Tag Archives: Interview

GIVEAWAY! and Interview with F.E. Feeley Jr.

I’ve recently finished two of F.E. Feeley Jr’s novels and in the process found a new favourite author to add to my list. So I thought what better way to find out how his mind ticks than to ask him some questions. (Not sure he’s going to answer all of them. We’ll see if I manage to scare him off.)

Make sure you check out my review of Still Waters on the Two Men blog here.

 

16941320 Here goes. Let hope he sticks around till the end. 🙂

Okay, question one. Most writers I know have always written in one form or other, from the time they were children. But there’s always that triggering moment when they decide they can write a book for publication. What was yours?

 I loved to write since I was a kid in high school and I loved to read since I was much younger. It was an escape and I would enter scary story contests that my high school would have and I won both in my Junior or Senior year. In college, I loved to write papers. The bigger, the more complicated, the more opportunity to walk my points out in philosophy, they happier I was. And I was good at it. So when I sat down with Timber Manor, it started in notebooks and little scraps of paper where I’d written things down and I started to inject things from a journal I had been keeping. It was rough, it still is, it could still use a good editor. I didn’t understand the process of publishing like I do now, but once I got that first contract…instant addiction.

I’m genuinely curious about your writing process: What are the first steps you take, in either plotting or planning, before you write your first word of a new book? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

An idea can come from anywhere. In my second book, Objects in The Rearview Mirror, the book is based off Jim Steinman’s song of the same name. Once something enters my head, a musical note, a turn of phrase, a philosophical concept…. I’ll turn it over and over. Then I start asking myself questions about it. How could I build a story around this certain idea? So, it’s not like I sit down with a blank word processor page open, and let go a stream of consciousness. I already have an idea what I want to do and while that idea may change as I go along, the bones sort of remain the same.

Do you write everyday or just when the muse is talking?

I only write when the muse is driving me up a wall. And sometimes it’s not a book. Sometimes its poetry or a blog about an idea or another. I am jealous of those who can sit down and clock x thousand words in x hours. I’ve tried that. And the screen will remain blank and I’m mad at myself.

I know this doesn’t sound rational, but I feel like there’s a doorway in my mind and on the otherside of that door is all of human experience, truth, beauty, love, etc. and I have to wait for that door to open. And when it does, I feel like someone else comes through to do the work through me. Like I’m just the medium. And it’s interesting because when I type “THE END” and get ready to send it off to publication, the part where you have to write the synopsis and later on blurbs – I can’t remember what I wrote. I have a vague idea, but when I try to verbally describe it to someone, I can’t. I sound like an idiot. But then I go back and read what I’ve written and there it is. My book. My name on it. But I often feel like it isn’t mine alone.

I’ve read some of your poems and they’re always filled with emotion, good and bad. Is poetry where your heart lies, or is writing in general your passion?20558417

People I love in my life are fans of poetry, and growing up in Detroit and in fundamentalist religion, there were certain things I wasn’t really exposed to. Things like poetry, or the ballet, or symphonies. And I took my art where I could. I had to sneak and listen to the radio. I kept my Christopher Pike and R.L. Stein (Fear Street forever, yo) books as well as my Stephen King books, hidden in a box underneath my bed. I coveted what exposure I did have. And that shaped my world view.

So, when I started reading poetry from Langston Hughes (Harlem Sweeties), Dr. Maya Angelou (I know why the caged Bird Sings), Edna St. Vincent Millay (Conscientious Objector), Shakespeare (Sonnet 116 is my favorite), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (The Day is Done),

When I got my first taste of it, I found myself hungry for it. And people had commented on the prose of my books, that it read like poetry. So, to attempt it was the next logical step. But again, it feels like it does with my writing. I’ll feel that door creak open in my head, I feel a lump in my throat, and suddenly I’m tapping away at my phone. And just like my books, I don’t remember them. I’ve memorized those above that I mentioned, but not my own.

Now, whether I’m any good at it, remains to be seen. But where my heart lies, well, that’s in the written word.

