How to describe Josephine Myles… one woman dynamo? I’ve met her at the UK GBLT Meet as she is one of the organisers. She wears the most gorgeous handmade dresses and her hair is just… wow! She is one author I had to have on here as soon as possible.
1. How did you discover the MM/gay romance genre?
By accident, really. I started out by reading and writing Torchwood fanfiction for a few months after the onscreen death of my favourite character really knocked me for six. Since Jack and Ianto were a couple onscreen it was only to be expected that there were plenty of online stories exploring their relationship in greater—and often very explicit!—detail.
But after gorging myself on this gay fanfic I started to wonder if there were more books out there with strong gay characters in successful romantic relationships. I remembered reading E.M. Forster’s Maurice as a teenager, but I hadn’t encountered a gay romance since. After a quick search on Amazon I ended up buying paperbacks of Alex Beecroft’s False Colours and J.L. Langley’s The Tin Star. My journey had begun, but I soon realised I’d need an ereader if I was to explore this genre properly. A couple of months later I bought my very first ebook: Heidi Cullinan’s Special Delivery, and I haven’t looked back since 🙂
2. What made you start writing in the genre?
It was the Torchwood fanfic that got me started actually writing m/m, but when I looked back over my old notebooks from university I can see the ideas were already there. I just didn’t know if I’d be allowed to write love stories about two men. Especially if there was explicit sexual content involved. I had absolutely no idea that a market existed for these sorts of stories, and to be honest, at that time it didn’t yet.
3. Where do you base your book(s)?
I’m only comfortable setting books in locations I already know reasonably well, which has definitely limited where I’m able to set stories. So far I’ve ended up setting a fair few of my stories in Bath—a city I lived in for almost a decade—but I’ve also set some in the South East where I grew up. Screwing the System is set in High Wycombe, which isn’t a particularly lovely town but it was exactly the kind of place I wanted for those characters. For me, setting is incredibly important and I think the place someone chooses to live, and how they feel about that choice (or lack of it), says a lot about a character.
One location I haven’t yet used other than for a few short stories is the area of rural Somerset where I now live. For some reason it just feels a little too close to home, and it isn’t somewhere many single gay men choose to live anyway—although plenty of established couples do. However, I do have an idea for a series of novels set in the area involving light-hearted mysteries, so we’ll have to see when I find time to write them…
4. Tell me about your current/forthcoming novel.
The next one to be published is called Junk, and it’s out with Samhain on 27th August (although available for pre-order now!). This is a romance between Jasper, a man with a book hoarding problem, and Lewis, the therapist who helps him to overcome his issues. Hoarding is a growing problem and it seriously blights people’s lives, so it was a fascinating topic to research.
The book is set in Bristol, which is probably my favourite city at the moment, overtaking Bath in my affections. Perhaps it’s because I now live in a small country town, but these days I like my cities to be bustling and full of life. Bath now seems incredibly sedate to me, although it’s still a beautiful and fascinating place.
What are you writing at the moment?
I’m currently in the planning stages of the next in the series Junk kicks off, giving a minor character, Mas, his very own story arc. I’ve meant to follow up on secondary characters who intrigued me before, but this is the first time I’ve loved one of them enough to commit to the idea. Normally I prefer the allure of a brand new story world, but I’d love the chance to revisit Jasper and Lewis from Junk and spend some more time in their Bristol.
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.
Jo is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and publishes regularly with Samhain. She’s one of the organising team behind the UK Meet, an annual event celebrating GLBTQ fiction. She has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish on occasion.
Internet links (website/twitter/facebook etc)
Website and blog: http://josephinemyles.com/
Letting go is the first step to healing…or bringing it all crashing down.
When an avalanche of books cuts off access to his living room, university librarian Jasper Richardson can no longer ignore the truth. His ever-growing piles of books, magazines and newspapers can no longer be classified as a “collection”. It’s a hoard, and he needs professional help.
Professional clutter clearer and counselor Lewis Miller thinks he’s seen it all, but even he has to admit he’s shocked. Not so much by the state of Jasper’s house, but by the level of attraction he still feels for the sexy bookworm he remembers from school.
What a shame that Lewis’s ethical code forbids relationships with clients. As Jasper makes slow but steady progress, though, the magnetic pull between them is so strong even Lewis is having trouble convincing himself it’s a temporary emotional attachment arising from the therapeutic process.
Jasper longs to prove to Lewis that this is the real deal. But first he’ll have to lay bare the root of his hoarding problem…and reveal the dark secret hidden behind his walls of books.
Warning: Contains a level-headed counselor with a secret addiction, a bespectacled geek with a sweet tooth, a killer “to-be-read” pile, embarrassing parents, a van called Alice, and deliciously British slang.
The bus dropped Lewis off at the bottom of the hill, and it was a long walk up with the late afternoon sun beating on his back and the day’s stored heat radiating off the tarmac. By the time he reached number sixty-four, it was a relief to be able to slip under the cool green shade of those overgrown trees. Jasper could have a beautiful garden if he cleared the place up a bit.
