This week Jeff & Will focus on the Mpreg genre. While they were at GRL, Will sat down with authors Nora Phoenix, Silvia Violet, Victoria Sue and Susi Hawke and they discussed everything about the genre, including the difference between Mpreg and Omegaverse, what knotting is, how wonderful the fans are and what’s coming up next for each of the authors. In addition, Will talked with Charlie David about his work as an audiobook narrator on several books in the genre.
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Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links includes affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase.
- Mpreg 101 Interview
- Nora Phoenix: website | Facebook Group | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon
- Silvia Violet: website | Facebook Group | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon
- Victoria Sue: website | Facebook Group | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon
- Susi Hawke: website | Facebook Group | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon
- His First series by Victoria Sue on Amazon
- Piper Scott on Amazon
- Assassin’s Claws series by Susi Hawke on Amazon
- Trillium Creek series by Silvia Violet on Amazon
- Unicorn Rednecks series by Susi Hawke & Piper Scott on Amazon
- The Christmas Dragons Mate by Silvia Violet on Amazon
- Kingdom of Askara series by Victoria Sue on Amazon
- Forbidden Desires series by Piper Scott and Virginia Kelly on Amazon
- Team A.L.P.H.A. series by Susi Hawke & Crista Crown on Amazon
- Lost in Dallas by Susi Hawke on Amazon
- Irresistible Omega series by Nora Phoenix on Amazon
- Ann-Katrin Byrde on Amazon
- Oceanport Omegas by Ann-Katrin Byrde on Amazon
- Macintosh Meadows series by Susi Hawke on Amazon
- Bodyguard’s Bite by Silvia Violet on Amazon
- Charlie David Interview
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Patreon.com
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast patrons on BGFP website
- Frolic Podcast Network website
Interview Transcript – Nora Phoenix, Silvia Violet, Victoria Sue and Susi Hawke
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Will: When I saw the list of authors that were coming to GRL, I was frankly tickled pink that I saw so many Mpreg authors and that four of them have agreed to sit with us today and talk about this wildly popular sub genre.
I’m so very thrilled. I’m going to have each of you introduce yourselves and explain a little bit about what sub genre you write in. I’d like to start immediately on my left, Nora, introduce yourself.
Nora: Thank you. I’m so excited to be here. My name is Nora Phoenix. I write, obviously Mpreg. I also write contemporary and I like to throw in some random sub genres like scifi and apocalyptic whenever the mood strikes. I switch off between Mpreg and contemporary because I like both. I don’t want to be stuck in one thing and it keeps the mind creative if you switch off. I’ve been writing for about two years now and having a ton of fun.
Silvia: I’m Silvia Violet and I write Mpreg with shapeshifters and I also write shapeshifter paranormals that don’t include in Mpreg, as well as contemporary and like Nora, I like to switch back and forth. It keeps me fresh. If I stick in one sub genre for too long it’s just harder to get inspired to write.
I have been publishing for almost 15 years. I started out in male/female romance and in 2011, started writing m/m. And have pretty much been there since.
Victoria: Hi, I’m Victoria Sue. I write Mpreg all the way to serial killers. I haven’t managed both of them in the same book yet. But, give me the chance. I’ve been writing Mpreg for four years. Started out with shifters and then my most recent series, “His First” is Omegaverse.
Susi: I’m Susi Hawke. I’ve been writing for a little over two years, primarily Mpreg, this year I switched to doing contemporary, also my Mpreg I do both shifters and contemporary Mpreg and Omegaverse.
Will: Fantastic. Now, one of the main reasons that I wanted to do this informal panel with the four of you is because despite the fact that the sub-genre has taken off, especially in the last couple of years, is that there are some people who still have no idea what Mpreg is.
I wanted this episode of the podcast to serve as an introduction to the genre, maybe sort of Mpreg 101. So I thought we’d start out with some definitions that are unique and special to this type of story.
To start off, Mpreg actually stands for male pregnancy, we’ll get that out of the way first. I think one of the most basic definitions, of course. I think when it comes to this sub genre, is that it generally falls into two different categories.
Susi: Contemporary Mpreg is Mpreg without shifters. It’s just regular people who have the ability to get pregnant. Omegaverse means Mpreg is not necessarily in the book, but it’s there in the universe.
Piper Scott is known for that. She’ll write books that you may or may not have a pregnancy. And that’s Omegaverse. My newest series, “Assassin’s Claws” is Omegaverse even though it’s shifters, because there isn’t a pregnancy in every book.
Silvia: So basically, I think for some readers, at least, if they see Mpreg in the series title or that’s how you advertise it, they expect there to be a pregnancy that is part of the focus of the book that’s taken all the way through birth.
Whereas if it’s labeled Omegaverse, there might be, there might not be, that ability’s there, but maybe it, you know. That a pregnancy is not gonna happen in that book.
Nora: Yeah. And I think with, with the shifters it’s the same, so it can have a pregnancy. It doesn’t have to have one.
So you have a little more freedom and whether or not it fits into your story.
Susi: But it’s so important because our readers will be livid if we market Mpreg and there is no baby. If they know it’s Omegaverse. It’s okay.
Will: I’d like to talk about a couple of familiar tropes in the genre. One of the first is of course that, one of the heroes is going to have to end up pregnant at some point, which means, unprotected sex. And I’d like to talk about that and how you handle it from a storytelling perspective, the reasons why the heroes might choose unprotected sex and how creative do you have to get sometimes in order to come up with those reasons?
Victoria: That’s quite easy actually, because all my Mpregs take part in a paranormal world. So my shifters don’t contract human diseases. So that takes, that takes immediate care of that. In the normal world. Condoms break.
Susi: That’s exactly what I would’ve said. That’s pretty much a general thing across the board. We all have our different worlds. We create in ways we come at it, but it’s all the same for that shifters. That’s our one free pass. They don’t carry human diseases and yes, condoms break.
Nora: What I love is that you, you’re not bound to the same, I don’t want to call them rules, but they kind of are as you are in contemporary non-Mpreg romance where you have to be super careful to, have your characters have unprotected sex for obvious reasons in, shifter or in Mpreg you can get away with that, which gives you a little more room to play with. And
Silvia: I think also different authors handle that differently for some, you know, it is just, well, this is the shifter world and they’re, you know, they’re not worried about disease. And so it’s, it’s not as much of an issue.
And then some, you know, I’ve read some. contemporaries where, I mean, it is, and then they have to, you’d have to figure out like, okay, well this isn’t going to be the condom break. It’s going to be just heat of the moment or, you know, and, and have to get more creative
Nora: Heat of the moment. That’s a fun joke.
Will: We spoke just a moment ago about, the pregnancy and, whether certain readers expect there to be a birth by the end of the book. I think commonly, there’s an epilogue in most stories where we flash forward a couple of months to a find out what happened to our happy couple. Do your readers expect that in most of your books?
Victoria: They want the whole thing. They want the whole 12 hour delivery, the whole blood, guts and gore. They want the whole pain. They want the whole thing swollen ankles, high blood pressure.
Susi: So one of the reasons I believe that I became more known as an author is because I focused on the pregnancy and the delivery, and that was entirely accidental because I was in the hospital and I was reading Mpreg books cause I stumbled across it. I was like, well this is interesting. And I’m reading the reviews. All the reviews are like, they didn’t show the pregnancy. And then I became hyper aware of that. So when I started writing, I said, I’ve gotta include the pregnancy.
And then my first series, I didn’t show the delivery and everyone loved the series, but every set of reviews has at least one person saying, I wish we could have seen the delivery.
Victoria: And then you got, you’ve got the problem of the whole nine months if you’re going to choose that, which is an easy thing for shifters, cause wolves give birth at like 24 weeks or something like that.
So you can usually dial that back a little back, unless you’re gonna write a 300 page book you can’t do really do, and I, most pregnancy, you need time jumps or something like that. And sometimes the readers will feel cheated unless you give them a real reason for why it’s happening in a short space of time,
Nora: I think I get away with that a little. I have one Mpreg series. It’s a continuing series. I tend to bend the Mpreg conventions a little. Not deliberately, but I play around with what was common a little. So my first books, don’t even have a pregnancy. The first two in a series, and because it’s a continuing storyline, I have the time to set up the pregnancy.
I have the time to set up all the, the issues during the pregnancy. for me, the biggest challenge, because it’s a continuing series, and I have a lot of pregnant people at the same time is that I need an Excel sheet to keep track of due dates and delivery dates and what age babies are, and my Excel sheet by now is a pretty damn complicated, but it’s fun.
Silvia: It’s definitely been a challenge for me at times with figuring out the timeline, and I have certainly done in my “Trillium Creek” series. I get to a certain point in the pregnancy – give them the pregnancy symptoms and all that sort of stuff, but then skip ahead and the epilogue is the birth scene. That works for me. And I also, it’s a shifter series, so they have a six month gestation.
Susi: If you’ve read my books, very many of them, you’ll notice there’s a pattern. I have three pivotal things that have to be hit in every book. We have to have the big aha. He discovered the pregnancy moment.
We have to have the morning sickness or the clue that there’s pregnant and we have to have this sweet moment of the other partner rubbing his feet or his belly or being sweet and tender. You have to include those and also my shifter pregnancies and what you were talking about, how we can play around with it.
I tie them to the real life animals gestation rates to make it shorter. Yeah. So my wolves have three month pregnancies.
Nora: Yeah. Makes it easier if you have shorter pregnancies cause nine months in, in a book you have to do some time jumps if a pregnancy is nine months,
Silvia: Definitely. I took the six month time and I made a little chart of converting that, like where would you be if it had been a nine month pregnancy, how many weeks to hit that you might get morning sickness where you might start to show.
Will: Susi, you brought up an interesting point. Traditionally shifter books feature wolves, but of course, any kind of animal, can be used in an Mpreg shifter story. Can we talk about some of the different species that each of you have maybe used?
