Jaime Samms is best known for her novels Better and The Foster Family. When not writing, she reads and sometimes tells her opinion over on Kuriousity.com and Dark Diva Reviews. No matter what she writes next, it will be great!
What was it that drew you to writing m/m?
This is a question I get asked a lot. And the truth is, I’m not really sure. I only know that even back when I was in elementary school, I wrote stories about guys who were best friends, and closer than you might expect. When I started to notice people in a romantic context, so did the guys I was writing about, and they seemed to only really notice each other.
How did your career begin? Did you expect to grow your fan base to be so humongous?
My fan base isn’t really that big, though I do get really lovely notes every once in a while.
What is it like to balance writing with work and raising your children?
Hard. Frustrating at times, but now that I have a job I love, that balancing act is easier. It’s hard to decide if the writing, the kids or the job are more fun for me, though.
Is there anyone you’d never want to find out what you write m/m? How do you think they’d react?
I used to think so. I used to think my family wouldn’t get it, but as more and more of them looked up my pen name and there was no backlash, I relaxed about it. No one really talks about it, but I don’t worry so much anymore. After all, when push comes to shove, this is more than just what I do. I realized one day, that no matter what their reaction, it wasn’t going to change that fact. So it stopped mattering.
What inspired you to write Better? Did you have to research a lot?
There was some research involved, because I’m not a therapist, and in Better, the brothers’ therapist plays a pretty important part, but a lot of it, like the friendships between Aadon and his friends was based more on experience and observation of a close-knit group of guys I spent an awful lot of time with in college.
Why do you think it is that so many women love to read m/m?
I read it because it makes me happy. I hope that’s why anyone reads what they read.
What was it like creating the relationship dynamic in The Foster Family? How much research was needed?
Normally, I let all the relationships in my books progress organically from word one. This time, I had already written The Door at the End of Summer, in which Charlie and Malcolm learned they wanted a third, but that first book was set in their early twenties. It took them a long time to find the right guy, to accept their own weaknesses and learn how to support each other and Kerry. By the time I was ready to write Foster Family, helping those characters accept what they needed was a challenge. But like any book, the dynamic was built out of instinct and intuition, and a bit of hope. I rarely wonder if I got it right. Every person (and character) is different. The possibilities are, literally, limitless.
Do you have any current projects?
Probably too many, yes. Currently, there’s an actor and a cowboy, and then there will be another Off Stage book and another Rainbow Alley book, and that’s pretty much the tip of the iceberg.
Tell me about your writing process from idea to finished draft. Do you outline? Do you write for hours only to edit it out?
I don’t think there is enough white space here for me to tell you the whole process. No, I don’t outline. I start usually with a very vague scenario and a blank page, write that down and see where it leads. Sometimes, things get excised. I think that’s true for any writer, though. Not every word is golden.
How long does it tend to take you to write a novel?
Oh, could take as little as eight weeks (Those are really rough) or as long as a decade. (That one’s a bit of a PITA.) I never know until I’m too far in to back out, though.
What was it like creating Lawrence McKenna in Stained Glass?
Painful. He was a hard character to get to know. There was a lot of himself he didn’t want to show to anyone, and that include me, Oddly, though, that was also one of those books that took less time than usual to get on paper.
What advice do you have for those thinking about writing gay romance? What about advice for those who are trying to build an audience from scratch?
It’s like anything else you write. Write it because you love it. Because the characters matter to you. Be respectful. That goes for the writing and for the fan base. As far as creating a fan base, there are no fans if there are no books. So write, and when you encounter someone who has read something you wrote, be respectful. Be kind, and remember, they are not you. Their experiences are not your experiences. How they see the world is not how you see the world. Whether they loved or hated your book that feeling is theirs and they have the right to. So be nice.