Who in your personal life was the biggest supporter of your writing?
My high school English teacher was the first person to encourage me. She tried to instill a belief in me that writing was something I could do professionally. I dropped out of school before graduation, worked a couple of jobs I hated, and wrote as hobby. One day, while working in a department store, I felt a tap on my shoulder. When I turned around, it was my teacher. She said, ‘What are you doing here? This isn’t where you belong.’ I quit that job not long after, because she was right, and I didn’t belong there. But, life happened and instead of dedicating my time to writing, I dedicated most of my time to drinking, smoking pot, and clubbing. A few years later, while in the city and terribly under the weather of those three things, I felt another tap on my shoulder. It was my teacher again, and this time she said, ‘Don’t waste your life or your talent. Get your act together. Make me proud and make yourself proud.’ I can’t say I got my act together immediately, but her words stuck with me. Hopefully, I have made her proud now.
The other person was Carolyne. Who worked for an editing/appraisal company and offered me a mentorship after I sent in a manuscript. She didn’t have to spend two and a bit years of her time teaching me, spending time with me, reading my work over and over again. She taught me so much, and it was Carolyne who polished my writing from wannabe author to published author. Without her influence and patience, I wouldn’t be the writer I am now. I owe Carolyne a lot and will always be grateful for the priceless gift she gave me.
Do you prefer quiet or background noise when writing? If background noise, what?
I used to write with complete silence. Any background noise distracted me and drove me crazy. For some reason things changed, and now I can’t stand absolute silence and need music playing. I’ll choose music appropriate to the scene I’m writing, or to what the character likes to listen to. If it’s a sad, emotional scene, there is no way I can write it with uplifting music in the background. This works in reverse if it’s an elevating or comedic scene.
If your characters could come to life and be a real human, which one do you think you would get along with best and which one would drive you crazy first?
I’d love to meet Elijah, from my new book, Inside His Reflection. Incognito, because he would probably hate me for putting him through what I put him through. Although, I gave him a happy ending with a beautiful man, so he can’t complain about that. Anyone who survived to be man Elijah became is someone I’d want to meet, listen to, and learn from.
Alec (Tyler Curtis) from The Curtis Reincarnation is someone I’d want to steal away from Jordan for a few days. He’s a young guy who has never really had the chance to let his hair down, and he’d be amusing to get into fun trouble with. Alec is sweet, and naively innocent for a rock star, but there is definitely a devilish side to him waiting for a chance to escape. I’d be the perfect eccentric friend to encourage Alec’s eccentricities.
The one I’d least like to meet would be the serial killer from The Slayer’s Apprentice. I doubt there would be time to be driven crazy before your life ended. No thank you… that’s one psychotic character of mine that I would NEVER want to cross paths with!
How much thought do you as an author put into your cover, cover models etc. And has that changed since you started writing. If so, have you or will you go back and re-do covers you’re no longer pleased with?
Being a cover artist as well as an author, I’m probably a nightmare in this regard. I refuse to let anyone else design my covers. I have all my ‘boys’ in 3D, and I can’t settle for stock models. When I first was published, before I learned 3D design and art, the cover art for my books was never quite right. Now, I’m anally retentive about it. As soon as I had the chance to redesign the cover art I wasn’t happy with, I did so. There are even covers I’ve done myself that I’m not happy with now. The thing with 3D art and design is it’s always improving. I’m always learning new skills. Which means I want to pull all the covers I did prior to acquiring the new skills and redo the whole lot. Impractical and impossible, but I wish I could.
When writing, what comes first? The characters or the plot?
It’s the character that forms the strongest, clearest image in my mind. Even if I have a snippet of an idea for plot, it won’t fully form until the character does. This is because the character tells me the story the more he develops. I have dyscalculia with comorbid dyslexia, and this means I see things in pictures not words. I imagine a movie in my mind, and then write the book for it. So, I can’t do this unless the characters are fully developed and clear to me. This is why being able to create them in a 3D program and artworks is such an important part of my writing process. Stock photography of models simply won’t cut it. They need to look as exact to my imagination as I can get them, or it will throw me. I use these 3D models to create artworks like movie stills of scenes I’m writing. It gives me inspiration and I need visuals to work from.
Do you ever write your own personal fantasies into your books?
I haven’t written a story, or a scene, based on fantasy I have. However, I had an erotic dream recently and, when I woke up, I considered writing it as a short story under a different name. Then, after thinking about it for a few days, dismissed the idea. Mainly because the dream was quite ridiculous, even though it was enjoyable. *wink*
How much if any of your story line comes from real life people or events?
I often throw in things that are inspired by real life. The Statue was completely inspired by a young man I saw while in a mall. A lot of my main characters have aspects of my personality in them, too. Other characters have aspects of other people I know or have known in the past. I’m the epitome of, ‘I’m a writer. Be careful or I’ll put you in one of my books!’ When I do it, it’s subtle. I’ve never put so much of someone into a character that they’d recognize themselves. Just little aspects of their personality, or small habits, things like that. I guess, it’s more they give me inspiration for a character. But, real life events and things that have happened to me? Yes, I draw from those experiences all the time.
How many times do you read what you wrote and think “where the hell did that come from?!
It happens sometimes. There are occasions where I’ll write something and think, ‘Wow, that’s actually pretty good. Go me!’ Something else that happens is I’ll look at something I’ve written and it seems too familiar. Like I’ve maybe read it before, or heard the line on TV or in a movie. In that case, I’ll delete it and write something else. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. I’ve been plagiarized before when someone stole The Curtis Reincarnation. I know the shock, horror, and hurt of it happening to me. God only knows, I’d hate to be accused of doing it to someone else, even if it was just one line and by accident.
Do you have to look at the keys when you type?
I can type for ages without looking at the keyboard, until I become aware I’m not looking at it. Then I need to look at it. It’s a psychological war between my touch-type abilities and the devil on my shoulder saying I can’t do it. Of course, ‘weird’ is my middle name, so I shouldn’t be surprised at these odd peculiarities my brain throws at me.
Why are man-hole covers round?
Originally they were square, until the late 1800’s when Mr. Frederick Ulrich was given the job of designing man-hole covers for several new main streets in London. He dismissed the idea of square, arguing they were old-fashioned and no longer represented how fast society was changing. He wanted people to walk the new main streets, see the man-holes, and understand the circular design as a representation of continuous growth. A circle has no end, whereas a square leaves society boxed in.
Plainly, Mr. Ulrich was a man of forward thinking. A man who took all his dreams for a world of creative expression and freedom, and placed them into the design of the humble man-hole. We should never take this for granted when we walk by them or step upon them. Who knows how trapped in the past we may still be if Mr. Ulrich’s dream of round man-holes was rejected?
I think we should all pause here and take a minute’s silence to honour this great man.
*Cough… Bull-twaddle… Cough* Except for the part saying man-holes were originally square. That is true!
INSIDE HIS REFLECTION
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Cover Art: Scarlet Tie Designs
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: Mild. *Please Note* This book contains no sex scenes.
Purchase Link: http://www.wildecity.com/books/gay-mainstream/inside-his-reflection/#.VjcsAPnhCUk
A blind date leaves Harry reeling, and another date goes as badly. Scars on Elijah’s face are clues of a broken soul, yet Harry can’t walk away. Not even when he learns Elijah sees a dead man in mirror reflections.
Elijah’s sanity snaps. Blamed for crimes he didn’t commit, Elijah has already survived a brutal murder attempt and now hides under a Protection Program. Harry must have faith he is innocent and fight for Elijah’s stolen rights. Can Harry do this without losing his mind, his own rights, and the man he loves?