Simultaneous English and German Release of A Kind of Truth by Lane Hayes

December 17, 2015

What made you start writing M/M novels? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?

I’ve been writing to some degree all my life, but I wasn’t serious about it until a few years ago when my eldest son left for college. Before he left, he told my husband and me that he was gay. I was thrilled that he shared this with us.  I had been waiting for him to come out for some time. When he said he wasn’t ready to tell anyone else, I worried about him living away from home at school and not really feeling comfortable in his own skin. Rather than worry about what I couldn’t control, I wrote the story that had been in my head for a while. It became my first book, Better Than Good, which was published in July 2013 by Dreamspinner Press. It’s about a bixsexual man’s journey to accepting himself. And in a way, it’s a love letter to my son asking written in the hopes that he learns to love, accept and be proud of himself.

Complete this sentence: If I weren’t a writer, I would read non-stop!

When you write a book, do you plan it before you start writing or do you let things just develop themselves? Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one? 

I have more ideas floating around in my head than I have time to write, but I only work on one book at a time. I usually have a basic plan when I begin writing. I know the general story and where it’s going but I admit, things tend to develop on their own occasionally. J

How do you come up with titles?  

Good question! Sometimes it’s a phrase in the story that strikes me as important. In A Kind Of Truth, you’ll notice the phrase  Kind Of comes up as a means to explain a similarity or to make a comparison. It’s a typical American slang that can be used to downplay emotion or allude to deeper meaning.

Do some protagonists grow dear to your heart more than others? If yes, which are the ones you like best?

Yes! It’s hard to say who my favorites are because yes, to some degree, they’re all my favorites! J I adore Aaron from Better Than Good, Alex from The Right Time, but at this moment, I have to admit I have a huge book crush on Rand O’Malley from A Kind of Truth! He’s sexy, funny and he does what he wants when he wants. The guy has a giant ego but a big heart too!

What character from one of your books would you like to have come alive and be real? Why?

Rand! I’d love to see him in action, onstage singing in a crowded club. People like him fascinate me. I love the idea of the big-mouthed, charismatic person who genuinely wants to make a positive impact. They’re too rare.

Which character do you think most closely resembles your own personality?

I’m more like Will than Rand for sure! I’m not a recluse by any means but I’m quiet. I love music, art and theater, but I don’t necessary want to be onstage. I’m content to observe… and write. J

In January Dreamspinner Press will publish your new novel A Kind of Truth and the German translation Die Wahrheit, die ich meine… on the same day. It’s the first novel which will be released simultaneous with a German translation. What aspect of A Kind of Truth came to you first – the setting, characters, something else?

The setting came first. I love New York City. I visit at least twice a year. I love the energy. It’s one of those places where you really do feel like anything is possible. The city can lift you to unprecedented heights or crush you overnight. It’s a place of dreams. The characters came next. When I was writing Better Than Safe, I introduced Rand as Seth’s best friend. The minute I wrote his name I had a feeling he was the one going to the Big Apple! Lol.

I’m so thrilled A Kind of Truth will be released in German on the same day as it will in the US and UK. It is truly an honor!

What inspired you to write A Kind of Truth? Who is your favorite character to write in this novel?

My frequent trips to NYC inspired me to a degree, but my three children inspired me too. They’re all in their late teens and early twenties and they need to know how important their voice is in the world. Maybe now more than ever. It’s important to dream big and go for it. And to know in your heart you can be anything you want if you work hard enough.

You’ve probably already guessed my favorite character to write. Lol! Rand is dynamic and refreshing. It was fun writing a character who oozes sex and self-confidence!

What part of this novel was the most fun to write and why? What made you struggle the most?

One of my favorite scenes is the trip to the movie theater.  I loved making Rand a little uncomfortable and ultra-aware of Will.  I didn’t struggle with any scene in particular but one of the ending scenes was difficult because it was very emotional. Those scenes are vital and tend to give a glimpse at the MCs when they’re at their most vulnerable, so they need extra care.

If there was one thing you’d like your readers to take away with them from this book, what do you hope it is?

Dream big!  And dream for yourself, not someone else. You can be anything you want if you work for it.

If you had to pick a theme song, what would it be?

That’s a tough one. I’ll say Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones. When you read the story, you’ll know why. J

Last but not least: What book will be published next, and what are you working on right now?

I’m hoping my next book published will be #2 in this series. I’ve just submitted it to Dreamspinner and I’m now hard at work on #3!

Thank you so much for having me here today! I hope you enjoy A Kind of Truth!

________________

Lane Hayes is a designer by trade who is extremely grateful to be spending more of her time these days doing what she truly loves…writing. She loves chocolate, wine, travel, but most of all, she loves books. Lane’s debut novel, Better Than Good, was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist. She lives in So.California near the beach with her amazing husband, three teenagers & a gorgeous old Lab named Rex.

If Amy Lane Weren’t a Writer, She’d Be…

November 1, 2015

*This is the English translation of a German interview with Amy Lane*

A big thank you to Amy, who agreed to do this interview and answer the questions of her readers. I also want to thank you, the readers, who came up with the questions and thus made this interview possible.

First of all, name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you. 

I was very surprised to be labeled „the queen of angst“ when I first started out—I would cry as I was writing some parts of my books, but I considered what happened there a very natural part of the plot. On the whole, I’m sort of a snarky, sarcastic person, so I don’t seem like the kind of person who would sit around brewing tea from the tears of my readers.

If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why? 

Jane Austen, of course. I’d like to tell her that the thing that she saw in her tiny corner of the planet was really the big driving machine that ran the world.

What made you start writing M/M novels? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author? 

Well, originally I was writing what I thought would be a het vampire romance, and then, as I was writing, I realized my male vampire had been carrying on an affair with a male elf for 150 years prior to the beginning of the story. (Yes—I was surprised too.)  Anyway—I self-published that story, and the subsequent five books that followed, and in every story, M/M seemed to be an organic part of the story. But writing was a hobby, really, until I saw I saw a Tweet from the editor in chief at Dreamspinner Press—it said, „We want to see a fic written to THIS:“ and it featured a very sexy vodka commercial.  I wrote 750 words and sent them in—just for fun—and the response was, „Oh, Amy, we’ve been waiting for you to write for us!“  I hadn’t realized that my self-published work had attracted their attention, but once I’d made contact, there was no going back. Those 750 words eventually became Gambling Men, but by then I’d already written over 10 works for Dreamspinner Press.

Complete this sentence: If I weren’t a writer, I would still be teaching.

I hope this question is not too personal; if yes you of course don’t have to answer it. How do you unite your writing with your private life (family, friends, partner, etc.) without neglecting anyone or anything? 

I don’t. I mean, I try, but housecleaning has become non-existent in my house, and my kids haven’t eaten on the kitchen table in—literally—years. That being said, I attend every soccer game, every dance recital, and talk to the kids to and from school every day. We go out on the weekends and enjoy ourselves, and I try to spend at least an hour every evening at least relaxing with the family. So, it does impact my family interactions, but I do draw the line. My kids will only be young once and I want to spend that time really enjoying their company.

When you write a book, do you plan it before you start writing or do you let things just develop themselves? Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one? 

I write one book at a time, from beginning to end, and I usually start with a beginning, middle, and end in mind, and then as I write I fill in the blanks.

What are some of the most awesome/coolest things you’ve learned in the process of research?

KY Jelly has been around since the early 1900ds.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? 

Well, I taught literature for nearly 20 years—that influenced me in a big way, as did old Harlequin romances and every song I’ve ever heard.

Which novel or series did you enjoy writing the best?

That’s easy—whichever one I’m working on now!

Be totally honest, what’s the most difficult part of being a writer? 

Not eating. I schedule exercise into my week as much as I can—but I am working from my kitchen, and I eat way too much.

What character from one of your books would you like to have come alive and be real? Why?

Green, from my Little Goddess series. Because he rules with kindness, and he’s very wise—but very human. He still makes mistakes.

Which character do you think most closely resembles your own personality?

Auntie Beth from the Triane’s Son books.

If you get the chance to end up in one of your books which would it be? Why? 

The Little Goddess series—because I want to be a ass-kicking sorceress with four amazing lovers!

You’ve just inherited a sheep farm. What do you do now?

Figure out how to turn it into a fiber mill and totally change my vocation.

Have you ever got insulted because of your books? Or have your books ever got insulted? If yes, how did you react to it? And how do you react to negative reviews although it’s obvious the writer just want to do your book poorly? 

My books get insulted all the time—and mostly, I just rant in private to my friends and family, and smile in public. It helps when you accept the fact that not everybody is going to enjoy what you write—that’s a simple fact of life. Some people are mean and horrible about it, and some people simply go, „Not for me.“  I prefer the second approach, but I’m always ready for the first.

Last week DSP published the german translation of Making Promises. It’s the second book of the series Keeping Promise Rock. What part of the novel was the most fun to write and why? What made you struggle the most? 

I loved writing all of this book—but I think the hardest part was making the timelines fit. Some of Making Promises and Keeping Promise Rock were concurrent, and I had to make sure the overlapping parts matched.

Who surprised you the most when you were writing this book, which character had you saying “okay wow! That was unexpected?”

Mikhail—I did not expect to love him nearly as much as I did.  He was snarky and sarcastic and he had such a guarded heart, but once he let Shane in, he was all in. I loved him so much.

Who was the most difficult character to write in this series? And why?

Mikhail—because he was so hurt, and he was going to hurt Shane no matter how I wrote it. I loved that character but he did not make it easy on me.

If you had to pick a theme song for this novel, what would it be?

I think I picked a lot of them. Every chapter title was a song title, if I remember aright.

If there was one thing you’d like your readers to take away with them from this book, what do you hope it is?

You don’t have to shoot bad guys to be a hero. Sometimes being a hero is being the right person for the person you love.

When you began this series did you have a clear vision of how it would begin and end?

No—but by the time I was done with the first book, I did. The last book was exactly as I imagined it.

Can you give your readers any insight as to what we have to look forward to in the rest of the series?

Well, book three is Living Promises, and that’s Jeff and Collin’s book, and book four is Forever Promised, which is sort of a wrap up of all three couples, as well as Andrew and Benny, who give Deacon and Crick a very special gift.

Last but not least: What book will be published next, and what are you working on right now?

Next out from me is a story called Winter Ball, which I love very much, and I’m working on a category romance right now from Dreamspinner Press, called Tamale Boy and the Spoiled Brat.

Theme Songs, Characters, and Book Covers with TJ Klune

September 2, 2015

A big thank you to TJ Klune, who agreed to do this interview and answer the questions of his readers. I also want to thank you, the readers, who came up with the questions and thus made this interview possible.

Thank you for having me!

First of all, name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I don’t know if I have any secrets left! I usually just tell my readers everything these days, no matter how uncomfortable it gets. I like to overshare. I suppose if I had to say something, I guess I can tell you that I can wrap the entire Vanilla Ice song from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies. The song is called Ninja Rap (Go Ninja Go). And yes, it is amazing.

What made you start writing M/M novels? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?

When I started writing, I didn’t really think of it in terms of  M/M, but more in the fact that I just wanted to tell a story. Bear, Otter and the Kid was the end result of that. It was the first story I wrote to completion. It took over a year to write, and I thought I was going to have to submit it to a few publishers before it found a home. I sent it to Dreamspinner first, and they bought it a couple of weeks later. I finished the book in January, and it was published by August of that year.

What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?

Shock. And joy. When I first learned BOATK had been bought by DSP, I really wanted to write back and say, Are you sure? Fortunately, I didn’t do that. And then when Paul Richmond did the cover of BOATK, it just made it all that much more surreal.

Complete this sentence: If I weren’t a writer, I would ______.

If I weren’t a writer, I would probably go insane from all the voices I hear in my head.

I hope this question is not too personal; if yes you of course don’t have to answer it. How do you unite your writing with your private life (family, friends, partner, etc.) without neglecting anyone or anything?

It’s a question of balance. I work full time, and I also write about 15-20 hours a week. It makes for a few late nights, but the people in my life know it’s worth it. It also helps that I’m working toward retiring early from my job so I can write full time. Hopefully, sometime next year that will be a reality.

When you write a book, do you plan it before you start writing or do you let things just develop themselves? Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one? 

I can only focus on one book at a time. If I try writing on more than one thing at once, I tend to get distracted by whatever I’m not working on, and it never works out.

It depends on the book I’m writing if I plan it ahead. Books like Burn and Into This River I Drown are meticulously plotted before I write them, just because they are so intricate with large casts of characters. When it comes to the BOATK books, I like how they can meander at times, so I typically just write them with a vague end game in sight. Sometimes it works, other times I have to delete a lot of stuff just to get back on point.

Be totally honest, what’s the most difficult part of being a writer?

For me, it’s probably the social side of things. Before I became a published author, I didn’t have Facebook or a blog and didn’t belong to any online social media platforms. I’m typically uncomfortable in social settings and don’t really do well in front of large groups of people. When I was fortunate enough to have my books become successful, it was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I never thought something like that could ever happen. And a curse because it was difficult for me to get over my hangups about being in a spotlight. You lose a lot of anonymity when you find success, and I never thought I’d have that, so I didn’t prepare myself for it. But I’m getting better at it.

What’s your favorite cover of your books?

It’s a tie between Into This River I Drown and How to Be a Normal Person.

How do you come up with titles?

Depends on the book. BOATK is the more literal out of the titles as it’s titled after essentially what the book is about. I typically have a title picked out when I start writing a book, but 99.9% of the time, the title will change by the end of the book, when a phrase or an idea pops out at me while I’m writing.

Do some protagonists grow dear to your heart more than others? If yes, which are the ones you like best?

I wish I could say no, that I love all my characters equally, but that is a total lie. I have a soft spot for secondary characters, because I want my main characters to be surrounded by people that are real and true.

That being said, my favorites are probably the Kid, Benji from Into This River I Drown, Nana from Tell Me It’s Real, and Gus from the upcoming How to Be a Normal Person.

What character from one of your books would you like to have come alive and be real? Why?

Paul from Tell Me It’s Real. I don’t think I need to explain why.

Which character do you think most closely resembles your own personality?

Paul from Tell Me It’s Real. I don’t think I need to explain why. =D

If you get the chance to end up in one of your books which would it be? Why?

Probably Burn, just because I think it would be so epic to be an Elemental. I can’t wait to get back to that series and write some more. Felix and Seven need a happy ending.

You’ve just inherited a sheep farm. What do you do now?

Sell it, use the money from the sale to start a business where I pretend to be a psychic, but everyone already knows I’m not really a psychic, they just pay me money to make up shit about their future.

Have you ever got insulted because of your books? Or have your books ever got insulted? If yes, how did you react to it? And how do you react to negative reviews although it’s obvious the writer just want to do your book poorly?

Every writer gets negative reviews. It’s just part of the business. Some are honest critiques. Some people just don’t like the book. And some others just want to write something bad, even if it’s just meant to be an insult to the author.  Honestly, I don’t read any of those, or most reviews, really. If someone sends me a review they took the time to write, I’ll read it, because that is very kind of them to do. But reviews aren’t for me. They are for the readers. People can write whatever they want after they’ve spent their money on my book.

Rapid Fire Time

  • coffee or tea?  tea
  • contemporary or paranormal? paranormal
  • sweet or sour? sweet
  • handcuffs or rope? handcuffs
  • day or night? night
  • Rock or Jazz? Jazz
  • cats or dogs? dogs (don’t tell my cat because she will yell at me)

Last week DSP published the german translation of The Art of Breathing. It’s the third book of the series Who We Are. What aspect of The Art of Breathing came to you first – the setting, characters, something else?

The characters, specifically Tyson, aka the Kid. He’s been with me for years, and I was so happy to finally be able to tell his story. I always wanted to see what kind of person he’d grow up to be, and by the time I finished Who We Are, I knew it was going to be a bit of a rough road ahead for him. But I think it worked out okay in the end.

What part of the novel was the most fun to write and why? What made you struggle the most?

The dialogue was my favorite part to write, but then it usually is. I love writing how I think people talk in real life. It’s not always going to be perfect sentences. We ramble, we stutter, we talk in run-on sentences without proper syntax. I try to make it so when you’re reading the dialogue, it sounds like you could be listening in on a normal conversation.

The part where I struggled was with the angst. I absolutely hate reading angst, which is strange given that I’m so adept at writing it.  I’ve really put this family through the ringer, and it was painful to see the Kid stumble as much as he did. I was relieved he figured things out in the end, because there were a few moments I wasn’t sure he was going to.

If you had to pick a theme song for this novel, what would it be?

To Build a Home by Cinematic Orhestra.

Who was the most difficult character to write in this series? What inspired you to create the characters Bear, and the Kid, and their madness of thinking? Are you the same?

The most difficult character to write was probably Mrs. Paquinn. And not because of her age, or the way she spoke, but because of what I did to her in Who We Are. Yeah, that was probably one of if not the most difficult things I’ve had to write.

Bear and the Kid think like they do, because that’s the way I think. It’s manic, it’s oppressive, it’s too much for a lot of people, but it’s my reality. My thoughts are jumbled and I tend to blurt a lot of things out, whether the situation calls for it or not.

