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, Asta Idonea – Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.
Thanks so much, Asta, for joining me!
One commenter to win an e-copy of my MM Sci-Fi novella Fire Up My Heart:
J. Scott Coatsworth: If you were stuck on a desert island all alone with only three things, what would they be?
Asta Idonea: Insect repellant, a good book, and a desalination machine.
JSC: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
AI: As a child, I loved books. My sister would ask to play with her dolls, and I would ask to read. From as far back as I remember thinking about such things, I wanted to write, and I was always gifted with languages and creative subjects, but it was something I kept putting off, thinking I wasn’t good enough. In my late teens/early twenties, I started publishing some fan fiction and received encouragement from readers in regards to that, but then I moved to Australia and finally found the drive to pursue my dreams. I had my first original work published in 2011, and positive comments on that release gave me the confidence I needed to continue.
JSC: What fantasy realm would you choose to live in and why?
AI: Hmm. That’s hard as several appeal to me. If forced to pick only one, I’d say Rohan in Middle Earth, as I love the Anglo-Saxon-inspired culture Tolkien established in that kingdom.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
AI: I have two pen names: one for my mainstream works and one for my MM stories. In mainstream, my works so far have all been within paranormal and fantasy (with a hint of historical); however, my MM stories vary from contemporary to historical to paranormal to sci-fi. I don’t want to confine myself to a single genre, even though that might be better in terms of personal branding and promotion, because I prefer to follow my inspiration and write whatever stories and characters come to me. Overall, I’d say my stories are predominantly character-driven; although, some of them start with a plot idea, depending on the circumstances. Anthology pieces tend to kick off with a plot idea and then the characters take over, whereas works that spring solely from my imagination are more likely to commence with a character.
JSC: What fictional speculative fiction character would you like to spend an evening with and why?
AI: Another hard one to narrow down to only a single answer. In the moment of writing this, I’d say Saint Germain (from the historical-paranormal novels by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)—a cultured gent who’d wine and dine me, offer excellent conversation, and then end the night with other pleasures. *wink*
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
AI: My first published original work was a short paranormal horror story with a vampire theme. That was released from small press Wicked Nights Publishing, to which I had been directed by a published friend, but the company later closed its doors. Recently, I reworked the piece and it’s now available as a free read on my Tablo page (https://tablo.io/nicki-j-markus-asta-idonea)
JSC: Which of your own characters would you Kill? Fuck? Marry? And why?
AI: Kill—Surtr in The Ragnarök Chronicles, because he is an ultimate bad guy and needs to be stopped.
Fuck—Loki in The Ragnarök Chronicles, because he knows how to have a fun time
Marry—Hal in Brougham Hall, because he’s a gentleman and would always look after me (assuming he didn’t accidentally kill me in a fit of blood lust)
(NB: I have chosen characters from my mainstream MF works for this question, since it would be tough to get any of my MM characters to fuck or marry me. They are gay after all. 🙂 )
JSC: What’s your writing process?
AI: When I have the initial idea for a story, I jot down character notes (full profiles if it’s a novella or novel). I also note some key plot points, but that’s the only planning I do—I prefer to see where the characters take me. I always type the first draft at the computer in my study. However, once that is done, I print the work and retreat to the comfy chair in my library/music room for editing. I read through the complete story, making notes and corrections as I go, then it’s back to the study for the next draft. Short stories go through two or three drafts and then a final proofread. Novellas and novels get four drafts, then the proofread.
JSC: Would you visit the future or the past, and why?
AI: I would choose to visit the past because I’ve always been prone to looking back through the centuries with a certain nostalgia. There are things I’d miss from the current era, but I’ve often thought I was born in the wrong time. I can see myself in a Regency drawing room. 🙂
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
AI: Well, I recently submitted my first novel-length MM story—a superhero tale—to the publisher, so I’m waiting to hear back on that. Fingers crossed. Otherwise, I had two recent releases in anthologies (Fairytales Slashed Vol. 7 from Less Than Three Press and Eva LeFoy’s Sexy to Go: Gay Romance box set) and another of my stories will feature in a forthcoming anthology from NineStar Press. I also have two more works contracted with Less Than Three Press, but no firm dates on those releases yet.
At present I have paused MM writing to complete an MF novel/novella, but I’m sure I’ll be back with more gay romance tales soon!
And now for Asta’s new book: Wish You Were Here
The death of Oakley’s sister has left his family broken and buried beneath their grief. In an attempt to get out from underneath their pain, they rent an isolated cottage in the Cotswolds. For Oakley, it’s an exercise in futility. He doesn’t see much hope for things to get back to the way they used to be, and he’s bored and restless as he waits out the time until he can return to the city and university. All of that changes when he meets local boy Bobby, and the connection between them is instant. Within a few days, Oakley is ready to walk away from everything to stay with Bobby. However, Bobby has problems of his own, and they might be more than the budding romance can survive. But they might also give Oakley a new perspective on his own situation.
SoundCloud Audio Excerpt: https://soundcloud.com/nickijmarkus/wish-you-were-here-by-asta-idoneamm-novella-excerpt
YouTube Audio Excerpt: https://youtu.be/lMz0diTCb1Y
Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.
Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!
As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing. She is never found too far from her much-loved library/music room.
Amazon Author US: http://www.amazon.com/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
Amazon Author UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO