Please welcome Kay, who has generously offered to give one lucky commentor an ebook!
How did you start your writing career?
I wanted to be an author as soon as I could write. I wrote little story books as a child, but that fizzled out at school and university when I threw myself into my love of history and I trained to be a professional historian. But it was no good – in the end, I just preferred making things up. Even when studying, I poured out fanfic at a rate of knots. Then, two years ago, I wrote Bound for the Forest to please myself rather than anything else but that story came together well for me, and everything spilled happily from there.
Tell us about your favorite character from your books.
Oh, it’s so hard to choose a favorite. I love Simon in my recent release, Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone. He’s a shy, geeky history student, so I guess he has more in common with me than any other character I’ve written background-wise, though in some ways he’s very different. At the start of the story, though he knows he’s gay, he’s not sure he’d even ‘in’ to sex!
If I had to pick a favorite pair of lovers, I’d plump for Tam and Herne the Hunter from Bound to the Beast. Tam is feisty and clever, and as for Herne – what’s not to love about a brooding fifteen-hundred-year-old immortal spirit who shifts to sport the antlers of a stag when his passions are stirred?
Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
I’m really lucky in that I get to travel around the world with my husband, who’s involved in international medical research projects. This year, I’ve been to Mallorca, Montreal, Florence, Dubrovnik, and Berlin – and each place has stunned me in a different way. However, though I flew over Maine on the way to Canada, I’ve never been to the USA. Next year, Washington and Seattle might well be on the agenda and I can’t wait. I guess that proving to myself that America isn’t just the magical place they made up for the movies and TV is my dream ;)
Does travel play in the writing of your books?
Though I travel all over the world, my books so far have all been inspired by local landscapes. The Greenwood series (Bound for the Forest and Bound to the Beast) is set in a fantasy version of the New Forest, which is about fifteen minutes drive to the west of where I live. An ancient royal hunting ground, the New Forest is rich with stories of fair folk, ghosts, and bloody legends about murdered kings and princes, on whom the poor folk of the forest—or the forest itself?—have sought revenge for strict hunting laws. Catching Kit, my first contemporary paranormal, was set in the center of London, and in the suburbs where I grew up. For my latest release, Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone, I was inspired by the ancient stone circles of Wiltshire, Stonehenge and Avebury, which are about an hour’s drive from where I live now. Simon, the hero of the story, lives in the old medieval city of Southampton itself, in walking distance from my apartment.
Tell us about your current release.
Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone, is about a lonely, geeky history student who meets the man of his dreams in the middle of a stone circle that he’s studying. One problem – the amazing guy, Aubrey, claims to be a time traveler from 1647, and despite their mutual attraction, Aubrey’s desperate to get home before Christmas. What’s more, his method of shifting through time involves outdoor sexual rituals at the stone circle, and shy Simon’s not entirely sure he’s up for it—particularly as he’s trying to resist falling in love with this man who seems desperate just to shag and leave him. So there’s all sorts of trouble ahead for my guys, particularly when Simon realizes Aubrey’s getting home might just be a matter of life and death.
Tell us about your next release.
I’m working on the third novel in my m/m paranormal Greenwood series—the ones based on the myths and legends of the New Forest. The first book in the series, Bound for the Forest, is set in the nineteenth century in the spring; the second, Bound to the Beast, is set in the sixteenth century in the summer. Number three, provisionally titled Lord of the Forest, is set in the twelfth century in the autumn—so I’m going back in time, but forward through the seasons.
The books can also be read in any order, though certain themes that unite them. Now I think of it, one of those is al fresco lovemaking, so maybe that is a common theme of all of my books as there’s a fair bit in Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone! Anyway, I’m having great fun writing the medieval period, and while Bound to the Beast was the tale of the brooding, mythical alpha male, Herne the Hunter, Lord of the Forest features another famous Greenwood legend, Robin Hood.
When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
I always write during the day, and my first rule in having a productive one is turning off the internet. With no distractions, I can get five or so hours of solid writing done on a good day. That can be anything between two and four thousand words, depending on how things are flowing.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one! For Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone I had a real struggle with the passages where the characters get to know each other at the start—mainly because I was trying to get my head around how a guy from 1647 would react to suddenly arrive in 2012! Usually, the beginning is the easiest part. Fight and action scenes are often the toughest, or scenes involving a lot of characters. In Bound to the Beast I wrote scenes involving the Wild Hard, an army of the living dead. Describing all their ghoulish appearances and actions was headache-inducing task.
Where do you research for your books?
For historical settings, I’m a firm believer in history books. The internet doesn’t quite cut it—there’s so many dodgy sources and misquotes, so I like to do my research the traditional way. That said, very little of the research ever makes it into the books, but it’s good to have the background in my head.
What does your family think of your writing career?
My ‘other half’ is great and reads all my stuff – he even acts as a consultant on various ‘issues.’ My parents are also very supportive, and my mum has read some of my stories, though nothing too sexy as that would just be weird. She does tend to tell everyone about it, though—including my former infant school teacher, who is a good friend of hers and who asked for a signed copy of my recent paperback release, Bound for the Forest. As she was new to the m/m and possibly the erotic romance genre, I suggested she tried Catching Kit, my tale of elves and elf catchers first. If she likes that, I figured she might be ready for the magic, bondage, and rather kinkier action of Bound for the Forest (mind you, Catching Kit is kinky enough. Eeeep!)
Plotter or Pantser? Why?
Oh, plotter, because otherwise I’d worry too much that it was going to turn out a disaster! I’ve always known roughly where I was going when I’ve started my books, with the exception of Bound for the Forest, my one ‘Pantser’ book, but I wrote that for myself rather than specifically for publication. I don’t stick religiously to my plans, but once I’ve got a firm idea, there will be little changes, but not usually major ones. But never say never! I know how the third Greenwood novel will end, but there might still be some surprises on the journey for me. I hope so J
Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone (published by Loose Id, m/m, paranormal, time travel, 45k).
Blurb: Simon’s holiday season is looking grim. His boyfriend’s dumped him, and his self-esteem is rock bottom. Stuck in the UK where nobody celebrates Thanksgiving, the shy, geeky student drowns his sorrows at an ancient stone circle. When a gorgeous stranger, Aubrey, shows up and attempts to seduce him, Simon is flattered but also freaked—especially when Aubrey claims to be from an historic sex cult who’d uncovered the true powers of the circle. It’s a time machine. Aubrey intended to travel back three hundred and sixty-five days, but an error propelled him forward three hundred and sixty-five years into a world alien to him.
Simon reluctantly takes the lost time traveler under his wing, and Aubrey teaches Simon the ways of sex, love, and magic. Simon’s never felt so alive, but as their bond grows, Aubrey remains determined to perform a dangerous ritual and return home at the winter solstice. Fearing he’s no more to Aubrey than a sexual sacrifice, Simon must discover the dark secrets of Aubrey’s pagan past. Only then can Simon choose between risking all for the man he loves or a lonely Christmas without him.
They crumpled to the shower floor, Simon boneless in Aubrey’s arms. They panted as one. “Sweet heavens,” murmured Aubrey at length. “I have never known such fire. I don’t quite know what possessed me.” He planted a kiss on the top of Simon’s head. “Apart from you.”
“Mmmmm.” His afterglow fading, Simon clung to the pleasant feel of Aubrey holding him. For a few minutes it satisfied.
But then all that blood rushed back from his cock to his brain, and he tensed.
“Are you well?” asked Aubrey. Gently he touched Simon’s chin, urging him to look up. “Was I too rough?”
“No, I’m fine.” Simon’s headache came thundering back, though he couldn’t bring himself to be angry with Aubrey. The man had given him nothing he hadn’t wanted, but now a certain question begged harder than ever. He forced it out.
“Aubrey, I need to know. Were you trying to travel back in time to save a lover?”
“No.” Simon sagged into him with guilty relief. “A little before the last harvest, some soldiers came to our farm. I was away, fighting for the very same side, but they accused our people, who’d never harmed a soul, of witchcraft. Of devil worship.”
Simon’s jealousy felt suddenly wrong. He extracted himself and rose, wrapping himself tightly in a towel. “I’m so sorry.”
“So am I. They took away many of my friends. I must warn them. You see why I have to go home?”
Aubrey’s words ripped into him, raw and real, leaving him bewildered. He could only start to imagine what awful fate Aubrey’s companions had met. Torture, a stripping to search for the mark of Satan, or maybe a lashing. Possibly they were bound, then plunged into a cold, icy river, and the end result had probably been a slow, lingering death by hanging. Simon might not want to live as the Gildskipe had, but he doubted they deserved such a fate.
No wonder Aubrey had taken the risk of going back. So much for the frightened puppy Simon had rescued this morning. The man was a bloody hero.
A horrible feeling of inadequacy rose within. “I better get the food. Come down when you’re ready. We need to talk about the winter solstice, right?”
After drying himself and dressing in his room, Simon rushed downstairs. He located a bottle of decent Bordeaux, two old-fashioned pewter goblets, which he reckoned would make Aubrey feel at home, and some tall red candles in white pottery candlesticks. His actions did nothing to stop the bedlam restarting in his brain. What on earth had he just allowed to happen? He’d learned only one thing for certain. Aubrey had plenty of other people he cared about, including numerous lovers, and would never be for keeps.
Fuck it. What does that matter? I enjoyed it. He seemed to enjoy it too. Maybe I’m not quite as useless a lover as Pete made out.
But it didn’t make things any easier. What might he not be able to refuse this man next?
All the same he found himself keener than ever to please. He divided the turkey meal onto two plates, with the additional vegetables and some quick-cook Yorkshire puddings, only slightly charred, and arranged all of it neatly on a large tray. He carried the dinner to the coffee table in the lounge. Aubrey had dressed and sat waiting on the sofa, his long legs stretched out beneath the table.
Well, it wasn’t the Thanksgiving Simon had anticipated, but hey, he wasn’t alone. He just hoped Gran would forgive him his choice of predinner entertainment.
My website: http://kayberrisford.com/
Buy it now links for Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone and all Kay's other titles: