Joseph is a born and raised Southern Californian—with a twenty-year stint of living in the Midwest. He loves the laid-back lifestyle of San Diego and considers himself lucky to live where people dream of vacationing.
A lifelong reader of m/m fiction, he began his writing career one night sitting at his MacBook and has never looked back. He writes to bring the characters he dreams about to life.
I was thrilled getting to sit down with Joseph and ask some questions that I thought his readers would love to know. Joseph, as always, was willing to let me pick his brain a little. Here is what we talked about.
Hello everyone “waves” “fans self…does it seem hot in here?”
Maybe it’s just me, but let’s get to why we are here today, I have the honor of interviewing Joseph Lance Tonlet who has just released his very first novel, Grif’s Toy.
Welcome Joseph “Hugs” It is such a pleasure having you here. Please come in and find a comfy seat. “Oh, not there…he won’t be bothering us, the gag will see to that.”
Before we get started, may I fix you a drink? Scotch, I believe, isn’t?
Joseph: Ooo,yes! ! A scotch would be perfect! Thank you.
“Shoot, I thought these items had been cleaned and put away” just let me grab this stuff real quick…there ya go Joseph, please have a seat.
Here’s your drink and I put some snacks here on the table…
Why thank you, ma’am!
Are you comfy…ready to get started, Joseph?
I’m ready. Fire away!
If my questions get too personal feel free to pass and we’ll get to some others.
Duly noted. However, there isn’t much I’m hesitant to talk about – if you’ve had the chance to visit my 18+ blog, you know I’m pretty much an open book. *smile*
Now, your book is titled Grif’s Toy, Tease and Denial. How did you come up with this name and does it have any personal meaning?
The ‘tease and denial’ portion of the title does have personal significance. It’s something my partner and I practice off and on. With me being the denied participant. Again, I go into much greater detail about my experience with being denied – how I feel about it, why I like it, the pleasure it brings me – on my blog.
This was my first experience reading about tease and denial of this magnitude. I have to admit I was a little ticked at Wes for quite a while and his treatment of Grif. I guess I went into protector mode pretty quickly, lol. Of course, once I realized the effect it had on Grif, I backed off. I had t [GrifsToyPromo1] o keep telling myself “It’s okay, Grif likes this” Again, is this personal or where did this concept come from?
Wes is an unapologeticsadist. And presenting his unapologetic nature was important to me. He loves Grif deeply, but that doesn’t lessen his desire to hurt him. If anything, it only serves to heighten the pleasure he derives from their relationship. They are the epitome of yin and yang – they complete one another in the most perfect of ways.
Do you have a favorite part in the book that just really gets to you?
I have several. I adore the scene where Grif and Wes share their first kiss. It’s filled with fear, and hopefulness and it’s just so damn romantic. There’s also a really naughty scene involving Grif on his knees, in front of Wes, anda pair of underwear that I find very…um…stimulating. And my last choice is the beautiful card Wes writes to Grif. It speaks volumes about Wes’ optimism for their future. Yeah, so I guess my secret is out – I’m a romantic masochist. *grins*
Forgive me Joseph if my questions kinda jump all over the place. This is my first time,ummm…doing it like this…oh crap, you know what I mean. [☺]
How did you come up with the characters?
As I mentioned earlier, I created Wes as an unapologeticsadist – and I did the same with Grif; he’s a masochist who doesn’t have any particular hang-up’s about what turns him on. It seems all too often we are judged by what arouses us – and, unfortunately, that judgment can bleed into the way we feel about ourselves. I set out to create two people who are good guys through-and-through, and who also happen to reside on the D/s side of the sexual spectrum. That’s not to say they don’t both have their own issues to deal with outside of the bedroom. We know Grif has faced some challenges with his anatomy, and book two – Wes’ Denial – will delve into Wes’ early life and some of the challenges he faced as a young sadist. But, in the end, I wanted to write about two strong, emotionally healthy, kinky men who were perfectly suited for one another.
I hope this is not a spoiler and if it is we’ll just skip around it. It’s in the blurb so I’ll ask…TATE. Love, love, Tate. Why’d ya do it, Joseph? Lol Why all why did he have to go away?
I’m really glad you enjoyed Tate! I love him so much…he was simply a joy to write. And he was an integral part of the story; without Tate in Grif’s life, there couldn’t be a Wes. Tate allowed Grif to grow – to be somewhat prepared for the possibility of another man entering his life someday down the road. So, as much as it pained me, we had to say goodbye to Tate so we could say hello to Wes.
I think it’s time for a refill. How about you? Need a filler up?
<jingles the ice in his glass> I’d love another!
Where do you write? Do you have a special place where all this comes together?
I tend to write in the morning or in the late evening – I enjoy the quiet those times of day offer. I’m fortunate enough to live in San Diego, so a lot of my writing is done on my patio. But, I keep my iPad within reach at all times because I have been known to write just about anytime, anywhere. *smiles*
Your book cover is absolutely gorgeous. That would have immediately snagged me to read Grif’s Toy. Did you design it yourself or someone else? And if it was someone else, was it your ideas?
Thank up I' m absolutely in love with the cover. However, I didn’t design it. An amazing artist– and author – by the name of Rhys Ford did the initial cover work. We had several conversations about the ‘feel’ of the cover and what I wanted to convey. The story takes place in San Diego, so for those who’ve been here, they’ll likely recognize the San Diego Bay and the Coronado Bridge. Other artwork, such as tweaks to the cover, Facebook Cover photos, Profile pictures, along with various digital promotional materials were created by Preston Hultz – who also happens to be an invaluable part of my beta team.
Do you have a favorite author that inspires you? If so, will you share with us?
