Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Amy Aislin: Amy started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head. Based in the suburbs of Toronto, Amy is a marketer/fundraiser at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night.
Thanks so much, Amy, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: What do you do when you get writer’s block?
Amy Aislin: When I get writer’s block, it’s usually because one of my main characters’ Goal-Motivation-Conflict is either weak or doesn’t work for the overall storyline. Usually, in that case, I’ll take a good hard look at main character #2: what does he fear the most, what does he want the most, and how does what main character #1 fears and wants conflict with that?
JSC: How long do you write each day?
AA: This differs for each day. Sometimes I’ve only got one or two hours of writing time—like after work, for example. But on weekends, if I don’t have any plans, I can spend up to eight or nine hours writing. I don’t set myself daily word counts or daily writing sessions; instead I set myself a monthly goal and work towards that.
JSC: Do you reward yourself for writing, or punish yourself for failing to do so? How?
AA: I don’t punish myself for my writing. If I don’t make whatever goal I’ve set for myself, I try not to stress about it. I’m writing on my own timeline, not anyone else’s and I usually eventually catch up to whatever I’ve set my monthly word count goal to.
I do reward myself, yes! My daily goals tend to revolve around completing a certain scene or hitting a certain word count, and if I make it, my reward to myself is usually a few hours of reading or catching up on one of my favourite TV shows, like The Flash or Charmed.
JSC: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
AA: I work a full-time day job that I enjoy, so my writing is part-time. I don’t think it affects my writing itself, but it does affect the time I can devote to my writing. A typical novel takes me about three months to write if I write every day, or at least most days. I imagine I could probably pump a book out much faster if I wrote full-time, but I know myself well enough to know that I’d be risking burnout in that case, so my current schedule works fine for me!
JSC: Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?
AA: Oh, that changes with each book! For example, The Nature of the Gamesprang to life from a couple of characters who appeared in the first book in the series, On the Ice, and the story developed around them. On the flip side, Christmas Laneturned into what it is because I wanted to write an age-gap holiday romance, and Holland and Zach were born of that idea.
JSC: What advice do you wish you’d had before releasing your first story?
AA: I wish I’d known more about promotion. When my first book released, I announced it on social media and to the probably 10 people (at the time) on my newsletter list. But I didn’t know about promotion companies like Other Worlds Ink and A Novel Take PR and IndiGo Design and Marketing. I didn’t know there were companies out there dedicated to helping indie authors promote their books. And I didn’t know I could advertise on blog sites or request assistance from the super amazing LGBTQ book community.
JSC: How did you choose the topic for this book?
AA: The Nature of the Gamestarted coming to life in my head while writing On the Ice, book one in the series. Ash and Dan were introduced to readers in book one, but while I was writing it, their backstory developed and I realized these two had a past: they were together once before. So I knew The Nature of the Gamewas going to see them together again, meaning it was going to be a second chance romance, but because they live in different states, I had to find a way to bring them together. And because Ash is a professional hockey player, his time isn’t always his own, and I needed him to somehow be in Dan’s presence long enough for them to fall for each other again—hence the hurricane forcing Ash out of state for an indeterminate amount of time.
JSC: What was the hardest part of writing this book?
AA: The second chance romance. I’m actually not a huge fan of them, but it’s a popular trope in romance, so I wanted to get it right. The problem was that because I read so few of them, I didn’t know what worked and what didn’t work in this trope for readers, and I really wanted to get Ash and Dan’s story right!
JSC: If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose, and why?
AA: I would go back to October 2005 to September 2006. It was the year I should’ve been completing my third year at university, but I disliked my program and my school so much that I took some time off and moved to Dublin, Ireland. Ireland is fantastic! But I feel like I didn’t take enough advantage of living there, and I’d love to go back to do much more travelling around Ireland and the UK, as well as the rest of Europe.
JSC: What are you working on now?
AA: I’m currently hard at work on book three in the Stick Side series, which is Kinsey and Cody’s story. Readers met Roman Kinsey in book two and Cody appeared in both books one and two, although he plays a much larger role in book one. I’m really hoping to have it done in time for GRL 2019 in Albuquerque, but no promises!
And now for Amy’s latest book, The Nature of the Game:
Six years ago, an ultimatum forced Dan Greyson to make a choice that cost him everything he loved most. One of those things? His boyfriend, hockey player Ashton Yager. Now that they’ve crossed paths again, Dan isn’t about to let the opportunity slip away. Ash’s reappearance in his life is just the catalyst Dan needs to escape the rut he’s fallen into…and win back Ash’s trust and love.
Ashton Yager, once burned and now a little bit shy, didn’t mean to publicly come out as bisexual. But now that he has, he’s got to deal with the consequences, including the fact that it might’ve cost him his NHL contract. With his job on the line, he needs to keep his head down, work hard, and play the best hockey of his life. Rekindling things with Dan? That’s not exactly keeping a low profile. It’s also never going to happen, not after Dan walked away once without an explanation.
When a hurricane forces Ash to seek shelter out-of-state, he and Dan find themselves in the same B&B, where old feelings resurface. But with everything Ash has on the line, does he dare play with fire again?
Running a hand over his face, Dan glanced over to the hallway Ash had disappeared down, and then kept staring, waiting for Ash to reappear again like some smitten teenager who couldn’t control his hormones.
He was so very cool.
Tearing his eyes away, he scanned the restaurant, his gaze snagging on a woman sitting with a group of friends. In her early twenties, she had brown hair to her shoulders and purple glasses were perched on her nose. She sunk into her chair with a grimace when Dan caught her ogling him, her lips twitching up in embarrassment. Dan smiled back at her despite the across-the-room flirting doing nothing for him. All he could think about was Ash. Ash’s arms streaked with dust; Ash’s muscles straining as they moved furniture around; Ash’s laughter when Dan nearly swallowed a dust bunny; Ash’s mad scramble to the other side of the apartment when Dan came down the stepladder with the spider colony; Ash’s expression when he talked about hockey; the emotion in Ash’s eyes when Dan had shown up earlier.
It was Ash. It had always been Ash.
Dan’s smile grew when the man himself reappeared next to him.
“Who are you smiling at?” Ash stood next to the booth, hands on his hips. His scowl would scare small children away.
Assuming they were leaving, Dan stood . . . and ran into a wall of muscle when Ash didn’t budge. Ash was warm and big and strong, and Dan forgot all his words. He swallowed hard and told himself the shiver was from the air conditioning.
Ash looked over his shoulder, scowled some more, and growled, “We’re leaving.”
They left. The walk back to Ash’s apartment was silent but for Ash’s stiff shoulders proclaiming his unhappiness with Dan, dinner, or the world at large. Who knew.
“Are you okay?”
“Just…” Ash gestured wildly, arms flying. “I’m trying to sort some stuff out. In my head.”
“O…kay.” Whatever that meant.
Reaching Ash’s apartment, Ash slammed the door behind them and whirled on Dan, hands on his hips. “Do you want to date women?”
“Like, right this second?” I only want to date you. “Not particularly.”
“What about the woman from The Tavern?”
“You know.” Ash’s gestured. “The one you were smiling at.”
“Why are you being weird?”
“I’m being weird.” Ash huffed and paced away. “You were the one eye-flirting while I took a two-minute bio break.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“No idea what I’m…” He trailed off, jaw ticking, his eyes fire and fury. Pacing back to Dan, he clamped a hand behind Dan’s head, pulled him forward, and kissed him.
Ash kissed him.
Ash kissed him.
Ash kissed him.
Dan stood shocked and immobile.
“Gonna kiss me back?” Ash murmured against Dan’s lips, walking him backward until his back hit the wall next to the door. “Or just stand there like a corpse?”
Amy started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head.
Based in the suburbs of Toronto, Amy is a marketer/fundraiser at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night. Book enthusiast, animal lover and (very) amateur photographer, her interests are many and varied, including travelling, astronomy, ecology, and baking.
She binge watches too much anime, and loves musical theater, Julie Andrews, the Backstreet Boys, and her hometown of Oakville, Ontario.
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/amyaislin
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AmyAislinAuthor
QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/amy-aislin/