Thursday, June 2, 2011

Interview with Julie Lynn Hayes

1) Links to website and list of books with purchase links:

All links are on my blog:  

2) How long have you been writing? What got you in to writing?

I’ve been writing for over forty years. I’ve always been in love with books. I started reading when I was 2. About the age of 9 I remember the teacher reading us a particularly interesting story about a group of children on an island, and their adventures—I think it involved dinosaurs. I started thinking of my own stories and writing them down.

3) What was your first published book? Looking back, is there anything you’d change about it?

My first published book was To The Max, which was released by Dreamspinner Press on March 26, 2010. Looking back, I might have shortened it a little, but I don’t think so, not really.

4) What or Who has influenced your writing?

First I think are my children, especially my daughters Katie and Sarah. They’re the ones that got me interested in being on the Internet, forced me to have a journal on LJ, which led to my role playing – they got me interested in fanfiction writing. And that played a large part in giving me the courage to write my own stories. They introduced me to the stories about Remus and Sirius which eventually inspired me to write about my own gay couples. As for writers, I feel that I have been influenced especially by P.G. Wodehouse and William Faulkner—in other words, I have a quirky sense of humor and I’m longwinded

5) Where do you get your ideas?

I can find ideas anywhere—from my life, from the world around me, out of my head. I got an idea for a series (as yet unwritten) simply because the word timeshare popped into my mind. Sometimes it’s a character’s voice that begins to speak, so I start writing and see where it goes – that led to both Revelations and Leonardo di Caprio is a Vampire.  And To The Max. Situations. People. Words. Faces. Feelings. I’ve learned to write down the ones I want to keep in a file, so I don’t forget them. Then they have to wait their turn to be born.

6) What hinders your writing? (distractions? noise?)

Sometimes I distract myself by getting into a game of something, or watching You Tube videos—you can’t watch just one! I find it hard to carry on a conversation while I write, and I keep telling my daughter that. It doesn’t help. I threaten to get a sign made that says Writer at Work or something, but I haven’t yet. I usually wear headphones and listen to music. Some music can be distracting, it depends on my mood. Sometimes I prefer something without lyrics, like classical, or ES Posthumus.  But I’ve also written to Korn singing Y’All Want a Single, Metallica’s One, or any of a number of soundtracks, including Repo! The Genetic Opera. Different books demand different tactics. Since I don’t have the luxury of a room with a door I can close, I adapt.

7) What genre are you most comfortable with? What would you like to explore?

Right now, I’m heavily into Romance, especially m/m romance. I do love Regencies, though, and want to try one of those. I’m working on a YA also, as well as a historical paranormal.  What I would really like is to be known as a writer, not a genre writer, but a writer. I have an idea for a detective novel (which my son helped me with), so we’ll see how that goes—it involves a gay werewolf detective, and I am thinking of setting it in the 30’s or 40’s or something. I would like to do more historicals too, cause I love history a great deal.

8) Are you a by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of writer, or do you have to use an outline to put your collective thoughts into some semblance of common sense?

I am a pantser, although I try to think ahead, at least for the current chapter, so I know where I’m going. But I believe in letting my plots flow from my characters, so that they’re more real. Sometimes I do know in advance some of the things that will happen. Sometimes those things don’t happen the way I thought they would. I love exploring with my characters. I feel like I can’t telegraph the plot to my readers if I don’t know what it is myself. Nothing worse than knowing in advance the entire plot of a book and what will happen. I don’t mind knowing some of it, or guessing at it, but all of it? I might as well write it myself.

9) Which of your books is your favorite? Why?

Probably To The Max. It was my first and I really love Max and his world. I wanted to do something different. He’s a werewolf and he’s gay, but there isn’t a lot of focus in the first book on his being a werewolf, more about him as a man, and his relationship with his longtime lover. He isn’t an Alpha male, he’s older than a lot of the heroes of gay romances (he’s 44), and yes, he has weaknesses, including a lack of spine at times in dealing with his lover, his family and his friends. But he’s a good man, and not every hero wears shining armor or shines in every situation. Max is human, even if he is a werewolf, and I love him for it.

10) Do you incorporate some of yourself into your characters? Personality traits? Likes? Dislikes?