For me, your books are in a genre all their own. They’re contemporary romance, but have a paranormal twist to the plot. How would you describe them?

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

I believe that. And I think because of the nature of the process for me, I believe more than most, maybe. That’s where the title of the series comes from, Memoirs of the Human Wraiths. I try to encompass everything that a gay couple could encounter in this world – physical and otherwise and their love may take a back seat, their haunting may take a back seat, but I hope that their humanity is what shines through. So when it comes to titles, I don’t know.

Did you read any horror authors growing up? I devoured a lot of Stephen King in my teens. (up until he went left of field anyway)

I read primarily horror and spooky books. My mother hated it. She said I had a fascination with the macabre. And I think there may have been something to that. I think I still do. I know there is a world outside of our own. I feel like I can feel it sometimes.

I mean, I wasn’t goth or anything, but yeah, I was definitely hanging out with King who is my hero.

What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

Cook. I love cooking. And cleaning. I’m sick. I love laundry. My life is so damn boring, let me give you an example. I sent a tweet to Tide and thanked them for linking up with Fa-breeze to create those little laundry pods you can buy now. I was so excited. I was like, “This is the best!”

I like looking up recipes on the internet and trying them. When my husband showed up with a Cast Iron Skillet and A Dutch oven, I was over the moon. He so got laid that night.

I love feeding people. There’s something about knowing that what I am giving them will sustain them for a little while, makes me happy.

I love to get drunk with my best friend. Thank you to the makers of Johnny Walker Black. When we visit with each other, we get silly and Irish and sing. I love music for the same reason I love books and poetry. He’s my buddy. And like clockwork he’ll forget the lyrics, and I’ll laugh and remind him, and it’s fucking perfect.

I love to do yoga. Yoga with Adriene on Youtube is the bomb. She’s amazing. So is Mat From Muscle and Mat. He’s this really soft spoken guy and when you first see him and hear him, your like, “Oh….this shouldn’t be bad.” And later on when your crying on the floor, you take it all back. LOL

I love gaming. I’m a huge gamer. Dragon Age series FUCKIN ROCKS!!!!!!! Mass Effect, Witcher, Star Trek online, Fallout, Skyriim, yeah…it’s a serous condition. I’m currently having an affair with Bioware. The writers are sublime. The story arcs are phenomenal, and the graphics are simply gorgeous.

You’re married to a wonderful and supporting husband, John. How did you meet? Was it love at first sight? When did you get married? Give us the low-down.

I met my husband at the corner of End of my rope and Can I get off, please? LOL

No. I saw him on campus at the school we went to and I’d noticed him for a couple of years. But I was either dating someone else or I would see him and he would vanish. Well, one day, I was horribly single and there he was speaking to a mutual acquaintance and I told myself, “I’m butting in.” And I did. And we’ve been together for five years this December.

Describe yourself in four words.

I’m a hot mess

Who is your go-to author to lift your spirits and bring you out of a book slump? (MM and other genre)

 Jamie Fessenden is amazing. And what’s fun about being an author in this genre is other authors send you their shit to read over. We call it beta reading. If you are a reader you have grounds to be jealous. Cause he’s amazing.

Aj Rose kicks ass as does her wife Kate Aaron.

Stephen King, of course.

I just finished Susan Kay’s Phantom. Her – expansion I guess, on the original Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Lacroix. Which is freaking phenominal. And has inspired me to create my own version of Erik in an alternate steampunk America. I fell in love with that man a long time ago, I think gay people are huge fans of broadway, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom, and I think it’s time us gay boys get to have our moment with him.

I know you love music. Who’s your favourite artist and why?

Oh, God. That’s so not easy. My taste changes every day. So I’ll give you a playlist of my favorites.

P!nk
Adele
Brandi Carlile (everything she sings is soo good)
Bon Jovi
Evanescence
Halestorm
Tina Turner
Justin Jones (His album ‘fading light’ is so fucking good. If you have Spotify, do yourself a favor)
Marc Cohn (his version of “Man of the world” from The Prince and Me….so good)
Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah
Meatloaf (Jim Steinman is a minor deity, I’m sure of it)
You and Me
Sarah McLachlan
Boston
Bad Company
Foreigner
Journey
All the 80’s hair bands (nobody writes like that anymore)
And opera and gospel and yeah. You get the idea.

