Character Interview – Em from Help Wanted

Today I’m interviewing Em, from J Emery’s novella Help Wanted! If you haven’t read Help Wanted, it’s a novella set at a magical college, Ashveil Academy, and it’s a super cute with plenty of fluffy and awkward moments!

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Now, on to the questions!

What is your favorite food, and why?

I live off black bean tacos when I’m home. They’re my favorite comfort food.

Do you have any treasured possessions or heirlooms? If so, what are they and why are they important to you?

I don’t really collect too many things but I have a stuffed good luck bear that my best friend, Thaian, gave me for our high school graduation. I keep it on my desk in our dorm room now and sometimes I squish it when I need a little extra comfort. His name is Basil Bearington. The third.

What do you think is your best quality, and why?

I have no idea. You would have to ask Thaian.

What do you think is your worst quality, and why?

Impatience probably. I don’t like having to wait for things.

What are your hobbies or interests?

Working on my glamours mostly. Just little decorative ones. They’re easier than putting up pictures in our room and I don’t have to worry about how many holes I’m making in the walls. I’m trying to figure out how to make an accurate moon phase glamour to light the room at night.

I also used to play the piano at home sometimes but I got banned after the twentieth Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in a row. An entire musical career, thwarted.

What is your greatest fear?

We don’t talk about that.

Do you have any secrets?

We don’t talk about that either. That’s what makes them secrets.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

The fact that laundry doesn’t do itself. There’s gotta be a spell for that somewhere but no one will tell me what it is.

Is there a person you admire (personal acquaintance or not)? Who is it and why?

Thaian. But don’t tell her I said that. Not that she doesn’t already know, but she would still gloat about it if she heard. She’s really good at being who she is though and I respect that. It makes me feel safe knowing she’s there for me.

If you had one day to do whatever you wanted, what would you do and who would you want to spend it with?

I don’t really know. If I have too many options it’s harder to choose just one thing. But I would probably take Phineas for a ride on my scooter. Go to the lake. He almost hit a tree the last time he tried flying and there’s plenty of room for him to practice there without anything getting in the way. I like watching him fly. It’s relaxing (as long as he doesn’t hit anything.)

 

Thanks Em for the interview!

Be sure to check out Help Wanted:

Amazon

Goodreads

Author Interview – J. Emery

I’m very excited to have my friend J. Emery for an author interview this week!

J. Emery has published two stories this year, a short story called An Offering of Plums and a novella, Help Wanted, which I reviewed here. I highly recommend both stories!

And now, to the questions!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It was one of my dreams even when I was little. I’m not sure how I found out that writing was a job that anyone could do but I was determined to be a writer. Of course when I was little I also thought I would be a teacher, painter, and florist at the same time as writing.

I just really love telling stories. I used to make up elaborate soap operas with my sister when we were home from school for summer break. Some of that love of melodrama is still with me too.

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

I usually start with a character type that I want to work with and build from there but the plots and aesthetics come from all over the place. I draw a lot from video games and anime. The worldbuilding and mechanics there can be really unique. They’re a part of the story as much as the action. I’m really visual (former painter and all) though so I’ve also had stories come to me just from the way the highway looks in a snow storm.

Help Wanted was more a combination of interesting setting (the magic shop) and the turmoil of early college life and wanting to explore all that upheaval. But with some comfortable magic. Not everyone gets (or wants) to save the whole world. Trying desperately to pass a difficult class is probably a little more relatable.

Where did you get your inspiration for the world of Help Wanted/Ashveil Academy?

I’d joked for a while that I wanted to write a college story. I really like the possibilities of New Adult and all the ways I can work ace narratives and stories with lower/no romance into that age range. There are so many changes happening in a short span of years and a lot of concerns that I can’t really use with older characters. That’s the technical side of things.

On the other side: I really just wanted to write about a character like Em with a quieter personality and a very personal set of conflicts who is getting her first chance at exploring who she is.

Where did you get the inspiration for the main character Em? Did you draw on any of your own experiences when writing this story?

A lot of her questions are questions I also had at that age so this was a chance to explore them a little more openly and say, “Here’s how I felt. Maybe you feel that way too.” And I wanted to allow room for the answer to some of her questions to be “I don’t know.”

I know a lot of people (myself included) who have a hard time pinning down their identity because things shift and there’s no one ruler to measure yourself against when everything is internal. So I feel really strongly about leaving that room to question and accept that feelings and identities can change or shift and we don’t always have to have concrete answers to be considered valid.

What is your favorite character type to write, and why?

It will surprise exactly no one who knows me that my favorite character type to write is the sneaky asshole, which is weird considering there really aren’t any of those in Help Wanted. Phineas is maybe a little bit of an asshole to start and there’s a hint of animosity between him and Em at first, but he gets over it pretty quickly.

They’re my favorite though because usually the asshole characters are the ones that do the things everyone wishes they could do. They make messes and they cause drama and I really like to see how all of that pans out in a story. It’s a really fine balance between being a likable asshole and an unlikable one and I like figuring out where the line is. They’re also usually cleverer than I am. Writing is more fun for me when I get to be surprised by my own characters. I never know what they’ll do until they do it.

Who (a personal acquaintance or an author) has inspired you the most, and why?

I think my obvious answer is that Diana Wynne Jones inspired me the most because when I was a new writer I felt like all fantasy had to be either Lord of the Rings-type high fantasy with quests and bearded wizards or else it had to be gritty dark urban fantasy and neither of those really appealed to me. So Diana Wynne Jones appealed to me as a kind of cozy weird alternative. That’s also where I got a lot of my love of dry situational humor and sarcastic banter. I reread Charmed Life so many times when I was younger. It’s at least 50% domestic drama. That really stuck with me.

What surprised you most when writing this story?

How attached I got to all of the characters so quickly. I was worried that with the story being so short I wouldn’t get to love them like I do my novel characters. I was wrong. They’re all my children now. I also plan to write at least four more books with them all when I get the chance.

Do you have any favorite tropes?

I am always here for enemies to lovers and people in disguise. If they’re combined in one story, even better. Basically anything that can provide excellent snarky banter is okay with me.

What draws you to specific genres?

I naturally gravitate to fantasy. The world-building is fun to me and the potential for all kinds of unusual stories. Anything I can imagine, I can do. Plus, if I want to write queer characters of any gender in a fake marriage it’s fair game. All I have to do is write a world where that’s an option. Asexual thieves in magical flying cities? Done. I read a little bit of everything but when I write it’s almost always fantasy.

What is your writing process like?

My process varies a lot depending on the story. I don’t outline or do much pre-planning though so my first draft of anything is usually really spotty and full of holes. I’m also a very, very slow writer. I have a couple books I’ve been working on for over two years and I’m still on their first draft. Writing for me is kind of like fumbling around in the dark until I trip over everything I’m looking for. Sometimes twice.

That’s part of why I like novellas. The shorter length means less fumbling around.

What’s your favorite food, and your go-to writing fuel?

Probably tacos. My grandparents used to grill arrachera for tacos when we would visit. When I need comfort that’s what I go for. I never had much contact with the Mexican side of my family since they lived further away so food was the one thing we had to bond over. I still think of my grandfather every time I see those enormous jars of pickled jalapenos.

I don’t usually snack when I’m writing but I make myself a cup of tea before I sit down at night to work. If I’m really hungry I might eat a handful of tortilla chips or sour gummi worms. The sour ones are the best.

Are you reading any good books right now, and if so, share!

I just finished The Cruel Prince by Holly Black not too long ago and I’m honestly still thinking about it. Jude made that book for me. Otherwise I’m about to dip into my backlog of queer romances. It’s just hard to pick one when they all sound so good.

If you could teleport to anywhere on the planet right now, where would it be and why?

Ooooh, that’s tough. I would probably just go to Portland because that’s where my sister lives and I haven’t seen her in about a year. But if I could bring someone with me I might have to make a couple stops along the way, hit a bunch of art museums and things. Not in a thief kind of way, just to go look at stuff.

 

Thanks again for the interview!

About the Author:

J. Emery has been slowly writing their way through every fantasy trope since they were little (some of them more than once). Maybe someday they’ll have covered them all. And also made them much more queer.

In their free time, they can be found gaming and documenting the whole thing on their twitter at @mixeduppainter. Their ridiculous levels of terror over horror games are near legendary.

Check out J. Emery’s books on Goodreads!

Review – Help Wanted by J. Emery

Author Interview – Lore Graham

I’m pleased to bring you an interview this week from Lore Graham! Lore’s newest book, Under the Midnight Sun, will be out on August 14th! Check out my review of it here!

underthemidnightsun400

And now, the questions!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

The realization that I want to be a writer has crystallized slowly over the years. I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a kid, but more recently I’ve realized that it’s closer to a compulsion. I just don’t feel satisfied with my life if I’m not writing.

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

Everywhere! Inspiration is all around me – movies, music, books, nonfiction articles, things that have happened to me. Figuring out how to channel my inspiration is the hard part.

Where did you get your inspiration for the world of Under the Midnight Sun?

The world of Under the Midnight Sun is heavily inspired by medieval Scandinavia and the Vikings, as well as sword & sorcery fantasy. I picked the elements I wanted to keep (such as a warrior-centric culture and the presence of midnight sun in the summer) and the ones I wanted to change (land-locked instead of sea-faring, different relationship norms), then elaborated from there.

What is your favorite character type to write, and why?

I have a particular fondness for writing anxious characters because I’ve struggled a lot with anxiety and worry throughout my life. That said, I don’t center all of my stories around anxious characters, because I like to play with lots of different character types.

Who (a personal acquaintance or an author) has inspired you the most, and why?

My best friend and editor, Jack, provides me with ongoing inspiration and encouragement. Under the Midnight Sun wouldn’t exist without him!

What surprised you most when writing this story?

I was pleasantly surprised by how much some of my secondary characters grew. I tend to start writing drafts with only a vague idea of the secondary characters, so I love seeing how they come alive while I write.

Do you have any favorite tropes?

I really enjoy rivals-to-lovers and enemies-to-lovers tropes. I like seeing two characters who come in with a conflict and get on each others’ nerves faced with a mutual obstacle, and seeing that relationship progress as they develop mutual respect, understanding, and trust.

What draws you to the romance and fantasy genres?

I’m drawn to romance because I appreciate the guarantee of a happy ending, which is important for me when I’m reading stories about queer folks. I’ve always loved fantasy because I enjoy magic, monsters, and fantastical worlds.

What is your writing process like?

My writing process varies somewhat project by project, as I tweak it every time. I usually plan my stories extensively, and once I get writing I try to keep a consistent pace so that I can make it all the way to the end without losing steam.

What’s your favorite food, and your go-to writing fuel?

I have too many favorite foods to pick one! Writing fuel is easy though; baby carrots are perfect for mindless snacking while I’m working.

Are you reading any good books right now, and if so, share!

I’m almost finished with Alonso Munich is Now Dead by S. Gates which I’ve quite enjoyed! It’s a bit of a thriller as well an urban fantasy romance, as Alonso tries to figure out why he’s a vampire and how he’s lost five years of his memory.

If you could teleport to anywhere on the planet right now, where would it be and why?

Iceland! I’ve never been. I want to visit at least once in my life to see the Aurora Borealis.

 

Thanks so much for the interview, Lore!

About Lore:

Lore Graham is a queer writer who lives in Massachusetts. Ze primarily writes sci fi and fantasy romance, but dabbles in poetry and nonfiction as well.

