Please welcome my latest Friday Guest, Natalie (aka N. Wood) who is here to talk about her latest release and answer a whole load of my nosy questions. Thanks for being my guest today, Natalie.
First of all, please would you introduce yourself to anyone lurking here?
Hi! Thanks so much for having me. *Gets cosy* Okay, well my name is Natalie and I’m an alcoholic…nah, just kidding lol. I go by the author name N. Wood and I’m still fairly new to publishing, but hopefully throughout this interview you’ll get to know me.
What made you decide to start writing?
I’ve always had a fondness for creative writing and English was my best and favourite subject in school. When I was nine my school held a poetry competition and as one of the winners my poem was published in an anthology. Ever since then I wrote more and more, eventually moving onto stories rather than poems. Being a daydreamer helps a lot also, being able to imagine the story through first before even considering penning it down.
What genre(s) do you write and how did you get into it/them?
I write M/M romance, sometimes angst, other times HEA. I first got into writing M/M romance through fanfiction. I came across this genre and gave it a chance having never read anything like it before and I haven’t looked back since. The difference of what I’d used to read and write fascinated me and I contacted the author of the story who then put me into groups on Facebook. For over a year I wrote slash fanfiction until I decided to give original fiction a shot, and here I am.
Is there any genre(s) that you haven’t written yet which you would like to? If so, which genre(s)?
I haven’t written het to the degree of graphicness before, and neither have I written historical or a full length vampire story. I aim to cover all three of these with a trilogy I’ve been daydreaming for some time now.
What do you think makes for a good hero and/or heroine?
A hero or heroine can come in any shape, size or form. Really the main quality is that they triumph. In my first book My Bittersweet the hero of the story suffers just as much as the victim in the end, but he triumphs over the evil that had harmed and tormented the victim for so long. So a hero or heroine doesn’t have to be all glitz and glamour, all smiles and happy.
What do you think makes for a good villain?
Like the hero, the villain doesn’t necessarily have to be dark, dangerous and vicious. The villain could be a sweet elderly lady that no one would ever assume. I guess I just like the mysterious and the unnatural.
Which do you find easier to write: series or standalone stories?
Standalone stories, or at least in my mind, but if that standalone happens to be very big in size then it can be split down into a series once the writing has been completed.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
It’s the chance to escape. While writing I can create characters of my choosing, name them how I want, give them a life and live it with them. There’s one story I’ve been editing recently where one of my main characters is a paramedic. This is the profession I’d had the ambition for at one point in my life, so in a way writing this person was my own spin off life even if he was of the opposite sex.
Do you write your stories in order from start to finish or do you write out of order?
I have to write in order otherwise I’d get myself turned around and make many mistakes. I like it to flow well and it helps by not jumping forwards and backwards in time.
Do you plot out the stories before you start writing, or do you let the characters take over? Or is it a bit of both?
It’s a bit of both. I sometimes have a flash of what will happen in each chapter and it could be something small like for example: guy 1 goes to a bar, has a drink and flirts with guy 2 who catches his eye. I don’t write it out in depth until I’m writing the actual chapter, then I use my small flash and let the characters take over to tell it their way.
Which of your own characters is your favourite and why?
Out of all of my stories I’ve written to date I would have to say Dominic, the paramedic, simply because he was a great character to write, he jumped off the page and told me what to write most out of every character I’ve created…and I have a thing for a guy in uniform 😉
Where do you get your ideas from?
They tend to just pop into my head in a daydream. I could just see a glimpse or a whole scene, but if it catches my attention fully then I play on it more, making up the characters in my head and how they look, what they do and what could happen.
What kind of research do you do?
It depends on my characters and elements of the story really. If there’s something I’ve heard of but don’t know the mechanics of then I search it online to get my facts right or I ask someone. Most of my stories are set in America, so I’m often asking my acquaintances questions about things over there.
How do you keep disciplined in your writing?
Honestly I don’t, it’s a case of writing when I have the chance. I live with my boyfriend, his disabled sister and two dogs, so the noise level can often be distracting. For me to write I need as much silence as possible and that’s usually only achievable between 11pm and 3am, so I’m always very late to bed.
What are the best and worst things about being a published author?
The best is really the thought that yes, I’ve finally achieved my ambition. The worst is people who used to be your friend no longer speaking because ‘you’re an author now’, it’s as though they expect I’ve changed and become a snob, which I haven’t. Clearly it’s jealousy.
If you also write male/female romances, which do you find easier to write?
I’ve tried writing a het fanfiction before and since the majority of my readers are into slash it completely flopped, but I also found it very hard to write at the time too. M/M romance is definitely easier, but if I hope to write this trilogy I have planned then I need to get past this barrier.
Despite the growing market for same sex romances, it is still a long way from being mainstream. Do you see a time when they make it to the bestseller lists?
Possibly when marriage equality is achieved and homophobia fades. If people are more willing to be accepting, the world would be a good step towards being better. Who knows, maybe one day same sex romances will become mainstream because people are willing to learn to accept.
What is the best and/or worst reaction you have had after telling someone you write same sex romances?
Well during my fanfiction time a friend accidentally tagged me with my own short story on Facebook and my mom read it. When I next saw her she commented on the story and I asked her what she’d thought of it. She said it had been good, so I told her I had written it and she’d been impressed. Ever since then she had been supportive of my writing and even pre-reads for me.
I haven’t really had a bad reaction yet.
There seems to be some controversy about heterosexual women writing male/male romances, and whether they should or not. Have you encountered this and what is your opinion on the matter?
No, I haven’t encountered this, in fact one of my most avid readers is a gay male and he’s always encouraging me to write more and more. I don’t see how a heterosexual woman writing M/M romance makes any difference. As long as the facts are right and they’re not insensitive in any way then it’s fine. It’s no different from eighty year old bestselling male authors writing under a female penname their whole writing career. The genitals between your legs doesn’t affect your writing, it’s your tolerance that does that.
Why did you choose to go down the self-publishing route?
Though I’m publishing a book through Silver Publishing, I’ve also self-published some of my other stories. I guess I mostly chose to do this because of being turned down by three publishers in a row, one of which only read the first three chapters and said it wasn’t for them, which I didn’t agree with because even with the first few chapters it fit their publishing description rather well. At least with self-publishing you call the shots, you get every last say and you go far.
With all the vastness of the internet, there are numerous resources for those who wish to self-publish. Which have you found to be the most helpful?
Author groups on Facebook where you can talk with people in the same boat as you and get help from each other. The support is amazing and no one is left out because everyone is the same.
If you have also been published via a traditional publisher, which do you prefer?
It’s two sides of the coin. With a traditional publisher you have pre-readers, editors and a special cover made as well as promotion of your book. With self-publishing you have the say on everything and a higher royalty rate, but editing and cover artists cost far more than a pretty penny.
What do you like to do to relax when you aren’t writing?
I like to go swimming, it’s quiet enough and I can daydream new stories and situations while exercising and that helps a lot. I also like to walk my dogs for the same reason and I enjoy just chatting to my friends online, catching up with gossip.
What are your favourite books?
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (my favourite of the whole saga, but I like them all) and You Can Get Arrested For That by Rich Smith (a guy living local to me who went to America and broke the silly old laws there, such as it being illegal to sleep on a fridge in a certain State, and it being illegal to peel three oranges in a hotel room in another State. Really great book, check it out!)
What is your favourite genre to read?
I am a sucker for angst and hurt-comfort stories. A HEA isn’t necessary with me.
What is your favourite character from fiction (not including your own characters)?
Jasper Whitlock (the blond one who looks like he’s in pain, from The Twilight Saga)
Is there anywhere you would like to visit which you have not had chance to yet?
I’d rather like to go to Finland someday, but there’s no chance of getting me on a plane and I don’t own a passport for that reason.
If you could meet anyone at all, from either the past or present, who would it be and why?
Jackson Rathbone…Mmmmmmmmm sexay! (yes, that’s a valid reason, LOL)
Do you like to cook? What is your specialty dish?
My favourite to both cook and eat is BBQ pork pittas (pocket bread to those across the pond)
What is your idea of a perfect romantic date?
A stroll on the beach during the early hours of a summer’s day while the moon is full and reflecting on the sea. I’m not a material person and I don’t really care for flowers, a table for two, make-up and jewellery. Give me the basics and cheapies and I’m yours
What are you working on at the moment, and what are we likely to see from you in the coming months?
Currently I’ve been editing some stories that I’m preparing for self-publishing and I also have a mind to begin writing again soon with a trilogy being planned in my head.
Please tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is called Take A Gamble.
Blurb: Working the bar at Blackjack’s has its advantages for Isaac Anderson; free music, decent tips and all the ogling of customers his eyes can devour. When his sights land on a regular Friday night patron, Isaac likes what he sees, but there’s just something not quite right about the mysterious Caleb Miller. If he wants to discover what that is, Isaac must take a gamble, but will it pay off?
Excerpt: Despite the fact I was supposed to be working, I couldn’t stop my mind from slipping deeper into its haven of thoughts, all of them centred on this one man. He’d been the star of my wank sessions for a while now, whether that be in my shower or in my bed. Just like any of these times, I’d slow down every detail about him and all of his smallest movements.
Being in a different location led to a new setting for my fantasies, only this time I couldn’t physically do anything about it. I envisioned the bar being empty, except for the two of us. With no one around, he wouldn’t appear so shy and withdrawn.
He would stand and approach the bar, maybe with the slightest teasing sway to his hips or a visible adjustment of his cock through his suit trousers, to let me know he was just as aroused as me. He’d then lean across the bar and in a sultry voice, a tone I had yet to—and likely never would—hear from him, he would request a slow, comfortable screw—and by glancing down to my crotch, he’d hint he wasn’t listing a beverage from the cocktail menu.
Silver Publishing: https://spsilverpublishing.com/take-a-gamble-ebook-p-1423.html
Where can we find you and your books on the web?