Welcome to Authors Interviewing Authors, a monthly column where usually one of our most favorite authors interviews one of his/her most favorite authors! After reading Fast Connection by the writing dream team of Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell, we decided to shake things up and have this month’s Authors Interviewing Authors segment feature these two electrifying writers interviewing…each other!
So happy to have you on Binge on Books, Megan and Santino! Let’s dive right into these (hilarious and tongue in cheek) questions…
What was YA Megan/Santino like?
M: I was studious and a little nerdy. I had big plans to write for the New York Times and live in a penthouse! I was kind of delusional.
S: Okay so… literally polar opposite of Megan. I was half jock and half grunge pothead with a steady C average (and 100% acknowledging my bisexuality). I’d do all the sportsball at school, and then leave and become garage band dude with long hair and band T-shirts and flannel. I’m pretty sure my only aspirations were getting laid a lot and someday doing something cool.
M: I played sportsball too! I also won the polka competition in gym class. Yes, we had that.
S: I don’t know what to say.
M: Also, I have seen your long-haired grunge pictures and you were so Emo Teen.
S: IT WASN’T EMO BACK THEN OK
M: OKAY KURT COBAIN
S: That is acceptable.
What about NA?
M: I was the NA heroine everyone would have hated. I stole a boy from his girlfriend! But reader, I married him, so it all worked out.
S: I was the NA hero everyone would have also hated. Or maybe the antihero people rooted for? NO IDEA. I partied a lot and did a lot of questionable things and was a random drifting person until I was… 23ish. I really had no direction.
M: Readers would have rooted for you! And would be happy to see you now as a Real Grownup.
S: I have no romantic HEA so my book would be thrown into the sea, to be honest. #singleforever
If your life was a romance novel, what would be the tropes?
S: Probably… friends-to-lovers since I usually end up with friends (probably because I avoid other people except for the occasional Grindr hookup), and anything to do with redemption and overcoming obstacles. My entire life is pretty much an obstacle getting in the way of me having a normal relationship.
M: Uh, maybe opposites attract? Cyberlove? I met my husband online and he’s the cyborg to my hysteria. He’s kind of a straight Santino, which is maybe why Santino and I get along so well. Heh. I actually have a picture of my husband sitting at the computer with a black hoodie on, and it’s like identical to a picture of Santino.
How /why did you get into writing romance?
M: I never intended to write romance. But when I wrote my first book and hired an editor to look it over she said, “you know you wrote a romance, right?” And I did. All the plot elements and beats were there. I figured why fight it. Stephen King said something like, “accept the writer you are,” and while I totally thought I’d write a sweeping epic like Cold Mountain (maybe one day!) I had to accept that wasn’t really me or my writing style.
S: Okay, so I feel like this is the same for me. I wrote for free and for fun for years, primarily doing the series In the Company of Shadows with Ais, and at the time I didn’t recognize it as a romance. It’s more of queer spec fic with romantic subplots although the main characters do get their happy ending. However, I realized that it was very important to me for the main couples to get their HEAs and for them to overcome adversary. And I fucking loved writing about the growth of the relationships almost more than the overarching political/covert ops plotline.
M: Yes! I love writing about character growth, and it’s always a challenge to show the reader WHY those two characters belong to together.
If your younger self could see you now, what would he/she say?
M: Quit trying so hard to fit in.
S: “I can’t believe you moved out of NYC.” Then I’d punch myself.
M: What would younger you say about Texas though?
S: NA Santino would just be like “if you’re going there, at least bang a bunch of cowboys/cowgirls”, and then proceed punching me repeatedly.
M: I’m dying. But hey you did ask that cowboy on Grindr if he has cows. Does that count?
S: Yeah! Cuz he said yes.
What’s your favorite thing about your co-writer?
M: He’s my friend! And he’s a good friend. We sometimes get so busy talking about… I don’t know, our lives, random stuff, that we forget to actually write. Also I just think he’s a great person. He’s been through a lot and now he’s writing bomb books and doing super Grown Up things. 😉
S: Aw, Megan is the best. Which is pretty much my favorite thing about her. She is amazing at motivating me and giving me perspective, but also just an incredibly chill and fun person. When we first started talking, it was pretty much an instant connection and I knew we’d be good friends. BFF FOREVER!
M: We should make friendship bracelets.
S: We can do it on our trip this fall. Mine has to be all black, though. No colors.
M: Rainbowwwwwws forever!
S: DARK LIKE MY SOUL.
M: YOUR SOUL ONLY HAS A DARK COATING, INSIDE IT’S SUNSHINE.
S: I’m just picturing an oil slick now.
M: Oh wait, that’s good. On the surface you think it’s dark but in certain light, it has rainbows! It’s like you’re a writer or something.
S: I am dying. We’re ridiculous.
M: Why did Binge on Books allow us to do this interview? We’ll be banished after this.
[Judith aside: ummm…]
When Cyberlove ends, do you plan to keep cowriting?
M: Well the one question we’ve been getting is whether we have more Cyberlove books planned, and the answer is yes. At this point, we have two more planned after Fast Connection. And then after that…
S: We’re loosely planning an M/F series packed with bad boy heroes and amazing heroines! It will be full of action and romance and AWESOME. Okay, we’re pretty fucking excited about it.
M: We even have a concept board with pictures. It’s really fun.
S: It won’t be for a while, like a long while, but it will be in the works next year! For now, we’ll keep working on Cyberlove and our individual projects.
M: Even though writing alone sucks now.
S: But you have to do it because I need more In Focus.
M: I need more Five Boroughs! Like pronto. Go write now.
S: I really need to, actually. Time to sprint.
M: Me too. Thanks for having us Binge on Books! Hope you let us do this again.
[Judith aside: ALWAYS!]
Be sure to check out the first in their cyber love series, Strong Signal!
About Megan Erickson: My first stories written in crayon-scrawl on loose-leaf notebook paper were about my childhood pet — a deaf cat with dandruff. And after covering real-life dramas as a journalist, I decided I liked writing my own endings better and switched to fiction. My romance novels full of humor and heart are a far cry from those early scribblings about my hygiene-deficient pet.
I live in southern Pennsylvania, with my husband, two kids and two cats. I like a good pint of beer, a greasy bacon cheeseburger, homemade mac and cheese, and a great book with a happily ever after. When I’m not tapping away on my laptop, I’m probably listening to the characters in my head who just. Won’t. Shut. Up. Find her on her website.
About Santino: Santino is a writer of queer romance heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.