Author Interview with A.J. Mirag

A.J. Mirag is a Brazilian writer and translator. A.J. lives a calm life in São Paulo, the busiest city of the country, and loves writing M/M stories, both in English and in Portuguese.

Clippings is A.J.’s first published novel.

Your novel Clippings has been getting good reviews.  Can you tell us more about this story and how it came about?
I enjoy stories where a forced relationship gradually evolves into something more complex and consensual. Because I didn’t want to write fantasy, I had to choose real-life circumstances that forced my characters to be together. A prison story was the natural choice.

I did a lot of research on prisons, especially Brazilian prisons, to write “Clippings.” I know that some details seem unbelievable. For instance, some readers find it weird that the Professor acts as an intermediary between the inmates and the prison staff, and that he is allowed to keep a laptop in his cell. But as unbelievable as it may seem, that’s how things are in Brazilian prisons.  Almost everything that happens in Clippings is adapted from real-life events.

But in spite of its settings, Clippings is a romantic story.

How does the fact that you live in Brazil influence your writing? 
I believe that the place where you’re born influences your whole life. So, the fact that I’m Brazilian influences my writing a lot. For instance, Brazilians find it hard to fit in a mold, to follow patterns. They tend to mix everything together – like in Carnival. Maybe this is one of the reasons why I don’t follow the genre rules to the letter. It’s not that I don’t know the rules. It’s just that I see no fun in following them strictly.

Do you think that Clippings would make a great movie?  Who’d play the lead roles?
One of the main influences for Clippings was a movie, Carandiru, directed by Hector Babenco and featuring Rodrigo Santoro as one of the main protagonists. Yet Clippings is very different from Carandiru, and it would probably be more easily made into a movie, because in Clippings there is just one main story line, while in Carandiru there are several.

The actor to play Mephisto has to be intense and attractive, in spite of his big nose. As Alan Rickman is too old for the role, I’d pick Adrian Brody. I don’t know many young actors, so it’s hard to choose someone to play Daniel. Perhaps Daniel Radcliffe, or Jamie Bell. And I’d love to see Jack Coleman as “The Professor”.

When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I seldom start writing without a plan. But yes, the dialogues and some of the scenes are dictated by the characters. And sometimes it’s hard to make your characters do what you’ve planned for them…

Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life?
Yes, all the time!

What story haven’t you written yet but would like to?  Is there anything holding you back from writing it?
I’d like to write a historical romance that takes place in 1850 in São Paulo, the city where I live. What’s holding me back from writing it is lack of time to devote to a complex project like that.

Do you have a system for writing?  Do you track work count or write a certain number of hours per day?  Do you use music and playlists for inspiration?
I don’t think I have a system. When I’m inspired, I try to write as fast as I can. I usually write fast. But sometimes I go months and months without writing, and that doesn’t bother me. I don’t want to write just for writing’s sake.

As for music, although I love it, I can’t listen to music and write at the same time.

When did you start writing?  Did you always know you wanted to be “a writer”?
Ha. I started writing when I was seven. No, I never wanted to be a writer, but I never stopped writing, even if it was just a journal.

Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
Oh, I have to confess that I read very few M/M romances! Before writing “Clippings,” my first original romance, I used to read and write slash, but I couldn’t read many M/M romances yet. I plan to remedy that as soon as possible.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I don’t quite understand the notion of “guilty pleasure” as related to reading, because I firmly believe that reading doesn’t harm anyone. I never felt guilty for liking any kind of story. But if we’re speaking generally, my guilty pleasure is eating… Especially chocolate!

What is your favorite word/phrase for the male or female genitalia?  What is your least favorite word/phrase?

I seldom write sex scenes involving women, so I’ll just reply about the “male” parts (in both senses, ha ha). Also, my perception about words that are considered vulgar is probably very different from the native speakers’ perception. I don’t like most euphemisms. My favorite word for the male genitalia is “cock.” I deeply dislike some metaphors associated with the male genitalia, like “sausage,” “banana” or “mushroom,” and euphemisms like “throbbing manhood.”

What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck!

What are you currently working on?
On my Master’s Degree dissertation! I’m also doing research for that historical romance I mentioned above.

Where can readers find you?
You can find me on my LJ: http://a-j-mirag.livejournal.com/. My site: http://mirag.noigandres.com/. My e-mail: ajmirag@gmail.com.

Any other tidbits you would like to share?
Oh, I’d like you to know that Clippings is available on Amazon now! It was a pleasure to be interviewed by you.

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