Guest Author Interview: Isabelle Adler

Cover by Natasha Snow

Hello lovely people! It’s time for another author interview and today we have the fabulous Isabelle Adler here to chat about her new novelette, The Exile Prince, which is available now from NineStar Press.

A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.

1. What inspired you to write The Exile Prince? Can you tell us a little more about the story?
The inspiration for The Castaway Prince, the first story in the series, came when I saw a submission call from NineStar Press, my publisher, for stories featuring crossdressing. I wanted to write a story where the crossdressing aspect would be featured as part of a grand, dangerous adventure, while portraying it as sensitively and respectfully as I could as being an important part of the character’s identity. This idea continues in The Exile Prince, which follows the heroes’ adventures and delves more deeply into what crossdressing means to the main character. As in the first story, Stephan’s ability and desire to outwardly present as a woman (all the while identifying as male), is a major part of the plot, one which plays to the heroes’ advantage when they find themselves in a dangerous situation and must once again run for their lives.

2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
The blurb is intentionally vague, but I can reveal that Prince Stephan’s family is not willing to let him slip away as easily as he’d hoped. He is still a royal, and as such, poses a potential threat to his older brother’s rule – a threat that the new king will go to great lengths to eliminate.

3. What was the hardest scene to write?
I always find the sex scenes the hardest to write! The Exile Prince contains two very explicit scenes, and it was important to me to show the characters’ emotional bond grow stronger with each one while also advancing the story, as opposed to slowing it down to allow the heroes some sexy times.

4. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit?
Actually, there wasn’t anything I edited out of the story, but I did add something that wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place. The scene in the epilogue where we get a glimpse of Robert, Stephan’s older brother and his adversary, was added on a stroke of inspiration almost at the last minute, but I think it serves to segue the story into the next instalment and piquing the readers’ interest.

5. Stephan and Warren’s story is the second part of your The Castaway Prince Series, do you have any plans for more stories in this series or are you planning something new?
The Castaway Prince series is planned as a trilogy of novelettes, and I’m currently working on the third and final instalment. It does not have a title yet, but it will deal with Stephan’s connection to his family and his homeland, which he will no longer be able to ignore, and, of course, follow his romantic relationship with Warren.

There are several other projects I’m currently working on, notably the third and final book in my sci-fi series, Staying Afloat; a standalone fantasy novel, The Wolf and the Sparrow (coming out December 2019); and a new F/F mystery series set in an alternative 1880s New York.

6. If we made The Exile Prince into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Stephan and Warren? 
This is such a hard question! I really don’t want my vision of the characters to interfere with how the readers imagine them, but if I had to choose my absolute dream casting, I’d pick Jaco van den Hoven for Stephan (if he even decided to go into acting in addition to being a model), and Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Warren. I must say that having The Exile Prince made into a movie would be the ultimate goal!

7. What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve dreamed about being a writer from a very early age. I remember trying to write adventure stories when I was about six, just like those I’ve read in all my favourite books, but I’ve never finished them. It wasn’t until I was much, much older that I’ve decided to give that long-forgotten dream another go, following some drastic (and not always positive) changes in my life. Writing definitely helped me deal with a lot of the struggles I was facing, and I’m glad I gave my life-long dream a shot of becoming a reality.

8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
I used to read a lot of science-fiction and fantasy growing up, and when I was older, I discovered LGBTQ fiction, which was a huge impact on the development of my writer’s imagination. Fanfiction was also a major influence, though I was never a big part of any fandom.

9. As an experienced author, what do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out?
An important lesson I’ve learned recently was to finish publishing one series before starting another. Having long time gaps between books in the same series leads to readers losing interest, which makes the books so much harder to market. Hold off that shining new idea until you’re finished with the current one.

10. What is your favourite childhood book?
The Lord of the Rings.

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?
Unfortunately, with small children to take care of, there isn’t much free time left in the day for other hobbies! When I’m not working or spending time with my family, I try to write as much as I can, and when I just want to rest, unwind, or recharge, I read or binge-watch mystery series on Netflix. When I was younger, I had other creative pursuits, such as drawing, but now I devote all my creative energy to writing and coming up with new stories.

12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?

Thank you so much for dropping in Isabelle! Remember you can get your hands on The Exile Prince right now.

You can also find Isabelle on Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads and on her website!

Guest Author Interview: Ana Newfolk

It’s finally July and summer is here! Today I’m very excited because the wonderful Ana Newfolk has dropped by to talk about Made in Lisbon, the fifth book in her ‘Made In’ series, which you can download right now!

1. What inspired you to write Made in Lisbon? Can you tell us a little more about the story
Made In Lisbon is the book that reveals what happened to Vítor, the long lost brother of one of the characters in Made In Portugal. It’s funny how when you’re writing a series the secondary characters sometimes evolve into future main characters. When I was writing Made In Manhattan I knew Tiago needed his HEA, after all the poor guy had been searching for his missing brother since Made In Portugal. As I was thinking of Vítor’s I realised Tiago was his perfect match and so Made In Lisbon was, well… made. 

2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
In Made In Lisbon, Vítor and Tiago take five-year-old Filipe to the zoo. It’s the cutest scene ever and I absolutely adore Filipe. He’s also in Made In Manhattan briefly so if you’re a sucker for kids in books check it out.

3. What was the hardest scene to write?
When Tiago shares some personal stuff with Vítor after their trip to the zoo. That was such a hard scene because it was only as I was writing it that I found out what really happened to him in the past and why his brother was missing. It was heartbreaking and I had to remind myself that he was going to have his HEA and everything would be okay.

4. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit?
I write in order so most of what I write stays in. It gets tweaked during edits but I don’t really have a scene I took out completely. What I didn’t write but wanted to was about Portugal. Made In Portugal has a strong sense of place and it really takes readers on a literal journey. I wanted to do the same for Made In Lisbon but I didn’t want to repeat what was already in previous books so I reigned myself in on the descriptions of locations unless they were new to the reader.

5. Vítor and Tiago’s story is the fifth in your Made in Series, do you have any plans for more stories in this series or are you planning something new?
I have just finished something new that will be out in October. I’m now excited to go back to my Portuguese world one last time. It will be a Christmas novel that will bring everyone back together. I’ll leave readers to guess who gets the HEA this Christmas.

6. If we made Made in Lisbon into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Tiago and Vítor?
The guys I had as inspiration for Vítor and Tiago are actually two Portuguese actors, Afonso Vilela and Diogo Morgado. If Made In Lisbon was made into a movie and these guys played Vítor and Tiago I’d die the best death ever!

7. What inspired you to start writing?
I think deep down I always wanted to be a writer. I devoured books as a child. For years I used to go to my grandparents’ house after school because the library was on the way to their house. Books were always top of my wish list and I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t read. It wasn’t until I read my first MM book that I considered taking the step from reader to writer. I can’t even tell the moment things shifted but once I voiced it out loud somehow I just made it happen. 

8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
My parents are my biggest influence. They’re not the kind of people that will tell you how amazing and special you are all the time. I have done many things in my life I am proud of. I moved from a small town in Portugal to live in London on my own. I was twenty-years-old with no life experience. Without knowing what a CV was I found a job and built a career in retail, and then later I put myself through university while holding a full time job. They never said I couldn’t do any of those things, so I figured I could do all of those things. Writing is just another extension of that. Or maybe I’m just stubborn!

9. As an experienced author, what do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out?
Find your tribe and treat people online as if they are in front of you. You can find hundreds of books with advice on how to write better, faster, how to promote your books, increase your readership, I could go on. Us indie authors love to connect with other authors and readers and this means we are exposed to a lot of great stuff, but also some of the worst I’ve ever seen. It astonishes me how people can treat other people in the same community with such vitriol. So my advice is to treat people well and be a nice person as if they were right in front of you. Build your tribe of authors, because when you’re feeling down after a bad review, or you’re stuck with your plot, those authors are your people. The good ones will tell you that your blurb sucks and maybe your amazon ads don’t work because of your book covers. They will also tell you how your writing made them cry on the train. You will know they speak the truth.

10. What is your favourite childhood book?
It’s a collection of books by two Portuguese authors called “An Adventure…”. It was basically the Portuguese version of “The Five” and I loved reading them. If anyone ever asked me what I wanted for Christmas or a birthday it would have been one of these books. I can’t remember how many books there are in the collection and if the authors are still writing them but I still have dozens in my childhood bedroom at my parents’ place.

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?
I like too many things I don’t have the time for, especially as I also work full time. My second favourite thing to do after writing is baking. I love to bake and try new recipes. I also love watching people eat stuff I bake. I taught myself to sew, which I’m really proud of because my mum is a seamstress and can make anything. I made the curtains for the last place I lived in and also made the decorative cushions I have on my sofa. I like knitting but I’m not that great at it. I’m your girl if you want anything square, otherwise you’re better off buying it in a shop. 

12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?

Thank you Ana – I’ll definitely being coming to you for some cake then, as well as some beautiful books!
Made in Lisbon is out now.

You can find Ana on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Amazon. You can also join her Facebook Group, Cafe Lima, too!

Monthly Wrap Up: April/May/June

So… my promise to do these every month lasted a long time! The last time I wrote one was March and I’ve gotta say, quite a few things have happened since then.

I actually really like writing these little achievement lists, because they help remind me of all the cool things I’ve done – even if they’re just little things. Big or small they’re all worth remembering because they’re all steps along the road. Plus when I look back at the end of the year and think I didn’t do much this year or I can’t remember what I’ve done, they help add perspective.

So, here are my April, May and June achievements. I’ve stuck to mostly writerly ones, but there are a few personal ones too.

  1. Sent Breakaway to my editor, received my feedback and then worked through all of my edits to make it the best that it can be.
  2. Finished the whole of Breakaway, organised a release date, and shared my amazing cover by the fabulous Natasha Snow. You can find out more about Breakaway here or see the full cover reveal here.
  3. Set up my reader group, Charlie’s Angels – which you’re very welcome to join for cute guys and bookish shenanigans.
  4. Bought my first house *gasp* and got my very own writing space. It’s been amazing to have a desk of my own and I love tucking myself away there.
  5. Started on Book 2, which will be called Extra Time. I actually wrote about 20k, then realised the plot isn’t working so I’m in the middle of re-writing it and fleshing it out a lot more! It’s also already booked in for editing towards the end of this year so I have many words to write.
  6. Got to do some AMAZING author interviews with some of my favourite authors. It’s always fun to talk about their latest books, what advice they have and (of course) find out what their favourite dinosaur is!
  7. Started catching up on my reading and got to some great stories that I’d been saving for a while. I still have many, many books on my TBR but it’s a start. I also got back into listening to audio books and I’m loving them!
  8. Went on a work trip to the US – which was my very first time there – but while I out there I got the chance to meet my bestie Toby Wise in person! We had lots of hugs, lots of food and stayed up chatting about books and plots till 1am – it was perfect.
  9. Also I did some cool personal things; like trying chair dancing for the first time (so many bruises), went horse riding again and got back to baking cakes.

