HEY GUYS, I AM HERE WITH DAY 4 OF MY ASK AN AUTHOR SERIES, AND TODAY MY GIRL KYLEE HOSTS HER FELLOW AUSSIE; RENAE KAYE! THIS IS A GREAT INTERVIEW, AND I HAVE INCLUDED SOME OF RENAE'S BOOK LINKS AND SOCIAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM SO ENJOY GUYS!
1) Which was your favorite character to write? Why?
Jay. I didn’t even have to think about that. Jay was just so much fun to write. His voice and attitude are ever-so-clear in my head that the words just tumbled out onto the page.
Loving Jay is a story about Liam falling in love with Jay, and since I think I’m a little in love with Jay too, it flowed clearly. I think I’m like Liam – I can see Jay’s faults, and I can see how other people may not react well to him, but damn, he made me love him anyway.
Kylee- I think everyone who reads Jay's falls a little bit in love with him. He is a total sweetheart.
2) Are your books ever based on people you know or events in your own life?
Always yes, and always no. (Helpful, aren’t I?)
Let’s take, for example, Loving Jay. The character of Jay is based very loosely on a friend of mine. Jay has the same look, the same swish, and the same who-cares-this-is-me attitude as my friend, A. However Jay isn’t him – as Jay is older, wiser (**cough cough** – sorry about that A) and a lot more dramatic and over the top.
However, Liam’s calm nature is based a lot on my husband. In our relationship, I’m the dramatic one while he’s the one who just sits back and watches the fireworks until he deems it time to step in and control the situation. But I’ve never known my husband to punch anyone in his entire life. So it’s only that one facet of Liam that is like hubby.
My story of The Shearing Gun was taken heavily from my childhood memories. The way that Hank talks is a lot like my father and brother. The farm is like the farm we used to have. And Lilly the sheep was real. She was a pet that we had when I was growing up. My mother has a thing for black wool, just like Uncle Murray, and Dad bred her a special flock, just for hand-spinning. And yes, we named them all.
So there are elements of people I know in books, but it’s just an element. In Shawn’s Law there was an ex-boyfriend of Shawn’s. He was a cannibalistic serial killer. I didn’t describe him all that much, but in my head he looks exactly like my dentist. So if you hurt me, you go in my book… as something not so nice. **wink**
Kylee- Sounds like you have always been surrounded by fascinating/wonderful people.
Except for the Dentist, they are creepy
3) How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose names based on liking the way they sound or their meaning?
Names are VERY important. Sometimes they come to me immediately, and sometimes I have to sit and consider 100 or so names before I choose. I can’t write the story without a name. I just can’t call a character “John” while I’m writing, and then change it at the end to “Max.”
Names are very important to people, and I think the name you are given at birth can influence your personality, so the name of the character needs to fit. I try to think of people I know with that name, or think of how a person will act that has that name, to give me an understanding of them. Like in You Are the Reason, Dave’s name is a big stumbling block for a lot of the story because he’s picky about who can call him Davo and who can’t. The name plays into his character.
As an author you need to find a name that is culturally appropriate and fits with the age of the character. For example, I couldn’t name a character like Hank who lives out on the land, something like Francois. Apart from the fact that a third generation farmer in the 1980s probably wouldn’t use this name for their child, Australians would immediately rename the guy to “Frank” for simplicity sake.
I also try to pick names based on how they sound and look on the page. To me, the look and formation of the word is important. That is how the majority of people are going to see the name. I pitch the book at the reader, not at the audio audience.
I have rules – such as not having the same initial for the main two characters, and no close secondary character can have that initial either. I try to have different syllable lengths and not have them both end with the “o” sound or “ie” sound. Marco and Davo would just be too much. Contemporary books shouldn’t have made up names unless it fits the character. And the reader should be able to get an approximate pronunciation immediately. I know from reading myself, if I’m too busy trying to pronounce the word in my head, it detracts from the story.
The meaning of the name isn’t something I’ve bothered about. People rarely know name meanings, so it doesn’t influence how people see the character in their head.
Kylee- I agree with names that need to be deciphered. You either get too distracted by the name or end up changing it in your head (well that's what I do). The same goes with similar sounding names it can be so confusing.
4) What made a Mummy from WA choose to write M/M?
It wasn’t just one thing that propelled me into writing, it was a combination of things of equal measure that all came together at the same time. I was sitting at home, raising my children (who at that stage were aged 2 and 4) and contemplating the rest of my life. I had quit work to raise them, but a hole was looming as to what I was going to do once they went to school. I was thinking about careers, or going back to university and perhaps studying part-time while they were little, but couldn’t find anything that interested me.
At the same time, after 4.5 years of “just being a mummy” I was feeling claustrophobic. I didn’t feel fulfilled and I perceived that people were not taking me seriously.
The third step came into play when I sat and looked at the M/M books coming out and thought “I don’t want to read any of these stories.”
This was back in November 2012 and the genre has exploded since then, but I was looking at the same sort of stories being written and released, and I was looking for a particular story. You see I wanted something happy and upbeat. I wanted something about a twink or femme character because I felt they were under-represented in the genre. And lastly, I wanted more Australian books. And there was nothing that fitted the bill that I hadn’t already read.
I was bored of the stuff coming out. I was unexcited about pursuing any sort of career. And I was bored with being seen as “just a mummy.”
So the thought crossed my mind: Why don’t you write your own book then? Write a humorous twink story set in Australia. And maybe, if you practice for a while, you could even get one published! Yay.
I ignored this thought for about 2 months. Then, when I finally couldn’t get it out of my head, I decided to try. My aim was to devote 12 months to learning how to write a novel or novella, then I would give it another 12 months to see if I could sell something. My deadline for selling something was February 2015. I needed to sell something by February 2015, or else I had to go back to work in a boring office.
No one is more surprised than me that the first thing I ever submitted to a publisher was accepted.
Kylee- Obviously your publisher knew real talent when they saw it.
Lots of people are glad that you decided that this was the career for you.
5) Your book "Loving Jay" is hugely popular. Any plans for a sequel?
Kylee- Doing a HaPpY DaNcE!!!!
6) What is the hardest and easiest thing about writing?
The easiest bit about writing is starting a new story. The hardest is finishing a story.
One of my philosophies about authors is that the ones who are published are not necessarily the best authors out there, but they are the ones who persisted and persevered to the end. I’m sure there are plenty of brilliant storytellers in the world who just didn’t have it in them to finish – whether it be drive, distractions, or belief in themselves.
For every single book I’ve written, there is a point where I gave up and told myself it was crap. It’s only because I’m stubborn and tenacious that made me finish.
Kylee- We are so happy that you have a stubborn streak and did not give up.
7) Is it hard to write for an overseas reader while trying to keep the Australian feel/language in the book?
Yes. But I’m getting better at it.
I have been blessed to have a great editor from Dreamspinner who works with me to get over the problems. She is American, so will pick up on what doesn’t translate well and then we will work together to find a solution. She knows when to push, and when to accept that there is just no word that an Aussie would use authentically other than the one I’ve suggested.
When I wrote Bear Chasing for the A Taste of Honey anthology, the story was only 10,000 words. The editing wasn’t all that much (compared to editing a novel) but I think I devoted the same amount of time to editing Bear Chasing, as I did to arguing over the use of the word “thongs” in the story. One simple word took around 12 emails back and forth, the opinions of around 6 people their end and 8 people my end, and twenty million suggestions.
There are some things that I know immediately need further translation – for example Aussie Rules football references – but others trip me up. Things like a “flat white” (which is a type of plain coffee that has only recently come to America), “trolley” vs “shopping cart,” and “trash” vs “bin” or “rubbish.” As an Australian we know words like “trash” and their meanings, but we would never use it ourselves in every day speak.
The feel of Australia comes naturally – it’s me and my home. But explaining things to a foreign reader in a way that fits the character is the tricky bit.
Kylee- Well I for one think you do a wonderful job, as do your other fans I know! Thanks for joining me today Renae, this was a blast!
I TOLD YOU GUYS IT WAS A GREAT INTERVIEW! THANKS KYLEE AND RENAE, THAT WAS AWESOME: BELOW ARE TWO OF RENAE'S BOOKS, IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THEM GRAB EM NOW! (YOU MAY RECOGNIZE THE NAME OF ONE OF THEM, IT WAS MENTIONED A LOT, AND IT IS A WONDERFUL STORY) AND A COUPLE OF SOCIAL LINKS:
RENAE KAYE WEBSITE
RENAE KAYE AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
VISIT THOSE LINKS GUYS, YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID! THANKS FOR JOINING ME FOR DAY 4 OF ASK AN AUTHOR, AND THANKS KYLEE AND RENAE, FOR THE AUSSIE EDITION ;p, SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW FOR DAY 5!!