Tell the Smexy Readers about yourself. Give us the dirty low down.
I’m 34 years old and I live in Scotland, where I was born. No husband or kids or pets and my time is pretty much my own. I’ve always been a writer, although everything I wrote pre-2008 was, in no uncertain terms, rubbish. I flitted from genre to genre and broke all the rules against which writers are counselled – show don’t tell, avoid dialogue tags, minimise adverb use and the like – but I had enthusiasm. I finished what I started, even if it was all rubbish.
Then in November 2008 I did NaNoWriMo and on a dare, ventured into erotica. The dare was, “Ah, just make up a bunch of characters, get them drunk and have them fuck a lot.” I wrote 50k words in a month, ‘won’ NaNo, and a few months later completed my 148k first draft of Long Time Coming. I later cut it way down to 85k words and sold it to the first publisher I sent it to (Carnal Passions).
It may sound a little wanky, but coming to the erotic romance genre felt like coming home. This is definitely what I was born to write. Sex is glorious, life-affirming, sweaty, dirty, funny and pleasurable, and writing about it is the safest way for sex to make you money!
The tagline on your blog reads "Guyliner, Winkies and Stubble." Three of my favorite things ;) What is it about that combination that makes a girl swoon?
Guyliner shows a man’s not afraid to venture into so-called feminine territory. I mean, Shannon and Jared Leto wear guyliner and who doesn’t think they’re the hottest pair of brothers on the planet? Stubble? It just oozes testosterone.
And winkies speak for themselves. ;)
Speaking of guyliner, winkies and stubble, Daniel Cross one of the stars of By The Book has all three of those things. He enjoys using his winkie quite a bit actually. Did you know exactly how his character would turn out when you started the book? Did he surprise you in any way?
I actually started writing By the Book from Georgia’s point of view in November 2009 but it didn’t feel right. Something was missing. Then I realised – my POV character should be a man. Reece was the one who needed to question his sexuality. After all, if Georgia had fallen for another man she would have looked like a cheat, but if her boyfriend was the one in such a position, well, his dilemma would be much more sympathetic. So, I began the book again writing from Reece’s point of view.
Daniel’s chapters were so much fun to write. I didn’t really have a plan for him – I just told him, “Okay, let yourself go. Be sexy.” Daniel replied, “I can do that,” and had the time of his life. (Yes I do speak about my characters as if they’re real; got a problem with that)?!
I wanted him to be brazen and shameless and have an ‘anything with a pulse’ policy when it came to who he’d sleep with, but as the book progressed he became more vulnerable and I think that’s what readers enjoy. He’s cocky (boy, is he ever) and seems confident, but Reece Hutton is his kryptonite. Reece is uncertain of his own sexuality whereas Daniel Fucking Cross definitely isn’t, but we both know who’s the more vulnerable of the two, emotionally.
He did surprise me at one point. I wrote the book out of order, concentrating on whichever scene grabbed me on any given day, and I remember working on what became chapter fifteen. Without wanting to give away the storyline, Daniel says something that made me sit back and say, “Whoa. I didn’t see that coming…”
I actually sat back and stopped typing for a few minutes because that was when Daniel became real to me. I thought, “Fuck. Daniel, you’re in trouble now.”
And oh yeahhh, he loves using his winky!
By the Book is primarily a M/M book with some F/MF, and M/F thrown in – hell, there is even some F/F action. Is m/f or m/m easier to write? I often hear authors say sex scenes are the hardest part of books to write. Do you agree?
I don’t actually – trust me to be awkward, eh? For me, the trick is to be emotionally involved with your characters. After all, if the author isn’t, how can he or she expect the reader to be? Each scene must have a reason to exist, whether sexual or not, but when it comes to characters doing the nasty, there must be a reason for them doing this, there must be emotion involved, whether it be love, hate, lust, anger, desperation…and that makes the surrounding other scenes so important. I always say, “You don’t have to agree with what my characters do, but you have to understand why they do it.” If that’s not the case, I’ve failed as a writer.
I enjoy writing sex scenes and try to concentrate on the details – for instance, beads of perspiration on someone’s brow, their breath on your neck, muscles rippling, and yes, Mandi, hair on the backs of their arms!
Appeal to all the senses. Sex feels good, sure, but what does it smell like? Sound like? How does this person taste? And when you’re looking at them, focus on the details that make the character unique.
As for which is more difficult…well, I’m a woman, and I like cock. So heterosexual stories are my default. By the Book was my first M/M novel and my main worry was making Reece too female in his outlook. In the end I settled for simply writing him as a human being who happened to have a penis, and like taking it up he arse from Daniel Fucking Cross.
The technicalities? Let’s just say I asked some gay/bi male friends some pretty intimate questions.
Best piece of advice? “Lots of lube, and go slowly.”
Hairy arms are very sexy ;) I enjoy lusting after fictional men, and Daniel Cross is definitely on the list. What fictional heroes have caught your eye over the years?
Rhett Butler, hands down. Gone with the Wind is one of my favourite books. I’ve read it multiple times and Rhett is commanding, argumentative, cocksure, selfish, mercenary…and vulnerable. And he loves a woman called Scarlett.
And strangely enough, Mr. Stevens from Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. He’s so terribly, terribly British in his emotional constipation, restraint and lifetime of regret. I feel so sorry for him, but Ishiguro’s prose is exquisite and I always turn the last page achingfor what might have been.
Incidentally, Daniel’s just called to tell me he’s more than happy for you to lust over him. (Mandi says – I want his phone number!)
The other book I have read by you, Plus One has one of my favourite lines in it. “This is the last second,” he whispered, “that I will ever not have been inside you." Spencer is one sexy math professor! How did this story come about?
Up until I wrote Plus One, I was a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer. I’d sit down, type ‘Chapter One’ and begin. It’s how I wrote Long Time Coming and that turned out pretty well! But this time, I thought, “I’m gonna try something different.” So I outlined it by jotting down some scenes, arranging them into some semblance of reading order, and wrote non-sequentially, slotting each chapter as I finished it, into the master copy, in the correct place.
I expected it to be disjointed but when it came time to edit it, there was surprisingly little to do to ‘cover over the joins’.
As to the characters and where they came from? I thought, “Right. We need a couple who shouldn’t be together. Why not? Age difference? Okay, older man. How do they meet? At work? Where do they work? Why on Earth would a stuffy maths boffin come into contact with a—ah! Job interview. Okay, right. Now we need a crisis or black moment. What now?” This is where Spencer’s secret came into play.
I scribbled each idea down as it came to me and it seemed to work. I said to myself, “Okay, you have an outline. Now let’s see if you can write out of order.”
So I did, and Spencer was the result. He actually turned out dirtier than I’d planned. Such a potty mouth, that man. And he appreciates a good blow job.
Lust is not a strong enough word. I ache for him. My heart pounds whenever I utter his name. I worship The Smirking God that is James Purefoy. I would bend over forwards for him. A chair, a table, you name it.
As I recall, I first witnessed his unholy smexiness in a TV series around 8 or 9 years ago. The Mayor of Casterbridge, adapted from the Thomas Hardy book. I can even forgive his shitty Scottish accent, because oh. My. God. That man must have sold his soul for a face and body like that.
And when he starred in Rome and displayed his manbitz for the world to see? I nearly had heart failure.
My life’s purpose is to write smut, and lust after James Purefoy. There is absolutely nothing I would not do to or with him. I am completely, shamelessly, unrepently in soul-burning lust with him, and ever more shall be so.
My heart belongs to him, as do some other more private parts of me.
My gran always told me not to speak with my mouth full.
Glad gran taught you some manners ;)
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