It’s actually been quite a busy few months – which probably explains why there are still many boxes I haven’t unpacked, but I’m super excited for July too. Not only does Breakaway get released, but it’s also my birthday and my second wedding anniversary, plus I’m going to see my sister in London and it’s my city’s pride event too.

Maybe in between all of that I’ll get a chance to write some words too…

Cover Reveal: Breakaway

I’m super excited to be able to share with you the cover for my debut novel, Breakaway, which will be released on the 23rd July 2019.

The cover has been designed by the amazing Natasha Snow, and I’m sure you’ll agree that she’s done a fantastic job! I’ve actually had this since the end of April, and keeping it under wraps has been very difficult.

Here’s the synopsis:

When your life revolves around a single goal, is there room for love?

Christian King is a rising star in English football. He’s talented, devoted, and on the road to glory. He’s following the path that’s been laid out for him since he was four, and he has no plans to deviate from it. Christian’s life revolves around a single goal—to be the best… until he runs into his first love and former best friend, David.  

David Cade is just trying to survive the final year of his PhD intact, while battling long hours, unmotivated students, and the idea that academia might not be for him. But a chance encounter with his first love’s twin sister changes everything, and suddenly David is faced with the realisation that he can’t leave the past behind.

When David and Christian are drawn back together, sparks fly. Soon, Christian is forced to confront his deepest insecurities. Can they break away from their fears for a second chance at true love?

Breakaway is a 79,000 word contemporary gay romance featuring light angst, glittery bath bombs, a ginger-haired roommate/pet, shared Star Wars love, and a meddling twin sister. It is book one in the Off the Pitch series and can be read as a stand alone.

Breakaway will be available on Kindle and KU from 23rd July, and you can pre-order now!

Paperback will be forthcoming.

Guest Author Interview: E.M. Denning

Cover art by Dana Lean from Designs by Dana

Hello hello hello! It’s summer time and while the weather may not quite be hot (at least in the UK), today’s author knows how to bring the heat. It’s the fabulous E. M. Denning, who’s here to chat about her divine new release Never Enough, which you can download now!

1. What inspired you to write Never Enough? Can you tell us a little more about the story?
When I started writing the Upstate Education series, Vince and Tommy were these background entities who weren’t supposed to get a book. Book Three originally was going to be Will’s (You met him in Half as Much) but sometimes my characters have other ideas. It wasn’t long before Tommy and Daddy Vince were demanding their story be told.

Never Enough is a story of strength, vulnerability, and belonging. There’s something special about all of my boys, but I am so in love with Tommy and his Daddy. They really found their perfect match and I love the way they grow together.

2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Shawn is Tommy’s best friend and I absolutely love him. He will be in book four, so you will definitely want to read Never Enough so you get to meet him before hand.

3. What was the hardest scene to write?
I always have trouble with the end of a book. Always. It’s always the hardest for me, getting through that last ten or fifteen thousand words.

4. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit?
Nothing. LOL I actually don’t know. I’d have to go look. I don’t outline and I write completely linear, so there’s no out of order scenes that didn’t make the cut, or something the didn’t fit. When I write, the stories unfold organically and I follow along. Sometimes I’ll cut something and start a chapter over if I feel things are going in the wrong direction, but I couldn’t tell you a specific thing that didn’t make it into this book.

5. Tommy and Vince’s story is the third in your Upstate Education Series, do you have any plans for more stories in this series or are you planning something new?
There will be a fourth and final Upstate Education book. I’m hoping to finish it in time for a late summer release. I’d tell you what it’s about, but it’s a secret. I am already planning something new and exciting that will come after Upstate, so stay tuned.

6. If we made Never Enough into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Tommy and Vince?
Oh. Wow. I think Timothy Chalamet would be a beautiful Tommy. The hair color is wrong but I wouldn’t even care. He’s stunning and brilliant. and Vince…. Um… I don’t KNOW.

7. What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing for a long time and it was an assignment in the fourth grade that got me started. I wrote poetry for a long time before making the jump to novels. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing.

8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
There’s so many things that have influenced me as a writer. Dean Koontz. Poetry. Other MM romance authors. My friends. It’s really easy to influence writers, you pretty much just need to exist.

9. As an experienced author, what do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out?
Finish your stuff. Stop editing as you go and just go. Finish your book. Then finish another. Don’t worry about not being as good as other writers, we all started out not knowing how to do this. It’s not something writers are born with. No one comes out of the womb knowing how to do this. It’s something each one of us have had to learn over the years and we’re all still learning.

10. What is your favourite childhood book?
Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. Anne is my spirit animal. I love those books so much.

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?
I used to crochet and I sometimes play the guitar, but mostly I like to read. I’m not very exciting. Oh, and I listen to a LOT of nightcore on YouTube.  

12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Stegosaurus for the win!

Thank you so much for chatting with me today, and giving such great answers. Your advice is excellent and I can’t wait to read about Daddy Vince and Tommy.
Never Enough is out now.

You can find E.M. Denning on Amazon, Twitter and Instagram, plus you can join their fabulous Facebook Group, Denning’s Darlings, for sneak peaks, book talk and general awesomeness.

