My Friday guest this week is Nephylim, who is not only a writer, but also a talented artist.
First of all, would you like to introduce yourself to anyone lurking here?
Hmmm… how to introduce myself in a way that makes me sound interesting? I’m a vampire and the lover of fallen angels. How about that to get the attention?
In fact, I am a 47 year old mother of two kids and to cats, living in the Welsh mining valleys. I work as a solicitor part time, but don’t consider myself to be a lawyer. I’m a writer and artist.
I have a love for all things gothic and my home is designed with a castle theme. From my days in re enacting, I have a number of replica swords and spears. I also have horn drinking horns, leather pouches and bags, woven baskets, wooden chairs, spoons, bowls, etc. My home is a mixture of history and fantasy with 11 year old boy stuff thrown in to spice the mix.
I’m disabled from an accident a number of years ago when I broke my back. I’m not in a wheelchair although that lies in my future. It’s a kind of inspiration, keeping me on my feet and fighting. I have been prevented from driving for the past three years after developing epilepsy but have been stable for a year and can’t wait to get back behind the wheel so I can indulge my other love… travel. I have friends scattered all over the UK and there is little I like better than getting in the car and going on an adventure to visit friends.
I have rarely travelled outside the UK though, not only because I can’t afford it, but because I have a terrible fear of flying. That’s why I do all my flying inside my head.
I have been writing for most of my life. I adore books and my home is full of them. It has always been my dream to have my own book in my hand, and this has now been realised. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have two books out there, one of them actually on my bookshelf. It’s a feeling like no other
How did you get into male/male romances? What do you like about the genre?
First, I don’t think that m/m is a genre. Romance, is a genre and m/m refers only to the characters in the book. For me the sexual orientation of my characters doesn’t define my writing.
How did I get into writing characters who are gay? I can honestly say that I have absolutely no idea. One day I wrote a book that happened to have gay characters, and I liked it. My brother is gay and I spent a long time on the telephone discussing his sex life, and it fascinated me to take my characters through that adventure.
Since I have started writing m/m I have come to realise that there is a terrible hole in the market for young gay people looking for real stories that involve gay characters without having to read highly erotic or deeply romantic stories. My books are therefore (mainly) aimed at young people.
What sets your books apart from other male/male romances?
They’re not just romances. Yes, there are characters who fall in love, and go on adventures of exploration with their hearts and bodies, but the stories are a lot more than that. Everything I write, even when I am trying very hard not to, seems to be dark in one way or another. I think I might describe quite a bit of my work as ‘gritty’ with a fair amount of angst.
Some of them are aimed specifically at the younger audience, with very little sex and a lot of adventure, although others are far more explicit.
I have no fear about the areas into which I forage. I have written characters who are blind, disfigured, disabled, abused – mentally, physically and psychologically, and I will continue to explore, through writing anything and everything that interests me. I constantly strive to be different, to stretch myself, experimenting with different writing styles and formats.
Got a bit carried away there. Not entirely sure I’ve answered the question, or just went off on a mental jaunt.
Is there any genre(s) that you haven’t written yet which you would like to? If so, which genre(s)?
I don’t think there is. I have written vampires, werewolves, fallen angels, adventure, romance, horror, fantasy, sci fi, thriller, mystery… and some that don’t fit very well into any genre.
One thing I haven’t tried is history. I’m kind of lazy with my research and it seems to be too much hard work for me. You never know, though, stranger things have happened.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Everything. Writing is like breathing for me. It’s the way I relax. I have a lot of pain, every day, but, when I’m writing it goes away for a while. I also have a lot of stress in my life… with work and my kids, making ends meet etc, and, again, when I’m writing it all goes away.
Writing is a passion. I get excited when I write. The story unfolds in my head, often writing itself as I go along. I get caught up in the story and it sweeps me away. I fall in love with my characters and they take over my life for the time I’m writing them. I speak to them, live as them, think of them all the time and it adds colour to my life, even when I’m not actually writing.
I suppose I write for the same reason a lot of people read… escapism.
What are the best and worst things about being a published author?
The best thing is the incredible rush of having my book in my hand, and of looking on a book site and finding my work there.
Actually the whole process, from sending the manuscript to the publisher and seeing the final product has been wildly exciting and one big rush. I’ve had a fabulous time, met wonderful people, and made friends.
