How long have you been writing? And have you always wanted to be a writer?
Since I was in my teens, when I wrote my first romance novel at the age of 15. But professionally, I’ve been writing since I began my college education back in 1997 for social work. Now, I write a lot for graduate school and most of what I write is clinical and related to therapy and counseling. Some part of me needs an occasional break from that type of psychological intensity. So, for personal enjoyment, I’ve been writing steadily for the past 2 years in the m/m romance genre, and I really love it. I didn’t start writing seriously in the romance genre until two years ago when I became inspired by some people I met in the gay community that made me crave writing fictional romance again. A absolutely adore a good story with a happily-ever-after ending.
To date, what has been the best advice or words of encouragement you've received?
They were from published author Sue Brown. She’s a wonderful close friend of mine. Sue told me almost a year ago that she knew I could do this (become published), and to not listen to the negativity that might come my way. She told me she believed in me, that my stories were good, and to go for it. She promised me she’d be right there for me, cheering me on all the way. I listened, and haven’t looked back since. And she was right. For her encouragement and belief in me, I will always be grateful. I probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for her.
What are three things about you that would surprise your fans?
Oh goodness…*Lmao and grins* … I’m a perfectionist, and honest to a fault. Also, I’ve never been married and don’t have any kids at the age of 43 yet. And besides that, hmmm… I’d have to say that even though I’ve always loved to write, and been good at it, and was encouraged by professors back in college 13 years ago to pursue writing as a career, I never once seriously thought about pursuing writing professionally until I met Sue Brown a year ago. I was writing fan fiction for fun and that’s when Sue stumbled across my stories. She started leading the brigade almost from the get-go to encourage me to pursue becoming published because she thought my writing merited it. *grins*
How do you name your characters?
That’s a very good question. It’s interesting too, because it involves quite the mental process to put names to my characters. Once I’ve envisioned a story line and created my plot, and my characters come to life, I look at them in my mind’s eye, see their faces, take into account what they look like, their overall dispositions, natures, and temperaments, and a name will usually come to me. It’s like the name chooses the character, if that makes any sense, based on the aforementioned components.
Sometimes I have to play with several names until the name “feels right” to me. Once I know the name matches the character in the story, it’s a done deal and he or she becomes quite real to me in my imagination. It’s how I’m able to put so much realness into the personas of each male or female I write about, because they’re real people to me, with real feelings and needs. Their story lives … and is written, through me.
Who or what influenced your writing over the years?
I grew up reading and adoring great romance authors such as Jude Deveraux, Janet Daily, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, and Sidney Sheldon. They were my favorites of the romance genre who captured my imagination and took me on romantic journeys to far-away places. I always wanted to write the way they did. They really inspired me, in style, concept, and originality.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
I think developing a strong plot with great, passionate energy and chemistry that flows effortlessly between the two main characters is essential. Sometimes it’s a challenge. But when those elements come together and work right, the result is magic and it’s what I always strive to create.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
I study human behavior and have a great deal of insight into how the human mind, heart, and psyche work. That aspect gives me the ability to develop and write great depth of character in the characters in my books. In addition to that, I’ve had a lifetime of experience, some of which has been very emotional and difficult. It’s much more difficult to write about something, a feeling, an emotion, a sensation, an event, if you’ve never been through it yourself. Due to that, I’d have to say there’s not much I can’t write about that I don’t have my own personal experience with. It’s easier to write something you have strong personal feelings attached to, because it’s easier to relate to it. That makes my writing better, filled with more feeling and emotion, and more poignant to the reader.
Tell us your latest news?
Currently, I’m celebrating my first book release for A Wicked Encounter released through Silver Publishing. It’s a m/m erotic Regency-historical romance. You can find it on Silver’s website, Amazon.com, Goodreads.com, and other well-known romance eBook sites.
In addition to that, I’m now under contract for two new books. The first is another novel with Rebel Ink Press. It’s due out on or before Sept. 1st this year, and is entitled Haunted by Obsession. It’s a contemporary, m/m paranormal erotic ghost story and murder mystery. I’ve always loved nostalgic old ghost stories, and just had to write one with a hot, m/m twist on it.
The other project I’m really honored and excited to be working on is an anthology entitled Chasing The Dream. This will be published through my first house, Silver Publishing, and is a joint project with four other amazing writers. You may have heard of Patricia Logan, Sue Brown, Lisa Worrall, and GA Hauser. The five of us have contracted with Silver to each write a m/m short story of some sort following the theme of the title.
I’ve already written mine, and have been privy to both Patricia’s and GA’s stories. They are fantastically hot. I can’t wait to see how readers like this new book. The scheduled release date for our full length novel of compiled stories will be Sept. 17th this fall. That book will be available in both eBook and print copy formats, and will actually be my first printed book. I’m so excited and pleased to be part of this project, and cannot wait to hold the finished product in my hands.
So, in regards to both books, as well as two other writing projects currently in the works, I’ll keep you updated as things progress.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
It’s entitled A Wicked Encounter, released by Silver Publishing on April 2nd 2011 in ebook format. It’s a Regency-style historical that is m/m erotic romance, and is set in the year 1792. The following is a short blurb. I’m super excited about the release and hope you’ll all check it out.
“Christopher Allwyne, Duke of Bellwood, stood to inherit a vast fortune. Still reeling from the loss of his parents and most recently, his Aunt Polly, the Duchess of Bellwood, the young noble found himself traveling in the dark of night to oversee Her Grace's funeral proceedings and to attend the reading of his aunt's will. Along the way, his carriage suffers a devastating accident, and a dark stranger comes to his aid and rescue. The Marquis Evan de Lombard, rich French nobleman, takes an instant interest in the handsome Christopher. Sharing a wicked encounter shortly after meeting, things look promising as love blooms between them. That is, until the Marquis reveals his true identity and purpose.
Once Christopher knows the truth, will he ever be able to forgive Evan and love him, despite the man's indiscretions? Torn apart by dishonesty, can love win out over betrayal and rise to the occasion, reuniting them for a lifetime of happiness? The cost for true love could be a price neither one is willing to pay.”
If you’d like to purchase your own eBook copy, go here to buy:
Can you tell us about your main character?
I was given a plot suggestion by the marvelous Sue Brown, who is a published writer of at least ten m/m erotic novels and short stories. She’s a good friend of mine. We were having a discussion on plot suggestions during the summer of 2010 and she said to me, “How about coach sex in a storm?” It’s really quite amusing, because Sue is from the UK. Being in the USA, I interpreted her suggestion to mean exactly that, a sexual encounter between two hot men in a stage coach from the 1800s.
After talking further with her, she clarified to me that what she meant was an encounter on a bus or a traveling motor coach. It was just the difference in the two dialects native to our countries. But by then, the idea was already firmly in my mind and the plot was expanding like wildfire. I couldn’t get it out of my head.
I was already picturing a stormy night on a lone road in the middle of the English countryside in the dark of night, an accident, and a smaller, handsome aristocratic man being injured and then rescued by a larger, dark, handsome man of imposing stature. That’s how Christopher’s character was born. As I wrote the first scene, when Evan appeared after the accident, he was just very clearly there in my mind’s eye. He was tall, with long, raven-black hair, and piercing blue eyes. It all just fell into place after that, and their hot romance kick-started what turned out to be an epic tale of love and forgiveness. I loved writing this story and hope to one day write more Regency-style romances.
What is it about the M/M genre that makes you enjoy writing it?
I love romance. At the heart of everything, I love a great romantic tale full of twists and turns that centers around two main characters who must navigate the waters of love to find their way together. Beyond that, I think beautiful gay boys are extremely hot and appealing. They’re interesting together, not the same as normal hetero couples such as we’re accustomed to reading about in romance books. I love telling stories about them and that’s what keeps bringing me back to the genre; that, and the desire to tell engaging stories that draw the reader in and keeps them coming back for more.
Knowing my readers are satisfied and emotionally filled at the conclusion of reading something I’ve written is the main reason I write. It’s important to me that my audience comes away feeling like the world is a good place, with hope, love, warmth, and promise, and that happiness is attainable for each and every one of us.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 1 of my book A Wicked Encounter:
"Christopher, Your Grace? I'm pleased to make your acquaintance," the Marquis de Lombard said with a question in his voice. "Perhaps we can talk more later, and you can tell me all about yourself then. But for now, 'tis probably best if we find some shelter for the night. Are you from this area?" His eyes flickered over the general locale.
"My aunt's castle is somewhere near here, but since I don't know exactly where 'here' is, I'm not sure how far away we actually are," Chris replied. It drew raised eyebrows from the other man, but the Marquis only nodded in response.
"I believe we passed a small inn several miles back. If you don't mind, perhaps we might find lodging there, Your Grace," de Lombard said, indicating the way they'd come. "We need to tend to that cut on your forehead. It looks deep."
Chris nodded and began to climb down from the coach. Mid-step, a wave of dizziness afflicted him and he stumbled. His rescuer caught him by the arm to keep him from falling to the ground, his blue eyes wide with worry.
"Here, let me." De Lombard climbed down behind Chris and supported his body's weight securely. The man's lean frame, pressed firmly against Chris's backside, was warm and solid, and he smelled like leather and warm male spice. The sensation was pleasant, perhaps more than pleasant, the contact stirring unfamiliar yearnings inside Chris. Strong arms supported him as the Marquis eased them both down gently, until they stood on solid, albeit wet and muddy, ground.
"Thank you. You're most kind," whispered Chris, shaken from more than just his near fall. He watched as the tall man hoisted himself back up to grab his leather carryall, then gracefully land on his feet as he jumped back down beside Chris. The man took hold of his elbow and urged him toward a grand carriage that stood off to the side of the road.
A richly cloaked driver hurried to open the door for his master. Chris climbed inside. A small lantern hanging from the center of the ceiling cast a low but cheerful glow on rich velvet upholstery and heavily carved woodwork. The inside smelled just like the man himself, sweet and spicy, of fine wood and heavy, tanned leather. The scent was pungent and filled Chris's nostrils like a drug. He sank into the soft cushioned bench and curled in on himself, closing his eyes for a moment. The Marquis joined him, after speaking quickly in French to his driver and giving explicit instructions on where he was to take them. The man nodded his compliance. "Oui, Monsieur. Absolutement," he answered, then folded up the coach stairs and shut the door.
A moment later, the coach lurched forward, the four black stallions glistening in the steady downpour as their powerful muscles contracted and began the task of pulling the carriage back down the road the way they'd come. The nobleman focused his eyes intently on Chris, a small smile playing at the corners of his mouth.
"You should rest. Close your eyes, Christopher. We'll be to the inn in a matter of minutes," he said reassuringly. Chris didn't argue. He was already too tired to complain or contradict and his head was beginning to throb horribly. He leaned back and drew his damp coat tighter about himself, closing his eyes. The sound of steady horses' hooves lulled him swiftly away, and he slept.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I’ve really enjoyed being here and sharing more about myself and my passion for writing with you and your fans. I hope you’ll all check out my current and future fictional publications.
You can find SammyJo Hunt at the following websites:
Personal Website and Blog address- http://sammyjohunt.livejournal.com
I'd like to thank Sammy Jo for being a guest here again and wish her the best. I have begun reading her book and so far I am very entertained!
If you are looking for the weekly update, it will be posted at Rawiya's only today!
Make sure you're here again tomorrow as I will have star author ZA Maxfield here on the blog. Don't miss it!