MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ELAINE WHITE!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
I write LGBTQIA+, mostly MM romance. I write both adult (18+) and young adult stories.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that idea?
My latest book is Never Let Me Go. It’s a YA novel, but it has adult elements. This is mostly because it began as a writing exercise years ago, when I was the same age as the characters (17-18yo) I wrote all my characters, back then, as basically adults in teen bodies (as you do!) so although they were only just of legal age in the UK, they got up to all sorts.
It started with the idea of two best friends falling out, one of them becoming a (slightly tame) bully to the other as they grew up, but that spark of attraction always staying between them. Back in the original version, they were way more adult and they were in a D/s relationship. When I began to rewrite it for a YA market, I wanted to keep that element. It wasn’t something I’d seen anyone else really explore. I’d never read any YA that accepted the natural D/s instincts in kids who were right on the cusp of adulthood, so I thought I’d see if it could be done.
Eventually, the book went through multiple incarnations to get to where it is now, going from 18+ to NA and then finally to YA content. I actually love it more now than I did before, because it feels more true to the characters and who they are.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
It was kind of a fluke. I had always written MF romance growing up, but that was mostly because it was all over the place. On the TV, in the books I read, everywhere. I had never read an MM book until I was about 22. Yet, I grew up with more than a few LGBT friends and I always wondered why they were never on my TV or in my books. I always seemed to have them in my own – the same secondary LGBT characters in my books that were in my real life. Then, over time, when I found the MM industry, I began to realise there really was a place for them in the writing world. My LGBT characters didn’t have to be side-characters to someone else’s story, as I had always thought they would need to be, if I ever wanted to be published. Once I knew that, I began writing MM exclusively and put aside all my MF story ideas to be turned into MM, if possible. I didn’t want to lose the ideas, but my heart had never really been in MF romance.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
A lot. A lot of slight NSFW websites about BDSM and D/s relationships. A lot of videos and essays and tutorials on what a BDSM or D/s relationship meant and required. Though I didn’t use all of it, obviously, because of the characters ages, I did keep it aside for an 18+ BDSM series I’m working on. I also had to look up the ins and outs of legality about kids Rory’s age getting a tattoo in the UK, about the care and upkeep. Even things I knew about from real life, I researched to make sure I got all the details right and didn’t mis-remember anything.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Oh, gosh. Okay, so I’m a night-owl and I do my best work at night. But, typically, I get up around 10am, take half an hour to get the dog settled and check my e-mails. Start work no later than 11am – whether it’s reading or writing – and work until lunch. I take a 1 hour break for lunch, then work again until 3pm, when the dog gets fed. After that, because I still live at home, my parents come in and my work day takes a huge pause, to spend time with them. By 11pm I’m back in my room, getting straight back to work, and I tend to work until around 1-2am.
I’m a disabled adult – hence, why I still live at home in my 30’s – so there are limits to when and how long I work. Some days are better than others and I power through like the energiser bunny, and some others I barely do anything. So I find it best not to work to a goal. I have a favourite seat to do my work, and I like to do it in silence, so no TV, no background music (though sometimes I can, but only on good days) and no people sitting lurking or talking in the background. I tend to work in rotas, so I can read and review books for about 2 weeks solid, without doing any writing, but then I end up getting reader-burn-out and stopping. That’s when I pick up my writing and tend to write for maybe 2-3 weeks solid. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I like to let my stories dictate what they want to tell me and when.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I am actually just cleaning up my new YA novel – The Bright Side Brigade – for publishing in February 2019. It will be my first release of next year, and I’m in love with it. It’ll be only my second YA release in the LGBT genre, but it’s one of my favourites.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Yes! I love to choose names that are different. I don’t want to have the same old generic names that are in a million books, but I also have to like the name to use it. I can’t use names that are in my RL too often, because the association makes it feel weird, but I might use an alternative spelling. I use mainly Scottish names for my contemporary characters, but when it comes to my fantasy stories or my sci-fi, then anything goes. The stranger the better.