I meet Marten Weber at 2012 and we had a great interview. Marten is such a very nice man and of course a great author of gay fiction stories, twelve book confirm his creation: Benedetto Casanova, Shayno, Gabriel, Stranger in Trivia, Bodensee, Hoppa and other stories, Spanking Shubert, In the mirror a monster and Jeremiah Hudgejaw: America’s First Gay Wedding. If you still didn’t read some of his book, what are you waiting for?
Marten introduces himself in this way: “Marten Weber is of mixed parentage (a man and a woman) and has lived in more countries than he can count on hands and feet together. He speaks several languages, and believes in multiculturalism, tolerance, and free champagne also in economy class. He dislikes bigots and fanatics of all denominations. He is hugely uncomfortable with labels, even seemingly benign ones such as ‘gay,’ ‘straight,’ or ‘sugar-free’ and prefers instead to judge people by their sense of humor and shoe size. He believes that everybody, regardless of race or gender, should be gay for a year”,
Men. Love. Passion. Lust. Sex. Desires. Here Marten Weber…
“I simply always wrote. Even as a teenager, I wrote poems and short stories. Writing is a way of dealing with life, gaining some insights into other people’s and my own motivations. In my recent writing, I have been influenced greatly by Henry James, D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf — and a number of other classic authors. I barely ready any contemporary writers”.
Do you portrait in the characters of your novels?
Everything and nothing. My stories and characters are purely fictional, but I can’t help putting a bit of myself into every creation. The way of speaking, a reflection of one’s desires… People. I meet often make it into books. The young hero of Bodensee for example was inspired by a German student I met a few years back.
“I think the concept of ‘being foreign’ is present in all my books, as are ‘journeys’. Almost all the characters in my books go from one place to another. Benedetto travels through Europe, Shayno crosses from Australia to the US, Bodensee is a real and a virtual journey between states of mind. I am greatly interested in how people cope with new environments and cultures. That’s certainly based on my own life experience”.
How to be a good writer?
I don’t know. These days NOT being on the bestseller lists is usually a sign of good writing. Other than that… My own yardstick is the feedback I get from fans, not sales numbers. It’s more important to change people’s lives and make them happy.
“I don’t know whether I am good at sex, but I think I have a knack for imagining good sex :)”
How do you feel about gay labels?
I don’t care about labels. Most labels are meaningless, just shortcuts to deal with the reality behind, made for people who don’t bother with the real thing. Stories are meant to be told–interesting stories I mean. The sexuality of the protagonist doesn’t matter.
“I think I am getting better at paying attention to the minor characters. Good writing is difficult. I am not a fan of short sentences and comma-drought like in modern bestsellers. It takes time to develop a convincing personal style, and I am far from achieving my goal”.
Which one of your books was a challenge for you?
My interviewers always think it’s Benedetto, because it is a historically accurate book. But the hardest book to write was “A Stranger in Triva”. All the stories in the book are individual, stand-alone glimpses into men’s lives, but they are all connected, in
more ways than you’d think. It took a lot of work to create this effect and making it–I hope–believable.
“Benedetto took me three years of research, but when everything was in place I wrote it in three months. Gabriel I started in 2002-2003, but re-wrote in 2010, making small additions and changes in between. It’s not the length of the book which counts, but the involvement with the story. I write comparatively fast I think. Bodensee was done in three weeks, after I had worked out the whole story on a vacation in Switzerland”.
What is the worst thing can happen a writer?
Being number 1 on any bestseller list. In 99% of cases that means your writing is worthless. Unless you consider 50 shades of crap “literature” of course.
“I have met several people through social media whose life experience, or looks, or way of talking, or humor, ended up in one of my books”.
How it was your coming out?
Difficult. The story of my coming out is actually told–somewhat disguised, but accurate–in the Las Vegas chapter of “Shayno”. My dad threw me out of the house, and it took 10 years for my parents to come to terms. We are great friends now.
“As long as there is religion, we’ll have to fight for rights. Religion is the abrogation of individual rights, it gives all power to an imagined god and no dignity to human beings.”
Do you believe about same sex marriage and adoption?
I am not a fan of marriage in general. I don’t understand the concept. Legally and politically, it’s a taxation tool. Religiously, it’s a form of female bondage. Why do gay people aspire to emulate that? I am all for the legal safety (insurance, inheritance) a partnership offers, but I don’t need ‘marriage’ to achieve that.
“I myself was beaten up twice, and I saw a lot of discrimination in my days as a business consultant. Gay people need to start thinking for themselves. That means not believing–or paying attention, even–to all the advertisement, the propaganda, the marketing hype. This applies to products, media, politicians. In our media culture it’s getting increasingly difficult for young people to think for themselves and not be influenced every step of the way by mindless propaganda of all sorts. People spend so much time forming opinions (or repeating other people’s opinions) about things they don’t really care about–just because someone else does. Social networking makes that a lot worse. Just because a link has been viewed a million times, doesn’t make it good”.