Susi: You want to talk about unicorns, don’t you?
Will: I love those unicorn books. So very, very much. In the genre, there is, a startling array when it comes to a shifter stories, like, the books that Suzi has done with Piper Scott, the Redneck Unicorns, which I adored.
How about you guys? Are there other types that you’ve explored in your stories ?
Silvia: I am currently working on a dragon series. In the middle of November that will start to be available. So it’s a dragon shifter series. That’s been really interesting and dealing with the, you know, a non-mammal shifter species and then kind of figuring out the world building of that has been really interesting for me.
Nora: I have my one series, which is kind of a cross between shifter and non shifter because, I’ve created a world where shifting is no longer possible for reasons. And then I slowly introduce a development, which means that they can shift again, but not everybody. So it’s kind of a, I’m giving away a spoiler here.
Sorry. If you haven’t read the books, I apologize. But I loved playing with that because you get to start out with, I don’t want to say regular people, cause obviously it’s still Mpreg, but you don’t have to shift their capabilities, but you introduced them slowly and I found it very fun to play around with that, but they are Wolf shifters.
So I’ve kept to as many of the wolf characteristics in terms of length of pregnancy as I could.
Victoria: In both my, serious wolf series and my “Alpha King” series, they are all shifter wolf/human pairings.
Nora: I love that series.
Victoria: And it’s usually the, the human that like, often he doesn’t know that werewolves exist and then how the heck did I manage to get pregnant in the first place?
And that’s, that’s usually I like, I like that. That’s a bit of fun.
Nora: I also love the series that, Piper wrote with Virginia Kelly with dragons. They call it, an Mpreg with eggs. That series was phenomenal. That was absolutely hilarious. A great, yeah, very original. I love that.
Susi: I was kind of a snob when I started out. I was like, no, it’s a Wolf. It’s a bear, or it’s a dragon. That’s it. And then I was co-writing with Christa Crown, our “Team A.L.P.H.A.” she’s like, Suzi, we have to have other shifters. So she keeps writing in all these weird things, and I ended up loving them. So we’ve got snakes and hedgehogs and Flamingos, and then after
Nora: Flamingos? How did I miss those?
Susi: She has a goat doctor. I mean, she put, and then now what happened? I find myself writing them and it’s fun. So you just got roll that I, I don’t think that there’s an animal I probably wouldn’t write into a book at this point, but I, the main ones that sell that readers really look for are wolves, bears and dragons.
Will: The classic trio. Let’s get into some definitions from the sub genre. Let’s get a little biological. Talk to me about what it means, for heat in an Mpreg book.
Victoria: From my point of view, it goes basically back to the female and the menstrual cycle.
So to put it bluntly, to get biologically with it. That’s where the idea comes from, from the heat that the omegas are the person that’s going to get pregnant, whether they’re shifter or non shifter, goes into heat cycle. This is the time which they can get pregnant.
That’s what it’s traditionally, that’s the kind of like, the few days that can get pregnant and that runs the gamut of, some omegas that need sex need an orgasms to basically function.
Susi: She’s the wrong person to be answering this cause she’s too lady like.
Victoria: Well, I’m trying to be nice.
Silvia: I think it depends on the way the author handles it, because, you know, I’ve read in Mpreg where heat was just, you know, just the time that you’re fertile and maybe, you know, you’d be more interested in sex then, but it, it’s just, you know, more like the time when women are fertile in our human world.
But then I’ve read ones where they are truly like completely unable to think, unable to function. And at that point to me, I feel like it is. And so, you know, in my series, I, I set it up to where my characters make clear their consent before they reach that level of being out of it.
Susi: I had my guy in “Lost in Dallas,” he iced him down. He put ice packs all over him until he could clearly say “yes, I consent.” Also a lot of my books with heat, it comes on… You get your first heat when you meet your fated mate. So I don’t think the dubious consent is as much of a thing when it’s your other half of your soul.
Nora: Oh. And my series is, it’s very much an issue because I’ve built a world where, And again, I have to be so careful not to spoil the whole series. but where there’s certain omegas who have a genetic mutation that makes their heat even more intense.
And I wanted to do that on purpose. Mpreg is seen as maybe a light genre, but I like to put a little, message in there. And, I think the discussion about consent is a super important one. And it’s one of the reasons why I put that in the book, to be able to have characters talk about that.
Susi: You’re right. It is important. When I say I get irritated by it, I mean, I hear irritated when people just throw it around without even knowing what they’re talking about. They don’t really read Mpreg so they just throw that out there and then that’s when I gave irritated.
I am super protective, like, come at me, bro, when it comes to Mpreg. Not because I write it, but because the readers are the most loyal readers of any genre. I just want to hug them all to my heart and just don’t put down their genre.
Will: There’s, so much that we could go into like, Alpha and Omega dynamics. And as one of you mentioned before, fated mates but I want to ask for a definition of one more thing, something Jeff just learned about today. As a matter of fact, he was talking to another author of MPREG and I would like to talk about the concept of knotting, and for those of you who are listening, I’m talking about knot with a K. K. N. O. T. So who would like to tackle this discussion?
Susi: I’m going to just jump on it for two reasons, because I had two different types of knots in my books.
So dog’s knot. Cat’s knot. They have their barbs. In the animal kingdom, animals get locked together so that the seed stays in long enough to impregnate. That’s just how it’s biologically set up. If we’re writing shifters, it makes sense to have the knot for the same reason. And a lot of readers love the knot because as it expands and presses on all those lovely little places that you men have, it’s almost like being fisted after that point. And it just, it adds the kink that the readers love. But for me, the knotting is about the connection where, because a lot of mine, only true mates can knot. So when you’re locked together. After you’ve had sex, you can’t just roll over. You can’t just get up and go out and have a cigarette or go to the bathroom or whatever.
You have to be tender and you have that moment of vulnerability. So that’s what I love about knotting. And then I mentioned the cat barbs. I have a lot of people ask me about this. The knotting vortex. I have cat shifters where they have little nubbins that come out like Velcro. Or that with the sensitivity of nipples that go in a spiral and they get locked together like that and they come out and it’s, that’s my version of like a cat, barb and a knot.
And it’s all in the same thing.
Nora: I think what Suzi says, it’s very right if you ask readers, and we do regularly ask them, what do you love about Mpreg? You know, they’ll say, ah, the babies and the pregnancy and, but knotting is one of the things they mention a lot.
Victoria: But I think actually speaks to a deeper level, the symbolism that two people have to be so intimately connected, for certain things to happen.
And when you’re writing romance, you’re writing a love story. That’s the whole, gist of the matter that, that two people, not only physically connected but you know, they’re part of each other’s soul, and that’s what readers want to read about. They want to hear about the deeper connections and, and how that’s demonstrated.
Will: Yeah, I think it’s really interesting. When I first learned about Mpreg a couple of years ago, I thought like, what? But then I saw how popular it was becoming. I said, okay, I’m going to give this a try. It was wonderful, and it was unique, and like crazy, super sexy. I think in those early days of Mpreg, it was mainly focused a lot on the sex. And I think in the intervening years, stories have become a little bit more complex and it’s more about the romance and the connection, as you were just speaking about Victoria I think that’s what readers have really started to connect with and why they’re so loyal, especially now. There’s just been a remarkable surge in popularity in this particular sub genre, and I wanted to ask you, why is it so popular with readers now?
Silvia: I think right now a lot of readers are looking for things that make them feel good. I think a lot of people enjoy that aspect of a book that’s going to end, not just with a happily ever after, but with a happy family. Especially a lot of people who maybe their own family is not happy. So while certainly not true of all Mpreg, but a lot of Mpreg books are fairly, there’s a lot of sweet romance or sweet moments and those connections, like, like you were saying…
Victoria: No serial killers
Silvia: like I said, it doesn’t speak to all, but I think a lot of people have come to rely on that genre as a place that they’re going to get a book that’s going to make them feel really good in a time where a lot of us are feeling really uncertain.
Nora: Yeah. I think what you’re saying is very right.
A lot of Mpreg books also have that theme of found family because we often write about either packs, which are most of the time, not related by blood, but more related by pack bonds, you kind of have that found family. And, as we all know, not everybody has that in their real life. And, and we all read to escape.
And I think it’s a happy escape for readers to read about something that maybe they would want to see in their own lives that makes them happy, that distracts them from the realities of life. And that’s why I read it too.
Victoria: Plus a hot guy holding a baby.
Susi: Some of my Mpreg author friends and I who were in a chat group where we all exchange ideas and brainstorm and chat together.
That’s one thing that we all come back to is the thing that’s great about Mpreg is it doesn’t matter whether it’s male/male, female/female, male/female. If two people love each other, they can make their own family and one partner has the ability.
Will: I’m curious, Susi spoke to this earlier, that she started reading Mpreg when you were a recovering in the hospital. How did you each individually, discover Mpreg and decide that you wanted to write it?
Nora: My first Mpreg was super weird. I can’t remember the title. I was reading m/m romance, and it came recommend on Amazon, I think through Kindle Unlimited probably. And I started reading it and I didn’t understand one bit of it. It made completely no sense. They were talking about alphas and omegas I didn’t know what knotting was, and I was just completely lost. So then for a while I didn’t read it and then, Suzi started writing it and, we connected pretty early in, in our careers. And, I started reading her books and I was like, okay, this I can get into this I love. I started writing it actually because of sort of a challenge in my group. We were talking in my Facebook group about how few poly romance books there are, not necessarily m/m/m but with more than three M’s – so m/m/m/m or more. My readers kind of challenged me like, Nora, you need to write a story with four men.
So my mind went spinning with that and that’s how my Mpreg series was born because for me – four men – I wanted to have a situation where they needed each other, not just emotionally, but physically needed each other. And to me, that was almost automatically linked to Mpreg. So I came up with the first two books in my, “Irresistible Omega” series where there are four men, two alphas, one beta, one omega.