Lore is passionate about spectacular worlds and queer characters. Ze is transgender and agender; zir pronouns are ze/zir/zir or they/them/their. Outside of writing, ze enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with zir cat.

Check out Lore on social media!

Goodreads

Twitter

Lore’s Website

Review – Under the Midnight Sun by Lore Graham

Today I’m reviewing Under the Midnight Sun by Lore Graham.

Blurb: The eldest son of Thunderhill’s warrior-kings, Otto Johanson lives for battle but has forsaken love since the death of his partner three years ago. Still when the Midsummer festivities bring nomadic reindeer herders back to town, Otto can’t help but notice the handsome, if sullen, Lukas.

Tension rises between them during the annual tournament, but when a terrible attack devastates Thunderhill, Otto and Lukas must put aside their burgeoning rivalry to embark on a dangerous quest that may be the town’s only hope of survival.

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I’ve read one other short story by Lore, so I was excited to jump into something longer by this author!

Lore seems to have a knack for painting rich, developed worlds. I loved the myths and legends of the land. If I had to pick a favorite thing about the book, that would be it. One thing I particularly liked was that this world was accepting of all relationships, including same sex and triads, something that I always love to see in fantasy settings.

Though the world was well developed, I would have liked to see a bit more build up between Otto and Lukas. There were several places where exposition was used throughout the story to signal passages of time on the characters’ quest, which made it feel like less time passed than it actually had to me.

While this story probably didn’t quite have me on the edge of my seat, it’s rich mythos and descriptions still make for an enjoyable read. If you’re looking for lighter fantasy read with some m/m in it, you might want to give this one a try!

My rating: 3.5/5

Under the Midnight Sun releases on August 14th. You can preorder it now on Less Than Three’s website!

It is also on Goodreads if you’d like to add it to your shelf!

 

Disclosures: I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and I’m friends with the author on Slack and social media.

Content warnings (provided by the author on Goodreads):

Explicit sexual content; graphic violence (fantasy-typical); animal death.

For specifics, which may contain minor spoilers, highlight over the text below:

A few scenes of explicit sex. Several scenes involving violence, including a couple of gory moments, a minor character being maimed in battle, and some secondary character deaths. Animal death (primarily reindeer) and violence towards animal-like monsters, but (specific spoiler) the dogs do not die!

June Bookchest

It’s been awhile! I’ve been busy getting my second book ready to submit to LT3, and then I went through a period of being very up and down, mostly down and not feeling good.

But I have still been reading!

To get back into things, I thought I’d share my reads for the month of June, in the first addition of Fiction Cove’s monthly bookchest! (I swear I thought I’d read more books this month, but according to Goodreads, I read three books).

Bookchest will be a monthly showcase of books I read for that month, with mini reviews of each one.

So, let’s get started!

FictionCoveBookchest copy

Starting off the month, I finally got around to reading my ARC of Agent Bayne, the latest book in the Psycop Series by Jordan Castillo Price. After reading the previous book, Skin After Skin, I have very mixed opinions about this series and the main protag, Vic.

I’ll set that rant aside though, and say, despite the opinions I have on this series now, Agent Bayne was an enjoyable read overall. Many more intriguing elements are brought to the forefront in this installment, though I saw right through the mystery and knew from the get go who the culprit was.

Next, in mid-June, I finally revisited A Gathering of Shadows, by V.E. Schwab. I started this book about a year ago, but I’m awful when it comes to sticking to reading paperbacks, and got sidetracked. I finally got it as an e-book and finished it off.

AGoS had some great character building, and as always a vivid world, and I was anxious to see what would come for Kell, Lila, and Rhy, who all get POV time in this installment, as well as a couple other characters who I won’t name! Be ready to jump into the third book if you read this one though, because it does end on a cliffhanger! (I say as I haven’t started the third one yet, by some weird miracle).

