What am I working on?I'm currently writing Crying in the Rain - a standalone story (novella, probably, but it's still growing), but with characters that will be familiar to readers of the Hiding Behind The Couch series.
Crying in the Rain explores the romance blossoming between Kris and Ade, who meet for the first time whilst both working on the same radio play. It's told mostly from Ade's perspective, and "romance" is very much not on his agenda. He's recently come out of a traumatic long-term relationship, and is barely getting through from one day to the next, yet finds he can't ignore his attraction to Kris, and the feeling is mutual. But starting a relationship isn't going to be easy for either of them. It's going to require patience, understanding and trust.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?I don't really write romance, I write relationships. My published work that is tagged as "M/M Romance" can thus surprise readers, and not always in a positive way, because there are certain expectations that go with the genre, and the stories I write don't necessarily fulfil them. So it's really quite difficult to categorise my work as one thing or another, which means it is contemporary fiction.
Of course, the genre of contemporary fiction is vast, and there's a great deal of diversity within it. I think what sets my work apart is characterisation and realism - I get a lot of readers commenting on how real my characters feel, and I'm told that they evoke strong emotions. I write about the everyday - the good and the bad. I try to get to the root of thoughts, feelings and motivations for why the characters (and all of us) do what they do, and the effect this has on their lives and the lives of other people. In real life, I see people's psychological rather than physical presence - personality, emotions, beliefs - and that is how I write . Thus, a character can be beautiful on the inside, but that beauty is only realised when others see it, or they know it for themselves.
Why do I write what I do?I just write and that's what comes out. I've tried to force my writing in specific directions (for instance, to fit particular genres/subgenres), and it naturally drifts back to being about what makes us who we are - past events, the people around us, our perceptions; our uniqueness. I love exploring the minutiae of social interaction, and find it's much safer to do this from within the realm of a novel than in a pub in a northern working class town. Ultimately, I write because I must.
How does my writing process work?I wake up pretty much every morning with ideas - if I'm already writing something, then these will generally be about where the story is headed next. I just free-write, all the while thinking "this is rubbish and it makes no sense", and then at the end of the day I send the document to my Kindle, read through what I've done, come back to it the next day, revise, continue, repeat. When it's finished, I leave it alone for a while, send it to some trusted people to read, then revisit it and edit some more. Only then, after it's been through about four revisions, will I be anywhere near the editor/proofreader stage.
Sometimes I have some notion of where the story is heading, and if a particular scene comes to me, I will write it, but usually I write in a linear fashion and let the story evolve. With Hiding Behind The Couch, the characters tend to hijack the narrative, so I just do as they tell me. That same process happens with my other writing too - once I get inside a character's head, I just "know" what's going to happen next.
Who's next on the blog hop?Larry Benjamin - Bronx-born wordsmith Larry Benjamin is a 2014 Lammy Award finalist and the author of the gay novels Unbroken and What Binds Us and the short story collection, Damaged Angels.
Rick Bettencourt - Rick originally hails from Boston’s North Shore, and is the author of Tim on Broadway, Marketing Beef, Painting with Wine and Not Sure Boys.
L.M. Steel - author of crime thrillers, including the Once Upon a Set of Wheels series. [http://www.lmsteel.co.uk/]
Shayla Mist - author of M/M Romance, including Only You, Doctor's Puppy Love and Love Rivals. [http://http://shaylamist.blogspot.com/]