Well, it’s no secret that I’m a fan of Jack L. Pyke, Kol Anderson, and Bey Deckard. We’re talking a HUGE fan! *laughs* Each of them are brilliant writers, but more than that, their work has liberated me. Prior to reading their stories, I didn’t know I was free to write what I wanted. Meaning, their work beautifully weaves incredible storytelling with much darker sexual elements. And they do it in such a thrilling, engaging way that I’m often left in total envy over their masterful craftwork. Yeah, I’m a huge fan – and I’m also indebted to the three of them more than they’ll ever know. They’ve freed me.
What about future books? Do you have anything in the works and will there be a book 2 for tease and denial? “Please, please, and I’m not one to beg, “cough” in case you haven’t noticed, heh.
My next release, a non-related novelette called Brothers LaFon, is finished and waiting in the wings. It’s quite the departure from Grif’s Toy, and more along the lines of the aforementioned influential authors’ work. It’s VERY dark and will NOT be for all readers. It contains heavy non-con, torture, and incest between a set of brothers. I plan to release it January 1st. Wes’ Denial, the follow-up to Grif’s Toy, is slated for early summer.
What about Lance, OH MY GOD I love him so much. Will he ever get his own story?
I’m so glad you like him. It’s funny, but I’ve had more people ask me that very same question…people really seem to connect with him. I don’t currently have any plans for Lance – although a pair of lovely beta team members are certainly pushing for a holiday novelette – so who knows. *laughs*
One of the things I loved the most in Grif’s story was the easy and comfortable relationship he and Wes have. It was nothing for Wes to throw out “babe” and I love that in my stories. Is that something you do all the time, use endearments, or is it all Grif and Wes?
Again, it’s funny you should bring that up. Friends of mine who’ve read Grif’s Toy say Grif and I sound alike. It wasn’t something I consciously did, but I guess it’s there. I have a propensity for using endearments and toss them out pretty freely with people I’m fond of.
How does it feel to finally be LIVE and see all the 5 star reviews come pouring in?
Releasing the book, finally, has been amazing. The reviews have been nothing short of astonishing! I’m so incredibly touched that folks are connecting with Grif and Wes. Honestly, I can’t even put into words how deeply moved I am by that. To each of you who’ve taken the time to write a review, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you!
Did you consider going through a publisher or did you always know you would self publish?
I briefly, very briefly, looked into going with a publisher. I had the crazy – completely misguided – notion that ‘real’ authors have publishers. However, after attending a gay readers/writers conference this spring, I came away with an entirely different perspective. Not only did I meet some incredibly successful self-published authors, but I also realized I ‘may’ have to give up more creative control of my work than I was comfortable with if I went with a publisher. Sure, self-publishing takes a lot of work, but I alone get to decide on the content, the cover, the marketing, and the ‘feel’ of my work. I’m not saying that some publishing house authors don’t have the same sort of creative control, but for many, it can take years to gain. I had it right out of the gate – well, that and a fuck load of work to go with it! *laughs* In the end, what I really wanted was to tell Grif and Wes’ story – the way I wanted to tell it – the way I thought it deserved to be told.
I read that you wrote Grif’s Toy in just 4 short weeks. Then, wow, it was 17 months of putting it all together? Can you shed any light on what that entailed and maybe for other writers who would like to follow in your footsteps?
*laughs* Yeah, the writing was the easy part. It was all the other stuff that took forever. But, I started from the ground floor and had to learn everything as I worked my way up to that final release day. And I mean everything; forming a beta team, honing said beta team, editing, locating an editor, learning how to work with an editor, locating a cover artist, creating the cover, formatting and creating eBooks, formatting and creating print books, setting up online publishing accounts, locating and working with reviewers, and the list goes on and on and on. In fact, there’s still not a single day that goes by where I don’t learn something new. But, the upside is I know all of this now, and subsequent books will go much quicker and smoother. Also, I’d like to take a moment, if I could, to say I couldn’t have done this without people supporting me! From everyone who now comprises my amazing beta team, to the other authors who have offered both their time and their priceless knowledge. Readers would not know Grif and Wes had it not been for you. My sincere thanks to each of you!
Almost finished Joseph, you still comfy? Need another refill? Should I get a cab lined up since you’re driving may be impaired now, lol?
Do you have one thing you can share with us, the readers, that no one else knows “scoots chair closer so I don’t miss this” Hmm, anything?
Um…I’m an insatiable bottom? Err, wait… *laughs* I love to sing in the shower? Nah, almost everyone does that. Hmm…let’s see. One, I love ice cream; two, I love the TV show The Voice – especially Adam Levine; and three, I have several body piercings. *grins*
Okay, if you will continue to indulge me for just a bit longer, I love this game.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Lots of it!
Dog or cat?
I like both, but I have a real soft spot for dogs.
Black or white?
Sweet or dill?
Dill. I’m not convinced sweet should even be considered a pickle! *ducks*
Hunky or chunky?
Both. *nods* I have this wonderful ability (or curse) to find something attractive about almost every man I meet. Yes, there’s a name for guys like me – but we’re keeping things nice here, aren’t we? *wink*
Quickie or candles?
I can do either. Simply achieving release, assuming I’m allowed, can be just as much fun as a long night of play.
Hand or paddle?
Given the choice, I’d go with paddle.
Dark or light (as in lamp or shades pulled)?
Oh, the more light the better; I love to see what’s happening. *grins*
Suits or boots?
Hm. Can I say both? I love a man in work boots, but there’s also something very sexy about a nicely tailored suit.
Top or bottom?
Me? Oh most definitely an active, aggressive, enthusiastic bottom.
Thank you so much Joseph, this was so much fun and you have been more than generous. If you have anything else you would like to add or throw out there, please…the floor is yours. [☺] “don’t pay any attention to what you may see lying on the floor” lol.
Thanks so much for having me, Kathy! It was a blast!