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, Thianna Durston – a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?
Thanks so much, Thianna, for joining me!
While my newest releases are contemporary romance, I’m giving away the reader’s choice of one of my m/m paranormal romances: Leland’s Gift (holiday), Discovery (contemporary), or Don’t Mess With His Pack (BDSM). Comment below for a chance to win.
J. Scott Coatsworth: If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?
Thianna Durston: William Shakespeare, hands down. I’ve loved the works of Shakespeare since I was a child. I think I’m the only person in Sophomore English class that cheered when the teacher announced we were going to read MacBeth. If I had the chance, I’d ask him if he was truly William Shakespeare or Christopher Marlowe. The question about that has been going on for a very long time. It would not, in any way, change my enjoyment of his in depth look into the human psyche, but it would be nice to know.
JSC: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
TD: There was a long time between when I knew I was a writer – about the age of 6 or 7, and the age where I finally got the gumption to believe others might want to read what I wrote (about 10 years ago). I still have one of the first stories I wrote down about a Martian coming to Earth. There’s even a drawing of said Martian in the upper left corner. LOL
JSC: If you were stuck on a desert island all alone with only three things, what would they be?
TD: A new pen, a thick notebook, and a dagger. I could at least write while I’m awaiting rescue. The dagger? It’s to cut up reeds and other things to make a fire. Or to slice up little animals I find for food.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
TD: Genre wise, I’m all over the map. From romance to speculative fiction, metaphysics to poetry, I write whatever I’m in the mood for that day. Which is one of the reasons I deplore due dates. If I set myself up a due date for when a manuscript will be done? Ain’t gonna happen. My muse will take off in a million different directions and in no time I will find the first chapters written for five to ten new novels.
A little over a year ago, I changed some of my writing style. I used to be a pantser and always said I couldn’t plot because for me it was about being the first reader of said book. But as I truly began to want to delve into fare more complex plots and situations, I knew I needed to get used to plotting one way or another. I started with writing off the cuff until about the first 25% was written, then I could see where it was going and plot out the basic parts of the rest. Last Feb/March, I fully plotted my first novel – a mainstream military meets contemporary fantasy novel – which ended up being over 100k words in length, has a major plot and 9 minor subplots, and something I’m very proud of. Since then, I’ve plotted most of the books I’ve written, mainly because due to plotting, it is rare to hit writer’s block unless I’m just not in the mood to write.
JSC: Were you a voracious reader as a child?
TD: I think the term voracious is almost too tame a word to use to describe my reading habits. When I wasn’t in school, my nose was in a book. I’d walk through the house reading. I’d take books into the bathtub with me. When I was forced to go outside, I invariably took a book.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
TD: My first published book was a sci-fi novel called In Search of the Drasta. It was a novel that took 5 years to write. While I love the story, my writing has changed so much that I’m quite glad it’s out of print. If I ever get the chance to re-write it, I’ll put it out again. Right now? The writing makes me wince 🙂
JSC: What fantasy realm would you choose to live in and why?
TD: Pern. I would live on Pern and be a dragon rider. I’ve always loved dragons and the thought of being connected to one through the mind and riding him/her? Where can I sign up?
JSC: What’s your writing process?
TD: It depends on whether I’m writing what I call a simplified story or one more complex. For a more simplified story, such as a contemporary romance, I’ll figure out the two main characters, their backgrounds, motivations, and why they should be together. Then I’ll plot out a basic 60k outline and write. It’s a process that will take around a month if I’m in the right mode. It will go through a basic rewrite a few weeks after the draft is done, and one to two beta readers/editors before it’s ready for publication.
