- How did you first discover your genre?
Mary Renault. I read The King Must Die when I was about 8 and absolutely couldn’t understand why Theseus was paying attention to Ariadne when brave little Hippias so clearly would die for him. And there were the tragic Scythian girls too. I cried. Thankfully we can avoid that trope these days. Then I cried again when I found gay romances online in the early 2000s. Such a relief. At first it was a lot of erotica – not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it’s just not what I want to read – but now I can find all my favourite types of book with LGBT+ characters AND masses of plot. Sci fi, fantasy, murder mysteries, police procedurals, military, action/adventure, paranormals, historical and steampunk, it’s all there to choose from.
- What are your favourite tropes and why?
Probably characters thrown together by circumstance who develop mutual respect FIRST and then a romantic relationship. Also, that lovely moment when one betrays their feelings by rushing to assist the other when in danger. And hurt/comfort obvs because one leads from the other. I’ll read all that with enthusiasm and I write it too.
- UK Meet began in 2010 with a dozen writers in a library in Ely. How do you think the genre’s changed since then?
In 2010 there seemed to be more possibility of actually covering your costs. There were people getting a decent return on the money they invested in editing, covers, promo, swag, attendance at events. There are still people making enough to live on, but I honestly feel that it’s only the real warriors – the ones with their finger on the pulse of the market, who have an astonishing and dedicated regimen of production, who invest oodles of time and effort – who are breaking even or better. I never expected to make any money from my work – though I give thanks that my publishers have made a bit of profit – but I can imagine how horrifying it is for an author who was making a successful living to have seen their income go down the pan as Amazon tightens its stranglehold, publishing houses go bust and readers demand cheaper/free books. I hope the publishing industry has another sea change to make life easier for the creatives because, at the moment, a lot of people are getting discouraged. Discouraging creatives is a bad thing because it leads to homogenisation – only stuff that is BOUND to sell will be published and the only people who will be able to afford to self publish are the ones with the disposable income to invest and wait for the return. That will reduce the number of wildly talented but cash challenged authors who write the quirky ‘out there’ stuff this year that will be what the market is craving next year and the year after. And that would be a really sad thing.