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, Grace R. Duncan – Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.
As someone who loves to travel and see new places, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.
As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.
Find Grace here:
Thanks so much, Grace, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
Grace R. Duncan: My first published work—Choices—was originally supposed to be fanfiction (I’ll be honest: a seriously messed up version!). A friend at the time pointed out that since it was so much of an alternate universe that I could easily make it original and, thus, challenged me to write an original novel.
JSC: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
GRD: So, it’s not me, but I’d like to show off just how awesome my hubby is. I needed to know what it felt like to put IcyHot on a scrotum. I couldn’t seem to find anything reliable online and when I lamented the fact to Mr. Grace, he offered. I think he regretted it, but I adore him for being willing and I got the answer I needed. (Apparently, it hurts like hell!)
Aside: Joe IS awesome.
JSC: What is the most heartfelt thing a reader has said to you?
GRD: It wasn’t for Grace, actually, it was for my YA pseudonym Hope Ryan. Not long after I published The Geek and His Artist, I got an email that is still pinned to my bulletin board behind my desk and which I read often. It was from a teenage guy who had recently understood his bisexuality and he told me how he needed a happy ending and the book showed him it’s possible for guys like him.
JSC: Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?
GRD: Usually, it’s an idea, but once, it came from a person. My oldest son jokingly says I published “thinly-veiled real-person fic” which isn’t entirely true. I did change quite a bit of detail, but the concept certainly sprang from that one person. I had never before written a book so quickly and have not since. I remember I did 14k (yes, fourteen thousand!) in one day. Hmm… Maybe I need another RL character for inspiration. 😉
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
GRD: I’m a weird combination of the two. I don’t plot per se. I tend to write up a list of “things that need to happen” then let the story guide me on where those things happen. It’s a little weird, but it works for me.
JSC: What inspired you to write Because I Want To? What were the challenges in bringing it to life?
GRD: The story was originally inspired by a short yaoi Omegaverse manga. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember the title anymore (it was in Japanese. I’m not sure the title had been translated). It has, literally, been years. The omega was often taken care of by his best friend, despite not being willing to pair with him. Turned out to be a good thing because said best friend in “taking care” of him was also sabotaging the medication used to help omegas deal with their heats. When I read it, I wanted to tell something similar, but very different: an alpha best friend who really did care for his omega bff and wanted them to be together, but for all the right reasons.
The book was challenging in a lot of ways because Omegaverse often gets eyerolls and there are a lot of expectations surrounding that type of world. But I didn’t want to go with all the defaults. I wanted to take all the things I liked about the various worlds I’d read and make the best of all of them. It was quite a challenge to do so and still keep a balance.
JSC: To the characters – Are you happy with where your writer left you at the end? (don’t give us any spoilers).
Adam: Yes! We’ll want more kids someday, but for us, we’re happy.
Matt: Now, if only we could help our friend…
JSC: What secondary character would you like to explore more? Tell me about them.
GRD: The core group of friends in the story has three alphas and two omegas. By the end of the story, there’s one alpha left with no one. He’s already prodded me for his story and I find myself wanting to give Parker his own omega and HEA. He’s had his eye on this guy who works at the school cafeteria on a work study program…
JSC: What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names? Pictures?
GRD: Tonks isn’t on my keyboard. She’s a bit heavy for that. She’s also old and I’m not sure her joints would appreciate trying to climb up. So she sleeps on a pillow at my feet. On the other hand, I have an orange monster who still thinks he’s a baby and often lays on my hands. How he thinks he’s getting pets when he’s trapped said hands, I have no idea…
JSC: What fantasy realm would you choose to live in and why?
GRD: Middle-earth. It is, by far, my favorite. But mostly because I’m a Hobbit at heart and would be perfectly happy it’s its okay—even respectable!—to grow round in the middle and dedicate my life to good food, good ale, and good weed.
And now for Grace’s new book: Because I Want To:
Adam’s fears of pairing are valid, but if he doesn’t get past them, he’ll lose his best friend’s love forever.
Omega Adam and Alpha Matt have been best friends all their lives. Matt has been there for Adam from his first heat. They’ve never been apart and Adam has never considered being with another person. So, it confuses Matt when Adam refuses to allow Matt to bite and pair with him.
Adam has seen for himself what happens when an alpha leaves his paired omega, when his mother went through the excruciating pain of a new alpha bite. Knowing his best friend as well as he does, he knows that if Matt ever bit and paired with him, Matt would never leave and consign Adam to the pain of a new bite or a life without sex. But Adam knows that it wouldn’t matter how Matt felt, he’d stay even if he felt trapped by the situation, making them both miserable and hurting Matt badly.
When Adam finds himself pregnant with Matt’s baby, he panics. All his attempts to keep Matt from getting trapped have been useless. With no idea what to do, he ends up hurting Matt anyway. If he doesn’t come to terms soon with his fears, he could find himself completely alone and losing the only person he’s ever loved.