Where were you when you heard you had won the Gay Scribe Award?
Scrolling Facebook. I saw winners were announced in a post.
What was your reaction?
Curiosity, and then disbelief because I thought if I’d really won then I’d have seen an email or message or something other than a random FB post.
Why do you write?
Because I have these characters in my head that won’t quit talking to me until I write their stories. It also allows me to put some love and positivity into a world that too often reeks of anger and hate.
What do you think makes good writing?
Empathy. The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and then tell that story in a coherent way.
How do you choose the names for your characters?
I try to pick names that fit their personalities while still trying not to re-use names that are currently popular in other stories.
What is the first piece you ever wrote?
Something in a high school creative writing class that the teacher said was contrived and highly unlikely to happen. It actually stopped me from writing for decades. I started writing again after playing a video game that I adored. I wasn’t ready to let the characters go, and because of that I stumbled on fan fiction. After reading other people’s stories for about a year I decided to try writing a story of my own. I actually posted it online and got a lot of positive feedback and was hooked ever since.
When you are writing each novel. Are the experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There is a little piece of me in every one of my characters, but none are based entirely on any one actual person.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I think there are always things authors would change, but rather than dwell on the “I should have done…” I try to do better on the next book. I’ve learned something from every story and novel I’ve written. I’ve learned a lot from reader reviews that take the time to be clear on what they loved and what they didn’t particularly care for. All of it helps me write better books going forward.
What is the hardest part of writing a book?
Getting words on a page! It’s so easy to find other things to do, but that usually means I don’t know what’s happening next. If I sit down and plot out just the next scene of the story I usually can get past that.
What is the easiest part of writing a book?
Talking about it with my fellow writer friends. And fleshing out the characters. Characters are always the easiest part of a story for me. I get ridiculously detailed about each one. Extended family names and ages, favorite ice creams and colors, where they went to elementary school, what side of the bed they sleep on… yeah. My notes are cross-referenced and I have a whole Series Bible for Love in the Pacific Northwest.
Do you think a book can have too much detail it? Do you think it can detract from the story?
I do. The trick is finding the happy medium, or the “sweet spot”. One thing I’ve learned about any part of storytelling is you are never going to please all the readers, so please yourself, and similar readers will find your stories.
Do you have any writing rituals? And can you tell us about your writing discipline.
I try to write at least a few sentences every day. Many evenings I jump online with my writer friends and we’ll gather in Zoom and write. It’s like being in the same room with friends, but doing your own thing. It seems to work for us.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on book 3 in my Love in the Pacific Northwest series.
How do you keep your different characters separate in your mind?
They are all unique, and friends, so there isn’t confusion about who is who. I do keep details noted in the book/series bible I keep.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I have two full-time jobs. My day job that pays my bills at the moment, and offers me health insurance, and my evening/weekend job which is writing, and hopefully one day will replace my day job.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I try to write something every day. At this point, with a full-time job, I can’t afford to take weekends off from writing. Those are prime writing hours.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
I maybe working on a secret project right now with a fellow writer…
Where do your ideas come from?
Reading other stories or watching movies that give me “What if” ideas and brainstorming with author friends.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I attempt to loosely plot what each chapter will be about so it has a point and doesn’t slow down the story. I rarely stay on that path, though.
What genres do you normally write in?
LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance
What genres do you typically read?
LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+ SciFi/Fantasy, and LGBTQ+ PNR,
Is there a genre you haven’t written in that one day you’d like to tackle?
LGBTQ+ SciFi/Fantasy and LGBTQ+ PNR
Are there any authors who have influenced your work?
Every author I’ve read has influenced me in some way, even if it’s “I don’t ever want to ____.”
What was the first book you ever published?
Save Me – Book 1 in the Love in the Pacific Northwest series
Tell us about your new release.
I just released Embrace Me – Book 2 in the Love in the Pacific Northwest series. It’s a story about a Deaf MC who returns home to Seattle after ending an unhealthy relationship. He ends up meeting someone at his new company that he’s very attracted to. It’s a story of relearning trust, and embracing people for who they are, and not who you want them to be.
What kind of hero/heroine is in your current book?
In the book I’m currently writing, one of my main characters is incredibly shy. He’s very smart, but has social hurdles he needs to learn to navigate before he can find his happily ever after.
What are your favorite character traits that you cannot resist?
Insecure characters who are soft and sweet and just want everyone to be happy
What part of the male physique captures your attention?
I’m drawn to men’s eyes and arms.
As an author and essentially the “creator” of your character, do you find yourself attached to him/her in a personal way?
I’m attached to every one of the characters I create, including the jerks.
If you could actually meet the character of one of your books, the exact man you’ve conjured up in both looks and personality, which one would it be and why?
I’d absolutely LOVE to meet Ashley Pandy from Save Me. He’d be a lot of work, but so much fun to hang out with!
Tell us what kind of heroes/heroines you prefer to write about.
Well-intentioned but flawed characters.
If you could rewrite a CLASSIC novel as a gay fiction novel, which would you choose and why?
Some quickies (pardon the pun—pick twelve):
Satin or Lace? Men in lace, every time
Hot or Cold? Hot
Camera or Canvas? Camera
Denim or Leather? Denim
Talking or Texting? Texting
Irish or Italian? Irish Accents Italian food
Thunder or Lightning? Thunder
The sound of a heartbeat or a crackling fire? Fire
Holding hands or Holding his/her attention? Holding hands
Crayons or Paint? Crayons
Mountains or Beach? Beach
Rain or Sunshine? Sunshine
Were you good at English? As in the school subject? Yes
Do you speak any foreign languages? Which ones? What, if any, would you like to learn?
I speak English as my native language. I used to know a lot of Spanish but have forgotten most of it. I know American Sign Language (ASL) at an advanced intermediate level.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Figure out what’s blocking you. If it’s outside factors and you can’t control them then give yourself time and patience. If it’s plot driven, figure out what needs to change. Something in your story isn’t working and it’s keeping the plot from moving forward.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I am constantly listening to audiobooks. Some of my favorite authors are Lily Morton, Charlie Novak, Lucy Lennox, Louisa Masters, and NR Walker.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Audiobooks. They allow me to multitask.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I proofread. Then I get beta readers. Then I get a professional editor.
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
I wish I could, but there’s so much pressure to churn out books, and I’m a slow writer to begin with because it’s not my primary job, that I don’t feel like I can take that time.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Absolutely. It’s the first introduction to your story. It conveys a message that will make people look at your blurb or pass by your book.
How do you market your books?
I make the rounds of like-genre Facebook groups and host giveaways. I also hire Gay Romance Reviews to run blog, Facebook and Instagram blitzes.
Why did you choose this route?
They have better connections and I don’t have time to do that marketing myself.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Once I have a book launch I spend most of my time marketing it for up to a month after release. Then I go back to focusing on writing the next book.
What do you do to get book reviews?
I rely on an ARC team, and ask my readers to leave a review.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
If the review is sincere and constructive you can learn from good or bad reviews. Reviews where someone leaves one star without explanation is frustrating but there isn’t much you can do about that.
Which social network worked best for you?
Facebook reader/author groups
Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell?
The author didn’t utilize the correct marketing for their genre
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I love watching them but hate making them. They are expensive, almost prohibitively so, for an indie author doing their own creation, and take away from writing time.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
Yes. Getting their book in the hands of a reader is how an author gains more readers, but it needs to be done strategically.
Borrowed’ permanently from James Lipton on The Actor’s Studio:
What is your favorite word? The one I use the most is probably ‘hilarious’
What turns you on? Intelligence and a good sense of humor
What turns you off? arrogance and condescension
What sound or noise do you love? baby’s laughter
What is your favorite curse word? Fuck
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? You made a difference to someone.
Did you have a good childhood? Were you a wild child? Are you the ‘odd’ one out in your family?
I did have a good childhood, I was the wild child, and I’m perpetually the “odd” one out in my family.
Have you ever Googled yourself? If you did, what did you find out about yourself?
I have, and I found nothing unexpected
Besides writing THE END, how do you KNOW a story is over and you should conclude it?
I get to the Happily Ever After
What do you think of the ‘explosion’ of available titles for the Gay Fiction Reader that have come onto the market vs say 5-10-20 years ago? Is this a good thing or bad?
It’s a wonderful thing. Visibility makes things less “other” and more “normal” and that’s something that helps the LGBTQ+ community.
Toe ring or belly button ring if you HAD to have one? Who says I don’t?
What is the scariest thing you have ever attempted in your life?
What is the one thing that surprised you about becoming a published author?
how utterly expensive it is, not only in time and emotion, but actual financial outlay. The average reader has absolutely no idea how much money an author pours into publishing their labor of love. And we do it willingly because we want to share our stories with the world. In return, all we ask is that readers enjoy our books, and obtain them legally, without abusing the system.