TNA: Hi, Jordan, and welcome. I’m so glad you could join us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell all of us a little bit about yourself, a few things we readers may not know about you?
Jordan: Hi, Lisa, I’m so tickled to be here!
Intrinsically, I’m not very interesting and actually pretty shy. I don’t have much to talk about other than writing. In fact, I need a prop in order to be recognized. You know Harry Potter’s Cloak of Invisibility? I own something like that, but opposite. It’s the hat I’m wearing in my author pic. When I take off that darn hat, I’m invisible. It’s kinda spooky.
TNA: What was your first published M/M title? If you could go back in time to the moment you began writing it, what advice would you give yourself now that you have the benefit of some experience?
Jordan: I had a contemporary short called West Side in the M/M anthology Chance Encounters that came out in 2004. Ten years may not seem like that long ago, but the Kindle wouldn’t exist for three more years at that point. M/M was embryonic. This was so long ago that the ebook was released on CD!
Around that time I also landed a short story called Starlight in a gay vampire anthology by Alyson Books called Love Bites. It never came out in ebook and I suspect it’s out of print.
I’d been getting rejection after rejection for a few years at that point, so I can still recall how thrilling it was to finally get those acceptance letters.
TNA: You write such a wide variety of characters, thrown into vastly different situations. What’s your idea of a great protagonist? Do you have a “type”?
Jordan: Thanks, Lisa, it means a lot to me that you see a lot of variety in my stories. The main thing I’m concerned with is having a protagonist with a definitive personality. So if someone asked a reader, “What’s the main character in that JCP story like?” they would have an immediate, visceral reply because they’ve formed a very pronounced gut sense of what this character is about, judging by the way the character talks, acts and thinks.
It’s particularly important to me to have really different characters populating the various books because I had some early success with my PsyCop protagonist, Victor Bayne. I wanted to ensure any subsequent characters I wrote were their own people and not just Vic with a different hair color in a different setting.
TNA: What would you say is the most fun about writing speculative fiction?
Jordan: I adore the worldbuilding. I’ll build elaborate worlds, even for my short stories. The cool thing is that wherever they come from, there’s always more waiting in the wings. Whenever I stick my hand in the worldbuilding cookie jar, I find all kinds of fresh goodies.
In Meatworks, it was particularly fun to dream up the various types of robots Desmond would have to contend with.
TNA: Let’s chat a little bit about your new book, Meatworks. You know the first thing I have to ask you is, was it fun writing a character like Desmond Poole? He’s not exactly the hot, buff, socially savvy career man we’re used to reading in the genre. What made you decide to write an antihero? And how did you still manage to make him so damn appealing?
Jordan: I’m glad Desmond appealed to you. I suspect he won’t appeal to everybody, but as I was writing him, I decided it was critical to let go of the need to make him appealing. I knew if I tacked on redeeming qualities, I’d water him down, and I couldn’t take him halfway to asshole. He needed to be full-on Desmond. So rather than appealing, I tried to make him compelling. It shouldn’t matter if you like him or not, only that you can’t put the book down because you absolutely must know if he sinks or swims. Reading about this slice of Desmond’s life should feel like watching a two-month train wreck.
TNA: The model of Des on your cover is perfection. Did you find him first and then write Desmond to fit his look, or did you get incredibly lucky and find the model after the book was written?
Jordan: As a cover designer, I hoard stock photos. When I find one I like, I grab it, because you never know when a photographer will decide they don’t want to sell stock anymore. I’ve had this Desmond model saved up for years, waiting for him to be the face of just the right character. I thought his smirk and his eye contact were perfect in showing the rebel side of him.
TNA: I don’t want to give away any spoilers at all, but do you think you’d ever consider writing Jim and Des’s story, as a prequel of sorts to Meatworks? If I’m being perfectly honest here, I have to admit I’m a little obsessed with knowing more about Jim.
Jordan: I’m glad Jim intrigues you so much! I don’t think the prequel would work, unfortunately. It doesn’t contain all the elements that make a story satisfying. Good stories need a conflict and a resolution, and their relationship started hot and then went downhill from there. The resolution doesn’t happen until the end of Meatworks. The Meatworks story really is self-contained.