25149673Rapid Fire Questions with explanations of course! Can’t let you off that easy. 

Favourite Colour.

Blue is my signature colour.

Favourite word.

Fuck (Yeah I think we all like that one)

 Favourite place to holiday.

The beach. I love the water.

Last book you read?

As the Ice Melts by RJ Jones – freaking good. (Aww, shucks. I’ll take that.)

Biggest Pet Peeve

Inconsiderate people

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee please

Listener or talker?

Both

What television shows are you currently addicted to?

Grace and Frankie! Frankie is my spirit animal.

Dinner at home or dinner out?

Dinner at home

Night Owl or Early Bird?

Night Owl

If you could have dinner with one person–living or dead–who would it be?

Abraham Lincoln

What is your next project?

My version of The Phantom of the Opera, I am working on a sequal to Objects in the Rearview Mirror, and I’m screwing around with a contemporary story called, Good Enough.

One more question then I’ll put you out of your misery. 🙂

Will we be getting more from Bret and Jeff from Still Waters? (The answer better be yes.)

I don’t think so. (Say what?)

I think when we closed the book on that, we closed the book on their story. I loved Jeff and Bret. I loved Jeff’s solid strength and this helpless superman who’d lost his cape when it came to stepping between Bret and the circumstances that threatened to sweep him away. Jeff’s journey from sort of tired old cop to suddenly being awakened by this beautiful man to being absolutely powerless to help him, was honest.

Bret was a product of a world that seethed and sat in the stink of its own ignorance. And sometimes that stuff can lash out and hurt others. But he had another kind of toughness. An endurance, an ability to hang on when he didn’t think he could. Even when the chips were laid down so to speak, he went faithfully to what he went to.

So, no, I don’t think there will be anymore with those two. But there will be more stories like that.

Thanks for joining me, Freddie! I’m looking forward to more of your work.

Now for the giveaway!

One random commenter on my blog and the Because Two Men Are Better Than One blog, will receive a free eBook of their choice from F.E.

F.E. Feeley Jr’s bio

13342124_1740655289514053_281357137_nF.E. Feeley Jr was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and lived there for twenty years before joining the military. He is a veteran of the US Armed Services; having done a tour in support of Operation Iraq Freedom in 2002-2003, he turned college student, pursuing a degree in political science. He now lives in Southeast Texas where he is married to the love of his life, John, and where they raise their 1½ year old German shepherd, Kaiser.

As a young man, reading took center stage in his life, especially those novels about ghosts, witches, goblins, and all the other things that went bump in the night. His favorite authors include such writers as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice, whose work allowed him to travel to far off places and meet fascinating and scary characters. As a gay man, he wishes to be able to write good fictional literature for those who love the genre and to write characters that readers can relate to. All in all, he is a cigarette smokin’, whiskey drinkin’, rock and roll lovin’, tattoo wearin’ dreamer of a man with a wonderful husband who puts up with his crap and lets him write his stories.

You can connect with F.E. Feeley here:

Goodreads    Facebook    Twitter   F.E’s Blog

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An interview with Renae Kaye

Today I have the pleasure in interviewing fellow Perth girl, Renae Kaye. We all know Renae from her best sellers, Loving Jay, The Blinding Light and more recently, You Are the Reason. All of Renae’s books are set in Australia which is just one reason why readers love her.BL

 Renae has been a prolific author for the past year or so and I had the pleasure in meeting her just before her debut novel was released. At the time I hadn’t started writing myself and I found it fascinating to hear the trials and tribulations she had gone through to get to that point. I remember thinking “I’m never going to start writing. It’s too bloody stressful.” Now look at us!

