I got to sit down with RJ Scott to talk writing, research and her new charity anthology, Love For All Seasons!
About the Book!
Tell us a little about your new release: Love For All Seasons (A Charity Anthology)
The anthology features five established authors and three brand new MM authors:
RJ Scott – The Last Chance
V.L. Locey – Brioche for Two
Annabelle Jacobs – Beach Boys
Chris McHart – Favorite Flowers
DJ Jamison – Special Nights
Cathy Brockman – Winter’s Chill
EJ Smyth – Who Do You Love, My Valentine
CM Valencourt – Sweeter than Honey
The concept of the anthology was to give new authors a chance to learn more about the process of publishing, from sending in a story to a submission call, right through to handle pre-release excitement! I chose the idea of Seasons, and opened up to submissions and found three new authors with unique voices who wanted to work on their craft.
When it came to releasing the book we decided it would be brilliant to raise some money for charity along the way, so decided to release it at $2.99 with all proceed being split equally between The Matthew Shepard Foundation and The Albert Kennedy Trust.
Where did your inspiration for your story in the anthology come from?
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a passion for hockey which recently has become the basis for a couple of best-selling series (one MM, one MF), along with a couple of short stories. In The Last Chance, we have a college kid destined for the NHL who knows how difficult it could be to come out as gay and get a contract with a team. So he does what he thinks is best and denies any attraction for the boy he falls for. Until that it, college is ending. They are both young men now, due to leave to find a place in the world and he knows he has one last chance to tell the man he loves how he feels.
Did you outline the story, or dive right in?
I never outline. Not in over 100 books have I ever outlined. I think it is because my stories seem to swell and morph as I write them, and on the couple of occasions that I have tried to outline or plot I have got bored. Almost as if the story in my head is done. So, yes, I dive straight in without hesitation and very often end up deleting chapter one which is the chapter where I have learned about the kind of people my story heroes are.
How did your characters come to life?
This is a difficult question. They were already alive in my head, I can picture them, know their mannerisms, their backstories, their motivations. How they came to life is that I hopefully got all of this in a coherent fashion so as to make them interesting!
Did you do any cool or interesting research for this story? What did you learn?
I am constantly researching. The US College system fascinates me and is very different from the way the UK University system works. All I can say is thank goodness for American proofers who (after they’ve stopped laughing) will explain to me where I went wrong.
What was your favorite part of working on this story? What was the most challenging?
I love writing hockey romance, the challenge was to make this less about the sport and all about the personal moment that will change my hero’s lives.
What’s next for this story – is it part of a series? When does it come out?
This is a standalone story with an epilogue that takes the characters a little into the future BUT my hockey player has been drafted and is now waiting to start with the NHL Team, the Dragons. Which is the team I use in my MF romance writing. So yes, we’ll see the characters again, and this may be the start of a spin-off of Dragon Hockey MM romance books.
Excerpt from The Last Chance
I’d give myself a couple of minutes, see if it was a cold I could manage and began to head back home. Someone fell into walking alongside me and I sighed.
“Jesus Nats, I’m okay and I said you should stay.”
“She did stay,” a decidedly masculine voice informed me. “It’s me.”
I stopped dead and turned to face the owner of the voice.
Justin. The one person I didn’t want fucking with me or making me feel intimidated in any way. I had an image of him in my head, all wrapped up in that perfect kiss, and I didn’t want him destroying it with this weird prank.
“Leave me alone.” I carried on walking but so did Justin, keeping up with me easily.
“How badly did they fuck up?” he asked me, his voice muffled behind his scarf. I stopped again and this time I’d reached the end of my tolerance. Justin pushed down his scarf and stared at me. We were in semi-darkness, the skeleton of a tree blocking the streetlight enough that it seemed we were all alone. The snow deadened sounds of distant cars whispering through the slush, and the chatter of people walking past us faded away.
“How badly did I fuck up?” he asked quietly.
Read Love Season HERE!
♥ ♥ ♥
When did you realize or decide you wanted to be a writer?
Ever since I can remember. I’ve always written stories, scenes from TV shows, it’s only when I found online fan fiction that I was lucky enough to discover my new career.
