Marcy Jacks is best known for her ability to write shifter stories. Her most popular novels are Captured with his Pregnant Mate and The Alpha Wolf Kidnaps a Mate. No matter what she writes next, her readers will eagerly await the novels.
What got you interested in writing m/m fiction?
I got interested in it shortly after I started writing fiction in general. I remember the first time I saw M/M fiction online, it was a fanfic, and I immediately hit the backspace button, thinking that it wasn’t meant for me to see because it was M/M. But, curiosity won me over, and I’ve loved the genre ever since. I still do M/F, and have just recently handed in my first M/M/M story, so I’m still figuring out what I enjoy doing as far as writing goes.
How did you begin your career and how did you grow your fan base to be so humongous?
Oh, haha, I don’t think I have a humongous fan base. That would be pretty sweet, though. I started my career writing in my spare time between classes and jobs, and after I graduated I kept on going, writing other novels as I tried to fit myself into what traditional publishing wanted from me. I wish I’d thought to hand my stuff in to the new e-publishers sooner, then I would’ve had a head start. Siren bought my first short story under a different pen name, and aside from a few books or novellas that I self publish, they get mostly everything else I write. Whatever fanbase I have, I’m pretty sure comes from the fact that I put stories out quickly, so anyone on Bookstrand’s website sees me a lot, which makes it hard to forget me.
Has living in Canada influenced your novels in some way?
No, not really. The only thing I hear from time to time is that publishers don’t want stories set in Canada, which is also slowly changing. I set almost all of my stories in made up towns and cities in the U.S for that reason, but I wouldn’t call it a major influence since I can publish whatever I want if I do it myself, and I’m pretty sure Siren would be lenient with me if I wanted to do something in Toronto. So far I only have one novella that I can recall that’s set in British Columbia.
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction and how do you think they’d respond?
Well, my brother told my dad, which was a little humiliating, and I told my mom, who has trouble keeping a secret. I’d say most everyone in my immediate family knows about it, though not all of them want to read it. Some of my distant relatives tend to be a little on the proper side, so I wouldn’t exactly want them knowing, but they also live far away, so if they found out, I always have the luxury of not having to see their reactions 😉
What was it like writing the character of Westley Moore, and exploring the idea of male pregnancy through him?
To be honest, it’s been so long since I’ve written about him that I had to go back and see which one was his book. To answer your question, I’m super big into angst. I love angsty books, and they’re one of my favorite things. I wanted to do something with angst, and I was still getting used to the idea of writing a male pregnancy story. I think by that point I’d only done once before, and I was still a little nervous about it. I wanted to make sure I was doing it right, that I’d created a reasonable explanation of just why that was possible, and what it meant for him health wise to be pregnant.
The interesting thing for me that I really loved working with, was how his baby wasn’t the child of his mate, which some readers didn’t really like, but others did. I think it was about a 50/50 split there, but I really loved the idea. It showed off Roarke’s character, and how he was willing to treat a child who wasn’t his own by blood.
I really enjoyed writing both characters and showing what they were made of. Westley got to prove himself to be a really strong character and an excellent parent, not just in that one book, but throughout the entire series.
Why do you think so many women love to read m/m?
Because we like guys. We like to fall in love with the hero in our romances, and with an M/M romance, there’s two heroes to fall for. You can have a little of both in an M/M because you don’t just have one alpha type of hero to love for the entire book. You can also have a beta type, someone who’s a little calmer, thinks through his problems more instead of charging in. There’s a lot to love about all kinds of heroes and the more the merrier. I could be wrong, but at least for me, that’s what part of the appeal was.
Another big appeal was the forbidden aspect. When I was first starting to read M/M romances, mostly through fanfiction, I got to see through their eyes the struggles they went through just to be together. Social, political, religious expectations etc. There’s all kinds of things that would keep two loving people from having their HEA, or make them really have to work for it. And in romance, we love to read, or watch, people work for their HEA.
What was it like to write the character Tiberius as a slave? Was it hard to write that dynamic?
Yes and no, I’d wanted to do something like that for a while. It was hard for me to balance how Ty should be acting in his new environment, and how quickly he could adjust to being free. Sometimes I don’t think I did it well enough, other times I do. I guess it just depends on the mood I’m in, but regardless of how much more I could have put into that story, it is one of my favorites. There are a lot of great characters in that book, and Ty did prove himself to be strong and brave enough to go after his mate when the alpha was in trouble.
