Today, our author guest is L.M. Brown! L.M. has been on my radar for so long that it seems a little crazy to me that we haven’t talked more before now. She first came to my attention with her Mermen and Magic series, Forbidden Waters and Tempestuous Tides. Obviously we share an interest in mermen, but L.M.’s honesty about her writing, sharing both her disappointments and her successes, has encouraged me more than once with my own writing journey. It takes a lot of bravery to share so openly, so I’m really happy to welcome L.M. to talk to us today.
L.M., welcome! Thank you for letting me interview you!
L.M.: Thanks for having me here today. I am glad my ramblings have encouraged you with your own writing endeavours. Sometimes I feel awkward sharing disappointments when everyone else is raving about their successes, but I am very glad that it has had a positive outcome when I have done so.
You’ve been publishing gay romances since 2010 — five years ago! How do you keep writing fresh and fun? Is it the fact that your stories range from paranormal and fantasy through to contemporary romances or something else?
L.M.: I actually didn’t realise it had been that long. I think that I manage to keep writing fun by taking a break when I need to. Whether it is reading or playing a computer game, I think we all need to step back from writing at some point or another.
It also helps that I do write multiple genres within the gay romance bracket. If I am not feeling the humour in a story then sometimes I will switch to another where angst is more appropriate.
Speaking of fun, your newest release, Destiny & Dragons, sounds incredibly enjoyable. I love the tagline — ‘Falling for the dragon wasn’t part of the plan.’ What was the most fun part of the experience of turning the classic knight slays dragon storyline upside down? Conversely, what was the most challenging part of it?
L.M.: I am glad you like the tagline. Technically this story doesn’t really have one, but that line seems to fit quite nicely, and is short enough for Twitter.
I think the most fun part for turning the classic storyline upside down was getting to know my dragon himself. He is the sweetest young man I have ever had walk into my head and I knew immediately that he was peaceful and kind, and there was no way any knight was going to slay him.
Most challenging, for any of my fairy stories, is to keep the fairy tale flavour without straying too close to actual fairy stories. Although I love reading new takes on the classic fairy stories, I prefer mine to be original stories.
I’m really curious about your hero, Lord Marcus. Is he a typical knight? Was there any real-life or literary inspiration for him?
L.M.: I am afraid there wasn’t any real-life or literary inspiration for Lord Marcus. He was first introduced in Let Down Your Hair, the first of my fairy tales, where he helps bring his best friend to his senses. At the time I wrote that story I was already toying with the idea of giving him a story of his own, I just knew it would take a special sort of man to capture his heart.
Marcus is a typical knight in that he is chivalrous and has fought in his fair share of jousting tournaments, even if he hasn’t seen actual warfare – my fairy tale kingdom is relatively peaceful. However, Marcus is also a man with responsibilities to his family, and for that reason he is on his quest to rescue a princess and claim her hand. Of course, the best laid plans often go awry and in this case it does so completely.
As best laid plans should! Obviously, Destiny & Dragons doesn’t feature your average dragon! Am I allowed to ask about him, or will we have to read the book to discover what he is like?
L.M.: You can definitely ask about him. Runt, is a kind-hearted dragon, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. He is sweet, although he wouldn’t like it if you said so to his face. He, like all dragons, has a human form, which enables him to communicate with Marcus. Unfortunately, due to his circumstances, there is a lot Runt doesn’t know about himself and the rest of the dragons. He, as well as Marcus, have a lot to learn about dragons.
Where did this story start? With the characters or the situation?
L.M.: This story started with a small mention in Let Down Your Hair of a tower with a fire-breathing dragon. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor dragon, waiting there for someone to come along and kill him, no doubt without stopping to think about whether the dragon might actually be one of the good guys. That thought brought Runt to me and it was only a matter of time before I realised Marcus needed to be the one to go discover the truth.
Who would you recommend this novella for?
L.M.: I think anyone who likes sweet romances will enjoy this story. It is not page after page of sex and it very much about the journey, literally and figuratively, that Marcus and Runt make.
There have been some big name stars playing dragons in movies. Most recently, we’ve had Benedict Cumberbatch playing Smaug in the Hobbit, and before that, Sean Connery as Draco in Dragonheart. Who is your favourite movie (or TV/animated/etc.) dragon?
L.M.: You already mentioned him – Draco. I actually have another blog appearance for this release where I talk about my favourite dragons in movies and both of those get a mention. I have to admit I was one of many who were rooting for Smaug in The Hobbit. Draco, however, is such a wonderful character. He was probably the first dragon I saw on film that was not a monster.
Which of a dragon’s powers would you most like to possess? How would you apply it to your everyday life?
L.M.: I think the power of flight would be my favourite. I am not sure how I would use it in everyday life though. Yes, it would shorten my commute to the evil day job, but I would miss out on my valuable reading time on the train journey. I would probably end up using the power on a casual basis in my free time – it would definitely save on air fares for holidays.
In your five years writing gay romance, have you noticed any changes within the reading/writing community? What advice would you give new authors?
L.M.: I am very much on the outskirts of the reading/writing community so any changes have probably passed me by completely. I find I am much happier this way – too much drama tends to kill my writing motivation.
I think the best advice I have ever been given is to simply keep writing and to make the choices that are right for you.
Just because everyone else is writing vampire romances, doesn’t mean you have to.
Just because everyone else is self-publishing rather than going via a publisher, doesn’t mean it is the right route for you.
Make your choices for yourself, and not because of what everyone else is saying and doing. If you want to self-publish your vampire romance, do it for you. But if you want to send your latest business rivals fall for each other romance to a publisher, go ahead and do it.
It’s your career, so do it your way. And keep writing.
Which authors have most influenced and inspired you? I’m thinking in terms of M/M Romance and fantasy particularly, but feel free to share anyone!
L.M.: These days I think I am more inspired by those authors who don’t let the knocks get them down. Sometimes it is really hard to carry on when it seems as if you are wasting your time. I am trying to follow the example of those authors who carry on regardless. I am not talking about those authors who hit the bestseller list on the day of release every time or spend weeks at the top of those lists. I am talking about those whose stories barely make a splash, and for whom the bestseller lists are uncharted territory, but they don’t let it get them down. They are as much as inspiration for me as those for whom success seems to come so easily.
For actual influences I tend to stay away from specific genres I am writing. I would rather my stories be as original as possible and not influenced by other writers. For example, when I am writing my mermen, I try to avoid reading about what others have done with them. It means I have a stack of mermen stories on my ereader ready for when my own series is done. Something to look forward to, wouldn’t you say?
Absolutely! So, where can we find Destiny & Dragons?
L.M.: At the time of writing Destiny & Dragons is only on the Fireborn Publishing site for pre-order. However, by the time this goes live, it will also be available on Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and all the usual online stores.
What is the best way for readers to keep up with you?
Thanks again, L.M.!
L.M.: Thanks for having me here.
Destiny & Dragons
by L.M. Brown
When Lord Marcus set out on his quest, it seemed a simple enough task to accomplish. Slay the dragon and rescue the princess, securing his father’s approval and earning his happily ever after—only the princess is a witch and the dragon is nowhere to be seen. Instead he finds a young man who has a very big secret and is in far greater need of rescuing. Marcus’s well planned quest might have taken an unexpected turn, but his happy ending could still be within his grasp, if he can earn the trust of a dragon who has been betrayed and hurt by everyone he has ever known.
Once the servants had departed, Marcus went to fetch Runt from the bedroom so he could take a bath. As Runt stripped out of his borrowed clothes, Marcus tried not to stare at his body. When he caught Robert’s knowing glance, he scowled and set about scrubbing at Runt’s hair with a little more force than was necessary. When Runt cringed at his ministrations, he mumbled apologies and made an effort to take more care. He tried to keep his touches business-like, but he didn’t fool anyone and certainly not himself. As he washed away the layers of dirt, bruises upon bruises were revealed, along with more scars than Marcus had ever seen on another living being. Marcus’s heart ached when he saw the abuse the poor dragon had suffered.
He was vaguely aware of Robert and Aiden leaving the chambers, but he couldn’t take his eyes off Runt. A thin scar, several years old, stretched down the length of his arm. Marcus traced the raised flesh with his finger.
“One of the princes did that,” Runt whispered. “I was lucky. If I hadn’t moved just in time, he would have pierced my heart. Sometimes I used to wonder whether I might be better off if one of them had.”
“No!” Marcus took Runt into his arms, cautious not to hold him too tightly. “Never say that. You’re safe now.”
“I’d given up,” Runt cried. “When you came to the castle, I’d given up hope of ever being free again. I longed for the pain to end. I just wanted everything to be over.”
Marcus carried Runt to the rug in front of the fire. He held the dragon while he sobbed and Marcus murmured nonsense words into his ear. He vowed the witch would be dead before the end of the year. No one else would suffer at her hands.
L.M. Brown is an English writer of MM and MMM romances. She believes there is nothing hotter or sweeter than two men in love with each other… unless it is three.
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