Hey Alex! I really appreciate your joining us what with the time difference & all that’s going on with you at this time.
I am playing the role of Mary Poppins at the moment. It is not the first time I have done this. I think I have the most accident prone family in the whole world, but at least it gives me time to see my nephew and nieces.
First things first, you’re from Southern England . I’ve been told by a couple English fellas I know that the stereotype for that area is Nigel Havers and Hugh Grant, true?
You could be onto something with this. It depends what part of the country you are from. I have never actually met anyone as well spoken as Hugh Grant! That has to be a fake accent. My family is from Liverpool (Just think of the Beatles) originally so I have a mixture of both accents.
Are there any other writers in your family, which I understand is on the large side? Do tell, sure you’ve got some good stories O’ favorite Uncle. *G*
I think my dad use to write and my aunty is working on a novel. I would tell you what it is about, but getting your hands on that information is like getting blood from a stone. I do have a very large family. Most of them do various forms of self-expression from dance, to music, to gymnastics, to artwork and a few martial artists. I take credit for that last one. I think I am the first person in the family that has ever truly wanted to become a writer.
When did you know you wanted to write?
I first knew I wanted to write when I was… (Counting back the years! Still counting back… and now feeling old. I will stop counting now) I had to be about seven or eight. One of our projects in class was to make our own paperback books. A4 paper folded over with a stapler through the middle to hold it all in place. I think the other kids took two minutes to write their stories. I took about an hour. I create this really strange super hero and then explained his back story, why he did what he did, how his powers work and what his dream was. I really enjoyed creating a whole new world and telling exciting stories. It was the first time in school I had ever gotten praise for work (I was a big time slacker even back then!) and then when ever it came to English papers through secondary school, my teens and such I just kept coming up with bigger and better stories. I wrote my first novel at the age of seventeen, which didn’t do tell well, but still ranks as my all time favourite novel because I liked to write from strange perspective like a street lamp flickering out of existence and trying to discover the meaning of life in its last few moments. Or a plant in a plant plot that witnesses a key part in the story or tell the life story of a bullet shot from a gun in a major shoot out. The whole story is told like this… hence, it made no sense! But from there I just kept writing and writing and attempted to find more realistic characters in weird and wonderful worlds.
Is there anything you need (ie. chocolate, quiet, wine, caffeine, music) when you feel the creative urge?
I have a very set method when it comes to writing. Sometimes a book plan can take longer to do than the actual book. I need everything to be one hundred percent perfect and in place so I can just tell my story. So when it comes to planning I need music. It adds for a good distraction so I don’t over think things too much. When I write and re-write my books I need quiet. And then when it comes to the dreaded synopsis and reading the book to make sure I am happy with it I need wine… lots and lots of wine. That way I don’t have the brains or will power to start adding bits or re-writing parts, which I was terrible for.
Why erotic romance? To my knowledge there aren’t many men who write erotic romance.
There were several factors that sort of guided me to this. I use to write books on philosophy and techniques pertaining to my martial art style I use to teach. I self-published these over many years because there really is no market for them, but I wanted to be a serious writer so moved into fiction. My earlier attempts were deemed a bit weird and fancy. The world, the story and the writing was good, but my characters were flawed. So over the next few years I decided to write character driven stories, but it is hard to tell a realistic free flowing story when I constantly have to keep putting on the brakes. The most human thing that all my stories lacked were love or if they did it was the cliché, happy ending, wouldn’t really happen in the real world type of love story. It was then that I saw that erotic romance novels were really popular. I decided to try my hand at a romance story and the first one was fairly rubbish! I pretty much kept holding myself back when it came to betrayal, love, lust, sex, feelings, emotions and such. I think they are all intertwined and it is hard to write about one whilst ignoring the other. So I created a story called lady and the lake and decided I will tell a real story about a real character, I will write first person and have no limitations or no go areas. I never meant for the book to be so erotic! But it was picked up straight away from my publisher and since then I have never really looked back. I think with no limitations I can tell very realistic stories set in the real world, which is believable, but also capable of stealing the reader away from the daily routine of life. I just believe sex, love and romance are so important when two characters are truely getting to know each other because like in real life you are taking down your guards and allowing another person to know all there is to know about you in mind, body and soul.
I’ve noticed that you’ve written on several “hot topics” or whatever you wanna call them…You’ve covered the Holy Man, your best friends Mom and the familial affair thing…anything else you’re configilating about?
The story the lady and the lake is based around an affair. I plan to write several stories with lady and the lake from various characters perspectives. So I wanted to try something new and a bit different for my next book. The friend’s mom is from a novella of mine call the man with two hearts. That was a tricky story to write and its about a guy basically having two affairs with women that he loved in the past and let go. It tries to answer the question “what could of happened if I stayed with this person?” but on one hand he is having an affair with his sister in law, so I wanted to try something different, but believable hence the friends mom. The Holy Man was an experiment, which kind of worked…! It was a novella to see if a character for a novel I was planning would work. The novel plan was then completely re-written! I am currently working on three stories right now, two novels and a novella. One novel is almost complete and is a gothic erotic horror with a complicated love triangle. The other two are in the final planning stages, but both around “hot topics”. The novel I cannot really say too much about now because I would need ten pages to explain it! The novella is actually a really sweet sexy story, but the subject matter is kind of sad and upsetting. It is to do with this man getting over the death of his wife by seeking the support of her sister. It is a complicated story. I like to ask question in my stories. Lady and the lake (how far would you go for love?) the man with two hearts (what could have happened if I stayed with this person?) Before the Dawn (Self-discovery) and this new one (What counts as betrayal?)
How does your family feel about your choice of genre?
My family don’t know I write erotic romance. Not too sure what they would say. They do know I write because I write all the time, but always been funny about letting people read my work. I have overcome that fear now. And I am really comfortable with the stories that I write. And the subject matter I think allows me to write about certain aspects of life that truly allow me understands human nature.
Did it take you long to be “discovered”?
Yes. My martial art books that I self-published went in their thousands, but I gave most away for free because I just liked helping people learn martial arts. My fiction books were a nightmare. From the age of twenty-one to twenty-three I had twelve contract offers from various publishers, but each and every single contract was cancelled before I had the chance to sign. It was sort of like someone really loved my weird way of writing and then someone else higher up said “that’s too weird!” and I nearly gave up at that point. I didn’t write for a few years and then moved into erotic romance and got picked up within a month. I am only twenty-five and there are loads of writers that are older than me that have not signed. But from the sheer volume of books I have written it feels like it has taken a lifetime. I think it was merely the case of finding the genre that best allowed me to tell my stories and I have found that now.
Are your books going to be available on this side of the pond? Ebook or print? When, please?
Lady and the Lake will be available on e-book in June. You will be able to find that at Midnight Showcase, which is on your side of the pond. I think I am the only one stuck over here. I might have to build a boat.
Alex, thanks so much fella for being with us. I’ve had a large time chatting with you and hope you’ll keep us up to date on what’s going on with you!
It has been a pleasure. Thank you for taking the time out to talk to me.