Today’s guest is well known for her books in the world of M/M fiction, but for me it’s her generous spirit that I find most impressive. J.P. is not only an award winning author, but a tireless advocate and fund raiser for homeless LGBT youth. Read on to learn a bit more about J.P., her books and her incredible work on behalf of an often overlooked segment of our population.

Guest Author: J.P. Barnaby

Welcome, JP. I know many readers already know who you are, but as an ice breaker, why don’t you start by telling everyone a bit about yourself.

@DrakeJadenXXX, @JPBarnaby, and friend Shaun hanging out at Erotica Orlando

@DrakeJadenXXX, @JPBarnaby, and friend Shaun hanging out at Erotica Orlando

Hi Andrew! Well, I’m a Pieces, I like long walks on the beach, and a nice glass of wine. Okay, yeah, I’m not a beach-goer, and I don’t like wine. So, I’d much rather have a margarita with friends at a club with pulsing music and hot gyrating bodies and… Oh, uhm.. Yes, well.

I began writing about, wow, five years ago now. I self-published my first book, The Forbidden Room, in December of 2009 and it did surprisingly well. Then Dreamspinner picked me up and gave me a six book contract for the Little Boy Lost series, and things really got interesting. I’m up to 10 original novels not including the re-edited YA novels which brings my total to 14. I also have 2 novellas and 3 short stories. Two novels are contracted and coming in first quarter 2014.

It’s been an interesting ride.

Many readers might not know that you spend a lot of time and effort helping homeless LGBT youth.  Talk about what you’re involved with. 

All of the money Jamie raises, either through royalties or charitable events like the body painting event he talked JP into, goes to Lost-N-Found Youth in Atlanta. LNF is an amazing charity which helps homeless LGBT teens in Atlanta find safe shelter. They have a facility to house a few kids, and plans to get bigger and better with each passing year. Rick Westbrook, LNF’s executive director, even spent a weekend homeless to raise money and awareness to their cause: http://lostnfoundyouth.org/release-lnf-marks-anniversary-with-weekend-of-awareness/

With so many worthwhile causes, what drew you to work with homeless LGBT youth?

EnlightenedWhile I was working on the Little Boy Lost books, Harmony Ink didn’t exist, but one of the guys who read it told me that if he’d had that those books as a teenager, he wouldn’t have tried to kill himself. That made an impression on me. When Harmony Ink came into existence, I knew I wanted to convert those books to something we could get into the hands of teenagers who might need them.

Then, I had to decide on a penname, because I knew I couldn’t use JP with her rather wild reputation. That’s when I decided on Jamie – people who read the series would recognize the name. That also gave me another idea. I knew that I didn’t want the royalties from Jamie Mayfield books. I couldn’t write books for LGBT kids, to help them understand that they’re not broken or wrong, and then profit from them. So, it’s in Jamie’s contract with Harmony that 100% of the royalties from any book go directly to Lost-N-Found Youth. To keep them clear of my taxes, I never even see them.

While I was in Atlanta for a book signing with Brushstrokes, the owner told me about an organization there in Atlanta that helped homeless LGBT kids, and given my books about a homeless gay boy, maybe I could do something to help. Jamie, having been homeless in the series, wanted to give the royalties to Lost-N-Found Youth. Since it’s his name on the books, that’s exactly what I did. 

How can readers get involved if they want to help?

Step 1: Donate directly

If you’re not in Atlanta, as I am not (I’m in Chicago), the best way to help is with steady donations that the shelter can count on. Even something like $5 a month will help them get a kid a bus pass so he can get to his job and get back on his feet, or get his social security card reissued because his parents wouldn’t give it to him after they threw him out. You can also send things for them to sell in their thrift shop, or buy something for them from their Amazon wishlist.

To help: http://lostnfoundyouth.org/support-us/donate/

Step 2: Let Amazon donate while you shop

You can also use something new from Amazon called Smile. Configure it to send your 5% to Lost-N-Found Youth by doing a quick search in the list of charities. Then, you just use http://smile.amazon.com to order and they donate to the charity you chose.

Step 3: Read A Book, Save a Kid

100% of Jamie Mayfield royalties go directly to Lost-N-Found Youth. Order from the bookseller or your choice, read some great books, and let the money you spend go to help LGBT youth find safe shelter.

As you once said, ask a room full of M/M romance readers what they think of when they hear your name and 9 out of 10 will say hot boys or porn stars.  How did you come to have such a great working partnership with these ‘hot boys?’