A more complex story goes through months of work. For instance, with the mainstream military story I mentioned. I started getting flashes of the main character weeks before I was ready to plot. By the time I got to plotting, I knew his name, nationality, age, what his quirks and problems were. I also knew where the base would be, where he would serve, and what the end result would be. It took a couple weeks to flush out the first draft of the outline. From there, I did research on everything I did not know. Once I had that collated, I sat down to write. I wrote the first draft in about a month if I remember correctly. Then I set it aside, wrote something else, then came back, reread and wrote a second draft. From there, it went to several prereaders; their responses gave me ideas of things I needed to tweak or change. I rewrote the entire first 7 chapters at once point. In August, I rewrote the last quarter of the book, changing the ending in a major way. Currently, the 1st draft of the outline for the sequel to that book has been written but that’s as far as I’ve gotten on that.
I usually work on several things at once. A romance, a spec fic, something metaphysical… I’m not sure if I get bored or my muse does if I work on one thing to the exclusion of all else for too long. 🙂
JSC: What fictional speculative fiction character would you like to spend an evening with and why?
TD: Gray from Jordan L. Hawk’s SPECTR series. I cannot think of another paranormal character I would rather spend time with. In his view, most of the things we worry about are ‘mortal nonsense’, and he has a point. His view is wonderful, his logic impeccable. As he explains to John in the first book, Hunter of Demons, “Demons are food. I am not food. Therefore, I am not a demon.” Can’t quite argue with that 😉
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
TD: There are several things in the WIP pile that need to be finalized so they can come out next year.
There’s a book I started a couple years ago. I rewrote it twice before plotting it and rewriting it a third time. I was originally going to be releasing it this month, but life happened and it’s been put off until next year sometime. It’s the first book in a Sci-Fi trilogy that has a strong M/NB romance subplot. I love the characters, the setting, and the storyline. I’ve even fully plotted out the other two books because I knew where the trilogy would end up and had to know how they would get there. The title is Fan the Embers and will be released under the name Cynthia Kimball.
I’m not sure when the mainstream military/contemporary fantasy novel will be released. As an author, sometimes you have major hopes for certain books and this is one. It might sound crazy, but I would almost rather not release it than to release it and have it go nowhere.
There are a few romances that are finished and just need to go through some final edits. A couple of them will be released next year.
And now for Thianna’s series: All They Ever Needed:
For Christian Darringer, life isn’t worth living. Just back from the Middle East—scarred and with permanent damage to one leg—he doesn’t think anyone will want him for anything. He didn’t plan on meeting someone he can’t stop thinking about. Pulled toward the startling younger man, he begins to question a lot of things—especially his sexuality. Not one to hide from a challenge, he plunges ahead only to find himself more than just attracted to Logan.
Logan Mannette has almost everything he ever wanted: loving parents, happiness, friends, and security. The only thing missing is the love of his life, a love just like his parents have. When he meets Christian at a party, everything changes. Instantly attracted, he does his best to help the sad man and quickly finds himself feeling more than he has ever felt before. Raised in a domestic discipline household, he holds that ideal as what he wants. His interest in spanking has become a fetish and when Christian admits he wants to be spanked, Logan believes he might have found the perfect man.
Just as everything begins for them, Christian’s past intercedes and one of his brothers makes waves about him dating a man. When it lands Christian in the hospital, he is forced to reevaluate their budding romance. Being with Logan might feel as natural as breathing, but if it costs Christian everything he cares about, is this new relationship worth it?
While unhappy to be missing four weeks of Christian’s company, Logan is thrilled to spend a month with his father’s relatives in New York. A naturally gregarious individual, he’s used to winning people over and getting things right. Unfortunately the Mannettes are not what he expects and for the first time in his life, he doubts who he is.
Christian has regained some of his old self-esteem and is taking on new challenges. Besides growing in the relationship he has with Logan, he takes the time his boyfriend is away to learn more about domestic discipline. He learns a little online but it is Gregory, Logan’s father, where he gains most of his information. Including the fact that his natural strength puts him in a position he doesn’t expect.
Logan hits rock bottom and Christian runs to the rescue. He saves Logan from New York, but puts their relationship in a new sort of peril. When the dust settles, who will be left on top?
Christian takes to heart everything he learns from Logan’s father. As he and Logan go forward in their DD relationship, he finds that he’s willing to not just take on the mantle of head of house, but to embrace it. With Logan graduating from college, Christian takes the next logical step and asks his boyfriend to move in.
Even with the stress of student teaching and trying to figure out what to do after graduation, Logan leaps at the chance to live with the man he loves. The pressure of graduation begins to get to him and the only thing keeping him grounded is the amazing man at his side.
Those closest to them make huge changes in their own lives and when an unexpected job offer lands in Logan’s lap, they have to make a life-altering decision. No matter which way they go, they need to give something up. Play it safe and stay home or accept the job and move away from their families? When it comes to decision time, there is one thing they are not willing to part with. That one thing makes all the difference in the world.
All They Ever Needed Boxed Set: This boxed set contains the first three books (As Natural as Breathing, Took My Breath Away, & Breathe Each Other In) in the All They Ever Needed M/M Domestic Discipline Romance series.
(In this excerpt, Logan played Santa at his parents’ holiday party. After the kids went home, he goes to change into regular clothes only to be interrupted…)
“Ho ho ho,” grunted a voice, and he turned to see a man seated on one of the chairs lining the walls. He wore a pair of jeans, a green button-down shirt, and cowboy boots. Logan tried not to focus on the cowboy boots. Cowboys were one of his fetishes. He could get a hard-on by thinking of one.
“Ho ho ho,” he returned, smiling at the good-looking man with extremely short, dark blond hair. For once since he came out, he wasn’t sure what to say to another guy, so he went with this Santa persona. “Have you been good this year?”
Biting the inside of his lip, Logan tried to ignore his now hard cock that was barely covered by the Santa coat. The thought of a naughty cowboy was almost too much for him to handle. “Well, now, we can’t have that,” he answered, his voice not as sure of itself as it had been. It sounded too breathy to him. “Naughty boys get coal in their stocking.”
Shrugging, the man looked around. “That would top off my year,” he said sullenly, all pretense of a good mood disappearing.
“What’s your name, young man?” he asked, trying to get his Santa voice back.
Looking back at him, the man shook his head. “Doesn’t matter. Go help the people who need you.” Without another word, he stood up and limped away without looking back.
Logan considered going upstairs and changing, but something about the gorgeous cowboy who looked like he was in pain was too much to ignore. Making a quick decision, he ran back into the room and dug through the bag. There were five items left: a G.I. Joe, a king-sized peppermint stick, a Barbie doll, a dinosaur figure, and a set of walkie-talkies. Closing his eyes, he dumped everything but the Barbie back in, shook the bag, and stuck his hand in. As soon as his hand landed on a toy, he opened his eyes and pulled it out. Grinning at the result, he turned and went in search of the cowboy who needed a pick-me-up.
The living and dining rooms were crowded and noisy. With the children gone, the alcohol consumption had increased and good sense decreased. Figuring the man he had spoken to would not want to be around people—Logan wouldn’t if he were not in a good mood—he slipped past the rooms and exited onto the back porch. As there was no light on, he couldn’t see much. Figuring it was too cold for anyone to stay out there, he turned to go back in. A voice came from his left.
“Got too hot in your Santa suit?”
Turning his head, he smiled, even though he couldn’t see anyone and knew they couldn’t see him well. “It was a bit hot in there. Besides, you forgot to wait for your toy.”
“I thought I told you I was naughty this year.”
“Santa knows,” he responded with bravado. “You know, that whole list thing.” His voice trailed off as he thought about how idiotic that sounded.
The man gave a sound that might be able to be called a chuckle. “I suppose that’s correct. So are you sayin’ that you checked your list twice? ’Cause I’m sure it would tell you that Christian Darringer was a bad boy this year.”
Christian Darringer. So this was the man who went to war and was almost murdered because he was gay.
Thianna Durston is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?
She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.
Find her Online:
Website – http://mm.thiannad.com/
Blog – http://blog.thiannad.com/
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Author Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/athiathing
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ThiannaDurston
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/thiannad/
Tumblr – http://thiannad.tumblr.com/