BY CONNIE WARD
What made you decide to become a fiction writer?
I started reading for pleasure about six or seven years ago and fell in love with the stories I read, particularly those with strong female leads. Before that, about ten years ago, my sister-in-law loaned me Alma Mater by Rita Mae Brown. I read it twice in three days while on a business trip to Washington, D.C. I had no idea lesfic was even a thing. Then about five years ago, a good friend loaned me Fated Love by Radclyffe. I needed more. I read as many books as I could get my hands on. My wife and I went to a Bold Strokes Books-sponsored event in Palm Springs, CA, where one of the panels featured Kim Baldwin and Nell Stark talking about getting started as a writer. Their best advice? Write what you know. That weekend, Jordan and Kirsten were born.
What type of stories do you write? And why?
I write romance because I love the happily-ever-after. Relationships are hard work, but when you’re with the right person, the work is totally worth it. I’ve had great examples of the HEA, namely my parents. They got married after just four and a half months of dating, but the night my mom met my dad, she knew she would marry him before she even knew his name. They’ve been happily married for forty-nine years and honestly LIKE each other. They gave my brother and me a foundation and standard for our own marriages. My wife and I have been together nineteen years, and even though we’ve had our hard times, they’ve been worth it because we got through it together, as a team, as partners, as best friends.
What do your family/friends think about your writing?
My family and friends are over the moon about me being a published author. The morning I found out BSB wanted to publish New Beginnings, we were just about to leave for my parents’ house so they could take my wife and me to the airport for the GCLS conference. When I told them about New Beginnings being published, they cried and said they were so proud of me. They’ve always been supportive of anything I’ve wanted to do as long as I worked hard and enjoyed it.
Where do you get your ideas?
They honestly just pop into my head. New Beginnings came about vaguely because of a real-life experience. I believe in soul mates—not just as lovers, but as friends and family. I met a woman, who is now a dear friend, when I treated her in physical therapy. We had this instant connection, like we had known each other all our lives, but it was always on a friendship level. I’ve shared what I call a “twin connection” with a few of my friends, when we instinctually know when something’s wrong or we need each other. I love sharing that connection.
How do you write; do you plan everything out or just write?
I’m basically a pantser. I come up with a vague story line, but I let the characters answer their profiles before I begin writing. I make the profiles as detailed as possible because then they become real to me. At that point, they start telling me their story. I’m just the writer.
What makes New Beginnings special to you?
New Beginnings is special to me because it’s my first published novel. It’s also my first attempt at writing a manuscript, so it’s cool to see how all that hard work paid off. The entire process has been an excellent learning opportunity. As I write my second manuscript, the things I learned from my editor and other authors are coming through.
How much of yourself and the people you know are in your characters?
The only things I have in common with Jordan are physical therapy and college basketball. Some of the stories she tells Kirsten are true stories that I experienced, but I’ll never tell which ones. 😉 I’ve also taken certain behaviors from some friends and incorporated them into other characters, but that’s about it.
Which gay/lesbian authors inspired you the most? Do you have a favorite
of this author(s)?
So many authors have inspired me, but I’d have to say Radclyffe and Ali Vali have made the biggest impact. Rad’s Provincetown Series and Ali’s Devil Series are my favorites. I’m typically a pretty passive person, but when I read Cain Casey, I start to take on her…um…assertiveness. I love Cain so much that I named our rescue puppy Derby.
Do you have any suggestions for new writers?
Read as much as you can by different authors and different publishers. If you want to be a writer, start writing. It can be a journal, poetry, short stories—anything. Just put words down on paper. If you don’t write that first word, there won’t be more to follow. Also, be open to the constructive criticism your beta readers and editors give you. It will only make your story that much better. But in the end, it’s your story. Be proud of that.
When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
Work! LOL! I work a lot of hours, but I love what I do so it doesn’t really feel like work. I wish I did have more time to write, especially when the words are begging to be written. I love kayaking, playing golf, relaxing at home with my wife and fur kids, and of course, reading. Not a day goes by where I don’t read.