TNA: Thanks so much for joining us today, Jay. Why don’t we start by having you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Jay: Hi, Lisa! Thank you for having me. I’m not sure what to tell you, because most of it is in my author bio at the bottom. But as well as writing I run an online business and a choir. I’ve been self-employed for twelve years now, and writing is my newest venture.
TNA: When did you start writing? Is this something that’s been a life-long passion, or is it something you began more recently? What do you love most about the creative process?
Jay: Writing is a relatively new thing for me. I always enjoyed writing stories as a child, but got out of the habit of it as I grew up. I had this image of myself as a person who was more scientific than creative, so it never occurred to me to try and write anything other than factual stuff. But then I started reading fanfiction about five years ago and seeing other people writing stories for fun inspired me to try. I got hooked on it, and my writing developed from there. It’s been a massive learning curve and has been very exciting.
The part I love the best is when I really get into the flow of writing and am hardly even thinking consciously about what’s going to happen next. It just happens and I find myself writing things I hadn’t planned for. I think it’s so cool when that happens—although it can totally mess with your outline of course. But sometimes you just have to run with it!
TNA: Have you always written M/M Romance? What is it that draws you to the genre?
Jay: When I started writing fanfiction I wrote a few M/F stories too, but even back then I was mostly reading and writing slash (the fanfiction term for m/m fiction). It’s really hard to analyse exactly what I love about it, it’s difficult to pin down. But I think part of it is that it allows me to explore my masculine side. I define myself as gender fluid, so I think reading and writing stories from a male point of view is very appealing to me, because it allows an outlet for the male part of me.
TNA: You have a new book in the Nothing series coming out soon, Nothing Ventured. Tell us a little bit about the series as a whole: where did the idea for it come from?
Jay: The Nothing books aren’t actually a series—They’re a set of completely unrelated stories that happen to have similar titles. The reason I decided to link them by titles (and cover art) is that they are all a similar type of book. They’re all novellas, they all have a similar heat level (moderate to high) and they’re all light, fun, feelgood reads that are low on the angst and high on the smut/sweetness.
TNA: What do you think makes a great protagonist? What’s your favorite sort of character to write?
Jay: I love characters who have a little vulnerability. They don’t need to be massively damaged or flawed for me, but I like at least one of the main characters to have chinks in their armour, insecurities or stuff in their past that they haven’t quite reconciled or that is holding them back.
TNA: You have the opportunity to make one of your books into a movie. Which book would you choose and why? Who would you cast to play your leading men?
Jay: Nothing Ventured, because it would be lots of fun filming Matt and Aiden getting all hot and sweaty together and wrestling in the mud. I’d have Bradley James to play Matt, and Ben Cohen to play Aiden (I know… he’s not an actor but this is fantasy so I’m having him anyway because he looks perfect for Aiden if he buzzed his hair a little shorter).
TNA: You’re given the chance to bring one of your characters off the page and into the real world. Which character would you choose and why?
Jay: Jamie from Nothing Serious because he’s such a nice guy. The world needs more people like Jamie.
TNA: Would you care to share a little information about your WIPs and/or upcoming releases beyond Nothing Ventured?
Jay: If all goes well, I’m aiming to release a Christmas novella called Cold Feet in early December. It’s all a little last minute because it’s going to be self-published, and I only started writing it near the end of October. But I think I can get it all finished and edited in time.
After that, I have a book lined up for early 2015 called Passing Through. That one is quite different to my last few releases. It’s much angstier and less fluffy, but I love it. It was something I had to write, because it’s very loosely based on some stuff that’s going on in my life at the moment. It’s quite personal, and was very cathartic. But it was hard to write and made my pre-readers cry. There is a happy ending, of course, but some tough stuff happens along the way.
TNA: Thanks so much for being with us today, Jay. Please tell us where readers can find Nothing Ventured, and you, on the internet.
Jay: Thanks again for the chance to be featured on The Novel Approach. Here is the lowdown on my latest release, plus my bio and links.
When Aiden agrees to run the Mad Mucker—a twelve-mile muddy slog over an obstacle course—he’s expecting it to be a bit of a laugh. The training will be tough, but Aiden could use the motivation to regain some fitness.
Matt is the sexy cousin of one of Aiden’s coworkers and a last-minute addition to the team. When he agrees to train with Aiden, Aiden suddenly finds the prospect of regular workouts a lot more appealing.
Soon attraction flares, and they embark on an intense physical relationship. Matt doesn’t want to fall in love with a man, and Aiden doesn’t want to fall in love at all, but despite their insistence on no strings, they grow closer. As the day of the race approaches, time is running out for them to work out how they feel about each other.
Excerpt: They moved on to discuss training more specifically. Liv, of course, had already planned out her schedule and suggested the rest of them do the same.
“It helps me focus if I make a plan and stick to it,” she was saying. “I’ll be running four days a week and going to the gym for weight training twice. That gives me one day of complete rest a week.”
“One whole day!” Aiden shook his head as he picked up his now nearly empty pint. “Careful, your muscles might atrophy or something.”
He drained the last dregs and wiped the foam from his lip with the back of his hand. He caught Matt watching him as he did it, and he licked his lips deliberately. He couldn’t resist flirting with the man even though his interest was completely unreciprocated. The bloke looked as though he had a stick up his arse, and Aiden couldn’t imagine he’d like anything more interesting up there. Shame. Aiden wouldn’t have minded trying.
Liv’s voice snapped him out of daydreams about Matt’s arse and back to the here and now. “So how many times a week will you be aiming to run, Aiden?”
“Oh… um, yeah. Three or four, I guess,” he said vaguely. “That sounds about right. And I’ve got some weights at home, so I can use those if I don’t make it to the gym.” They were at the back of a cupboard, gathering dust.
“Matt lives near you. Maybe you could train together?” Liv had a wicked glint in her eye. “It’s always motivating training with someone else. It’s so easy to wimp out on a rainy day if you’re not answering to anyone, isn’t it?”
“I suppose,” Aiden replied warily. “But I don’t think it’s necessary. I wouldn’t want to slow Matt down.”
He expected Matt to agree. Why the hell would Matt want to train with him? Aiden hadn’t exactly made a great first impression. There was no way he’d want Aiden tagging along behind him and cramping his style.
But surprisingly, Matt grinned at him. The evil, slightly too knowing look in his eye was familiar, and for the first time Aiden could see the family resemblance between him and Liv. “I think that’s a great idea.”
Aiden opened his mouth, but for once he was at a loss for words. He closed it again and swallowed.
“Brilliant,” said Liv. “Make sure you swap numbers, then, so you can arrange something.”
Matt got out his phone. “We can start tomorrow after work. What’s your number?”
Aiden knew when he was beaten. It seemed he’d acquired a training partner. An annoying, bossy, sexy but tragically straight training partner. But at least the view of Matt’s arse would be nice while Aiden was trying to keep up with him.
Author Bio: Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.
THE GIVEAWAY: THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED