Hi guys! I have Emjay Haze here to talk to us today. Emjay has a new release from Dreamspinner Press out today, and I’m super excited to tell you about it. Home Is Where You Are is an m/m contemporary romance that is part of the States of Love Series. As always, I’ll provide detail about Emjay’s book and buy links below, but first, let’s get to know her! So Emjay, I’m going to start you off easy, lol.
Do you need to know your characters’ names before you start writing?
Sometimes when an idea for a story pops into my head (I’m usually driving at the time), I’ll have an idea of the main character’s name, but usually they just come to me as I’m writing. I don’t sit and try to figure out names beforehand, I just let them flow. Sometimes I’ll go back and change a name as I get to know the character better, but usually my first instinct is right.
That’s almost the exact opposite of the way I do it; though, I admit Alex and Lars from Trinkets just popped into my head, but I have a love affair with names and their meanings and will spend hours looking for the ones that speak to me. If I have the name wrong, I cannot get the character down. Let’s see if we differ in other ways, shall we? I avoid reading reviews like the plague. I absolutely love getting them because I know the value they have, but I accept them as a benefit to the reader and try to stay clear. How about you? Are you a masochist? Ha, ha. Or, in other words, do you read reviews of your book?
Unfortunately, yes, I am. It’s like a train wreck, you can’t not look. I know the critique is of the work, and not me, but it’s still difficult to read a bad review. You really have to focus on the positive ones and learn from the others. Sometimes people can just be mean, and you have to overlook that, but also you can read what they say and hopefully take something from it. Good reviews are awesome to read, though. 🙂
Well… (coughs) I may have sneaked a peek a few of the good ones. But I agree, it’s a difficult part of the job to deal with. In terms of levels of difficulty involved in writing a book—because it’s hardly ever smooth sailing, as we know—what are your toughest scenes to write, and is there a particular scene that was the hardest of all?
I know a lot of m/m romance writers would say the sex scenes, but I actually like writing those, lol. For me, I’d say conflict. I know—conflict is everything in a book. I have a hard time doing bad things to my characters and have to stop myself from fixing them too quickly. I really do like happy endings, but they are better when it’s a hard road getting there. That’s what I tell myself.
Finally! Somebody else who likes to write sex scenes! I was beginning to think I was the only one. They are a challenge, but… Hey, somebody’s gotta do it. Lucky us, lol. This is good-to-know information, the kind of tidbits readers probably don’t get a lot of when they read about their favorite authors, which leads me to an interesting question about the information that might be out there about us. Do you Google yourself? If you have, what did you find?
I googled myself a while back and found a porn star with the same name. It wasn’t me. 🙂
Damn! That would have made this quite a different type of interview, lol. Couple more questions for you. I don’t know if I would have listened to anybody when I first started out, but just in case… What is your best advice to a newbie writer?
Just write! I think a lot of people don’t know where to begin. They call it a first draft for a reason. Get your words on paper first. And get a thick skin. Your editor is your best friend, but their job is to make your book better, so don’t get offended with their suggestions. But, also, if there is something you feel strongly about, stand your ground and explain unemotionally why you want something a certain way.
I love that advice about standing your ground. Pick your battles. Some issues just aren’t important, and some feel like the lifeblood of your story. Guard those. But listen to your editor too, and consider the merits of their suggestions. Every editor brings a different sensibility and a different process to the way they do their work. It’s a dance. I think my first editor told me that, lol. And speaking of processes and differences, as writers, we approach our work from various directions—no right or wrong way to this—though some writers are PASSIONATE about their process. As my last question to you, where do you stand on the Great Controversy? Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I am totally a pantser. I try plotting out a basic outline, but can never get very far. As the ideas fly into my head, I just go with them. I love writing a scene and have it play out and sometimes surprise myself at the turn it takes.
Okay, well that’s it for now. Thank you so much, Emjay, for talking to me today. I hope you have great success with Home Is Where You Are. And thank you to everybody who took the time to stop by. See below for the Giveaway details and the blurb and buy link for Emjay’s new release.
Home Is Where You Are
For a chance at a future filled with love, he’ll have to face a painful past.
Eric, recently dumped by his boyfriend, is summoned home after his dad suffers a stroke. His family farm in rural Vermont holds memories he’d rather forget, but he—with his degree in agricultural business—is needed to clear up a predicament with the bank. In trying to forget the bad, Eric has also lost sight of the good: green meadows dotted with grass-fed dairy cows and the sugar maples that once produced the area’s finest maple syrup. With Eric’s help, they will again.
A captivating farmhand named Phil tempts Eric to give the countryside another chance, but before they can consider being together, Eric must move past more than his feelings for his ex-boyfriend—he’ll need to stand up to the ghosts that sent him running from the farm in the first place….
Emjay Haze is a Pennsylvania girl living in a Virginia world, growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs and moving to Northern Virginia to follow her now husband of twenty-plus years. She has two kids in college, a year-old puppy named Max, a black-and-white cat named Tux, a gecko named Rex, a yellow tang called Reggie, and we hear the eels are coming this week.
The family pastime is baseball, specifically the Nationals. She’s also a huge Redskins fans and loves classic rock. Emjay graduated with a degree in Creative Writing in 2015 after realizing it was the only thing she really wanted to do.
She has a wide and diverse work history in the fields of travel, hotel management, high-tech communications, web development, real estate, and the nonprofit health care industry where she has held positions such as travel agent, hotel concierge, web programmer, Realtor, account manager, and many, many others, giving her a varied and unique set of experiences that she draws upon in her stories and characters.
Emjay fell in love with the m/m romance genre after discovering the world of fanfiction several years ago and hasn’t looked back. Her family keeps asking when she’ll write something they can read, but she’s still having too much fun with her boys. Her goal is to broaden the minds of those who might not normally pick up a gay romance because it’s more about the person than the sexuality. She’ll take you on a roller-coaster journey, but you’ll always get a happy ending.
I have a rafflecopter giveaway of 3 e-copies of Home Is Where You Are, and a Grand prize of the e-book and a gift pack of Vermont maple syrup and maple candy. To enter click on the link below. Good luck!