After doing the Book Blitz, I got the opportunity to have a chat with Anton Lee Richards, author of Blueberry Pancakes
1. Hello Anton, welcome to my blog. It is so wonderful to have you here, you seem quite shy and quiet, are you so in real life? Tell me something about yourself.
I wouldn’t say I’m shy, but this is my first novel, so there’s not much out there about me. I would say I’m an observer of “more interesting people than me.” Like Duncan, I have many people with a Marlene-like attitude in my life, the kind of people that walk into a room and everybody turns their heads, just because the person is so interesting. I’m not that person, but wouldn’t mind being that for a day.
2. Why did you write this genre? And how did you get the inspiration for this book?
I wanted to write a gay main character, but saw that most of the books out there with gay characters were romance novels. I toyed with the idea of a romance, of the story about Duncan and Jesse, but then it morphed into a self-discovery thing for him, where he learns to stick up to Jesse, and even to Marlene, to a lesser extent.
I love reading a genre we have here in the states called “Chic Lit.” It’s a humorous genre, with a female lead, that can have romance in it, but it’s not a romance. I wanted that type of fun, beach read feel, but with a gay male protagonist.
I picture Marlene having her own “Chic Lit” book. When I started “Blueberry Pancakes,” it was more serious book. Then many of my writer friends who took a look at the early drafts suggested that writing humor was my strong point, so I re-focused the tone on that.
3. Was the book based on your life in some ways, do you identity yourself with the main character? And did you have to do a lot of research on song writing for it?
I identify with Duncan in that his creative outlet is songwriting, and mine is writing. Both are creating, but not performance-based, like singing or public speaking. But I’m not shy, or a pushover like Duncan is. I’m more like Marlene in that aspect – or at least want to be. I’d like to say I’ve learned to say “screw it” and go after what I want, despite the obstacles, physical or otherwise.
4. I loved the title of your book; how did you get to this title? This title sure made a lot of bloggers hungry, including myself
I live in the Andersonville neighbourhood of Chicago, which is famous for its brunch restaurants. When I first moved here, I was on a diet, a brutal, low-carb one, and I would walk past these restaurants with pictures of yummy pancakes on the windows, dreaming away at buttery, maple-syrup-covered pancakes. I originally wanted to name it after one of the songs that Duncan writes, “Bohemian Gold,” but many early readers suggested I name it something pancake related. I chose blueberry because they’re my favorite.
5. Your most difficult scene to write in the book? And your favorite scene?
Difficult: The assault scene it Chapter 15. I wanted Duncan to face a harder struggle with yet another guy. It was important for Duncan to be changed by the experience.
Favorite: The Christmas Party with Christopher, the guy he’s dating. It embodies the campy gay life I’ve seen in Chicago. Everybody is shallow and self-centered, which makes for fun reading.
6. How long did it take for you write this book?
Many years. I started and stopped many times, focusing my attention to other, still unfinished, novels, and to non-writing things. The next one will go much faster because now I know how it’s done.
These were my serious questions. Catch me next Sunday with more fun questions for Anton…
My review of Blueberry Pancakes can be read here
All my reviews can be found here