Today is a special day for my guest. (encourages everyone to sing Happy Birthday) Please welcome and wish a fabulous birthday to the lovely Shae Connor. Thanks for being here, Shae, and of course, Happy Birthday. J
Thank you! I’ll think of you all while I’m eating cake and ice cream this afternoon. (I'll be expecting mine in the mail) J
1. How about we start with some basic information – tell me a little bit about yourself? Where did you grow up? What kind of student were you? What were your favorite activities? Anything you want to share is fine.
I’m a Georgia girl, born and bred. I grew up in south Georgia and relocated to Atlanta as soon as I was able to, and other than a brief exile to New Jersey, I’ve been here ever since and I plan to stay!
In school, I was the smart, geeky kid. Valedictorian of my senior class—and let me tell you, giving a speech at graduation was one of the scariest things I ever did! I was also a band geek, so I had two strikes against me, but thankfully, my classmates were much more accepting and friendly than your average teenagers. Granted, it might have helped that my mom worked for the local newspaper and wrote a weekly column, so no one wanted to make her angry. ;)
2. How did you start writing m/m romance? Do you write in any other genre?
Like a lot of others, I started out writing fanfic, first M/F and later M/M, before making the transition to original fiction. I don’t currently write in any other genre, but I do have some plotbunnies lurking in the wings, if I ever get to them.
3. Did you have any early influences either in this genre or any other when you were first starting out?
I found out about the M/M romance genre through Rachel West, who’s a fandom friend. She had two stories published with Dreamspinner Press, and that’s where I started reading. There’s so much variety out there, even just within the contemporary genre that I prefer! I was happy to see that the ideas I was having would fit right in.
4. What is your favorite sub-genre to write and to read? For example – I can never pass up a story with a rockstar in it or more often than not, cowboys. J
Cowboys are always a favorite. I can’t write them—I don’t know a thing about any of it, other than what I’ve read in cowboy stories—but I love reading them. Menage is another favorite, though I much prefer threesomes that evolve into long-term relationships, rather than one-shots.
I also like sports-based stories, especially when it involves baseball. I keep saying I’m going to write a baseball story myself eventually. And I love small-town and Southern settings too.
5. Do you have any writing or reading quirks or squicks? Anything that you just can't read or don't think you'll ever write. Anything you have to do before you start or as you write – certain music, computer facing west, etc.
As a writer, I write on my laptop, usually sitting in my recliner. I don’t usually have music on, and I tend to write in spurts. Writing sprints and similar systems work well for me in general. I also love sitting outdoors to write, but the weather has to be perfect for that.
As a reader, I read almost exclusively contemporary and rarely delve into other subgenres. But I’m also a completist; if I like a series or author, I’m more likely to read something I wouldn’t ordinarily read.
I don’t have any particular squicks as a reader or writer, though, of course, the way sensitive subjects are treated does make a difference. If it works for the story and for the characters, it’s probably going to work for me.
6. What comes first - characters, plot, setting, specific scenes? Are you a plotter or pantser? ;)
Plot and characters come first. Most of my stories start with a blurb-like summary in a few paragraphs, but I need to develop the characters pretty well before I get very far into writing. I’m definitely more of a pantser, but that only works for me if I know the characters. Then I can let them lead the plot development.
7. Tell me about your muse – if you have one of course. J
I don’t have a specific concept of a “muse.” I joke about my muse going off on vacation without me (FAR too often!), but really, my inspiration comes from all sorts of different places. And sometimes it seems to come out of nowhere! I can’t count the number of times story or scene ideas have come to me in the shower. I requested one of these for Christmas this year to handle it: http://www.amazon.com/Aquanotes-Aqua-Notes-Waterproof-Notepad/dp/B003W09LTQ/
8. I won't assume you celebrate Christmas but if you do, what are your favorite parts of the holidays?
I do celebrate Christmas (I’m Christian), and I love it all! My favorite part is going to bed on Christmas Eve, knowing what’s coming the next morning. Yes, even though my sister and I are 36 and 44, we still do the Christmas morning gift opening process. J
I also love Christmas music—or, I should say, certain Christmas music, since a lot of it is just dull retreads. Some of my favorites are “Christmas Eve Sarajevo” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “Mary, Did You Know?” by Mark Lowry, “Carol of the Bells” (especially the Boston Pops version), “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Casting Crowns (who totally reinvented a boring old carol), and the Boston Pops doing “Sleigh Ride.” My favorite traditional hymns are “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Joy to the World.”
9. What's the hardest part about writing for you? The benefits?
The hardest part is sitting my butt down in the chair to WRITE. The best part is the amazing people I’ve met because of it. J
10. Now just a few multiple choice questions: (you can take them any way you like)
Rock, country or classical? Classic Rock. But if I had to choose, classical. I’m an old band geek, remember? J
Giraffe or monkey? Giraffe. They always look slight supercilious about everything, except when they run, when they’re hilarious. There’s a house near me that has a statue of a giraffe at the front corner of the yard, overlooking the road I take to work, and every year he’s dressed up with a Santa hat and scarf!
Tea or coffee? Iced tea, hot coffee!
Who would win in a fight – vampires or werewolves? All things being equal, werewolves would rip those bloodsuckers to shreds.
Series or one-shot? Series.
Beach or mountains? Mountains, though I love the beach, too!
Eyes or smile? Eyes. I’m a BIG fan of great eyes.
Cowboys or rockstars? (yeah, I have to ask) Cowboys, ma’am. *tips hat*
11. Finally, tell us about your next release or what you're working on now.
My latest is En Fuego, which released Wednesday, December 12, from Dreamspinner Press. It’s a novella about a veterinarian, a firefighter, and a cat named Fuego. The blurb:
Marshall Ramirez isn’t looking to fall in love, but from the moment firefighter Brad Flannery walks through the doors of Marsh’s veterinary clinic, he’s smitten. Marsh treats Fuego, the cat Brad rescued from a house fire, and convinces Brad to take her on as a foster—along with the three kittens Marsh helps her deliver. What Marsh really wants, though, is for Brad to keep him too.
Want to win a copy? Cool, I want to give you one! Just comment and I’ll pick a winner to receive an ebook of En Fuego (via the Dreamspinner Press website), as well as some story-related swag by mail. Be sure your email is included so we can contact you if you win! Contest will be open December 15-18 and winner will be posted on the 19th.
Thanks for stopping by, Miss Shae.
Thanks for having me!!
~~ Shae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she works for the government by day and reads and writes about pretty boys falling in love by night. She's been making up stories for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should start writing them down. Now, she usually has far too many stories in progress, but when she does manage to tear herself away from her laptop, she enjoys running, hiking, cooking, and traveling, not necessarily in that order. Shae posts snippets, updates, and thoughts on writing and editing at her web site, http://shaeconnorwrites.com. You can contact her at email@example.com.