TNA: Hi, Josephine, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell us a little bit about yourself? Hobbies, interests, odds and ends things that make you, you.
Jo: I’m pretty fickle when it comes to hobbies as I enjoy the learning curve better than the steady practice required to become a master of something. However, I’ve managed to keep a steady interest in textile crafts going over the last few years. I think it’s mainly driven by my frustration in knowing exactly what clothes I want to buy, but never being able to find them in the shops. Why can’t designers see into my head and cater to my every whim? It’s so unfair!
Apart from that, my main interests are spending time with my friends and my gorgeous daughter, Daisy, who has just turned eight. What else? I love a good cabaret show, dancing, parties, and am always keen to get dressed up: the more outrageous the outfit, the better! And like a good Brit I learnt to drink like a fish at a tender age. I’m a very happy, flirty drunk which is nice for those around me, but which does tend to get me into trouble every now and then when I succumb to the cocktails rather than sticking to the lager.
TNA: Have you always written M/M Romance, or is that something that came along later in your writing career? What is it that drew you toward wanting to explore gay relationships in your writing?
Jo: I started out writing pretentious literary short stories when I was at university… actually, that’s a lie. I started out writing cutesy stories involving my toys when I was a kid, but I was never seriously thinking out being published back then. I was more interested in being an astronaut when I grew up.
However, looking through my university notebooks I’ve found several ideas for stories that involved a gay romance subplot, so clearly that interest was always there. I suppose I’m drawn to it because I’m a bisexual who’s always been in het relationships, so perhaps it’s like exploring the me that never was… if I were a man.
TNA: What was your first published M/M title? Do you remember the precise moment you came up with the story idea and knew you wouldn’t rest until it was told?
Jo: The first single title I published was a short story called Insta-Love™, which came out with Dreamspinner back in October 2010. However, I’d had several shorts out in anthologies before then. As for longer titles, though, that was Barging In, in September 2011.
The inspiration for Insta-Love™ was a conversation in the comments over on Reviews by Jessewave, and it was influenced by my love of cyberpunk writer William Gibson, with a bit of Doctor Who thrown in for good measure.
TNA: If you could go back in time, to the moment you sat down and began writing that first book, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?
Jo: Don’t read your Goodreads and Amazon reviews! And don’t obsess over rankings and ratings. So many writers lose sleep and working time over these. I’ve gradually learnt to step back and leave these alone. Worrying about them doesn’t do me any good, and damages my ability to keep writing.
TNA: Let’s chat a little bit about your new book, Merry Gentlemen. Will you tell us a little bit about it and how you came up with the idea for the story?
Jo: Strangely enough, it all started with the seagull. I often have a real life comic incident as a kind of starting point for creating a plot (with The Hot Floor, it was the bathtub falling through the ceiling), and for some years now I’ve been meaning to write a story involving someone getting splashed head to toe in seagull shit while on a busy street. Hey, it happened to me, and so I wanted one of my characters to have to suffer through that embarrassment too!
From that starting point I added in the Bath Christmas Market setting, and the rest of the plot just snowballed from there.
TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt from Merry Gentlemen with us?
Jo: Certainly! Here’s a short scene when Riley and Stan meet up in the pub, just hours after seeing each other again for the first time in five years:
“Everything all right?” I asked as Stan and I faced off in the middle of the pub. I gave him my best insouciant smile, which I had on good authority could be downright infuriating. Stan’s authority, as it went. It had been one of the most reliable ways to wind him up back when we were together.
“Outside, now,” he demanded, grabbing hold of my arm. Oh yeah, I’d missed that firm, slam-me-up-against-the-wall grip.
“If you’re after a fight, you’ll be sorely disappointed. I can’t box for shit. And I’ve got a note from my ma letting me off any kind of contact sport. Delicate bones, you know.”
“Didn’t look like you were after that kind of contact sport.” Stan’s voice had gone all gruff, and he had that single-minded look in his eyes I remembered so well. The one he got before he ripped my clothes off and shagged me into next week.
Oh yeah. Looks like I still had it. “Sweetheart, I’ve no idea what you’re getting at, but I can assure you I’m not going anywhere with you until you start treating me with a bit of respect. Or at least treat my clothes with respect. Do you have any idea how much this coat cost?” I peeled his fingers back from my arm, and he let go with a grunt of annoyance.
Stan crossed his arms over that broad slab of chest. “We need to talk, and I’m not doing it in here. What?”
I broke into song. “R. E. S. P. E. C. T, find out what—”
“For fuck’s sake! Do you plan on carrying on like this all night?”
“Like what, exactly?”
“Like a poster boy for camp. You’ve changed.”
I resisted the urge to start singing I Am What I Am. “This is just me, babe. I’m not the one who upped sticks and moved away to the back of beyond. I’d say you’ve changed. You’ve become tetchy.”
“Tetchy?” At Stan’s raised voice, a few more punters turned to watch us. Bugger. Probably should take this outside after all.
“So you really want to talk?” Although I loaded the last word with as much innuendo as it could carry, I honestly wasn’t intending to do anything other than have a quick chat, then blow him off. Not the good kind of blowing off, either. If Stan really thought I’d put out for him after everything he’d put me through over the last five years, he was in for a nasty surprise. I glanced back at my table of colleagues and noticed a few of them were peering interestedly in our direction. “I’m not doing this in front of my workmates,” I said. “Come on. We can talk outside.”
Stan’s expression set into a stony blank. “Forget it.”
“Forget what? Come on. We’ve got years to catch up on. Five of them? Don’t you even want to know what I’ve been doing? Or who I’ve been doing?”
