Hi Janna, thanks for having me over today!
Welcome Jo, here we go! :)
1) Your most recent release, Blooming Marvellous, is a self-pubbed anthology of m/m short stories. Is this your first self-published title? What can you tell us about self-publishing?
I’ve self-published a few short stories and anthologies before, as well as one novella, Boats in the Night, so I think I can now talk about this with a little bit of authority.
2) The short stories in Blooming Marvellous have all been published before. Why did you want to bring them all together in this collection? And what do they, when you look at this collection, tell about your development as a writer?
I’ll be totally honest, it was partly because releasing them all separately would be so much more work! But that’s not the only reason. I thought I could offer much better value to the reader this way than by pricing each story at $0.99—the minimum price Amazon will allow. It also allowed me to make a print version, which just isn’t economical with short stories.
But aside from those practicalities, I did want to put together an anthology of my stories as a way of showcasing the different sort of genres and narrative voices I’ve experimented with. If you’d only read my novels, you’d be forgiven for thinking I only ever write smutty contemporaries. That’s not the case, though. I may not get many ideas for novel length paranormal, science-fiction, young adult or historical stories, but I do enjoy writing them and you’ll find all those different kinds of stories in here... along with the smutty contemporaries, of course!
I suspect the finished anthology might not show you so much about my development as a writer as I gave all the stories a thorough re-edit before publishing it again. However, I certainly noticed that it was the older stories that needed the most attention. They were full of clunky sentences, point of view slippage and wandering body parts—not to mention the pronoun confusion! In the oldest story of all, “Passive Resistance”, I also discovered I had a bad tendency to repeat myself back then, saying the same thing over and over in different words. I ended up cutting a lot of excess sentences out of that story, and the leaner version is much stronger as a result.
3) Which of your stories or characters is your personal favorite?
In the Blooming Marvellous anthology, I think it has to be Ky, the graffiti artist narrator of the title story. He just blazed out of my subconscious and onto the page, and his story really touched me. He has that blend of surface toughness and hidden vulnerability that I love, as well as a bit of a motor mouth.
|Street art from Banksy|
4) You just got home from the UK Meet in Manchester, a yearly event for GLBTQ writers and readers. Can you tell us something about the history of this event and your role in the organization of the event? And what have those who weren't there missed out on this year?
The UK Meet has been going for four years now, and it’s grown from just twelve of us in a back room of Ely library to an event attracting readers and authors from all over the globe! I got involved during the planning of the second year in Milton Keynes, and after that the main team of five organisers (Alex Beecroft, Clare London, Charlie Cochrane, JL Merrow and me) formed with the aim of turning it into a more professional, larger convention. Alex has now been replaced by Liam Livings, but the rest of the team seem to be in it for the long haul! My main job so far has been working on finding the venues and organising entertainment options like the wonderful GLBTQ walking tours we had in Manchester this year, but I also organised the promotional anthologies Tea and Crumpet, Lashings of Sauce and British Flash.
|Authors Marie Sexton and Josephine Myles at the UK Meet|
Don’t worry if you missed it, though, because next year we’ll be in Bristol and 2014 will be bigger and better than ever! We’re learning all the time and paying close attention to feedback from attendees this year, so we’re confident we can deliver something really special next year.
5) What are you working on at the moment? And can you tell us something about your upcoming release Junk?
At the moment I’m planning the next book in the series beginning with Junk. It’s provisionally titled Stuff and will be out in May 2014, and it gives the story of Mas, who pops up as a minor (but scene-stealing) character in Junk. It’s the first time I’ve started a series like this, so I’m a little nervous but really excited. Better yet, it gives me a chance to go and explore more of Bristol for research, which is really handy seeing as how the UK Meet is there next year!
I’m really excited for Junk. I honestly think it’s my best novel yet, and I’m hoping the theme resonates with readers. Many of us have issues with too many possessions these days, and I’ve seen hoarding first hand in my own family. It was a fascinating topic to research and I’m really looking forward to being able to discuss it more with readers when the book comes out on August 27th.
Thanks for having me over to chat, Janna! I’d be very happy to answer any additional questions from readers in the comments :)
Thanks for being here today, Jo! I definitely hope to come to Bristol next year & I can't wait to read Junk :)
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