ZachJPJimmy

@planetLang, @JPBarnaby, & @JimmyFanz hanging out in Ft. Lauderdale

When I started working on the Little Boy Lost series, I knew that in the third book, they would end up in gay porn. I knew because that’s where I actually started writing (at the end of the third book) and worked my way backwards and forwards. The first thing I thought of in that series was them coming together onset and finding each other after being apart for so long.

But, in my work, I am very picky about realism. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get the behind-the-scenes details I needed from just watching scenes. So, I followed a bunch of guys on Twitter, and started talking to them. A few said they’d love to help me, so I sent them emailed questions, and then became friends with several. When I started talking to Howard Andrew, the agent to a lot of guys in the industry, he invited me to different events. First, because we’d become friends, and second because the best way to write about gay men, especially gay men in porn, is to observe and interact with them. So, I did. And trust me, I couldn’t even make up some of the things I’ve seen and heard while hanging out with them. LOL

Having friendship with some of these guys, you must find yourself in…um…interesting situations.  Is there one that sticks out that you could share? 

JPRyan

@JPBarnaby & @RyanRoseXXX at the preparty for Grabbys in Chicago

Oh there are certainly a few. The live sex shows on stage at Hustlaball in New York, or being on the VIP lists at whatever club they take me to, but the one that stands out most is Gay Days in Orlando. I had a table at Parliament House where I was selling my books (with the help of beautiful boys Ryan Rose, Diesel Washington, and Jace Chambers who hung out at the table rather scantily clad). The last day, it poured down rain. So, I told them to let someone else use my table because while sex toys can be wiped off, books really can’t. I decided to party with the boys instead. Now, if you’ve ever been out with me, I am a total lightweight, and apparently Jager bombs were not the thing to start with. It was the first time in my life I got so drunk that I could only remember snippets of the night before.

Here’s what I remember:

–     Boys sitting me down at the FabScout table and bringing me both bottles of water, and pizza to bring down my alcohol content.

–     Boys taking me into one of the rooms at Parliament House to get me out of the crowd and bringing me a bucket just in case.

–     Rubbing Ryan Rose’s abs as he stood next to me to keep an eye on me.

–     Brian Bonds and his roommate Randy walking me, slowly, to the front of P-House and catching a cab.

–     Randy taking me up to my room and sleeping in the empty bed to make sure I was okay.

You want to know what it’s like hanging out with gay porn stars? It’s just like hanging out with any other group of guy friends, only they’re really really pretty.

Okay, let’s talk books, specifically Charlie; Rentboy. Tell us a bit about this book.

I love Charlie. He’s the culmination of talking with half a dozen escorts in as many different cities. He’s sassy and confident and lives life on his own terms.

When you wrote Charlie, did you have the two cover models in mind from the start or do you have to find two models to fit the story?

 Actually, I had a completely different cover model in mind for Charlie, but his life and career kind of imploded around that time, and I didn’t want to make things worse by drawing attention. So, I talked to Cockyboys about Max Ryder and Max Carter. I met Max Ryder in Chicago in May, and he is beautiful, kind, and very sweet. I’d also talked to Max Carter online, and was thrilled to have them both on the cover.

 Tell us something interesting that is not in the blurb? 

KeepCalmRentBoysThe character Charlie, in Charlie, Rentboy is based on real-life New York rentboy Eli Lewis. He and I were talking one day about how escorts/rentboys are portrayed in fiction, and the stereotypes they live with. I’ve seen these prejudices and stereotypes firsthand in my interactions with sex workers, and decided to do the Working Boys series for Wilde City Press to show what these guys are really like.

More information about Eli Lewis:

Twitter: @EliLewisXXX

Blog: http://www.elilewisonline.com/

Rentboy:  http://www.rentboy.com/Listing.aspx?lu=EliLewis

What’s next from JP Barnaby?

The Perfect Tree, FREE from Wilde City Press, coming 12/18

The Perfect Tree, FREE from Wilde City Press, coming 12/18

I have two books and one short story being released in the next few months:

–     The Perfect Tree, a hot little Christmas freebie coming from Wilde City Press on 12/18.

–     In The Absence of Monsters, the epic BDSM story of a Dom recovering from childhood sexual trauma. This story is the edited re-release of The Forbidden Room and A House of Cards streamlined into one supernovel. It’s scheduled for release in January 2014.

–     Spencer, the sequel to Aaron is scheduled for a late March/early April release

What I’m working on now:

–     The second book in the Working Boys series with my hot ex-marine go-go boy named Andy.

–     A wild quirky contemporary romance called Entanglement Theory.

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

Starting.

What’s your least favorite?

Finishing.

What have you read lately that most people haven’t read but should?

