Blake R. Wolfe (he/him) is an LGBTQ+ fantasy and romance author of over a dozen books. His work is known for its heartfelt characters, daring adventures, and commitment to preserving the magic and wonder that readers love. Blake resides in Muskegon, Michigan near the shores of the Great Lakes. He spends most of his time writing, usually while sitting on the beach, and cooking/gardening with his partners.
First of all, welcome to Geeks OUT! Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Of course! My name is Blake and I’m a fantasy/romance author. I’ve been writing for a couple of years at this point, although I’ve been dabbling for most of my life. Up until recently I almost exclusively wrote epic fantasy. However, in the past couple of months I’ve been diving into Shifter Romance and let me tell you, it’s been a wild ride!
What can you tell us about your newest story, Alpha’s Rejection? Most of your previous books have been fantasy, what made you change to paranormal romance?
I hate to admit this, but Alpha’s Rejection was a complete experiment and an “I don’t care” project. I’d been listening to some shifter romance on Audible and I thought to myself, I can do this. So I gave it a shot. You wouldn’t believe it, but I wrote 99% of the book in 15 days. It just flowed so easily that I could barely put it down. I fully intended it to be a one-off romance novel, have it flop, and never come back to it. But in less than two weeks, it’s become one of my most popular books I’ve ever written. I guess it’s true that good things happen when you’re having fun! Now I’m halfways into the next book in the series and have at least a handful more planned for this year.
Since Geeks OUT is a queer centered website, could you tell us a bit about the LGBTQ+ characters featured in your books?
All of my main characters, regardless of the series, are LGBTQ+. I try to make them as real as possible and convey some of the struggle of being LGBTQ+, but I also like to put them in worlds (especially in the fantasy stories) where being queer isn’t a taboo. Sometimes, in situations where people are required to produce an heir (like nobility or royalty) I can create some tension with the characters coming out and going “against the grain”, but usually I just want them to have problems outside of their sexuality. I want them to be first and foremost compelling characters, not just queer people struggling BECAUSE they are queer. I had to go through that growing up and I can’t bring myself to do it to my characters.
As a writer, what drew you to writing fiction/fantasy, especially that intended for LGBTQ+ audiences?
Pure and simple, I wanted to read about people like me growing up and I couldn’t. There were no queer characters in fantasy. It was always the knight in shining armor and his princess. Reading those books, I always saw myself as the hero, but when they got to the romance with the princess, I found myself losing interest. So, when I started writing, I decided I was going to write the kinds of stories I love, for a younger version of myself.
Were there any books that touched you or inspired you growing up?
Most of the books I read growing up were things like Animorphs, Deltora Quest, Jurassic Park, Eragon, and Harry Potter. However, I didn’t really get into the big name fantasy stuff until I was nearly thirty. That being said, movies played a HUGE role in my understanding of the fantasy genre. The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, Stardust, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Studio Ghibli, and a ridiculous amount of anime, not to mention almost every Final Fantasy game. All these pieces of media evoke a nostalgia that’s so deeply comforting and I try to bring that into my work while weaving in a bit more realism. I love dark and gritty stories, but at the same time, I know it can be overwhelming if it’s overdone, so I try to make sure there’s quite a bit of levity at the same time.
Where did you get your start in creative writing? What pulled you to fiction?
As a kid, I used to make up stories all the time and I loved to draw. When I learned that art got me more immediate attention (I was like seven), I leaned into drawing. But there were always little stories happening. During high school and college I would make an attempt, at least once a year, to write a novel and never really got anywhere. However, in 2019, after my divorce, I found myself too emotionally compromised to draw, so I began to write. And wouldn’t you know it, I finished something for the first time in my life. It was a horror novella composed of eleven short stories about a killer mermaid. I published it with a shrug in May of 2020, figuring it would never go anywhere. But people liked it, so I kept writing. Now, nearing on my third anniversary of being a published author, I have fifteen books written, over 1.3 million words under my belt, and more ideas that I could write in a lifetime. This has become the most euphoric and difficult (in a good way) creative experience of my life.
How would you describe your writing process? Are there any methods you use to help better your concentration or progress?
I am 100% a panster (a writer who flies by the seat of their pants). My method is similar to Stephen King’s, although I don’t claim to be anywhere near his level of competency. I come up with a “what if” scenario and then I go nuts. Usually I’ll develop a character, or a magic item, or a problem, and then I sit down and try to solve it. The great thing about this method is that since humans are genetically wired to tell stories, my brain takes care of most of the story beats without me realizing it. However, I do go back, once the draft is done, and clean it up, add foreshadowing, and make sure it flows. I write with a goal of 1500-2000 words per day and I write every single day. That usually means I’m done with a book in less than 60 days unless it’s super long.
As for concentration, I find being excited about the story really helps. If I’m bored while writing it, my readers will be bored, and that simple will not do. I also like to write at night while I’m tired. I close my eyes and leave my fingers on the keyboard, writing what I see in my mind. Sometimes I can bang out 1000 words in twenty minutes if I really get lost and I love that feeling. Definitely hitting that elusive “flow state” that people talk about.
What’s something you haven’t done as a writer that you’d like to do?
One of my biggest goals is to go full-time as an author. That is really the one BIG thing I’d like to accomplish. As for the actual creation of books, I want to write a big meandering epic fantasy, something like The Lord of the Rings, but more easily readable. I’m currently working on building a world for that project, but I don’t expect it to be finished anytime soon. I’m in it for the long haul.
What magic systems/worlds/characters draw your attention?
I love intuitive magic because frankly, it saves me a lot of time making up hard magic rules. Hard magic is great, it’s just too stifling for me when I’m trying to be creative. However, I see that as a challenge, so I’m actually trying to figure out a way to make it fun. As for worlds, the bigger and more high fantasy they are, the better. I adore giant magic crystals, floating islands, gods that meddle in the affairs of men, and mages that can grow so powerful that they control the fate of the entire world. Make it big and chaotic and I’m in.
When it comes to characters, I like them to be a little bit broken (I blame Disney for that) and I like them to be a little morally ambiguous. Fantasy worlds are nothing like our own and sometimes that means defending yourself (murderously) with a sword or magic. I think that makes them more real when faced with a problem. There’s an easy way out and there’s the hard/right way and sometimes, they make the wrong decision. It’s relatable, because there is not a single person on this planet who has not made the wrong decision in their life. We can watch these characters fall and then cheer them on as they rebuild themselves from the ashes. So, in reality, I tend to write a lot of phoenix characters.
Are there any projects you are currently working on and at liberty to speak about?
Absolutely! As mentioned, I’m working on Beta’s Bliss, the sequel to Alpha’s Rejection. It’s another shifter romance. After that, I’ll move onto Gamma’s Delight, probably the last in that series. However, that won’t be the end of werewolf romance for me. I’ve got another series idea brewing in the back of my mind.
My giant fantasy project is currently being worked on as well. Right now I know the premise and the name of the world, Eadronem. This will be a much larger epic fantasy, probably a trilogy with pretty thick books. I imagine it will take me a year or more to complete it with other projects going on.
I also have one book, that is incredibly stupid, coming out in March called The Quest for Cowmelot. It’s a fantasy satire/spoof about a cow that pulls Excalibur from the stone instead of Arthur. It makes fun of the entire fantasy genre, it is incredibly ridiculous, and I think I make fun of every major political/rich person figure in the world today. It’s another giant experiment, but I’ve laughed so much writing it that I think people will like it.
Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love to garden and I love to cook, I think those are my two big ones. My partners and I just bought a house in late 2022 and we finally have enough space for a big garden. I’ve got lots of little plants growing already for this season and I can’t wait to cook with those veggies! I actually bought a new wok recently and I’ve been only making Cantonese/Japanese food for the past two weeks, haha. I’m sure they’re getting tired of it, but I really do have a lot of fun learning all these cooking techniques and making some of the best food I’ve had in my life.
What’s a question you haven’t been asked yet, but wish you were asked (as well as the answer to that question)?
I think a lot of people focus on the creative aspect of being an author, which is awesome. It’s inspiring and it gives people more of a “story” to attach to that author. However, I’m surprised nobody ever talks about the business side of being an author. Being an indie, I have to not only be a good writer, but I have to know how to balance spreadsheets, run ads, hire narrators and cover designers, do taxes, and run marketing campaigns. I LOVE the business-y side of being an author, but I think it’s something a lot of people struggle with. It’s not often that people love math and writing at the same time, so some of those less “fun” skills have to be learned. I’m definitely privileged in the fact that I enjoy both and a successful marketing campaign feels just as good as publishing a successful book.
Finally, what LGBTQ books/authors would you recommend to the readers of Geeks OUT?
One of the best LGBTQ+ books out in the past year is definitely Perception Check by Astrid Knight. She is an incredible author and wordsmith. Her characters and worlds are so ALIVE, you can practically feel the book breathing in your hands. I have the greatest pleasure of working with her and Taiylor Wallace on novelizing one of our recent Dungeons and Dragons campaigns (The Obsidian Archive). It is incredible to work with them both and the stories we create together are so much richer because of that. We recently released book one in the series, The Wayward and the Wanderer, and it’s just amazing. I don’t usually claim one of my own books is good, but this one is GREAT because those two were part of the team!
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