The last book I read of the month was Timekeeper, by Tara Sim (yes I was doing a lot of catch up on some older releases). I adored this book! I loved the characters, the world, and the twist I didn’t see coming! Just everything! The only reason I’m not picking up the next book right now is because I know from friends that it ends in a cliffhanger, so I’m waiting for the third book to be out before I dive back in.

That’s it for the June edition of bookchest! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments!

Review – Dragon Rider and The Isle of Eternal Happiness by Kay Berrisford

Today’s review is for the third and fourth installments of Kay Berrisford’s Landlocked Heart series, which will close out my month long author feature on Kay and the Landlocked Heart series.

In the third installment of the series, Dragon Rider, things pick up pretty much where they left off. Ben and Lyle are still working at the ice cream parlor, and are very close to finishing their wedding preparations. There’s just one thing left on Ben’s agenda: his family meeting Lyle. But of course, things quickly go awry when Lyle’s sister, Cully, shows up suddenly, asking for Lyle’s help with some family matters.

What I loved about this addition to the series was that it expands and adds several new plot elements. I won’t say what so as not to spoil the fun. I also became quite fond of Cully, though at first it isn’t apparent what side she’s on.

For the forth and final installment, The Isle of Eternal Happiness, things take a bit of a darker turn as the ramifications of everything that happened in book three unfold. There were a lot of really heartbreaking moments because one character wasn’t quite himself, and both Ben and Lyle deal with some heavy doubts about if the other is better off without him.

The final volume was a wild ride of emotions and I thought it was a great conclusion to the series!

Be sure to check these books out if you like mermen, dragons, myths and prophecies, and some angst thrown in! And of course, some sweet and slightly fiery romance!

There is one minor content warning I can think of, which I’ll put under the links.

My rating: 5/5 for both!

Thanks again to Kay for the interviews, and if you haven’t checked those out, be sure to! They’re great!

Check out the Landlocked Heart series at the Less Than Three website or Amazon!

LT3 Store

Amazon

 

Disclosures: I am friends with the author of these books, and I might be slightly biased because MERMEN/MERPEOPLE and some FAB writing.

 

Content warnings (highlight over to read, contains minor spoilers): In one scene, things escalate to violence and attempted abuse, however I will say it is because one character is basically not in control of his own actions (which is not fully known at the time, though it’s hinted at and pretty obvious).

Character Interview – Ben & Lyle from the Landlocked Heart series

Hello! I’m super excited to bring you Fiction Cove’s first character interview, with Ben and Lyle from the Landlocked Heart series, by Kay Berrisford. Thanks to Kay for these amazing answers! This does contain some minor spoilers for the Landlocked Heart series, so I would recommend reading them, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

Without further ado, let’s turn it over to Ben and Lyle!

 

What is your favorite food, and why?

Ben: Oooh, a nice easy starter. Pizza, but I’m trying to cut back on the calories a bit. So, uh, Weetabix and cheese and cucumber sandwiches. And maybe pizza. And chocolate ice-cream. And pizza. Did I mention pizza?

Lyle: I’m a magical shapeshifting merman and I don’t need to eat, thus I can basically eat anything. So that’s limitless ice-cream with waffles and toffee sauce. Oh, and sparkly wine. And I don’t mind a pizza or six.

Ben: I really wish I could hate you, sometimes…

Lyle: *tries not to look smug and deliberately fails*

 

Do you have any treasured possessions or heirlooms? If so, what are they and why are they important to you?

Lyle: It’s got to be my fabulous engagement ring, because when my lovely Ben gave it to me… Well, I don’t want to give away too much of our story, but a lot of magical and shiny stuff happened, and most of it was good.

Ben: I used to be into collecting stuff—shiny cars and all that clutter. But I guess I had a revelatory moment once I found love with Lyle and faced losing him. I realized what really matters in life and it isn’t stuff.

 

What do you think is your best quality, and why?

Ben: I’m pretty level headed and sensible, although I’ve had my moments of madness over the last year.

Lyle: We’ve both got too many to list, obviously! Er, only joking. Um… let me think. I’d like to think I’m quite brave. It’s good to have me on your side in a fight, that’s for sure.

 

What do you think is your worst quality, and why?

Ben: I might be a bit too fussy and sensible sometimes. Lyle’s sister, Cully, thinks I’m boring…

Lyle: …but then you became a sword wielding, dragon-riding hero, with a slight detour into being a super-villain.

Ben: Oh yes, so I did. Do you think accidentally becoming mega evil might do for this one?

Lyle: I should think so, although Cully claimed it made you slightly more interesting. However, don’t worry, I kicked her scaly dragon-y arse for it.

Ben: Lyle, stop talking about Cully. You haven’t answered the question for yourself.

Lyle: *groans* I probably have a few bad qualities. I can be a little vain, and I possibly possess a fiery temper, which might accidentally result in the destruction of the odd ceiling or sea cliff from time to time—

Ben: Shut up, love. You’re perfect.

 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Lyle: *eyeballs interviewer* This is getting a bit intense… Okay, one thing.  I wouldn’t mind being able to control my magic a little better. I’m prone to the odd shape-shifting mishap, from time-to-time, and then comes those those, er, fiery moments with my temper.

Ben: I sometimes wish I was a little more spontaneous and a little less of a worrier.

 

What are your hobbies or interests?

Lyle: I create multi-media art inspired by the seashore. Oh, and I enjoy a bit of al fresco sex. Does that count?

Ben: *blushes* We do make sure the neighbors can’t see, honest! At the moment, my other hobby is DIY in our little house and garden. Specifically, trying to repair the leak in Lyle’s new hot-tub.

 

What is your greatest fear?

Lyle: Being cursed again and shut away in a creepy gothic tower for another hundred years, all alone and without my lovely Ben.

Ben: I don’t even want to say it, but I think it’s kind of obvious…

 

Do you have any secrets?

Lyle: *looks guilty* I, uh, might have kept quite a few things from Ben when we first met. Like neglecting to tell him, I might have accidentally murdered my brother.

Ben: But that’s all in the past, unless you’ve anything else to confess, love?

Lyle: *shakes head vociferously*

 

What do you find most attractive about your partner?

Lyle: Everything! But if I really had to pick, Ben has the most beautiful eyes. I could lose myself in them forever.

Ben: Lyle has amazing tentacle-like fins, which he can, uh, do some marvelously sexy things with, so they require a nod. But I think he might kill me if I didn’t say he had a fantastic arse.

 

If today were your last day to live, what would you do and who would you want to spend it with?

*both point to each other*

Lyle: Easy! We’ll be spending it together. As for what we’d do… Wouldn’t you like to know! But if you read a little more of our story, you might get a good idea.

 

Thanks to Ben and Lyle for joining me! Don’t forget to check out the Landlocked Heart series. If you enjoy modern day shape-shifting mermen, sweet romance, a bit of action, and angst, you’ll love it!

Check it out on the Less Than Three website or Amazon!

LT3 Store

Amazon

 

 

Review – The Lonely Merman and Lyle’s Story by Kay Berrisford

Today I’m reviewing the first two parts of The Landlocked Heart series, The Lonely Merman and Lyle’s Story. The two stories can be purchased separately in ebook, or together as a paperback edition!

As a lover of mermen, The Lonely Merman was a story I just had to read. The story is about Ben, a pretty ordinary guy, thirty years old and living with his parents. He’s trying to do his job, securing a potential hazard reported in the Shanty woods when he encounters an odd fellow named Lyle in the woods. Turns out, Lyle is essentially a merman, banished and cursed to live out his days in those woods.

Ben and Lyle make quite a pair. Ben is a level-headed, voice of reason guy who thinks he’s got things under control, and Lyle is over-dramatic and over-the-top.

