Contest Information is at end of Interview so scroll on down and check it out.
Welcome to Dawn’s Reading Nook, Anne. Please let my cabana boys/girls get you a drink and make yourself at home. Comfortable? Great...now let’s get down to business.
Q: So tell us about yourself. What got you interested in writing? Who are your publisher(s)?
I’m a redhead from a family of redheads (so we’re all insane …) and I’ve been married to the best man in the world for over 18 years. He’s my muse, definitely, and I never wrote anything before I met him. Zilch. Mind you, I’ve always made up stories in my head – some of it pretty off-the-wall, I can tell you – so maybe what I really mean is meeting him finally made me put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Some of his determination must have rubbed off on me!
I’m lucky enough to be published with quite a few publishers. Most of my backlist of gay erotic fiction is published with Amber Allure Press though I also have stories and one novel with Dreamspinner Press and one story with Eternal Press. My gay thriller A Dangerous Man is published by Cheyenne Publishing and Bristlecone Pine Press as a joint venture. And I’m utterly delighted to be part of the Second Wave of Riptide Publishing authors with The Heart’s Greater Silence.
Q: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Passion, drama and tension – I love ’em! If I can get all of those in my characters then I’m happy. I also think a really good ending is absolutely vital, every time.
Q: Please tell us about your latest release. What inspired it?
My latest release is The Heart’s Greater Silence from Riptide Publishing. It’s a story about a young man torn between two very different men, and faced with a choice of either following the path of love or the path of obsession. I always find the balance between love and obsession a fascinating one and I’ve written about it many times in the past (A Dangerous Man; Brady’s Choice, etc). I also wanted to include issues about faith in one of my stories in a more direct way. I’ve been a Christian for well over twenty-five years now and I wanted to show that the struggle to live a truthful life never gets easier, whatever the trappings of religion we might wear.
Q: Among your own books, have you a favorite? A favorite hero or heroine?
I’m very fond of gay thriller A Dangerous Man, and my artist/prostitute hero Michael. I wrote it during a very difficult personal time for me, and it was both wonderful and liberating (though rather scary!) to be able to write out the anger he has with his life that very much mirrored my own and keep it safely contained within the pages of fiction. The whole thing was very cathartic and I could always hear his voice very clearly. In some ways I still can, oddly enough.
Q: Which of your books has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
I think, as above, A Dangerous Man was both the easiest and the hardest to write at the same time – but for different reasons! In terms of other work, gay thriller The Bones of Summer was great fun to write as I loved the interaction between my two main men, even though they were both very angsty. And probably the hardest book I’ve written was my fantasy, The Gifting (the first book in my ongoing Gathandrian Trilogy) as I’d never written fantasy before so it took me quite a while to get my head round it. But, way above all this, the series I’ve had the most fun with so far is the m/m/m Delaneys series – I really enjoy Liam and those gangster twins, and am never sure what on earth they might get up to next!
Q: Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
Definitely the characters. They’re the aspect of a book that appears in my head most strongly, and the story and the settings revolve around them and their various needs and desires. I go where they go!
Q: What part of a book has been the easiest to write? The hardest?
I really love writing sex scenes and scenes of violence (the latter of which rather worries my husband, I must say!...) and those do always seem to flow better at the first draft stage than anything else does. Make of that what you will! (I’m lovely really – honest …). The hardest part of any book to write, for me, is always the middle. I can see a beginning and an end (though both are very much subject to change), but the middle often takes more than a few passes before I get it down in the way I think it should be. Maybe I should write the middle first one day and see what happens?...
Q: What is the hardest/the easiest part of writing for you?
The hardest part is definitely completing the first draft. Sometimes I really struggle with it. On the other hand, I love the editing stage – which is strange as I know most writers don’t! I just think I find it easier to mess around with actual text rather than deal with the terror of the dreaded blank page.
Q: What genres and authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?
I really enjoy reading gay fiction and particular favourite authors are Alex Beecroft, Clare London and Finn Marlowe. I also enjoy crime and contemporary fiction in the wider sense, including Harlan Coben, Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve and Murakami. They all rock!
