Welcome to another Into the Unknown segment where an author who might be new to you reveals some interesting details and tidbits about their creative life. Today I’m so happy to introduce C F White. She has a wonderful series to tell you about, but first, let’s talk….
I always enjoy learning about the creative process of other authors, but most of what we do tends to be pretty standard from writer to writer, so here’s what I want to know—is there anything weird about your writing process?
I don’t plan anything. I literally guzzle a mug of scalding hot tea from my American Idiot Musical mug, blast on some 90s indie tunes, roll myself under my dining table and see where my fingers take the story. I work part time, and I’m a mother to two boys one of whom is disabled, so finding the time to write can be difficult. I have to write when I can. I have been known to write direct on my phone whilst out an about when an idea strikes me (there’s been many a sex scene written in precarious locations *insert embarrassed emoji*). I write late into the evenings and my only company is a glass of wine – those times, my editor has to work particularly hard after ha ha!
Yes, wine is notorious for its ability to get things rolling, lol. As we all know, we need to keep those stories coming and it’s not always easy. Over the past few years, there’s been an influx of books on the market. Competition is huge. Do you take market into account when you write your stories, or do you write from the heart?
When I first started writing, I had no idea the market was so huge! I had a story to tell and I needed to write it. I didn’t think about whether it was sellable or not, I just needed to let the world know about these characters. The series, Responsible Adult, is so completely from the heart that I couldn’t NOT write it. It was my opportunity to raise some awareness for a rare disability, whilst also having a moral message – never judge a person before you know the life they live. Every character in the series is flawed, much like we all are, and their journey through each stage of the story is important. I didn’t know if that was something the readers of the M/M genre were interested in, or even wanted to read. But it came from my heart and I am proud of the achievement that burst through the odds.
Thankfully, my publisher did think it was marketable and took a chance on a brand new author and for that I cannot thank my editor, Rebecca Baker Fairfax, enough.
A good editor is invaluable, especially since we all have our strengths and weaknesses. What are your toughest scenes to write and is there a particular scene that was the hardest of all?
My toughest scenes are the ones that are closest to me. As Responsible Adult featured a little boy with a rare condition called Williams Syndrome, which my son has, the scenes detailing his struggles and particularly the struggles that Micky, his brother and main carer, has to deal with really hit home. Micky, being 19, has taken on a huge responsibility in caring for his little brother. He’s become a parent to a special needs child when he himself is still a very much a kid. Having to show these struggles in Micky and how he feels the weight of responsibility and his fears for the future, yet also wouldn’t ever give it up, I definitely struggled to form the words without crying.
The hardest scene in the latest book is when Flynn was admitted to hospital for open heart surgery. This entire scene, including Micky’s reactions and withdrawal into himself, is almost a carbon copy of what happened to me when my son went through the same procedure. That was particularly hard to put out there for people to read.
Wow. I write from personal experience too, but I hide it pretty deep in my stories. To write about something so close to you, especially regarding a child, is amazingly brave. Not everybody can write from such a raw place and then put it out into the world. The reactions we get aren’t always easy to deal with, plus you need to treat something very personal as a commodity. You’re selling it in the marketplace, so tell me, what scares you about the writing business?
Absolutely everything! But, mostly, it’s the reviews. I had this benign sense of hope that everyone would respond well to my book. I’d put my heart and soul into it. It had been like therapy for me to write. It was my chance to raise awareness for a relatively unknown condition whilst also writing in a genre I loved to read myself. I had no idea that people wouldn’t respond well to it, that the things I had written with regards to my characters would be taken out of context and used to judge me, the author, as a person. The book is filled with flawed characters; it’s real, it’s raw, it’s gritty. It’s based in a place where I grew up. It was meant to make us think about how we treat people – from those with special needs, to those who have had a tough life, to those who pack your bag at the supermarket. Never did I think that people would consider that my character’s opinions would be my own.
But since the first book, I have learned. I have learned to be more sensitive to people’s perceptions of what I write. But I can’t deny that I now fear every reaction.
Personally, I find that writing in the romance genre can be a challenge. I write heavily thematic stories with complicated plots and complex characters. Many readers come to romance because they want a respite from their every day life and don’t want too many complications or anything too realistic. Nothing wrong with that; we all need it. But never doubt that your deeper, more raw and difficult stories are still reaching somebody. And sometimes your stories are exactly what that person needs. Everything isn’t always peaches and cream. I love that you write from your heart because I do too. So—while we’re on the topic of what readers like and don’t like—some people have strong opinions on women writing in the M/M genre. Can you share your thoughts about that?
I think it’s amazing! When I first discovered the genre and read my first book, I was hooked. I had no idea how many women write gay romance. I had been dabbling with my own story at the time. I write on the online community Wattpad and very much hid who I was because I feared that not only my writing wouldn’t be very good, but that I was a woman writing about two men. It was only when launching into the publishing world I discovered that there were so many women writers, and they do it so well. It’s empowering. It’s the beauty of fiction. It’s like any genre – J K Rowling doesn’t need to be a wizard to write Harry Potter, she just has to be a great writer of characters and do her research. Women write amazing gay romance books, it doesn’t matter the gender of the author, what matters is the story.
I can’t agree with you more on the importance of story. And character, of course. We have to have characters we love or love to hate, right? Do you have a favorite character? I mean, if you could be known as one of your characters, who would it be and why that one?
There’s a little bit of me in all of my characters. But if I had to choose just one, then I’d have to say Micky. He’s battled his demons, he’s made tremendous mistakes, but above all he’s got a heart of gold and would do anything to better his little brother’s life. Plus you’d most definitely want him by your side in a fight 😉
Thank you, C F! I really appreciate you stopping by. This was a great conversation, and I hope we can do it again.
Keep reading, folks! Get the scoop on the Responsible Adult Series below. I’ve included links for those of you who’d like buy.
RESPONSIBLE ADULT SERIES BLURB:
The Responsible Adult series follows bad boy Micky O’Neill as he attempts to better his life to bring up his disabled little brother. A past full of juvenile delinquency and living in a small town rife with idle gossip means Micky struggles to be seen as anything other than a no-hoper from the wrong side of the tracks… until he takes a job at the local supermarket and meets his boss, Dan, a university graduate and self-proclaimed shy, awkward bookworm.
Dan, older and burned from a past relationship, is the one person who sees through Micky’s tough-guy facade to the true heart underneath. With fear and mistrust on both sides, the two must steer their way through a complicated relationship where outside forces are determined to break them up at every turn.
Responsible Adult is a series about growing up and learning that love always brings responsibility
Author – Pride Publishing
Author – Loose ID
Author – Indie
Follow the link and buy here! Responsible Adult Serial
Misdemeanor (Responsible Adult #1)
Hard Time (Responsible Adult #2)
Reformed (Responsible Adult #3)
St. Cross Series
Won’t Feel A Thing (Coming 19 December by Loose ID)