My special interests can be broken into several categories: collections, games, TV/movies, books.
And hobbies, but hobbies are the special interest that changes most.
Now, I will admit I have a love/hate relationship with the phrasing ‘special interest.’ It sounds patronising to me, and I know I’m not the only autistic who feels that way. But, I haven’t heard or come up with a better word for my autistic obsessions.
Hobbies I’ve tried and abandoned: knitting, chainmail, and many others. Most crafts wind up being more flash in the pan than a lifelong special interest.
Collections: mugs and notebooks mostly.
Video Games: Mass Effect trilogy, Dragon Age series, Watchdogs 1 & 2, Deus Ex, Assassin’s Creed.
Books: this is another one that varies. I tend to switch genres a lot. Currently? Cosy mysteries are my reading obsession.
Movies: a few, but the ones I rewatch obsessively when stressed out tend to be Jane Austen adaptations.
TV Shows: As Time Goes By, Bake Off, True Crime shows (like on ID network), so many shows, honestly.
(I was going to start this out with, these are a few of my favourite things. But now I’ve got that damned song from The Sound of Music stuck in my head.)
I wanted to share a few of the quotes on writing that I go to when I’m floundering. This first one from Neil Gaiman is actually pinned on the board above my desk.
“I am not at all in a humour for writing; I must write on till I am.” ~ Jane Austen
“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” ~ Terry Pratchett
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” ~ Octavia E. Butler
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou
“There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.” ~ Doris Lessing
“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” ~ Neil Gaiman
Or, How Jane Austen Inspired My Gay Romance
One thing Saint Jane did brilliantly in all her novels was absurd humour and painfully human characters. She exposed the frailty of human ego. She made you cringe at painfully awkward proposals while you rooted for her heroines to find their true love.
When I wrote After the Scrum, my first Gay Romance, I used her approach to characters and humour. The story is filled with irreverent humour. I used my observations of human nature as an autistic to form many of the slightly zany villagers of Looe. It certainly made for lively characters.
I hope my beloved Saint Jane would approve.
The other way Austen’s novels have shaped my writing is in showing the path of love is rarely smooth sailing. You only have to look at the tribulations of Anne Elliot in Persuasion (my favourite of her novels). The Wanderer and The Caretaker, in particular, show how matters of the heart can be equal parts pleasure and pain.
When I first considered this post, I’d wanted to write about why readers should dip their toes in the Gay Romance genre—and my novels of said genre. As you can see, I got a bit distracted. A lot distracted.
The thing is if you love absurd humour, witty banter, and love stories, you’ll enjoy my novels.
If you love great romances, you’ll enjoy the Gay Romance genre.
The love is the same—it’s just two men snogging.
And it’s good snogging as well.
I thought I’d talk about the three books that made me fall in love with reading–and also made me enamoured with the idea of writing. I don’t know about other writers, but for me, there were definitely specific moments where I felt the tug of what to create. The first shouldn’t be shock for anyone who knows me and knows what I love to read:
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Austen’s ability to create sympathetic characters who tugged at the heart is almost unmatched. She made people human, for better or worse. She depicted all of our best and worst traits. Balancing out her torn apart lovers, making them never too perfect, but always a couple you rooted for.
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
It’s the first ‘big’ book I remember reading on my own. By the time I was ten, I’d probably read it twenty times. It was also the first experience I had with a story taking me into another world. I distinctly remember wanting to try it for myself (I wrote a book about bears. Profound stuff. LMAO).
And last but not least…The Rogue series by Jo Beverly.
As I don’t write historical, it might seem odd that a regency romance inspired me to write love stories. It’s not so much the era, but the drama, angst, and thrill of a couple coming together. Jo Beverly did it magnificently with all of her Rogues, with humour as well.
What books inspired you to write?