When something is perfect, it sets itself up to be destroyed, and for everything gained, something is lost.
Since Dryden was young, his mother taught him about balance. While she weaves jewelry to sell at the marketplace, Dryden learns how every unspoiled gem begs to be damaged, just like the universe corrects every misfortune.
But with age and experience, Dryden begins to see the cracks in his mother’s innocent view of life. If she is wrong about balance, she might be wrong about the supposed beast in the woods. Dryden ventures into the forbidden, where a handsome hunter named Otto saves him from a deranged fox and seduces him. But like so much else, Otto has an unseen side, and if Dryden wants to regain his freedom and break Otto’s spell, he’ll have to answer three riddles in three days.
With the help of his mother’s stories and the fox who once threatened him, Dryden must beat the monster and restore balance to his world. But it will come at a cost.
Interview with Francis
Do you have an image in your mind of your characters before you start?
Yes, definitely! I find that I often need to "fan cast" my stories. So I'll pick out random actors, musicians, or any public figure (sometimes even stock photo models!) to stand in as characters for me, especially during the first draft. I'm able to focus more on the plot when I'm not hung up on how exactly someone looks or acts and I already have a baseline characters sketch in mind. When I go around to compose the second or third draft, I'll spend more time and usually (90% of the time) deviate from the initial actors I had in mind. For Fearful Symmetry, I originally thought of Hugh Dancy from Ella Enchanted as Dryden, but by the end of it, he was completely different.
What's the process of your writing?
I plot out what I want to do on paper first, then I usually write my first drafts very, very quickly. I'll let it sit for a while (sometimes a few days, sometimes upwards of months) before coming back to it and editing again. My editing stage is by far the longest since that's where I'll do complete overhauls of scenes that don't work, or restructuring.
Fearful Symmetry was written over the "reading" break at my school, from late February to early March. As soon as I finished, I needed to do a bunch of presentations at school, so I let the manuscript sit before returning to it by mid-March and handing it in at Dreamspinner. This is an abnormally fast turn-around time for me. But I was super happy with the way it all came together.
Is there a character in any of your books that you didn't plan on—a character who forced their way into the story?
Yes, totally! Emmons, the fox-shifter in Fearful Symmetry, wasn't in my main idea for this story. It took me months of having this idea in my head, attempting to plot it, then giving up before I realized there needed to be a third person in the narrative and *he* needed to be the main love interest. The entire plot was restructured then (from a short story to a longer narrative) and Emmons was added. He's one of my favourite "surprise" characters, though it has happened with other books.
Do you have any writing-related superstitions or rituals?
I hate looking at the word count. For all types of writing, not just with fiction. I will usually cover the word count up with a post-it note in the corner of my laptop screen (which is how I wrote my entire 47k MA thesis). Recently, I've started to compose the start of my stories in an email or generic text box before I'll copy and paste it into a word doc. I need to get to about 4k before I can stand to see the word count without covering it up. I don't know why--I've always been this way, as far back as I can remember.
Are your friends and family supportive of your writing?
Yes! My partner is my biggest support since he's the one that has to deal with me from day to day and tolerates me being super quiet and in my room, or me being cranky because of revisions. He listens to me when I tell him the plot of a story, and sometimes offers help for conflict resolution in the narrative arc.
This may sound odd, but he also supports me by *not* reading what I write. He's never read a single story--save for a few that I've given public readings of and that he's attended. He doesn't read my work, not because he doesn't support me, but because he already knows and accepts that I'm doing good work. He doesn't have to seek it out to know. And for someone like myself who is pretty anxious and is always seeking approval through my actions--to have him step in and say he accepts my work on my own word and through whatever faith he has in me as a person--that's actually huge. My stress level always goes down when I'm around him, so that's another plus!
And because he is so supportive, he always gets a dedication in my longer works. :)
What are you working on next?
A lot of things! I'm in the middle of a lot of edits right now, but I have an urban fantasy story about enchanted shoes that I'm really excited about coming out with Less Than Three Press. I'm also in the drafting stage of a story with a trans protagonist. It's a contemporary story called Hopeless Romantic (after the Bouncing Souls song, of course); I'm hoping I can turn in the final manuscript before December, so the novel can come out sometime in 2016.
I usually keep a pretty steady commentary on my website of my projects and recent contracts, so heading over there is a good place to start if readers are curious for more information. :)
About the Author
Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He has appeared in Gay Flash Fiction, Chelsea Station Poetry, and the Martinus Press anthology To Hell With Dante. He lives in Canada with his partner, reads too many comics books, and drinks too much coffee. Feel free to contact him, especially if you want to talk about horror movies, LGBT poetry, or NBC’s Hannibal. Find him at francisgideon.wordpress.com.
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