Can you tell us a little bit about the sequel of your novel Tell Me It’s Real?

The Queen & the Homo Jock King is the complete opposite of Tell Me It’s Real. Whereas Paul and Vince had a love at first sight relationship (at least for Vince), Sandy and Darren are more hate at first sight. They are very antagonistic of each other, and I love that dynamic. But something happens in the book that forces they together and Sandy learns that maybe Darren isn’t as bad as he seems (spoiler: he isn’t, and there is butt sex).

Tell us a little bit about your newest novel The Lightning-Struck Heart. What inspired you to write this? Who is your favorite character to write in this novel?

TLSH came at a time when I needed to laugh, to write something that made me feel happy. I sat down one Saturday morning in September 2014 and thought, “why not?” and then proceeded to write almost 12K words that first day.  It felt good, writing again, as I hadn’t written anything in close to a years.

 TLSH was inspired by my desire to write a fantasy novel for the Tumblr generation, using contemporary language, but taking it one step further and having every be a snarky asshole using modern lingo. It was also a partial ode to my love for The Princess Bride.

And I don’t think anyone will be surprised that I pick Gary as my favorite. There is something about a sassy unicorn that makes me happy.

Will there be a sequel or do we have to say goodbye to our darlings?

There will be a sequel to The Lightning Struck Heart.

 And one more book in the Tell Me It’s Real series.

And the final BOATK book.

Last but not least: What book will be published next, and what are you working on right now?

The next book will be How to Be a Normal Person, my asexual stoner romantic comedy out in October.

After that, The Queen & the Homo Jock King will be released in January 2016.

That will conclude what I unofficially call my Happiness Trilogy (TLSH, Normal, Queen) before we go back to the more serious, darker works that I also write.

Withered & Sere, part I of my post-apocalyptic story will be out April 2016.

June 2016 will most likely be the release of the book I’m finishing writing now, called Wolfsong.

 Crisped & Sere, part II of the post-apocalyptic story will be out August 2016.

And somewhere in there will be BOATK4. And Burn II.

 

Sex Scenes and the Importance of Internet Connection with BA Tortuga

September 1, 2015

DSP: Why did you choose a wounded veteran as your lead for The Articles of Release?

Cackles You say choose like I had any control over this. Win informed me that he had this battle buddy named Eric, handed him over and informed me that I had novels to write. Seriously. I never choose anything. They choose. I obey.

DSP: What’s your favorite sex act to write in a gay romance?

Frenetic, mad rubbing off, still mostly clothed. I love the intensity, the ferocity. The wild passion of it.

DSP: What does your writing space look like?

Writing space is a little bit of a misnomer, because my wife and I write all over — the rolltop desk in the front room, the sofa, the sunroom. I offer pictures of the office which is a crazy mish-mash of art and color and words and love. :D

BA desk       BA office wall          BA Wall

DSP: Name 5 things you can’t live without.

Things? Okay, I want to just point out that I don’t count living beings as things (because WIFE and puppies and best friends and all my 39 nieces and nephews and sisters and Moma and Daddy and and and)

1.  My internet connection. The internet and me? We’re buds. Totally. I would let them insert a jack (although when I say that my wife cackles and reminds me that I rant about the home DNA tests and people using that information for nefarious purposes).
2.  Coffee. Coffee is why I don’t kill people.
3.  My Apple products — MacBook, iMac, iPhone, iPod, iPad. Yes, please.
4.  Fabric. I’m a dedicated quilter. I need my stash.
5.  Yarn. YARN. ALL THE YARN! KNITTING, WEAVING, CROCHETING, YARN!!! ahem

DSP: If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be and why?

I’d move to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Hot springs, river rafting, mountains, skiing, snowmobiling. I’m all in. I just need to get that six-figure book deal first, right? ;-)

__________________

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia, her best friend, Sean, and coffee. Lots of good coffee.

Giveaway and Sue Brown Interview

August 18, 2015

A big thank you to Sue Brown, who agreed to do this interview and answer the questions of her readers. I also want to thank you, the readers, who came up with the questions and thus made this interview possible.

Thank you very much for the interview and all the questions. I really appreciate it.

First of all, name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I learned to dance as a kid and wish I’d kept it up. I loved dancing the rhumba and paso doble. I still remember sweeping across the polished dance floor in a floaty dress.

If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

David Eddings – a fantasy writer (The Belgariad). He was one of the few authors I truly fangirled over as a teenager. I was very sad when he died. I’d like to tell him how much pleasure he gave me.

What made you start writing M/M novels? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?

I started writing Torchwood (spin-off from Doctor Who) fanfiction in 2007. I went into the Supernatural fandom after that. In 2010 friends of mine, like RJ Scott and Lisa Worrall, were getting published. I thought I’d have a go. I wrote a short scifi story to Dreamspinner and sent it even though it was past the deadline. They accepted Sacrifice and that was the start of an amazing journey. I think it took me 3 weeks from starting the story to acceptance.

Is there any advice you would give to new writers seeking representation and publication in today’s market?

Know the market for your genre. The M/M Romance genre is not like traditional publishing. You don’t need an agent and you can submit directly to the publisher. But be realistic. Even the small presses get swamped with submissions. Make sure your story is right for that publisher.

I hope this question is not too personal; if yes you of course don’t have to answer it. How do you unite your writing with your private life (family, friends, partner, etc.) without neglecting anyone or anything?

I work seven days a week; even more now I have two additional jobs. But I work from home so if the kids need me I am here which helps when they’re sick. We had a really bad couple of years and being at home was helpful. It’s easier now they’re older as they don’t need me to entertain them. My friends have found it hardest. I live in straight couple/family world, and a friend who writes gay romance is very odd. Still, they’re good people and they’ve accepted it finally.

Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one? 

I prefer to write one book at a time. I like focusing on one pair of guys at a time. When I’m stressed I write a number of half-stories which drives me mad. I have ten plots to finish and more in my head.

How long does it take you on average to write a story and what does your daily writing routine look like?

How long is a piece of string? I try to write in the morning and do my day jobs in the afternoon and evening. A novel takes me about six weeks, and short stories anything from a week onwards. But if I get stuck it could take months. Letters From a Cowboy took years to complete because of bad writer’s block.

Which novel or series did you enjoy writing the best?

I loved Morning Report. It was so much fun to write. I wrote it when I had writer’s block with Nothing Ever Happens.  I also love Frankie & Al because Frankie is wonderful. My favourite series was the Isle series although I sobbed through the prologue of The Isle of… Where?

Are there particular songs you like to hear during the writing?

I write to the background of my two dogs snoring.

Have you ever experienced writer’s block and if so how did you overcome this?

I get writer’s block so often it’s not funny. Mainly due to stress. Nothing I try seems to shift it, although I recommend writing for twenty minutes a day to other authors.

Is there any specific type of man that fascinates you more than others? If yes, do you often tend to use that type in your stories?

I think I’ve written most types of guys. I suppose the men I meet in my local area are close to my heart. I know them, I recognise them and I understand them. However I do have a passion for guys like Frankie from Frankie & Al, although he‘d drive me insane if I had to live with him.

Do some protagonists grow dear to your heart more than others? If yes, which are the ones you like best? Did one couple drive you to insanity?

I think I’ve probably answered that already. Frankie from Frankie & Al and Simon and Luke from Morning Report. Drew and Nathan from Nothing Ever Happens were hard to write because they had such complicated lives. I think in real life it would have been very difficult for them to be together.

If you could have a drink with any of your book’s fictional character who would it be? Why?

I‘d like to have a drink with the Owens family from the Isle series. I’m part of a large family too.

Which character do you think most closely resembles your own personality?

Nathan from Nothing Ever Happens. He’d based on me. He’s also the character that people dislike.

Have you ever got insulted because of your books? Or have your books ever got insulted? If yes, how did you react to it?

It’s part of the job and you have to live with it. My first review on Amazon for Hairy Harry’s Car Seat said This is pants! I found that funny.

Rapid Fire Time

  • Favorite city? London (I am a Londoner)
  • Coffee or tea? Coffee (Earl Grey tea for breakfast)
  • Contemporary or paranormal? Contemporary (although I’m a huge shifter fan)
  • Sweet or sour? Sweet. I don’t like sour.

Last week DSP published the german translation of Morning Report. It’s the first book of the eponymic series. What inspired you to write this novel? What aspect of this novel came to you first – the setting, characters, something else?

I used to write Supernatural fanfiction based on the actors, rather than the series. I was struggling with Nothing Ever Happens so I decided to write an easy, light, erotic story with cowboys. The very first M/M book I read was Bareback by Chris Owen. I became addicted to cowboys from that moment and I was determined to have my own cowboys. I had my cowboys then I had my setting.

What part of the book was the most fun to write and why?

That’s a hard one. It was a long time ago. I think the start when I describe how the boys take their morning report. I’ve been in many meetings but never one like their‘s.

What part made you struggle the most?

How to kill a cow slowly. I live in the UK, I know nothing about cows. I spent a long time reading vets‘ reports.

If you had to pick a theme song for the novel, what would it be?

I’m not a huge music lover. All suggestions would be appreciated. In fact I’ll send out a Morning Report mug for the best suggestion. (Contest rules: one comment below will win a mug. Comments must be posted by midnight EDT August 25)

Sue Brown Mug 2 Sue Brown Mug

If there was one thing you’d like your readers to take away with them from this book, what do you hope it is?

People don’t always make the best decisions. Sometimes they need to be shown the right thing to do. Also Luke will string anyone who touches his man up by the balls.

Can you give your readers any insight as to what we have to look forward to in the rest of the series?

The virgin cowboy gets his man (Complete Faith). The nasty pastor’s family take centre stage (Papa’s Boy). Simon takes his man in hand (Luke’s Present).

Last but not least: What are you currently working?

I’m just finishing Summer’s Song, a short story like Summer’s Dawn. Then I have a detective story to complete. Then Rogue Wolf in my shifter series. Then another Left at the Crossroad with Lisa Worrall.

Rhys Ford Keeps Track of Limbs?

August 3, 2015

A big thank you to Rhys Ford, who agreed to do this interview and answer the questions of her readers. I also want to thank you, the readers, who came up with the questions and thus made this interview possible.

First of all, name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I write intimate scenes to Tool and Metallica. There’s something about the melodic thrum of harder music that helps me detach from the reality around me and focus on just what is going on in the scene. I also dislike writing intimate scenes because they have to be very fresh and new each time as well as bring growth or something to the ongoing relationship. I have to keep track of the limbs. That’s the worst part.

What book do you wish you could have written?

Oh so many. Courtship Rite by Donald Kingsbury is my favourite book so I’d say that first. There really are so many books! The Phantom Tollbooth, Shibumi, Alice in Wonderland, The Wonderful World of OZAish, the first Mary Poppins. I think I envy any book that made me lose myself in its pages.

What made you start writing M/M novels? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?

I sort of backdoored myself into becoming a published author. I’ve written stories for as long as I could remember and helped found an independent genre publisher. I had a few ideas for books, wrote several, was told I was the worst writer ever so I shelved everything.

Then one day, I had an insane moment and sent Dirty Kiss out to Dreamspinner. And got a contract.

I’d sent other manuscripts out for agents and a few said „I’d love to take you on but you need to change this gay character to a woman or make him heterosexual.“ I felt a bit angry inside about that. Not that I think my writing is so perfect that nothing can be changed. I owe everything to my editing team but I felt incensed about the lack of diverse characters in genre fiction. So that’s why I wrote M/M.

Is there any advice you would give to new writers seeking representation and publication in today’s market?

Read. Read everything. Experiment with writing in different voices. Stretch as far as you can with your worlds but make things engaging. Don’t forget to make your characters real people.

I hope this question is not too personal; if yes you of course don’t have to answer it. How do you unite your writing with your private life (family, friends, partner, etc.) without neglecting anyone or anything?

Oh I have no life. *laughs*

I also don’t sleep. I think I had children it would be harder to write because parenting is not a task taken on by the faint-hearted. It is one thing to write a person and quite another to try to nurture one. For the most part, everyone in my life understands when I am on deadline and cannot do certain things like go out, cook dinner, sleep…the normal parts of life. I also work full time but my work environment is very supportive. I am quite thankful for my friends and family who provide me with much support.

When you write a book, do you plan it before you start writing or do you let things just develop themselves?

I do plan. Then about two chapters in it goes to the wayside and I’m left trying to figure out where the heck I am going. So then I modify my plot and tell myself I will stick to it. Which sometimes even happens. That is a miracle when it does.

Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one? 

I work on a single book at a time. From the first word to the last. I don’t skip scenes or chapters. I do write down snippets of conversations sometimes for things I want to add in later but I don’t write out the scene. I sometimes have to retrofit something and at times I can tell in my gut that I’ve made a wrong turn somewhere. So I then go back and fix it. Hopefully.

How long does it take you on average to write a story and what does your daily writing routine look like?

My daily writing routine is insane. I don’t have a set schedule but I do need to write 80,000 words in three months. With a mystery/suspense plot and romance. So I end up sneaking in huge spurts of words in single days. I have to focus very hard and not get distracted because while I like thinking up the stories, I don’t want to actually type them out. *grins*

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses as an author?

Weaknesses? I struggle to make the reader feel. I want that. I struggle sometimes to reach down and find the words for that. I am also reaching the point of not caring about negative reviews, especially since they’re from the same people over and over again. It used to be troublesome until I noticed some people just aren’t happy and seem to seek out authors they like to tear down. I work on avoiding contact with those kinds of people.

Ah, my strengths? I can’t think of one. Maybe not so much in writing but philosophy? There are two things to remember…for me to remember and these are at the forefront of my thoughts with every book.

First, all I want to do is entertain. If a reader can have a few hours of pleasure from what I stitch together, then that is everything. Second, that reader is precious. They have worked for their money, spent a part of their lives toiling at something and perhaps had a very bad day at work, making that day even harder. They then took that money and bought my book. They deserve my best and to have a good time.

You write predominantly series, do you prefer writing series? Do you have a different approach to writing a series from a standalone?

Funny thing is, I never intend to write series. They just sort of happen. I think it is because there are threads in our lives, people are threads. I want to see where this person is connected and how. I have done some standalones but I itch to go back to some and see where I can go. It’s like knowing there are secrets past a door I’ve built. I just need to open it and find them.

Are there particular songs you like to hear during the writing?

Oh I have playlists. I listen to everything from Southern Rock, Blues, Metal, Alternative, Korean Pop, Japanese Rock, electronica and house music and soundtracks. Whatever suits the scene when I’m writing.

Have you ever experienced writer’s block and if so how did you overcome this?

Every day is writer’s block but also not. Sometimes it’s easier to let the mind drift and it’ll find a way around the obstacles. Or I just hammer at it with a rock until it gives way.

Is there any specific type of man that fascinates you more than others? If yes, do you often tend to use that type in your stories?

I don’t have a specific type of man, per se. I do tend to write men who are exploring who they are. I think that’s important. Some men need to learn how to cry while others teach that it’s okay to feel and talk.

If you could have a drink with any of your book’s fictional character who would it be? Why?

Oh no, I can’t even choose. It would depend on the situation. For a backyard BBQ, it would be Cole and his group. A blues club with long sets of music playing and whiskey, the Sinners crew. But then if it is stormy outside and we’re having Irish coffee, Wolf and Tristan would be my choice.

Which character do you think most closely resembles your own personality?

Ah, there is a large part of my soul written into Miki and many of my behaviours and thoughts written into Quinn. I would say a part of me is in nearly all of them or at least pieces of people I know. Slivers of people make up my characters.

Have you ever got insulted because of your books? Or have your books ever got insulted? If yes, how did you react to it?

Oh I have been insulted in ways that I never thought possible. Personally, it has been racial and gender. I think a lot of that comes out of ignorance. I have been told I don’t know how to write Asian characters which is a bit ironic as I am Asian. I have also been told I cannot write M/M because I am physically female without any idea or understanding of how I identify myself.

I’ve long held the belief that male/female ‚traits‘ are social constructs. It is okay to be a very femme female or one that is more masculine in gender stereotypes. That doesn’t negate their identity. Same thing goes for a male. How someone thinks or feels shouldn’t be determined by how others view them so to say I cannot write a male character because I possess female body parts is ludicrous. I do not write with my genitalia. I write with my brain, heart and soul. And experiences. Like every other author.

How have I reacted? I was told by someone they’d never read my books because I am female. I usually respond with „thank you for your time and I hope you find something to read that you enjoy.“

As to my books, I’ve gotten rather okay with negative reviews because not everyone is going to like my books and that’s okay. I’ve written books where I’ve wanted to stretch out my mind and tackle something different. That is a risk and it might not be for everyone who has read me in the past. It’s okay not to like everything. It is the people who like nothing that make me think they need more joy in their lives. Since none of us can help that, it’s best to hope they find that happiness somewhere.

Last week DSP published the german translation of Fish and Ghost. It’s the first book of the series Hellsinger. Do you believe in the supernatural?

The world is too large and mysterious of a place for me to say something does not exist. I will never say something doesn’t exist because unless I have definitive proof, I cannot say for certain.