My character Aaron, as part of his therapy, reads and reviews books on his own blog. Something that’s been on my list forever that I hadn’t read yet was PsyCop. He just reviewed that for the blog: https://fckedupkindoflife.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/i-read-psycop-among-the-living-by-jordan-castillo-price/

If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Stephen King – I’m a big fan of him as a person, and as an author. I like his attitudes on “I write what I write and won’t be ashamed of it. If you don’t like it, I don’t care.”

What’s a fun – non-writing – day for you?

I have non-writing days?

Besides reading and writing, what else do you enjoy?

I don’t watch TV, but sometimes I’ll pick up shows on Netflix. Recently, I watched Firefly, Sherlock, and I’ve started watching Fringe on occasion. Also, I have an Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii that vie for my attention next to the voices in my head. I’m a big fan of the Lego games: Star Wars, Harry Potter, and of course the new Marvel Legos.

Last question is all yours – feel free to talk about anything you want your readers to know about you, your book, anything at all.

Usually, I get the dreaded “Tell us something about you that no one else knows” question, and I actually had an answer for that this time! Dreamspinner Press did an author scavenger hunt at GRL, and no one guessed which one was me. My little fact about myself that no one guessed?

I used to teach vacation bible school.

Thanks for being my guest, now it’s time to plug your work.

Blurb:

CharlieRentboy_100dpi_cvrGot two hundred and fifty dollars for an hour of fun? Then say hello to Charlie, a hot little rentboy working his way through an engineering degree on his back.  He’s got shaggy blond hair that’s great to hang on to while you fuck him from behind, and sweet innocent blue eyes that look very enticing when he gazes up at you with your cock in his mouth. That is, until he’s hired by innocent rich boy John Middleton, head of Middleton Communication. John is so far in the closet he could find Narnia. But when John and Charlie get together for an explosive weekend of sex, everything goes to hell.

#Charlie #Rentboy

Buy Link: 

Charlie, Rentboy

Excerpt: 

When I was a young, tousle-haired boy, my mother told me I could be anything I wanted to be—a fireman, a teacher, even a pro wrestler. I’m sure she never guessed that I would grow up to fuck strange men for money. So, thank God we skipped that little chat when I went home for Christmas, because a stroke would have put a damper on the old holiday spirit. Hi, my name is Charlie, and I am a rentboy. Why, you might ask? Because college is fucking expensive, and if I’m going to become an engineer at some point before I die, I need to pay for school. So, the question is, do I want to make seven dollars an hour at McDonald’s, or two hundred and fifty dollars for an hour long out call and still have time to study? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Now, for that two-fifty, guys definitely get their money’s worth. I’m easy to talk to, charming, and I’ve been blessed with an amazing ass. Besides my brain, it’s by far my best asset. And even though I’m versatile, my ass is what’s showcased on my escort ad, which means I get hired to bottom… a lot. That’s cool, though, since it pays my rent and keeps me in textbooks. I even get to eat when I remember between classes and clients.

My ad also says that I’m twenty-one which is true, five-foot-eight-inches and 140 lbs which is also true, and that my name is “Charlie,” which isn’t. My real name is something rather mundane like Timmy or Paul, but you don’t get to know that. I shield my identity like Clark Kent or Peter Parker, except my superpower is far more fun than strength or swinging from buildings; I am able to bottom tall tops in a single fuck. I can suck the chrome off a bumper and leave the car still standing. In other words, I am sexually gifted, a hero among gay men.

What my ad doesn’t tell you is that I have shaggy blond hair that’s great to grab while being fucked from behind, and sweet, innocent blue eyes that look very enticing when I gaze up with a cock in my mouth. See, hot right? My own cock is pretty average, nothing I haven’t seen a dozen times on a normal Chicago night. One thing to remember, though—I’m always safe. If you want to bareback, don’t bother calling, but if you want me for the weekend, it will cost you a shade over a grand.

Interested?

Bio:

JPBarnaby_authorImageAward winning romance novelist, J. P. Barnaby has penned over a dozen books including the Forbidden Room series, the Little Boy Lost series, and Aaron. As a bisexual woman, J.P. is a proud member of the GLBT community both online and in her small town on the outskirts of Chicago. A member of Mensa, she is described as brilliant but troubled, sweet but introverted, and talented but deviant. She spends her days writing software and her nights writing erotica, which is, of course, far more interesting. The spare time that she carves out between her career and her novels is spent reading about the concept of love, which, like some of her characters, she has never quite figured out for herself.

#JPStyle

Social Media Links:

Web site: http://www.JPBarnaby.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JPBarnaby

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JPBarnaby