Friday Interview - Lisabet Sarai

Three Questions and a Kiss
By Lisabet Sarai

Greetings, everyone!

I'm delighted to be here at R.J.'s today. She asked me do a mini-interview – picking three questions from a larger set – and then to provide a blurb and excerpt. I'm only too happy to oblige!

RJ: Where do you get your ideas for sex scenes? Porn? LGBT friends? Personal experience?

I know it will sound weird, but even when I'm writing M/M sex, I draw on my personal experiences. Arousal begins in the mind, and I believe that  regardless of gender or orientation humans have some commonalities in terms of their reactions to sexual stimuli. I know how it feels to want someone. I've experienced all the attendant emotional complexities: fear, embarrassment, guilt, and of course love. The physical actions in a sexual encounter flow from imagination and emotion; when I start there, writing the outward manifestations is pretty straightforward.

Another answer to this question is that the ideas really aren't mine – they belong to my characters. Especially in writing M/M, I find that the characters tell me what they want to do – and sometimes surprise me. For example, a guy who has, up to that point, mostly been the sexual aggressor in a relationship will indicate that he wants to be penetrated. I know better than to argue!

RJ: What do YOU like to read? How do you find satisfying reading stuff, when you have whole worlds in your head? Do you read completely different genres, or do you read m/m? And can you even do that without thinking at some point that you could do better?

I read almost every genre – science fiction, fantasy, mystery, humor, historical, “literary” fiction, and some non-fiction – in addition to erotica and erotic romance. Recently I've completed Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles (literary fiction); The Women by T.C. Boyle (historical fiction); Minority Affairs by Scottie Lowe (erotica); and a French spy thriller called Arnaque a Brunei, by GĂ©rard de Villiers (with a lot of help from my French dictionary LOL!).  I'm currently in the middle of Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen (humorous fiction) and Elemental Fire by K.D. Grace (paranormal erotica). Next on my TBR pile is The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage (non-fiction).

I tend to discover great books by accident, picking them up in used book stores or at library sales. Two recent finds were The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (dark fantasy) and The Windup Girl by Paulo Bacigalupi (science fiction). When I'm in the middle of a fabulous read, I'm typically very emotionally involved. I talk about the book to every one I know. I may even dream about the characters or the setting.

In terms of M/M fiction, I'm actually more likely to read gay erotica than gay romance. This is partly from a desire to keep my own work fresh and different. I don't want to be overly influenced by the conventions of the genre.

RJ: Do you ever compare yourself to other authors and feel like you're lacking and if so how do you overcome that feeling of being not good enough?

Don't we all? I'm particularly depressed, sometimes, by my low level of productivity compared to my peers. (Like you, for instance!) I don't write full time, or even every day – my life doesn't allow that luxury – so I'm lucky to put out two or three new books per year.

When I start feeling down about this, I remind myself that publishing is a pleasure for me, not a duty. I don't make my living off my writing, and so every book I can bring into the world is in some sense a gift. Furthermore, although I don't produce many books or stories, my rejection rate is quite low.

I also combat feelings of inadequacy by reaching out to new authors. They have so many more insecurities than I do! And, given my fourteen years of experience in publishing, sometimes I can be of concrete assistance.


With the questions out of the way, we can get down to the good stuff! Here's the blurb and a romantic but sexy excerpt from my most recent M/M title, a dystopic science fiction novel entitled Quarantine.

When love is forbidden, the whole world's a prison.

Dylan Moore will do anything for freedom. Seven years ago, a gay plague spread to heterosexuals, killing millions and sparking brutal anti-gay riots. The Guardians rounded up men who tested positive for the homogene and imprisoned them in remote quarantine centers like desolate Camp Malheur. Since then, Dylan has hacked the camp's security systems and hoarded spare bits of electronics, seeking some way to escape. He has concluded the human guards are the only weakness in the facility's defenses.

Camp guard Rafe Cowell is H-negative. He figures the lust he feels watching prisoner 3218 masturbate on the surveillance cameras must be due to his loneliness and isolation. When he finally meets the young queer, he discovers that Dylan is brilliant, brave, sexy as hell – and claims to be in love with
Rafe.  Despite his qualms, Rafe finds he can't resist the other man's charm. By the time Dylan asks for his help in escaping, Rafe cares too much for Dylan to refuse.