Q: What do you hope readers take with them, after reading one of your stories? What do you hope they feel, or learn?
I’d like to think readers can immerse themselves in the world of my characters, feeling and seeing things as they do, and enjoying the path of discovery it takes them on. Above all, I want them to be satisfied by what they read, whether it’s a comedy, a romance, a fantasy or a thriller.
Q: If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
I cheated and asked my husband about this one and – after a little persuasion that no, I wasn’t going to be cross if he “got it wrong” – his first three words were: passionate, emotional and wild. And there was I hoping to be calm, wise and spiritual. Ah well …!
Q: What is the strangest source of writing inspiration you’ve ever had?
A few of my stories, such as The Gifting, have been inspired by dreams I’ve had. I’ve dreamt the first part of a story and then had to write it down simply to find out what happens! Sometimes that can get you into trouble though(!) so I definitely don’t write down all my dreams …
Q: So a bit of naughty truth, do you ever do a little real life research to make your books spicy or do you just have a great imagination? (If you write erotic stories-please disregard if you don’t)
Ha! All I’m prepared to say at this point is that my husband has taught me everything I know, naturally. A good imagination definitely helps too of course! On every front. J
Q: If you had to choose one person to have dinner with, who would it be? And why?
I’d love to have dinner with either Oscar Wilde or Lord Byron – please don’t make me choose! I find both men absolutely fascinating, in terms of their personalities and what they wrote too, which I love. I actually took a Special English exam during my A Levels many years ago and focused purely on the two of them, just out of interest and because the school allowed me to. I had a great time and got a Merit, so it would be amazing to chat with them over a meal and a few drinks. I’m sure Byron at least wouldn’t say no to us both, though I think I might be surplus to Oscar’s requirements. J
Q: What is the most ridiculous thing that you have thought about doing to any of your characters but never did?
Ooh, this is a tough one! Michael in A Dangerous Man did start off in the original draft as a cleaner rather than an artist, but the editor I had at the time beat me around the head with a red Biro until I saw sense. Thank goodness she did as Michael made a far better artist than he ever was a cleaner.
Q: Want to tell us about any projects you are working on?
I’m currently working on a gay fantasy novella tentatively called The Taming of the Hawk. I’m having trouble with the middle at the moment – so not much of a surprise there then! I’m also planning to write the next in the erotic m/m/m Delaneys series, called The Delaneys At Home, and at some point I’d like to write a sequel to my BDSM gay short story For One Night Only. So the next few months should be quite busy.
Q: Anything else you want to add?
Thank you so much for the interview – I’ve really enjoyed it, and I hope your readers have too. So a BIG hug from me, Dawn, and many thanks for your support. J
Anne and Riptide Publishing have a few ways to win some great prizes.
1. Two contests per stop - the first one being a backlist ebook giveaway for one commenter, and the second one being one signed cover flat and magnet for another commenter.
2a. I also have two cumulative competitions throughout the blog tour, the first one involving answering 3 questions from The Heart's Greater Silence - with the prize being 3 backlist ebooks for one commenter from the tour as a whole. The questions are
- (a) What item of his trade is Richard wearing when Mark sees him in church?
- (b) When Craig discovers Mark and Richard together, what does he do just before leaving?
- (c) What action does Mark take at the end of the story?
2b … and the second cumulative competition is for a gift certificate to be drawn at the end of the tour - with this NOT being the winner of Item 2a (see above).
Mark isn’t sure he believes in love, especially when he finds himself torn between two very different men: his reliable boyfriend, Craig, and his illicit lover and priest, Richard.
Mark knows what he should do, but he can’t bring himself to give Richard up. The sex with Richard is unlike anything he’s ever known with Craig, and he hungers for it as much as—if not more than—the truer intimacy he finds in his boyfriend’s arms.
When Craig discovers his betrayal, Mark is forced to look at his life more closely, but the path to self-knowledge is never an easy one. Richard seeks the way back to God, but Mark finds no solace there. Can he ever discover the truth of his own soul, or is he too afraid of what he will—or won’t—find inside his heart?