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Hmm…hard one. I’ve won two Watty awards, which was awesome. I also have an Honourable Mention in the Rainbow Awards, which totally blew me away. I think it might have to be my rankings. I once had a book sit right next to Nora Roberts. And once of my books actually out-ranked a book by Slash, from Guns ‘n’ Roses, which was super cool. I still have the screenshot of that. I always feel awed and amazed any time that my name appears next to someone I admire or aspire to be.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Probably getting the words down on paper. It sounds silly, because most people would say it’s the rankings, it’s the selling books, the making money or whatever, but I love the rush of writing. I love having these weird people in my head that just won’t shut up. I love knowing that they talk to me – only me! – and I can put their words, their ideas, their lives into a story and people will read it. Sure, some people might not like it, but books never please everyone, and it’s the ones who do get it, the ones who just completely understand what you were trying to say that make it worth all the hard work.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully still doing this. I don’t think I’d ever give up, unless my body packed in and told me it was impossible. Even then, I’d try to find a way.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Yes and no. Yes, I do sometimes read the reviews. Mostly when a book has just released or someone has tagged me or told me they’ve reviewed it. Then I do them the courtesy of reading it, since they took the effort to contact me or to read an ARC. However, I don’t respond. Responding to even nice reviews can be professional suicide. Lol. I will thank a reviewer, if they contact me to say they’ve reviewed, or if they’ve accepted an ARC, but I don’t leave comments otherwise. For me, reading is so subjective that just because they didn’t like it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. I know that from being a reviewer myself. I accept that 100 people can all read the same book and you’ll get good, bad, okay and awful responses to it. That is the beauty of books – they speak to different people in different ways.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Sure! This is from The Bright Side Brigade. It’s a novel that is about high school kids who come together to form an LGBT support group in their zero-tolerance high school after some underlying bullying has been exposed. The book is actually a collection of short stories, each telling the story of one of the people who come together to form the group and their reasons for it. The timeline is continual, so I chose an excerpt from the first story: The Likely Lads, that doesn’t give too much away.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Actually, it sounds weird, but I’ve done that. I wrote a book about my experience of being a teenager with cancer, which basically covered my life from age 15 to 21. I called it An Unpredictable Life, and it was previously published but the publisher closed down, so it’s now available for free on Wattpad. I’ve been really blessed by how responsive people have been to it, that they appreciate the insight I’ve shared and that it’s helped them with their own lives.
“The kid was going to get his heart broken. Messily and without a single hope of recovery. Guaranteed.
There was no way Alvin could see it ending any other way. The heat of the early summer sun wasn’t helping, the rays and the almost magical golden hue of the unexpected afternoon mist did nothing to improve his mood. Not when he had to stand there and watch his brother suffer in silence.
“Watch out!” Tracy called out, just in time for Alvin to duck and avoid the flying frisbee coming his way.
The frisbee didn’t help either, nor the fact that two teens came running to collect it, giggling and holding hands. He was so sick of loved up idiots surrounding him.
“Please?” Tracy asked, flawlessly returning to the moment, grasping Digby’s biceps with a pleading look, while fluttering his thick eyelashes.
The most feminine of their group and the stereotypical blonde, Tracy found no shame in using whatever tactics were necessary to grab his next man. It only made Alvin’s teeth itch, thinking about how many he’d worked through this month alone. Yet, once again, he was here as the mediator.
Begging, pleading and hounding him for nearly eleven days, Javon had finally worn down his resistance and convinced him to tag along. To a carnival, of all things.
All because Tracy was a blind fool.”
Where can your fans find you and follow?
Oh, I’m all over the internet. Lol. First and foremost will be my website, where you’ll find all the social media links, all my book info, trailers, teasers, WIP’s and Coming Soon info: http://ellelainey.wixsite.com/author
You can also head over to my FB author page, where I share exclusive info that you won’t find anywhere else, about WIPs and upcoming releases, but where I also share that geeky side of me, to help me (and you) get from Monday to Friday: https://www.facebook.com/elainewhite.author?ref=stream
The next best place to find me is Instagram. I’m obsessed. Again, I share a little of me and my books, but also a little of me the geek: https://www.instagram.com/elainewhite.author/
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview.