Pearl Love on Writing, Books and her latest novel ‘Salvation’s Song’ from Harmony Ink Press (author interview)

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Salvation’s Song by Pearl Love
H
armony Ink Press
May 16th 2017
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Available for Purchase at

Harmony Ink Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Pearl Love here today.  Welcome, Pearl, and thanks for answering some of our author questions for us!

✒︎

~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Pearl Love~

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

It varies from story to story, but in the case of “Salvation’s Song,” quite a lot.  The most obvious (to anyone who knows me) is the fact that Jeremy is a band geek. I played in band from the time I was in fifth grade through my senior year of college. It was my most singular defining characteristic as a kid. I never particularly felt like I fit in well with my peers, but being in band gave me a sense of belonging. 

I also borrowed heavily from my personal experiences to create Tyrell’s grandmother. I am extremely close to my own, and she is suffering from some of the same difficulties, though fortunately at a much older age. I wanted to try and convey that sense of helplessness and absolute love between Tyrell and Lucille. Having her illness be the result of something more than nature gone awry was my attempt to make sense out of things.

Lastly, there’s Tyrell’s mother, who I assured my own mom is no reflection on her whatsoever. LOL! The only resemblance is that they are both heavily into church, but really, that’s it. 

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I have tried writing contemporary (and will again very soon), but I’m not very good at it. I’m an aromantic asexual, so I have very limited real life experience with romance or relationships. It’s all fantasy to me, which is why I have no difficulty writing gay men even though I’m not one. I do have a tendency to insert fantastical elements into modern-day settings, which I’ve done with this story as well.  So, I guess my preferred genre these days is urban fantasy. I find it fascinating to think about the mundane and then turn it on its ear in some interesting way. In this case, I decided to meld the ancient (Assyrian gods and demons) with the world of high schoolers trying to determine their sense of self. So, the research for “Salvation’s Song” focused mainly on the supernatural aspects, since they are based on an actual religious construct.

I also really wanted to make the city of Chicago a character in the story. I grew up there and visit my family there as often as possible. It’s such a beautiful city with a lot of diversity in terms of neighborhoods and people. Being able to revisit the haunts of my youth, as well as discover new places I’ve never been, has been wonderful. Thank goodness for Google maps!!

For other books I’ve done, in particular The Garden series, which is set in Victorian London, I have to research every aspect of the story. I was never into history when I was younger, but lately it has become a singular fascination. Writing in a world that is part of the not-too-distant past but that is so different from our modern day-to-day has been a real treat.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve ready in either of those genres. I’m not a fan of the current trend for depressing teenage dystopias…expect for the Maze Runner series (thank you Dylan!).  I was heavily into fantasy and sci-fi when I was younger, so my love of those types of stories has definitely carried forward into my own work.

  • Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Here’s where I get to give my plug for plotting vs pantsing. For anything longer than a short story, I never type a word until I have the story completely plotted out. That way, I know exactly where I need to end up and generally how to get there. Some of the details may change as I write to accommodate the flow of the story or characters that get unruly, but for the most part, my outline dictates everything. Fortunately, this has allowed me to avoid getting stuck.

As for the emotional aspect of a story, since I’m not drawing on any personal experiences, I can stay detached from my characters to a degree. I would never write a story that doesn’t affect me on an emotional level, but the mechanics of getting the story into words gives me distance. That being said, when going back to edit a story for submission, I have occasionally surprised myself and teared up. I try to put a story away for a good length of time after writing the first complete draft so I can read it with fresh eyes. When I’m not buried in the technicalities of grammar and word choice, I can appreciate the story more for its emotion. If I sniff, I know I’ve done my job.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Since romance is like fantasy to me, I treat it as such. “Once upon a time” leading to “happily ever after.” I honestly don’t see the point in HFN. If I’ve taken the trouble to guide my characters through an emotional journey toward each other, I want it to stick! Relationships fail or fade away in real life. I don’t need to read about it in a romance novel. Of course, anyone who has read “’Til Darkness Falls” is probably laughing or screaming at me right now. LOL!

