When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
My journey into writing began with fan fiction. I had been reading fanfics for a while when an idea for a story came to me. I began writing it on the bus while commuting to and from work. It was so much fun! Those first stories were my training ground and I learned so much from them. It was when I finished a 30,000 word fanfic that I decided to try writing an original novel that was all my own.
How many books have you written?
The Experiment is my ninth book and I’m already hard at work on number ten. Reaching that double digit is going to be such a thrill. I remember when I used to dream about reaching this point.
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
My times are all over the place. It took me seven years (on and off) to write my first book. The second took only a few months because it was much shorter and came to me quite easily. Most of the time it takes about six months, but I’ve been working hard to train myself to write faster so I can publish more often.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
The idea for The Experiment came to me one day in a flash of inspiration. I could see a straight man trying to psyche himself up to kiss a gay man, even though he really didn’t want to. I knew they were in a bar, and that he was doing it to satisfy a lost bet, but other than that I had no idea what was going on.
Then the man turned to his friend, who was sitting beside him, and said, “You know, mate, this would be a hell of a lot easier if you’d quit laughing.” In that instant, I knew the friend was the man he would end up kissing, and he would be anything but reluctant by the end of it.
I loved the idea so much I grabbed a notebook and pen and spent the next hour furiously scribbling down every detail I could remember. My flash of inspiration became the opening of The Experiment and that one line of dialogue is still there, exactly the way Patrick said it the first time.
Who are your favorite authors? Have they inspired your writing?
There are so many MM Romance authors I love and admire. Among them are Riley Hart, Roan Parrish, Leta Blake, Lucy Lennox, Eden Finley and Christina Lee. I credit Riley Hart’s Shifting Gears with introducing me to the genre. It was the first MM Romance I ever read, and it got me hooked.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Speed. I’m quite a slow writer. I stress about first drafts and have difficulty getting out of my own way when getting those initial words down. During re-writes I can easily spend a whole morning getting a few paragraphs just right.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a workspace in the corner of my lounge room with my computer and a white board and all that jazz. But I’ll often end up on the couch with my laptop, or just pen and paper. That is especially true at the moment because it’s winter here and I like to stay under a pile of blankets.
When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
Characters are interesting because they can come to me in all sorts of ways. Some walk into my brain fully formed and introduce themselves by name (Jeremy, All the Broken Pieces). Sometimes, I’ll know some major details about them and then learn more as I write about them (Patrick, The Experiment). Other times, I’ll take conflicting pieces of my own personality and find ways to pit them against each other (Amber and Lincoln, Lost in Amber). Hanging out with my characters, and listening to them talk to each other, is one of the great pleasures of being a writer.
Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day?
I used to try to aim for a set number of words per day, but I gave up on that a while ago because I always ended up failing. When I’m writing first drafts of scenes I can pump out a lot of words in a day. But when I’m rewriting, I can work solidly for a whole day and only end up adding a few hundred words, because it’s the quality I’m improving, not the word count. These days, I focus more on how quickly I’m completing scenes to a certain standard (draft, rewrite, polish). I find this works better for me.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Line edits. Looking at every instance of words like that, was and just in a book to see if they can be cut or reworded is the most boring task in existence.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
I love the part where I have a basic draft of a scene written and I get to rewrite it over and over until it shines. Playing with phrases, getting bits of dialogue just right, making myself laugh, cry or sigh with pleasure. They may take the most time but, for me, those are the magical moments of writing.