And I loved it. I still love writing it, and I still love reading it. So yeah, these authors I’ve all read and much more.
Silvia: For me actually, this may show how kind of stubborn I can be at times. I got started reading it because there was sort of a thing on Facebook where somebody was bashing the genre and I was like, you know, I’ve never read it.
I’ve never been sure it was my thing. But now I am going to read it and I’m going to get some recommendations and I’m going to see what this is all about because I don’t like seeing any part of our larger genre be put down in that way. And I loved what I read, Nora’s series and several other series.
And, so then I had been writing contemporary for a while and I wanted to write a paranormal series. And as I started thinking about a Wolf shifter series, I was like, you know what? I’m gonna make this an Mpreg shifter series because I’m loving this. And that was kinda where my reading energy had been. And so I wrote my “Trillium Creek” series out of that that experience.
Will: And Victoria Sue?
Victoria: I wrote my first Mpreg in 2014 and I had a couple of arguments with my publisher over making, it’s a seven book series and, it’s a continuation. There isn’t a birth in every series. And, my publisher at that time wasn’t sure it was gonna sell, but it did.
Nora: You proved them wrong.
Victoria: Honestly I’d heard of the concept, but I’d never read one before I started writing one.
Will: Where do you think this sub genre is going? I think what’s kind of wonderful and interesting about Mpreg is that while there are certain things readers might insist on when they pick up an Mpreg book, there’s so many different directions that you can take a story. You can have like alphas in space, or you can do a sweet, small town story about a omega school teacher who hooks up with the alpha jock he knew 10 years ago.
Nora: He’s just giving us plot bunnies, really.
Will: Please write that book.
Nora: Alphas in space. I mean, it sounds kind of cool. I like that.
Susi: You can have that. I’ll take the school teacher.
Nora: Or we could write together.
Will: There are so many different avenues that you can explore. Where do you think, the genre is going ?
Susi: I see it going nowhere but up because my friend Ann-Katrin Byrde, she writes Mpreg. She was told five years ago that Mpreg was on its way out. It was dying. It was a dead thing. Go away from it. Don’t do it anymore. She stubbornly persisted and her “Oceanport” series is fantastic, and she was one of my people who got me more into it. And since I’ve been writing in the two years, a little over two years that I’ve been in writing Mpreg, I have noticed the quality has increased.
The amount of authors has increased. It used to be you could name off the MPEG authors off the top of your head. Now, good luck. There are so many, and they’re so varied and they’re so talented and we’re just growing every day and we get new readers every day. My reader group on Facebook, I’ve got over 2100 members.
I have a huge newsletter of followers who all love Mpreg, and I keep thinking, Oh, but they’ve read it all. Now I’ve done it all. And then I’ll write a new book and someone will message me and tell me that. Thanks that they just discovered Mpreg because of that book. So there are new people coming in every day.
So we’re just going to keep growing and exploding because the quality that we’ve brought. When I came into Mpreg, there was so much stuff out there where it just wasn’t good, it was crap. It wasn’t edited. It wasn’t complete stories.
I mean, you’d pay $2.99 and get 60 pages and they’re kissing one minute and he’s giving birth to a basket of kittens the next. Come on. So I was like, you know what? I’m going to do this, but I’m going to give quality because that’s what I wanted to give my readers. I wasn’t going to charge them for a book if I didn’t feel it was a quality story, and I really feel like myself and my peers are the ones who have brought it up and made it more.
The readers expect quality because they’ve been taught to by us because we’ve given more quality to it.
Nora: We raised the bar. I think with, with any genre as soon as something becomes popular, people will jump on it and some people will jump on it just to make money. And for a while Mpreg was seen as a quick way to make money, which means that people just put up crap just in attempts to make money. And, it has given Mpreg, a bit of a bad name for awhile, but like Suzi said, I’m really proud of the way it’s grown.
Susi: I am so proud and the quality authors. And we can do things, in Mpreg that we can’t do in contemporary, we can go bareback in an Mpreg. We can explore more social issues than you can in contemporary unless you want to write a 500 page tome. So, you know, we, we deal with social justice issues in so many books and we throw it all out there and we expose it and we bring it to light and we give the healing ending and the happily ever afters. And it’s just, you know, it’s getting better and it’s going to keep getting better.
Nora: Although I have to say that idea of alphas in space…
Susi: I can’t, and let me tell you why. I grew up watching “The Muppet Show” and all I heard from that was “Pigs in Space.”
Silvia: But just right there shows like there’s so many places you can go with it. So you, you know, the whole concept of the alpha, beta, omega world, the whole idea of the pregnancy and how the pregnancy is handled and how long, and you know, how does it differ from the real world? And there’s so many combinations that you can make in so many creative ways to handle it that I just, you know, there’s all kinds of stuff that hasn’t been done yet, as well as readers that want the same kind of story that they’ve had,
Nora: just like a contemporary, keeps evolving and Mpreg does the same. Like you said, there’s no ceiling. We haven’t done everything we can yet. Not by far.
Susi: It’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Will: Quickly, I wanted to talk about something Victoria Sue brought up is that most publishers, either don’t understand or aren’t interested about Mpreg in publishing it. Practically every author that writes Mpreg that I know of, publishes independently. Can you talk a little bit about what it was like, whether it was a burden or a joy when it comes to taking your own career into your own hands and, self-publishing these kinds of stories.
Nora: I’ve never even considered going for a publisher. I used to publish, or used to write nonfiction on a different name, through a publisher. And, despite, you know, working my ass off the bottom line is, is. It’s not zero, but it’s very close to zero. So my experiences, and this was a, you know, a reputable publisher and they were great guys, but it’s just that it goes through so many layers is that you end up with very little. So when I started writing fiction, I had already decided I’m going to do this myself.
Gives you incredible freedom. I love the idea of having full control. I can choose my own covers. I can choose my release dates. I can choose whether I want to do sales. I can do my own marketing. I like that, but I’m a control freak. So there’s that.
Silvia: Yeah. I had already been self-publishing in other genres before writing Mpreg and like Nora, I really liked the control that it gives me.
There are a lot of pieces to put together when you’re doing everything yourself, but there are also tons of amazing industry professionals to help with that. And so I’m very happy as an independent publisher.
Victoria: Yes, yes. To what you two just said. But I think bluntly put as well. A lot of Mpreg authors publish on KU and publishing houses cannot compete with that price structure. So it’s a basic monetary reason as well.
Nora: Kindle Unlimited is a big part of where our income comes from. And most publishers don’t want that. To put books in Kindle Unlimited, and most of our readers are very voracious readers. I recently did a poll, through my website, where I asked how many books a week do you read?
And 40% said they read more than five books a week. That’s just, that’s just incredible. And that shows that you, yeah. Well, if you have to pay for that, you can’t. Most readers just can’t afford to buy more than five books a week. Most books are priced at $4.99, $3.99. That’s a lot of money.
So KU make total sense. That’s why we’re in KU most of us.
Susi: I’m independent because I didn’t know how to go get myself to a publisher and no publishers have ever knocked on my door. Now that I’m established, I don’t think I would want to give up the percentage to the publisher, even though being an independent author is so much work.
The control is good. I like to know that I have my cover match to my character and that I’ve, I worked really hard to build my brand. I’ve worked really hard on every part of my business. So yeah, I will, I will stay right where I’m at.
Will: I want to talk about the fans. Readers who love this genre, they LOVE this genre and at GRL this year the four of you took part in a baby shower and that room was packed with passionate readers. It was crazy, all of you giving away prizes and playing party games. it was absolutely wild. I’d like for you to speak a little bit about your fans and especially the kind of camaraderie that you’re able to build around the worlds that you create, whether that’s through newsletters or through reader groups on Facebook. What are fans of like to interact with?
Susi: They’re so much fun. They are so full of excitement for it. Coming to GRL this was the first time I ever met readers cause I, I’ve been on the other side of it computer screen until now.
So I come here and they come up beside me and then they see my name badge. You’re Susi Hawke, and they are shaking. Or they tear up and they’re hugging me and they’re like, you don’t know what your books have meant to me. And then they’re telling me stories like they’re going to chemo reading my books, or they had a death of a parent and got through their grief reading some of my books, and it’s just, and what it meant to them.
I was crying right along with them. Let me tell you. The fact that I’ve touched their lives with my silly little books, you know, it’s amazing. It’s a good, it’s an important thing to know that you’ve spread a little joy into the world and the fans suck it in and, and give it right back.
Victoria: One of the surprising things that I found is, because I write, so, a broad genre – do everything from historical to paranormal to romantic suspense to Mpreg – I have bloggers that will usually start their review with, well, I don’t read Mpreg, but… and you know, when you get the but, you’ve got another reader.
The groups have very much the same. They will join your group because they liked that they liked an Mpreg book. Or they like the shifter series or urban fantasy, and then they suddenly find out that you do other things as well, but because they trust you as a writer, because you already delivered it once, they will try out all the things, other genres like Mpreg that they would never, ever have considered.
But if you get the trust of the reader in the first place, then they will follow you in a different direction.
Silvia: Yeah, I’ve found that to be very true. I have a lot of readers who had read other genres with me, and maybe they’d never read Mpreg, or maybe they, you know, they weren’t sure, but they’re like, well, I like your other books, so I’m gonna give this a try.
And then they end up hooked and then they’re telling me how, and then I read this series and this series and this series by these people.
Nora: I think that’s very true for me because I started out in contemporary, when I announced I was gonna write Mpreg, I got some reactions from readers who were like, why are you writing Mpreg? I don’t read Mpreg. And I’m like, well, you know, that’s fine. First of all, you don’t have to read it. I kind of saw it as a challenge, if I could persuade them to start reading Mpreg. I’m quite proud of the fact that I brought quite a few of my readers as newbies or virgins into the Mpreg genre, and now they’re hooked.
So that’s how we reel them in. But yeah, I love our readers in general. GRL is fantastic to hang out. I have a large Facebook group. Oh, we just celebrated three thousand members in my Facebook group. I’m super active there and readers appreciate that. We are very much a genre where, m/m in general, I think where we built personal relationships with the readers they really appreciate that. which I love. I’m personable myself.
Susi: Speaking of the reader groups, so many of my readers and the fans we were talking about before, when I met them at my tables, they walk up and I’d see their name and I greet them. And Oh my God, it’s so good to meet you. And they’re like, wait, I’m here to meet you, man. I know you from my Facebook group and what my readers don’t understand in my group, when they make comments and they tell me how much they love stuff or they give me their thoughts, it is so encouraging because writing is such a lonely profession and there’s so many times when I’m having a hard time too.
I get a bad case of the I don’t wannas. And then I get the reader’s excitement and it excites me. It makes me write faster. So you want a new Susi book, post to my group.
Nora: Plus we all suffer from imposter syndrome and it can hit really hard and to be around an event like this or to hang out at your group and just get the feedback like Susi said, my Mpreg books, like my books in general, I like to tackle some more serious issues. And, one of the storylines I have is about an alpha who against, spoiler, sorry. It’s about an alpha who discovers that he may look like an alpha, but he feels like a beta. So I’m kind of playing around. Obviously it’s not transgender because we’re talking about Mpreg but I’m kind of playing around with that, with that dynamic. And I’ve gotten so much feedback from readers that they recognize themselves in that. My slogan is, love has no shame. It’s like You have to be who you are and no matter, no matter what that is.
And that’s a theme that runs through my Mpreg series that really connects with readers where I got a lot of phenomenal feedback from readers and I’m proud of that and that boosts me when I have the imposter syndrome.
Will: Yeah. Love has no shame. Thank you, Nora. I think that’s a perfect note on which to end. Before we wrap things up, I’d like to ask each of you what you’re working on now and if you have any releases coming up towards the end of 2019 .
How about you, Susi? What do you have coming up?
Susi: Okay. I’m currently working on the next Assassin’s Claws book, which is Omegaverse. The Assassin’s Claws was supposed to be a 20,000 word short reads that you could read in an hour after work and then they just got to be too good and they ended up being 40K so there’s still short-ish.
But, so I’m working on that. One of my popular series Macintosh Meadows, was a trilogy last year. People have been asking. Please give us doc’s story, the obstetrician in the books. Who would think that the readers would want the doctor’s story, but they do. So that’s what Susi’s doing.
I am writing a nativity story. I have a virgin surrogate omega named Marian and Dr. Joseph, and they get caught in a blizzard and he is birthed in a barn. And that’s all gonna be in the blurbs, so I’m not getting any spoilers.
Will: Susi, where can people find you online?
Susi: You can find me at susihawke.com you can find me on Facebook at the Hawke’s Nest. That’s my Facebook group, and you can find me on Amazon.
Will: Fantastic. Victoria Sue, what do you have coming up next?
Victoria: I’m supposed to have finished a series Alpha King, Alpha Heir, and Alpha Princess is supposed to be complete, but I have a lot of people who, are actually asking for the fourth.
There is another couple, that’s mentioned. So I have promised my group that before Christmas I’m gonna start writing the fourth.
Nora: Yes, please.
Victoria: And you can find me victoriasue.com. I have Victoria Sue’s Crew on Facebook and just wherever Amazon.
Will: Yeah. People will definitely look you up. Sylvia, how about you?
Silvia: So I have two things I’m working on right now. One is an Mpreg series, the dragon shifters that I mentioned.
The first one’s called “The Christmas Dragons Mate,” and that’s coming November 15th, and then there’ll be three more books in that series, which I would love to have out by the end of the year, but at least shortly thereafter, they’ll all four be available. And then I’m working on a paranormal, wolf shifter series.
It’s not an Mpreg series, but the second one of those, which is “Bodyguard’s Bite,” will be out in November 8.
Will: Fantastic. And where can people find you online?
Silvia: Silviaviolet.com. My Facebook group is Silvia’s Salon, and then of course I’m on BookBub and Amazon and Instagram and all around.
Will: And how about you, Nora? What do you have coming up?
Nora: I just released a seventh book in my “Irresistible Omega” series, “Alphas Obedience.” And that story was not finished in that book, so that’s going to continue in “Omegas Power,” which I should had finished, but there was this little thing called GRL. That cost a lot of time.
It’s a lot of fun, but time consuming. So “Omegas Power” will hopefully release within the next two weeks. That will be it for Mpreg for this year, but next year I am continuing that series. I’m probably going to start a spinoff and maybe hoping for some collaboration projects and readers can find me at noraphoenix.com.
My Facebook group is called Nora’s Nook. And, I’m pretty much on all social media and really should probably cut down a little.