TNA: Would you be willing to share an excerpt from Meatworks with us?
Blurb: Desmond Poole is damaged in more ways than one. If he was an underachiever before, he’s entirely useless now that he’s lost his right hand. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in vodka while he deliberately blows off the training that would help him master his new prosthetic. Social Services seems determined to try and stop him from wallowing in his own filth, so he’s forced to attend an amputee support group. He expects nothing more than stale cookies, tepid decaf and a bunch of self-pitying sob stories, so he’s blindsided when a fellow amputee catches his eye.
Corey Steiner is a hot young rudeboy who works his robotic limb like an extension of his own body, and he’s smitten by Desmond’s crusty punk rock charm from the get-go. Unfortunately, Desmond hasn’t quite severed ties with his ex-boyfriend, and Corey isn’t known for his maturity or patience.
Meatworks is set in a bleak near-future where cell phone and personal computer technologies never developed. In their place, robotics flourished. Now robots run everything from cars to coffee pots. Taking the guesswork out of menial tasks was intended to create leisure time, but instead robots have made society dependent and passive.
Desmond loathes robots and goes out of his way to avoid them. But can he survive without the robotic arm strapped to the end of his stump?
Excerpt: Corey’s gaze dropped to the padlock at my throat. When I didn’t let on that it was anything more than a nickel-coated fashion statement that made the skin of my neck turn a little green, he shrugged and picked up the vodka I’d been working on earlier. A coating of frost had formed on the bottle up to the level of the liquor, then small beads of sweat misted above that. He took a long drink and set the bottle down, right on top of a yellow envelope. His thumb left a clear spot in the frost. He’d picked up the bottle with his meatworks hand, though I had no doubt he could’ve done it almost as easily with his prosthetic. “You don’t seem like the type to live alone,” he said.
“I just figured you’d be taken.”
I reached for the vodka. Right-left. Hoped he didn’t notice. Drank. Hardly felt the frozen burn going down. “Nah. The necklace is just my ode to Sid Vicious. I’m not seeing anybody.” And if he just wanted a hook-up, hell, what did he even care? Wasn’t it enough that I said I was home alone? I put the bottle back down and his meatworks hand brushed mine when he grabbed the vodka for another pull.
“If you say so.”
TNA: If you could condense Desmond and Corey’s relationship down into just a few sentences, what would say makes them work as a couple?
Jordan: Wow. That’s a toughie. I don’t know if they actually do work as a couple. They’re phenomenally attracted to each other, but they each have so much baggage.
For me, their relationship starts showing more potential when Desmond attempts to connect with Corey in more ways than physically, even though Corey has some initial resistance, since he’s so young that he’s primarily thinking with his crotch.
TNA: I’ve been told this is sort of like asking you to name your favorite child, but I’m asking anyway: of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite? If so, which and why?
Jordan: It’s okay, we won’t tell the other books they’re second-string players.
Magic Mansion is a favorite of mine. It was super challenging because I wrote and published serially and allowed readers to vote characters out of the book as the story progressed, so it really stretched my storytelling capability. I think it’s hilarious and weird, and the most romantic of all my books, too. Plus, with all the reader input, even I didn’t know how it was going to turn out until I wrote the ending. I think it came together phenomenally well, as if I’d planned it all from the beginning.
TNA: How about a favorite character. If you could bring any one of your characters to life, who would you choose and why?
Jordan: I have a soft spot for Wild Bill from Channeling Morpheus. I think we’d get along. He’s kinda arty, kinda jaded, old-school punk. Yeah, I have a thing for Wild Bill.
TNA: What are you working on next? What new releases can we expect to come from you in the nearish future?
Jordan: Probably not nearish, since I’m an exacting writer and I’ve already had two novels out this year, but the next thing I plan on doing is finishing the Mnevermind Trilogy, then shifting back into PsyCop. I don’t plan release dates. I prefer to give each story as long as it takes to do it right, then release it as soon as it’s done.
TNA: Finally, Jordan, we’d love a rundown of all the places we can find you on the internet.
Thanks so much for inviting me to TNA today, Lisa! It was great chatting with you. xxoo
TNA: It’s my pleasure, Jordan!
THE GIVEAWAY: THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED