Monday, July 7, 2014

Interview: L. J. Harris

Ms. Harris has recently published a story as part of the Bollocks! anthology from Wayward Ink Publishing, entitled Just Like Pulling Teeth. My apologies for not getting this out sooner - thought I had already posted! ~CW

Thank you, Lisa, for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with me.

How does it feel to be back in the publishing game? Does it feel good?

Being published again is great. There’s nothing like it when release day arrives!
I’ve never really stopped writing since Heart of Glass was released two years ago. I’ve worked on a few stories since, but haven’t found the time to finish them. I hope to have one or two more novellas out before the end of the year.

Your last two published works were great reads. Has your writing style changed since then? Can you tell us about your process?

Aww, thank you very much! I think as time has progressed I’ve polished my style a great deal, but in essence, it hasn’t changed all that much. I’m still quite verbose, and drive anyone who is writing with me nuts with my tweaking. It gets to the point of me having to apologise to them often, and I envy anyone who can just churn out words without stopping, as I tend to go back over my work after writing a few hundred words until I get it just so. I find it very difficult to move the story along if there’s anything I’m unhappy with, and yes, I’ve gone over this interview quite a few times, just in case you were wondering! lol.

What was your main source of inspiration while you wrote Just Like Pulling Teeth?

When I was in my 20’s, I had my wisdom teeth removed by a very good looking dentist (picture this - tanned, perfect white teeth and a day’s worth of stubble - you get the picture), and under the influence of laughing gas, let’s just say I became a rather ‘chatty Cathy’. I didn’t outright flirt with the poor man, but I embarrassed him nonetheless by failing to keep my mouth shut. I would take off the mask and go on and on about absolute nonsense, talking about everything and anything, and he kept smiling and would place the mask back on my face.  I didn’t make TOO much a fool of myself - well, not that I can recollect anyway. It’s probably a good thing I don’t have a fantastic memory.

Let’s play for a moment. If you ever decided to expand JLPT into a full-length novel and it was made into a movie, which actors/actresses would you choose for the lead roles?

Oh, what a great question! (And how did you guess that was my ultimate dream?)  Let me just marinate in that fantasy for a bit...

Okay, I’m done lol. In answer to your question, I would choose to cast British actors for all roles. It’s not so much that I’m against Americans playing Brit characters, as some pull off the accent quite well, but for authenticity, I’d prefer to cast actors from the UK.

I would say that Nicholas Hoult (of Warm Bodies fame) would be my choice for the role of the gangly, pasty faced Aiden Cooper.


The part of Sebastian Gibbs was a tough one to decide on, but I eventually decided on Douglas Booth. Not only is he British, he has a Spanish/Dutch mother, so it fits quite well (and he’d probably find the Portuguese easy to master). Plus, there’s the fact he’s absolutely gorgeous, and he’s also starred in Noah with one of my favorite actors, Russell Crowe.

douglas booth.jpg

Rachel Cooper would be played by Phil Collins’ daughter, Lily. I could so picture her adorned with piercings and tattoos, while at the same time, speaking in a very refined English accent.


I couldn’t find anyone suitable to play the gruff but adorable tattooist, Alex (Alex Pettyfer is a not rough enough even though I love him). I picture a younger version of Gerard Butler for the role *swoons as I picture Gerard in a purple bandana and muscle shirt*.

I’ve always loved the way you weave a yarn, the romance, etc. What kind of books do you love to curl up with when you have time to read?

I love to read a wide variety of stories, but the one thing they all have in common is they are about how two people fall in love. I don’t mind stories where the a couple are already together, but my first love is reading how they get there. That’s not to say I only read fluffy boy meets girl love stories - I like to get down and dirty with the best of them (as you well know *winks*). I enjoy reading the wildly erotic, kinky stories in both m/m and het, as well as stories with a smattering of supernatural. As long as there’s an interesting storyline, along with some hot romance thrown in (but not to the point of there being no story), I’m all over it.

Do your family and friends support your writing?

For the most part, yes they do. My family know how passionate I am about putting my work out there, and support me in that goal. My mother blushes when she reads anything of mine that involves swearing or smut, so I try not to subject her to anything that’s too over the top, but my stepmother pretty much reads anything I write without batting an eye (she especially loves my m/m stories *gives the stepmother the thumbs up*). Though my husband and children haven’t read any of my published works (m/m romance, in fact reading ANYTHING at all isn’t exactly their cup of tea) they still encourage me every step of the way. My husband has vowed he will read my novel when it’s published *watches pigs as they fly by* lol. We’ll see if that happens.

