If you’ve perused my blog or social media accounts, you already know that I adore Sam Thorne. And just as much, I adore when we are in anthologies together, because it gives us another excuse to chat.
We both recently had stories in the multi-author collection Sexy to Go Gay Romance. Her contribution, “Rebuilding the Future,” was filled with the things I’ve come to love about her stories: well-intentioned but socially awkward heroes, deep characterization, and a knack for bringing out the humor of everyday situations. Oh, and adorably besotted protagonists. When Sam’s characters fall in love, they fall hard — just like in real life.
This short interview has something for both readers and writers alike (especially writers who feel shy or awkward writing about sex). Strap in and come along for the ride!
“Rebuilding the Future” summary
Allen’s peace has been seriously disturbed. As the shy architect takes on the task of extending the home he inherited from his late aunt, his life becomes a battle. The building work is going fine, but he can barely contain his one-way lust for sexy foreman Declan, who’s a one-man generator of testosterone and mixed messages. As the build completion approaches, Allen’s ready to do just about anything to keep Declan around a little longer…
Interview with the awesome Sam Thorne
(Note: I’ve maintained Sam’s UK spelling and punctuation in her parts of the interview, while keeping my Americanisms in mine. Because that’s how we roll.)
On researching what you write
Dale: How much do you actually know about architecture?
Sam: Truthfully? Bog-all! When I write about something I know little about, I leave place-holders in the text [reminding me to look up this term or that], and when I’ve finished, I’ll interrogate someone who does know a lot about the subject I’m writing about for a reality check. I’ll also do a fair bit of online research. Having said that, while I’m an architectural noob, I have spent a lot of time living in homes where extensive renovations are going on.
On hot handymen
Dale: Declan is sexy. Is he based on any builders you know?
Sam: I couldn’t possibly say! Well, alright, I’ll say a bit. Many years ago, when my son was still at the infants’ school he attended back in London, there was an outstandingly sexy young father who’d do the school pick up twice a week. Not that I paid any attention to his comings-and-goings. Ahem. He was universally scruffy (always covered in paint, wood-chip or sawdust), and he used to appear in various states of undress. His tee-shirt would come off the moment the thermometer hit 15°C/60°F. He was absolutely lovely with the kids, too, even the ones who seemed wholly resistant to instruction.
I borrowed his limitless patience for Allen, and the looks and cheeky charm for Declan.
On writing about sex
Dale: Your sex scenes are consistently delicious. How do you write sex without it becoming too mechanical?
Sam: Well, it’s a three-stage process. At first, I write fluently, perspiring slightly, and getting moist-eyed by proxy. Then I put it down, leave it for a day and attempt to edit. At this point, I start my usual fight to the death with M/M pronouns and spend a few hours using the sort of language that would make an Aussie sailor raise his brows with disapproval. I walk away again, glad I saved my original version in a file of its own. I then return and deal with the things I trust myself to see, such as issues with pacing, proportionality, and any repetitions or redundancies. I then give the story to someone else to read to get a fresh pair of eyes. This is the process that seems to work the best.
When my characters are planning particularly athletic positions, I use stick drawings to sketch out the scenes first. I find that’s very helpful. I’m also quite careful to get rid of the drawings once I’ve sent the story away for submission.
Dale: Stick figures! I’ve done that. Too bad you destroy them. I was about to propose a swap. I’m a compulsive collector and am pretty sure I have a file full of scanned stick figure diagrams somewhere on my computer …
You can buy Sexy to Go Gay Romance in most places that ebooks are sold. Find all distributors throughout the world at www.books2read.com/sexy-to-go-gay-romance. It’s on sale for 25% off right now, and I honestly don’t know how long that’s going to last. So snatch up your copy now if you want to save a buck.
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