Today’s author in the spotlight is Domus Vocis, who has plenty to share on furry writing – both what he enjoys to write and what he likes seeing from others. Check out his thoughts below.
Tell us a little bit about your most recent project (written or published). Was there a particular inspiration for it?
I am currently writing two projects, one of which will be published into a duology when the right time comes. The first project is a dystopian gay romance titled “Maverick Hotel”, and it is a Patreon story series about two resistance fighters living in a theocratic dictatorship called The Devout States of America, set in an alternate 2019. The second project is separate from the first. It’s a homoerotic neo-noir thriller novel titled “Cherry”, following a wolf contract killer and his lover, an ocelot male prostitute nicknamed ‘Cherry’, who is being targeted by a mysterious serial killer whose modus operandi involves tricking or bribing others to commit murders. For “Maverick Hotel”, I originally started writing it in the middle of the Trump era to help vent my frustrations, only for me to gradually enjoy writing about the main characters, the setting and even the lore. As for “Cherry”, I have neo-noir comic books and movies to thank for inspiration, such as Frank Miller’s Sin City, the John Wick franchise, and especially furry comic books exploring dark, gritty, erotic themes like Heathen City by Alex Vance or The Dread Fall by TheVale. I think Heathen City played a huge steppingstone for influence regarding one of the characters in “Cherry”, which will be one of two books to be published within the future.
What is your favorite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry fiction?
I love how diverse and incredibly creative the furry fandom can be. As a furry author, I enjoy reading and writing in an artistic medium that can provide endless possibilities. Furry fiction has the same infinite potential as any story genre, but what makes it stand out is how it is more than a sub-genre, but an aesthetical appeal that can range beyond genres or even other communities.
What is your writing process like? Do you outline and plot, or are you a “pantser”?
LOL. I don’t know what a ‘pantser’ is exactly, but my writing process is mainly about outlining and planning the plot. At least, when it comes to complicated stories. It can honestly be tricky for me not to think too much of what I write down on paper. It’s in my nature to make each product the best thing for a reader to enjoy.
What do you consider your biggest strength as a writer?
My biggest strength, according to some of my dedicated fans, is balancing characterization and worldbuilding. Sometimes, I can prefer one over the other, but not to the point it is too distracting for most readers.
What is your favorite kind of story to write? Does it align well with what you like to read?
Oh, that is a tricky question to answer. If I had to break it down to just one kind of story, it would be ones that I have never done before. I love writing stories that are new territory for me or challenge me either personally or professionally. While I also like reading stories I can predict sometimes, it is also refreshing to not know where the plot of a book is going to go. It can be very fun sometimes, being in the dark and not knowing what happens on the next page.
Which character of yours do you most identify with, and why?
Again, another tricky question. If I had to choose, it would be a tie between Adam Grimwald, the protagonist of “Maverick Hotel”, and Peter Gray, the protagonist of my debut novel, “The Adventures of Peter Gray”. I always identified with Adam because of the struggle between his religious beliefs and his homosexuality. My personal relationship with God is…complicated now, and most of the turmoil I experienced in coming to terms with my own sexuality can be found in how Adam feels in balancing his acceptance of his sexuality with firm beliefs in an Almighty. Granted, it wasn’t to the same extremes that Adam went through, but I can still see it in the inner arguments he has with himself, not knowing if his attractions were wrong, second guessing everything his leaders taught him, falling in love for the first time, and eventually coming to terms with who he is.
As for Peter Gray, I identified with the scrappy young wolf urchin for his sense of optimism, despite how isolated he feels. Growing up on the autism spectrum led to me not making as many meaningful friendships until college. Looking back and rereading “The Adventures of Peter Gray”, I just want to hug Peter. I want to tell him he doesn’t have to keep feeling alone. He doesn’t have to hide his loneliness behind a bright smile, that he can be vulnerable around others. It makes him (dare I say it?) human and genuine.
Which authors or specific books have most influenced your work?
Outside of the furry fandom, those honors must go to authors like Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Lois Lowry, as well as young adult authors such as Scott Westerfeld, Marie Lu, and David Levithan. In fact, David Levithan’s novels helped me personally throughout high school when it came to my sexuality and writing non-heteronormative characters in my stories.
Within the furry fandom, my primary influence for writing furry fiction all came down to Kyell Gold. Believe it or not, his “Waterways” novel happened to be the very first furry book I ever read going into my senior year of high school. It’s kind of embarrassing how much I loved reading it, but to say it didn’t influence me to write furry fiction would be a big bold lie. “Waterways” can be best described as my gateway into the fandom.
What is the last book you read that you really love?
“Change in the Midnight Rain” by Kageichi Kagi, about an adult blue bunny named Ameya as he’s raised in a male brothel during the Meiji Era in Japan, and the blooming friendship he forms with the foxy daughter of a retired ninja. Simply put, “Change in the Midnight Rain” turned out to be so good that I read halfway through it in one sitting when I just expected to quickly read the first chapter. The next chance I could, I finished the rest of it late into the night. It is honestly the first complete novel that I’ve ever read through in less than two days.
Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
Whenever I’m not reading a random book or going for a bike ride when the Midwest weather permits me, I love watching various movies, films, YouTube videos, and documentaries. I am a self-proclaimed history buff too. I’ve also gotten into doing some digital artwork.
Do you have any advice to give other writers?
I’m not the first person to say this, but it really does help; do not overthink it. I’ve seen and known writers who focus more on planning stories and their original characters instead of taking the time to write down the actual story. Jotting down their likes/dislikes, backstory, hobbies, theme songs, job occupations, relationship statuses is fine so long as it leads to more than a profile description.
Is there anything you would like to see more of within furry fiction?
I wish to see more examples of furry fiction that don’t just have anthropomorphism as an aesthetic. Instead, have the anthropomorphism worked into the lore, worldbuilding, settings and especially characterizations. I’d like to see it incorporated more into settings in a way justifying the protagonist being a tiger, wolf, husky, etc. Sometimes, these kinds of stories won’t even work more of animal mannerisms beyond a mere mention of fur colors or what kind of animal the characters are. If I had a dollar for every contemporary slice-of-life story that could easily trade its furry characters for human ones, my wallet would burst from its seams.
Where can readers find your work?
Readers can find my content on the following websites.
I can also be found on Twitter as @HoppNate and on my After Dark account as @DomusVocis_AD
Tomorrow we return to one of our publishers who have recently shared some unfortunate news about their future. We hope you’ll join us tomorrow and share in some positivity with them.