Lovely to welcome Narrelle here. tell us, what inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always been something of a storyteller, even when I was little, so the minute I learned how to make words I started writing stories as well as speaking them. Perhaps you can say that life inspires me, and my imagination. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t telling stories, at any rate.
Do you have another job (paid or otherwise) apart from being an author? If so, how do you juggle your time?
I’m a corporate writer for a crust, these days, with a focus on web writing and social media. When I worked full time I set aside two evenings a week to write, and then any other time I could snatch to put things together. I’d write on the backs of envelopes, in exercise books back in the day. Now I have a smart phone, I send myself emails of ideas for stories, bits of dialogue or prose, anything that comes to mind that fits into a work in progress or a new idea.
I don’t always work full time now. We paid our mortgage off in 2012 which released a lot of pressure, so I work freelance these days. Some weeks I’m really busy with clients, and some weeks there’s not much paying work, but it evens out. In the quiet time, I write my books. Even in the busy weeks, though, I set aside those two evenings a week even if I don’t get any other writing time. (Apart from the mad emailing scads of story ideas and text to myself.)
What did it feel like watching your first book fledge and leave the nest?
It’s a bit terrifying. It certainly was scary with my first genre book, and then again with my first erotic romance. You do your best to write a good story, to create something that people will enjoy, and you just hope it finds an audience and that someone else will like it. It was actually harder with the first erotic romance, because it’s not an easy genre to get a handle on and I wanted to do it well. I hope I’ve done the genre justice.
Are you character or plot driven? What do you do if one of your characters starts developing at a tangent?
Although it’s a balance, generally my work is very character-driven – it’s who they are that really propels the plot. It’s how they respond to the situations that sends them into the next situation. A writer at a writer’s group once challenged me to ‘rewrite the story by taking out one of the three lead characters’ and I couldn’t – the story only happened the way it did because those three women were who they were. Taking any one of the three out changed the story so fundamentally that it would have been an entirely different novel.
If you were in a tight corner and had to rely on one of your characters to save you, which would it be and why?
Oh, Martine Dubois from the Secret Agents, Secret Lives series, without a doubt. She’s smart, fast and can be pretty ruthless as required, but she has a good heart. Jack Burns from the Talbott and Burns series is the runner up. He’s had lots of practice getting his boyfriend Elliott out of jams.
If you had no constraints of time and a guarantee of publication, what book would you write?
ALL OF THEM. No, seriously, I have ideas for five or six books at the moment, and that’s just right now. To have time to sit down and write every single one of them would be just so marvelous. Though I guess that’s cheating as an answer, so instead, let’s say my third book in the vampire series with Lissa Wilson and Gary Hooper (my geeky vampire) because I would like to finish telling their story. That or one of the three or four romance ideas I have sitting around as notes that I haven’t got to yet.
Is there a classic book you started and simply couldn’t finish?
There are some I started thinking they might be a bit stodgy and found to my delight that they were snappy, funny and really fresh, including A Christmas Carol. Classics I just couldn’t get into… I can’t think of one off-hand, though there are some more contemporary books that were widely praised that I just couldn’t get into.
What’s your favourite gay romance book? And why?
Julie Bozza’s books The Shadow of the Valley of Death and Homosapien were the first gay romances I ever read, outside of fanfiction anyway, and they remain close to my heart. Bozza is a wonderful writer and I’m so glad I was introduced to the genre by such good work.
What’s your next project?
I’m currently working on a paranormal queermance about a doctor who was turned into a vampire and is pissed off about it, an artist who used to live on the streets of London and a plot by a fox spirit to take over England… It’s called Ravenfall.
Homecoming, the first short story in the Talbott and Burns series. (Two more stories are due out so far, the next one being ‘A Paying Client’).