Currently I’m working on another contemporary m/m romance titled Smoky Mountain Dreams. I started this one about four years ago and when I needed to take (yet another) break from the four book series I’ve been working on for nearly ten years (omg it will never end! probably because I keep taking breaks from it!), I planned to finish up the prequel to Stalking Dreams, but when I opened that file none of the characters felt like talking to me.
Around that same time, a friend said, “Hey, whatever happened to that book you were writing about the theme park performer and the jeweler with the angsty past? I’ve never read another m/m book like that one and I’ve always wanted you to finish it.” Assuming, as I always do, that the unfinished book was crap, I opened it up to see just why my friend thought it was special, and lo and behold…well, IT DID NOT SUCKETH.
(Confession: I have a problem with thinking everything I’ve left unfinished actually sucks. Luckily, my friends tend to remind me that I should look at those books again just to make sure. Then I realized I might be wrong after all. Training Season and The River Leith were both books with this unfinished-so-must-suck history.)
So! I had the epiphany that if I managed to get Smoky Mountain Dreams done by July and hold it to release in November, then I will have almost a full year before I’d need to put out the first book in the four book series. Then, since I’m (hopefully) 2/3 done with Book 3 of that series, I’d have nearly a year and a half to have Book 4 finished, and hooray! The twice yearly timeline works out for me! Though I plan to put the series out one book every two or three months, so it will be more than twice annually in that year.
Holy crap, no one wanted to know that! This must be the most boring blog post I’ve ever written so far!
To sum up: I’m working on a book about a theme park employee and his jeweler love interest and it’s a lot more complicated than that makes it sound.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmm. You know, the only way I can answer this is to say, simply, they are written by me and I don’t think anyone else writes just exactly the same way that I do? There’s no value on this reality, just that I’m pretty sure I have a voice that is my own. I will say that I think I’m unapologetic. I write what the characters want and that’s that. If that makes someone unhappy then I can’t really be sorry about that because characters are who they are and I don’t always approve of their behavior either.
3) Why do I write what I do?
This is a big topic. I write romance because I have always loved the joy of them, the happy endings, the trials on the way to them. They’ve always made my heart beat faster. I write m/m romance for a ton of reasons, one of the biggest being that if I ever write a m/f book, then I want to make sure I’ve broken my mind free enough of the traps society has instilled in my mind about women, heroines, and what that looks like. Quite frankly, writing m/m helps with that. What is that saying? You can’t imagine freedom if you don’t know what it looks like? Well, m/m helps me imagine a m/f reality that doesn’t fall back on the rules and regulations that society has drilled into me.
4) How does your writing process work?
It’s a process made up of three prongs:
First, I need to be inspired. Where that inspiration comes from is always a mystery and it can hit at any time. Music, poetry, taking a walk in the park, getting dinner in a restaurant, a random comment from a friend. Boom! Characters show up in my head and start talking to me and I’m all, “Wait, wait, let me get this down. Hold up!” (Or sometimes I say, “Wait, wait, I can’t with you right now. I’m swamped with another book, you see. Come back later.”) I can never tell what’s going to inspire me, but there’s no doubt that inspiration is required and part of the process.
Second, I put in the time. I make the time. I have to make time because there are only so many hours in a day, a week, a year. And writing’s in my blood. It makes me go. I have to do it and I have to work at it. So, I am a writer. What am I not? Let’s make a list:
a) I’m not the perfect mom! Why? Because, oh, sometimes I tell my kid to make her own dinner (PB&J and some applesauce) because Mommy is writing. Or I hire a babysitter so I can write. Or I set her up on her iPad and say, “Play on this and when you’re bored watch tv or read a book, but don’t come talk to me because I’m writing.” Now, am I a good mom? Hell yeah. I’m a damn good mom. I’m at the important things and by writing I teach her that moms have reasons to be on this earth that don’t consist of “being focused on the kid 100% of the time”.
b) I am NOT a good housekeeper. In fact, my house is a disaster. I should take pics. Okay, fine, I actually will! Here is what my sink looks like RIGHT THIS SECOND. This is reality. I work a job, do a ton for my kid, spend time with my husband and write books. Something’s gotta give.
3) Dogged Determination
My process involves ignoring new inspiration in the interest of finishing an older work that is no longer making my blood pump with joy. My process involves ignoring the very loud chorus of voices in my head saying, “You can’t do this. This books can’t be finished. It’s stupid. Everyone will hate it. You’re going to make an ass of yourself. Who do you think you are writing this book???”
Luckily for me, I’m a bit of a contrarian. If you tell me I can’t do something? God, that just makes me want to do it so much more. Even if it’s me telling myself that. Sure, I’ll whine about it–(sorry friends who have had to endure a lot of this!)–and take to my bed for a day or so and feel like I suck and want to give up. BUT I DON’T. I eventually say, “Can’t do it, huh? SHUT UP. WE’RE DOING THIS.” And I do it.
So, the last part of my process is simply NOT STOPPING.