Jealous rage punched its way through that granite mask, and I wondered for a second the wisdom of goading him. He always had been a possessive bastard. I’d rather liked it at the time, though. “Outside, now,” he snarled and hauled me by the arm towards the door.
“That’s what I was just saying, wasn’t it?” I retorted, but the breathless shock in my voice kind of detracted from the comeback.
“Where are we going?” I asked, once we’d hit the cold night air. Stan didn’t answer, but the direction of his steps had a crashing inevitability. “Not your chalet. Oh come on, haven’t you had enough of the place today? How about we go to your hotel? You are staying in Bath, right? Or my place. I’m still in the same flat, you know. I really haven’t changed.”
I still love you, I stopped myself from adding, because that was clearly bullshit. Who would be pathetic enough to still pine for the man who dumped them a whole five years later? No, this was just a mild case of sexual obsession, and luckily enough, it looked like Stan was similarly afflicted. I mean, the man couldn’t even wait to get me inside the bloody chalet before I was slammed up against the wooden slats, his mouth hungrily closing in on mine.
TNA: I know this is sort of like asking you to name your favorite child, but of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite? If so, which and why?
Jo: Tough one, as generally it’s going to be the one I’m working on right now—or the one I’m about to write that only exists as this perfect idea in my head! If pushed, though, I think it might have to be The Hot Floor, because I had so much fun writing that one. There were times I sat there, not believing how much porny smut was coming out of my imagination and wondering if I’d ever dare show it to anyone else, but once I did I lost all my shame about writing erotica. When you’ve written sweaty threeway armpit frottage, you don’t have much left to feel embarrassed about!
TNA: If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would you choose and why? What makes him or her someone you think would make an impression (good or bad) upon the world?
Jo: At the moment I’d have to say Mas from Junk, as I’ve been writing his story and I’d just love to meet him. I think he’s fantastically brave and bold, with a good heart. The world doesn’t make it easy for the more flamboyant gay men who can’t hide their sexuality, so I feel a huge amount of respect to those who can brazen it out without turning bitter.
TNA: What would you say are the best and worst parts of the writing process for you?
Jo: The best part is starting a new project, and the worst is forcing myself to work right through to the end! This is why I wrote so many short stories in the early days. I was always getting distracted by bright and shiny new ideas.
TNA: Are you a plotter or a pantser? Whichever you are, why do you feel that method works best for you?
Jo: I swing between the two depending on the project, but I have to admit I’m more of a pantser at heart. I need to know roughly where the story is going and will always have a few key scenes in my mind I know I want to write, but the journey to them is often a mystery and my plots have a way of changing as I write.
I prefer this way of writing as I love surprises. It’s thrilling and scary to set off on a journey of writing, not knowing where you’ll be going. My muse clearly prefers this way of writing, as the more I try to plot in advance, the more my ideas seem to diverge from the plan!
TNA: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Jo: The ability to bend time so I had more hours in the day to get everything done—but at the same time, slowing down the aging process. Actually, what am I saying? I want to fly! I’ve always, ALWAYS wanted to be able to fly.
TNA: If time travel were possible, where would you go and why?
Jo: I’d love to know what my great grandmother was really like, so I’d probably go and see her perform as one of the Tiller Girls, then hang around the stage door afterwards. She’s a figure of family legend, and was apparently a great beauty who was once on the cover of Tatler. She ran off from boarding school to perform on stage, married a baritone singer, had an affair with a lord, and a portrait of her destined to some rich American gent went down with the Titanic. She was also an alcoholic and ran up debts all over the country, running away before the bailiffs could catch up. She sounds like a larger than life figure, and I’d love to know what she was really like, as opposed to the legends that have built up around her.
TNA: Would you care to share a little bit of information on any of your current WIPs?
Jo: I’m currently writing the next in the Bristol Collection series, which is Mas’s story. Lewis and Jasper from Junk appear several times, and it’s been great fun to revisit them. It’s particularly fascinating to realise how Lewis comes across to Mas, who has a very different view of him than Jasper does.
TNA: Where can readers find you on the internet?
Jo: I have my blog hosted on my website, so you can always find me over there at http://www.JosephineMyles.com. I also hang out on Twitter as @JosephineMyles, or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/josephine.myles.author. I love chatting to readers in all those places :)
Thanks for having me over today, Lisa. It was great to chat, and I’m hoping we’ll get to do it in person sometime soon when I eventually make it over the pond for an event.
Thanks so much for being here with us today, Jo. It’s been a pleasure having you!
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
’Tis the season of goodwill to all men…even the one who dumped you.
Riley MacDermott’s ambitions are simple. Managing the annual Bath Christmas Market—which involves long hours in the cold and a whole lot of hassle—will secure the promotion he needs to afford to move out of his noisy, top-floor flat. Where not even his balcony is safe from an aggressive herring gull.
The last stallholder he expects to see is his ex. Riley never recovered from their break up, and five years on the old chemistry still sparkles. So does their habitual head butting.
Stan never wanted to leave the love of his life, but the pull of the woods was too strong—and Riley was firmly planted in the city. Reconnecting is painful, but Stan still jumps at the chance to stay with his old flame during the Market. And damn the consequences.
As the weeks pass, the two grow closer than ever. But despite scorching sex and cozy intimacy, they both know they face a cold and lonely future. Unless one of them can compromise.
Warning: Contains sex in a shed, a seagull with a grudge, glamping, awful Secret Santa underwear, misuse of an Abba song, and as many wood-related puns as the author thought she could get away with.
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. She blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.
Jo is also one of the organising team behind the UK Meet, an annual event celebrating GLBTQ fiction. She publishes regularly with Samhain, and has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish on occasion, although she prefers to leave the “boring bits” of the book creation process to someone else.
Website and blog: http://josephinemyles.com/