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Interview: Dani Hermit and Nevi Star, Parliament of Twilight – 8/25/15

Parliament of Twilight

INTERVIEW HERE! The Interview With Dani and Nevi at 11 AM will take place on this pinned post. smile emoticon First hour – interview. Second hour – group discussion.

Dani and Nevi will talk with moderator Erica Pike about Yaoi and their own inspiration for their illustrated editions of Twilight of Parliament.

Smashwords & a special on Amazon have Twilight of Parliament Episode 1 for just $1.99 (regularly 5.99) to celebrate Graphic Novels Week. The coupon/special pricing will be valid from Monday 24th – Sat 29th.
Smashwords Code: BR26B
Amazon link: (US)

Erica Pike It’s time! I’d like to welcome Yaoi authors Dani Hermit and Nevi star smile emoticon We have a bunch of questions for you guys.

Erica Pike If someone out there has questions of their own, please PM me so we can keep thing organized wink emoticon

Dani Hermit smile emoticon We’re ready! (I think. LOL)

Nevi Grugan Awesome! happy to be here!

Erica Pike First off, what is Yaoi all about?

J. Scott Coatsworth Hey guys – so glad to see you here. smile emoticon

Nevi Grugan I think everyone who is a fan of yaoi has there own take on what it is. It’s a japanese term originally, and I like to think we keep to the original spirit of the word. For me, it’s what happens when a story
takes it further than the bromance we are so used to seeing in the U.S. It doesn’t tease us, these men fall in and out of love while having adventurous and sensuous lives.

Dani Hermit Well, the technical definition is that it’s a visual form M/M romance from Japan. There was a great post done earlier today on the group page with some awesome bits. For me personally, it’s an art form that depicts deep, loving connections between two people (who happen to be very pretty men.)

Erica Pike Do you mean that homophobia usually isn’t a factor?

Dani Hermit Homophobia CAN be a part of the story, but because fans of the genre know what they’re getting into, there are less stories about coming out, or dealing with the social stigma of being gay than in other forms of LGBT fiction.

Nevi Grugan I think it depends on the story. I’ve seen it a part of a yaoi story and I’ve seen it not.

Erica Pike Does it have specific constraints and expectations that other graphic novel categories don’t?

Nevi Grugan I would say yes. People expect a certain amount of more adult content than say shounen-ai.

Dani Hermit Definitely, at least in my opinion. The art in Yaoi titles tends to be more soft, a lot prettier, than in most other graphic novels. Since it’s generally meant to appeal to women, the characters are leaner, softer, prettier than most men in other graphic novels, even other Japanese manga.

Dani Hermit And the emotions of the characters are practically characters themselves. The men in Yaoi titles are generally WAY more in touch with how they feel than almost any other genre I’ve seen.

Erica Pike How would you say realism plays part in Yaoi as opposed to gay romances? Are people more willing to suspend belief in Yaoi?

Dani Hermit Oh, definitely. Realism goes right out the window when you get into Yaoi. It’s part of the fantasy and part of the fun of the genre. No one is reading a Yaoi to get tips on how to lube up before butt-sex or to get an accurate portrayal of how a mob runs. We’re here for the over the top, crazy love stories and (hopefully) some equally over the top sexing.

Nevi Grugan I know I am. I like the fantasy aspect of it. I like to think our characters are a good mix of supernatural traits and complex human emotions. The realism in my writing comes from being a bit shameless about the beauty and the flaws of these men. This is how real people are. They love and they triumph and they’re cruel and they try to destroy each other and all things in between. That’s real to me.

Erica Pike I remember speaking with a gay man once about M/M romances and he said he didn’t feel they were realistic enough. I told him that he’d better stay away from Yaoi then, but he said that he knew what he was getting into there, so he didn’t mind that, hehe.

Nevi Grugan lol

Erica Pike You write graphic illustrated Yaoi novels, right? Are they common in the USA?

Dani Hermit LOL. I think that as a general rule, the M/M romance genre is practically the Western form of Yaoi (just without the pictures.)

Nevi Grugan For me, Yaoi is also a genre where we can explore gay characters who have bigger problems and more to them then just being gay IF we want. like how cool would it have been if Harry Potter had been gay BUT it didn’t matter in the wizarding world. I love the M/M stuff too.

Dani Hermit The Parliament of Twilight books are Yaoi-inspired, and are illustrated with some really great black and white images of our characters. Nevi does all the art for the books. And common in the US? Not that I’ve seen.

Nevi Grugan I wouldn’t say common. They are still kinda hard to find in bookstores(RIP Borders). But if you know wher to look online you canget some great titles.

Erica Pike What were some of the graphic novels that inspired you?

Dani Hermit I know there are some really great titles imported from Japan and I’ve seen a few awesome English language comics that I might categorize as Yaoi.

Nevi Grugan That’s a pretty wide gamut. Saiyuki, GetBackers, Yugioh, and Yami No Matsuei all inspired some epic fanfics and fanart. I also wrote a good amount of X-men and Hellblazer fanfic when I was first getting into writing it. I sort of found the yaoi after I was already writing it. It’s not just graphic novels though, I love Stephen King and older classic literature like Frankenstein, that’s where the horror flavor creeps in I think. And I love TV, my very first slash fanfic was Sam and Al from Quantum Leap, I was like 15 and it was 12 notebooks long(lol)

Erica Pike Sam and Al! That brings back memories ^.^

Dani Hermit When I first discovered Yaoi, I was obsessed with FAKE and Gravitation. But I think those are the gateway titles for most fans. But growing up, I was crazy about comic books. I got into X-men and Batman (mostly Catwoman, if I’m being honest) and a whole host of odd, small press titles. And Dawn. I am still in love with Dawn to this day. That’s part of what shaped how I write. The melodrama and the intensity of superhero comics was amazing to me! And the ability to tackle very real social issues while wearing spandex and fighting aliens blew me away.

Nevi Grugan Now as far as my faves in the Yaoi genre..Finder, In These Words, UtaBoku, Ensnared, Yellow…and so on and so on

Erica Pike So back to your books, tell us about Parliament of Twilight – what’s it about? How did you come up with it?

Nevi Grugan Yeah it was quite the story..wish I still had it just to see how far I’ve come. Loved Quantum Leap. Still do. Love Scott Bakula.

Nevi Grugan It has an evolving history. We wrote a small fanfic about the Saiyuki guys reincarnated into modern times stopping at a Cracker Barrell on a road tip. This turned into Joyride, an entirely originally story
based on the idea of these new characters being popular and washed up celebrities on like a Road Rules like reality show. Then we decided to do NaNoWriMo after watching the first episode of Ghost Adventures, and came up with our forty year old frat boy like Jacob Kreutz. When we realized the elements in these stories were leading to a bigger narrative, it blossomed into the form you see today-The Parliament of Twilight

Dani Hermit Oh, man. The Parliament of Twilight sort of snuck up on us. It started with an innocent, random crack fic about the guys from Saiyuki WAAAAY back in 2002 or 2003. It’s about 4 pages long and will never see the light of day.

Dani Hermit It’s been a work in progress since 2009 when Jacob Kruez was born. The basis is that there is a secret organization (The Parliament of Twilight) who monitor the balance of the world and keep the normal people safe from the things that go bump in the night.

Nevi Grugan Now it’s this amazing soap-opera esque paranormal adventure story with all these different partners and romances and intrigue..sort of if you put True Blood, Queer As Folk, and Supernatural in a blender and delivered on the bromance.

Erica Pike Are your Parliament of Twilight books traditional Yaoi graphic novels?

Nevi Grugan The illustrated editions are I think. I looked at Only The Ring Finger and Ai No Kusabi and took my cue for number of pics and such from ones like that.

Dani Hermit We wouldn’t say that they are “traditional” but they do pay homage to the illustrated yaoi novels from Japan. The format is similar, with 10 to 12 images per books. We do publish a “regular” edition without the illustrations, for the people who aren’t Yaoi fans, but the original intention with the books was to highlight the visual images of the characters, which have been a huge part of the process of bringing the Parliament books to life.

Erica Pike And Nevi does all the illustrations?

Dani Hermit Yes. She’s a genius when it comes to the artwork. She does the covers as well as the inside illustrations.

Nevi Grugan I do. I’ve started coloring them all and then turning them black and white so it takes a bit longer but I love the dreaminess of the result of taking the extra time.

Erica Pike Do you do them by hand, or on screen?

Nevi Grugan Dani also does great graphic design covers for the non-illustarted ones which come out faster.

Nevi Grugan I draw them by hand, scan them in and paint them in Paint Tool Sai.

Erica Pike Some say Yaoi has already had its day – what’s your take?

Dani Hermit Like everything else, it has peaks and valleys. But I don’t think it’s done yet. It might be a cult thing for a while, but then something will hit that bring it back into popularity. It’s gone through that same cycle a couple times now.

Nevi Grugan i think these things come in cycles. Actually I believe we are still 5-10 years from Yaoi’s day, imagine when M/M becomes mainstream. I believe those who have come before us and well, us too, are all part of the first phase. We will have our 50 Shades moment when someone breaks out and then BAM! Yaoi will be huge!