What advice would you give to a new writer just starting out?

Never stop writing. Write about anything you can, but write prolifically. Share your work with family, friends, or even share them online. Write short stories, poems, hell even jot down a sentence on a napkin. It all counts. When I began to write my novel, Heart of Darkness, 5 years ago, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. That didn’t stop me from diving into the story headfirst, while writing fan fiction to help learn as much as I could. Yes the novel is in dire need of some heavy editing, but those who have read what I’ve written have encouraged me to finish, so I’ll be working on that when the next 2 stories I’m working on are done. Though I’m much happier with my work now than I was back then, I am still learning, and know I won’t ever stop. So all I can suggest to anyone who needs to write, is to keep honing your craft for as long as you feel compelled to share your inner voice.

What other talents do you have that we don't already know about?

I can carry a tune and also play piano, and when on holiday at Hayman Island as a child, I actually won a talent contest. After my father finally wore me down and convinced me to sing (and the song was Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Let me be There’) I sang, collected my prize of a bottle of champagne for the adults as well as a coral and shell jewellery box for me, then went back to my room and promptly threw up. I am so painfully shy, that unfortunately I get severe stage fright - so not many people have seen me perform. But I sure do belt out a mean tune when driving in the car by myself.

FB Author Link HERE 
Blog Link HERE
Amazon Link HERE 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Interview: E. S. Skipper

I had the opportunity to interview up-and-coming author E. S. Skipper this evening, who's novella, No Worries, Mate, has just been published in the Bollocks! Anthology, released by Wayward Ink Publishing. Welcome!

Can you tell me how you came to want to write? 

I started reading fanfiction a while back and I enjoyed it a lot. There were many great stories out there, but also some really bad ones which were getting heaps of reviews. The authors hadn’t even studied the subject properly. And yes, it is fiction, but some of these people were moving into dangerous topics. People could have gotten hurt if they thought it was all right to try things they were reading. So after moaning at my friend, he said he had enough of my complaining and told me to put up or shut up. So I put up. 
When you create your characters do they come strictly from your imagination, people you know in real life, or a mix?

Oh, so not a fair question. Without realising it, after the fact I tend to see people I know in characters. Although my novel I am trying to write at the moment is about two very close friends. I have used them as inspiration. They are whom I imagine in my head. But other than that, they are nothing like the characters and they have become unique in a way, but still hold the characteristics of my friends. They love it, so I am happy about that.

I’ve had the privilege to watch you write. It’s amazing how your process works. How do you develop your writing ideas?

Okay, you're making me give the secrets away. Actually, I have none. I sit down and write. I don’t think my characters talk to me. I don’t pause or make changes until the chapter is done, normally. Take Rangi and Jake from No Worries, Mate. A friend on Facebook said something so small which made it click in my head. Yep, she had visited New Zealand and commented on how laid back and nothing was a bother. As you know, I say No Worries all the time. It’s a common New Zealand, and yes, I have to admit, Australian saying. So out of her simple comment, No Worries Mate was born.

Your story, No Worries, Mate has now been published. How did you feel, once you’d submitted?

Oh, you are so freaking mean. You know how I felt. Scared, worried, grateful, but mainly proud I had actually taken that step. But I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for my beta and friend Lily G. Blunt. She is my mentor and she held my hand every step of the way. When I say that I seriously mean she held my hand. Hell, she even set the document up. I basically typed the story and handed it to her. She did the rest. You have seen my writing. I never go back and edit. Oh wait, I do now.

What was your reaction when you learned you had been accepted?
I am not ashamed to say I cried. I was never a scholar at school. Basically told I was a no-hoper. Well, I can’t wait for a school reunion now and go and say, well guess you were wrong. Don’t give up on a dream. Hell, writing was never my dream, but now it is a passion.
Hell yes! Tell me about the publishing process; what you enjoyed most, and liked least.
It’s horrible! It honestly is hard. You have to go through so much. But an author is just a slice in the whole process. EDITS are the bane of my life. I hate them. Normally you go through two edits. I had FOUR! As you know, I am new at this game. I handed over a story but got told that in a few places I was telling rather than showing. Thankfully Wayward Ink Publishing saw something in me. I had to fix it after the first submission before it went to the next partner in the business. Then it had to go to my first editor, Julie Lynn Hayes. I ADORE her and can’t thank her enough. But guess what? I didn’t gel with my next editor. I didn’t mind her, but her style was not to my liking. She is brilliant at her job, but she didn’t get me as a writer. And best part? I have yet to find one. Although holding your book in your hand is incredible and it makes it all seem worthwhile.

Yes, it does Do you have any plans to publish again?

*hangs head* Yes, as much as I moan about it, I can’t not do it again! Although this time I will be better prepared.

Do you have other stories in the works?

Yep! That is all I am saying at this moment in time. I don’t know what I will be finishing or submitting next.

Name the five biggest distractions from your writing.

Real life
Facebook (worse one)
Helping others trying to write

Where do you hope to see your writing career, say, five years from now?

Honestly, I can’t think that far ahead. I hope I’m an established author. Or maybe, I give it up and try my hand at other interests I have. All I know is that I have a lot in my head and these buggers won’t keep quiet.

What's the first book that really captivated you?

Wow, um... It was a tennis one (no I don't play tennis), called Love All. It was given to me by my mum and it's about a girl who had a crush on a boy. It was the first book that captivated her. I would cringe if I read it now. I don't even remember the authors name.
What do you enjoy reading the most?
My friend just joked porn to me. Yeah, nah. I am a romantic. I don't go for straight out sex stories. I like to get to feel the characters connection (pardon the pun) with each other. And yes they are all M/M stories.

Wonderful! Thank you so much for letting me put you on the spot this evening! I wish you the very best in all your future endeavors.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

M. C. Rayne Interview


Mr. Rayne popped in today for a hazelnut latte, and graciously allowed me a quick Q & A session:

Can you tell me how the emotional process of your writing works?  What type of resources do you use to tap into your feelings, to reach down deep inside, to pen the pure, perfect words your characters experience?

Many of the people who read my work know to expect some underlying angst somewhere in the story, be it at the start, middle or end, but there it is - waiting for the reader. It's strange, but writing stories with sad themes are easier than writing your typical love story, and I think this is because I have never been in love. I don't think the big L is out there for me, and I'm much happier playing with emotions. 

People say I write love well. I'm not sure, but with the relationships I pen, these are things I would want if love ever came to me. I live inside my head a lot, plan out a future I may never have, and a lot of the time I am building Mr Right in my mind, with our home in the woods, filled with cherished pets. I'm a dreamer. 

As an author, if I can call myself that, I like to delve into a little darkness, show love and life in its truest form - it isn't all sunshine and roses. I think if I wrote a happy, happy love story I would be fooling myself and the small handful of readers I have. If my boys are going to have a happily ever after then they will need to go down a few broken road first. Such is life.

Do your characters “talk” to you, as so many other authors describe happens to them?

I used to think people were crazy when they said their characters talked to them, but I didn't realise until I started writing this is true. All my life I have lived inside my mind, playing out unwritten stories, but now as I'm trying to become an author, the boys NEVER shut up. They talk to me at the worst times too, so I email myself a lot with things to add to stories. This kind of works for me. Most of my chapters are dreamed up while I walk to work, long before taking form on my computer.

How did you get on with the whole publishing experience? Did you enjoy it?

I wouldn't say I loved it, I was a nervous wreck, but the ladies at Renaissance Romance Publishing managed to calm me down and guide me through this daunting time. With them, and other authors who have gone through it, I managed to get through. As a self confessed impatient person, I did hate the slowness of the process and wanted my book in my hands two seconds after getting accepted by the publisher. You don't see the work involved in releasing a book until you go through it. 

Where do you hope to be with your writing career ten years from now?

I'm not in this to make money, this isn't why I write. Yes, I could carry on giving my work away for free, but I want to hold my books, see them on websites, and this costs;  I can't do this for free. As long as I make back what I put into my work and touch at least one person with what I pen, then I'm happy. In ten years I just hope I'm still writing and getting better with each release.

Some readers are familiar with Bean. Would you like to tell us about him?

Awww, Bean is my baby! Okay, well I live with two best friends and we all wanted a pet. We can't have a dog as we are all a slave to the 9-5 and didn't feel this was fair to a living creature, so my best friend Dae suggested a Guinea Pig. I was dubious at first, I really wanted a dog, something I could cuddle and play with, but as normal, Dae got his way - he always does, haha. As a child he grew up with these animals, so I went with it.
ANYWAY, he came home with the small, sweet black and white animal who is a dog in the form of a guinea pig. Seriously, Bean comes when called, talks to me, licks me, and purrs like a cat, which is kinda odd, but normal - so I'm told.
It sounds strange, but Bean is my mini muse and is featured (under the alias Fred) in my upcoming novel, Flavours Of Our Life, due out early next year.