RJ: Hi Renae. Welcome to my blog. *hands over coffee* (Now you may have heard Renae isn’t a hugger. She usually waves hello from a safe distance. I try not to be offended. LOL)

RainRenae: **waves** LOL. **Accepts the coffee gratefully** What? No cake?
**Disappears to order cake**
 Sorry. I need the sugar. I mean, yes – authoring is really stressful and I use sugar to keep from bouncing off the walls. Thank you for the welcome and the “prolific” bit. I have to laugh, because I don’t feel prolific.
The hugging thing? Eh. I think I just have a large personal space. I grew up in the country and I get a little stressed when I’m boxed in.

RJ: I touched on how stressful writing and publishing can be. How do you handle it?

Renae: Lots of sugar! I’m the mother of two young kids, and my first “job” is seeing to their well-being and keeping the house. On release week, or on the week where I have first edits, the washing seems to pile up, and the floor doesn’t get done (I’m planning on buying a robotic vacuum with my royalties).
I have to admit I’m getting better at handling the stress. Or perhaps I know I’m going to be stressed, and therefore make room for it.
But in a way, the stress is good. The stress means I care about my work. I don’t want to stop caring, or else that means I will be producing sub-standard stuff.
I think you also need friends you can chat with. **slurps coffee and salutes RJ** You need someone who has been-there-done-that-got-the-t-shirt. They understand the flip-out over the unfair review, and checking your Amazon ranking ten times an hour and all those other things we don’t like to admit to. You need a valve you can blow off steam with.

 RJ: You had 4 full novels published in 2014 and 2 novels and a short story published so far this year. How do you manage your writing schedule? Do you plan ahead or just write and see where it lands on the publishing timeline?SL

Renae: Umm – four full novels AND a short story in 2014 **winks**
 I really just write what wants to come out. I have stories I want to write, and sometimes I sit and force myself to write it, but other times I take a left turn and just write what I feel like.
I don’t have a publishing deadline, although I should be more professional about it and have one going. Truthfully, I’m just winging this new career at the moment!
The four novels in one year thing probably won’t be repeated, because all of those novels were written before I received my first edits, or my first book was released. Just little things that take up your time that you didn’t realise – like today I realised that my website doesn’t have the latest link to my audio book. I think, going forward, two novels and a smaller story per year is a much better thing to aim for.

 RJ: And you manage all that with two small kids? Wow. Okay tell me what a typical Renae day looks like. If you’re like me, you don’t do anything until after the first cup of coffee.

SGRenae: I actually have two alarms on my phone that go off, because I’m always snoozing the first alarm. So I have my phone dinging at me at least four times before I find the energy to rise.
I’m a very punctual person, and I have things timed down to the minute. I’ve “trained” my kids well, and others are amazed at how we function in the mornings. Between 7am and 8am the kids need to eat breakfast and are allowed TV. I make school lunches, coffee, make my own breakfast, check the news on the internet, check my email, check my Facebook.
At 8am we all stop what we’re doing and it’s a flurry to get ready for school. Dressed, teeth, hair, mum-where’s-my-library-book, I-don’t-want-a-ponytail-today, no-I-don’t-know-where-your-shoes-are, pack bags, grab everything. And at 8:30am on the dot we walk out of the house to go to school.
For me, from 9am to 2:30pm is my time to “write if I’ve done everything else.” Some days I have to do things such as the grocery shopping and attend assemblies. At home there’s washing, gardening, cleaning to be done. I try to balance it by writing for 45 minutes, then putting the washing on the line. Write for another 45 minutes, then stop and clean the bathroom. And in the day there is lots of coffee.
And of course “writing” is not necessarily putting words into a story. There’s blogging, reading contracts, research, talking to people, organising blog tours, posting books off, keeping track of expenses, updating websites, considering covers, reading reviews, and even reading other people’s work.
Once the kids are home from school, until they go to bed, I may sneak in a couple of emails, print off a review, etc, but not always. When the kids are in bed, from 8am to 11pm is back to me writing.
I don’t watch TV – I gave it up in order to fit in writing time – so the writing is my evening’s entertainment.Safe

RJ: For me the writing has to come by itself, I can’t force myself to write something that isn’t in my head. How do your scenes work? Do you sit down and think I’m going to write blah blah today and then I’ll work on blah tomorrow” Can it really be that easy?

