Rhys Ford is best known for her novels Dirty Kiss and Sinner’s Gin, but the author has more to share. Her ability to convey emotions to the page keeps the novels exciting until the very end. What will this amazing author come up with next?
What got you interested in writing m/m fiction?
To me, the thought of two guys was hot and really there’s a lot of vulnerabilities to write and explore when writing M/M. And so, that and social issues really drives so much of my plots. And well, it’s just really about relationships.
How did you begin your career and how did you grow your fan base to be so humongous?
I actually just wrote and sent it in. I don’t really think about it as a career as much as I view it as something I can’t quite scrape all the way out of my brain. Fan base? Pfah, I am lucky that a few people have read my books and damn I am so grateful for them. I don’t think humongous… oh so much uncomfortable. Aish. Yep. I am thankful for anyone who’s grabbed one of my books. Really. Thank you.
You write under a pseudonym. Why?
Actually I’m very open about the pseudonym. It’s really because I separate out my graphic design work from my writing. Two different lines of work so two different names.
What was it like to grow up in Hawai’i? Has it affected how you write?
Hawai’i for locals is very different than it is for visitors. It’s a very mixed cultural landscape and I think that blending has contributed a lot to my writing but in some ways, it’s also a bit violent and there are quite a few social constructs that make living there easier. I do feel very comfortable there but really, I like a bigger area and I like traveling around. Hard to do from Hawai’i. But my mom’s there and I go to visit. And I drag friends with me!
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction and how do you think they’d respond?
Ah, I’m very open about what I write. I have no walls or shame about it so I don’t really have anyone who’d I’d not want to know. I’m very tolerant and accepting about others’ so I kind of expect that in kind. If I have to hide who I am or what I do or who I know, then that’s not someone I want to be around.
What was it like creating monster hunter Kai Gracen?
Oh, Kai was easy to create. He’s kind of lizard like and growly. So much fun to write and he has a good heart. He really is a hero in a dragon’s clothing.
Why do you think so many women love to read m/m?
You know, I have no idea why. I think women read more? Um… no idea. See I know a lot of men who read M/M so… I guess it all depends on what they like. I just write… and I really don’t envision the reader when I write. The whole author thing happens after the manuscript is submitted and then I’m all… panicky about people liking the book. I’ve never really thought about the gender of the reading audience.
In creating the dynamic between Cole McGinins and Kim Tae-Min, were there any moments where it was hard to continue the story keeping their relationship intact?
Oh yes. There was one time…which I was going to actually break them apart but then I said, really… come one. Like they can’t work this out? Like they can’t talk? People talk. Mature people deal with shit. So… none of that.
What are you currently working?
Ah, I am working on Bobby and Ichi’s book. I’ve just reached the point where Bobby has to tell Cole.. so yeah, that’s going to be fun. *grins*
Tell me about your writing process from idea to finished draft? Do you rewrite to death? Do you outline?
Pretty much what I do is plot then take off and ignore it. It’s a bad thing. Stuff just keeps coming up and I say, oh that would be great. No rewriting to death. Most of what I send to my beta readers is what goes into the book. Probably about 99.5% of the first draft. Outlines happen sometimes. It all depends on the book.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
Depends on how pissed off I am at the book. I get sick of it at about 30K and then I start cursing everyone’s existence at about 60K. It should take me a few months. Sometimes less. Sometimes more.
What is it like to have an online store for your book-related merchandise?
I actually don’t really pay attention to the store because I upload the designs and sell everything pretty much at cost. So it pretty much runs itself and other than me adding a design or two, it chugs along on its own accord. I like designing stuff so… it’s out there and it’s kind of neat to tie in the band stuff.
What advice do you have for those thinking about writing gay romance and what advice do you have for those who are trying to build an audience from scratch?
Ah, we all build from scratch but honestly, I’d say never ever count the people holding your book. Don’t think about the author part of it. Focus on the writing. Write real people. Or slightly larger than life people. Give them flaws and merits but most of all, personality. I think that holds for any kind of book—regardless of genre. Write something you’d want to read.
We don’t write to become rich. That happens very rarely. Very rarely. If you’re going to write, know it’s a bitch and a half and a worry and also a pleasure. Knitting together a story and having people find something in the words you’ve gathered up touches a very nice part of your soul. Give of yourself, hell—don’t be afraid to write vulnerable or scared. Or strong. Balance everything out and most of all, have fun.
Well, until you hit that 30K and you want to tear apart every pixel on the screen. Power through that. It’ll get better. Finish.
Best advice ever. Finish.