I love reading, and as a writer I like to broaden my scope by reading outside of my comfort zone, so that I can learn more about my craft.
You’ll all have seen that I’m having my first MM romance published soon. What no-one knows is that this isn’t my first foray into the field of gay romance or erotica.
I wrote my first ‘erotica’ style story when I was 14! I know, shock, horror! I was reading a book called ‘Tahitian Wedding’ by Angela Devine that I found at my gran’s house. It was an old Mills and Boon, in a three book set and I was being nosy. I’d already read The Beach by Alex Garland and I was looking for something lighter. I picked up this three book set and gave it a look through. At 14, I was pretty surprised to find this kind of book in my gran’s bookshelf, I’ll tell you, but I enjoyed the story and I kept reading. I read all three books in one day the stories were so good.
But I had a problem. There was this one scene in Tahitian Wedding that really bugged me. The story was great, the sex scenes were pretty good and yet this one part really annoyed it. It was a waterfall scene with some light sex/flirtation. It took me a day or two to figure out why it grated on me – I had my own ideas on what could have made it better.
Suddenly, I was re-reading the scene and writing out my own version on a piece of spare paper. (which I eventually lost over the years – I’m not the neatest person) A week later I read the entire book again, but this time reading my own scene instead of the one in the book. I thought it worked soo much better.
I had no idea, at the time, that what I was writing was called ‘erotica’ or that I was basically trying my hand at ‘fan fiction’. Those words didn’t exist for me back then. Surprisingly, I wasn’t a big recreational reader in those days because school and friends kept my busy enough. (I was about the only person in my school without a mobile phone, Bebo (the Facebook of the day) or my own e-mail address. I still sent letters…do I sound old now?)
But I did discover one thing – I wanted to be a writer. I knew I had the imagination, I had ideas and I had no audience to scrutinise me. I could write whatever I wanted. So I did. I wrote a two page story about the character ‘Angel’ from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I took it way back to when he was first turned. I wrote my first proper fan-fiction and then, many, many years later when I was twenty, I combined that fan-fiction with another story I had written, removing the Angel details and making the character more original. Thus, Runaway Girl was born…and is now published.
Tune in for another Dirty Little Secret next month ;)