Erica Pike Yeah, I can never get too much Yaoi, hehe.

Dani Hermit No such thing as too much. smile emoticon

Nevi Grugan My wallet certainly can’

Erica Pike Okay, we’re wrapping things up so people can ask their own questions. If no one has any questions then we’ll dive right into discussions. Before we leave, is there anything else you’d like to share?

Nevi Grugan I want to thank you all for this opportunity and say this career is a lot of fun and a lot of work and if any of YOU out there want to go from fanfic to original. Do it! Go for it! The world can never have enough yaoi!

Dani Hermit I’ll let Nevi be all motivational and philosophical. She’s great at that. I’m going to be a little more mercenary! LOL. I just want to remind people that the first book of the illustrated editions, Parliament of Twilight Episode 1, is on sale this week in eBook form for $1.99 on Amazon & Smashwords. (See the actual post for links and the Smashwords coupon). But if you want to see the illustrations in their full glory, get the paperback! It’s on sale this week on for $8.99!…/paperback/product-21795590.html

Nevi Grugan oh right I am supposed to try to sell books too, i just got all excited….

Erica Pike Hehe

Erica Pike Nice! Thank you. And for those curious, here’s the cover art and blurb:

What do a Tv ghost hunter, a fading Broadway icon, a Ceo and his son, a bored assassin, and a whole host of other delightfully damaged and deranged characters have in common? The Parliament of Twilight binds them all from the shadows. The men of this deliciously Yaoi-inspired world fall in and out of love nearly as much as they fall in and out of danger. Steered from the shadows by the mysterious Parliament of Twilight, they must navigate nefarious plots, romantic entanglements, and mortal peril – everything from being attacked by monsters in the highlands of India to altercations with ex-lovers in liquor stores. Includes seven brand new pieces of black & white art by Nevi Star!
Erica Pike’s photo.

Dani Hermit OR if you’d like an autographed copy straight from the authors, PM me and we’ll hook you up at a completely reasonable price.

Erica Pike Could you provide a link to your website?

Dani Hermit
Hermit & Star Books
Steamy, boundary-pushing Characters and Stories

Nevi Grugan We also have some pretty prints on our etsy. there look i sold things(grins proudly)

Dani Hermit There are links on the website where you can buy all of our books, find our etsy shop with some of Nevi’s prints and creep on me blogging about random stuff.

Erica Pike Link? ^.^

Erica Pike Ah, okay

Erica Pike That’s about it from me. Thank you so much for being here. If anyone has questions, now would be the time. If not, it’s back to discussions grin emoticon

Dani Hermit smile emoticon we had an awesome time. Thanks for having us.

Nevi Grugan This was really cool. Thanks Erica.

J. Scott Coatsworth Just got out of my Italian class – how did it go?

Dani Hermit Good, thanks! smile emoticon We had fun

J. Scott Coatsworth Yay! So glad to have you guys on. Mind if I archive this chat on the blog?

Dani Hermit sure, that’s fine. I was thinking about doing that for our blog too.

J. Scott Coatsworth Please do!

J. Scott Coatsworth How long have you guys been writing together?

Dani Hermit Since before we were together. Practically since we met back in 1997 or 98.

Nevi Grugan Actually we’ve been together for 16 years but writing was one of the things that helped us realize our feelings for each other so uh 18 or 19 years.

Dani Hermit We actually fell in love through writing a set of characters who were in love. heart emoticon

Nevi Grugan Though it took them FOREVER to realize it too, lol.

J. Scott Coatsworth Wow, I didn’t realize you were a couple too. smile emoticon

J. Scott Coatsworth That’s so great that you write together.

J. Scott Coatsworth Do you ever want to kill each other over writing?

Dani Hermit Writing together has been our “date night” thing pretty much the entire time we’ve been together. It’s pretty awesome.

J. Scott Coatsworth *grin*

J. Scott Coatsworth Very nice. smile emoticon

Dani Hermit Kill each other…. well…. LOL there have been some disagreements and we’ve had fits and starts, but we work it out.

Nevi Grugan Yes, we actually met at a party. I didn’t consider myself into girls at all back then but I was just drawn to her. It took a while for me to come to terms with loving a girl but you love who you love. We were together ten years ? right Dani before we remembered we were those people at that party..

J. Scott Coatsworth How many books are you planning in the series?

J. Scott Coatsworth That’s funny and sweet.

J. Scott Coatsworth I agree. I was the same with boys.

Nevi Grugan A whole lot. We have material ready for up to like twenty maybe more like forty.

