The BL Xpress had the opportunity to interview popular Gay Romance Meraki P. Lyhne.
Meraki P. Lyhne/Dark is a Danish author spanning multiple genres and pseudonyms. Meraki P. Lyhne spans the genres from plot heavy and character dense stories like “Chronicles of an Earned” to space opera thriller with a sexy twist like “Ore 5” to the highly erotic series “The Cubi”. Under Meraki P. Dark, he delves into the darker side of the paranormal, and he doesn’t hold punches. Join us as we strike a conversation with the popular author and dig deeper into information pertaining to his works!
1) Your novels have a central character that seem weak but have an innate strength and uncanny abilities. It could be Daniel from Cubi Series, Kaleb from Chronicles of an Earned Series and Ethan from Ore 5 Series. How did you visualize these characters?
I let them tell their story, and I pick something that could be cool to be awesome at. I enjoy the “coming of age” feel of growing into powers/knowledge, whatever. I’m a total pantser, so the characters usually reveal that to me when I do the “interview” chapters. I cold write them to get to know them.
2) “The Cubi Series” is one of your most popular book series. How did you envision this world of incubus and succubus?
Worldbuilding is my greatest joy. I love the puzzle. I treat the worldbuilding as a character when developing it, and I spend many many hours researching to be able to dig into aspects that are historically, culturally, psychologically relevant. I’m a geek! I then focus on making sure all that factual stuff doesn’t get boring to non-geeks by letting the worldbuilding be divulged by characters.
For The Cubi, I wanted a playground for hotness, yet it’s also politically relevant. I even understand some of the low-star reviews are because people looked for the hotness and not me using those scenes to help further debates and nuances to gender, racial, and international politics. But I like when art can be relevant for more than entertainment, yet that’s definitely important, too!
3) Daniel is certainly one of my favorite characters in a gay romance novel. Starting from an untouchable to becoming the King, his journey wasn’t easy. Talk to us about this invariable universe that you have crafted?
It’s classified as a urban paranormal fantasy, but I kinda guess it’s more contemporary sci fi as the Cubi people are a genetic mutation. Daniel’s rise is genetic, and his abilities growth as a Royal is genetic. The mind and cultural upbringing (conditioning) is a different aspect, though, and my focus during worldbuilding was to have the two clash to point out that our biology and social conditioning can be at odds with each other even if our biology isn’t confused. I pay a lot of attention to sexuality as an unwavering instinctual norm in this one. In the follow-up series The Vargr (wolf shifters) it’ll be another unwavering human instinct in focus, contrasting them against carnivorous and pack instincts. And they’ll always clash with cultural (typically religiously based) norms. I try to bring nuance by making what we all know clash.
4) Apart from Daniel, Seldon and Caledon are also my favorites. These three have an inflammable chemistry. What did you have in mind when you created this pairing?
I didn’t. I’m a pantser. Muses show up, and I take down the incident reports. I think it’s a subconscious spill, though, meaning I get to reflect on what my unconscious mind wants me to reflect on. Looking back, Daniel represents the incentive to grow, Seldon represents cognitive dissonance that needs the incentive to shift a mindset from old to new, and Caledon represents the need for knowledge and nuance in such a shift. All three are needed for a person grow.
5) Talk to us about the latest addition in this series “City of Beauty: The Rise of an Incubus King”. How will chart Daniel’s journey henceforth?
In this story—the final in the series—Daniel’s main purpose to rise has met its fulfilment in the Cubi. But he is change. He’s the incentive that pokes at the status quo. He’ll do that in books that furthers this world. More on that later, though, when The Vargr begins in May.
6) “Chronicles of an Earned Series” is your unusual take on the world of demigods. What is so special about Alex Rhoden and Kaleb, that you wanted to share their life stories?
Kaleb is, like Daniel in the Cubi, an incentive and someone to poke the status quo, but his birth as a half-breed and the forbitten unity between different kinds of powers sets up the dynamics between extremes. Alex is like Caledon, the knowledge that leads to nuances needed to overcome the cognitive dissonance when met by the new and strange. Seldon’s lack of ability to go with the flow is also represented in this series yet less personified as the worldbuilding here is greater than in the Cubi.
Also, I wanted to introduce readers to mystic thinking and the occult (nothing to do with the Christian Devil!) I researched for 8 years before I wrote the first book, and the worldbuilding is based on a lot of lore and history with a twist. One mistranslation in an old tablet from Messopotamia and the demigod race can be real. I like playing with details like that.
7) In the “Ore 5 Series”, you have built this alternate universe, where two complete opposites Ethan and Ryder meet during indescribable circumstances and fall in love. How did this space opera thriller materialize?
I wanted to write something sweet and beautiful, and dancing had haunted me for a while as something to be explored. I wanted to see insecurity rise, and I wanted to look behind the façade of success. To price of it, even. I wanted to humanize both ends of the spectrum that Ethan and Ryder are. And then I wanted to tell a kick-ass action story. Again, there’s the incentive to grow, but this time from within. That’s why I made the world already allowing for their transformation where they wouldn’t have to fight recognition of their love in eyes other than their own.
8) We would love to know about your publishing house, Taboo BooxXx?
Again, extremes of good OR bad. When writing, I always make dualistic extremes clash. To bring nuance. Taboo BooxXx are DARK! The purpose of this publishing house is to offer books that focus on nuances that lie way beyond the average. For instance, our first series lets a victim of rape get revenge, but how not to lose oneself in the pain performed in retribution?
We’re banned by Amazon and others because they want to focus on the average cognitive dissonance, ignoring the fact that rape and violence is such a huge part of human instincts and experiences. It robs the world of the ability to see the nuances we fight against. Sure, Amazon makes friends with everybody, offering up the fake but pleasant smiles and stories. But a lot of people aren’t represented in art that can offer them insight (which I think is the whole purpose of art), and we focus on that.
The truth and depths of human experience isn’t always pretty, but it’s still relevant and necessary for the full spectrum of insight and cause for incentive to grow—especially for victims. We offer that along with “an arm’s length” to the topics—at least through the few channels not afraid of all oh humanity, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and only Smashwords allows that.
Our mainstream publishing house is MarLau Publishing.
9) What is your opinion about the current status of LGBTQ representation in Gay novels? Do you feel that the MM Romance genre is adequately representing them?
No. MM Romance has a focus on romance. But there’s more to LGBTQ than romance. I’m an own voice author, and I write mainstream stuff, too. (Mainstream in this instance meaning “no romance” and not just “het-romance”). In my mainstream stuff, my characters are both het and gay and all over the place. That’s where LGBTQ representation becomes valuable. When being LGBTQ is just normal. But there’s nothing wrong with the romance genre, be it cis or LGBTQ. Romance is a part of life, and the genre focuses on that. But everyday life without a focus on romance is normal (mainstream). The latter is where I think LGBTQ representation needs to be focused on. Not our romance, just our lives as average normal people, be we detectives, nurses, PIs, spies, space explorers, sailors, globe trotters, the neighbor called into action when our neighborhood needs us to show we give a damn. All those roles can be filled no matter what gender (or skin color, just to point out another nuance) lies in our arms at night.
10) Would you like to share details about your upcoming book releases?
My upcoming release is the first in a new series called The Vargr. Again, I play with the nuances of instincts, this time building the world on lore from Norse Mythology and the wolves that accompanied the gods of old. It’s set in Denmark where I’m from, and it takes place in the area I grew up in. Compared to the Cubi, there’s almost no sex in this one. There’s more violence, though. Like Daniel is the incentive in the Cubi, Matt is in The Vargr. Instead of looking at sex and gender, I look at the human need for hierarchy and paint it in the extremes of Alpha, Beta, and Omega along with a pecking order.
Slumbering Ember – The Vargr #1 will be released on May 20th.
The BL Xpress would like to thank Meraki P. Lyhne for this opportunity!