Guest Author Interview: Rhys Lawless

Cover by Rhys at Ethereal Designs

I’m so excited because today we have the fabulous Rhys Lawless here to talk about his new urban fantasy romance, Killer Heart, and it sounds so good! Plus look at that gorgeous cover!!

1. What inspired you to write Killer Heart? Can you tell us a little more about the story?
Killer Heart was inspired by three words. A long time ago I asked my friends on Facebook to give me 3 words and I would write a story inspired by them. A friend gave me blade, dust and rain. I never used them, but I knew I wanted to do something with them. I just wasn’t sure what.

Then in 2016, after a business trip to NYC, I ended up in the hospital and my time there was quite lonely. I needed an escape and I wanted to write something… magical. That’s how I came up with the main concept of the book. Spells are crystals that leave dust residue, blades are those who hunt the witches and rain… well, you won’t see much rain in the book, but you get the picture haha. The story went through a lot of revisions, some very severe ones, and finally I started writing it this year. I think it came about from me watching the Mortal Instruments TV Show, but I can’t quite remember. I’ve always wanted to write paranormal/urban fantasy but something always didn’t click. This year, it did. And here we are.

2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Wade is cursed to never feel love. Whenever he starts developing romantic feelings for someone, his killer instinct takes over. He’s been cursed since he was 12 and so was his brother at age 9.

Caleb is one of those people who falls in love far too easily and who gets invested quickly. And he’s taken the brunt of that major character flaw. He’s had way too many heartbreaks for a normal human being (which he isn’t), but he’s still grieving his first serious relationship, an Incubus named Jin who stole his heart and made him into the man he is today.

Naturally, these two people meet, born enemies, but there’s something they both want that the other can give. And that creates most of the conflict in the book. It’s equal parts urban fantasy and romance (and quite the killer romance if I may say so myself).

3. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit?
I don’t think I edited anything out. I don’t usually have parts that I remove from my books as I’m very meticulous with my planning and plotting. There’s definitely loads of backstory I wish I could put into the book, but it wasn’t that kind of book and I didn’t want to make it about the past. If you read until the end, you’ll know why.

4. What came first with Killer Heart, the characters or the plot? Is that the same for all your books?
The characters, for sure. I didn’t have much of a plot initially. I think from the very original idea the only thing that survived was that Caleb is a witch and that Wade is addicted to spell dust. Everything else has changed. The major plot of this book came about in a writer’s workshop 2 years ago. The deal the two characters make changed the dynamic completely and made this my favourite book to write, to date. Although book 2, Demon Heart, isn’t that far behind.

5. If we made Killer Heart into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Caleb and Wade?
Oh, dear, I don’t know. I have two pictures that inspired the character’s looks and I think they would be perfect together if it was to become a film. Caleb would be played by Lucky Blue Smith (@luckybsmith on Instagram) and Wade would be played by Ed Skrein (@edskrein). 

6. Killer Heart is the first book in the Blade & Dust series, can you tell us a little about what you have planned next? More adventures for Caleb and Wade? 
Killer Heart is book 1 out of 3. All books feature Caleb and Wade and how their relationship grows, and with that, their responsibilities within the magical community.

After that, it’s all up in the air at the moment. I’ve got lots of ideas for where to take the two men next, but I also have lots and lots of plot bunnies from side characters that crept up while writing. I think I’d like to write Winston and Hew’s story next (Winston is Wade’s brother and Hew is a familiar, what shifters are called in this universe), but once the first three are out, I’ll just have to re-evaluate. I’ll tell you what though. All books end with a happy for now and a slight clue as to what’s to come and the third book will give Wade and Caleb their happy ever after (of course until I decide to bug them again with more adventures).

7. What inspired you to start writing?
Reading Harry Potter at age 11. I’d always written before that, but JK Rowling inspired me to come up with my own world and learn to inhabit it in a different way.

8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
My teenage years, certainly. My relationship with myself and others growing up in a homophobic Greece. Moving to London on my own. Meeting and befriending like-minded people. My university years. Everything and anything really.

9. As an experienced author, what do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out?
Know your audience. It was a piece of advice I always ignored and I paid the price for it. Know who you’re writing for and what they expect from the books they love. Writing is an art, but it’s also a business, so if you want to make a career out of it, that is the first step to taking your writing further.

10. What is your favourite childhood book?
It’s silly, but whenever someone asks me this, I always think of this one fairy tale I used to love when I was 5 (and which still lives in my dad’s shed). It’s written by a renowned Greek children’s author and it’s about a duck who didn’t like his feet and set about the world to try and change them. What stuck with me at the time was that in the end, he did change his feet. It wasn’t all magically resolved and he realised his feet are fine as they were. I think it spoke to me at the time because I always struggled to fit in and it gave me the confidence that it’s okay to stand out and be the duck that changed his feet because his real ones were boring and didn’t truly feel like his.

11. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
It’s sad but I have too many hobbies. I take something up passionately and then a week or month later I’ve moved on to the next thing. I do want to start doing other stuff though. I’ve always loved yoga and climbing so it’s something I’m looking to take up next.

12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur? 
Triceratops. FTW.

Thank you so much Rhys! I can’t wait to read. Plus, yay, a fellow Shadowhunters fan.
Killer Heart is available now.

Rhys writes gay romance. He has been writing since the tender age of 11 and hasn’t really stopped since. He publishes urban fantasy and paranormal romance under the pen name Rhys Lawless and contemporary sweet and steamy romances under Rhys Everly. Rhys currently lives in London, UK with his husband and their 12-year-old puppy.
You can find out more about him and his works-in-progress by joining his Newsletter at http://bit.ly/2MVzfLI or visiting his website rhyswritesromance.com
. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bookbub and you can join his Facebook group too: Rhys Everly After.