Today’s spotlight guest is one of the loveliest authors I know and always brings some sunshine into the world! I’m delighted to be joined by Noah Steele who’s here to chat about his swoony, low-angst novels, video games and being the architect of his own happy endings for queer men.
Take it away Noah…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hi! I’m Noah! I’m a young gay man from Toronto, Canada and I’ve been self-publishing for a little over a year and a half now. I’m a big believer in magic, ghosts, aliens, and (thanks to a combo of Sailor Moon and Final Fantasy) the incredible powers of love and friendship! When I’m not writing, I love to paint, sing, work out, and play video games. I also love cats and all kinds of bread! Like, a lot.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
Once, a reader described my Cut to the Feeling series as feeling like the daydreamy moments of first love laid out bare on the page, and I’ve never forgotten that. I think it fits well! My writing is packed with heart and emphasizes tender moments that look small but feel huge. I try to focus a lot on bringing emotions out through the physicality of my characters and their introspective moments.
Describe your books in only three words.
Swoony low-angst daydreams!
What are you working on right now?
So, readers might be familiar with me through my only current series, Cut to the Feeling. It’s a set of instalove M/M romance books that mix in lots of opposites attract and some nerd/jock yumminess. I have two current projects right now, and one of them is the finale for that series! It’s about the college musician I introduced way back in book 1, and he’s chasing his happily ever after with a tattooed florist from a wealthy family who doesn’t want to be ruled by his family’s social politics! It’s been tough to write, so I can’t promise a release date right now, but look forward to it! My other project in the works is a small town friends-to-lovers M/M romance I haven’t talked too much about yet because it’s still in the outlining stage, but I’m hoping to make it into a series!
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
Hands down, Visions of Love. When the main character first showed up in book 1 briefly and made a bit of a bigger comeback in book 2, I knew he’d get his own book, but I never expected it to become what it did. Marc, my heavy-hearted law school dropout, grew so much as I wrote him falling in love with flirty Scottish artist Connor, and I think I’m proud of it because I managed to create something that felt so raw and real and satisfying. It was such a well-deserved HEA for Marc, and felt like a total level-up for my skill as an author.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
My biggest influences actually come from video games! I grew up playing Final Fantasy and other JRPGs, and always loved the way love stories were woven into the grander plots. The only difference is that I’m writing the love stories AS the grand plots! It’s frustrating, though, that I didn’t have the opportunity to grow up and see myself or other LGBTQ2S+ people well-represented (or represented at all) in media, because it would have changed my whole world.
What inspired you to start writing?
My long-time love of reading! I’ve been an avid reader since I was 8 years old or so. I used to stay up late with a flashlight and read when I should have been sleeping (and I was bad at being sneaky about it, but my mother is also an avid reader, so I think she let me get away with it on purpose). I’ve been writing since I was around that age, too. Little stories in notebooks, sometimes for school, sometimes just for me. I have SO MANY unfinished drafts of old fantasy things that are probably gone now after moving twice. I shifted into more romantic fiction when I decided to be the architect of my own happy endings for queer men.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
My process is equal parts structure and chaos. Usually, I’ll set my working hours for the day and use the Forest app to set timers and grow virtual trees to track my progress. I’ll do sprints of around 15-20 minutes with 5-10 minute breaks, with one or two long breaks to cook and relax and think about what comes next. Some days that just doesn’t work, so I write in fitful bursts when something strikes me. I’m trying really hard to stick to the structured days, though!
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Definitely characters, way before the plot. I’m a bit of a pantser making an effort to have more structured outlines to go with the men who live in my head! It’s always been easier for me to dream up people!
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Honestly, I don’t think I have one! Anything I read that might makes me feel like I wish I’d read it wouldn’t look the same as if I did, so I just enjoy the stories I read for their different perspectives on situations lots of people can probably relate to.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Oooooh, toss-up between fake relationship and friends-to-lovers! Two of my all-time favorites.
What would be your three desert island books?
My heart! This is so hard, because I’m not really a re-reader. Okay, okay, let’s see. Probably… Reverie by Ryan La Sala, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Codename: Sailor V by Naoko Takeuchi if I could find both-in-one!
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Definitely Racing into Love, because it’s the book that started it all for me. I answered this recently in my Facebook reader group, too, but it was mostly straight actors who had the looks of my characters. My dream would be to do it with a cast of unknown queer actors who really embody the guys I’ve written!
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?
I love to paint, but I’m not an artist so it’s just for fun to play with colors! Most likely I’m gaming. I play Final Fantasy XIV Online regularly with friends from all over, and gaming is probably by biggest passion outside of writing. I would LOVE to write an M/M romance dating sim, or even something on the scale of my favorite Final Fantasy titles starring gay leads!
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
NOAH STEELE is an out and proud gay author based in Toronto, Canada. His debut M/M romance series, Cut to the Feeling, is the start of a journey to share stories featuring queer characters getting the happy endings they deserve. He believes that queerness is strength, and the gay men at the heart of his books embody that strength without experiencing queerness as a roadblock to happiness. Like Noah, they’re out, proud, and thriving in their whirlwind romantic adventures! When he’s not writing, Noah is an avid video gamer and gym-goer.