Interview with author M.J. Duncan

Who or what inspired your latest novel Heist?

 

A tumblr post, actually. There was an article in Smithsonian Magazineabout a wealthy collector known as “The Astronomer” who hired thieves to break into a London warehouse to steal rare books for them. My Muse took that idea and added, “Let’s add lesbians!” so yeah. That was how it all started.

 

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

 

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Mostly short stories, like most kids who dabble with words, but I wrote my first novel when I was still in high school. It was a totally cringe-worthy attempt at becoming the next Patricia Cornwell—whose stuff I was obsessedwith at the time—but it was words on the screen of a brick of a laptop and I was quite proud of it at the time. I then went on to become a Creative Writing major in college, which meant I got to write a lot of words and learn a lot of B.S. theories about what makes “good” writing that I completely ignored. Then life happened and writing kind of took a back seat for a while, and I eventually fell back into it with fanfiction. That was great because I was playing in someone else’s sandbox and could just refocus on finding my voice again, and then I eventually thought “why not?” and started working on Second Chances.

 

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

 

God, that’s like asking me which child I love the most! I love all of my characters for different reasons, but I’m definitely the most attached to Bryn Nakamura from Spectrum.Her whole path-to-self-acceptance/awareness very much mirrors my own, so I feel very protective of her in a way that I don’t with my other characters who all start their stories knowing that very important part of themselves.

 

How do you approach writing a new storyline?

 

Most start with an idea for a particular scene. For Heist, it was that first robbery in Paris. Characters are next, because my stories are all very character-driven. I’m not a fan of drama, I avoid confrontation like the plague in real life, and to me the “real” story is the two characters falling in love—everything else is just shit that happens to them in the course of that journey. Anyway, once I have the characters, I come up with a very, very rough idea for the arc of a story that feeds into/incorporates that scene I mentioned above, and then I start researching the shit out of everything about the world/careers/lives of my characters that I don’t know. Honestly, this is my favorite part of the process. I love learning new things and putting them to use to make my stories (hopefully) more believable, but then when the story is done I can move onto something new. Once I feel like I have a working-knowledge of everything important, I cobble together something that looks like at least the skeleton of actual story arc in Scrivener and start hacking away at it all.

 

 

Where do your inspirations for characters and their lives come from?

 

I know I said my characters drive my stories, but the story also dictates what I will need from each character to make the whole thing work. In Heist, for example, I needed Parker to have a reason to know the less-than-honorable skills that she knows, as well as a reason to have to use them. The key points in Sheridan’s personality were born of the same need—she had to have a reason to resist falling for Parker. Everything else, all the little details and quirks that make them real, flow from there as the story progresses.

 

Where is your favorite place to write?

 

I have a great little office in the basement, but I do pretty much all my writing at the kitchen island because my dog Hunter doesn’t like going downstairs (he’s a big dude, 140 pounds, so he’s not exactly built to manage stairs). Every time I do try to go downstairs to work, he’ll grudgingly follow me down there, rest his head on the desk so he’s staring at me, and cry until I give up and go back to the kitchen. At this point, I’ve basically given up on using the office, but maybe someday I’ll get back to it. Or maybe not. It really is convenient working right next to the kettle and snacks.

 

What is your writing process?

 

Besides what I said already? It’s pretty much: open Scrivener, look at where I left off the day before, and try like hell to hit my word count goal for the day. Oh!, and try to not get distracted with shiny new ideas. Some people can have multiple projects working, but I’ve found that I work best focusing on one story at a time.

 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

 

I’m definitely getting better at plotting chapters for the story. I went at Second Chanceswithout any kind of a plan besides getting Mac and Charlie together and pretty much just winged the whole thing, but I’ve learned to see the helpfulness of actually planning further ahead. Switching from Word to Scrivener helped with this, too.

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

 

Definitely Scrivener. It’s seriously the best large-project writing program I’ve ever come across.

 

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

 

I honestly treasure every nice comment anyone has ever said about my work. But the messages I treasure the most are the ones where people reach out to tell me that a particular character touched them in some way. Writing is a very solitary process for the most part, so whenever I get a message like that it’s like, “Okay, I’ve done something good.”

 

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

 

I don’t know if there is one book that has really influenced my life. Or, at least, there isn’t one that immediately comes to mind that I can point to and say, “Yes, that one.”

 

Do you have any new books coming out? If so, what are they about?

 

Eventually, yes. I am still working on finishing up my latest story, Pas de Deux, but my goal is to have it out in March. It’s another LONG one, though, so we’ll see if I can swing it. *sighs* I really need to learn how to write shorter stories. Anyway, it’s a kinda-sorta-not-really sequel to Symphony in Blue.Kinda-sorta in that it’s in the same universe, but not-really because this time the story is about Mallory moving past everything that went down in Symphonyand finding her happily ever after. There are two people in every failed relationship and two different stories about how the relationship got to that point, and while she was painted as the necessary villain in Gwen’s story, she wasn’t in her own and I hated leaving her where I did.

 

How do you take your coffee?

 

Like Maeve Dylan, I prefer my coffee to not taste anything like coffee. Usually a splash of flavored creamer (it’s peppermint mocha season!) and milk is enough, but I’ve also done the hot chocolate mix thing that I gave to Maeve.

Interview with debut author Lou J Bard

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Who or what inspired your latest novel There’s A Possibility?
Actually, it was a Patrick Dempsey movie called Made of Honor and I loved the plot so much, but of course I wanted to see how you could twist it to be gay. This has been in the back of my mind ever since it came out in 2008. I’m glad it’s finally out of my head and on the pages!

 

Who or what inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing since as long as I can remember. I think the first time I ever realized fanfiction was a thing, I’d already been writing some for Pokémon! LOL

 

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

Oh wow. I guess I’d have to go with Nymphadora Tonks from Harry Potter. She was always a badass in my opinion. Youngest Auror of her time AND a Hufflepuff. Fun colored hair. She was my idol when she appeared in the books.

 

How do you approach writing a new storyline?

Character sketches! My absolute favorite part of the story is understanding my characters and where they come from, what their purposes are and where I think they’re headed.

 

Where do your inspirations for characters and their lives come from?

Mostly everyday people I live around and myself. I think I put a little piece of me into all of my characters. I try to write what I know.

 

Where is your favorite place to write?

If it weren’t for my cat begging for my attention all of the time, I’d saythat it was my living room couch with lots of pillows and blankets and a hot cup of coffee. But I generally find myself at Starbucks to avoid distraction (go figure).

 

What is your writing process?

See the thing. Plot the thing. Write the thing. Get blocked by the thing. Cry over the thing. Write more of the thing. Send the thing to Editor and then cry when it returns looking like a crime scene. Finish polishing the thing. Cry again over the thing because it’s finished. Cry more over the thing when people enjoy the finished product.

 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I think it made me more aware of how I write, definitely with my use of adverbs and how I use the words “that” and “like” a LOT and how I need to correct it both in my speech and in my writing.

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

My editor. Claire works miracles with the shite I send her! LOL.

 

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

Everything from my readers is memorable. Even if it’s not a stellar review, I am happy that someone took the time to read what I wrote and at least gave it a shot. Of course, I love the great reviews, but I take all of them in stride.

 

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

Am I lame if I say Harry Potter? It was the first real set of books I ever fell in love with and have changed the way I look at books for the rest of my life. I may never be as great as Ms. Rowling, but I certainly thank her for giving me the gift of loving the written word and the magical places it can take you.

 

Do you have any new books coming out? If so what are they about?

My next book is called The Sound of Silenceand it’s about a young woman who has been mute for over half of her life, falling in love with one of her caretakers and her caretaker trying to defend her own emotions against the world that thinks they are wrong.

But that’s as far as I’ll tell 🙂

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How do you take your coffee?

Cream and sugar with a splash of black coffee. Or just a soy caramel macchiato from Starbucks.

 

Lou’s upcoming book The Sound of Silence will be available on Amazon Kindle August 31st. It is available for preorder now by clicking here.

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Interview with Radclyffe

Radclyffe

I just finished reading Dangerous Waters  by Radclyffe, and I have had the opportunity to interview the author about it!

 

Who or what inspired your latest novel Dangerous Waters?

 

I was impressed by the incredible response from people—from community members to first responders—to the two nearly back-to-back hurricanes in Texas and Florida in 2017. The selfless outpouring of aid and support made me want to capture some of that as a backdrop to a First Responders novel, so I quickly re-arranged my writing schedule to fit Dangerous Waters in as the next book.

 

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

 

Every book I’ve ever read has helped create my life-long love of reading. I started writing lesbian fiction to fill a gap in what I was able to find to read at the time. Now even though there is a wealth of new queer fiction available, I enjoy the process of writing and sharing my work with readers.

 

Which of your books was your favorite to write and why?

 

If I had to pick one: Safe Harbor, since it is one of the earliest ones and begins the Provincetown Tales. I have always loved the characters and the setting—one of my favorite places to visit.

 

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

 

Again – not a fair question since I have quite a few characters I like to revisit and write about. At the moment it’s Blake Remy, a trans teen first introduced in the second book in the Rivers series (Prescription for Love). His story has turned out to be a major secondary plotline in three books, and I get lots of emails asking me to write more about him.  Writing a young queer character has been challenging and rewarding.

 

How do you approach writing a new storyline?

 

For me, any story, but particularly a romance, is about the characters. I start with two characters who find themselves in a situation they never expected, often at odds at first, who learn more about themselves as they come to know each other.

 

Where do your inspirations for characters and their lives come from?

 

Most of the situations I write about come from real life events I have either experienced (as in the medical romances) or events I’ve read about that seem to me to be important and interesting for readers. Life is filled with “every day” heroes and those are the stories I like to tell.

 

Where is your favorite place to write?

 

I can write anywhere, but I prefer writing while sitting on a sofa rather than at a desk. I don’t listen to music although I can edit a draft while watching baseball on TV 😊.

 

 

What is your writing process?

 

I dictate my first draft with voice-to-text software and then edit the transcription on computer. I write from page one to the end, and I never write scenes out of sequence. The book grows as the characters interact.

 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

 

I learned to be a much better self-editor as I became more experienced. Being published has helped me be a better writer.

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

 

Becoming a member of the Romance Writers of America. Attending the annual meetings and learning from the best romance writers in the world has really helped me improve my craft.

 

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

 

I’ve been fortunate to receive countless messages of support over the years, and they are all invaluable. I am always especially happy when someone tells me my books helped them come out or to realize they are not alone.

 

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

 

The first book I ever read with a lesbian character—that was when I understood who I was.Beebo Brinkerby Ann Bannon.

 

How do you take your coffee?

 

Americano with ½ and ½.

 

Interview With Hannah Carmack

Amazon

I just finished reading Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack , and I have had the opportunity to interview the author about it!

Who or what inspired your latest novella Take Your Medicine?

Originally, the piece was written as a submission for Nine Star Press’ Once Upon a Rainbow anthology, but the editor liked it so much he suggested we release it as a stand-alone! In terms of content, I think Eve’s Bayou and Grey’s Anatomy both had big impacts on it.

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

I think I’ve been writing my whole life on my own accord, but what really got me writing consistently was Naruto fanfiction! LOL. From there I honed my craft and started writing my own original stuff.

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

Overall?! Oh man, this is a fun one. I love most of the cast I’m working with for my next project, but from what’s currently released I think it’s gonna be Da Vinci from Seven-Sided Spy. He’s got such a story to tell and there are so many layers to it.

Where is your favorite place to write?

My bed! I feel incredibly comfortable burritoed in a bunch of blankets.

What is your writing process?

For a manuscript I do intense character development first. I’ve got to know the players on the stage before I can really get a plot going. Then, I do a light outline with the story’s general arc. After that, I go wild and write a first draft. I don’t hold back during this draft. I think the first time around it’s important to be as undisciplined as possible to encourage all the best writing. From there it’s editing, revising, rewriting, ad perfecting.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I learned so much about what was wrong with my work that I’ve really improved tenfold, especially with head-hopping and POV switching. Also, adverbs. I’m still learning to knock off the over-usage, but man it used to be bad.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Scrivner! This thing gives me life! It’s so fun to use and it’s a one-time fee.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

I think the response to Take Your Medicine really made me realize how lucky I am to be where I am in the time that I am. I have found so many other chronically ill writers just from this one project and we’re all able to connect at the swipe of a lock-screen.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

Oh man! THAT’S a big question. Likely The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. At this point I have mentioned this book every time I’m asked questions like this, but I cannot stress how beautiful of a novel it is. I actually have a tattoo based on the cover’s imagery.

Do you have any up-and-coming projects that we should look out for?

Currently I’m working on a project titled Viva La Education! I’m super excited for it. It focuses on a group of queer educators fighting the department of education. I’m not sure on release as it’s still a WIP, but fingers are crossed sometime in the next year or two!

How do you take your coffee?

I don’t! Lol. I used to love getting frappes, but since I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis coffee has been on the no-no list.

Interview with JamieLynn Boothe author of Nightmares and Dreams

I just finished reading Nightmares and Dreams by JamieLynn Boothe , and I have had the opportunity to interview the author about it!

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

I started writing poetry many years ago, as a early teenager and fell in love with writing. I have always been a lover of reading and as long as I can remember I wanted to be an author. It came natural to me, but have to say that my sensitive heart and compassion is what truly inspired me.

 

What made you want to write Nightmares and Dreams?

In 2012, when I originally wrote it, there was a lot of news concerning the LGBT community. Mostly, degrading Transgender people and Gay Marriage. There was violence against them and it sickened me. I wanted to write a story about someone who was not only part of the LGBT community, but strong and could overcome a horrendous event in her life.

 

Who is your favorite character from your story and why?

That’s a tough one. Obviously, I love Christy since she is the main character and with everything she went through and survived, but I also love Tracy. Another strong woman who had to rise up in the middle of a real nightmare. I am very proud of these two ladies.

 

Where is your favorite place to write?

At the moment, I don’t have a favorite place. When I lived in Colorado there was an incredible bookstore/coffee shop that I loved. I would love to find something similar. Or, at least a comfortable coffee shop.

 

What is your writing process?

This is going to seem unordinary, but I don’t actually have a particular process. I have tried outlines, but struggle with them for some reason. So, I simply write. When I have an idea I start from there and allow the characters to take over. I allow my muse to work. So far, I feel I have been very blessed with my work. I am most comfortable working this way.

 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I have learned a lot since that time and met a lot of great authors who have taught and helped me along the way. My style and writing itself has greatly improved since then.

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

So far, hiring a Personal Assistant. I hope to have a publicist at some point as well.

 

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

That they love my work, naturally. Also, that Nightmares and Dreams should be made into a movie. The best thing I have heard though is how one of my novels has touched their lives in a positive way and how it helped them.

 

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

The Angels Walking Series by Karen Kingsbury

 

The most important question how do you take your coffee?

If it’s hot, I like it light and sweet, but if it’s iced coffee I like a caramel swirl, light and sweet 😊