Last year I interviewed a bunch of really great authors. I loved it. But, I thought maybe I need to interview me a little bit more about my stories. What would I ask me if I was an author promoing a book? So over the next nine weeks, I thought I would answer some questions about my stories. And of course, starting with our favourite: Loving Jay.
Date Published: 18th April 2014
Available in: ebook / print / audio / Italian translation
Other forms coming: None scheduled at the moment
When did you start writing this book? April 2013.
What gave you the inspiration for the story? I have a friend who is very flamboyant, just like Jay is. He works in retail and everyone loves him for his bubbly, friendly personality. He also wears makeup, dances ballet in the aisle, walks with a swish and is obviously, definitely gay. I was thinking (ie daydreaming) one day, and I thought to myself, “I wonder what macho men think of him? I wonder what their reaction is?” and that morphed into, “What if there was a straight guy who didn’t know he was gay until he met someone like that?”
And so the inspiration for Loving Jay was born. I set up a scenario where a straight guy (Liam) is constantly put in contact with the flamboyant femme (Jay), then I added attraction. Voila! Over the course of the story we find out that this isn’t Liam’s first gay attraction, but that is how the story started.
What was the working title? I always had it as Loving Jay. I had planned to change it at the end of the story when I got more of a feel for the story, but I ended up working the title into the final paragraph, so I left it.
Where did the title of the book come from? Okay, I’m going to admit it. I had read Loving Hector by John Inman just before I started writing my book. If that’s what it took to love Hector, I wanted to know what it took to love Jay.
What challenges did you face with writing this? I guess the biggest challenge I faced was that this was the second story I had attempted to write in my life. It was never written for publication – just for me to enjoy. Getting the guts to send it to a publisher, and going through the editing process was HARD!
Tell us about MC1 – where did the inspiration come for him? Despite the book being from Liam’s POV, I’ve always considered Jay my #1 MC. As mentioned previously, the inspiration for him came from my friend who is similar. But in April 2013 when I started writing this book, I really felt a lack of representation of the femme guys in M/M. I wanted someone who was the stereotypical hysterical drama-queen.
Tell us about MC2 – where did the inspiration come for him? Liam was pieced together to suit the theme of the story. Why didn’t he realise he was gay? Why was he hiding it? What was he afraid of? Why did he approach and react to Jay the way he did? I made him average, because he kinda cruises through life. I gave him a traumatic event during the period where most boys were discovering their sexuality to confuse him. I gave him a family to love that he was influenced by. I gave him a best friend for support. Then I set him loose on the page…
Is there anything special that happens in the story that you think readers would like to know about? I love Liam’s family. One thing that bugs me about some stories is the lack of history or other people in the lives of the MCs. Everyone has a mother. She influences the MC – whether it be that she died, she abandoned him, that the relationship is strained, or whatever. Our history influences who we are.
Liam is the fourth of five boys. (I adore that line, and always hear Elizabeth Bennet saying, “I’m the second of five girls, ma’am.”) The large family is normal to me. I’m the youngest of nine children. The family dynamics are fascinating, so I enjoyed writing his large family.
What is the best thing that has happened about this story, post-publication? Oh, man. You want me to pick one? I have to pick two – sorry.
First that it was voted Best Debut Story of 2014 by the members of the Goodreads M/M Romance group. This was such a wonderful thing. Really. It was.
Second is that people are still recommending it to their friends. I wrote this story as a pick-me-up for me, and I love that people feel the sparkly rainbows and fluffy clouds by reading it.
Do you plan a follow up story? Yes. Definitely. I have another two stories written that follow Liam and Jay. We saw a lot of Liam in the first story, so this time I found Jay’s friends. They have their own stories to tell. I hope for publication of these stories in 2016.