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I’m giggling because of a particular thing that happened to me in high school. When I was a freshman, I got caught reading a Harlequin romance in class. How? I was hiding it behind my text book and it fell out onto the floor. I was sitting in the first row. Yeah. I was an aide for the teacher because I was a total goodie-two-shoes. During my next volunteer time with that teacher, I apologized profusely for what happened. She just laughed and said, “That’s why you have such a good vocabulary.” Nice!

To answer the question, yes. I read romances like they were going out of style! My grandmother had a huge collection, and I steadily made my way through them starting at age twelve when she finally let me see one.  At first, she would only let me read the ones with little or no smut, but I would sneak the juicier titles while she wasn’t looking. I fell off only after I went to college and my supply dried up.  Now, I read mainly M/M romance, a lot of them in manga form.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I know there are people who are devoted to print, but I am not one of them. I have a ton of books. My house is a fire hazard! But the ability to have so many reading options on a single device like my Kindle or tablet is miraculous! Not having to deal with physical books just makes everything easier, particularly when I’m commuting to and from work or when I want to read in bed at night with the lights off.

I’m pretty sure there will always be some market for paper books, but I honestly believe the market is shifting permanently toward digital. With every generation that lives more of their lives on computers and mobile devices, the demand for physical reading material will shrink. It’s sad to a degree, but progress is all about change. I welcome our ebook overlords!

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

It really depends for some books (“To Be Human”/”To Be Loved”) I wanted the covers to reflect a moment from the story. For The Garden series, the covers reflect the setting of Victorian London or of the brothel. The original DSP cover for “’Til Darkness Falls” was intended to be a puzzle where elements from the story and the characters were hidden or in plain view. For “Salvation’s Song” I wasn’t really certain what I wanted, but I am thrilled with what the DSP/Harmon Ink art department came up with. The elements of the story, in particular Jeremy’s pendant and the music theme, are the prominent features, which is simply perfect.  The type of cover I would reject is one that has zero connection to the fabric of the characters or the plot. I’m not a fan of posed bodies that are just there to be seen. I also don’t love photo covers because the models never look how I pictured my characters, but I suspect most authors feel that way.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

My favorite is probably still my first: “’Til Darkness Falls.” It is my most ambitious plot, and I poured months (if not years) of effort into creating it. There is a lot my personality in Brian (bless his shy, awkward heart), but I absolutely fell in love with Alrick. I made him a sexy, cheesy romantic cello player who is a contentious assassin. Marry me! And now you know more about me than you probably want to. *smile*

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I am currently working on the third book in The Garden series. I also have a contemporary (gasp!) in the hopper. It will feature an established couple that goes through some pretty serious drama. After that, I will work on the next book in the Salvation series. Since it is a YA series with Harmony Ink, I am going to try stepping outside my M/M comfort zone and to tackle a F/F couple. Wish me luck!

“Salvation’s Song” blurb

Only a chosen few can prevent an ancient evil from overtaking the world: the Singers, the Seekers, and the Saviors….

Tyrell Hughes and Jeremy Michalak are both juniors at Winton Yowell High School in Chicago, and aside from sharing a homeroom, they couldn’t be more different. Tyrell is well-liked, surrounded by friends, popular with girls, and looking forward to a bright future. Jeremy transfers to Winton Yowell to escape the troubles of his past. He’s hoping to survive his last two years of high school by flying under his new classmates’ gaydar and indulging in his passion: playing clarinet.

Tyrell and Jeremy struggle to ignore their attraction to each other. But that becomes increasingly difficult as young people across the city start dying. Both teens realize they alone know the true cause of the tragedies—and have the ability to put a stop to them. They’re the city’s only chance to defeat the dark forces threatening it, but to succeed, they’ll need to find common ground and reconcile the desires they’re trying to deny.

About the Author

Writing Manly Romance From The Heart! Pearl Love has been writing since she was a kid, but it was the pretty boys who frolic around in her head who finally convinced her to pursue it seriously. She’s a mid-west transplant who current thrives in the hustle and bustle of the nation’s capital. She enjoys any type of story so long as the boy gets the boy. Pearl is a Marvel fan girl and owns a ridiculous stash of knitting supplies.

Facebook: Pearl Love Books (https://www.facebook.com/Pearl-Love-Books-158363940846627/)

Twitter: @pearllovebooks

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