Hello Emily! Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today! It’s such a pleasure to chat with you. So tell me…
Q) Is your book part of a series? If so, can you tell us about it?
The Prince and the Painter is a prequel to a much lighter Christmas story I released in 2018 called Painter’s Pride. That story is about Jason and Aaron having arguments about the one thing not resolved during the prequel: Aaron’s discomfort with growing up in poverty. But The Prince and the Painter is darker. Much. It follows Jason and Aaron as they fall in love under the shadow of a serial killer and a rapist.
Q) What was the hardest (or easiest) scene to write?
The hardest to write was a scene between Aaron and the rapist (no rape onscreen). Disconcerting in the extreme, it was hard to reconcile Aaron’s terrible past with the strong person he’s become by the end of the book. Jason had a lot to do with Aaron’s strength but Aaron defied the rapist at every turn, so he had some strength of his own. That scene still gives me the creeps.
Q) What type of research did you do for your book?
I’ve been writing this book since 1998. I’ve never spent so long on a book. I did a lot of research about Christianity’s darker side for the inspiration for Mrs. Fielding, one of the secondary villains.
Q) What made this story special to you?
This is the first story I wanted to tell when I decided, at seventeen, that I wanted to become a writer. Growing up as the only lesbian and only disabled person in a very small village, I was aware of the prejudice surrounding me on all sides. I used this book to get all of that off my chest, or at least most of it. The rest I got rid of with theHeartwood trilogy, which is coming this spring. Don’t get me wrong: there are wonderful things about living in a tiny village. But I didn’t experience most of them when I was growing up.
Q) Do you have a writing quirk, or habit when you write?
Oh, absolutely! I listen to music, but only music that will evoke the mood I want. It has to have lyrics. It has to be something I’m familiar with so the lyrics won’t distract me, but I have to hear voices singing while I write.
Q) What do you think is your strongest asset as a writer? …what is your weakest factor as a writer?
“Dialogue, my dear,” she muttered. “It’s all in the dialogue.” I love listening to people talk. I often remember snatches of conversation for years and drop them into my stories where appropriate.
Q) Do you have a favorite book you’ve written?
For years, it was the first book in the Dragon in Training series, Dragon Food. That was my first published novel and I adored Mark Tavery, the gay Jewish water dragon hero. But more recently, I can honestly say each book I’m writing is my favorite while I’m writing it. That means my current favorite is Heartwood 3: Yew and Thorn.
Q) What are your upcoming projects?
Ready for this list?
Coming in 2020:
The Prince and the Painter, parts 1 and 2
Heartwood: White Oak and Black Mahogany (duet)
Heartwood: yew and Thorn
Fae Schooled trilogy ( I can’t ignore the SearchLight universe for long)
And at least three others that don’t have titles yet.
“A moment in darkness…an eternity with a lover.”