Welcome to Top 2 Bottom, savannah, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I’m Japanese Hawaiian. I grew up in a town called Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. Child of the 80’s and a member of Generation X, I had a number of leg warmers in my drawer before they were all replaced with baggy pants.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
My first story to get published was A Christmas To Remember with Silver Publishing and, if I remember correctly, it took two months before it got published.
When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
I began writing m/m romance in 2010.
How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?
I’ve written two books so far, and it took a couple months before my first story was published.
Do you write full time?
I would love it if I could write full time, but sadly I do not. My passion of creating worlds of my own is something I can only do in my spare time.
Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
I always went off into my own little worlds when I was a child, and even though I’ve gotten older, that way about myself hasn’t changed. So, I’d have to say the profession chose me.
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
Procrastinating. Day dreaming about other things/stories than the one I should be concentrating on. Watching Netflix….
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
Steamroll through the whole thing, then go back and revise.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I write freely. I can plan a few things out, but my stories tend to change while I write, so trying to plan everything out in advance is pointless for me. That and I suck at it.
What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
None. I try to make as much things up as I possibly can so that I do not have to do any research. But, the times I do surf the net for info? I can spend hours or days looking things up so no one can stand up and say “Ha! You are soo wrong!” No one likes that.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
I think I put a lot of myself into my characters, and even take bits and pieces of things I like/love/hate from everyone I know as well. And as for where I’d draw the line? I know I have a “Do Not Cross” police tape in my brain, but at the moment I have not come across anything I can list.
How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read? Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?
My first full length novel I wrote in less than 30 days, but only because I entered a writing contest and had a 30 day deadline, so I can’t say how long it would take me until I finish the current book I am writing. I like feedback, so I shoot out chapters to friends the moment I’m satisfied with what I have. In these cases, yes, I do revise chapters because I do write straight through. I try to get all those pesky in-corrections out. Try being the key word.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
Lucky I have not been inflicted with writers block. I do find myself getting is lazy or tired and not wanting to write, and I can stay that way for a few days until I disconnect the internet.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?
I hope they experience whatever trials my character is going through. I hope a reader, gets excited, giggles on the parts that they should giggle, and once they’ve finished they can’t wait to read the next book or they go back and reread the book.
Can you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?
Promoting your book is a must. Interacting with your readers and hearing what they think is number 1, and I still hate to edit my work.
Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
It comes to me before I begin writing. I think of my titles as the foundation of the story, and work around trying to make the title as meaningful as possible.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
I would say I have a very wicked and highly inappropriate sense of humor. Dirty jokes make me laugh. Squishing spiders under my heel makes me giggle evilly etc.
What is the most frequently asked Savannah question?
Are you done yet? When will you be done? Can’t you write faster? Those are the three most frequently asked questions so far.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on Deadly Skies, the continuation from my first book.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?
I haven’t really gotten advice or asked for any, but I have listened and learned a lot from writers chatting in threads. The best I found is don’t try to cater too much to what your readers want. Doing so never works out, and you, as the writer, will not be happy at all.
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?
I am so new to the whole promotion world that I haven’t even gotten my feet wet. I’m still learning…slowly.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
Ouch! This doesn’t seem like such a hard question, but it is….Rain check?
What kind of books do you like to read?
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?
I could get an idea interacting with my family or watching a bug try and steal my cheese puff. It all depends on the conversation and how much I’m willing to battle a freaky looking antenna creature, with a hundred eyes and half a dozen legs.
When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?
I, like many others, judge a book by its cover. I look for pretty faces, hot bodies, and tasteful background… Well, mostly the hot body. I shy away from cartoony times of romance novel book covers.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I love spending time with my kids, going shoe shopping, and surfing the net and watching anime.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Sadly, no, I have nothing coming out right now.
New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?
Don’t stop even if you have to strip your story down and redo it, keep going. It’s worth all the pain.
What future projects do you have in the works?
Besides the continuation of Deadly Secrets (Deadly Skies) I have 8-9 projects for my paranormal Dark Kings of Eternity series, and three more (one which is already written but needs to be redone) for my contemporary, Eden’s Manor, series.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
Anyone can find me on my Blog, http://savannahhartley.blogspot.com.
Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one or more of your stories with us?
Here you go
Pulling the soiled cloth away from his breasts, hiding the fact that one of his tits had sprung a leak, Jamie ignored the pain on his scraped knee and jogged backward. “I’m going to head back to the locker room and change, then go to the infirmary to get bandages for my cuts.”
“You want me to come—”
“No! I’m good going by myself!” Jamie tried to run as fast as he could off the track.
Thanking whatever God was looking out for him when he wasn’t spotted by anyone he knew, Jamie burst into the locker room and rushed to his locker. Even though he had told Tiffany she didn’t have to come with him, Jamie knew the girl would follow. He was only grateful that Tiff was prissy about getting grass stains on her white running shoes, so she wouldn’t be barreling across the field to catch up to him.
He shouted out a quick, “Hello? Anyone in here?” Hearing nothing, Jamie ripped his shirt and sports bra up and over his head then cursed when he saw the small tear in the undergarment.
“Fuck, fuck,” Jamie whispered as his mind raced for a solution on how to fix the humongous problem.
A gasp filled the air, echoing throughout the empty room. Freezing, heart dropping in dread, Jamie turned his head and met the widened, shocked eyes of Asa Jacobs, then slowly looked down to his very flat, obviously male, chest.
“I-I w-was shoved in here by some guys… they tied my hands and gagged me, I got free, but they’d barricaded the door. I hid when you came in and was startled when you called out, so I didn’t answer when you shouted… I thought to sneak away, but I had to pass you to do so…”
Jamie’s mouth opened and closed repeatedly. He could only stand there with his leaking boob in his hands staring at Asa. Jamie faintly remembered kicking a board away from the entrance to the girls’ dressing room, but his mind had been in such a panic he hadn’t thought much about it… now Jamie wished he had.
Asa’s voice calling his name snapped Jamie into action. Grabbing his clothes Jamie pulled his sweat pants down, but first put his sports bra back on and struggled into his white polo shirt. The “lump smoother”, as his mother called it, in his underwear took care of his… well… lumps, so Jamie didn’t care all that much about his skirt.
“Get me some tissue quickly!” Jamie hissed to Asa. “Asa!” Clapping his hands together, Jamie pointed to the dazed boy. “Go. Get. Me. Tissues! Now!”
Stuffing his hand in his bra, Jamie pulled the Velcro that held the implant in the cup of the bra then lifted the boob out if it’s hidden pocket. Rummaging through his school bag, Jamie breathed a sigh of relief when his hand closed over the small little tube of superglue.
“Ahh… h-here Jamie.”
Avoiding Asa’s eyes, Jamie grabbed one of the coarse paper towels from the boy’s hand. “Put them on the bench then get me a wad of toilet paper.” Jamie ordered, quickly wiping the beads of water from the translucent bag, and then squeezed a healthy amount of super glue over the small tear. “Please God…” Jamie whispered as he searched for something, anything to put over the adhesive.
“Will this help? They put it over my mouth, so I couldn’t call out…”
Surprised, Jamie nearly wept when he saw the small strip of duct tape in Asa’s hand. “Yes, yes it will.” Taking the silver seal, Jamie slapped it on, smoothing it over his boob a few times, then shoved it back in his shirt and sports bra. He had just finished securing the Velcro in place when the locker room doors opened and Tiffany came in.
“Damn it, Jamie, I got my shoes all dirty running after you! I can’t believe you ran away so… fast… what the hell are you doing in here, Asa? And why aren’t you wearing any pants, Jamie!”
Knowing he wasn’t out of the doghouse yet, Jamie grabbed Asa’s hand and pulled him tightly to his side, digging his, pink, French-tipped acrylic nails into the taller boy’s arm, making him visibly flinch.
“Hey, Tiff? Remember our little talk on the track?” Jamie’s smiled hard and filled his eyes with warning when he looked up into Asa’s panicked gaze.
“Yeah… what about—oh, fuck no… no, no, no, Jamie!” Tiffany shouted, stomping her foot.
Picking up Asa’s arm, Jamie draped it around his shoulders. “Asa and I have decided to date.”
“Huh? What about your golden rule? Remember them?”
“I remember. I’m not planning to have sex. Asa and I are only dating. He’s not going to be my boyfriend.” Jamie’s face hurt from smiling so widely at the suspicious redhead.
“This is kind of sudden, isn’t it? You just told me you two weren’t all smoochy and now you’re saying you’re going to start dating? Something smells fishy here.” Tiffany crossed her arms over her chest, looking from Jamie to Asa with suspicion.
“Nothing is going on Tiffany. I just wanted to keep my budding romance with Asa a secret.” Lord knows I’m good at keeping secrets. Jamie continued to smile.
Tiffany threw her hands in the air. “Fine. But I just want to make it clear I don’t approve, and if you think I’ll be sweet to him because you’re ‘dating’ then think again… Are you sure, Jamie?”
“Uh huh.” To prove his commitment, Jamie wrapped both his arms around Asa’s slim waist and hugged the boy tightly, painfully tight. “As of today, I plan to keep Asa by my side.” Jamie bared his teeth when he smiled and looked up at the rapidly paling face of the poor boy standing frozen in his arms.
“I can’t believe you would pass up being Aidan’s candy for him.”
“The heart wants what the heart wants,” Jamie said, giving Asa’s waist one last threatening squeeze before letting the guy go.
“Whatever,” Tiffany muttered. “Anyway, this is the girls’ dressing room, so Asa? Get lost.”
“Asa,” Jamie quietly called out, stopping the boy when he tripped over his feet in his rush to leave. “Wait for me at the entrance. We need to talk about our relationship.”
“As in, don’t go blabbing your mouth off about you and Jamie dating,” Tiffany said, glaring at Asa.
“I won’t say a word, I swear.”
Jamie stared at Asa for a long minute before nodding. “We can trust Asa to keep silent, Tiffany. Right, Asa?”
“O-of course. I swear I won’t say anything to anyone,” Asa said.
“Good.” Jamie smiled at Tiffany to reassure the girl. Hoping he wasn’t misplacing his trust, and he could rely on Asa.
I pray to God I can.