My guest today is a favourite author and a leading light in the formation of UK Meet as we know and love it. Jo Myles lives in Somerset, England, with her eight-year-old daughter and another bun in the oven (due Dec 23rd!). She has been writing gay erotic romance for the last five years, mostly published by Samhain. Her books are all set in England and are deliciously humorous, sexy contemporary romances with the occasional dabble in ménage and kink. Her next novel, How To Train Your Dom in Five Easy Steps, will be published on 23rd September.
Welcome Jo, and thanks for being such a good sport about answering my questions.
Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?
I live in a small Somerset town with my eight-year-old daughter, Daisy, who has Downs Syndrome. I’m one of those lucky writers who can somehow just about afford not to have a day job and live off my writing. I don’t think I’d be able to if I lived in the US, though. Us Brits are lucky to have a more robust welfare state, reasonable taxes and free health care.
I’m currently five months pregnant so I’m not sure how much writing I’ll be able to do over the next few years, or how I’ll survive. I expect I’ll have to move in with my boyfriend at some point, although I’ve got quite used to it being just me and my daughter at home. Sharing with another adult will involve lots of compromise and he’s horribly messy, but I love him anyway ;)
When you aren’t writing, is there any other creative activity you enjoy? Have you ever written about it?
I’m a hopeless craft addict, and over the last few years I’ve become obsessed with dressmaking. It’s such a wide field with so many techniques to learn. I’ve now covered lots of the basics, so I’m getting more into couture sewing projects, pattern drafting and working with trickier fabrics like chiffon and knits. I wrote a fashion student hero in my novella, Tailor Made, and I’m planning to revisit Felix and Andrew in another novella called Custom Fit, hopefully out early 2015.
What are you reading? Can you recommend something that you wished you’d written yourself?
I’m currently reading outside of m/m romance as I’ve felt the need to have a break from it while I complete my latest WIP. I’m reading The Timetraveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger at the moment which I’m absolutely loving. It’s a literary romance, but also written in an accessible enough style to make it a worldwide bestseller. Yeah, I wish I’d written this one! I’d have added a happier ending and a few sex scenes, though. It’s frustrating to be told they’re having amazing sex, but always fading to black. Show me, damn it! I demand smut!
In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?
Situation generally comes first, shortly followed by character. I usually have a vivid scene in my mind—often a comic one—and the rest of the story follows from there. I either work backwards (how did they get to be in this situation?) or follow the consequences of that first scene. For instance, in The Hot Floor, it was the bath falling through the ceiling scene that came first. In Screwing the System, it was the job interview, and in Merry Gentlemen it was the seagull “shower”.
Put together your ideal team of men/women – drawing from all and any walks of life, fictional or non-fictional – who you would want to come to your rescue if menaced by muggers/alligators/fundamentalists?
Indiana Jones instantly springs to mind, but it would have to be the younger version from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I’d also want Ripley from Alien, Trinity from The Matrix and Sarah Conner from Terminator 2. Those women can kick arse! I think Mike from Breaking Bad would be great too, as he seems to know what to do in just about any dangerous situation. And if circumstances demanded being able to read body language and defuse a situation before things got critical, I’d want Cal Lightman from Lie To Me. And that’s not just because I fancy Tim Roth, honest!
Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. The cruel sea. The serial killer. The society itself. Your hero’s inner demons. What sort of villains do you prize?
Writing a flesh and blood villain is always fun and they can be such scene stealers—I thoroughly enjoyed writing Saul in Tailor Made and Grant in Stuff. I’ve always been a fan of the Hollywood British villain, and Alan Rickman is a perfect example of how to do it right. I have to admit, though, I don’t use a human villain all that often, as it isn’t always realistic. My characters are usually battling their inner demons or what they think are society’s expectations for them.
Snog, marry or avoid – which of your characters? OR Of all your characters who would you be most enjoy pushing downstairs, sharing a taxi cab with, or having them move in next door so you saw them every day?
Since most of my characters are gay I don’t think I’d get very far if I tried to snog or marry any of them. Perhaps it could work out with Jeff White in my next novel, How to Train Your Dom in Five Easy Steps, as he is at least bi. He’s more my type than my other bi hero, Perry in Stuff. As for avoiding… I don’t know that I’d want to avoid any of them. Even totally obnoxious people are fascinating when you’re a writer, and there are very few people I actively avoid in everyday life.
I’d definitely want to live next door to Mas from Stuff. He’d keep me endlessly entertained.
What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished.
I’m currently working on Scrap, which is the third in The Bristol Collection after Junk and Stuff. Normally I’m fine to share some details, but I’m keeping quiet about the heroes for this one until my betas have read it, as I’m concerned one may not be a popular choice. I just had to write him again, though!
Could we please have an excerpt of something?
This is from my next novel, How to Train Your Dom in Five Easy Steps.
Jeff let himself into the house and ran up the stairs, retrieving his suitcase of kink from the top of his wardrobe. Now he just had to quickly unpack the stuff and lay it out on the sofa, then hide the case so Eddie wouldn’t realise that was the full extent of his collection. Ever since speaking to bloody Sandi, he’d been increasingly self-conscious about how few tools of the trade he had. But the proper kit was bloody expensive, and he’d learnt the pitfalls of buying cheap tools the hard way. Nothing like having a trowel handle break on you when you were in the middle of building a wall to realise that you should have forked out the extra twenty quid and got yourself a professional-quality one.
But when he got downstairs, he spotted Eddie striding down the garden path through the front room window. “Fuck.” Jeff legged it through to the kitchen and plonked the case on the table. Hopefully, Eddie hadn’t seen him. It was always harder to spot people inside a house than it was to look out of the windows. Well, unless you had the lights on, in which case everything in your house was on display for any old potential burglar to check out.
Jeff unzipped the case and pulled out a paddle, a flogger, a tawse and a riding crop. He contemplated the dressage whip. It had stung like bloody buggery when Jeff had tried it out on his thigh. And Eddie had said he didn’t much like those kind of stinging implements.
Jeff added it to the bunch in his hand, along with the cane. Fuck it. Why not? Eddie said he could take all this stuff and enjoy it, hadn’t he? And something about getting a high even off the kind of pain he didn’t much enjoy at the time. Jeff had to stop feeling guilty about the prospect of hurting someone. Painsluts wanted to be hurt. That was part of the whole job description. And sadists enjoyed hurting them.
Right. He could do this.
“I hope you’re ready and in position, bitch,” Jeff called.
“Yes, Sir, right where you asked me to be.”
Jeff opened the kitchen door and got a prime view of naked backside bent over his table.
Fuck. He really wasn’t meant to find that sexy.
Jeff closed his eyes, trying to erase the memory of Eddie’s bare bum. Actually, as bums went, it hadn’t been a bad one—lots of smooth white skin and perky cheeks—but it hadn’t had the right shape. Women’s arses were rounder. Softer. They wobbled. Eddie’s had been kind of…
Jeff opened his eyes briefly. Firm, that was the word he was looking for. Muscular, even. He couldn’t bloody well erase the image from his head. Felt like it had been burned onto the back of his eyelids. At least Eddie had kept his legs together. Jeff didn’t think he’d have been able to cope with seeing his meat and two veg as well.
Jo’s latest novel, a filthy BDSM romp, is out on the 23rd September.
How to Train Your Dom in Five Easy Steps
Sometimes the little head really does know best.
Jeff White’s needs are simple. All he wants is a submissive to help him explore the dominant side that his ex-girlfriend couldn’t handle. Problem is, inexperience in both dating and domming has resulted in a string of rejections.
What he needs is an experienced sub willing to show him the ins and outs of controlling a scene. Unfortunately, the only one willing to take him on is male, and Jeff is straight. One hundred percent, never-gonna-happen straight.
Easygoing painslut Eddie Powell doesn’t care that Jeff is younger, working class, and shorter. Eddie likes a bit of rough, and Jeff fits the bill perfectly. The trick will be convincing him to follow Eddie’s five-step training programme—which would be easy if Eddie wasn’t starting to have feelings for the rough-around-the-edges landscaper.
Once Jeff lays his hands on Eddie, things definitely get out of hand. But it’ll take more than hot, sweaty, kinky sex to persuade him to come out of the closet—especially to himself.
Warning: Contains a happy sub, a confused Dom, a high ratio of sex to plot, misuse of root ginger, and a suitcase of kink. Written in Jo’s usual exceedingly “English” English.
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.
Jo publishes regularly with Samhain. She has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish on occasion.
Website and blog: http://josephinemyles.com/