Thursday, 6 February 2014
Author Interview: Kay Berrisford
Kay loves writing stories where she can indulge her love for research while imagining two hot guys getting it on. Her m/m love stories are based in historical fantasy universes or explore paranormal happenings in the present day.
She lives in Southampton, UK, with her beloved "other half," in a very small flat that blesses them on occasion with outbreaks of moths. When they aren’t both madly working, they enjoy visiting castles and gorgeous countryside. She loves cats, but because her home is so small, she has to moggy-share with her parents. She also travels a lot, which never fails to inspire her writing muses. Her favourite cities are Melbourne, Venice, and Berlin -- plus York and London (she went to uni in the last two.)
Kay was once okay at tennis and has forgotten how to play the violin and piano. She currently jogs -- but not very far -- and enjoys reading all kinds of romance and long, rambling historical novels big enough to commit murder with.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
Haha, yes, I plan—honest—but the process of writing is always organic. My endings *never* turn out as planned!
I find the final third of books the hardest, because you have to tie up all the disparate plot threads. In the case of Bad Slave, my latest, the pressure was on, because I was due to go to Australia in August, and was desperate to wrap the story before we left. In my rush, I plowed ahead with a version of the ending that just didn't work and had to scrap a whole chapter and start it again *sobs*. It was worth it, though. I rethought the ending and was way happier with it, plus I did get the draft finished before Australia...just!
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
Oh yes. I’m always going back and editing parts of the plot as they tell themselves more about me, and I realize the actions I had originally planned for them no longer suit. In the case of Bad Slave, I was so in love and tune with the characters of Alix and Jay that they pretty much stuck to what I wanted them to do…till that disaster toward the end. However, in my current WIP, a contemporary m/m, I’m going to go back and change parts. One of my MCs informed me after I started writing that he suffers with anxiety problems, which are going to alter his whole attitude to his work trip abroad, where he also has to do some public speaking.
What drew you to the M/M genre in particular?
Mine’s a simple story, told many times. I was dissatisfied all my life with the love stories presented to me in mainstream books and film until I discovered fanfic and slash and then m/m. I still like to read het sometime, but m/m and glbtq fiction is where my heart belongs. It’s just one of those preferences I was born with and I can’t seem to change. Not that I’d ever want to!
Do you write in other genres besides M/M?
No. I’d like to write a historical or fantasy novel someday, but I doubt the characters will want to conform to cultural conventions gender-wise. - oh, you should definitely write an m/m fantasy novel, there aren't enough of those ;)
What is your favourite food?
Cake with yummy icing accompanied by strong cup of coffee.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Very much a morning person, though I’m married to a night owl. We live together in a tiny one bedroom flat and have done for nearly ten years. I remember somebody said our relationship wouldn’t last because of that difference alone. So I guess its true love. I don’t mind him crawling into bed at 2am.
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I’m really lucky in that I’ve traveled a lot over the past few years, courtesy of my “other half’s” job. I’ve been to Australia and New Zealand, but only really spent time in Melbourne and Auckland so far. I loved both, so I’d like to spend more time exploring the continent “down under.”
Right now, though, I’d just love to travel out of the city to somewhere with a big garden and some sunshine where I could unwind and dream.
Do distant places feature in your books?
Yes! In fact, places are often the trigger for a story idea in my head. I recently spent some time on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast in Wales. When I got home I launched straight in to a story about a merman and a pirate which I dreamed up when there (that story will be out this year, from Less Than Three Press.) My most recent story was inspired by a trip to Florence.
I love conjuring up fantasy landscapes too. Bad Slave, my new release, is set in an entirely imaginary realm called Galataan, which was inspired by Dubrovnik, Tuscany, and reading too much Terry Prachett.
Do you listen to music while writing?
Oh, I wish. I just can’t though. I’m a concentrate in silence sort of person. Boring, huh?
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
With pleasure! Bad Slave is a BDSM love story set in a fantasy universe (the realm of Galataan) where the rule of the king is absolute. The current king, Lyam, just happens to have an appetite for pretty, male sex slaves, and what the king wants the king gets.
Jay and Alix, our heroes, become embroiled in the machinations of Lyam’s court, as a reluctant slave trainer and his slave respectively. The story explores the awakenings of their true desires as a Dom and his sub, while they learn to resist Lyam’s increasingly cruel demands and fall in love. Though, of course, defying the king is going to get them in a *lot* of trouble…
So, there’s a lot of spanking, bondage, sword fights and rescues, and a fair bit of angst… but ultimately it’s a romance. Jay and Alix both have a lot of heart, and I hope their story does too.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
Today is one of those days when I’m not entirely sure! I still feel very much like an outsider looking in, and that everybody else knows what they ought to be doing in this business, but I just can’t figure it out. Maybe everyone feels like that sometimes? So I suppose they key is this: you’ve got to love writing a hell of a lot to be here. Fortunately, I still do.
In terms of good writing and basics such as grammar, I’ve learned more from my editor at Loose Id, Serena Stokes, than I did in many years of school and university education!
Is there anything you would do differently?
Oh, everything? Haha, no not really. I wrote a book called Lord of the Forest, a Robin Hood m/m, which got lovely reviews overall, but that nobody wanted to read. Maybe it would have been best if I’d not written that and focused on something else for the many months it took me. But I can’t quite bring myself to regret it. It’s one of my two favorites of my own books. -oh, I loved that book, I reviewed it a while back :)
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
My lovely editor has had a very strong influence and I enjoy reading many other m/m writers. Right now, I’m lapping up J.A.Rock and Lisa Henry’s latest. It’s great to understand what other readers’ enjoy, though I don’t try and emulate other writers. I fear the voice in my books is always strongly my own, whether I wish it to be or not! I also love beautiful descriptive prose, by classic authors such as Virginia Woolf. I like to paint pictures with words.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
I think I’ve said it above. You’ve got to love writing above all and be prepared to work hard for no or little reward. The rest is in the hands of fate.
What are three words that describe you?
Friendly. Untidy. Insecure.
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
This is always the hardest question in the world! Today, I’m going to go for The Hobbit as my book, because I just reread it and loved it all over again. Favourite writer? Sarah Waters.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
Bad Slave by Kay Berrisford
When the king commands former war hero Captain Jay Ghair to find him the perfect royal sex slave, Jay’s quiet new life as a librarian is shattered. Jay discovers the boy he’s looking for in Alix, a lowly miner and wannabe court scientist, whom Jay can’t help but secretly adore. However, teaching the rebellious Alix to be a docile slave is difficult. Alix will behave for just one man, and it isn’t the king. It’s Jay.
Standing by while the king’s treatment of Alix becomes cruel is torturous for Jay. He longs to return to his library, yet he can’t bear to leave Alix, or his people, unprotected. To rescue Alix—and save the realm from the increasingly tyrannical king—Jay must confront the demons of his military past and take up the sword again. But his most important battle must be won through returning Alix’s love and learning to master this bad slave who submits only for him.
List of previous books:
Bound for the Forest
Bound to the Beast
Lord of the Forest
Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web:
Thank you, Kay!
There'll be a review of Bad Slave at Zipper Rippers shortly, and readers pop back on Feb 14th for a chance to win 2 of Kay's books along with lots more m/m books in the Valentine's Day giveaway :)
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