I would like to thank Jay Northcote for taking the time to talk to us about Not Just Friends and more. Check out Leisa’s review for Not Just Friend here. There is also a giveaway, so stay tuned for that.
Your latest release is Not Just Friends, what can you tell us about it?
Not Just Friends is a coming of age story about two university students—Lewis and Max—who meet when they share a flat. At the start of the story Lewis isn’t aware that he’s gay (he might have wondered before but wasn’t ready to seriously consider it), but meeting Max is the catalyst that leads Lewis to admit and come to terms with his sexuality. Of course, nothing is simple and their relationship is messy at first. It takes them a while to reach the same page.
From where did the inspiration for NJF come?
It was inspired by a short fanfiction story that I wrote a couple of years ago. The roommates to lovers theme is the same, but as Not Just Friends is a novel rather than a short story it’s far more complex, of course, and the characters are completely different.
What part of a new story comes to you first? Characters? Plot? A scene? A theme? Or does it vary from book to book?
I would say it varies from book to book. Sometimes it’s a trope that I fancy writing about (roommates to lovers with Not Just Friends), sometimes a scene (Jamie dropping Mark’s box of sex toys in Nothing Serious), but sometimes it will be a character and their situation (Joel as a single father in The Little Things). Sometimes it’s a combination of all the above. It’s often hard for me to remember afterwards what order the ideas came in.
What do you think is the most rewarding thing about writing M/M versus other genres?
That’s hard to answer because it’s the only genre I’ve ever written or considered writing in. They say to write what you love and m/m romance has been my preferred reading material for a while now. I’ve always been a romance reader, but once I discovered m/m I never looked back. I occasionally read in other genres, but rarely. I never get tired of stories about men falling in love with each other.
Do you read your reviews, and if so do they influence the way you write the next book at all?
With my first release I read all the reviews obsessively, but quickly discovered that reading the less-than-positive ones was having a negative impact on my creativity and productivity. Now I try to avoid ones from readers who disliked the book. In my experience most negative reviews are down a reader wanting something different from the book that I wrote. For every negative comment in a review, I usually have another reviewer who completely contradicts that comment anyway (too much sex vs damn that was hot; too fluffy vs lovely feelgood read etc). Ultimately, every reader comes to a book with different expectations and preferences and you can never please everyone. I prefer to focus on writing the sort of thing that I enjoy writing and try and do it to the best of my ability.
On the same token, what’s the best thing you’ve ever had someone say about one of your books in an email or review?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have lots of lovely reviews and comments so it’s really hard to pick just one… but the one that springs to mind is Becky Condit’s review of The Little Things when she said:
“Is this a romantic novel? Perhaps not in the traditional erotic sense, but it is by God a romantic novel in the life isn’t fair but love may be just around the corner if you leave yourself open to it sense.”
That review made my day/week/month because some readers were disappointed by TLT because it wasn’t a typical romance. The main characters meet relatively late on in the story for this genre and the early part of it is completely focused on Joel. I knew I would get some criticism for that, and completely understand why some readers didn’t click with the story. But that was the story that I wanted to write, so it was lovely to have someone read it who appreciated it for exactly what it was.
If you could have a conversation with any famous author, who would you want to get writing tips from and what skill of theirs would you like to emulate?
Wow… that’s a tough question, mainly because I haven’t read outside the m/m genre much for a long time (I’m a m/m junkie, sue me). However, I did recently read The Fault in our Stars by John Green and I thought his writing was wonderful—although the story was far too angsty for me and it shattered my fluffy little heart into a million pieces and then stomped on it. But the characterisation was so well done, and I guess I’d like to emulate that. For me, it’s always the characters that make or break a story, so I’d love to have a chat with him about how he develops his characters in the planning stage of writing.
Who is your favorite character from any of your stories?
Again – it’s really difficult to pick just one, but I think Max is my favourite so far. He was just so vivid and ‘real’ as I was writing him and he wormed his way into my heart with his outward confidence and inner vulnerability.
What is next, what are you working on?
I have a couple of short stories contracted and due for release in forthcoming Dreamspinner anthologies. One will be out in the Juicy Bits anthology in April (desk sex and spanking) and the other in the Not Quite Shakespeare anthology in June (folk festivals and sexy morris dancers). I have another novella in the pipeline, but don’t want to jinx it by discussing it until I have a contract. I finished that a couple of weeks ago, and since then I’ve been working on the outline for a new project which I just started today. I’m actually procrastinating by finishing this interview when I haven’t reached my daily word goal yet 😉
Where can readers find more about you on the web?
Here are the main links where you can find me, or keep up to date with my writing:
Thanks for having me at Prism Book Alliance
From the Publisher:
Leaving home to go to university is an exciting phase in anyone’s life. One that’s full of new places, new friends, and new experiences. But Lewis is not prepared for the sudden and intense crush he develops on his out-and-proud flatmate, Max—given that Lewis had always assumed he was straight. Max starts dating another guy, and Lewis’s jealousy at seeing them together forces him to confront his growing attraction.
When Max’s relationship goes awry, Lewis is the one to comfort him and one thing leads to another. But after a night together, Lewis is devastated that Max wants to go back to being just friends. Lewis tries his best to move on and their friendship survives, but the feelings he has for Max don’t go away. He faces other challenges as he deals with coming out to his parents and needs Max’s support more than ever. But Lewis isn’t the only one who’s conflicted. When Max finally admits he cares for Lewis too, Lewis must decide whether he dares risk his heart again on being more than just friends.
About the Author
Jay Northcote lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her amazing, occasionally ridiculous husband, two noisy-but-awesome children, and two cats.
Jay comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing e-mails, articles, or website content.
One day, she decided to try and write a short story—just to see if she could—and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.
Jay Northcote has kindly offered an ecopy of Not Just Friends to 1 lucky commenter.
Contest ends 5 Mar @ 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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