Super Tuesday to you all! Today I am happy to bring you an awesome interview and a person who inspires me to keep going no matter what. I was lucky enough to beta May’s current book. So sit back, grab a drink, food, whichever and enjoy!
Christina: What’s your current project? Tell us a little about it.
May: I have three! My #PitchWars MS, Killing June, is a contemporary romantic thriller. It has a noir vibe, is high on the heat scale, and hopefully it will keep your heart pounding. You can check out the agent round for #PitchWars November 3rd to see a short pitch for it and the opening page. http://www.brenda-drake.com/
I have two works in progress.
A F/F upmarket contemporary. Right now I’m calling it Requiem for a Dream meets Pretty Woman gone wrong.
When Naomi moved to Hollywood, the city of glitz and glam, it wasn’t the rundown, roach infested apartment she shares with her girlfriend, Becca, she’d been dreaming of. She had Hollywood stars in her eyes. Now, as the newest girl on Elite Escort’s payroll, she knows she’s way off track.
Naomi wants to make it in Hollywood, but more than that she believes in Becca’s dreams. Becca, a promising young artist, spends days covered in paint and nights supplying the local junkies. She isn’t used to a life where others are invested in her dreams, but Naomi’s love and encouragement have her thinking she just might make something out of this art thing.
They are on a new high when money from escorting starts coming in and drug sales are up, but that leaves farther to fall. They’ve promised to make this journey together but it’s leading to places neither wanted to go, the morgue.
Becca sells drugs, Naomi sells herself, and one of them may end up selling their soul to make it in the city of lights.
The third is another contemporary romantic thriller, currently titled Holding out for Home. I am in love with Gwen and Jackson’s story.
Gwen wants nothing more than to prove she’s fine so she can leave the half-way house she was sent to after breaking down over the murder of her father, and go home. There’s nothing left there, no family, but the house is the last connection she has to her dad.
When Jackson, a man she recognizes from the night her dad was murdered, turns out to be the benefactor of the half-way house she was placed in, and his aunt the caregiver, life gets more complicated than just making it home.
She’ll risk getting close to Jackson to find out who murdered her dad and why. And he will challenge her idea of what “home” means: the house of the man that loved her all her life, or a life with the man that says he’ll love her for the rest of it.
C. What has been your favorite scene to write so far?
M: I have a soft spot for scenes that allow characters to bare their soul. Those scenes where a character is stripped down and raw emotion is what you’re left with. In my books those scenes are usually brutal and gut wrenching. Something magical happens when you feel like you know your characters in an intimate way after a scene.
That being said, I love to write kink. The three projects I currently have all have varying levels of heat. Everything from intense, heavy scenes with canes and whips, to tender first touches.
C. Who or what has inspired your writing?
M. I don’t know that anyone in particular did. I’ve loved writing since I was a little girl, when I still hated reading. Creating, whether writing or drawing, has always been freeing for me.
C. What is your biggest goal with your writing?
M. I would love to make writing a fulltime career someday. It is a very lofty goal. My immediate goal, and more attainable, is always to keep improving. I hope that each book I write is better than the last.
C. Do you have any pre-writing rituals?
M . Pee! Go pee it is important. Assess my hunger level, and get something to drink. I try to give myself as few reasons to take a break as possible.
If I am writing at home I fill my fish tanks. I have a few large ones—I love my fish—but unlike most people, I don’t like the sound water makes. I make sure they are too full to make noise.
C. What is the weirdest location you’ve ever written at?
M. I don’t know that I’ve written in many weird ones. I tend to take my laptop with me everywhere I go, in case I find time to write. I end up parking in random places and writing in my car quite a bit.
C. How do you handle writer’s block?
M. I find that for me writer’s block is one of two things: burnout or physical exhaustion. If I’m feeling burnt out and lacking interest in a project I take a break. Not a long one. Usually a few days to a week. I use that time to read. Reading refuels my desire to write. When I read beautiful words and gripping plots from some of my favorite authors, and remember all of the feelings a writer can give a reader, it inspires me to make my own writing shine.
If it is physical exhaustion, well, the cure is the same. A few days off with an earlier bedtime and some relaxing reading.
C. How much research was involved in your latest piece and how did you tackle it?
M. Killing June is set in Dallas, TX. I was born there and lived not too far away until I was 12. That was many years ago, so most of my research was about the area. I needed to know the good and bad parts of town, and really acquaint myself with the map of the area.
Lucky for me I have a lot of family still there. My sister-in law was a great resource. So I bugged the crap out of people regularly for a month or so.
C. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
M. I learned the pantser lesson when I was writing fantasy. I learned it through ungodly numbers of re-writes and edits. I am a plotter. I write a rough pitch, and a loose chapter outline before starting.
C. What has been your biggest learning experience so far in your career?
M. Wear your big girl panties. Find beta readers and/or editors whose opinions you trust, but make sure they are not close enough to you personally to worry about your feelings much. And then have thick skin. You will be rejected. People will hate your ideas. Editors will rip apart your beautiful words. But if they are trusted, knowledgeable people, it will be to make your MS better. It’s not personal.
C.What’s next for you?
M. Pitch slapping some people in the agent round of Pitch Wars! And then into the querying trenches. Killing June has been my baby for the last year. I am very proud of this MS and cannot wait until I can query it.
After that it’s more writing. Always more writing.
C. When writing sexy scenes, do you need to be completely alone or does it not matter?
M. It doesn’t matter to me. I can write the most depraved things in a crowded room and grin internally about it. I can’t, however, write them if my daughter is sitting on the same couch as me. Not because it’s awkward, but because at 13 if she looked over and picked out a naughty word on my screen I’d really hate having to explain why it was there.
C. Have your parents read your work?
M. My mother read a steamy Christmas short I wrote. That was bad enough.
My father is NEVER allowed to read anything I write. I am trying to uphold the image that I’m a virgin and I know nothing about boy’s wee wees. My daughter was a miracle conception and I would never say the word cock.
Oh great, now he can’t read this either.
C. Is there any talent or skill you wish you were better at within the writing/publishing process?
M. I don’t think there is a particular skill. Dyslexia and dysgraphia still make some things harder, so I guess, if anything, I wish those struggles would go away.
C. Which poets or authors have influenced you in your own writing?
M. Every single one I’ve read. I try to learn something from every work I read. Whether it is something they are far better at than I, and I want to work to reach their level, or if it’s something that really puts me off their writing and I work to avoid it in my own, I try to learn from them all.
C. When writing a poem, do you have a set word count you aim for or do you wing it?
M. Wing it. Poetry is about the only time I wing it. It is about emotions, conveying a feeling or moment, and I write as few or as many words as it takes.
C. Have any life experiences landed into one of your novels?
M. A few. And that is all you’re getting.
C. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
M. I went through phases. First was a nun. Thing is, I’m not catholic. I saw a nun in a store when I was very young. I thought it was awesome that she went out in those clothes and decided that’s what I wanted to be too.
Then came the heart surgeon phase. Not a clue why, but that one lasted for a good while.
For a time I didn’t care, as long as I got wear business suites and heels. The women on TV in pencil skirts and blazers, walking briskly down a hall with the sound of her heels echoing around her, always made me feel like they were important.
Last was anything involving art and design. I had a dream of living the single life in New York City. I was going to wear trendy clothes and live in a cool loft space somewhere. Then I got old enough to understand the “term cost of living”.
C. Have you pushed yourself to write in a genre outside of your comfort zone?
M. Honestly, no. I write what I enjoy writing. For a time it was fantasy. I learned that though I really enjoy reading it, I focused way too much on the romantic aspects and not enough on world building. I might come back to it someday.
Since then it has been romance, women’s fiction, and upmarket contemporary. I’m sure if needed I could write in other genres, there’s just never been a need to do it.
C. What scares you the most?
M. About writing? Not much. About life? Moths, but we aren’t talking about that.
(Note: no moth GIF’s entered here)
C. When did you start to feel like an author?
M. I don’t really know if it was my first or second book, but it was during the editing process. Something about taking this story and really working to tailor it and make it shine. That process is what makes me feel like an author, not first drafts.
C. Have you ever acted out a scene to see if it worked? Share a funny or embarrassing story about acting it out.
M. Not exactly. I am a vivid day dreamer. I sit and day dream out a lot of my scenes. On occasion I catch myself making odd gestures—tilting my head this way, moving a hand that way—as I try to imagine if a physical scene would work. I’m sure it earns me some stares from people who have no clue what I am doing.
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THANKS MAY FOR BEING MY GUEST TODAY!! 🙂 *cue the music*