Sitting Down with Curtis Comer
by Jenny Beatrice
How did you get your start a writer?
I’ve always liked story-telling. When I was a kid I would write stories, complete with illustrations, for my little brother’s Head Start class. I stopped writing for years, and decided instead to pursue a career as a graphic artist. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties, at the urging of a friend, that I started to write again. There’s something very cool about creating your own universe through writing and drawing your readers into that universe.
Tell us about your perspective and process?
I think that I write like most people talk, and I try to keep my writing honest, even if the subject matter is unpleasant and/or makes me look like a jerk. When I sit down to write a novel I always have to start with an outline. I might deviate from the outline in the end, but at least I have a clear picture of where I’m going.
What was your first publication?
Interestingly, my first published piece was written under a pseudonym. It was for the anthology Starf*cker and was written as lesbian erotica.
How about your subsequent publications?
My short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, including Ultimate Gay Erotica, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008; Best Gay Love Stories, 2005, 2006, 2007; Dorm Porn I and II; My First Time, Volume Five; Fast Balls, Cruise Lines, Treasure Trails, and Starf*cker. I wrote Midnight Whispers: The Blake Danzig Chronicles, just finished the sequel Ghost of a Chance, co-authored the novel Wonderland and write a column for the Vital Voice here in St. Louis.
Tell us about your upcoming book with Walrus, Out to Pasture.
The bulk of the stories in this book were originally published at the Vital Voice for my column (Not Quite) Out to Pasture. The idea for the column was that nobody writes about older LGBT people, and I thought that it would be fun to talk about aging from the perspective of a gay man. Taking these stories and turning them into a book seemed like a good idea and, since it’s a book, we were able to greatly expand upon the existing pieces, to give a little more to each story.
Are you a native St. Louisan?
No, I grew up in Riverton, Kansas, just across the border from Joplin. As soon as I was old enough to flee my hometown, I moved to San Francisco, where I lived for fifteen years before moving back here.
What do you love about living in St. Louis?
Believe it or not, I love the summers. I love our garden and my partner Tim and I practically live in our garden from May to November.
And your St. Louis pet peeve?
That it’s not closer to San Francisco. No, honestly, St. Louis is a great little city and I’ve met some wonderful people here.
What are some of your other interests and passions?
I’m a history buff and can tell you just about anything about the Second World War and, if you think that’s crazy, I’ve got a room at home decorated with Patsy Cline memorabilia.
What books are you currently reading?
I just finished “Wicked River,” by Lee Sandlin and am now reading “At Home: a Short History of Private Life” by Bill Bryson. Both are non-fiction but excellent reads.
Have any advice for writers looking to be published?
Be patient, don’t take rejection too personally but be persistent, too.
Look for Out to Pasture from Walrus Publishing this Winter.