It’s time for another author spotlight and today I’m joined by the fantastic E.M. Lindsey! We chatted about being half-plotter, half-pantser, their latest projects (including their new penname) and why friends to lovers is the most versatile trope!
Take it away EM…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hi, I’m EM. I’m an MM romance author who has been writing professionally since 2014. I came to writing from academia (with a background in Antiquity and ancient history) when my health and hearing loss became too difficult for me to function in a classroom and lecture hall setting. It wasn’t much of a chore, though, because I have always wanted to be a writer, and being able to do it full time is a dream job. I just moved to Northern Florida, close to St. Augustine, with my spouse and kids, and I spend my mornings walking on the beach, afternoons making words, and evenings enjoying the nearly year-round gorgeous weather.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I’m a half-pantser/half-plotter with pages and pages on my iPad of notes, but I like to let my characters drive the story. I’m well known for the slow-burn and lyrical prose. I approach novel-writing like poetry.
Describe your books in only three words.
Slow-Burn, Emotional, Hopeful.
What are you working on right now?
I have a couple of projects going on right now, and most of them are in some various phases of editing. As E.M. Lindsey, I’m writing a gritty MM Motorcycle Club Romance series spanning six books, and between that I will be releasing a very rip-your-heart-out emotional stand-alone MMM romance that I hope will be releasing in April. I’ve also just launched a new pen name, Ariel Millar, which I will be using to release my MM Paranormal Romances. My first in that series, a dystopian Werewolf trilogy called Carpe Noctem, right now will most likely be launching in mid-March.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
Probably Verismo. It’s not my best selling work, but the book took probably ten years total from conception to final product. I was told by a creative writing teacher early in my undergrads that there’s no point in trying to make writing a career because I’ll never make anything of myself. That day I sat down and began to write my first full novel. Verismo went through several different versions of itself, and I sat on it for a long time before I was confident to put it out in the world, but that book is a piece of my soul and I’m glad I found the courage to publish it. It’s also the book I get the most messages and emails about, and it inspired me to expand that universe.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
In a strangely negative way, my former creative writing professor did, who didn’t think I would go anywhere. I wanted to show her that I was not only capable in spite of my struggle with proper English, but also because writing was such a strong passion of mine. For my books themselves, I tend to get inspired by anything. A road sign, an empty house with a big oak covered in Spanish moss, a person I meet in a supermarket line. I feel like everything around me has a story to tell.
What inspired you to start writing?
The first time someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said a writer. I’m not sure what inspired it. I always just had stories in my head. I wish I could say it was one thing or another, but to be honest, I think it’s just always been a part of me.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I have a very specific process but I don’t always stick to it. I wake up and go for an early morning walk, then I put the kettle on and get my desk set up. Sometimes I need to take series notes so I caffeinate while I do that on my iPad, then I fire up my word program and get started. I try to write in long bursts, at least forty-five minutes to an hour, then ten or fifteen minute breaks. I have kids though, and sometimes chat windows will distract me, but I’ve been trying to minimize those lately so I can focus more on the work. I dedicate at least two or three hours to admin tasks like advertising and social media, but when I’m mid-novel, I like that to be my sole focus.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Sometimes one or the other, sometimes both at the same time. I have a book I’ve been working on about a reluctant psychic medium who gives fake ghost tours, and I was inspired with both the plot and the character by a man I met when my spouse and I took a haunted tour in St. Augustine right after we moved here.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
I have a long wish-list of books that I plan to get to someday, and I really hope I can. I don’t know that I have a specific book, but I do have an idea for a series set in a brothel, and that’s at the top of my writing wish-list right now.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Friends to lovers, because it’s so versatile. I like to take tropes and turn them on their heads, and that one has so much promise with so much diversity. Long-lost childhood friends, the pining best friends, friends turned enemies, friends in bad situations, friends where everyone but them know they’re in love…new friends, old friends, future friends. I could go on haha.
What would be your three desert island books?
Dune by Frank Herbert (if I can bring Dune Messiah with it because it’s basically an epilogue), Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (or Circe, either one tbh) and Killing Time the TOS Star Trek Novel by Della Van Hise. Honorable mentions: The Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat, and Heart of Stone by Johannes T. Evans.
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
That’s a tough one. I’d probably say Verismo because it’s my book baby, and I think it would translate really well to film. It would be like a modern day Amadeus without the chaos of Mozart. I’ve never really given actors a lot of thought. I’d love to see some authentic casting from around the globe with locally famous actors instead of mainstream Hollywood. Although if we’re being honest, I’d probably kill for Robert Sheehan to play Alessio (the eccentric Italian composer) even though he’s Irish.
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 depends on what my body allows. I’ve had to give up yoga and hiking but I love taking long walks on winding paths because where we live is so lush. I also can spend hours just sitting on the beach watching the waves. I binge-watch a lot of reality contest series on Netflix like GBBO or Blown Away. I also read a lot, and I try to keep up on my Greek and Latin translations so I’ll give myself assignments to keep from getting rusty. And, of course, read read read! My kindle and KU are always stacked full.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Here’s a fun fact about me: Dinosaurs terrify me! I don’t think I have a favourite, though I do like the idea of them with puffy chicken feathers.
E.M. LINDSEY is currently living in the United States and spends their time writing, reading, hiking, and binging Netflix – in that order. Find Lindsey’s work exclusively on Amazon.