Friday, August 2, 2013

5 Questions For Author Josephine Myles

Today I’m very pleased and honored to have one of my favorite m/m authors as a guest, Josephine Myles! A collection of her short stories - Blooming Marvellous - has been released recently and later this month a new novel will come out at Samhain Publishing, called Junk. And I’m happy to have the opportunity to ask her a few questions about those, and other things related, like the UK Meet. So here are the 5 questions and answers!

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.

As far as I’m concerned, self-publishing is a lot of work and I end up spending a fair amount of time on jobs I’m not so keen on, like formatting the ebooks (and for Blooming Marvellous, a print version too). So for me, self-publishing is only worth doing for books that publishers aren’t so interested in, or for the chance to offer promotional freebies like Pole Star, which has been downloaded over 45000 times! For the most part I’m self-publishing stories that have been previously released by a publisher—it’s often a chance to give them a cover revamp and another edit. It’s also been a relief to finally put the British spelling back into some of those early shorts!

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
I’m also especially fond of that story because I just adore street art. To me it’s a way of reclaiming bland urban spaces and making them human again. I had Banksy in mind as I wrote it, because I’ve seen a lot of his work in situ in his home city of Bristol. Whole areas of the city are now covered in beautiful, ever-changing artwork now as a result of his legacy. Well worth a visit if you’re ever in the West of England... perhaps for the UK Meet next year?

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
As for Manchester, you missed a treat! The city is beautiful, with a proud and vibrant gay culture. But I think what everyone seems to enjoy most is the chance to socialise with other people who understand why you read what you do and who won’t judge you for it. I loved having the opportunity to finally get to meet some of the friends I’ve been chatting with online.

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!

Junk is also set in Bristol, and is unusual for me as it’s definitely a contemporary rather than an erotic romance. That’s not to say there aren’t a few sex scenes in there, but that’s not the focus this time. It tells the story of Jasper, a man who’s become overwhelmed by his hoard of books. The situation has become so severe he can’t get into many of the rooms of his house, and he eventually has to call a company who specialise in helping hoarders both with the practical and emotional sides of their problem, which is when he meets love-interest Lewis. Of course, falling for the man who’s meant to be your counsellor isn’t the best idea, especially if that counsellor has a strong ethical code forbidding romantic relationships with clients.

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 :)

Josephine Myles’ website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | UK Meet 

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  1. What a great interview! My first intro to Josephine Myles was through SCREWING THE SYSTEM, and it's my most re-read book right now. Adored it.

    Can't wait for JUNK!

    1. Hi Jaci, I loved Screwing the System too! And I look forward to Junk so much. A romance about a book hoarder... Bring it to me! :)

    2. Hi Jaci! It's such a thrill to hear you're re-reading Screwing the System. I have heaps of affection for Cosmo and Alasdair--they were so much fun to write :D


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