Because if I didn't I'd go mad! That's the shortest and most honest answer. I've just always written, as long as I can remember I've had scraps of stories floating round on bits of paper. I've just got more organised in the last year.
2. How many books have you written?
I've published five books, with a sixth in the pipeline and due for release around March 2012. I've currently got two novels, Blood & Ash and Fire & Ice, and a short story, Fenton: the Loneliest Vampireavailable in my Lost Realm fantasy series, plus a collection Four Chances: A Short Story Quartet, and a contemporary short, Danny's Boy.
3. What inspired you to write your (latest) book?
The book I'm currently writing started life as a short for Four Chances but it grew and grew. It's a reaction piece to some of the more trite Happily Ever Afters I've read. I wanted to write about a real relationship, warts and all. Too much of romance is fantasy. This story starts with the end of a 'perfect' relationship, and asks how anyone finds the courage to love and trust again when the fairytale has failed them.
4. What is your favorite genre to read?
I read pretty much anything, the Victorian classics are a favourite, and contemporary m/m romance (my own genre). I also enjoy fantasy and literary fiction, and I read a lot of non-fiction as well: usually literary biographies or queer theory texts.
5. Is your writing style at all influenced by those of your favorite authors?
I don't think so. I like to dissect what defines a particular author's voice, but then if anything I steer clear of that kind of style. I don't want to emulate anyone else.
6. Which is your favorite book that you’ve written?
Oooh, tough question! I love them all in different ways: Blood & Ash is my firstborn, and will always be special. Fenton is something very different from my usual style, it's much slower-paced and there's something haunting about it that I just love. Fire & Ice is probably my most complex work to date, and there's moments of great emotion in there that still get me when I re-read them now, even though I wrote them. Danny's Boy is the closest thing I've written to an autobiography: growing up gay in a small town, moving to the city and then having to move back home again and readjust is my story, and there's a lot of my own experience in there. Then Four Chances has the story that I'm probably the proudest of in it - Loss. It's a heartbreaking tale of the conflict between love and duty, and I've had people email me to tell me that they could barely finish it for crying. Every author wants to hear stuff like that!
7. What is your opinion of the art of writing?
I think a lot of guff is written about it (and I should know, I've got a BA in Language and Literature!) Honestly, different books are written for different purposes. I don't profess to be the next Alan Hollinghurst or Jeanette Winterson, I'm not trying to write literary fiction. I basically write brain candy, which might occasionally get you in the gut, or make you think. When people talk about the "art" of writing it cunjours up images of the starving poet in his garret, trying to craft a masterpiece. Ultimately learning to write is a bit like learning to play an instrument: it's all about practice. As you go on, you get better, it becomes easier.
8. What advice would you give someone who is just beginning their own novel?
It is both easier than you ever realised, and more difficult than you ever imagined, to self-publish. These days anyone can bang anything out on Amazon and people might or might not buy it. But if you're serious about this there's much more to it than just writing a good story. Editing is everything: being self-published is no excuse for a poorly edited or formatted book. Your book should be as slick as if it had been published by one of the Big 6, if not slicker. We have to be better than them, because we're the ones trying to prove ourselves.
9. Do you have any funny and / or interesting stories about how you’ve come up with plots or characters?
Not so much with plot or characters, they just comes to me as I write. However being a gay woman writing about men getting it on, there are certain areas that, let's just say, I'm no expert in. I've asked my friends questions that have turned them prematurely grey. Sadly, I'm not sure they're stories you can share on your blog!!
10. Coke or Pepsi?
Diet coke. It's a habit I'm trying to break. It's harder than giving up heroin!