Laptop writer is writing

Guest Post: Meredith Shayne.

Please welcome my good friend Meredith Shayne to the blog!

1. So what do you have lined up for the rest of 2014?

The novel-length version of Cutting Out will be released from Bottom Drawer Publications mid-year, and I’m also participating in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Love’s Landscapes event. The story I’m working on for that should be novella length, and will be free. Aside from those things, I would like to have another novel done by the end of the year. Since I have several things currently in the early stages, what that will be changes from day to day, depending on my mood. I’ll settle on something once the novella is done.

2. You went to the first Oz M/M Meet last year--how did that go?

I enjoyed it immensely. It’s always nice to meet people who you’ve met online in real life, and I got to meet a whole bunch of people who I’d heard of and never met before as well. There’s nothing greater than the camaraderie that comes with all having something in common. Instant conversation starter! It was really interesting hearing other people’s points of view in the sessions, but my favourite part of the whole weekend was how everyone’s TBR piles were just enormous – I am so glad I’m not the only one with more than 500 unread books on my reader!

3. What are you proudest of in your writing?

My female characters, and actually finishing things. Of all the aspects of writing, finishing things is the hardest for me. Every time I finish a book is a small victory.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?

Barring typos or any accidental inaccuracies that might be present, no, I wouldn’t. Each story I have published is a product of the time when I wrote it, in terms of both the experiences that informed it, and the kind of author I was at the time. And generally I am happy with how all of them turned out – I wouldn’t have submitted them in the first place if there had been anything in them that I was unhappy with. And I think my publishing houses would tell you that I have quite firm ideas of what should and shouldn’t be changed during edits as well, so again, nothing creeps in that I’m unhappy with during that process.

That’s not to say that I think the books are perfect, because I don’t – no book is perfect, including mine, as several of my reviews will tell you if you care to look! And I’m sure that I’m a better writer now than what I was back in 2009 when my first story was published, and that shows in my works too. But overall they are what they are, and I am happy for them to stand as a record of my publishing career.

5. To someone who has never read your work, how would you describe it?

Straightforward, as real as fiction – romance fiction – can possibly be, and full of swearing. :-)

6. What genre that you haven't written before would you most like to try your hand at?

Hmm…steampunk. I enjoy reading it a lot, so I wouldn’t mind having a crack at it. Maybe one day!

7. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding the time to do it in the first place. I have a full-time day job that can be quite high pressure, and unpredictable in terms of when those high-pressure times are going to present themselves. It can be exhausting, and finding time to write around it can be hard sometimes. It’s why I’m not particularly prolific. And why I’m never going to be while it’s still my main source of income, alas.

8. We both like to research the locations for our works, what are your favourites that you've researched so far? Have you visited any for the express purpose of research for a book?

Researching the geological aspects of New Zealand is always interesting to me, even though that’s not strictly a location. One day all of that is going to make it into a book, I swear. I also found researching the mining areas of Western Australia for Eyes Wide Shut and Rust Red: Galvanized interesting too.

In terms of visiting places, I have indeed visited locations specifically to scope them out for a book. I visited Coogee beach and its surrounds for Whitewater, and I’ve just had a wander around Lake Pupuke in Auckland – that lake is the initial setting for my Goodreads M/M Romance group story.

Lakepupke
Photo: Bhutt, Wikicommons, 2009. CC: public domain. Click to see full size.


9. What’s your favorite place in the entire world?

City – Rome, without a doubt. Country – New Zealand.

10. What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

I don’t know that it’s a favourite quote, but it’s one that I like a lot. It’s from Neil Gaiman, when he said as part of his 8 rules of writing:

Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

I like it because it’s so true it’s ridiculous.


11. What comes first when you're writing, the characters or the plot?

Characters. Or more specifically, the main character, the character whose story it is. Then everything else gets built around that first character, including the second MC. Generally, I say “Okay, there’s this guy. What’s his story?” And because I write romance, the next question is usually, “How’s his love life?” To which the answer is mostly, “Sucky, thanks for reminding him!” Hah.

12. What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

I don’t know that I had any dreams that have been directly impacted by writing, but I will say that I am beyond chuffed to have written books that people have loved, or which have touched them in one way or another. I never thought that would ever happen. It’s pretty great.

13. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

A little bit – I’m not sure whether I hear from readers more or less than other authors, but I have had a few people contact me directly. I actually really like that, I find that when people contact you about your books what they say is always thoughtful and lovely. Usually they tell me how much whatever they’ve just read of mine touched them. Or that they know people just like my characters, so they can totally understand where they’re coming from. Both of those things are the highest compliment, in my opinion.

14. What are you reading now?

As I write this, I am between books. I’m having a bit of book ADD at the moment, and I keep opening things and then closing them again. What I read next will probably be either Jaime Samms’ Off Stage: Right, Garrett Leigh’s Rare (because her Slide was excellent), or Libby Drew’s Paradox Lost. Decisions, decisions!

15. Finally, the question I ask everyone I interview - if you were a plant in the next life, what would you be, and why? Last time, you said a cactus. You can't be a cactus again, so what would you choose this time?

Mint. It’s tasty, it smells nice, and it takes over everywhere it grows. World domination through botany.

Bio: A scientist in a past life, these days Meredith Shayne mainly uses her scientific training to poke holes in television pseudoscience. Originally from Australia, she moved to New Zealand to start a new life a few years ago and hasn't regretted it for one minute, even if she frequently wishes that the New Zealand weather was a little better; if she's forced, she'll admit that the refreshing lack of animals that can kill you in New Zealand makes up for a little rain. Meredith travels a lot, so much so that she has developed a shameful love of airplane food and knows her passport number by heart. When she is at home, she enjoys baking, horrible music from the 1980s, reality television, and gloating any time Australia thrashes the living daylights out of New Zealand on the sporting field.

Visit Meredith at http://meredithshayne.com/ , http://www.facebook.com/meredith.shayne and http://twitter.com/meredithshayne.

Metal Heart
Scott King swore off rock stardom after his band, King Phoenix, crashed and burned. Now in his forties, Scott lives a quiet life as a music producer and session guitarist. But in a box hidden in his wardrobe lie the relics of the past he left behind—a past filled with drugs, booze, and broken hearts. For sixteen years, Scott has had no contact with his former bandmates, so when he’s asked to play at a benefit gig for King Phoenix’s old sound man, his world turns upside down. A King Phoenix reunion means a run-in with Scott’s ex, Ash Walker—and sixteen years ago, believing Ash wanted to leave the band, Scott OD’d and almost died.

Since then, Scott has ruthlessly suppressed his feelings. As a result, he's completely unprepared for the impact of seeing Ash again, or for dealing with his emotions about the band’s demise. He definitely didn’t expect Ash to want to start up where they left off. Now Scott has to decide between his safe existence and the twenty-year-old love song that could cost him his sobriety—and his heart.

eBook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3538
Paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3539
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