I had an awesome time interviewing today MM author Sera Trevor. She has been writing for more than 10 years and has gained a lot of respect in the industry. If you’re looking for books written by a passionate and highly experienced author, I recommend you check her profile and her books!
Tell us more about you and the books you’ve written.
I just debuted my first original novella, Consorting with Dragons (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22826002.Consorting_With_Dragons), but I’ve been writing in fandom for – yikes, I just did the math, and it’s been about ten years. Wow. And I’ve been reading fan fic for even longer than that, but I’m not going to give specifics because I’m already feeling old!
I focus mainly on sci-fi and fantasy, but I tend to steer away from serious business epics. Consorting with Dragons is a light-hearted fantasy about Lord Jasen, a young noble who is sent off to Court by his father to land a rich husband. The trouble is that Jasen’s family is from the most backward of the Allied Realms, and he is at a complete loss at the sophisticated Court of the Draelands. He isn’t looking to cause a scandal, but that’s exactly what happens when he immediately attracts the attention of both a powerful dragon and King Rilvor himself. The King serves as the mystical link between the magic of the dragons and humankind; since the death of his wife two years before, magic in the Allied Realms has suffered. He must take a spouse this year, and the fight for his favor has gotten downright vicious.
No one, including Jasen himself, thinks he’s a proper match for the king. But the growing affection between them can’t be denied. Jasen loves Rilvor, but he’s petrified about becoming lord consort to a king. Unfortunately, the two can’t be separated, and Jasen must decide if true love is worth all the trouble.
I’m really excited to announce that the book was just nominated for two awards at the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s 2014 Member’s Choice Awards! It’s up for both Best Book Debut and Best Love’s Landscapes Story. And since Consorting with Dragons was published through the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s annual free story event, it will cost you exactly zero dollars if you want to read it. Just visit the group’s site here(http://www.mmromancegroup.com/consorting-with-dragons-by-sera-trevor/), choose your format, and there you go!
What are your favorite M/M books?
It’s hard to narrow down! Edmond Manning’s King Perry is probably at the top – it’s a book that manages to be extremely profound and hysterically funny at the same time. For fantasy, I’m absolutely in love with everything that Ginn Hale writes, particularly her Lord of the White Hell series. She balances intensive world-building while not forgetting that her stories are about her characters first and foremost. I also love historicals, so Joanna Chambers’Enlightment series is like catnip for me; she manages to write about queer characters in a historical setting without sacrificing believability. Kaje Harper is an awesome writer who laughs in the face of genre confinement, writing everything from fantasy to contemporary to paranormal to sci-fi, and she does it all so damn well. And lastly, both Jordan Hawk and KJ Charles write the most amazing paranormal historical m/m romance mysteries (Widdershins and A Charm of Magpies, respectively). I don’t know how they manage to get the exact right mix of all those genres in every single book, but they always do (I think they might be secret wizards or something).
What have you learned about writing M/M that you didn’t know before?
That the community is so amazing! When I was making the transition from fan fic to original work, I wasn’t even sure what to expect. It felt a little like transferring schools: would I fit in? Would I get invited to the cool parties? Would people make fun of my outfits? (Ha, just kidding. The best thing about the internet is no one has to know what a terrible dresser I am.)
But I was worried for nothing, because the m/m romance community is incredible. Everyone is so welcoming! I was stunned at how active the Goodreads M/M Romance Group is, and I’ve made a lot of friends at the M/M Romance Writers Group as well. The other thing I worried about with making the switch to original writing was that I wasn’t sure if there was an audience for m/m, but man, was I wrong. The M/M Romance group has over 15,800 members and keeps growing every year. There’s never been a better time to be a m/m romance writer.
What’s your writing process or daily routine like?
I usually start off with a vague idea of a scenario I would like to write. After the initial seed of the idea has been planted, one or two scenes will come to me, and then I just keep playing them over and over in my head, looking at them from every possible angle. (My husband can always tell when this is happening; apparently my face looks very goofy.)
From there, I extrapolate what comes before and what comes after those scenes. At that point, I begin my outline. I make my outlines as detailed as possible. Of course, a lot of stuff ends up going out the window during the writing process, but it’s good to at least eliminate major structural problems at the outset. I’ll write one chapter, then go back and revise the outline as needed. Rinse and repeat until the first draft is done.
I’m actually a great big weirdo in that my favorite part of writing is the editing. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so it bugs the hell out of me when I know there are – gasp! – mistakes lurking in my manuscript. Editing is my reward for getting the damn words out.
Where do you look for inspiration when you’re having trouble getting started with your writing?
When my writing starts to falter, I go back to reading good books and watching good TV and movies. Getting lost in someone else’s story puts me back in a creative mindset.
What do you think draws so many women to love to reading m/m?
Gah, this question is so hard! I’ve thought about it for years, but I don’t really have an answer. I’m not sure there really are explanations for people’s sexual proclivities. I remember finding my first slash story when I was 14 and having a visceral “YES, THIS. THIS FOREVER.” response, but I couldn’t tell you why. And even if I could articulate it, I’m sure that my answer would be different from other women’s.
There is one thing that I’m sure of, though: it has absolutely nothing to do with hating my own vagina, which is an accusation I’ve seen thrown around. I am totally cool with vaginas. They are definitely in my Top 5 favorite body parts.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve got a few things in the works right now. I’m working on a 10,000 word expansion of Consorting with Dragons, which will remain totally free. I’m also writing a sequel to Consorting with Dragons, which is titled Larely Lands a Lover. It follows the romantic adventures of one of the supporting characters of the first book.
After those two projects are completed, I’ll be working on Curses, Foiled Again. It’s a paranormal story about Felix, a sexy yet dim-witted vampire, who becomes obsessed with John, a witch who is immune to his attacks and thus not easily impressed by all of Felix’s antics. And then after that, I’m going to dive into a steampunk alternate reality series called Manners and Machines.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual. You can check out all of the particulars of these projects at my website here (http://www.seratrevor.com/coming-soon.html).
If you want to keep updated on my books (and get access to coupons and contests and stuff), you can sign up for my newsletter here: http://www.seratrevor.com/newsletter.html
Do you have any M/M authors that you look up to?
Oh, for sure. Everyone that I mentioned in my fav books section is an inspiration to me. (Well, sometimes they’re inspiring. Occasionally they cause me to curl up in the fetal position and weep in despair of ever being as awesome as they are. But mostly they are inspirational!) If I had to pick three, I’d choose Edmund Manning, Ginn Hale, and Kaje Harper. Edmond Manning, because if I could be even half as funny and a quarter as moving as he’s capable of being, I’d be a pretty dang fantastic writer. Ginn Hale, because her fantasy worlds are so complete and compelling, but her character development doesn’t suffer at the alter of world-building in the way that often happens in fantasy. And Kaje Harper, because in addition to being an awesome writer whose productivity and breadth of genres is truly awe-inspiring, she is also just an overall great person, always willing to offer advice to aspiring writers.
Do you have any advice for those who are trying to build an audience from scratch?
GET INVOLVED. Seriously. Find a community of fellow m/m lovers and dive in. Meet some people. Find some books to read. And then put yourself out there – not in an obnoxious way, but let people know you exist. Then back off. If they are going to like your stuff, they’ll come to it themselves. Keep your reader-self in mind: how do you like to be treated by authors? Then do that. I like authors who offer deals and bonus stuff, keep me updated on their projects (since I tend to be forgetful), and most importantly, don’t scream at me to buy their books all the time. So that’s the approach I’m taking.
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction? How do you think they’d respond?
Ha, definitely my mom. I mean, she’s a lovely person with liberal views, but I do not want her anywhere near the sexy stuff I write. Parents and porn go together like pickles and chocolate: just the thought of it is enough to make you want to throw up in your mouth a little.
What advice do you have for others who would like to be gay romance writers?
Like I said above, find your community. I cannot overstate the importance of this. My debut book wouldn’t have gotten a fraction of the attention if I had put it out on my own. Since I put it out through the M/M Romance Group, I was able to reach a much wider audience.
Jamie Lake is the author of Bad Boy: Naughty at Night and other m/m gay romance novels.