Will: So much to look forward to. My TBR is climbing mile high by the second. Thank you so much to the four of you for joining us. It was an absolute pleasure.
Susi: Thanks for having us.
Interview Transcript – Charlie David
Will: Well, right now I am sitting across from multihyphenate, Charlie David. He does absolutely everything – writes, produces, directs. He’s an amazing narrator. And I wanted to quickly talk about one of his recent projects. Charlie, you have lent your voice to an amazing series by Angel Knots, the “Omega Celibacy Club.”
What did you think when the manuscript for that first book came across your desk?
Charlie: I was excited, nervous. A little bit shocked. A little bit taken aback because I mean, that whole universe building that’s going on around Mpreg, I didn’t know a lot about and I hadn’t narrated, you know, other work like that before.
I think learning the rules, the expectations around the sub genre were, were definitely important for me, but I was excited. I was excited because it’s so whimsical and wonderful and silly and ridiculous, but, you know, at the same time, the characters themselves, everybody they’re living their life. And what they care about and their motivations, they take very, very seriously, which is, I think, you know, imperative to a good story at the same time. So, it’s fun. Like you, like you mentioned, there are a lot of characters, and I never claimed to be a voice actor, you know, a person who can do a bunch of very nuanced, specific voices. I kind of say, I can kind of do a Southern, I can kind of do a British, I can kind of do, you know, an alpha and omega, you know, in timbre for you. But that is the challenging thing in doing voice work is how do I take this story that’s not always written with it becoming an audio book in mind, right?
Like often the writer is there, they’re just writing. Right? And then that’s our job to come in and try and make sure that there’s correct pauses, breaks, inflection, speed, timbre differences. That can be little clues to the, to the listener.
Will: Because the author is primarily thinking of the reader. But you as the narrator need to think about the listener in that particular aspect.
Charlie: And it’s not always as simple as, you know, Jake said, and then Simon replied to flag to the listener. Okay, this is who this is, who’s speaking now. Often, especially as, as you get into an exciting or dynamic scene, people are going back, you know, very quickly without those qualifiers in place.
But it’s super sexy. Like I love, I mean, all these ideas of kind of the, you know, anamorphism that goes on too, with the swelling of a penis inside, and then it stays in there and Oh my God, I need your seed and it’s going to do this and that. And then, you know, all the pregnancy stuff that, you know, these young guys are going through. It’s hilarious and wonderful. And I think it’s a fun exploration as a dude, to go through to read about and to imagine as well, because, I think we all tried to be empathetic with the women in our lives. But reading something like this just kind of helps take it to that next level where you go, Oh my gosh. Like what you do is amazing.
Will: Exactly. Well, from what you’ve just said, I think you seem to be pretty open about the experience. I mean, before, you read Angel Knots’s work had you ever even come across any Mpreg before or was it a completely brand new concept?
Charlie: It wasn’t brand new because let’s see. I think it was about 2015 I did a film. I acted as in a film, a titled “Paternity Leave,” and it’s a comedy by Matt Riddlehoover’s the director and screenwriter of that, and in it, my boyfriend on the one night, we switched sexual positions. A drunken night and he ends up pregnant, and then it’s happening everywhere.
Then suddenly men all over the planet are getting pregnant and we’re trying to figure out what’s going on. So that was really fun and ridiculous as well. I use ridiculous in like the very highest praise, best, best context in both Angel Knots work and, and Matt Riddlehoover, because I think it’s fun. Why not go to these places that are outside the norm.
Will: Exactly. I think specifically when it came to the books and the characters in the “Omega Celibacy Club,” I have the hardest time saying celibacy.
Charlie: I can’t do it either. I tried really hard to try to live it. I tried to say it. I can’t do it.
Will: Exactly. I think what that particular, series has that makes it kind of special is that it has a lighthearted whimsy, but, also there is a kind of an authenticity to the way these young men are trying to make it in the world and live their lives. And, also it’s like a crazy smoking hot.
When it comes to work that has so many different elements to it, how do you tackle something like that? Do you just take it page by page?
Charlie: Yeah, I mean, definitely as I get into the subsequent books, it’s easier to do that because we have a lot of recurring characters and a lot of, you know, I kind of understand the world that’s been built, right?
But at the beginning, I definitely need to do some reading ahead and really like understand what is going on, who are these people. Even the power dynamics, right? Because a lot of gay romance is written in a much more kind of equal partner – we come to either side of the table and decide to get into this.
Not, not everything, right? I don’t want to generalize, but a lot of it is done in that way and in this alpha/Omegaverse there really is, you know, there’s, there’s the alpha, right? And what does that mean? And that it’s, it’s desired and wanted. And it can still be, you know, there can still be equality in a relationship there, but, I think it explores different nuance, in a way that, that maybe isn’t always touched on in, in other gay romance.
Will: Well, Charlie, thank you for sitting down and talking to us about this. I’m so glad that you are here at GRL and experiencing all the wonders that our wacky literary community has to offer.
Charlie: Well, thank you. Thanks for having me again. Really appreciate it.