We are here today to talk about Escaping From Him. What can you tell us about it?
It’s about Darryl escaping a controlling relationship with Chris to find himself a new life, new friends and eventually a happy ever after, far away in Scotland. It’s about control, being suppressed from living the life you’re meant to life, and having the courage to fling yourself into the unknown and hope that someone, something, catches you.
Please tell us more about our main characters.
Darryl is creative, a dreamer, wants to do something artistic with his life. He grew up with not very much in the way of family and so he creates his own family of friends when he escapes from Chris’s clutches to live in Scotland. His best friend Lena, is Swedish and very matter-of-fact about people simply living their life how they want, and not for others. Chris is an estate agent who is obsessed with money and what it can buy him. He likes everything in his life structured and ordered which Darryl finds quite restrictive. Darryl meets a cast of others in Scotland but I don’t want to tell you too much about them because you’ll have to read the family to meet them properly!
What is next for these characters? Is there more to this series? If so who will we hear from next?
There may be more to this series. At the end, there is a HEA, but I’ve started to think about what can happen to disturb that and how settled things really are in Scotland. Any relationship has its ups and downs and Darryl’s is no different. I may write a sequel focussing on Darryl and his new boyfriend, or there’s another character from the Scottish group of friends who I think deserves his own HEA too, so watch this space…
What part of a new story comes to you first? Characters? Plot? A scene? A theme? Or does it vary from book to book?
I sometimes have an opening scene and I’ll use that as a jumping off point for the rest of the story. I may create a character from something I’ve heard or seen and then start wondering what if, how would they react if put in a certain situation and then the story grows. I think most of my books seem to focus on the theme of trying to find the true self and living the life you’re meant to live. I didn’t realise that until I looked back at a few of my stories. There’s people leaving jobs, leaving boyfriends, leaving home – all in search of their true selves. Evidently it’s an important theme for me to write about so much.
What tool do you use to plan scenes? (such as index cards, white board, ouiji board, etc)
I either use Post It notes or I write notes long hand on paper. The notes can include a few lines of dialogue, or a brief description telling me what happens in that scene, where it is, who is in the scene. I plan what the characters do while referring to my character notes which includes their background, relationship history, goals, vulnerabilities etc. These things influence what they do in each scene I’m planning. During planning I generally have a rough map of what I think should happen, but as I’m planning scene by scene I let the characters decide what happens.
Do you take a break from a first draft to get distance from it, or dive right into editing, or edit heavily as you write?
I like to leave a first draft at least a month before I go back to self-edit it. I find this means I can read it more as a reader than as someone who’s just written it. I don’t edit as I write, I find that stops my flow from actually telling the story, one scene at a time. I like to write my first draft as quickly as possible because this means I stay in the world, remember what’s just happened and stay in the characters’ heads easier.
How important are secondary characters to your story telling? Do you actively try to have women characters in your M/M to balance the male focus of the MCs?
Secondary characters are important to story telling – they should show us something about the main character by their behaviour / relationship with the secondary characters. They also allow the main character to discuss issues and bounce ideas about. This is much more interesting to read than a main character gazing out of the window wondering in his head about what to do. The exchange of dialogue between characters is where we get to know them better. I tend to have female friends for my gay main characters because I think it’s important to balance out all the men. Also, this is pretty typical of gay men in real life. Yes, gay men have other gay men as friends, but all gay men have women in their lives through colleagues, relatives, friends. I think a female character can often offer a different perspective on something that a man may not have considered.
What book do you keep by your bed?
Whichever book I’m in the middle of reading at the time and my diary. I’ve kept a diary since 1997 about my day, what I’ve done, who I’ve seen, what I’ve thought about, what’s worrying me, what I’m looking forward to. It’s part of my daily routine when I get into bed that I write my diary before reading, and then I go to sleep.
If you had to be a cat, dog, or a rat, which would you choose and why?
A cat because they’re so much more nonchalant than dogs. A dog is wonderfully enthusiastic about everything, but I enjoy how when a cat sits on your lap it’s because he really wants to, not because he always will. This makes it more special.
Favorite Color? Red. I have red jackets, red trousers, red jeans, red shoes, shirts with red in them. I don’t have a red car because I thought having a red sports car (Mazda MX5 / Miata as they’re called in the US) it was a step too far, so it’s blue. But generally I like bright colours in everything I wear – stripes, flowers, patterns, I love them all. Put me in a grey suit, white shirt and grey tie and I feel part of my soul leaving my body.
Windows or Mac? Windows. I refuse to pay double the price for a Mac laptop that will do the same basic things as a Windows one will. I used to have an apple phone but refused to spend a small fortune upgrading so have now gone over to Samsung and am very happy with it. I can think of things I’d prefer to spend my money on than electronic hardware that’ll probably only be useful for 3 years or so anyway.
Read or writing? I love both. I don’t think you can be a writer without also reading voraciously. I tend to prioritise writing over reading because I am busy and want to fit it in. I write during the day and then, only when I’m too tired to write more, I read in bed.
Cook or eat out? I love both. Aren’t I being contrary today? I love cooking and would never eat anything out that I can make well at home. For me, cooking is a sort of therapy; it relaxes me. And I love eating too! Eating out is fun on occasions but I don’t like eating out all the time because it’s then less of a treat and more of a chore.
Sweet or Sour? Sweet all the way. Given the option of potatoes / pasta with a main course, or having a dessert, I would always pick the dessert. I sometimes eat 2 desserts in a restaurant if I don’t like the look of the mains. Sweet tooth is my middle name!
Favorite flower? I have a few. Tulips – we drove to The Netherlands a few years ago and were surrounded by fields of yellow and red tulips as we made our way to the accommodation. It was magical. Also I like Aquilegia (granny’s bonnet or columbine) because they come in a wide range of bright colours and look so pretty. And finally, Fuscias – they remind me of earrings, they come in loads of different bright colours and they’re very dressy. Can you see a pattern here?
Multiple choice questions or essay questions? I prefer essay questions because it’s less restrictive and gives me more space to express myself. Also, my responses rarely seem to fit with the multiple choice options available.
Call or text? Calls for a nice chat or to catch up with someone. Texts if it’s just to arrange or confirm something simple. I can go days without using my phone as an actual phone. I use it for social media, email, internet browsing, taking pictures, timing things, measuring how many steps I’ve walked, but sometimes forget it can be used to make calls too.
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