What has been your best experience as an author so far?
Meeting readers, talking to readers. By far the best thing about this job.
What sort of challenges have you faced as a writer? How did you overcome them?
When the owner of my publisher, Silver, absconded with a LOT of my money and rights to my books and left me right on the doorstep of losing my house… that was the worst moment of my career. I cried a lot, railed at the injustice of it all for a day, then got my head down, worked every hour I could, and got back out all twenty or so books, with new covers, editing, scenes, GAH, even just thinking about that Christmas makes me tense. I was utterly determined to survive it and was lucky I did.
How do you research and plan your books? Do you find outlining helps or hinders your process?
I don’t plan. Never. I will think about character motivation and backstory, I will draw detailed maps of the area, I will even give my characters birthdates, but no planning on the story.
For example, The Heart of Texas, I had one character, an oil man, the youngest brother inheriting very little, and the other character a cowboy with money struggles. I had the oilman blackmailing the cowboy into marriage, that was as far as any kind of plan went. The series went onto be some 400,000 words long spread over 8 books and is my best selling series.
Planning for me means that in my head the story is done, and I get bored.
Have you learned anything really cool or interesting while researching your books? What’s been the weirdest research you’ve ever had to do?
I am learning on a daily basis, particularly given the majority of my books are set in the US and I am from the UK. The coolest research I did was on the mysterious Voynich Manuscript, for my second Oracle book, the Book of Secrets. I also love a good conspiracy theory and spend way too much time on the web following links to things that I shouldn’t be reading. LOL.
What advice would you give to new writers in the field?
Write, all the words, all the time.
Don’t write and sub and then sit and wait, get writing on the next book.
Read, all the words, in your genre and outside of it.
Know your market but don’t always write to market – write what you love.
Tell us a little about your writing nook! Favorite tea/coffee/writing snack?
I am super lucky to be a full-time writer, and we recently moved house so that I have a whole bedroom to be my office. I have a sofa, a table, shelves, cupboards, and an awesome desk space, with a gorgeous view over parkland. The last seven years have been a mix of writing on my lap at the start, with my son sitting on me as well, and then staring at a blank wall. So, yes I feel super lucky. This is my space, and apart from the leak in the ceiling, it’s perfect.
I drink tea (I am British, you know) and it keeps me going. LOL.
I try not to eat when I write, and actually when I’m in the zone food isn’t what I think about. Mostly I think about how much more I can write before I need my next cup of tea!
Of all of your own characters, who would you most want to date?
Well, they’re mostly gay so I don’t think they’d be interested in a cuddly Brit… lol… BUT, if I could, then I am super Team!Riley (The Heart of Texas) or Team!Kayden (Sanctuary Protectors series, book 3) or Team!Justin (The Montana series)…
What project are you currently working on?
Daniel, the third book in my Legacy series. Legacy is an offshoot from Texas which can be read as a standalone series, about three men who were victims of a terrible crime as kids. They all find ways of coping, and Legacy is their touchstone, the place they can begin to heal. It will be the final in the series, and it’s an emotional story to write.
I’m also nearly done with my co-author Hockey book, Goal Line, book 6 in the Harrisburg Railers series, written with the wonderful V.L. Locey. God, I love those hockey books, and we have SO MANY IDEAS…
What’s next for you?
For me personally? My daughter graduates from Cardiff University this summer, with a degree in archaeology. She’s settled in Cardiff with her guy, Tom, and is very happy, but for me, I can’t wait to see my little girl graduate.
My son is leaving school in July, he’s 19 and has autism. He has an apartment on the attic level of our house, with his own kitchen, and we’re working hard on his abilities and independence. I can’t wait to see him able to cope more on his own.
Hubby and I are planning our Canada trip next year, and we’ve just come back from the US. Lots of signing and sightseeing and book stuff… Hubs is 50 this year, as I was last year, and we’re seeing a lot of the world because of my writing. All good stuff and I’m thankful for every single person who buys my books.
RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.
RJ Scott is the bestselling author of over one hundred romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.
The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.