Please help us welcome the ladies of the Spliced series! We are very happy to have them here and lucky Roxy was chosen to read their stories, as you’ve seen….Here’s what they have to share with us…
What’s your favorite comfort food?
Sarah – It used to be shepherd’s pie but these days it’s bacon and poached eggs!
Lavinia – Sausage and mash smothered in thick dark gravy or a chicken and leek pie. Oh and I love Chinese food!
Lily – Mashed potato. I love it, always have. Nice and creamy with a bit of grated cheese.
Jambrea – Would all work? I’m a total foodie!
Who do you turn to for encouragement when you feel your writing isn’t all you think it can be?
Sarah – Lily Harlem.
Lavinia – I’m so lucky to have a really good support network. I have three friends who read all my books and always offer me words of encouragement. I have another good friend called Mae Hancock – an M/M author who I’ve known for years and we’re always emailing back and forth, offering each other support. Lily Harlem and I live close to each other so it’s lovely to meet up with her occasionally for coffee and a chat. Writing can be a very solitary profession so it’s great to have friends you can talk to who understand what you’re going through. Then of course there are all the lovely authors and readers who I’ve met online and in conferences who have been so kind to me since my first book was published five years ago.
Lily – The Brit Babes! http://www.thebritbabes.co.uk I couldn’t do it without them, we’ve all been close friends for about five years now and clubbed together online to offer support and encouragement to each other and fellow authors from around the globe. Sarah is also a Brit Babe. I’ve very fortunate in that Lavinia and I live fairly closeby, so the odd coffee, or glass of wine together is always a treat and definitely boosts my mood and enthusiasm for writing.
Jambrea – I don’t know if I have any one person.
Do you have pets? If yes, what are their names?
Sarah – A cat called Bumblelina.
Lavinia – Two cats called Cindy and Tilly. They are both rescue cats and are polar opposites. Cindy is the friendly and love. Tilly is timid and actually quite fearful – even of me. I’ve had her for nearly six years and she’s never once sat on my lap no matter how much I try to coax her.
Lily – I’m a sucker for waifs and strays that need a home. I’ve currently got a rescue cat and dog, though over the years I’ve adopted horses, rabbits, guinea pigs and even fish that needed a safe place to live and be cared for.
Jambrea – I have two kitties. We got them for Christmas. Two sisters named Miss Isley (Izzy) FireStar Pie & Little Bit BlueStar Dean. My son thought they should have middle names and since he has two, he gave them two.
What do you think your strongest asset is in writing? Or weakness?
Sarah – Editing as I write. My weakness is waffling pointless drivel.
Lavinia -I’d like to think that world building and characterization are my strongest assets. I still get emails from readers asking if I’ll be writing more books in my Shifters’ Haven series which I stopped working on a couple of years ago. People seem to like the side characters I wrote into the later books and want to read their stories. There will be more! I haven’t finished with the series yet, I’m just talking a break to work on other projects. My weakness I’d say is my self editing. I wish I could write faster, but I pour over every sentence and paragraph and can’t move on to the next one until I’m happy with it. It’s a very slow way of working and I keep looking for ways that I can speed up.
Lily – I’ve been told that my stories are like watching a movie, so I guess I’m pretty good at setting a scene.
Jambrea – I think I’m pretty good with dialogue. As for weakness– I have a very hard time self-editing and tend to turn stuff in as soon as I’ve written the first draft.
What mundane thing do you have to do that you totally dislike?
Sarah – Emptying the dishwasher.
Lavinia – housework. I hate it and have to force myself to do it.
Lily – Ironing Mr H’s work shirts! Sometimes he does them but then I feel mean, he gets very little free time.
Jambrea – Any form of house work.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Sarah – Crime, thriller.
Lavinia – Romance. I read all forms of it – M/M, M/F, Young adult, New Adult and at the moment I’m really into dark romance and I love paranormal too. I’ll occasionally switch it up and read a thriller or horror, but not too often.
Lily – Romance of any kind.
Jambrea – I mainly read m/m romance of any genre, but I like just about anything. I love to read all kinds of different things.
What is your favorite genre to write?
Sarah – Crime, thriller.
Lavinia – the same genre that I read – romance, especially paranormal.
Lily – The same as I like to read, romance.
Jambrea – I would have to say romantic suspense.
What classes have you taken – or want to take, to improve your writing skills?
Sarah – I’m a trained editor but would love to attend a world-building class.
Lavinia – I studied creative writing with the open university and I’ve read read countless books on writing. The next course I want to take is actually something a little different. It’s the James Patterson Masterclass. I’m interested to see how he plots his novels and builds his worlds and how I could apply that to my romance novels. My novel Mobsters and Miracles was a romantic thriller and I’d really like to write more of those.
Lily – I studied creative writing with Cardiff University. The teacher was amazing and completely inspirational. At the beginning of the course she’d set writing exercises and I’d think why are we doing this? Now I look back and I understand exactly how she was making us think and write – clever.
Jambrea – I really haven’t taken any classes. I should probably fix that.
What would you say to a budding M/M writer?
Sarah – Do it.
Lavinia -Research, read lots of M/M books so that you gain an understanding of the genre, but most importantly write from the heart.
Lily – Remember that love is love, romance is romance, it’s just a few technical difference when it comes to ‘putting it in’ that’s different.
Jambrea – Write for yourself.
Would you consider writing in a genre you’ve never done before? If no, why?
Sarah – I used to say a straight no to this question, but now? Yes, I’ll write anything except incest/step-brother etc.
Lavinia – Yes. When I get a story idea that won’t leave me alone, I have to write it down. If that idea happened to be in a different genre, I’d run with it.
Lily – I don’t usually say never, but sci-fi is really not for me. I can’t imagine ever writing a space story. I recently read a brilliant one by Sarah though, it’s in the Brit Boys: On Boys anthology and called E2 – http://www.amazon.com/Brit-Boys-Ashe-Barker-ebook/dp/B00QMSXM0Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454234501&sr=8-1&keywords=brit+boys+on+boys
Jambrea – Of course. I will try to write anything once.
What do you do for fun?
Sarah – Read
Lavinia – I read a lot, I have a few t.v series that are my guilty pleasure and I play darts. Even though darts is fun, I actually take it seriously and play in both a normal league and a super league.
Lily – I’m either vegged out on the sofa with the fire on, a glass of wine and a good box set to watch (Mr H giving me a foot massage is the icing on the cake in this scenario), or I’m outside either running, walking the dog or horse riding. I don’t like crowds much so living in the countryside suits me.
Jambrea – Watch television/movies and read. Lots of reading.
Where is your favorite place to write?
Sarah – In my office with the door shut.
Lavinia – I mostly work from my desk at home, but when the mood hits, I take my laptop out and write in coffee shops and little country pubs. My ideal writing place is anywhere with a view of the sea.
Lily – I have a little pink study at the top of the house with glorious views over farmland and rolling hills. When I step in there I’m in the zone.
Jambrea – I don’t really have a favorite place. I have a desk in my bedroom, but tend to write in front of the television in the living room.
How does your family and friends react to what you write?
Sarah – They’re fine with it. My life, my choice, as it were.
Lavinia -I’m really lucky in that all my family and friends are accepting of what I do.
Lily– They don’t react because they don’t know!
Jambrea – They are all cool with it. Some are proud. I don’t hide what I write and I’m lucky I don’t have to.
Do you have a favorite recipe to share that you make when you are in a time crunch?
Sarah – Bacon and poached eggs hahaha.
Lavinia – In a time crunch I would make spaghetti with Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Quick, simple, but delicious.
Lily – I start the day with porridge (microwaved!) sprinkled with seeds. It’s a real energy boost and stops me reaching for biscuits mid morning. Got to keep writer’s bum at bay!
Jambrea – Pizza Delivery… lol
When you feel discouraged with a current work in process, what do you do?
Sarah – Switch to a different WIP or start a new one. Or, if that fails, walk away for however many weeks/months it takes for the muse to come back.
Lavinia – I don’t really get discouraged, but I’ve written myself into a corner before or thought I had. When that happens, I work on something else. I’ve got dozens of wips at various stages of completion so there’s always plenty to choose from.
Lily – That doesn’t really happen, I’m usually desperate to get it down and just keep at it. If there’s a section I’m not happy with I highlight it so I can go back and give it more attention.
Jambrea – I usually don’t feel discouraged. It might be because I’m a mood writer so I tend to write when I’m in the mood. Um… unless I have a deadline… lol
What are some of your other creative outlets?
Sarah – I’m a cover artist so I have fun in the day job creating covers for other authors. Best job ever.
Lavinia – I enjoy oil painting though I’m not terribly good at it.
Lily – I like to draw and paint. I live by the coast and love to sit and copy the image of the cliffs and waves and small coastal towns.
Jambrea – I like to paint. Mostly abstract, but I’ve been going to these paint and wine things they have around town. I love them.
What’s your favorite season to write about?(Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter)
Sarah – Any!
Lavinia – It would have to be summer. Personally I live for the summer months and hate the cold so I tend to set most of my novels in hot places.
Lily – Oh, that’s a hard one. I think I tend to set my WIP in the season I’m in when writing it. For example SPLICED was written in the autumn and because it’s set in the Yorkshire Moors there’s wind and rain and it’s dark and cold, much like that time of year in Yorkshire!
Jambrea – I don’t really have a favorite to tell you the truth.
Are you a morning, afternoon or night owl?
Sarah – Afternoon. Keep away from me in the mornings and evenings. I need peace during those times.
Lavinia – Night owl. Definitely. For example it’s gone one in the morning now and I’m working on answering these questions.
Lily – I was always an afternoon person but lately I’ve become a morning person. I write full time and when Mr H is away on business I can please myself what time of day I do things. I don’t write when I’m tired, though, I tend to keep using the same few words and the next day I look at what I’ve done and hit delete!
Jambrea – I am NOT a morning person at all. And I don’t stay up too late. I like my sleep so I guess that makes me an afternoon kinda gal.
What are the top three things on your bucketlist?
Sarah – I’m not saying. Because jinx…
Lavinia -I’d love to travel around America. I’d love to take a screenwriting class in UCLA and I’d love to live abroad one day – somewhere warm like Spain or Florida.
Lily – I’ve just done one of them and that was to visit Table Mountain in South Africa – awesome! I’d love to see Niagara Falls and also visit Australia. Travel is something that I didn’t do for years but now Mr H and I have the bug.
Jambrea – I would love to have one of my stories turned into a movie or TV show. Go on a cruise and travel outside of the United States.
What music do you listen to when you write? Or do you have to have total silence?
Sarah – Silence for me with earplugs in!
Lavinia – silence mostly, but occasionally I’ll have classical music playing.
Lily – Total silence is a must!
Jambrea – I usually have the television on in the background. Sometimes I’ll have music, but I don’t have any one kind. I like just about everything. Kind of like my reading. I’m eclectic.
What social medias seem to work for you?
Sarah – Facebook for the win!
Lavinia – I do a bit of everything, Facebook, Twitter, the occasional blog. I used to go on Goodreads and Facebook much more than I do now, but I found them too much of a distraction. I was chatting far more than i was working so I had to drastically cut back. If I had to pick a favorite though, it would be Facebook.
Lily – I don’t know how much any of them work when it comes to selling books but I do enjoy interacting with readers and other authors on Facebook.
Jambrea – Facebook. I only use Twitter to promote because it will show up on Facebook as well.
How did you discover M/M romance?
Sarah – By being an editor.
Lavinia – While searching in online bookstores for paranormal romance. I came across the M/M romance section and bought a few books. That was around 2008-2009 and I read the almost exclusively for a year before starting work on my own M/M novel.
Lily – Sarah Masters! (LOL from Sarah)
Jambrea – I read an Ally Blue story.
Beverage of choice?
Sarah – Green tea, thanking you kindly. Very nice of you to offer hahaha.
Lavinia – I drink water mostly. But I do have one can of diet coke per day. I hate that I drink it. I know how bad it is for me and I’m trying to wean myself off it.
Lily – You can tell the time of day by what I’m drinking LOL, I start with tea, then water and juice and then wine.
Jambrea – Diet Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper
What kind of computer do you work on?
Sarah – A big beast!
Lavinia -A laptop. I just got a new one for Christmas. I actually hate getting a new laptop because I get so used to the one I’m working on plus I hate having to re-upload and download all the programs I use. But when I work from my desk, I plug it in to a large monitor, keyboard and mouse so I essentially use it like a desktop computer.
Lily – A Mac. Mr H bought it for me for Christmas a few years ago. I was reluctant to change from my small laptop that I’d had for years but he made me take that leap – thank goodness I did.
Jambrea – I have an HP split. It was out of commission for a while, but I have my baby back now.
Do you hear voices in your head telling you what to write or are you inspired by what goes on in the world?
Sarah – Both. I feel insane at times.
Lavinia – I wouldn’t say voices exactly, more like images and scenes that play out almost like a movie. But yes, I’m inspired by what goes on in the world, t.v, and especially books. For example I might read an FBI romance and it will spark an idea for my own story. I don’t write down every single idea I get, but if the idea won’t leave me alone, I’ll usually write a prologue or the first chapter that I can revisit at a later date.
Lily – I’m inspired by the world and my experiences. My current WIP is a story set in Cape Town. Inspiration came from my recent trip there and the sights and sounds are still fresh in my mind.
Jambrea – I don’t. I call what I do a brain dump. lol I just start typing and sometimes I surprise myself.
Do you have a routine of exercise? If so, what is it?
Sarah – Pardon? I have no idea what the word exercise is or means.
Lavinia – Um, moving on swiftly…
Lily – I run about 4k every morning before I sit down and write. If I didn’t I’d be a fidget bum all day.
Jambrea – Um. No. lol I should start doing something. I was doing the T25 for a bit, but got out of the routine when I moved.
How do you feel about the future of books? More e-books or will print always be around?
Sarah – Hopefully, print will always be around, but I don’t read them these days. Kindle all the way for me. I hate damaging spines and having real book pages touched, so the Kindle is perfect.
Lavinia – This is a really difficult question for me. I’m torn. I used to have a real addiction to buying paper books and have hundreds of them on my bookshelves. I also love seeing my own books in print. However now I read almost exclusively on my kindle and I read somewhere that nearly 4 billion trees are cut down every year to make paper. So a large part of me thinks that paper books should be eradicated completely. If publishers stopped producing paper books, people would have to use ereaders. i love browsing around bookstores, but maybe the solution would be for the bookstores to have screens full of ebooks that you could flip through almost like a jukebox. I’d hate to see paperbacks go, but it would be good for the planet and I’ve never been averse to change.
Lily – I think both will stick around. The US seems much fonder of ebooks than the UK but the UK will catch up eventually.
Jambrea – I think both are here to stay. I know personally I buy the print of any e-book I love.
What do you prefer to read? E books , blogs, magazines or print?
Sarah – Ebooks.
Lavinia – ebooks.
Lily – ebooks, I love my Kindle!
Jambrea – Ebooks.
On those days you’re in a funk, what do you do to get back to the keyboard?
Sarah – Walk away and do something else I enjoy. Usually reading.
Lavinia – I’d do something else for a while. Reading or practice my darts for an hour. I live on the edge of a forest so sometimes I go for a walk and plan the next scene I’m going to write.
Lily – I have to use up energy. Running, walking, a trip to the beach with the dog. Sometimes I just push it all aside and have a girly day out with friends, shopping or lunch, then I come back fresh to the keyboard. I’m lucky though, I don’t get funk days very often.
Jambrea – I read a book or watch some television
Do you watch gay porn to get ideas?
Sarah – Nope.
Lavinia – No. I have watched it in the past though.
Lily – I have in the past, particularly for my Caught on Camera serial which is about two gay guys making a porn movie in Las Vegas called Slippery Slots and falling in love as they shoot – PART ONE IS FREE http://www.lilyharlem.com/caught-on-camera.html
Jambrea – I watch gay porn, but not really to get ideas. lol I just like gay porn.
What is nearest and dearest to your heart?
Sarah – My husband, five children and two grandsons.
Lavinia – My family and friends. My cats.
Lily – My family, my friends and my animals. I also love Wales which is where I live. I’m not Welsh but the lovely people have adopted me and now I’m proud to call this beautiful country home.
Jambrea – I would have to go with my son and family, with a few friends thrown in.
Do you have a story or an author who inspires you?
Sarah – I used to, but now I’ve taken to inspiring myself. I can’t be those authors or write their stories, nor do I want to. I’m busy being me these days.
Lavinia – I love J.R Ward. I think her world building is second to none.
Lily – Too many to mention!
Jambrea – I don’t know if I’d say inspires me. I have a ton that I admire.
If you are sick, what is the first thing you do?
Sarah – Keep going. No time to be sick!
Lavinia – Depends how ill I am. I’d probably dose myself up with medicine, climb into bed then watch some TV or read a book.
Lily – Tell myself I’m not and try and carry on as normal. Mr H gets frustrated because I wait until I’m really poorly before I go to the doctor.
Jambrea – Sleep.
What is your personality like?
Sarah – So laid back I could fall over. I let karma do any work that needs to be done. My thought time is better spent on things that matter.
Lavinia -My friends always joke that I’m so laid back, I’m horizontal. If you follow star signs then I’m a pretty typical Aquarius. I’m broad minded, friendly and I’d say I’m progressive. I’m introverted and I can be quiet, but people tend to mistake that for shyness. I live in my head a lot.
Lily – I don’t let things wind me up, I definitely go with the mantra of worry about things I can change and not about things I can’t. When I’m in the middle of writing a book I’m quiet and insular, then when I’m done I’m like ‘where is everyone? Let’s party, now!’ Us writers can be a funny bunch!
Jambrea – I am pretty laid back. It takes a lot to stir me up. Unless you’re my eleven year old. Poor guy
What do you look for when seeking out an on line friendship?
Sarah – I don’t get too close to people online. There are only a handful of people I have shared my private life with. Lily is one of them.
Lavinia – I don’t really seek out friendship online, but I’m always open to meeting new people.
Lily – I don’t seek out friendship on line but when I come into contact with new people I appreciate honesty and a sense of humour.
Jambrea – I don’t seek out friends on line, but I have met a few that I couldn’t imagine living without now that I know them.
What makes you laugh/sad/angry?
Sarah – Laugh: my family. Sad: The sorry state of the world and some of the people in it. Angry: See previous answer.
Lavinia – My friends make me laugh. I’ve stopped watching the news because it makes me both sad and angry and I made a pact with myself that if I read a news article online, i won’t read the comments underneath it because they’re almost always negative. I try to stay away from negative energy.
Lily – Mr H makes me laugh, a lot! I get sad and angry when I watch the news on TV, it all seems to be bad news.
Jambrea – Laugh: when my son is being goofy. Sad: when my son is hurt. Angry: when my son is being extra difficult. (See a theme? lol
What promotional tricks have worked for you?
Sarah – Just being myself, chatting and whatever on Facebook.
Lavinia – I wouldn’t say I do any tricks. I just write my books, put them out there and hope people like them.
Lily – Readers tell me they enjoy my newsletter which they sign up for here – http://www.lilyharlem.com/newsletter-subscription.html
Jambrea – I’m like Sarah, I just chat on Facebook.
Who came up with the idea for the Spliced series?
It was a group effort. Kind of like a rainbow colored brainstorm!
Where did that idea come from?
It all started with a picture Lavinia posted on Facebook of an animal that was a mixture of two creatures. Jambrea then put out a dare telling Lavinia to write the creature’s story – he was a gay shifter!
Sarah Masters then posted some pictures of crazy creatures too, so Jambrea said she should write one as well. After that Jambrea suggested it be an anthology – a sexy MM shifter anthology – and Sarah wanted Lily to come and play. Which of course she did!
Did you feel as if you were under a lot of pressure to outdo your writing partners in this?
No. We all wanted to be equal in this project.
Did the four of you compare notes during the writing process or did you write the story then share it?
A little of both. We had a Google doc set up for information and shared the stories with each other at different stages. Basically it is about the spliced shifters escaping from the compound they’ve been kept locked up in and experimented on, and finding themselves on the wild Yorkshire Moors. They each meet new people, mates, and have to battle with their inner demons as well as avoid being recaptured.
Aside from the answers you have provided for the interview, what else do you think we should know about the four of you?
We all work well together and hope to do more in this universe. Spliced shifters have more stories to tell and it’s our job to write them.
Do you have plans to take us on another amazing and exciting adventure that is different than the plot norm of these days?
Never say never. It is fun to write something different though you have to be a little bit brave too.
Why did you decide to take that jump and break out of what everyone considers, NORMAL to do this series?
For the fun of it. To make something that might seem absurd and turn it into a well-written world. We also liked the theme of acceptance and our characters are all struggling with this initially, it’s hard to be a shifter, it’s even harder when you’re not one but two animals combined.
When scientists mess with the most primitive elements of a man’s core, the results are bound to be explosive.
Living a loveless existence is hard for any shifter, but having DNA spliced with creatures who stand out from the crowd is damn near impossible. Which is why four experimented-on souls decide to break free from the chains that hold them, climb the fences that circle them, and go in search of adventure, passion and most of all, their mates.
But nothing worth having is ever easy, and for Sharkorilla, Pugorilla, Kangorilla and Elephorilla, this is definitely the case. They’ve come to the end of one very long, hard and frustrating road, but now, with the help of men who have big hearts, they must shed their fears, accept their bodies, and be true to the desires that burn within them. The only problem is, will they get away with it?
Please note, Spliced can be enjoyed as individual stories, but reading in order enhances the pleasure as you get to see the progression of the shifter’s sexy adventures.
Sharkorilla – Mason has been tasked with the job of helping his fellow shifters escape from the compound. Two techs need his help to ensure the breakout goes smoothly. One of those techs, Brennan, has a thing for Mason—and Mason has a thing for Brennan too.
Once Mason and his three friends are out of the compound, running for their lives across the expanse of the Yorkshire Moors, Mason wonders whether they’ll manage to be free for more than the time it takes to speed farther than a few feet. Freedom—the feeling of it is addictive, and Mason wants more of it. He isn’t prepared to give it up without a fight.
With Brennan by his side, Mason knows he can accomplish anything. There is one burning question, though. Can Mason really accept who he is? Can he learn to love himself as half shark, half gorilla? If he doesn’t, he has a feeling life won’t be all roses, despite being free of the compound.
So, he’ll just have to give his new life his best shot, won’t he?
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Pugorilla – After being created in a lab, his DNA spliced with both canine and primate genes, Dex has spent his entire life locked up. He has always longed to see the outside world and to find lasting love with that one special person—dreams he never thought would come to fruition. Yet when he and his friends discover a plot to kill them all, they have no choice but to plan an escape. A life outside the walls of their compound is everything that Dex has ever hoped for, but there’s only one problem—James, a lab technician who Dex can’t seem to get out of his heart or head.
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Kangorilla – Joey has it tough. Not only has he been spliced with a kangaroo and a gorilla, he’s also been brought to the other side of the world. Feeling exploited, desperate and wishing he had love, companionship and acceptance, he takes the risk of leaving the compound in the search of happiness. But will he find it? Or has the person he’s drawn to got other ideas? It certainly seems that way as the temperature goes from boiling hot to downright frosty.
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Elephorilla – George hates change, but when his only two options are death or escape, he runs away with his friends into the unknown. Will he be able to find not only a new life, but a new love?
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Find the authors…
Jambrea Jo Jones