For my next Author Spotlight I’m joined by the wonderful Willow Thomas. We talked about learning new things with each release, a chaotic good writing process, and being a huge Newcastle United fan.
Take it away Willow…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hello! I’m Willow, and I love to write MM sports romance. I’m from London, and a stereotypical Brit in that I think the word ‘Alright’ is a proper greeting, I drink too much tea, and queue etiquette is of the highest importance.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
Sassy and irreverent. My books are character driven and low angst, and I like to infuse my dry sense of humour and cheekiness into them.
Describe your books in only three words.
Funny, spicy, sweet.
Can you tell us a little about your latest release?
Double Take came out on November 17th and it is my third book in my Caught Off Guard series. It follows Tyler, a lovable hockey player who has been in love with ‘straight’ best friend back home, Zeke, for years, and how their relationship changes when Zeke turns up at Tyler’s apartment needing help.
It has some of my favourite moments and tropes. There is friends to lovers, one bed, sexy times with fruit (and not what you think), crazy, loveable friends, and a party scene I had so much fun writing.
It’s available in KU or to buy from Amazon.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
Double Take. I feel like with each release I’m becoming a better writer and I’m learning new things. I had a really great team behind me with this book so it’s also been my most stress free and enjoyable book release.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
The TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The writing on that show is amazing and I love Marti Noxon and Jane Espensen especially. It’s influenced me as a whole, but the humour is something I like to convey in my stories.
What inspired you to start writing?
My dad. I’ve always loved books and creating my own little worlds but I seriously started writing after he passed away. It’s a great way to channel my emotions even if I’m not writing about what I’m feeling. Up until 2020 I mainly wrote YA fantasy and sci-fi. In March 2020 I finally came out out as bisexual and I fell in love with queer romance. The pandemic was a wake up call. I had wanted to publish my stories for over a decade and it gave me the push to live in the now. So I created a pen name and now here I am.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
It’s chaotic good I think. When I get that initial idea, I pop it into my book ideas notebook and just keep adding to it as the idea expands. When it gets too noisy I write a rough outline, and then break that down into chapters, which I then use as a guide to write. I will happily go where my characters take me but the guide keeps me from going too off course!
My writing day revolves around my kids as my youngest doesn’t go to school full-time at the moment. Typically, once they are all at school in the morning, I start writing with my sprinting partner, and bestie, Lark Taylor. We will sprint and talk through our books until I need to pick up my kid. I try and get a bit more writing in after lunch but it doesn’t always pan out.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
It really varies. With my Caught Off Guard series it was the tropes that came first. The characters have evolved a lot from my initial idea. With the series I plan on releasing next year, it was the characters. They are very shouty!
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
It’s a graphic novel, but Heartstopper. I wish I had those books as a queer teen but I’m so glad my daughter and future generations have it.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Friends to lovers because the pining feeds my soul. I don’t usually like angst but pining soothes me somehow.
What would be your three desert island books?
Face Offs and Cheap Shots by Eden Finley and Saxon James
Heartstopper Vol 2
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Oooh, if my books were to get made, I see them as a limited Netflix series. Austin as Logan Lerman, Milo as Milo Ventimiglia, Bron as Kellen Lutz, Max as Chris Hemsworth, Tyler as Dylan O’Brien, Zeke as Nick Robinson, Chase as Tom Hopper, and Benny as Jonathan Bailey.
I think they probably all too old to play my characters now and some would need dye jobs, but this is who I see in looks or vibes (or both).
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 am a HUGE football (soccer) fan. I spend most of my spare time watching matches, highlights, playing fantasy football. We support Newcastle United and they are currently third in the premier league which is amazing! Football has been a huge part of my life since I was 12 and watched World Cup ’98.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Ankylosaurus all day long.
Willow Thomas is a MM romance author who loves to write stories that will leave you smiling. She is a queer, neurodivergent, feminist, with tea runs through her veins.
For more information on Willow and her work you can sign up for her newsletter, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon. You can also join her Facebook Group, Willow’s Bookish World, for more news and updates.