Hello! The surprise post I mentioned yesterday is here! It’s an interview with one of my absolute favourite authors, and whose books I have reviewed a few times and they have never disappointed me! 🙂
(photos taken from JayNorthcoteFiction with the permission of Jay Northcote; not nearly all the books are shown here 🙂 )
Hello! I am so excited to welcome Jay Northcote on my blog! As you know, if you read my blog, Jay is one of my favourite authors, so I am very honoured to have been able to ask him some questions.
Hello Jay and welcome to my blog. Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview!
Thank you for asking me to do it. I’m happy to be here.
What was your biggest inspiration for writing?
I came to writing through fanfiction. I started as a fanfiction reader, and I was so impressed by the quality of some of the stories I read that were written by people who weren’t professional authors. It made me wonder whether I could write a story too.
I used to read m/m fanfic, and those stories appealed to me in a way that het romance never had. So I guess that was the inspiration. I doubt I would ever have had the same drive to write in a different genre.
What was your attitude towards literature as a child/teen?
I was an avid reader as a child. I learned to read when I was too young to remember it. I have ADHD and used to wake my parents up at 5am every morning when I was two years old, so my dad decided to use that time for something educational and started teaching me the letter sounds. I could read anything you put in front of me by the time I was five, even if I didn’t understand the vocabulary.
I loved Enid Blyton (especially the Famous Five, because George was my role model), and the Willard Price books (stories about two teenage boys who have amazing adventures all over the world).
As a teenager I started getting into romance. I was at boarding school and we used to pass around all sorts of books that would probably have been deemed unsuitable, but were very *cough* educational.
What’s the first book you remember reading (or that your parents read to you)? Do you remember if you liked it or not?
As I said, I don’t remember learning to read. Some of my earliest book memories are of things like the Dr Seuss books. The first really long story I remember having read to me, was The Hobbit. My eldest sister read that to me when I was about five or six and I loved it.
Have you ever had to read a book you really disliked? Why?
At school I didn’t always enjoy the books we had to read for English Lit. Although the ones I really hated I tended not to finish if I could get away with it. If I really hate something then I can’t usually stick it through. I still have nightmares about having to read Middlemarch for A Level English (too long, too detailed, just not my sort of book at all). I never actually read it and had to just hope that I could get through the exam on the questions for the other set texts instead!
How autobiographical are your books?
Inevitably small bits of my life and experience make their way into my books, but only ever snippets. Maybe a funny incident, or a character based on someone I know, or a place I’ve been that I will base a location on. But I’m sure my thoughts and feelings often come through my characters, probably more than I realise.
What is your writing process like?
It’s kind of like a treadmill of doom. I’m always slightly behind schedule and slightly panicked, but usually manage to make my deadlines in the end.
I’m only a vague planner. I have a blurb in my head when I start writing but none of the finer details and nothing as organised as an outline. It always feels like a leap of faith and I have to trust that I can make the story work—which is still stressful even after over twenty books. But so far *knocks on wood* I seem to be doing okay!
How do you deal with criticism/bad reviews?
I generally try and avoid them. Reviews are more for other readers than for me, and I’d rather not know if someone thought my story sucked. It only makes me feel shitty and puts me off writing, so looking at negative feedback is terrible for my productivity. I prefer to focus on the positives.
Quite a few of your characters are very introspective (Nate from Second Chance, Jason from Rainbow Place). Is this done intentionally or is it an ‘accident’?
It just happens. I don’t give too much thought to my characters, I just let them develop as I write.
You have just started a new series (Rainbow Place). Do you have any other plans for the future that you can tell us about?
I’m currently working on Safe Place (Rainbow Place #2), so that should be out in August if all goes well. I’m not sure what’s going to be next in line, but I may add to the Housemates series again at some point because I don’t think I’m done with them yet. I’ll also be aiming to put out a Christmas novella again this year as those are always fun to write.
You also include some difficult themes in your books. Is it hard to write them?
Yes, definitely. But it can be cathartic too. I often deal with themes of bereavement and loss, because they are so universal. I also like writing characters who are struggling with their identity, because that’s something I’ve been through myself so it feels very real and identifiable.
I saw that you read outside of just LGBTQIA+ (romance) genre. Which is your other favourite genre?
I don’t think I have another favourite genre really. I’m open to most things. Literary fiction, thrillers, young adult would probably be some of the ones I’d be likely to pick up. I just enjoy good quality, compelling writing. I’m currently reading The Martian, and enjoying it a lot.
And two slightly ‘mean’ questions. If you had to choose one of your books, which one would you choose?
That’s so mean, how could you do this to me? Okay if I have to then I’m gonna say Passing Through.
And which is your favourite book (by another author)?
I honestly can’t think of one favourite. There are lots of books that have resonated with me over the years but there isn’t just one I could say I loved the best. But as a recommendation for readers of LGBT+ fiction, I would say that Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan is well worth getting if you haven’t read it yet. That’s one I read a few years ago and re-read recently and I thought it was amazing both times.
Once again, thanks to you, Jay for agreeing to the interview. And for readers, there are links to Jay’s pages provided below (in Author Bio).
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.
One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.
Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.
Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/dellamere
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotefiction
Facebook author group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jaysplayground
Jay’s books: http://author.to/JayNorthcote