Definitely! There is a lot of me in Max. We both hate coconut, fear heights and old bridges and drowning. I have my weak moments too, but I think I stand up to people more than he does. I write fiction, he doesn’t, at least not now. I gave  him my dream car—a mid-70’s Monte Carlo—and I gave him a little house in the woods, like I would love to have. He plays the piano better than I do (I could use some lessons), and neither one of us really carries a tune.

There are smaller pieces of me in my other characters. Samantha in Dark Love has some of my physical traits, ie red hair and blue eyes, as well as my interest in the Tarot and vampires and Count Dracula—no wonder I gave her a vampire lover lol

11) What do you think is the perfect hero/heroine? Why?

The perfect hero/heroine is someone who is not perfect, who has flaws, but who works to overcome them. If someone is perfect, what is there really to say about them? I think he or she should feel real, so they can resonate with the reader, create feelings in them, whether like or dislike. Even if you want to kill him or her, at least that is a feeling. Apathy is not a good thing to instill in a reader.

12) Do you have any suggestions/comments for prospective authors?

First and foremost, I would say to live. Life is where ideas come from, feelings are felt, experiences are lived. You need to understand more than your own perspective, you need other points of view. Write from within, from what you feel. When they say write what you know, that doesn’t mean that you have to know everything you write—I’m sure Tolkien never actually saw hobbits or dwarves or Ents, and somehow I doubt Bram Stoker was ever bitten by a vampire. But they took what they were interested in, what they had feelings for, and they made it work because they cared. No matter what genre you write, you have to care about it. If you don’t, although you may be technically correct,  your writing will lack heart, and that is what you really want to have—heart.

1) What is the sexiest or most erotic thing someone has said to you?

Oh, that’s a funny question. The first thing that came to mind was something my second husband told me, when we were first acquainted. We worked together at a liquor store—he was the assistant manager and I was the cashier. At first I didn’t like him, but he kept dropping hints about himself, and how special he was, or words to that effect.  The line that eventually hooked me was when he said, “You’re never going to find out.” On the surface, it wasn’t especially sexy or erotic, but it had such connotations and undercurrents. We’ve been married for 30 years now (although separated for 6)

2) If you had super powers, what would they be? Why?

Invisibility. To get into the movies, of course!  But more than that, to be able to absorb life and people on a more up close and personal basis, without their knowing it. To observe, to listen, and to learn.

3) If you could be an immortal, what would you want to be? Why?

A vampire. Vampires are sexy and awesome and amazing.  Oh, and I’d want to be a male vampire. Gay, of course.

4) If you could change three things in the world, what would they be? Why?

Everyone would have a place to live, everyone would have foot do eat, and there would be no prejudice or discrimination against anyone.

5) What would be a perfect date for you?

Date? What’s that?  Lol I haven’t dated in over 30 years. If I were to ever date again, it would depend on how well I know my date. If well enough, then I wouldn’t mind cooking dinner, and maybe watching a movie at my place. If not, maybe dinner out, and a movie. Or a walk in the park, if the weather was good. It’s hard to talk in a movie, so you don’t really get the chance to know one another.

6) Is there anywhere you’d like to visit? Why?

Many places, but the first that comes to mind is Tuscany. I fell in love with the area when I read Under the Tuscan Sun. I want to go there, and stay in a villa, maybe own one someday. It’s a beautiful beautiful place. And I love Italian food. And I’d love to go to La Scala. Now, if only I knew Italian!

7) Do you have any obsessions? What are they?

Okay, total honesty, right? Anyone who knows me knows I have an obsession with Gary Oldman, that’s a no-brainer. I am obsessed with m/m romances, coffee, role playing (I keep coming back to it). Most of all I’m obsessed with writing; it’s my grand obsession, the one I’ll never give up.

8) Do you have a crush on any actor/actress? Who?

I think I just answered that, but I’ll repeat it. Gary Oldman. Have crushed on him for over 18 years. There is something about him, something magic in his eyes, and in his smile. I adore him, forever.

Lesser crushes would include Nic Cage, Jason Isaacs, Daniel Craig and Gerard Butler; that list is subject to change.

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