I really enjoyed this book because it was a sweet story of true love with a bit of silliness, a lot of cuteness, and a light smattering of angst.

If you like sweet modern fairy-tale like romances and mermen, definitely check it out!

The second part in the series is called Lyle’s Story, and it picks up just after the end of the first book. The bulk of this part explains exactly what happened at the end of book one, from Lyle’s point of view. I enjoyed getting inside Lyle’s head, and learning a bit more about his family. This part plays a lot on Lyle and Ben’s insecurities in their relationship. Even though most of the book takes place basically in one spot and explaining in more detail what Lyle went through to be with Ben in the end of book one, it was still pretty eventful and intriguing.

Also, shout out for a gender neutral side character that used alternative pronouns, which I really loved!

All in all, I thought the second part of the series was a great addition and built more on the world that Lyle came from.

Ben and Lyle definitely aren’t perfect, and both have their own problems and struggles, which for me is what makes them feel so real and makes their stories so interesting.

My rating:

The Lonely Merman – 5/5 stars

Lyle’s Story – 5/5 stars

 

Buy the Landlocked Heart books at the below links!

Less Than Three:

The Lonely Merman

Lyle’s Story

Landlocked Heart Volume 1 Print

Amazon

The Lonely Merman

Lyle’s Story

Landlocked Heart Volume 1 Print

Author Interview – Kay Berrisford

Today I’m bringing you Fiction Cove’s first ever author interview! I’m super excited for that to be with the wonderful Kay Berrisford!

Kay is the author of the Landlocked Heart series, The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate, and Bound for the Forest.

I first found Kay’s work browsing pre-order titles on the Less Than Three website while waiting for my pre-order listing for my own book to go up. Kay’s book The Lonely Merman caught my eye because of the title. I’m a huge lover of mermen so my curiosity was piqued immediately. After reading it, I connected with Kay on Twitter, and now we talk and support each other in our writing. I’m very honored to call Kay a friend!

Now let’s get to the questions!

 

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t really think of myself as a writer! Whenever I try to believe I am, a voice in my head shouts loudly, “Who are you trying to kid?” On the other hand, I’ve always made up stories, and sometimes I write them down. There’s never been a time when I didn’t make up stories, so I don’t think there was ever a moment I decided I wanted to. It’s just an essential part of what I am.

 

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

Everywhere, but mainly from other books and from history.  I have studied history extensively, I work in a museum, and so I get bombarded with great ideas all the time. I once attended a talk by Terry Pratchett, and he said he got most of his ideas from history and non-fiction books (like me) but that, interestingly, he didn’t read much other fiction at all (quite unlike me!)

I am also often inspired by travel: new and beautiful places can inspire new ideas, settings, and characters. Much of Dragon Rider, the third Landlocked Heart book, was dreamed up on the coast of Pembrokeshire in Wales (although I set it in Cornwall!)

 

What is your favorite character type to write, and why?

I like writing angsty, tortured characters the best.  Although I started writing the Landlocked Heart series from Ben’s (the human’s) point of view, I enjoyed writing from Lyle’s (the merman’s) point of view the most, because frankly, he was the more tortured and whumped of the pair.

 

Do you have any favorite tropes?

Oh, plenty! I’m a particular fan of “enemies to lovers” stories, which are always fun to write as well as read.

 

Who (a personal acquaintance or an author) has inspired you the most, and why?

Megan Derr, Megan Derr, Megan Derr. I love everything she writes, especially her fantasy stories, but pretty much anything.  Her characters are always incredibly strong and her world-building just stuns me. Reading her books makes me want to write, to up my game, and try and create something that’s even a faint shadow of her awesomeness. She’s also been incredibly supportive of my writing. Along with Sam and Sasha at LT3 Press, Megan’s the reason I’m publishing again.

 

What draws you to the romance and urban fantasy genres?

I love reading them! With urban fantasy, I love taking the world around me that I know and adding that little ingredient of magic that transports us somewhere really special. It’s probably my favourite genre to write, although I also like writing historical fantasy. That’s a lot more hard work—all that bloody research!

 

What is your writing process like?

When I write, I’m mega disciplined. On a writing day, I sit down and aim for at least 3000 words, and usually I hit my target. I use my time at work—in between my days off to write—in daydreaming, brainstorming, and planning. Although, to be fair, apart from a couple of abortive weeks last October, I’ve only written for ten months in the past four years and not since last July. I’m kind of “all or nothing at all.”

I spend more time editing than writing, too. I actually enjoy the process of editing my own work more than the initial drafting.

 

Did you draw on any specific mythologies when creating your characters and world? What were they, and what made you want to play with those elements?

I’ve always drawn a lot on English folklore (the Green Man, Robin Hood, Herne the Hunter), which is most evident in my Bound for the Forest series.  I grew up surrounded by these stories, so it seemed a natural place for me to play.

For the Landlocked Heart series, I drew on fairy mythology, which I love, although I kind of made up my own merfolk mythology. Landlocked Heart is actually set in the same universe as my previous historical fantasy book, The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate, just two centuries later. Lyle (Landlocked Heart) is from a different tribe and species as Raef (The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate) but they are from the same origins. One of the characters explains all the history behind this in Dragon Rider (the third Landlocked Heart book) but I cut it in edits, because it slowed pace.

In the final Landlocked Heart book, The Isle of Eternal Happiness, I drew a little on the mythology of lost islands, like Atlantis, which was fun.

 

What surprised you most when writing the Landlocked Heart series?

That I loved writing it so much! I hadn’t written in nearly three years when I sat down to write The Lonely Merman, and I’d often thought I’d never write again. But once I started, I couldn’t stop. Lyle and Ben have been among my very favourite characters to write ever.

 

What’s your favorite food, and your go-to writing fuel?

I usually write in in the morning, so sorry to be mega dull, but my fuel is coffee, breakfast cereal (Weetabix) and then peppermint tea! At lunch, I sometimes treat myself with pancakes piled with banana and ice-cream, though.

 

Are you reading any good books right now, and if so, share!

I’ve just started Dragon Magic by Megan Derr, which I’m loving. I was lucky lately to get a sneak preview of the second book in the Masks series by Amara Lynn, and that was pretty awesome too.

 

If you could teleport to anywhere on the planet right now, where would it be and why?

I love Italy, so maybe a sun-kissed villa in Tuscany, with a month’s supply of yummy food, a swimming pool, (heated for April!) and endless days to daydream and write.

 

Thanks for the interview, Kay!

Kay’s final book in the Landlocked Heart series just released on March 14th, and Bound for the Forest was just re-released with LT3 on April 4th. Now is a great time to check out Kay’s stuff, since everything on LT3’s site is 29% off for their anniversary sale! Links to Kay’s work will be at the bottom of this post!

 

About Kay:

I am, and always will be, the nerdy book-loving girl in the corner. I’ll never be one of the cool, popular kids, even among fellow readers, writers, and book lovers… and I’m okay with that. I’ve been making up romance stories with m/m protagonists since the days before the internet, before I’d any idea what sex was, and when I believed I was the only little girl whose imagination worked like that. How am I supposed to stop now?

I try to squeeze in writing between a 6-day-a-week job in Customer Services. Yayz!?! My romance tales contain an unholy concoction of fun and fantasy (dragons, fairies, elves, and mermen, anyone?) alongside a strong dose of angst and hurt/comfort.

I am a bit of a social media recluse (sorry!) but I love to connect with readers. You can email me at kayberrisford @ yahoo.co.uk and I lurk on twitter a little – @kayberrisford

 

Links to Kay’s work:

Amazon 

Less Than Three Press 

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