K.A. Merikan is made up of Kat and Agnes Merikan, and they work together to spin tales that draw readers in. They are best known for novels Mr. Jaguar and Road of No Return. No matter what they come up with next, it will keep the pages flying!
What got you interested in writing m/m fiction originally?
Agnes: I wasn’t happy with what was available in my native language so I decided to make up my own stories 🙂
Kat: I always wanted to create my own stories and the m/m ones were the what came to me naturally.
How did you begin your career writing? Did you ever expect your audience to be so large?
Agnes: At first, we were writing for fun and only our friends read the stories. They all loved them so at some point, Kat and I decided to publish at a Polish m/m site. Our popularity snowballed, and soon, we became one of the most widely known authors of m/m original fiction online.
Kat: We didn’t even know a thing like m/m romance as a genre of books exists until we ventured into writing in English. It was like finding your tribe.
What is it like writing as a joint effort between you? Is it difficult sometimes?
Agnes: It’s great. I would never go back to writing alone again. Kat inspires me, and the constant feedback we give one another fuels out creativity.
Kat: I doubt I’d be writing as fast as when I write with Agnes. I always have someone to bounce ideas off and someone to come up with a way out when I’m stuck.
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction and how do you think they’d respond?
Agnes: There is no such person. I’m not doing anything wrong so I don’t think there is a reason for me to hide it. My whole family knows, so do my friends, and I was very open about it while in high school. In fact, my dad used to be quite openly homophobic, but throughout the years he really came around, and now he’s very supportive of what I do. He actually boasts about me writing gay books to his coworkers. The only place where I didn’t talk about my interest in M/M was university, and that’s because I was studying psychology, and a few of my teachers had rather stern opinions about women interested in gay erotica (and I know because I suggested it could be an interesting topic for a survey and analysis). At the time, I was convinced I would work in a sexual health clinic and didn’t want to antagonize the people who could help me get a placement. Right now, I couldn’t care less.
Kat: Can’t think of anyone to be honest. I live by my own rules. Writing gay romance and erotica is such a big part of my life, I can’t imagine people close to me not knowing. I’m not in a position where it could possibly affect my job either.
What inspired Mr. Jaguar? Was it fun to write?
Agnes: It was lots of fun. The first book we ever wrote with Kat was set in a high school and focused on the relationship between a jock and this eccentric goth guy. Writing Mr. Jaguar felt a bit like going back to the time when we first started working together. The book was written for the Love’s Landscapes event, so it was inspired by a prompt illustrated by a very sensuous photo. We just immediately knew the book would be about a chance encounter between former enemies, which would end up with them falling in love.
Kat: It was tons of fun, we were laughing all along the way. It has this goof-ball comedy quality to it, with exaggerated bullies and the over the top love story. I’d love to see it as a Hollywood blockbuster 😉
Why do you think so many women love to read m/m?
Agnes: I suppose the ‘forbidden’ love aspect might be one of the reasons, but I believe that for women who enjoy romantic storylines M/M is as attractive as M/F, there is no reason why they wouldn’t enjoy it. At the same time, I have no idea why I like reading about gay relationships. I just do. The first time I ever read a gay sex scene was in a small erotic book set in eighteenth century France. I was in my early teens, and it was very hot. Some time later, I accidentally picked up a yaoi manga at an anime convention, and I just knew it was something I would enjoy. After that, I began reading a lot of M/M material because I finally knew where to get it.
Kat: Gender can carry a whole baggage of social expectations, so having two men in a relationship creates a whole different set of interesting plot possibilities than an M/F relationship.
What was it like writing the relationship between Zak and Stitch in Road of No Return?
Agnes: It was lots of fun. I find Stitch very attractive as a character, and writing with Zak’s persona in mind, it got me through a whole array of emotional states, which is what I love about being an author. I enjoy writing about relationships that aren’t picture perfect because it allows me to explore things I would not want to go through in real life but still find engaging. Zak is not afraid of Stitch at all, he doesn’t take his jealous fits seriously, and he tolerates some of the stuff Stitch does in the beginning because he wants this guy so much he just can’t help himself.
Kat: One word: Intense. These guys had a rollercoaster of a love affair, and their sexual chemistry was sizzling, so the story just wrote itself. I have to admit I have soft spot for characters who aren’t all that smart, and Stitch is one of those guys. Let’s just say he’s emotionally challenged and messes up all the time, but he really loves Zak and would go out of his way for him.
Are you currently working on anything?
Agnes: We’re always working on something 🙂 Right now, We’re editing the second book of The Copper Horse, our ponyplay trilogy, and working on the release of the pulpy mafia-themed novel, Guns n’ Boys. But a writer can’t live on editing alone, and we’re writing on a daily basis. The current project is the second novel about outlaw bikers, The Devil’s Ride.
Tell me about your writing process. Do you write every idea down? Do you rewrite to death? Do you outline?
Agnes: We brainstorm a lot, send each other text messages with ideas, which are then put down on paper. It is only then that we work on turning all the loose concepts into a comprehensive storyline.
Kat: We talk things through a lot. I think writing and redoing it to no end is a waste of time so we try to construct the plot, outline it, and then just hope the characters don’t go completely off the rails. By the end of it, we have a very clean manuscript because we edit each other as we go along.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
Agnes: Depends on how long it is, and whether it’s the only current project or not, but the first draft for a long novel like Road of No Return can be finished within a month.
Kat: If we write in one go, it can be a month of intense keyboard abuse, but sometimes we take breaks in writing a particular novel, let it cool down, and then come back to it a few months later with new ideas.
What was it like writing Playing with Food?
Agnes: It was one of those conceptual ideas that we just had to put out there. I think we wrote the whole thing in one evening, in a spur of inspiration. There’s nothing like writing spontaneously.
Kat: It was… fun. No rules. It’s all the kinky fuckery we wanted without worrying if it’s going to be popular or not.
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?
Agnes: The most important thing I would advise any new author to do is get out of their comfort zone and do their research about people. Watch the news, read obscure internet sites, or just chat to someone you wouldn’t otherwise get in touch with. People are weird and interesting, and I want to see that in my M/M.
Kat: Be passionate. Write the book YOU want to read, and there will surely be others who think your book is what they have always waited for.