Guest Author Interview: Spencer Spears

Cover by Spencer Spears

We’re kicking off June in style here at Novak Tower and what better way to start than with the fabulous Spencer Spears. He’s here to talk about his brand new book Wild Heart, and that cover alone has me ridiculously excited!

1. What inspired you to write Wild Heart? Can you tell us a little more about the story?
At first, I just wanted to write a light and fluffy series set on an island. The books were supposed to be short and sweet, and not really have any angst. But as I got to know my characters, I realized that Mal had a lot of darkness in his past, and Deacon was dealing with a lot of sorrow and guilt. Which probably makes the book sound super depressing, and I swear, it’s not! There’s surfing and kittens and lots of kissing. But as I got into writing the book, I realized I really wanted to explore some of the issues that come up around living in a small town, dealing with bigoted family members, the weight of the past that we all carry around with us, and how we find hope and love despite all that. So a lot of the world-building things that come up in Wild Heart – the way the island is changing, and Deacon’s family history – are going to continue to unfold in the next two books.

2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Hmm… well, as I alluded to in question #1, both of Deacon’s brothers, Emory and Connor, are getting books of their own. Oh–and Mal is a Cancer . Someone asked me that the other day, since Deacon mentions that he’s a Virgo. Mal’s birthday actually happens during Wild Heart, but he doesn’t mention it to Deacon because he’s learned not to make a big deal about it. God, I’ve spent way too much time thinking about Mal’s past. Maybe someday it’ll actually make it into some kind of book or something!

3. What was the hardest scene to write?
Oh man, the scene on the steps of the guest house in Chapter 9, where Mal misinterprets what Deacon wants. I wrote that scene over and over again, starting from scratch each time. From a storytelling perspective, I knew I needed an “almost-but-not-quite” beat, where they got a little closer, then pulled back. But from a character perspective, I could only write something that felt true to Mal and Deacon. And I couldn’t see either of them confidently coming onto the other one, or even being brave enough to just say what they wanted. Not at that point in the story. They were both too hesitant, too unsure. It finally clicked when I realized that was the crux of the scene – that uncertainty, the miscommunication that arose from them both wanting the other, but not feeling comfortable saying it, and being really insecure about how the other person saw them. Mal’s got this awful history with guys who’ve used him, and when I realized that that would inform how he saw Deacon, and what his expectations would be, then everything came together.

4. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit?
I had this scene where Deacon teaches Mal how to swim. It was so clear to me what it would look like – the weather, the light, all the sensory details, the feelings of fear and trust, the hopes that they each had for the future, but were too afraid to say out loud. But it just didn’t fit with the pacing of the book – I couldn’t make it work. So I ended up pulling it out, and I’m toying with the idea of rewriting it as a short story for them in the future, because I still just love it so much.

5. What came first with Wild Heart, the characters or the plot? Is that the same for all your books?
Characters, 100%. That’s how it always is, for me. Even if I know I want to write a book with a certain trope, it won’t come together until I have a handle on the characters. I’ve got lots of story ideas in my head that are still waiting for a character to jump out and say, “That’s MY story, write it about me!” Conversely, I’ve got “story” ideas in my head that are really just snippets of scenes between two characters, where I have no idea what’s going on in the book around them. For Wild Heart, I had this image of someone jumping out the bathroom window of a roadside motel, and Mal sprang to life for me from that. And Deacon became real for me once I saw the scene of him going to Mal’s room at night to protect him, his heart beating out of his chest because he thinks he’s lost him. Everything else rippled out from there.

6. If we made Wild Heart into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Mal and Deacon?
I’m pretty sure I’d be so thrilled Wild Heart was becoming a movie that I’d say yes to it being acted out by sock puppets. But I was just saying in my Facebook group that Henry Cavill gives me really strong Deacon vibes, when he’s rocking a beard. He’s a bit older than Deacon would be, and I know he’s British, but… Sigh. That face.  And for Mal? It’d have to be someone who captures that vulnerability and determination. I’m open to suggestions! 

7. What inspired you to start writing?
I have two answers for this–a practical one, and an emotional one.
The practical one is that I started writing as a just-for-kicks hobby. Ages ago, I’d read this article about people who published dinosaur erotica on Amazon, and a few years later, I thought, “Huh. I wonder if I could do that.” Obviously, my writing doesn’t involve dinosaurs, but I was curious to see if I could even write a full-length novel, and it turned out that a) yes, I could, and b) I really, really liked writing.
The emotional answer is that I’d always been someone who told stories to myself. I lived in my own little world inside my head and would work on these long, angsty epics that I thought about before I fell asleep, or when I commuted to work, or pretty much any time I had downtime. I never thought that I could actually do anything with that habit. It always seemed like more of a defense mechanism than anything else–a way of processing a world that I felt ill-equipped for, with all my too-many-feelings and being-too-sensitive. I thought “real” writers had some kind of magic ability that let them take the mundane prose inside their heads and turn it into something breathtaking on the page. But once I gave myself permission to try writing “just as a hobby,” I realized that there’s no magic. There’s hard work and practice and skill, but that’s it. And that was such an exciting, freeing thing to realize, because suddenly I had an outlet for all the stories I’d stored up in my head for the past 30-some years I’ve spent on this planet.

8. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
Obviously, what I read has a huge influence. Other authors in the m/m genre constantly inspire me to push myself in my writing. And some of the best m/m writing I’ve ever read has been fanfiction, so I have to mention that as well. And to be honest? I watched a lot of teen dramas on TV when I was in middle and high school (and, uh, maybe into my 20s, haha), and that had a pretty formative influence on how I think about storytelling, character development, handling large casts and interlocking stories, and just building worlds that people can sink into and lose themselves in. It’s something I think about any time I set out to start a new series – who am I writing about, why should people care, and what makes the characters – and the place they live – special?

9. As an experienced author, do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out?
1) Don’t write the book you care about most first. Save that for your second book, where you know what you’re doing a little better.
2) Learn from other authors, but don’t compare yourself to them. Comparison takes all the joy out of writing. Run your own race.
3) Relatedly, learn from other authors, but don’t feel that you have to do exactly what they do in order to be “successful” or “a real author” or whatever standard you’re trying to meet. Different people plan differently, outline differently, write differently, release differently, interact with readers differently, do everything differently. An author you admire might religiously write 5k a day with a green glitter gel pen in a pristine Moleskine notebook while burning patchouli and listening to BTS, and that’s great for them, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing. Experiment, find what works for you, and do that.

10. What is your favourite childhood book?
Oooh, this is a super hard question! I read A LOT as a kid. When I was really little, it was definitely Scuppers, The Sailor Dog, which got me obsessed with travel, shipwrecks, and the ocean. And dogs, obviously. I bought a copy for myself as an adult, because I’m a sentimental sop. When I got a bit older, it was probably The Secret Garden, because what kid doesn’t want to go live in a giant, spooky country manor and discover a private wilderness all their own? Dickon was probably my first literary crush, and an aged-up m/m version where Dickon and Colin fall in love is for sure on my list of “books I really want to write if I ever get the time.”

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?
I try to spend as much time outside as I can. My goal is to make it to all the US National Parks, and all the state parks in Minnesota, but even just a run around my neighborhood is guaranteed to lift my spirits. As far as secret passions, most people probably don’t know that I worked in linguistics for 10 years before switching to writing. It’s what I studied in undergrad and grad school as well, and if you’re not careful, I’ll corner you at a party and talk your ear off about Jespersen’s cycle or the links between Malagasy, Maori, and Hawaiian. 

Omg look at this cutie!

12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Brontosaurus, definitely. Specifically Sally the Brontosaurus, a stuffed animal I had as a kid who now keeps me company at my writing desk. 

Thank you Spencer for giving such great answers and sharing such a cute picture of Sally too! I’m can’t wait to dive into Mal and Deacon’s book.
Wild Heart is out now.

You can find Spencer on Amazon, Goodreads, Bookbub, Instagram, Tumblr as well as his website. You can also sign up for his newsletter and join his Facebook Group, Spencer’s Space or follow his author Facebook Page.

Guest Author Interview: Lily Morton

Cover by Natasha Snow |

I am over the moon today because one of my favourite authors, the utterly fabulous Lily Morton, is here to talk about her brand new release Gideon, which is out right now!

1. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb? 
Gideon doesn’t feel real or connected to anyone. For all of the people who surround him, he’s incredibly lonely. However, he’s accepted that as being part of the price of fame. But then he meets Eli and finds someone who sees all of him and wants him despite the bad bits. The book is about someone finding the courage to be honest about who they are.

2. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit? 
I actually edited more out of this book than I normally do. I don’t usually have any excess material. In the middle of the book the couple are separated and the entire chapter was originally made up of the letters that they wrote to each other. However, it slowed the momentum down so I took them out. I’ll share them at some point with my readers’ group, Lily’s Snark Squad.

3. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer? 
I think having a deep love of reading made me want to write. I always had a very vivid imagination and would constantly make up stories in my head. It was my husband who pushed me to go for it because he’s always believed in me. It’s down to him that I went full-time as a writer too.

4. What sort of challenges did you face writing this book? 
I think probably that the main character was Gideon. Quite a few people didn’t like him at all in Milo and he was seen as a bit of a villain. However, I loved him as soon as he came into my head. He’s grumpy and acerbic but very vulnerable. I adore that type of character.

5. If we made Gideon into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Gideon and Eli? 
Ooh, I think Gideon would be Richard Armitage and Eli would be the late and very wonderful Heath Ledger.

6. This is the third book in the Finding Home series, do you have any plans for more stories in this series or are you planning something new? 
There won’t be any more books in the Finding Home series. I’m writing a standalone at the moment. However, I always say that and invariably it turns into a series!

7. Your writing always has a distinctly British feel and flare, was that a deliberate choice or just something that came naturally to your writing? 
It’s completely natural. I am British so the humour and the language are all me. 

8. As an experienced author, what do you have any advice or tips for new authors who are just starting out? 
I would say to make friends with other authors in the community. Writing can be a lonely business so it’s lovely to be able to bounce ideas off friends, share tips or just chat. They’re the only people who will understand fully what you do.

9. What is your favourite childhood book? 
The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien. I loved the whole book but I was absolutely fascinated by the description of his house for some reason. I’d read that over and over again and was quite disappointed when he left it to go adventuring.

10. 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’m a voracious reader. I try to walk every day because it helps to clear my mind. I also love the cinema and travelling with my husband.

11. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Diplodocus. Very cute and a vegetarian

Thank you Lily! I’m so happy to find another Diplodocus fan (they’re always and forever my favourite), and I can’t wait to see what you have planned for us next.
Gideon is out now and you should definitely add it to your reading list!

You can find Lily on Bookbub, Twitter and Instagram, plus her website and her Pinterest page, where you can see all her book inspiration. You can also join her Facebook Group: Lily’s Snark Squad for more fun things too.

Guest Author Interview: Nora Phoenix & K M Neuhold

I’m ridiculously excited today because not only has Pixie, the final instalment of the bestselling Ballsy Boys Series, been released, but the amazing authors Nora Phoenix and K M Neuhold are here to talk about it!

1.What’s your process of co-writing? Do you each take a POV, or do you both write different chapters, or is it more of a blend? Do you Skype or work on a collab document?
K M Neyhold [K]: We each write a POV. Usually we plan out a book through messaging and by working on a shared Google Doc, neither of us are much for video chats lol. At the start of the process, there’s usually a lot of back and forth like “what if this happens?” Or “how about that?”, and then as it starts to unfold, we tend to start building off each other’s chapters and seeing where the story takes us.
Nora Phoenix [N]: What always amazes me is how in sync we are. We’ve rarely disagreed on anything. In fact, I can’t even remember a time when we wanted to go in different directions. Usually, we’re super in tune and we complement each other, so we’ll build on whatever idea the other one suggests. I love that.

2. What inspired you to write the Ballsy Boys series?
K: I honestly can’t remember the initial spark. We’d talked casually about co-writing something and then the idea of porn stars emerged and we both got super excited about it and the rest is history.
N: I think someone posted something in Kyleen’s group about porn stars and that we should write that trope, and we jumped on it right away. We had the main storyline plotted out within a day, I think.

3. Who’s been your favourite Ballsy Boy to write about? Any reason?
K: My personal favorite was Tank. I’m not sure why but I loved his gruff exterior with his mushy, sweet center. I loved the banter and heat between him and Brewer. I just loved him lol.
N: Oh, that’s a tough one. I think Bear may be my favorite, even though he’s technically not a Ballsy Boy. He’s so vulnerable underneath that hot silver bear exterior and so scared to love again after getting hurt.

4. Although Pixie is the final Ballsy Boy to get his HEA, would you consider writing other books in this universe?
K: Yes! We have spin-offs planned.
N: We’re nowhere near done, haha. We have so many ideas for more books. And we keep creating all these side characters that readers want to know more about, so we kinda have to write their stories as well…

5. Do you have a favourite trope or kink that you’ve been able to write about in this series?
K: My favorite trope to write is best friends to lovers, which there wasn’t an opportunity for in this series. And my favorite kink is puppy play, which we may work on together in the future 😉
N: I love me some enemies to lovers, so in that sense Tank was perfect. But I love me some daddy kink as well, so Pixie was an awesome story to write!

6. Did you know from the beginning who would end up with who at the start of the series, or has it been a case of working it out book-by-book?
We had all the couples/throuple planned from the start.
N: Yeah, we knew who was gonna end up with who, though in some cases we didn’t know more than the basics. Campy for instance, we knew that he was gonna fall for his roommate but we had no idea who Jackson was yet…or that he would be such a romantic sweetheart. I loved that, that we discovered all these amazing characters.

7. Pixie seems to have been popular throughout, at least he’s one of my favourites, what’s your favourite aspect of his character?
I love how cute and sweet he is. He inspires people to want to take care of him like a little puppy or something lol.
N: I love that he knows what he wants and is unashamed about it. Like, he wants a Daddy and he owns that. I love that.

8. We’ve only gotten to see hints of Bear’s character so far, can you tease us with a little more information about him?
K: Bring the tissues? Lol.
N: Bear is…complicated. He’s a man with a huge heart, and a string caring and protective instinct. But he’s also a man who’s gotten hurt in the past and has closed himself off from love. It’s gonna be quite the journey for him. And yes, tissues are advised, haha.

9. What came first with this series? The characters or the plots?
K: I think they came at the same time. We have a sheet where we wrote down all the guys’ nicknames, who they were paired with, and the trope for their story. It was sort of a flurry of excitement, so it’s hard to remember the order it was all written down in, lol.
N: In some cases we had very specific ideas about the characters. In other cases they were a little more secretive. Campy for instance didn’t show himself much until his book, and even then he was pretty closed off. Bear even more, I think. But in all cases, we knew the basic trope and plot we wanted to write. All we needed to do was be patient until the characters revealed themselves.

10. We’ve loved seeing you work together on the Ballsy Boys, would you collaborate again on another series?
K: Yes!! We love working together and this is definitely going to be a partnership that lasts long beyond Ballsy.
N: Hell yes, haha. We mesh so well that we have no intention of quitting this partnership, Besides, we all all these ideas for books we still want to write together!

Well, now I’m even more excited, if that’s even possible?! Thank you stopping by and answering all my questions.
Pixie is out now and you should 100% get yourself a copy asap!

You can find K. M. Neuhold on her website, Twitter, Instagram and Amazon. Plus you can join their awesome reader ground, Neuhold’s Nerds, and sign up for their newsletter.

You can find Nora Phoenix on her website (where you can sign up for her newsletter), Twitter, Instagram and Amazon. And join her fabulous reader ground Nora’s Nook.

Guest Author Interview: Noah Steele

Cover Design: Aria Tan of Resplendent Media

It’s another wonderful day here at Novak HQ because the very lovely Noah Steele has stopped by to chat about his fabulous new book Fighting For Love, the second in the ‘Cut to the Feeling’ series, which is out now!

1.What inspired you to write Fighting For Love? Can you tell us a little more about the story?
Fighting for Love is, at its core, a story about emotions as strength. It follows Oliver, Aiden’s best friend from Racing into Love, and picks up about six months after the end of book 1 in the series. He’s officially over Aiden (yes, he used to date his now-best friend!) and stumbled unexpectedly into a romance with someone new and mysterious! Different parts of the book are inspired by different things. Oliver being at the start of his writing career and Seth’s love of fitness both come from my own life experiences. Oliver was always expressly written as being Asian, and this book features a size difference couple. That’s inspired by own relationship! We just celebrated our 9-year anniversary a couple days ago 🙂 Music is also a huge inspiration for me. Fighting for Love was fuelled by a few songs you’ll see me sharing on social media after release day.

2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Yes! There’s another supporting character who returns in this book that readers of Racing into Love might remember from the very beginning of that book. This book CAN be read as a standalone title, but that character coming back is pretty important. He added a depth to some scenes that I didn’t know I was missing until I got stuck and he helped me out of it by demanding to come back into the story somehow after a long absence. I know this is vague, but there’s a lot I don’t want to spoil!

3. What was the hardest scene to write?
There’s a really gritty fight scene in this book. I write sweet stories that have a little edge to them, and the darker elements are always tough for me to write. This fight scene in particular got really rough for the characters involved. I got lost in it, and it took me to a place that brought things out in the characters I didn’t know they had in them. I’m glad it did, because it really helped me resolve their character arcs, but it was really hard to write the hurt! I think it was my most heavily edited scene, because I had to make the fight believable and dark enough to have impact. I had to step back from my keyboard so many times to get through it, though.

4. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit?
In the original draft, Seth was an MMA fighter with a totally different character arc! I salvaged bits and pieces for the Seth you’ll get to know as Oliver’s love interest in Fighting for Love. Some of my sex scene setting ideas didn’t make it in, either, but I have plans for those to show up as some fun freebies for readers! There’s also a a sentence in which I described Seth as looming beside some windows like a henge, and my editor told me it was too far out to include. She was right, but I still love the image of it!

5. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
Some of my influences might seem unlikely! They aren’t really other writers. I think my life as a writer is most strongly influenced by the stories I consumed in other media growing up. I think my writing has strong themes of found family and strength in friendship because I’m a gay man and a huge fan of Sailor Moon. I’m also an avid JRPG fan, and I always aim for stories that feel epic even though they seem to start pretty simple, because it’s the kind of storytelling I was most interested in throughout my teen years.

6. Olly’s story is the second in your Cut to the Feeling Series, do you have any plans for more stories in this series?
I do! There are 3 more planned for a total of 5 books in this series. The first chapter of Cut to the Feeling #3 is a bonus at the end of Fighting for Love! But because I never know when enough is enough, the final Cut to the Feeling book is the perfect lead in to what I have planned for my second series. I can’t say more for now, except that the world of Cut to the Feeling won’t be the end of the world I’ve created!

7. What sort of challenges did you face writing this book?
It was so hard to strike a balance of emotions throughout this book! Olly and Seth are so different from Aiden and Derrek from book 1, both as individuals and as a couple. It was especially hard for me to get into Seth’s head because he only really opened up in scenes he shared with Olly one-on-one. Making sure he was likeable was a challenge. I also wanted to make sure Olly and Seth stood out against the supporting characters I was already comfortable with, and I think I did it!

8. If we made Fighting For Love into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Oliver and Seth?
So, here’s thing. If I were to ever pursue having Cut to the Feeling happen on a screen, I would want queer actors in queer roles. I’m mostly ignoring age for this dream cast! So, Scott Evans (he’s Chris Evans’ brother!) as Seth. He totally already looks like an older Seth to me, anyway. As far as having the right look goes, I’d love to see K-pop singer Holland as Oliver. They totally have similar vibes, and Holland is also an openly gay performer. I’m not sure if he does any acting, though! I think, going beyond actors I can name, I’d love to see young newcomers confident in their sexuality take on these characters for the screen, because they’d certainly deserve the opportunity to see themselves accurately represented in the media.

9. This is your second book, how did publishing your first change your writing process? Do you have any advice or tips for first time authors?
Publishing Racing into Love made me much more of a dedicated planner. Timelines are SO vital my process now! I’ve become obsessed with calendars and scheduling. Writing that first book really hammered in the discipline necessary to work through tough days where words just weren’t coming because the most important thing is to just finish the draft. So, here’s my advice for anyone starting out. You need to understand going in that as an author, and especially as an indie author, you are both a writer and a business person. You’ll be the one setting your schedules, contacting bloggers and other authors, sourcing covers, booking promo, and all of that while needing enough time to write according to your timeline. Take the time to study the landscape of your genre. Push through writer’s block to just get it done. Take breaks when you need them, not because you think you can’t write. Believe in yourself and understand that things could change at any time. Just do your best and be yourself and write what you love.

10. What is your favourite childhood book?
There was this really cool book series I checked out from my local public library branch a bunch as a pre-teen. I’m counting this as childhood because I totally blanked trying to think of books from when I was a kid! So this series is called Circle of Three, by Isobel Bird. It’s about three girls in different social circles who come together over their interest in witchcraft. This series is my jam! It’s one of my earliest exposures to the occult in fiction, and was a big part of shaping my early practice as a witch (yes, not only do I write books, I cast spells)!

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?
VIDEO GAMES! Not so secret, I talk about it everywhere. I’m a HUGE fan of RPGs like Final Fantasy and Persona. I also like to paint, but I’m a terrible visual artist and mostly slap paint onto small canvases just for fun when I still want to be creative but need a short break from my word count. Does choreographing unnecessarily complicated dance routines to synthpop songs in my shower count as a secret hobby?

12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
I love velociraptors SO MUCH. They remind me of cats. I’m not sure I can explain how or why. Their little claws just make me so happy.

Thank you Noah for dropping by and giving such wonderful answers to all my questions! Also I can totally and 100% see the association of cats and velociprators and I’m never going to look at cats the same way…

You can find Noah on Amazon, Bookbub, Twitter and Instagram, plus at his website (where you can also sign up for his newsletter!). And you can join his Facebook Group: Noah’s Dream Hive too.

Fighting for Love is available now and you should definitely check it out!

Guest Author Interview: Toby Wise

Author Icon: | Cover Design: Cosmic Letterz

Exciting times abound because today, debut author (and one of my best friends) Toby Wise has dropped by to talk about their first book, Ageless Fate, which is the first in their Mpreg shifter romance series ‘A Collection of Stray’s’.

1. What inspired you to write Ageless Fate? Can you tell us a little more about the story?
As soon as I started reading omegaverse I was hooked. I loved the world building, I loved the dramatics, and I most of all loved the idea of fucking with gender norms.
I’ve always enjoyed world building and making interesting characters so I wanted to write a story where I could make my own world and my own lore. Ageless Fate deals with instalove and true mates and mpreg of course, but it also deals with adoptive family, mythical creatures, witches, and hunters. It’s lighthearted and (hopefully) humours while also having this fun, new world you can get lost in.

2. Can you share something with us about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
In this book, Dakota has a pregnancy craving, Rainbow Chip Frosting. Most of his kids AND his mate all think it’s gross and tease him about it but Dakota eats the stuff straight from the can. It’s Dakota and Cameron versus the rest of the family. Have you ever tried the stuff because personally, I’m a huge fan of the sweet treat!!

It’s so yummy – I’m definitely on Dakota’s side too!

3. What was the hardest scene to write?
Personally, I write in chronological order. I like to start at chapter one and write each chapter in order. There was one scene, where the family goes into the woods and enjoy a family run in their animal forms, I had to go back and add after I’d finished writing everything else and it was tough to get back into the mindspace of these characters and what they were going through at that time again.

4. What did you edit out of this book? Or really want to include but it just didn’t fit?
There’s a scene where Charlie and Dakota celebrate Charlie’s very first published book. And by celebrate I mean sexy times! It didn’t really fit in the book but I WILL be releasing it as a little bonus chapter after the book comes out!

5. What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
The very first omegaverse series I ever read was The Northern Lodge Pack by Susi Hawke. I’d read a lot of omegaverse in fanfiction but I hadn’t realized there were original books in at genre. From that moment, I dreamed of writing my own books and publishing them. My best friend encouraged me so finally, I sat down and began seriously writing this series and here we are today. (Thanks Bestie!)

6. Dakota’s family is pretty large and filled with some interesting characters, what is the future for them? Do you have any plans?
So many plans… I’m currently working on writing ‘A Collection of Strays Book Two’ which will be Elwood’s story. I have plans for six books in this series so each character will find their mates and have their happily ever after.

7. What sort of challenges did you face writing this book?
There’s so many things you don’t know about the world of self publishing until you’re in the middle of it. I had no idea how to format my book so it looked pretty on paper, I didn’t know how to set up my author account, I didn’t know how to get a cover done. It’s just the little things you have to figure out along the way. Obviously I’ve (somewhat) figured my shit out now and hopefully the second book will be a tiny bit less stressful!

8. If we made Ageless Fate into a movie, who would be your dream casting for Dakota and Charlie?
Oh man. I love and hate this question! I think everyone who reads the book is going to picture someone different and that’s half the fun. Personally, I imagine Dakota as a sexy silver fox, someone like McSteamy aka Eric Dane. That bit of grey in his hair and beard… *sigh*. Now Charlie I picture someone with dark hair, strong, very sexy of course. Basically I picture Chris Hemsworth haha. *active all the heart eyes*

9. What have you learnt from the whole debut writer process? Do you have any advice for writers working on their first novel?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I kept trying to figure everything out on my own and things would have been so much easier if I’d just asked for help. Also, don’t take yourself too seriously? Right now I’m still at the stage where I am just filled with awe and wonder that this is real. I’m publishing a book and making my dream come true. If I take myself too seriously I might lose that sense of wonder and I NEVER want that to happen. I wanna stay humble and grateful that I get to do this.

10. What is your favourite childhood book?
Probably Green Eggs and Ham. Mostly because when we read it in school, our teacher always made greed dyed eggs with ham! Sell me anything if food is involved.

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?
I’m a stay at home parent so if I’m not writing I’m almost definitely drinking coffee and spending time with my kiddo. (He’s almost three so therefore an energetic handful ❤ )

12. Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
LAWL. I cannot think of a single dinosaur…… so I’m going with the first one that comes to mind. The one from Meet the Robinsons who shouts, “I got a big head! And little arms!” Seems kinda fitting for me haha!

I was so super tempted to include that gif here!

Thank you so much for dropping in to answer all of my fiendish questions! I can’t wait to read the rest of this family’s adventures.

Ageless Fate is available now and you can also get your paws on
Before Fate, a FREE prequel that introduces you to all of Dakota’s family!

You can also find Toby on Twitter and join their super fun Facebook Group: Toby’s Wiseasses.