As to how much of a challenge awaited them inside… Well, that remained to be seen. Lewis rubbed his hands together and knocked on the door.
No one came. Lewis checked his watch. Yep, he was on time. Just how long could it take Jasper to negotiate the junk in his house? He rapped on the door harder this time. He even tried stepping back to call to the upstairs windows, but one look at them made him realise the futility of Jasper hearing anything that way. Both sets of curtains were pressed back against the glass with the weight of whatever lay behind them. Mildew had stained the linings, and more of the green algae that coated everything in the garden grew up the glass.
This could end up being one of his toughest challenges yet. Perhaps an insurmountable one, if Jasper was too nervous to show for the appointments.
Unless he just couldn’t get to the door. What if he was trapped under a pile of fallen paper? It happened. Hoarders died that way every year. Admittedly, it was mostly the elderly who didn’t have the strength to dig themselves out again, but even a young and healthy man like Jasper could be in serious trouble if enough heavy stuff went over.
Paper was heavy stuff.
Keeping the panic at bay with decisive action, Lewis forced open the letter box and called for Jasper. He held his ear to the gap but couldn’t hear any response from within. He was just wrestling his phone out of his pocket to try the man’s mobile, when a voice from behind him made him jump.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. There were road works in town and a huge traffic jam, and I got stuck outside Cabot Circus for twenty minutes. I should have rung, I know, but I don’t like to use my phone in the car. I mean, I know everyone else does, but the law is the law, even when you’re not moving. I hope you didn’t get put off by what you can see through the letterbox. It’s better in the kitchen, I promise.” As he babbled, Jasper shuffled closer, his keys held out in front of him almost like a weapon he was afraid to use. Lewis realised what his pose must have looked like.
“I wasn’t looking; I was listening. I thought maybe you might…” His face heated as he continued. It sounded silly, with Jasper standing in front of him, all vibrant eyes and nervous twitches. “Sometimes people get trapped in their houses when things fall over. I wanted to make sure you weren’t in there, needing help.”
For a moment, he thought Jasper might bristle, might feel patronised, but instead a smile broke slowly across his face, tilting the corners of his eyes in a way that made Lewis’s heart flip. “Oh. Thanks.” The sincere way he said it suggested maybe he wasn’t used to having people look out for him, and once again, Lewis found himself wondering just how many friends the man really had.
“Not a problem,” he said gruffly, still a little embarrassed at having been caught out. “It’s just one of my recurring dreams. Being buried under an avalanche of stuff.”
“You have nightmares too?”
“Don’t we all?”
“I don’t know. I thought you seemed so…together. Not like me.” Jasper took a step closer, and Lewis could smell him then. A hint of soap mingled with a larger dose of sweat. But fresh sweat, so not unpleasant. Not by a long stretch.
Lewis’s eyes drifted closed for a moment to better concentrate on Jasper’s scent. Lulled by the drowsy heat and the distant buzz of traffic, he drifted for a moment, almost content.
Then his eyes sprang open. Jasper was closer now, staring down at him with a quizzical tilt to his left eyebrow. For a breathless moment, he held eye contact, and Lewis could make out the flecks of amber in his dark eyes. They were like a glass of dark rum held up to the sunlight, rich colours swirling within.
“Are you okay?” Jasper asked.
“Fine, fine. Sorry. I was up late last night. Probably should have got more sleep.” Now why did he say that? He didn’t want Jasper thinking he was some kind of party animal. “I mean, I was up playing Trivial Pursuit with my folks; then the heat stopped me sleeping.” What a wild life he led.
“Oh yes, I know. Sometimes I have to sleep in the hammock. Can’t open any of the windows in the house,” Jasper added, his eyes darting away again in their habitual dance.
The house. “Are you ready to show me the inside now?”
Jasper folded his arms around himself, and for a moment, Lewis expected a negative. But when it came, although quietly voiced, the “yes” sounded firm and sure.
It was only when Jasper stepped around him to unlock the front door that Lewis noticed the triangle of sweat turning the back of his faded shirt a darker shade of green. Nerves, or simply a result of the heat?
The lock seemed to give Jasper some trouble, but after a few muttered curses, it opened a foot or so, and Jasper slipped through the narrow gap. “Come on in,” he called from inside.
It was a good thing Lewis was slim. As it was, he had to brush against the table piled high with junk mail sitting just inside the door. A pile of envelopes slid to the floor. A floor that was carpeted with more of them. As Lewis raised his gaze, he commanded his face to stay expressionless. After the number of cluttered homes he’d seen in his eight years working with Carroll, very little still shocked him, but he’d learned to be careful.
He was glad he had.
Amber Allure: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/bio_Myles.html
Smashwords (self-published works, also available at other retailers): https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JosephineMyles