I’m baaaack with another interview, lol! I’m treating you guys to two this week. Today, I’m getting together with Nora Phoenix, who had a new release yesterday. We’re going to talk a little bit about her, and then I’ll give you guys a peek at the cover of her new book, a couple snippets, and the buy link because I know you’re going to want to pick this up. So, let’s get going.
First question, Nora. Is there anything weird about your writing process? Amuse us with some interesting quirk if you have one.
I wouldn’t necessarily call it weird, but I have specific music on when I write. It’s a website names Focus@Will and they have a ‘track’ that is the perfect background for me. It’s called Focus Spa, and it’s pretty, ambient music that doesn’t really make it into your consciousness, but it does help me focus. That’s also because I live in an apartment and my downstairs neighbors can be pretty loud with their TV during the day, so this helps me drown out that noise. I put that on, turn all social media notifications off, and set a timer for a thirty-minute block of uninterrupted writing. Ready, set, go!
Um. I have headphones that I use sometimes when my neighbor’s gardener shows up or another neighbor’s kid feels it’s absolutely necessary to race her motor scooter back and forth in front of my house. Seriously? Why not her house? Oh, I know. Because her parents said, don’t bother us. Go down the street somewhere else. Ugh. So headphones, yes, but I can’t write to music. The world itself becomes white noise to me unless it’s really distracting, like… you know… a kid on a motor scooter. She really should be inside reading, lol. I read tons when I was a kid. Late at night, early morning, between classes—during class if I could get away with it. I was a voracious reader, but even if I didn’t like a book, I always felt as though I had to finish it. Thankfully, that’s a habit I have since kicked to the curb. How about you? Do you finish what you start, or have you decided life is too short to read what you don’t like?
I used to feel guilty about not finishing a book, but I let that go a few years ago. There are SO many awesome books out there, that I no longer feel required to waste my time reading something that does not hold my interested out of some weird sense of obligation or guilt. In the same way, I have no qualms anymore about skipping in non-fiction books and only reading the parts that interest me. My time is precious and I don’t want to throw it away on stuff I don’t need, like, or want.
I think that’s a wonderful, super-healthy attitude to have. When I was younger, I always wanted to write literary fiction—and don’t get me wrong, I still love it—but I found that it didn’t give me the leeway to express myself in a way that I wanted to. When I discovered M/M, it was such a relief. I could write what was in my heart. I like the things I write now—characters, genres, settings, and everything down to the scene level. That said, some things, whether you like them or not, are just plain tough to write. What are your toughest scenes and is there a particular scene that was the hardest of all?
My toughest scenes to write are scenes with fights and conflicts. I hate conflicts between people and the tension it brings, so I always have to mentally brace myself for scenes like that. Making our characters suffer is part of our job as writers, but it’s not a part I like.
In my most recent book, No Shame, there was a scene where we finally learn what’s behind the high ‘defensive walls’ of Brad, one of the main characters. He finally tells his lovers and his brother what’s been bothering him all those years, and it’s heart breaking. That was incredibly hard to write, but afterward, I felt as relieved as Brad did that it was done. There’s an old wisdom that states the truth will set you free, and I really believe it does.
That is sweet on a lot of levels, mostly the way you love your characters and feel for their struggles. I know in advance what’s going to happen to my boys, but I’m also often surprised by their motivations, which turn out to be different than what I thought, and also for the direction the story sometimes takes itself. I plot beforehand—ever since I started writing in this genre—but my stories will sometimes pick themselves up by the pants and run off. How about you—are you a pantser or a plotter or a bit of both?
I used to be a plotter, an extreme plotter, even. That came natural to me, because in real life, I’m pretty organized and structured, so I figured I needed to be that in my writing as well. I’d make extensive character sheets, little cards that plotted out the whole novel, I’d analyze each scene for emotional impact and level of conflict, you name it.
The problem was that it felt like a chore. I didn’t enjoy it, but moreover, it took some joy away from the writing process. Yet so many writers would advise that plotting was the way to go.
Then I read a book called ‘Story Trumps Structure’ and it set me free. It argues that a story should flow naturally from the characters and that you should simply ask yourself “in these circunstances, what would this character do next?” Once I started doing that, it was a whole new ballgame.
Now, I only spend time developing my main characters and a basic premise for the story, and then I start writing. Everything else will flow from that. I do make notes along the way of my decisions for each character, for instance about appearance and background and things like that, but it’s way more organic. And I love it.
I think I’m very, very lucky in that I enjoy the whole process, even—drumroll, please—editing! What is the greatest joy your writing has brought you?
My greatest joy as a writer is doing what I love, what I’ve wanted to do since I was a teen—and getting paid for it. I write fulltime, and that’s a reality I never thought I could make happen. I started writing stories as a teen (I still have them, and they’re so adorable!) and to be here, so many years later, and realize I made that dream come true, that’s bog to me. Every time I start a new day behind my desk I’m grateful I get to do this. It’s my dream job, my dream life.
Yay! A happy ending. I whole-heartedly approve. I’m so happy you’re your dream came true for you, Nora, and really pleased that you stopped by to talk to us today. Thanks so much, and best of luck on the release of No Shame. And to all you reading this—check out the links below and go buy Nora’s book!
Brad feels nothing but shame about himself. Shame about his sexual needs, about his reputation, about his medical problem no one knows about. No one, except his best friend Charlie, but no matter what feelings Brad may have for him, he’s not going there. Charlie deserves so much better, and Brad desperately needs something not even Charlie can provide.
Charlie has loved Brad forever, but he’s never acted on his feelings, unsure of where he stood. Plus, there was the complication of his boyfriend. But when his boyfriend’s abuse gets too much for Charlie, it’s Brad who helps him escape and recover.
Miles ends up severely wounded in the line of duty as an FBI agent. He’s floored when the man he was protecting, Indy, opens his home to him so he can recover. Indy also sets him up with Brad, who turns out to be a perfect solution for Miles’ sexual issues…until Miles wants more than sex from him, and a developing friendship between Miles and Charlie complicates things even more.
Bit by bit Charlie and Miles break through Brad’s defenses, until they come crumbling down. Miles will have to prove he can provide what Brad needs, and Charlie’s sweet love will be put to the test. But when Brad finally finds the courage to break free of his shame, will the fragile love that has blossomed between the three of them survive?
No Shame is a steamy M/M/M romance that ends with a happy ever after for all characters, including those from the previous books in the series. It’s the fourth book in the No Shame Series, and is NOT a stand alone novel, so make sure to read the first three books first (No Filter, No Limits, and No Fear). It contains hot sex, a ménage, a little daddy kink, more hot sex, and a poly-amorous relationship that transcends labels.
When she was a little tot, Nora’s mom got a library subscription for her. That, as they say, was that, and a lifelong love for books was born. Nora never stopped reading and doesn’t exaggerate when she says she devours books, rather than plain reads them. She started writing stories as soon as she could hold a pen, and wrote her first full book as a teen (on a typewriter!). It took her waaaay too long to follow her dream to become a romance author.
Nora writes M/M romance, because hello, sexy boys, and likes her men flawed, strong, and a tad broken. She appreciates a little kink but insists on a happy ever after.
Come hang out with Nora in her Facebook group Nora’s Nook where she shares previews, sneak peeks, freebies, and much more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norasnook/
To stay up-to-date with new releases from Nora sign up for Nora’s newsletter here: http://www.noraphoenix.com/newsletter/
You can also stalk her on Twitter: @NoraFromBHR
Link to my book: