Our guest tonight is Jessica Davies…author of “Half the World Away”.
B: Welcome Jessica. Let’s start off with the basics. Tell us a little about you.
J: Well, let’s see. I’m a writer… oh, you knew that. Additionally, I’m currently taking a graduate degree in social work. And I serve as a library director at the Pittsburgh GLCC. And, when I’m not doing anything else, I love salsa (and merengue, cha-cha, bachata…) dancing.
B: How long have you been writing? And do you write in any other genres besides m/m?
J: I’ve been writing in one way or another since high school, a little more than 10 years, and as a little sprog before that I loved to “draw” books on a half-folded sheet of paper. I primarily write m/m romantic fiction, but that covers a lot of ground and I like to try to stretch into different areas within the genre.
B: Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
J: Sometimes inspiration for a story is literally tangible. Sometimes I have no idea where the inspiration comes from. I think it might have started with the title. “Half the World Away” is also the title of a song by Oasis, which happens to be the theme song for the BBC comedy series The Royle Family. It probably got me to thinking of developing a story for a couple guys who have a physical divide as well as some personality divisions to bridge. A lot of my stories have focused more on established couples, whereas these guys are starting from new.
B: Tell us something interesting that’s not in the blurb.
J: Well one of Dade and Elliot’s little challenges is Dade’s erstwhile boyfriend (and boss), who isn’t exactly on the same page about that erstwhile part as Dade….
B: Do you have a favorite character out of all the ones you’ve written? Why is he/she your favorite?
J: Are writers allowed to play favorites with their characters? Oh, of course we are! I love all my lads, naturally, but I have a real soft spot for Kristof Anders, a “side” character from Sins of Another. Mostly because he’s such a cheeky pain in the ass and a really, really bad role model (he even admits it himself). He does have that proverbial heart of gold, though. He’s a lot of fun.
B: What’s your favorite scene from all your books (or from this one)?
J: From Half the World Away, specifically, would be the scene toward the end where someone ends up with a well-deserved sock to the jaw. It’s a very satisfying moment. But also the end scene in Sins of Another. I’m getting a little choked up just thinking about it.
B: What’s your favorite part of the writing process? What’s your least favorite?
Favorite part – getting to know all these wonderful characters and letting their stories be told (and seeing the cover art for the first time!) Least favorite – when characters get stubborn and I have to fight to make them keep to the plot.
B: Do you outline or plan your stories first or make up the plot as you go along?
J: That really depends on the story. Sometimes I let them develop on their own, but sometimes when I know a definite plotline from the beginning I make a rough outline that still has plenty of space for the guys to show me who they are.
B: Do you use a computer exclusively when writing, or do you write some by hand too?
J: Oh my yes, computer only. I haven’t hand-written since about high school. I doubt I’d have the patience for it now. For one thing, my mind moves much faster than I can write and sometimes even faster than I can type. For another, anything I’d write on paper I’d only have to transcribe into type anyway. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
B: How do you decide where and when to set your books?
J: Most of my stories are contemporary, but sometimes I get in a historical (or hysterical) mood. Location is heavily dependent upon the characters. In Possession, Tyler was an immigrant from UK to US. Sins was set almost entirely in London, despite Nick’s dual citizenship in the US. Dade and Elliot in Half the World Away are deeply connected to their locations in Australia and London.
B: Do you base any of your characters on real people? (if you feel comfortable sharing)
J: Actually, I go to lengths to avoid any of my characters resembling people I’ve known. I have enough characters “in my head” already. I see nothing wrong with “writing” people you know, for the most part!, though. It’s funny when you know the “cast” of someone else’s story personally and kind of get to see these people as they really are.
B: Do you base any of your stories on real situations? (if you feel comfortable sharing)
J: I have had stories inspired not so much by real situations but by real experiences. Things I’ve seen, places I’ve been. Possession, particularly, was inspired by a real-life creepy doorstop. Although the original drafts of Sins predated my HIV research, when I decided to polish it up for submission I had another perspective on a lot of the HIV issues in the story, one which really strengthened my belief in the story more than ever.
B: What are you working on now? Will you share a little with us?
J: Most current work in progress is not unlike Half the World Away. It’s about two guys who, while not half the world away, are still quite different in their lifestyles. I’m enjoying it so far and hope readers will as well. Here’s a snip from the story of Josh and Ben. Josh is the narrator, and as you will note, a real label-whore.
I decided I was going to have to be proactive when I handed a refilled glass to Ben. “Can I take your jacket?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah. Thanks,” Ben said, putting his drink down and standing up to slip off his suit coat.
I took the jacket and let it drop on the couch, keeping direct eye contact with Ben. “Not having second thoughts, right?”
“Second…? Hell no.”
I pulled Ben to me, grasping his dress shirt in both hands. “Good,” I said just before crushing my mouth against Ben’s.
“Damn,” Ben breathed when I finally let him.
“Yeah,” I agreed, pushing my hips against Ben’s. Yep. That was all I needed to know.
“I can show you to the bedroom… unless you’d prefer to finish your drink.”
“Hate to waste good Scotch,” Ben grinned.
“Waste? You already had ice in it,” I teased back.
“That was just because I didn’t want you getting me drunk and taking advantage of me… at least not without me being able to return the favor.”
“Oh, good, a switch-hitter! What are we waiting for?”
“I’m waiting for you, sugar,” Ben murmured, pulling me back against him for a slower, deeper kiss.
I wasted no more time in getting him into my bedroom and undressed. I wanted, and I wanted right that minute! I started on his shirt, being careful with the buttons. It was a good quality shirt, as was his grey suit.
“That’s so hot,” he said as I untucked his shirt. His voice had gotten all low and gravelly and I could tell he was just as worked up as I was. I was a little less careful with my own clothes and just whipped my D&G shirt off over my head.
I’m always a little divided the first time with a new guy… go slow and savor the newness, or pounce fast and strike hard. That’s mostly because I never know for certain if there are going to be other opportunities for switching it up.
Slow was not happening with this one! Once I got a look at his pecs and abs, all bets were off. I had his belt unbuckled and pants open in record time. His CK striped boxers were utterly perfect for his build. My twinky Andrew Christians are great on a guy, well, like me… but muscle hunks like him need shorts. Hell, Ben would even get a pass on those horrendous novelty boxers with roosters or melting popsicles printed all over them.
As I sank to the floor, I wasn’t even thinking about the stress on the knees of my Ermenegildo Zegna pants. My carpet was soft enough to mitigate the wear – on the pants as well as my own knees.
Ben shimmied his boxers down his hips just enough – hold on….
You don’t really want all the lascivious details, do you?
…Shimmied his boxers down just enough to let it pop out. Oh my. If I thought taking it slow was impossible before…. Thickness/length proportionate, good color, sculpted ridges. Perfection. Licking my lips, I took a moment to appreciate and anticipate the sight presented to me.
I leaned in slowly and Ben put his hands on my shoulders. It took me a second to realize he wasn’t just trying to steady himself, but to get me to slow down. Ok, damn it, slowing down was the opposite of what I wanted!
Thanks for being my guest Jessica, and for sharing that blurb of the upcoming story.
Please take this time to plug “Half the World Away” and tell us where we can contact you.
Blurb: Photographer Dade Faber keeps hoping for assignments on a big city beat, but time and again he’s sent into the wild. This time, he’s half the world away from London shooting the Australian bush. When Dade is nearly attacked by a crocodile, it leads to a shouting match with Elliot Harris, who owns Dade’s hotel. Elliot is both hot and persuasive, and when he offers to play tour guide, Dade accepts. After a week spent mostly together in the bush, Dade begins to fall for Elliott. The attraction is mutual, and when circumstances lead both men to London, they find they have much in common. But can their romance bridge the 10,000 miles between London and the Australian bush?
Bio: Jessica Skye Davies has been a writer since her first works were “published” in her grandparents’ living room and written in crayon. She is a lifelong native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she has been active in the community, including serving as library director on the executive board of a local GLBT community center. Outside of writing, Jessica has a wide range of interests and hobbies: from Mozart in a music hall to punk in pubs, from Shakespeare to Vonnegut, from salsa dancing the night away to afternoon coffee in the square to kicking back with a good movie. She loves meeting new people and exploring new places, always open to whatever elements might inspire her next writing project.
Half the World Away: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4282&cPath=399
Past Guest Interviews:
October 14 – JoAnne Soper-Cook https://brynnstein2.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/monday-meet-joanne-soper-cook/
October 7 – Garrett Leigh https://brynnstein2.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/monday-meet-garrett-leigh/
September 30 – Andrew Gordon https://brynnstein2.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/monday-meet-andrew-gordon/
September 23 – Lane Hayes
September 16 – Nicole Forcine
September 9 – Jacob Florez
September 2 – JP Barnaby
August 26 – Posy Roberts
August 19 – Charley Descoteaux (my very first blog guest) https://brynnstein2.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/monday-meets-charley-descoteaux/