What inspired you to write this novel? What aspect of Fish and Ghost came to you first – the setting, premise, characters, something else?

Ah, I don’t recall. It just sort of came together into a cohesive mess all at once. It started with the saying „Fish and guests stink after three days“ and then guests became ghosts in my mind so the premise unraveled from there. Tristan and Wolf developed in my mind almost in conjunction with one another.

What was the funniest scene to write in this series?

The tongue. And Jack.

And can you give your readers any insight as to what we have to look forward to in the rest of the series?

Oh the places we can go with this. I am going to be exploring Wolf and Tristan’s relationship as well as write about Wolf’s cousin, Cin. Without giving away anything that happened in the second book, things get a bit more complicated for the Kincaids and Pryces.

Are you planning to write more series about paranormal topics such as shapeshifters, vampires, demons, etc?  

I have a few paranormal pieces, most notably the Kai Gracen series as well as the Ink and Shadows series. Both are urban fantasies published with DSP Publications, Dreamspinner’s boutique genre imprint. Lots of monsters and such there.

Last but not least: What are you currently working?

I am currently writing the last Cole McGinnis book in the Dirty series. The series itself will be coming to an end although I’ll be doing one-off mysteries for those characters in the future. But the series will be ending. After that, I have the second Kai Gracen book coming up.

Thank you so much giving me this time to talk to you. I appreciate it very much! Haato!

Character Interview Cyrus Abrams with Remmy Duchene & BLMorticia

July 17, 2015

WoundedHearts

 

 

 

Character Interview with Cyrus Abrams

 

*audience applause*

 

Michael Mandrake: Hello, good people. Welcome to sitting down with the muses, hosted by Michael Mandrake. I haven’t done a character interview in quite a while and instead of interviewing one of my own, I’m talking with one of my sister, BLMorticia’s saucy characters, the very interesting and blunt, Cyrus Abrams from Wounded Hearts.

 

*audience applause*

 

Cyrus Abrams: *strokes beard, waves to the crowd, and removes Stetson*  Thank ya’ll. Man, that was quite an ovation. I feel like a rock star. Hiya there, Michael.

 

Michael Mandrake: Hello again, Cyrus. So, tell us more about the book you star in.

 

Cyrus Abrams: Well, it’s called Wounded Hearts. It’s starring me and a hot New York Policeman named Zane Ashford. You could say it’s a romance with some angst, and we butt heads a couple of times, okay well, *laughs* more than a couple, but in the end. I get the best of that fine ass cop. *nods overconfidently and tugs on crotch*

 

*crowd whistles*

 

Michael Mandrake: Wow, well, don’t tell us the whole story, Cyrus. We do want to pick up the book. Let’s move on. Tell us more about Cyrus Abrams.

 

Cyrus Abrams: Well, what can I say, Michael, I’m an old bastard who didn’t want anything to do with relationships. I lost the love of my life years ago and I spent a few years in the slammer. I love country music, especially Conway Twitty and Kenny Rogers, my dog, Woofer, and my horse, Minnie. I run a ranch/farm in Great Falls Montana, graining cereal and selling my best cows and hogs to local butchers. I run an honest business … well, now anyway.

 

*crowd oohs*

 

Cyrus Abrams: Like I said, I was all about the five finger shuffle with a side of porn. Then, the city slicker heads my way and things changed. I was only looking to tap that gorgeous ass, and instead, I got a lot more.

 

*crowd whistles and claps*

 

Michael Mandrake: *Michael blushes* Well, we can’t wait to see how that turns out. One last question before we do a speed round. If there is any lesson we could learn from this book, what would it be?

 

Cyrus Abrams: Mike, I’d say to give love a chance ‘cause you never know what joy it’ll bring ya. Hell, who knows if it’ll pass or fail, but dammit, don’t let it pass you by, regardless of how much of an old geezer you are.

 

*crowd whistles and claps*

 

Michael Mandrake: That’s a great lesson to learn. Now, how about a short speed round for fun? I’m sorry, your author put me up to this.

 

Cyrus Abrams: *laughs* Go on ahead. I’m on top of the world right now. *turns to the left and winks*

 

Michael Mandrake: Ah, the other star is here right now. Zane, don’t be shy, please come out and sit with him. Don’t be shy.

 

*Zane comes out and waves at the crowd, take the seat right next to Cyrus*

 

Zane Ashford: Hello there, Michael. *plants kiss on Cyrus’s cheek* I can answer too for fun.

 

Michael Mandrake: Wonderful. Alright, let’s start. Chocolate or Vanilla.

 

Cyrus Abrams: Well, hell, chocolate is always the best. *waggles eyebrows*

 

Zane Ashford:  Good answer….

 

 

 

Michael Mandrake: Why am I not surprised you answered that?

 

*Cyrus shrugs*

 

Michael Mandrake: Lights on or off?

 

Cyrus Abrams: On. I wanna see everything!

 

*crowd laughs*

 

Zane Ashford:  *palms forehead* Oi.

 

Michael Mandrake: Of course you do, Cyrus. Next, glass half empty or half full?

 

Cyrus Abrams: Well, it’s full now. *Cyrus grins*

 

Michael Mandrake: *shakes head* Cyrus, that wasn’t the question. How about, generally?

 

Cyrus Abrams: Alright, Mr. Stuffy. I’ll say half full.

 

Zane Ashford: *laughs and covers his eyes*

 

Michael Mandrake: Last two. Leather or lace?

 

Cyrus Abrams: Who the hell came up with these? I’d say neither ‘cause I may be gay, but I ain’t no fruit cake.

 

Michael Mandrake: *laughs* No, you aren’t, just answer for the audience.

 

Cyrus Abrams: I’ll go for leather then, especially if they’re the assless chaps I gave Ash for his birthday.

 

*crowd laughs*

 

Zane Ashford:  *puts finger to lips*

 

Michael Mandrake: Last one, favorite color?

 

Cyrus Abrams: Anything black, especially for a Stetson. *places it on his head*

 

Zane Ashford:  One of these days I’m going to get him to wear pink…

 

Michael Mandrake: Well, this has been very enjoyable. Cyrus, Zane, thanks so much for stopping by my show today. Good luck to the both of you.

 

Zane Ashford: Thanks, Michael.

 

Cyrus Abrams; Yes, thanks Mike. And all ya’ll rush out and get Wounded Hearts. It’s hot, angsty, and dammit, it’s fun too. Enjoy!

 

*crowd applauds*

 

German Interview with Anna Martin

July 9, 2015

Ich bedanke mich herzlich bei Anna Martin, die sich bereit erklärt hat, an diesem Interview teilzunehmen und euch Lesern Frage und Antwort zu stehen. Auch ein großes Dankeschön an euch Leser, denn ohne euch wäre dieses wunderbare Interview nicht zustande gekommen.

AnotherWayDE

Vielen Dank fürs Übersetzen, Corina! Obwohl ich ein wenig Deutsch in der Schule lernte, erinnert sich mein kleines Spatzenhirn nur mehr an folgende Phrasen: „Ich bin 12 Jahre alt.“ und „Es ist windig.“ Beide Sätze sind mir heutzutage nicht gerade hilfreich.

Zuallererst: Verrate etwas über dich, das deine Leser überraschen würde.

Ich habe einen Master in Stage Management and Technical Theatre (Anm.: wäre in Deutschland der Veranstaltungstechniker), woraufhin ich eine qualifizierte Elektrikerin wurde. An einem Punkt musste ich mich entweder für meine Karriere im Theater oder für meine Karriere als Autorin entscheiden, da beide am Siedepunkt zum Erfolg standen. Ich arbeitete die letzten sieben Jahre beim Edinburgh Fringe Festival (was eines der größten Theaterfestspiele der Welt ist) , sodass ich meine Fähigkeiten hin und wieder aus der Versenkung holen konnte. Obwohl ich das Theater liebe, bin ich doch der Meinung, dass ich die richtige Entscheidung getroffen habe. ;-)

Was hat dich dazu gebracht, M/M Romanzen zu schreiben? Wie lange schreibst du schon und wie lange hat es gebraucht, bis du von einem Verlag publiziert wurdest?

Vor 13 Jahren wurde ich mittels Fanfiktions auf M/M Geschichten aufmerksam. Ich begann, für mich „fehlende Szenen“ im Harry Potter Fandom zu schreiben, die sich dann zu Harry / Draco Geschichten entwickelten, und der Rest ist Geschichte, denke ich! Seit meiner Kindheit erfinde ich Geschichten, aber jetzt schreibe ich sie auch nieder.