What are you currently working?
Right now I’m outlining a sequel to I Want To Bite On Your Ears, which will feature Charlie’s alpha older brother, and a defect fox shifter who makes him his slave and forces him to go out on dates with him, which will be a lot of fun :). I’m looking to make this into another light hearted romance instead of my usual serious stuff since I really miss those characters, and want to do something a little sillier. The working title will be You Foxy Eared Devil. After that will be another book in my Of Dragons and Wolves series.
Tell me about your writing process from idea to finished draft? Do you rewrite to death? Do you outline?
My writing process is very fast. Rarely do I have time to outline like I’m doing right now, and the outlining I do tends to be inside of my head with very little written down until I start writing.
The first thing I do is open Scrivener, which has turned out to be immensely helpful since I can just glance to the side as I’m writing and see everyone’s names in the sidebar. I like to get all my characters named, their ages and what they look like in those research pages, and a little on their personalities. If the series progresses, then I’ll add more to each character as I learn more about them.
I have almost no time for rewrites. At best, before I hand in my finished book to Siren, I can glance through it and do a search on all the common words I misspell during the actual writing, or insert certain details that I’d missed before. Other than that, I send off a complete first draft. When the editor sends it back to me with comments and suggestions, I’ll go through them and make the changes, but even then there’s still almost no time to read through the entire book. I might read through my whole book searching for things to add in or take out maybe half the time I send in books.
This is why I rely on my beta reader. When I get in the last set of edits, I look them over one more time, and then send them out to her so that she can catch all the things that I missed, and this really helps a lot and makes me slightly less paranoid about what I’m handing in. She tends to catch name errors and other little mistakes that my eyes glaze over. I’m a lot less stressed thanks to her.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
I would say the shortest amount of time it ever took me to write a 35,000 word novella was about five days, I think. I feel better if I can get something like that done in 7 or 10 days, though.That way I can hand in three novellas per month. I’ve done more than that before, but that gets to be incredibly hard, and then there’s even less time to spend on edits.
Was writing Charlie Young interesting because of him being a werewolf that could not shift into wolf form?
Yes, very interesting. I’d just finished reading some manga and it got me to thinking. In a lot of stories like that you see people who have cat ears or paws or other animal attributes, but they’re not shifters. It’s just how they look. I don’t think I’ve ever read about that in a Western story. I’m assuming it exists, but I just haven’t seen it. I loved the idea of having someone stuck in the in between like that, just so I could have that element, and I have plans on going back to that world and creating more shifters who aren’t accepted by humans because technically, they’re not, but are also not accepted by other shifters as well because they can’t shift.
Another big inspiration was Pretty Poison by Kari Gregg. Apparently, when I was writing it, the story ideas were so close that a reviewer commented on how similar they were, which wasn’t the intention, but there it was. While that same reviewer also stated that my story did come into it’s own, I still get kind of embarrassed. All the same, if anyone wants to know about some amazing M/M stories to put on their kindles, I do suggest looking into Kari Gregg, as I am a fan of hers and love the books that I have read. Another set of great books would be anything by Josh Lanyon. He doesn’t write erotic, and his stories are in the mystery genre, but I always thought it was good to read outside what you’re normally into, and whenever I’m in the mood for a mystery with a nice touch of romance, I go to him.
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?
That’s a hard one since I’m still not too sure on how big of an audience I have, and the audience that I know I have comes from putting out a lot of content fast enough that it stays under people’s noses. What I do might not work for everyone, so I would take this with a grain of salt. Despite the incredibly short deadlines I have, my books still need to be seen by a beta reader, and then get looked over twice by the Siren Editors before they are published, so for anyone wanting to be published, I would recommend at least having a beta reader to help make your book as clean as possible, though even some stuff gets left behind in my books.
Also, be good to your readers. I don’t always do this because I can’t always do it, but whenever someone emails me about something, wanting to know about certain characters and whatnot, I’ll try and give them a free ebook as a way of saying thanks for writing in. Again, I can’t always do that since I’m not allowed, but I try my best. Answering people’s emails is another big thing you can do to show people you appreciate them, and I try to reply to tweets that mention me as often as I can. I like to thank the people who tweeted to their many followers about my recent release. That doesn’t always get done and I wish it did, but I’m happier when I do have the time to send off that quick thank you, and I know they appreciate it as well.