Dylan's plan goes awry and Rafe comes to his rescue. Soon they're both fugitives, fleeing from militant survivalists, murderous androids, homophobic ideologues and a powerful man who wants Dylan as his sexual toy. Hiding in the Plague-ravaged city of Sanfran, Dylan and Rafe learn there's far more than
their own safety at stake. Can they help prevent the deaths of millions more people? And can Rafe trust the love of a man who deliberately seduced him in order to escape from quarantine?

Link to Trailer:
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(Also available from Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks, and other online outlets.)



Rafe had already been snoring when Dylan came upstairs, his head pounding, numbers and symbols dancing in his brain. The black man’s features were twisted into a scowl. Even in sleep, his fists clenched. Dylan had brushed his lips across his lover’s brow and stroked the incipient beard. Rafe didn’t wake, but his tense features relaxed somewhat and he breathed more deeply. Although Dylan’s body had cried out for comfort, he didn’t want to be selfish.

Poor guy has endured a lot for my sake. Dylan shook his head. The camp had accustomed him to the constant fight for survival. He’d realised long ago that carrying the homogene marked him for an early death, one way or another, and that his intellect was his only defence. Rafe, though… Sure, he’d been in a gang, but there was something innocent and vulnerable about the man nevertheless. He wasn’t used to being hunted the way Dylan was.

A Guardian armoured vehicle rumbled past, sweeping its spotlight across the battered facades on either side of the street. Dylan pulled back, away from the window, though with the room unlit it was unlikely they could detect his presence.

Will we ever have a peaceful time together, without this constant fear? Dylan recalled his months with Miguel before the Plague hit, the glorious freedom to finally be himself, the joy they’d found in each other’s arms. It seemed like a long-ago dream now—one that belonged to someone else. Would he and Rafe ever experience anything like that?

“Dylan, baby?” Rafe’s groggy voice pulled him back to the present. “I missed you.”

Dylan turned his back on the window. “I didn’t want to wake you. It was after midnight by the time we finished.”

He hoisted himself onto the tall four-poster and pressed his body against Rafe. His lover still wore an undershirt and briefs. Dylan slid his hands under the shirt, across Rafe’s warm, smooth belly to the furry swell of his pecs. When he flicked the nipples with his thumbs, Rafe moaned.

 “I missed you too,” Dylan added, pushing up the fabric so he could duck down to purse his lips around one of the tight little nubs.

“Oh…oh, fuck, that’s good!” Rafe reached around to grip Dylan’s butt. He rubbed his stiffening cock against Dylan’s stomach. “C’mere, boy.” He hauled Dylan up until they were face to face, then seized him by the back of the head and mashed their lips together.

Dylan opened to Rafe’s probing tongue, letting the other man take the lead. Rafe was like a starving man presented with a feast. He devoured Dylan’s mouth with a ferocity that sent stabs of pleasure straight to Dylan’s groin. A taste of copper mingled with the mint of Rafe’s toothpaste as the ex-guard’s teeth tore into Dylan’s lip. Lust crashed like lightning through Dylan’s body.

“Oh, God…” he breathed into the hot mouth sealed to his. “Oh, Rafe…”

He clutched at the stretchy material of Rafe’s shorts, seeking the hard flesh underneath. The briefs clung to Rafe’s ass, defeating Dylan’s attempts to remove or push them aside. Rafe dragged him closer, grinding Dylan’s cock against his own clothing-sheathed erection. Dylan groaned in frustration.

“Get these damn things off,” he gasped, breaking the kiss. “Please—I need to feel your skin on mine.”


My warmest thanks to RJ for having me as her guest. And thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read my post. To reward you, I'm giving away an autographed print copy of Quarantine to one lucky person who leaves a comment on this post.  Please be sure to include your email in the body of your comment!

~ Lisabet

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  1. Those are some tough questions RJ and thought-felt answers Lisabet.

    I am one of those lucky new authors that Lisabet has reached out to and I am grateful for every tip of advice, every encouraging remark and every lesson that Lisabet has shared with me. You may not be able to put out as many books as full time authors, Lisabet, but your work is quality. Much love and thanks to you for everything you have done for me
    H K

  2. Thanks so much, H-K! You're a sweetheart!

  3. That was a great interview Lisabet. Quarantine sounds a fabulous read. I agree with HK Carlton. The writing is quality! And the novels you've been reading sound fascinating, too. Two to three books a year is good going, but hope you find time to write many more

    1. Hi, Helena,

      Thanks for your support. I've realized that beating myself up about not publishing enough just isn't worthwhile. Better to spend the energy writing, if I can.

