We are back ones more with another of my favorite Sizzling authors!
Here she is, Blaine Arden!
Welcome to My Twisted & Kinky World!
*Settles into comfy sofa* Thanks for having me, Brenda. Your world doesn't look all that different from mine, actually :p
Yeah, I know! That's why you are here with us today!
Let's start off by telling everyone a little bit about you!
I'm a purple haired, forty-something, writer of gay romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies, platform shoes and the colours black, purple and red, who sings her way through life.
Love the hair! I tried for a blond & red combo and everyone said it was my mid-life crisis. I am still dealing with the breakage from that mess but it looked good for awhile.
I was born and raised in Zutphen, the Netherlands, where I spent many hours of my sheltered youth reading, day dreaming, making up stories and acting them out with my barbies.
So, I know when I sit on writer panels I am always asked this question. When did you start writing?
And isn't that just the question that makes you go, "Err… ?"
Yep! Especially since everyone always says 'since I was a child' or something like that. I tend to be the freak (which I enjoy) because I have only been writing a few years if you don't count D&D games.
Despite telling myself stories to help me sleep and acting them out with my barbies from a young age, I didn't start actually writing them until my early teens. I still have a box full of story snippets, plays and character lists to show for it, as well.
What inspired your first book?
My first book? I think I'll pass on all my early teen stuff and go with my first gay fiction, one that I tried very naively to publish. I wrote it when I was 17/18 (in Dutch, for those who want to know). It was a diary by a young, incurably ill writer called Alex who surrounded himself with his lover, friends and family to enjoy the time he had left.
That sounds like something that would make my heart break!
What was the title?
My inspiration for that one came from all the negativity around being gay, AIDS and a film called 'An Early Frost'. I wanted to show the world how beautiful love between men could be. Though, I can't for the life of me remember why I doomed him with an incurable illness.
Love that title!
Was it published?
It was never published, unsurprisingly. Alex was… a bit over the top, way too nice and everything went so smoothly. Illness aside, Alex could have been named Gary Stu.
Have you always written erotica?
No. I've written fantasy, mystery, plain romance and a bit of poetry (most of which is unpublished and written long, long ago).
Maybe you should re-visit and publish some of this!
What made you decide to write erotica?
It was never a conscious decision. I'm a sucker for romance, and though my first love is fantasy mixed with mystery, I could never get away from writing in romance, and while romance is always at the core, some of those romances turn out more erotic and with more detailed intimacy than others.
Mine are the same way… I just never know what those voices in my head will tell or show my muse!
How would you classify your erotic writing?
m/m, romance, fantasy and a bit of SF, with some mystery mixed in.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Well, I mostly prefer 3rd person limited for novels, because I often want to give both my MCs their own voices. Shorter stories, the ones I tell from only one point of view, I often write in 1st person.
To me, there's no real difference between them. With both I dive deep into my characters' heads, experiencing everything through them, and letting them tell me their stories. I like that sort of focus.
What is the process you use for writing?
I'm more of a pantser. I do background, extensively sometimes, and I do have an idea of where I'm going with it, and what my MCs roles are, but the rest is pure letting my characters take me where they want to go. My first drafts are never very polished, and a lot suffers in my edits (only for the better), but I like it that way. It gives me the freedom to veer in directions I hadn't planned to go and that might not survive, but will always end up giving me at least something useful.
We are so much alike!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I was going to say that this changes with every story I write, but then I realized, if I have to name one thing, that starting to write is challenging. I may be more of a pantser, but large parts of background and story are already in my head before I start writing it down. Sometimes I'm enjoying the pre-process so much, that I tend to postpone the actual writing.
Is there a message in your novel(s) that you want your readers to grasp?
What I'd like readers to come away with is a sense of hope that diversity is a fact of life and will one day be accepted as such, that love doesn't discriminate, and that there's always a way.
That is a great message!
How do you come up with your book titles?
Well, looking at the ones I've published, it seems as though I've got a certain attachment to 'The …" titles. Mostly these titles are my working titles, the first things that came to mind when I started plotting the stories. But when I sit down after finishing to seriously think about a title, I rarely come up with an alternative one, so I stick to my first 'brain fart'.
The only book so far that I've had to change titles--before I even submitted it--is 'Aliens, Smith and Jones'. That one started life as a short story called Echoes, but then I introduced a blind date and the story changed and grew into a novel, and Echoes didn't fit anymore. Because of the last names of my MCs, 'Aliens, Smith and Jones' was always in the back of my mind when I started thinking about replacement titles, and in the end, it was the one I went with.
Makes sense to me :o)
Are your plot lines based on real life experiences or are they purely fiction?
Purely fiction. I have a very vivid imagination J (Although the person who always tended to say it to me never actually meant that as a compliment)
Are there certain characters or stories you would like to go back to?
I already have plans to revisit Kelnaht, Ianys and Taruif from The Forester, though, the Guide is the character in that story I'd most love to revisit. He's very dear to me. His beliefs, his convictions are so strong. It awes me how he is capable to cipher away his own identity in order to help without judging, without reservation.