Ich war nie in der Lage rauszufinden, was mich so an M/M Romanzen fasziniert. Ich denke, es kann damit zusammenhängen, dass es scheint, als gäbe es hier so viele unerforschte Wege. Wenn ich ein Konzept für eine M/M Geschichte entwickelt habe, kann ich mir ziemlich sicher sein, dass es nicht schon mal geschrieben wurde, und wenn doch, dass ich einen neuen Twist reinbringen kann.

Ich war so glücklich, als „Andere Wege“ veröffentlicht wurde. Eine Freundin von mir, Tia Fielding, veröffentlichte bereits über Dreamspinner Press und schlug vor, das Buch bei ihnen einzureichen. Und sie nahmen es! Vier Jahre und fünfzehn Bücher später stehen wir hier.

Ich hoffe, die Frage ist nicht zu privat, wenn ja, musst du natürlich nicht darauf antworten: Wie vereinst du deine Liebe zum Schreiben mit deinem Real Life (Familie, Freunden, dem Partner etc.), ohne dass einer dabei zu kurz kommt?

Ich habe keine Freunde.

Ha!

Nun, ich habe einen Vollzeitjob im Marketing, weshalb mein Schreiben sich dem anpassen muss. Aber ich bin auch irgendwie ein Glückspilz, da ich ziemlich schnell schreibe. Ich schrieb „Summer Son“ in fünf Wochen und „That I Should Meet a Prince“ (die englische Version wird dieses Jahr veröffentlicht) in neun Wochen.

Ich bin auch Single, kinderlos und lebe allein, das hilft vermutlich!

Es kam mir nie so vor, als würde ich mit mir selbst in einem Konflikt stehen, um mein Verlangen nach dem Schreiben zu stillen, Erfolg in meinem Beruf zu habe und Zeit für meine Freunde zu finden. Ich bin eine wirklich glückliche Frau.

Schreibst du an mehreren Büchern gleichzeitig oder konzentrierst du dich lieber nur auf eines? Wie lange schreibst du durchschnittlich an einer Geschichte und wie sieht dein Schreiballtag im Allgemeinen aus?

Ich habe keine eindeutige Antwort darauf. Manchmal arbeite ich an zwei oder drei Büchern gleichzeitig. Manchmal an einem oder gar keinem. Ich habe eines in einem Monat geschrieben und an einem anderen arbeite ich bereits seit zwei Jahren. Ich habe keine Routine. Das was einer Routine am Nähesten kommt, ist, dass ich abends schreibe, wegen dieses verflixten Vollzeitjobs und da ich meine Geschichten in Coffee Shops überarbeite, um nicht von Tumblr abgelenkt zu werden. Aber es hängt wirklich von vielen verschiedenen Faktoren ab. (Manchmal wünsche ich mir, ich wäre eine jener Autoren, die jeden Morgen 5000 Wörter schreiben, dabei die Katze im Schoß und eine Tasse Kaffee in der Hand haben. Dann hätte ich eine bessere Antwort auf diese Frage! Aber ich denke nicht, dass ich jemals diese Art von Mädchen sein werde.)

Gibt es bestimmte Stärken und Schwächen, die du als Autor besitzt?

Ich denke, sie sind dieselben Dinge. Ich schreibe sehr charakterbezogene Geschichten. Ich bin an den Leben normaler Leute interessiert und was ihre Routinen stört, was sie dazu bringen könnte, sich außerhalb ihrer Wohlfühlzonen zu bewegen, was ausschlaggebend ist, dass sie sich verlieben. Ich schreibe keine Geschichten mit komplexen Handlungen und Nebenhandlungen, mit Schießereine und Werwölfen und Explosionen und überraschenden Schwangerschaften … so bin ich einfach nicht.

Das wohl häufigste negative Feedback zu meinen Geschichten ist, dass nichts darin passieren würde! Und dagegen ist nichts einzuwenden. Gebt mir zwei interessante Jungs und eine ungewöhnliche Situation – das bringt mich auf Touren.

Gibt es für dich gewisse Hilfsmittel oder Werkzeuge, die für einen Autor unerlässlich sind?

Eine gute Vorstellungskraft. Lasst mich euch was witziges erzählen – meine Universität weigerte sich, mich an dem Kurs Kreatives Schreiben teilnehmen zu lassen, da ich nicht die passenden Qualifikationen hätte. Stattdessen wählte ich Englische Literatur. Ich promovierte mit 21, meine erste Geschichte wurde veröffentlicht, als ich 25 war. Qualifikationen sind nicht alles! Ich denke, wenn du das Verlangen hast, zu schreiben, übe, lass dir Feedback geben, lerne deine eigene Arbeit zu editieren und schreibe weiter. Alles was du tun musst, um ein Autor zu werden, ist zu schreiben. So simpel ist das.

Wie hast du die Veröffentlichung deines ersten Buches gefeiert?

Mit einem Tattoo! Ich habe eine traditionelle Zigeunerlady auf meinem Schenkel, darunter ist ein Banner mit dem Spruch „alis volat propriis“. Es ist lateinisch für „Sie fliegt mit ihren eigenen Flügeln.“ Es soll mich daran erinnern, Dinge auf meine Weise zu tun und mich von niemanden zurückhalten zu lassen.

 Findest du einen speziellen Typ Mann besonders faszinierend und bindest du ihn häufiger in deine Geschichten ein?

Ich liebe freche Charaktere. Ich habe einige große, dreiste Persönlichkeiten in meiner Backlist. Meine Protagonisten sind eigentlich so ziemlich das absolute Gegenteil zu den Männern, die ich im realen Leben attraktiv finde. Ich könnte Männer wie Liam von „Solitude“ immer wieder schreiben. Er ist unverschämt und zickig und ein wenig böse, aber ich vergöttere ihn! Ich denke, der einzige Charakter, der meinen perfekten Typ Mann widerspiegelt, ist Ryan von „Cricket“.

 Gehörst du auch zu den Autoren, die von der Muse ständig Arschtritte bekommen, vor allem, wenn sie etwas will, das dir aktuell so gar nicht in den Zeitplan passt?

Ich habe viele Ideen, ja. Ich lasse mich von Leuten inspirieren, da ich mir oft vorstelle: „Okay, welche Art von Person wäre wohl in dieser Situation am interessantesten zu schreiben?“ Wenn ich einen engen Zeitrahmen habe, möchte die Muse normalerweise immer, dass ich eine Fanfiktion schreibe!

Wachsen dir manche Protagonisten mehr ans Herz als andere? Wenn ja, welche magst du am liebsten? Gab es ein Paar, das dich in den Wahnsinn getrieben hat?

Oh Gott, ja. Will und Jesse von der Serie „Neue Wege“. Ich träume von ihnen, und sie sind die einzigen meiner Charaktere von denen ich träume. Ich weiß so vieles über sie. Dinge, die es niemals in die Bücher schaffen würden, da sie zu trivial sind. Ich weiß sogar wie sie sterben, da ich meine Gedanken dorthin wandern lies, um es unbedingt herauszufinden. (Ich weinte danach.) Es gibt sogar ein Pärchen im realen Leben, die für mich Will und Jesse sind – Ich sah ein Foto auf Tumblr und hatte eine Art Nervenzusammenbruch, da es meine Jungs waren, die mir entgegenblickten. Ihre Ausdrücke, die Art und Weise wie sie miteinander umgehen, alles war so, wie ich es mir bei Will und Jesse vorgestellt habe.

Wenn du mit einem deiner Protagonisten einen trinken gehen könntest, für wen würdest du dich entscheiden und warum?

Ich würde sagen, Boner von „Jurassic Heart“. Denn er ist lustig, verrück und wild, und seien wir mal ehrlich, ich würde wohl mit ihm Bett landen.

Welcher deiner Charaktere ähnelt dir charakterlich am meisten?

Ich sagte immer Robert von „Tattoos & Teacups“ (Anm.: deutsche Übersetzung: Teeträume vom Cursed Verlag), da er zu dieser Zeit meiner eigenen Persönlichkeit sehr nah kam. Seitdem hat sich viel geändert, und ich sehe viel von mir selbst in George von „That I Should Meet a Prince“. Deshalb lautet meine neue Antwort George!

Hast du schon einmal abfällige / beleidigende Bemerkungen zu deinen Büchern erhalten? Wenn ja, wie hast du darauf reagiert?