  4. Enjoyed the interview I like learning things about the writer. The blurb was super delicious. Thank you for coming to Rj town and sitting down having some joe and talking dirty to us. lol


    1. Thanks, Cinders,

      You can learn lots more about me at my website (hint, hint!)

      This has definitely been a fun guest gig.

  5. Thanks so much for the interview - you're answers were interesting and enlightening!

    "Quarantine" is already on my Wish List just waiting until my budget allows another book binge! :)


    1. Hi, Maya,

      Thank you for commenting. Who knows, you might win a copy! (And actually I do a lot of giveaways, including gift certificates. Please sign up for my mailing list if you want to be notified of them all.)

  6. I enjoyed learning more about Lisabet and SF m/m is just about my favorite subgenre! I would love to win this one.

    1. Well then, good luck to you, Susan!

      Thanks for dropping by!

  7. Working full time and writing is nothing to sneeze at. (At which to sneeze?) Anyway, I love science fiction, and Quarantine sounds like a winner.
    brendurbanist @ gmail . Com

    1. Thank you so much, Brenda. To be fair, though, I know women who work full time, have kids, and STILL put out more books than I do.

      But hey, this isn't a competition.

      Good luck in the drawing.

  8. I've been eyeing this one for a while--great interview!

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

  9. I would rather have an author put out just a couple books a year with the quality that you do, then read some of the mass produced dribble that some authors call books or short stories, or say the same thing over and over ad nasium.
    j-coverholser at sbcglobal dot net

    1. Carolyn, you have no idea how much your words mean to me. Thank you.

  10. Very interesting questions and answers, thank you for the lovely post.

    felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

    1. Hi, Ilona,

      Thank YOU for dropping by and taking the time to read.

  11. Great questions and intriguing answers. Thanks so much.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

    1. Hi, Debby!

      RJ should get the credit for the questions (which I agree were really excellent).

      Thanks for dropping by!

  12. What a smashing interview. Thank you. And how refreshing that you offer help to new authors. Whenever I sit down at my keyboard, the Insecurious Rex stomps all over my words. I would love it if you would consider giving me your input and wisdom. I elected to self-publish because several M.M publishers said my novel does not fit the formula. As much as I want to tell myself at least the book is out there, that old dinosaur still roars failure at the back of my head. Still, as you say, my characters demanded their story be told and took over. Now, a second set of characters want their story told in the same sci-fi setting. However, the Insecurious Rex laid and egg and now his baby is nibbling at my keyboard. I hope you would consider lending me some of your wisdom and creative input.
    Love the blurb from "Quarantine" and can't wait to read it. Will buy if I don't win.
    B.D. Heywood,

    1. Hello, B.D.,

      Ah, the old "doesn't fit the formula" rubric! You should take that as a compliment. These days there's so much cookie cutter fiction, you should be proud to have created something unique.

      Thanks for your comments.

  13. Hi Lisabet

    You're productivity might be down in comparison to others (not me though!) , but I have to agree with HK on this one - it's quality instead of quantity. And yes, you're one of the most generous and supportive authors around. Oh, and Dylan and Rafe are two of my favourites!

    1. Sending you a big hug, Maggie!

      And glad to welcome you over at Beyond Romance today!

  14. Thank you for the interview and the opportunity to win.


    1. Thank YOU, Karl!

      Always great to have a guy stopping by!

  15. Loved the interview! This book sounds really good - please count me in.

    susanmik AT gmail DOT com

    1. Hello, Susan,

      I appreciate your taking the time to comment. Good luck!

  16. Great interview. I loved your answers to some really great questions. If your quality of writing is always like the excerpt then two or three books a year is great. Many of the authors I read churn one out a year and Coughgameclearsthroatofcoughthrones up to five years. You are doing great. Happy Writing.

    1. Hello, Solaris,

      You don't happen to write science fiction yourself, do you? Great name.

      Thanks for your support.

  17. Hi, everyone,

    Just want to let you know I'm keeping the giveaway open through Sunday. I'll draw a winner Sunday night.

  18. WOW! Your book sounds great it is definitely going on my must buy list. Loved the interview and I'm looking forward to future releases from you.
    Thank you.

  19. I've been waiting to read Quarantine, count me in!


  20. Hello again!

    Well, I've drawn the winner - it's Trix! I will be contacting you by email to get your snail mail address.

    Thanks once more to all of you who read and commented. If you're not already on my mailing list, I'd love to add you (surprised??). Just email me at lisabet --- at ---

    And my warmest thanks to R.J. for having me as her guest. I've had a great time.