Dani Hermit how many books? Oh, dear… We aren’t really sure. It’s written sort of like a TV series, and while we have a main plot that we’re working on, there are quite a few subplots that are going to build up the suspense. This is something we’re in for the long haul.

Nevi Grugan We get along great until say I blow a hole through her greatly plotted pryamid of doom or something. There’s a lot of pen-throwing.

J. Scott Coatsworth Nice. And all self published? We should have you in again for DIY week in October.

J. Scott Coatsworth Nevi: LOL

Nevi Grugan October, hmm we might have Episode Four ready by then too..

Dani Hermit So far, yes. We’re entirely self-published. But when we started looking into publishing houses, we figured out quick that we broke A LOT of the rules they set down. It became a checklist of “don’t do this” that we did! Incest? check! Shifter sex in beast form? check! Dub-con/non-con? Check! Violence, gore, horror in the bedroom? check!

J. Scott Coatsworth It is the last week of the month.

J. Scott Coatsworth LOL… are any of those things unusual for Yaoi in general?

Dani Hermit There are a few that might allow our scandalous content in now, but we’ve gotten used to doing it our way. It works for us.

Nevi Grugan Yeah, we aren’t for the sqeamish. but there’s a lot of love and loyalty and emotion and discovering your own beauty these characters go through too. Besides Game of Thrones is huge and it has most of those.

Dani Hermit Well, the beast form sex is something I’ve not seen, but incest (particularly cousins or twins) and dub-con/non-con are pretty common themes.

Nevi Grugan well maybe not shifter sex…that’s only in GOT fanfic…lol

J. Scott Coatsworth Why did you decide to do yaoi in written form as opposed to a full-on graphic novel?

J. Scott Coatsworth LOL

Dani Hermit We actually started out doing the former incarnation of the PoT books as graphic novels. It didn’t work out.

Dani Hermit When I saw the Ai no Kusabi and Only the Ring Finger Knows illustrated yaoi novels, I knew that was what we should be doing.

J. Scott Coatsworth I want to buy the series – you did say the first one is on sale, right?

Nevi Grugan Because I’m lazy. NO NO, just kidding. I, as the artist, realized, I couldn’t commit to a full-on because I have a lot of other projects I like to work on and it would be life consuming for me. It was a hard thing to accept about myself actually. Also I’d want to color every page that takes time.

J. Scott Coatsworth I’d imagine!

Nevi Grugan I’m working on a book about carousel ponies and the apocalyspe, I do fairy art, and I am designing tarot decks, plus we have like five other titles we want to get to.

Dani Hermit Yep. the first illustrated volume is on sale on Amazon & Smashwords for $1.99 this week. And the paperback is only $8.99 on Lulu.

Episode 2 just came out in eBook. The paperback of 2 will be live any time now on and in a few weeks on Amazon. I prefer the paperbacks, myself. They really capture the images in a way that I don’t think the eBooks quite manage. But I also prefer to read all my comics and yaoi graphic novels in paperback. I’m old school like that.

J. Scott Coatsworth How much is #2 ebook version?

Nevi Grugan I just saw the Episode 2 proof today. I love how the new pictures came out smile emoticon

Dani Hermit Ep 2 is $5.99 regularly everywhere. We have it up on Amazon, Smashwords, ARe, Barnes & Noble, and probably a couple other places!

J. Scott Coatsworth OK, I’ll pick up both when I get home. smile emoticon

Nevi Grugan smile emoticon

J. Scott Coatsworth Gotta run – meeting friends for lunch. Thanks so much for joining us!

Nevi Grugan Thank you so much. Hope to be doing stuff like this for a long time.

Dani Hermit Thanks!

J. Scott Coatsworth I’ll talk to you guys later about DIY week. xxoo

Dani Hermit sure. smile emoticon

Erica Pike Sorry, had to run right after the interview. We got a question from Lee Winterbourne: What comes first: Your visual representation of the characters as art, or the physical description in the books? In other words, do you draw first, then write, or the other way around?

(Feel free to ask questions here now that the interview is over smile emoticon The PM’s was only so there wouldn’t be too many questions going on at once).

Dani Hermit Well, I think that it works both ways. Sometimes, Nevi draws the character before they appear in the story. And sometimes they just show up and she does a picture later. I don’t know if I can say if its more often one or the other, but the images are very important to the process. They are just as much a part of fleshing out the characters as the words.

Lee Winterbourne I, myself often have a hard time writing without being able to envision the character in my head.

Nevi Grugan Or sometimes they come out of nowhere, there’s this new character in three or it might be four that I swear appeared because he was just too damn pretty not to draw.

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