Immer wieder, das gehört dazu, wenn man ein Autor ist. Ich denke, es half mir, dass ich vorher Fanfiktions schrieb, da ich konstruktive Kritik gewöhnt war und meine Arbeit aufgrund dieses Feedbacks stetig verbesserte. Eines meiner liebsten Reviews war ziemlich negativ: „Hab kein Interesse daran, eine schwule Version von Eiskalte Engel zu lesen, die mit selbstverliebten, völlig bescheuerten und verrückten Teenagern besiedelt ist. Ich bin zu alt für diesen Scheiß!“ Das war ein Review zu „Les faits accomplis“. Ich las es und dachte mir: „JA! Ganz genau!“ Die Leserin hat perfekt zusammengefasst, worüber das Buch handelt. Wenn das nichts für sie ist, ist das vollkommen in Ordnung. Aber sie erfasste den Kern der Geschichte in ihrem Statement, und das liebte ich!

Letzte Woche veröffentliche DSP die deutsche Übersetzung von deinem Buch Another Way (Andere Wege). Was hat dich inspiriert, dieses Buch zu schreiben?

Nun, es hat lange gedauert, ehe die deutsche Übersetzung des Buches veröffentlicht wurde. Ich habe es vor sechs Jahren geschrieben, weshalb ich mich nicht mehr wirklich daran erinnern kann, was mich dazu brachte, dieses Buch zu schreiben. Es sind aber auf jeden Fall die Charaktere, die mich immer wieder zu dieser Serie hinziehen – ich vergöttere Jesse und Will, sie fühlen sich so real an und anscheinend kann ich die beiden einfach nicht gehen lassen.

Gibt es eine Szene im Buch, die dich während des Schreibens besonders berührte?

Ich denke, es ist die erste Szene von Buch 3 („To Say I Love You“). Jesse joggt und versucht seine Gedanken zu ordnen. Symbolisch läuft er vor seinen Problemen davon, da er einfach nicht weiß, wie er mit den Dingen, die gerade in seinem Leben geschehen, umgehen soll. Da es aber sehr viele emotionale Hochs und Tiefs in dieser Serie gibt, bin ich mir sicher, dass mir manche Leser widersprechen werden.

Was war der am schwersten zu schreibende Charakter in der Neue Wege Serie?

Ich würde sagen, Jesses Dad. Er ist ein sehr ruhiger, engstirniger, introvertierter Mann, und er kann seine Liebe nur sehr schwer zeigen. Deshalb war es auch so schwer, eine offene Kommunikation zwischen ihm und Jesse zu schreiben! Ich mag ihn trotzdem – obwohl er aus den südlichen USA kommt, akzeptiert er Jesses und Wills Beziehung und verteidigt sie vor seinen homophoben Kollegen.

Wenn du einen Titelsong für dein Buch aussuchen müsstest, welcher wäre es?

Das ist leicht! „Forever“ von Ben Harper. Ich dachte, ich hätte ein Zitat von diesem Lied in einem der Bücher dieser Serie erwähnt, aber ich hab es gerade geprüft und anscheinend war dem nicht so. Das Lied „Walk Away“, auch von Ben Harper, hat den ersten Band dieser Serie sehr beeinflusst.

Am 22. Juni wurde dein Buch Devil’s Food at Dusk veröffentlicht, das aus einer Zusammenarbeit mit M.J. O’Shea entstand. Kannst du uns ein wenig darüber erzählen?

Oh, es machte so viel Spaß, diese Bücher zu schreiben. Es ist der dritte Band einer dreibändigen Kollektion, die wir „Just Desserts“ nennen. Die drei Bücher sind „Macarons at Midnight“, das in einer Bäckerei im West Village in New York spielt, „Souffles at Sunrise“, die über eine Reality Backshow in LA handelt, und „Devil’s Food at Dusk“, das in einem kleinen Kaffee im French Quarter von New Orleans spielt. Jedes Buch hat seinen eigenen Standort und seine eigenen Charaktere, aber sie alle verlieben sich und backen, und es gibt auch ein paar tolle Rezepte in den Büchern! MJ ist eine gute Freundin von mir, weshalb das Schreiben mit ihr fantastisch war.

Sind weitere Reihen oder Einzelbände in dem Genre BDSM geplant?

Ja, plane ich. Ich habe geplant, dass die Serie „Neue Wege“ fünf Bücher beinhaltet. Es wird ein weiteres Buch aus der Sicht von Jesse geben, dann eine Fortsetzung aus Wills Sicht. Ich habe fest beabsichtigt, diese Bücher zu schreiben, aber ich habe keine Ahnung, wann das genau sein wird. Mein Leben als Autor und auch darüber hinaus, ist zur Zeit sehr stressig.

Was fiel dir in deinem letzten Buch am schwersten?

Ich bin mir nicht sicher. Für mich ist es meist am schwierigsten über die fünfzehn- bis zwanzigtausend Wörter hinauszukommen und das ganze Wirrwarr an Ideen in eine schlüssige Geschichte zu bringen. Ich beginne meist mit einem Buch, lasse es dann für eine Weile ruhen, arbeite wieder daran und beende es dann.

Zu guter Letzt. Woran arbeitest du zur Zeit?

Zur Zeit an nichts Solidem. Ich versuche mir gerade selbst beizubringen, ein Drehbuch zu schreiben, und nage an „The Impossible Boy“ – das ist das Buch, an dem ich bereits seit zwei Jahren schreibe. Ich habe ein paar andere Plot Bunnies, aber ich weiß noch nicht, welches davon mein nächstes Projekt sein wird.

Ein großes Dankeschön an alle, die diese Fragen eingeschickt haben. Ich hoffe, ihr genießt die deutsche Übersetzung von „Andere Wege“ und all die anderen fantastischen deutschen Übersetzungen von Dreamspinner Press.

BDSM and Character Driven Romance with Anna Martin

July 9, 2015

A big thank you to Anna Martin, who agreed to do this interview and answer the questions of her readers. I also want to thank you, the readers, who came up with the questions and thus made this interview possible.

AnotherWay

Thank you Corina for translating for me! Although I studied some German at school the only phrases my tiny brain has retained are “Ich bin 12 jahre alt”  and “Es is windig.” Neither of which have been particularly useful to me as an adult.

First of all, name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I did a post-graduate degree in Stage Management and Technical Theatre, and as part of that I became a qualified electrician. At one point I had to make a choice between my career in theatre and my career as a writer, because both were simmering on the verge of being successful. I’ve worked at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (which is one of the biggest theatre festivals in the world) for the past 7 years, so I still get to dust off those skills every now and again. Even though I love the theatre I think I made the right choice! ;)

What made you start writing M/M novels? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?

I was introduced to M/M via fan fiction about thirteen years ago. I started writing Harry Potter ‘missing scene’ fan fiction stories, and that spiraled to Harry/Draco stories, and the rest is history I suppose! I’ve been making up stories since I was a little kid, these days I just write them down.

I’ve never been able to figure out what the draw of M/M romance is to me. I think it might have something to do with how it seems like there are so many unexplored avenues. If I come up with a concept for a M/M story, I can be fairly certain it hasn’t been done before, or if it has, I can put a new twist on it.

I was incredibly fortunate with getting ‘Another Way’ published. A dear friend of mine, Tia Fielding, was already published with Dreamspinner Press and suggested I submit the novel to them. And they took it! Four years and fifteen novels later, and here we are.

I hope this question is not too personal; if yes you of course don’t have to answer it. How do you unite your writing with your private life (family, friends, partner, etc.) without neglecting anyone or anything?

I don’t have any friends.

Ha!

Well, I have a full time job in marketing, so my writing life has to fit in and around that. In a way I’m lucky, because I write fairly quickly. I wrote ‘Summer Son’ in five weeks and ‘That I Should Meet a Prince’ (which is coming out in English later this year) in about nine weeks.

I’m also single, childless, and live on my own, so that probably helps!

I’ve never felt like I was at war with myself, trying to fulfill my desire to write and earn a living at my day job and make time for my friends. I’m a very lucky person.

Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one?  How long does it take you on average to write a story and what does your daily writing routine look like?

I don’t have an answer to this. Sometimes I’m working on two or even three books at a time. Sometimes it’s one or none. I’ve written a book in a month and I’ve been working on one for almost two years. I don’t have a routine at all. I suppose the closest thing I have to a routine is writing in the evenings, because of that darned day job, and editing in coffee shops where I can’t be distracted by tumblr. But it really depends on a lot of different factors. (Sometimes I wish I was one of those writers who writes five thousand words every morning with her cat at her feet and a mug of coffee at her elbow, then carries on with her day. Then I’d have a better answer to this question! But I don’t think I’ll ever be that girl.)

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses as an author?

I think they’re the same thing, actually. I write very character-driven novels. I am interested in the lives of normal people and what upsets their routines, what makes them step outside of their comfort zones, what makes them fall in love. I don’t write stories with complex plots and sub-plots and gunfights and werewolves and explosions and surprise pregnancies… it’s just not who I am.

Probably the most consistent negative feedback I get on my novels is “nothing ever happens!!!” and that’s fair. Give me two interesting guys and an unusual situation any day — that’s what makes me tick.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

A good imagination. Here’s a fun story – my university refused to let me take a Creative Writing degree because I didn’t have the right qualifications. Instead I took English Literature. I graduated aged 21, and had my first novel published at 25. So qualifications aren’t everything! I think if you’ve got the desire to write, then practice get feedback, learn how to edit your own work, and write some more. All you have to do to be a writer is write. It’s that simple.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

With a tattoo! I have a traditional gypsy lady on my thigh with ‘alis volat propriis’ on a banner underneath – it’s Latin for ‘she flies with her own wings’. It was my reminder to myself to do things my way and not let anything hold me back.

Is there any specific type of man that fascinates you more than others? If yes, do you often tend to use that type in your stories?

I love bold characters. I’ve got quite a few big, brash personalities in my backlist! The men I’m drawn to writing are actually quite different to the men I’m attracted to in real life. I could write men like Liam from ‘Solitude’ forever. He’s sassy and bitchy and a little bit mean, and I adore him! I think the only time I’ve ever written a character who is my perfect ‘type’ of man is Ryan from ‘Cricket’.

Are you one of the authors that get kicked by their muse all of the time, especially when she wants something that doesn’t really fit into your writing timetable in that situation?

I have a lot of ideas, yeah. I get inspired by people, by thinking ‘okay, so what sort of person would be really interesting to write in this situation?’ Generally when I’m working to a tight timescale my muse wants me to write fan fiction!!

Do some protagonists grow dear to your heart more than others? If yes, which are the ones you like best?

Oh, God, yes. Will and Jesse from the Another Way series. I dream about them, and they’re the only characters I’ve ever written that I dream about. I know so, so much about them. Stuff that would never make it into the books because it’s so trivial. I also know how they die, because I had to let my mind go there and find out. (I cried a lot afterwards.) There’s also a real-life couple out there who I see as Will and Jesse – I saw a picture of them on tumblr and had something of a nervous breakdown because it was my boys looking back at me. Their expressions, the way they connected to each other, everything was just how I imagine Will and Jesse to be.

If you could have a drink with any of your book’s fictional character who would it be? Why?

I’m going to say Boner from ‘Jurassic Heart’. Because he’s fun and crazy and wild and let’s face it, I’d probably end up in bed with him.

Which character do you think most closely resembles your own personality?

I always used to say Robert from ‘Tattoos & Teacups’, because at the time he was very much a reflection of me. I’ve changed quite a lot since then though, and I ended up pouring a lot of myself into George from ‘That I Should Meet a Prince’. So my new answer to this question is George!

Have you ever got insulted because of your books? Or have your books ever got insulted? If yes, how did you react to it?

All the time, it’s part of being a writer. I think this is where my background in fan fiction has helped me a lot, actually, because I’m used to constructive criticism and amending my work  based on feedback. One of my favourite reviews ever was fairly negative: “No desire to read a gay Cruel Intentions populated with self indulged batshit crazy teenagers. I’m way too old for this shit.“ – this was for ‘Les faits accomplis’. I read it and just thought “Yes!! Exactly!” The reader just perfectly summed up what the book is about. If it’s not for her then that’s absolutely fine. But she captured the essence of the book with that statement, and I love it.

Last week DSP published the german translation of Another Way. What inspired you to write this novel?

Well, it’s taken a while to get the German translation of this book; I wrote it originally about six years ago! So I can’t quite remember exactly what made me want to write the book at first. It’s definitely the characters that keep me coming back to the series though – I completely adore Jesse and Will, they feel very real to me and I don’t seem to be able to leave them alone.

What was the most touching scene to write in this series?

I think it’s probably the opening scene of book 3 (‘To Say I Love You’). Jesse is jogging and going over stuff in his mind. He’s literally running away from his problems because he doesn’t know how to cope with what’s going on in his life. There’s quite a lot of emotional highs and lows in the series though, so I’m sure some of my readers will disagree with me!

Who was the most difficult character to write in the Another Way series?

I’m going to say Jesse’s dad. He’s a very quiet, insular, introverted sort of person, and he doesn’t show affection very well. So trying to write any sort of open communication between him and Jesse is difficult! I like him though – despite being from the southern US he’s very okay with Jesse and Will’s relationship and defends them from his homophobic peers.

If you had to pick a theme song for the series, what would it be?

This one is easy! ‘Forever’ by Ben Harper. I thought I’d used a quote from this song in the front of one of the books from the series, but I’ve just checked and apparently not! The song ‘Walk Away’, also by Ben Harper, was very influential on the first book.

Your novel Devil‘s Food at Dusk, a collaboration with M.J. O’Shea,  was released on 22 June. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Oh, those books were so much fun. It’s the third book in a three-part collection we called ‘Just Desserts’. The three books are ‘Macarons at Midnight’, which is set in a bakery in the West Village in New York, ‘Souffles at Sunrise’, which is all about a reality TV baking show in LA, and ‘Devil’s Food at Dusk’, set in a tiny café in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Each book has its own location and set of characters, but they’re all about falling in love and baking and there’s some great recipes in the books too! MJ is a great friend of mine so getting to write with her was fantastic.

Are you planning to write more series or novels dealing with BDSM?  

The short answer is yes. I originally planned for Another Way to be a five part series. There’s one more book from Jesse’s POV, then a prequel told from Will’s POV. I have every intention of writing these books but I have absolutely no idea when I’ll have chance to do so. My life both as a writer and beyond is very busy at the moment!

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

I’m really not sure. Usually for me the hardest point is getting past 15-20 thousand words and turning a whole jumble of ideas into a coherent story. I tend to start writing a book, then abandon it, then come back and finish it!

Last but not least: What are you currently working?

Nothing solid at the moment, actually. I’m currently teaching myself how to write a screenplay and I’m still chipping away at ‘The Impossible Boy’, which is a novel I’ve been working on for about two years at this point. I’ve got a few other “plot bunnies” but I’m not sure which one will turn into my next project!

Thank you to everyone who sent in questions – I hope you enjoy the German translation of Andere Wege and all the other fantastic German language titles from Dreamspinner Press.

Serena Yates: Sexy Book Covers, Favorite Genres, and More!

July 7, 2015

Serena Yates chats with blog readers today!

Tell us how you choose those sexy book covers for your Workplace Encounters series!

They all start with the main character in each book, who initially only exists in my brain. Then I complete a cover spec questionnaire which goes to the Dreamspinner Press art department. And that is where the “magic” starts. Honestly—I can’t take all the credit, simply because L/C. Chase, the brilliant cover artist who has been working with me on this series, must be a mind reader. She takes the questionnaire, comes up with some wonderful alternatives for me to choose from, and most of the time the first model she picks is exactly the man I was looking for. Magic, I tell you!

Baker[The]SM                        ElevatorMechanic[The]SM                          Bricklayer[The]SM                         Carpenter[The]SM                        Chauffeur[The]SM                          ShipEngineer[The]SM                                                                                                                                                         
Your new novella in the Workplace Encounters series, The Baker, features a Scottish baker donning a kilt. What inspired you to write his character?

I’ve been wanting to write another book with a main character in a kilt for quite a while. So I started with “I need a man of Scottish descent” who is also a baker. Ian Wallace “popped” into my head (yes, he was wearing a kilt!) and I started asking him questions. What do you like baking? Where do you live and work? What is your family like? Who is your ideal man? As usual, one thing led to another and “The Baker” was born.

Do you have a favorite couple in your Workplace Encounters series?

I don’t think I do – I like them all. I think Joe and Bill from The Elevator Mechanic will always be special because they were the first… But each new couple is special in their own way. I’d love to hear from readers if they have a favorite and who that might be!

What are five of your favorite gay romance reads and briefly share why.

I don’t think I can narrow it down to only five. I LOVE reading gay romance, and it depends on my mood which type of book I go for. One of my favorites is definitely the sweet contemporary romance, but dark and angsty has its place in my TBR too. I could never write like that, but occasionally I like to read the tortured characters some authors do so well. Then there is BDSM. Another genre I don’t think I will write (but you never know), but I definitely enjoy reading all types of stories involving power exchange. Then there are the shifters, vampires, aliens, magic wielders of all descriptions…The list is endless and it never seems as if I have enough time to read everything I want to.

 What is one thing you waste time on when you should be writing?

This is embarrassing…. I love to play computer games. My biggest weakness (and longest-standing addiction) is Civilization. I am currently exploring Civilization V and don’t think I’ll get bored anytime soon. But I have to admit I love playing Minecraft too – it’s all my thirteen-year-old niece’s fault that one!