Jane Darius on Characters, Writing, and her new release This Must Be the Place (Nick and Ben #2) (author guest blog)

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This Must Be the Place (Nick and Ben #2) by Jane Darius
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Jennifer Vance
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Jane Darius here today talking about writing, and her latest story This Must Be the Place. Welcome, Jane.

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Hi, I’m Jane Darius, and I’m the author of This Must Be the Place. You can preorder a copy of the book here. I wrote a short story that has the same characters in 2014, which you can buy here. I’m really excited to hear what people think of the new book. It is kind of like an origin story of how Nick and Ben get together Here’s a summary just to give you an idea of what the book is about.

A Nick and Ben Story

Having explosive sex is easy for Nick and Ben—getting past their hang-ups and opening up to each other won’t be.

Handsome New York City bartender Nick might’ve left life—and his abusive, homophobic father—in West Virginia far behind, but even though he was a star quarterback in high school, he can’t outrun the effect those years had on him. He’s still not comfortable as a gay man, and he keeps his relationships short… as in a single night.

Hotel reviewer Ben is a hopeless romantic, but he can’t seem to find a guy who feels the same. After being cheated on again, he doesn’t expect to spend forever with Nick, but even their one-nighter doesn’t go off without a hitch. Ben falls asleep on Nick’s couch, and in the morning, they have to face their hookup that wasn’t…and the fact that there’s a connection between them whether they’re looking for one or not.

I’ve also answered the interview questions, which I had so much fun with! If you want to know more about me (or upcoming books), you can follow me at janedarius.tumblr.com or on Instagram @janedariuswrites.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Jane Darius

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I feel like at least a little piece of me goes into every character. I know that sounds weird, but it’s definitely how I view it. I feel like there’s a part of me in every story, and that’s why I get so attached to everything I write. And I feel like it makes characters, stories, and everything you can write more genuine if you’re willing to share some of yourself with others.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

The whole idea of a Mary Sue is really steeped in sexism in fiction to me. No one considered James Bond to be a Mary Sue/Gary Stu (although he could have easy been considered one), and guys are constantly writing themselves into stories every day. I feel like this didn’t become an issue until women got more attention for writing blatant self-insert fantasies (even though men are just as guilty of the same). That said, I think what will always be disappointing about reading a story with a character that is an obvious Mary Sue is that they usually aren’t well-rounded. Many times, they have all the strengths and none of the flaws. And, honestly, that’s always going to be boring to read except to the person who wrote 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 like to do a bit of both. Sometimes, I go down the rabbit hole of looking up how far one destination is from the other and which fruits are in season during the time of my story. Sometimes, I just throw in something I like or build a new world altogether because the current one we live in can tend to suck.

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

Absolutely. I loved stories that were dialogue heavy and funny. I hope my writing provides people with the same things.

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?

Totally. As far as This Must Be the Place goes, I wrote the first draft in 2014, and when I first tried to get it published, it wasn’t good enough. I worked on it for a long time, and it’s finally ready to be published. I have also put things aside because of time, emotional stress, intimidation. Sometimes I think you just have to be ready and sometimes you have to plow ahead. (Lots of conflicting viewpoints, I know!)

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I really do love both, but I think which one you use should depend on the story and where the characters are at in the end. It’s not necessary to force an HEA when an HFN is more organic.

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

Yes. I also love romantic movies.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

I’ve had a lot of influences in my life, and I feel like I can see them more now that I’m older. Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon definitely affected my ability to write dialogue and I’m grateful to both of them for that. Everybody says it, but I do think it’s true that you start out by imitating the people you admire and then you begin to create new, original work that starts to look like yours.

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

I think it’s a great option. Though I don’t ever think it will or should completely replace paper books, I think it’s gotten people to read more and try out more genres or stories, which is always a good thing. I recently got my first Kindle, and I love it. I got it for work, and it’s so handy and helpful.

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

I worked with Dreamspinner who set me up with a cover designer named Jennifer Vance. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook. She’s really great! We went through so many pictures together to find some guys who really gave me a sexy, Nick-and-Ben-y vibe. 

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

Currently, Nick and Ben are my first published lead characters, and I think I’ll always have a special place in my heart for them because of that reason. I love writing, and I love all my stories for different reasons, though. I am always so excited to share them with people.

What’s next for you as an author?

I have an idea for a sequel to This Must Be the Place. I would love to be able to write it, and I want to focus on that next. I just wish the days were longer sometimes! 

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I don’t think anyone is too flawed for love, although sometimes, it’s nice to see people work through their flaws in a way that doesn’t require the love of someone else or happen because of someone’s love. I like to see people change because they want to, not because someone else changes them. But you definitely don’t want to load up a character with flaws just to make them seem more real. People have good and bad in them just like everything else in life.

 

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

Yes, I’ve been known to notice character traits in myself, friends, and family members and put them into a character, although I would never mine for them on purpose. I think there’s realism in seeing who people are and what makes them tick, and I like noticing character traits in others who are very different from me. I think you also have to turn that scrutiny inward though.

 

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Yes, I have, and I’m hoping to have it happen more often, haha!

 

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

Yes. Sometimes, it feels good to write things down when I’m sad or not sure what to do. In some instances, it can help solve the problem, but at the least, I usually feel a little better.

  

Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

Lol! Yes, but in my early twenties, I learned from experience that, at least for me, there’s a fine line between coherent, insightful drunk writing and misspelled, unintelligible drunk writing.

 

If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

In a bed and breakfast or hotel by the sea or in the mountains. I think it would be a place that is beautiful, secluded, and serene (and hopefully pet friendly so I can bring my cat!). I’m working on a solo writing retreat for the summer that would offer me this chance.

 

With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write because it’s fun, which is harder now because making my living through writing has made it a little less fun lol. But I keep on writing because I can’t imagine doing anything else. And I definitely write to simultaneously escape and to understand not only myself but the world around me. I feel like one of the most difficult things to explain about why I write is that I want to always be saying something important and writing crazy-fun emo shit simultaneously. My constant goal is to be able to do a little of both at the same time.

 

What’s next for you as a writer?

I am a freelancer working from home, so I’m always writing. I have had a goal of publishing a novel for a long, long time, and now that it’s finally happened, I’m ecstatic. However, when I finally reached that goal, I realized it wasn’t like, “Okay, now I’m done!” The desire to publish more and write more doesn’t go away (there was recently a Jane the Virgin episode that I think captured this feeling well). Next, I want to publish something else, pay my bills, and keep working on writing what I love.

About the Author

Jane Darius is a writer and dreamer who wants to travel the world. If you try to talk to Jane when she’s writing, she will probably get scared like you just snuck up on her, as she sometimes gets lost in the world of her characters. Someone once told her that writing is like being alone in a dark room. She understands the sentiment but prefers to think of it as sitting by a warm fire while her characters tell her their stories. When she’s not writing fiction, Jane blogs and writes featured articles for a number of websites. In her spare time, she loves to watch movies, drink various beverages, and yell at her favorite TV shows. Writing makes her smile like nothing else does. You can follow Jane at http://janedarius.tumblr.com.

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