Sunday, August 4, 2013

CSB In Conversation With Dan Skinner

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[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: CSB In Conversation With Dan Skinner
[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: CSB In Conversation With Dan Skinner
Long time CSB followers must be familiar with Dan Skinner, his exquisite works of photography have been showcased here  before. He has been a photographer for the last 15 years where his work is featured in various book covers and magazines such as DNA and Beautiful Mag to name a few. Through his works, Dan aims to show gay romance in the same light and venue as straight romance had been for years; with equal beauty and sensitivity and sensuality. 

Dan has also now ventured into writing. His first novel ‘Coverboy’ was released for Dreamspinner Press in 2008. Now after a gap of 5 years, he has come out with his latest romantic fiction titled ‘Memorizing You.’ From the woods of Maryland Heights in Missouri, Dan shares his thoughts with CSB readers about his experience of writing 'Memorizing You', what he wishes to bring to the readers through this novel, his experience of being a gay man and his upcoming projects.

Crazy Sam (CS): ‘Memorizing You’ is being released after a gap of 5 years since your last novel. How did the ideation start? 
Dan Skinner (DS): There was a large gap between novels because I became inundated with photography work. I had actually begun the plot work for ‘Memorizing You’ right after ‘Coverboy’, but got sidelined by the shoots. It was worthwhile though. Many of them ended up being featured by magazines like Blake and Horizon, DNA and Beautiful Mag. I actually got back to putting words down for ‘Memorizing You’ about a year ago because I had a few more gaps of time to myself and the story actually began invading my dreams. That was a sign to me that it had to get done. 

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: CSB In Conversation With Dan Skinner

CS: How was the experience in writing this book? 
DS: The experience actually was quite life altering. One of my characters who love to run had that trait because I used to love to run. It helped me relieve stress and think, and I hadn't done it in years. Well, in writing it, I developed that urge to get out and run again, and now I'm addicted. I get up every morning at three-thirty and hit the streets before the sun comes up. On the psychological side, it brought back a lot of my real reasons of why I got into photography - the mission I had to show that homosexual love was just as beautiful and romantic as heterosexual love. I was just using [Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: CSB In Conversation With Dan Skinnerwords to convey the message this time. 

With ‘Memorizing You’, I wrote with the perspective of talking to a mainstream audience. This is a love story, like all love stories told before it.. but with two men. I want anyone who has read any of these other romances to be able to read this one and be touched in their hearts, minds and souls in the exact manner as all the other love stories. I want them to walk away feeling that love is the greatest thing, the most life-altering thing, and the most memorable thing of being alive. I want people who are gay, who reads it to know that love chooses us... not the other way around. 

CS: Could you share a brief synopsis of the novel? 
DS: ‘Memorizing You’ is a coming of age tale that unfolds against the colourful, stylish, and turbulent backdrop of free love, revolution, and The Beatles. 

Two high school boys from different walks of life - Ryan, a handsome athlete, and David, an average joe from a blue collar family, discover their desires, stealing their kisses under the cover of an old oak at night. Their love begins a secret life, hidden from their families, friends, and classmates. As their passion grows, so does the danger of their discovery. Their only hope is to create a separate world where every kiss is a treasure and every moment... memorable. 

First love. Secret love. Unforgettable love.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: CSB In Conversation With Dan Skinner

CS: For whom do you recommend this novel to? 
DS: This is a book for everyone. I wrote it so all age groups could enjoy it. It is truly an old-fashioned, heart-rending tale of first love and romance; of self-discovery and awareness of one's sexual identity. I recommend that people buy it to read to their lover or partner at bedtime. Or someone who wants to relive that first moment that they knew they were spellbound by the magic of love. Or those who want to know what it will feel like when it does happen. That's the type of book it is. It makes you believe that, no matter what, we are all destined to love.. and it will change everything in us when it happens. 

CS: And how has been the initial feedback? 
DS: The feedback has been wonderful. I've got a lot of five star reviews and many personal letters from folks who loved that it was [Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: CSB In Conversation With Dan Skinnertruly an old fashioned romance. 

CS: Currently is it available only on Kindle? Any plans to publish it? 
DS: I haven't got that far in my thinking. It depends on sales. I don't think there's a lot of demand for actual hold-in-your-hand books today. I see everybody reading on their electronic devices. And truthfully, that may save a lot of trees. LOL! 

CS: So how did you start photography and writing? 
DS: I've been doing photography forever it seems. Can't remember the number of years but well over twenty. Did fitness photography, then covers for mainstream "straight" romance novels before turning to M/M romance photography in 2008. My first novel, ‘Coverboy’ was released in 2008. I wrote long before that, but nothing of this type of length.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: CSB In Conversation With Dan Skinner [Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: CSB In Conversation With Dan Skinner

CS: Being 48, could you let us know the changes you have witnessed over the decades in terms of life for a homosexual man? 
DS: I've seen a lot of changes over the years in social acceptance of homosexuality. When I was a teenager it was still a curse word, still hidden. But we all still existed, found each other and had our places to get together. They were pretty hidden, holes in the wall type places. Year by year, as the media made it more visible with shows like Will & Grace, and more gay characters in films, I've seen the culture become more tolerant. I don't think we are there yet. I still hear people using the word “gay" as a derogatory term, but we're getting better. Now with marriage equality making strides forward, I have a lot more hope that one day a married gay couple will be as mundane as a married straight couple. 

CS: And what projects are keeping you busy these days? 
DS: Lots of photography projects in the works. The next month I have three already scheduled. I also have already completed two other novels which will be proofed and then go into editing. One is an erotic novel entitled, ‘The Bible Boys’, and the other is another romantic fiction ala a combination of a gay Lolita and Death In Venice entitled, ‘Vicarious’. All the books are quite different in nature because I like to explore different aspects of my own psyche.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: CSB In Conversation With Dan Skinner

You can buy ‘Memorizing You’ from Amazon (Kindle Edition) by clicking here

The photographs showcased in this post are independent creations of Dan Skinner and are not part of ‘Memorizing You.’ You can click on them to see their unedited high resolution versions. 

To see more of Dan's work, visit his gallery

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