Moral Fortitude is proud to interview Renae Kaye, author of Loving Jay and The Blinding Light (release days 14th July 2014) . Welcome Renae, and thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.
When did you first start writing LGBT books?
April 2013 – Did you need me to be that specific? <grin>
In February 2013, I sat down to see if I could write a book. It turns out I can. My first book was an m/f comedy and still remains unpublished. After discovering I could write a book, I decided to turn to what I really wanted to write – m/m romance.
What inspired you to write LGBT fiction?
It was what I was reading – I am a huge fan of m/m – but I couldn’t find the exact type of stories I wanted to read. I wanted to read humour. I wanted to read about “real” guys on the street. I wanted to read about flaming twinks and hairy bears and the guy who never comes out from behind his computer. I didn’t just want the firemen, the cowboys and the corporate men.
At the time there was nothing out there that was interesting me – so I wrote my own. I never ever ever thought I would get it published!!
Where do your ideas come from?
Mostly from people I meet. Loving Jay was inspired by a person who works in my local supermarket. The Blinding Light was inspired by a person I used to know and who I hope has a great future. The two characters in my latest submission were inspired by the guy I saw at the pools and the guy I caught a glimpse of walking his dogs on the street.
I see people and I want to know their story.
How much research do you do for your stories?
Not a lot. They haven’t really needed a lot of research since I seem to write about things I already know. That being said, I do try to make sure the details are correct. In September I’m releasing a book called The Shearing Gun which I had to do the most research for so far. At the end of the year my book Safe In His Arms has a victim of child abuse in it, which I had to search a bit on.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?
I work with a blank piece of paper and the knowledge that my guys will get together in the end.
Before starting a story, I think about the character – his background, his life, his job, his beliefs. Once I have a solid hold on that, I work out where my MCs could’ve possibly met, then I write that scene. At the end of each sentence I stop and think, “Now, what would you do, mate?” I have absolutely no idea of where I am going.
Do you have a special time of day to write or how do you structure your day?
Hahaha! I have two small children, so my writing is whenever they’re not bugging me. Energy-wise I am most productive between 9-11am and 8-10pm. Some days I leave my laptop open on the table and each time I walk past it I write another sentence. I put the washing on the line and think about the next paragraph. I quickly run in and write it down. Then I make a snack while I think about my MC’s reaction to the latest plot twist.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
With two small children? About 8 weeks on average – but now that I’m being hit with edits and proofs and releases, my “free” time has been a bit short. The last book took me 12 weeks to write.
Do you proofread/edit all your own work or do you get someone to assist?
Oh, gosh! Definitely need a professional editor on me! I am very good at picking up typos, but the grammar is hard work. But my wonderful Dreamspinner editor is showing me a lot of stuff and I’m learning with every manuscript.
Do you think the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Good-golly-gosh, yes! It needs to be memorable and descriptive. I know I am personally drawn to certain covers because of what it hints inside – and on the flip side, I stay away from certain books because I don’t enjoy those sorts of stories.
A great cover is also something that people remember months later, even if they didn’t buy the book at the time. They may see it again and instantly recognise it.
How do you choose the right cover for your book?
I don’t have a lot of experience – but for me, I try to be accurate. A book with two guys half-naked in a passionate embrace would indicate to me that it is heavy on the sex scenes. If it has kink, then it should show it – subtly if needs be.
With Loving Jay I think people were very drawn to the character of Jay on the cover – not only because he’s gorgeous, but because he’s very different from the usual m/m romance character. A good descriptive cover will ensure that the reader is not disappointed with the story inside. Your aim should be, not to sell a book, but to gain a reader. A reader will buy more than just one of your books. Someone who was conned into buying your story will just leave a bad review.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Good reviews are the thing that makes writers continue. I think that leaving praise for a writer is always warranted. If the book didn’t finish the way you wanted, then that’s no reason to leave a bad review. You were not the writer. When you write a book, you can make the characters do what you want.
Bad reviews are terrible. Luckily I haven’t had many, but I did have someone leave one star because he dislikes “stereotypical”, gay, makeup wearing characters. Then why did you even buy the book? It is clear from the cover and the blurb that this is what the character is. I was upset about this, because it obviously is stuck on the site now as a one-star review, but mostly I have to laugh at this person and chalk it up to experience.
I like reading reviews to find out where readers felt my story was weak, or my writing flat. I welcome that sort of feedback. But don’t mark the writer down for things you don’t understand. One review I read of Loving Jay dropped off a star due to them not understanding some of the terms the MCs used in their dialogue. I am assuming this was because I’m Australian, and they are not. But was that worth losing a star over?
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
Write good books! The reviewers will find you.
Do you use social media and how has this worked best for you?
I am active on FB and try to blog weekly. I’ve made a lot of contacts through this – reviewers, fans and fellow authors. I’m still new and I’m growing my contact list, but being visible and making your covers visible is a must in this marketplace.
I would like to do more, but I’m learning as I go. I’m not technologically advanced and stupidly assumed I would have more time to learn these things before I finally got a book published. Whoops!
What is your next project and what should we expect?
By the end of the year, I should have two more novels and a short story published. The books are all very different in who they are about, but I always use humour in my writings. My November release is called Safe In His Arms, and I thought it was very dark and angsty, until I left it for a bit before going back over it. Although not as comedic as Loving Jay, the humour still comes through. I think it is my signature and I’m happy with that.
My current project is to get a spin-off from Loving Jay written.
My goal is to keep writing. I have a couple of years until the kids are old enough, then I can try some part-time work. Until then, I want to keep publishing.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Where I would love to be is at home writing full-time while the kids are at school. Where I will probably be is juggling part-time work with school pick-ups, assemblies, play-dates and sports. And burning the midnight oil writing.
How can readers discover more about you –
Website : Blog : Facebook : Amazon : Goodreads :
The Blinding Light
The Blinding Light is Renae second published book.
The Blinding Light
Jake Manning’s smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it, he can’t hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it’s prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake’s so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude… and blind man.
Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, but he’s met his match with Jake, who doesn’t take any of his crap and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves.
Jake gets a kick out of Patrick. Things are looking up: the girls are starting their own lives and his mum’s sobriety might stick this time. He’s sacrificed everything for his family; maybe it’s time for him to live his life and start a relationship with Patrick. When his mother needs him, guilt makes his choice between family and Patrick difficult, and Jake must realize he’s not alone anymore.
Thank you Renae for taking the time to be interviewed and Moral Fortitude wishes you much success.