For the first Author Spotlight of 2022, I’m joined by the wonderful Jeff Adams – author and co-host of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast. We talked about going back and forth between plotter and pantser, inspirational teachers, loving second chance, and building LEGO!
Over to you Jeff…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hello! I’m Jeff Adams, a writer of gay romance and LGBTQ+ young adult fiction. I live in central California with Will Knauss, my husband of nearly 25 years. Will and I also co-host the Big Gay Fiction Podcast where each week we talk about our favorite books, which of course are m/m romances. We chat with authors, review books, and talk about other books, movies, TV shows and plays that feature LGBTQ+ characters.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
Our writing style is… interesting. We’d like to say there’s a method to our madness but for the most part…it’s just madness. We start with a pretty clear idea of what we want and then somewhere along the maI write contemporary romance, and I have a love of second chances, friends to lovers and age gap tropes. Ice hockey and musicals are two of my favorite things, and I try to get one or both of those elements into my stories. I tend to write in first person because I like the intimacy of being that much inside a character’s head. I’ve gone back and forth over the years between being a plotter and a pantser, and these days I land somewhere in the middle of having a loose outline that I fill in as I go.
Describe your books in only three words.
What are you working on right now?
As is the case for so many, it’s been a challenge for me to find a creative spark during the pandemic. But, this year I want to finish the Christmas novel I started last year. It’s set in the “Hockey Player’s Heart” universe and it’s a second chance romance between a hockey player and a movie director.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
“The Hockey Player’s Heart” because I got to collaborate with Will. I enjoyed the process of coming up with the story and the characters. I think we created a wonderful second chance story between Caleb, a hockey player, and Aaron, a school teacher, bringing them together after they didn’t admit their high school attraction for each other.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
Back in high school and college, I was drawn to stories written by Stephen King and Jay McInerney, in particular, and their talent for compelling, vastly different stories on the page. Since then, the list of authors has grown long that I admire for the incredible books they write, authors like TJ Klune, Gregory Ashe, Casey McQuiston, Layla Reyne, Lucy Lennox, Sarina Bowen, Adriana Herrera, Julian Winters. The list could go on. If I can craft a story like any of these authors, I’d be happy. I try to learn everything I can as I read to understand how they write like they do.
What inspired you to start writing?
I caught the bug in English class back in eighth grade. We had a creative writing assignment and I loved writing that story. Ms. Winokur, my teacher for that class, with the writing assignments and her passion for literature started it. It was reinforced later by Ms. Goddard, my senior high school English teacher.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
Currently my process is a bit of a mess. I’m hoping to get back to my ideal process which is where I’m able to spend two to three hours a day writing. When it’s going well, I can usually first draft a chapter a day. That would allow me to have a first draft done in four to five weeks.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
It’s never the same. Sometimes I’ll have a character idea, or a pairing of characters, that I have to come up with a plot for, but other times I might have the plot idea first. The ideas happen fairly close together though and it usually takes the form of “I have an idea for these characters in this scenario.” It’s rare that I’ll have character ideas without a plot, or a plot without ideas about the characters that belong there.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Sarina Bowen’s The Understatement of the Year. It’s an incredible hockey romance that is truly one of my all time favorite books–romance or otherwise. Graham and Rikker are an amazing couple and their trajectory to get to their HEA is one of my go-to re-reads.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Second chances. I love, love second chances as people come back together ready to make it work. There’s so many reasons to need a second chance because sometimes you don’t meet people at the right time in your life so getting the do-over can create some wonderful, emotional stories.
What would be your three desert island books?
Sarina’s The Understatement of the Year for sure for the reasons I gave above.
TJ Klune’s Wolfsong because it has all the feels packed in one epic story.
Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It’s a perfect YA story that I can read, and re-read.
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
The Hockey Player’s Heart for sure. It could pretty easily be made into a Hallmark-style movie. It’s set mostly in a small-town. It’s a second chance story, which so many of their movies are. We decided early on in the writing who we’d cast too. Hockey player Caleb would be Luke Macfarlane and teacher Aaron would be Jonathan Groff. Luke’s been in many Hallmark films already, including playing a hockey player in one of them. Luke and Jonathan are also openly gay, which makes their casting even more perfect.
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?
One of the things I’ve gotten into over the past six months is building with Legos. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen some of my builds. I suddenly got very into building after I assembled Lego’s Everyone is Awesome set that came out for Pride month last year. From there I did three different Christmas-themed sets, a bookstore and townhouse combo (because of course I needed a bookstore), and a typewriter. I’m sure I’ll build more when I find a set that inspires me.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Velociraptors, specifically as shown in Jurassic World. I love how they communicate, work together and the personality they showed.
JEFF ADAMS has written stories since he was in middle school and became a published author in 2009 when his first short stories were published. He writes both gay romance and LGBTQ young adult fiction… and there’s usually a hockey player at the center of the story.
Jeff lives in northern California with his husband of more than twenty years, Will Knauss. Some of his favorite things include the musicals “Rent” and “[title of show],” the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and is always up for watching an episode of the “Great British Baking Show.” He also loves to read, but there isn’t enough space to list out his favorite books.
Jeff and Will co-host of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast, a weekly show devoted to gay romance as well as pop culture.
For more information on Jeff and his work you can find him on his website, as well as Facebook and Twitter. You can also listen and find out more about the Big Gay Fiction Podcast on the show’s website.