Renae: Yes, and no. (See? Easy.) **slurps coffee**
I don’t plan my writing in the terms of “in this chapter, this will happen, then next chapter, this will happen.” I may have an idea of where they are going (ie first date, then meet the parents, then disagreement over that thing), but I just let the writing take me where it wants to go. For example, in writing the story I just finished, I had the idea of “and then they make love.” It ended up being a huge long scene, because there was lots of emotional stuff that happened in the MC’s head while the scene was unfolding. In the end, it took me three days to write.
YES – I had to write sex for three whole days! (My MCs were exhausted!)
So I don’t plan to write a particular piece in a day, but I do try to write every day. I keep a track of my work, and attempt an average 1200 words per day. For example, my word count yesterday was 168 words. The day before 2095, and the day before that 3635.   So my average is over 1200 for those days and I’m happy with that.
BUT – and this is my advice to authors who ask – there are times you don’t feel like writing, or you don’t know what to write. Write anyway. If I’m stuck on a particular storyline, I either leave it and pick up another piece of writing, or I force myself to write. Limping along at 200 words a day will soon get you over the hump. So yes, forcing the writing is what you should do.

ReasonRJ: So what’s next? You’ve just had the release of You Are The Reason which is a follow up from The Blinding Light. Is there another series coming, or are you working on something completely different, and when can readers expect it?

Renae: I have to admit—I don’t know.
Nothing dries up my creativity more than the word “deadline.” So I haven’t given myself any deadlines with my writing. A lot of work goes into a story, even after the “writing” bit is done. So writing is just part one.
I do have a lot of ideas and I’m working on several projects at the same time. Not very time effective, I admit, but I hope that it may mean several projects are finished all at the same time.
This is a round-up of what I have going:
The Tav Series: I have at least two more books planned for this series, but I don’t want to ruin it by saying who. I’ve started the next book, and it’s in the very early stages of writing.
Loving Jay: There are two spin-offs to this book I wish to write. I have 30k written on the first spin-off, and this is the WIP I’m concentrating on now.
Safe in His Arms: There are two spin-offs to this book too. Lon’s friend Paul (and his married lover, Andrew) have a story. The story is finished and waiting to be beta-read. I will then send it to Dreamspinner to see if they like it. Then I plan to write Ash and Devon’s story.
The Shearing Gun: Mickey Ryan has a story to tell, and so yes, I want to write it. I’ve also had a request for more of Hank and Quackle, and I think a small “what happens next” can be arranged.
As a side-line, there have been a number of storylines pop into my head that have nothing to do with my current publications. Actually they are not even contemporary. I’ll see how those pan out. Two that are going strong in my mind at the moment, one is set 400 years in the future where humans are dying out due to global warming, and the other involves an alternate reality with a serving of paranormal.
Something that you may not know is that I also write M/F. I have yet to publish them yet, because I’m working up a backlog of manuscripts to release, but about 30% of my time is spent on these stories. I’m hoping to find a good M/F editor to work with and self-publish these stories.LJ

RJ: Thanks for taking the time to visit me today, it’s been a pleasure as always. Where can people contact you?

Renae: Thanks for having me! **finishes coffee** You feed it, it never leaves…
But yes, thanks for the coffee and thanks for being interested in the writing that goes on behind the scenes. I think a lot of people don’t realise how much work and effort can go into a single book.
For those who’d like to check out more of my writing, or say hello through social media, I can be found:

Email:  renaekaye@iinet.net.au
Website:  www.renaekaye.weebly.com
FB:  www.facebook.com/renae.kaye.9
Twitter:  @renaekkaye
Instagram: renaekayeauthor

RJ: I’d hug you goodbye but, you know. I’ll just stand over here and wave. 🙂

Now for those of you that haven’t met me yet and will be at GRL in San Diego in October, here’s fair warning. I will hug you. 🙂


RJ