I loved The Forester! Please let me know when you bring Taruif back in another novel. We can have you back again!
Is being an author your only full time job or do you have a 'day job' as well?
January last year I decided to drop my studies--I was studying to be an English teacher--and focus entirely on my writing. I haven't regretted it. I'm finally doing what I've always loved most. Of course, I do still have a family to run, even with the boys being 17 and up, so I can't make it a 40-hour work week, though I do try.
Soon they will fly the nest and you will have more free time. *smiles*
What other types of jobs have you held before becoming an author?
I've been an administrative assistant, a data-typist, and a stay-over mum at my boys' school. I also did a very short stint as a journalist for a small local newspaper.
Do you travel much concerning your books?
I've been to one convention last year, the UK GLBT Fiction Meet, and I'll be visiting that one again this year as well. Oh, and I went to
London to get my ITIN number. But other than that, not yet. I've been meaning to look around for conventions in my own country, though. A lot of Dutch people do read English.
That is good to know!
What current projects are you working on?
I'm working on what I keep calling 'My Dragon Novel'. It was my 2006 NaNoWrimo. It's not the only one I didn't win, but the one that stranded most hopelessly because I left a plot hole that I just couldn’t seem to fill up, and I couldn't write until I did. So, I gave up and shelved it.
I've filled the plot hole now, and am really happy with it. I also changed a major plot/background issue, and that is that my dragons are now an independent race instead of 'work horses'. Although one neighboring country refuses to acknowledge them as a race.
Aside a possibly looming war, there's love at the heart of it, though it won't be an easy one, seeing as one MC killed two mates of the other MC during the last war.
What is your latest release and where can readers find it?
My latest release [July 20th] is Aliens, Smith and Jones, a gay SF/suspense novel. Readers can find more information on my site and at Storm Moon Press, of course.
Connor Smith works for Primrose, an organization tasked with monitoring and tracking aliens and alien technology. It’s a job that doesn’t know the meaning of “nine-to-five”. It also doesn’t leave much room for a social life, a complication that Connor hasn’t minded, until now. At the prodding of his best friend, Connor reluctantly puts himself back in the dating pool, even though it means lying about his remarkable life.
Elsewhere, Noah Jones has led a remarkable life of his own. Stranded on Earth in 1648, Noah was forced to transform himself permanently into human form to survive. He soon learned that in doing so, he’d become effectively immortal, aging only at a glacial pace. Alone, with no way to contact his people or return home, Noah becomes a silent observer of human civilization — always in the world, but never of the world. Then, hundreds of years later, he sees a face in a crowd and instantly feels a connection that he thought he’d never feel again. But he’s too late: Connor’s already taken.
Destiny is not without a sense of humor, though, and the two men are pulled inexorably closer, snared by the same web of dangers and conspiracies. Worse, Primrose is now aware of Noah, and they aren’t ones to leave an alien unrestrained. So while Connor struggles to understand the strange pull he feels toward Noah, forces without as well as within are working against them to keep them apart.
Sounds awesome! I can't wait to check it out; even if I am not a big Sci-Fi fan. *grin*
Most authors offer some sort of e-pub of their work. Do you offer traditional paper versions as well?
Aliens, Smith and Jones will be available in paperback as well. And there will be a limited print run of the illustrated version of The Fifth Son.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything? If so, what?
I'd have liked to start publishing younger--not counting my Alex book. At least, that's what I thought in the beginning. But the younger me and who I am today, we're not the same. I've grown so much since then. So, in the end I'd have to say, no.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Finish your story. Park your butt on your chair and finish it. Don't get stuck on trying to make your first sentence the most perfect opening sentence. Don't rewrite chapter one endlessly in your quest for perfection. Don't get hung up on beauty, but finish the story first. You can worry about making it look polished after you've finished it.
This happens to so many aspiring authors!
Also, research the publishers and take their submission guidelines seriously. Better have your manuscript look wrong with that awful font than be rejected because you didn't follow the guidelines.
Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you for buying my books. And thank you for taking the time to leave reviews. I hope you'll doing both for a long time to come J
Thanks for dropping by My Twisted & Kinky World!
Thanks again for having me. It's been fun J
Anytime sweety! *waves goodbye to Blaine*
Don't forget to check out these other Sizzling July Interviews!
Amara - July 1-3
Evan J. Xaiver - July 4-6
S.L. Armstrong - July 7-9
Brita Addams - July 10-12
Leigh Ellwood - July 13-15
Blaine Arden - July 16-18
Leigh Jarrett- July 19-24
A.D. Cooper - July 22-24
Giselle London - July 25-27
Rachel Haimowitz - July 28-30
Aleksandr Voinov - July 31-Aug. 3
Aleksandr Voinov - July 31-Aug. 3
Don't forget to stop by my Smashwords for the Summer/Winter Sale! Selected Titles are up to 50% Off!