angst, which is what I tend to write. If the story is all angst/suffering with nothing light in it at all, it can make it not worth it for the reader. Comedy/snark makes the reading experience more pleasant and can keep the reader from discarding your book out of frustration.
SDB: Tips for writing great sex scenes?
Remember that character comes first. Everything in every story should filter through character, and sex scenes are no different. There’s nothing more boring or frustrating to me as a reader than when a sex scene could basically be taken out of one book and plopped into another and still make sense.
Also, at least for me and especially in a romance, sex scenes should strengthen the connection between the main characters (or do something else to that connection depending on the scene’s purpose and each individual story). This means it can’t just be physical but must have an emotional aspect.
SDB: What are you working on right now?
I’m in the planning stages for my next book. I don’t have anything concrete to share yet as I’m busy hunting for that special kind of inspiration that can carry a full-length novel.
SDB: If you had to create a fantasy movie cast for MONSTER, who would you cast as Fiend and Sera?
Anthony Carrigan was my inspiration for Fiend’s appearance. Carrigan plays Victor Zsasz in Gotham. He has spoken publicly about his alopecia, which contributes to his hair loss, and I was fascinated with how villainous he appears in Gotham but how adorable and lovable he looks in photos when he’s just being himself. So I’d definitely cast him as Fiend. For Sera, I’d go with Max Thieriot.
Buy your copy of HOW TO LOVE A MONSTER today by clicking HERE!
About: Lyssa Dering is an author of erotic M/M fiction. Her work is often romantic, always emotional, and features shifters, vampires, and regular old humans in whatever subgenres inspire her. She seeks to share the kind of fiction she loves to read: intense and addictive with engaging characters and situations.
Lyssa is nonbinary and demisexual and often draws upon her time in the BDSM community when writing intimate scenes. She resides in the Midwestern United States with an aggressively affectionate tabby cat. When not writing, she enjoys livetweeting about the books she’s reading and dicking around in Photoshop.