The worst thing is the hard work. I thought that when the book was published that would be that. But then the terrifying word… blog, was brought up. I am SUCH a technophobe. The thought of setting up a blog absolutely scared the pants off me. I had no idea what I was doing, but I am now proud of the results.
Then there are the profiles at all sorts of places and the constant updating of them. Bleargh.
It’s fun, though. Really fun. Exciting too.
You are also a talented artist. Would you like to tell us a bit about that and maybe share one or two of your favourite pictures?
I don’t consider myself to be a talented artist, not at all. I paint for love. I can’t pain from memory. I have to have something in front of me, not to copy off, but… well okay, to copy off. I use lots of different pictures, photographs, paintings… all kinds of things, but I can’t put something together in my head, sketch it and then paint it. That’s what I consider to be true art. So I’m not a talented artist, just someone who’s good at copying and interpreting.
My absolute favourite painting is this one.
Closely followed by this
Which is a character in one of my books… Enigma II, a sequel to Enigma I which is already out on ebook
Who are some of your favourite artists?
My absolute favourite it a digital artist called Heise. She is inspired.
Closely followed by my good friend Maria Korte who has a totally unique style that I adore, as well as sharing a passion for my favourite male model, the most beautiful man in the world that she depicts so fabulously.
Last but not least is my amazing cover artist Mika Star who designed the cover for The Unfairness of Life.
What do you hope to achieve eventually when it comes to your artwork?
Absolutely nothing at all.
One of my paintings appears on the cover of Enigma !
And I hope that the rest of the series will also have my original art. Apart from that it’s just for me.
Do you have any other hobbies
A shed load. I don’t do re enactment anymore because of my physical condition although I dabble now and again, for example at Christmas I dressed in an Elizabethan ball gown to teach children how to make decoupage Christmas cards.
I do cross stitch.
I read… not so much as I used to but I still have a few books I keep going back to.
I read tarot cards, mainly for myself, but sometimes for others.
Apart from that I don’t really have time for any hobbies
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on two new novels, which should be out later this year.
The first one doesn’t have a title yet, but is about vampires and angels and a were panther… oh it has an unicorn in it too. Even for me, it’s dark, although, being aimed at young people it’s lighter than in might have been.
This one is m/f and a completely different style for me. It means a lot to me for all kinds of reasons, some of which too strange to talk about. It’s been written for a very very long time and it surprised me, when revising it, how much my writing has improved since then, and a basic edit turned into a serious re write.
After that is coming one of my favourite books ever. It’s called The Runaway, and is about an actor/model who runs away from the pressures of fame and meets a young man with no memory and no confidence. The wild boy, who dresses in kimonos and mini skirts is almost too much for the shy and serious young man but, somehow, they grow to understand and love each other.
Please tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is The Unfairness of Life, available at the locations below.
Gabriel doesn’t believe in love. With a dark past and a history of disastrous relationships he has promised himself ‘no more’. Then Laurie bursts into his life and just won’t let go. When the past catches up, with terrifying and almost fatal consequences, will their love survive? Will they survive?
When Gabriel was thirteen he was taken to a secret government research centre where he underwent horrific experiments and a brain implant attempting to awaken latent psychic abilities. Now, at twenty with a string of disastrous relationships and serious physical and mental problems, the implant is breaking down and he is unknowingly facing a desperate threat to his sanity and his life.
On the run from the government he finds himself falling in love with the tenacious Lurie who just won’t leave him alone; but he struggles with the belief that if he allows himself to love Laurie he will put him at risk.
When the government scientists catch up with him Elena persuades Gabriel to return to the facility so that the implant can be removed to save his life. The operation is successful but, without the dampening effects of the implant, Gabriel’s psychic abilities increase to the extent that any contact with other human beings is unbearable.
Elena takes Laurie and Gabriel to a remote cabin to train him to control his abilities. Laurie continues his attempts to woo Gabriel but Gabriel is convinced that it is only a matter of time before he is taken again and is torn between his feelings for Laurie and his fear for Laurie’s safety should he allow them to develop.
Just as things seem to be settling down the government scientists again track him down and it becomes a race against time to rescue him before he loses either his mind or his life.
When things start coming back they are... strange. I can tell instantly, even before I’m aware of my surroundings, that something’s really not right. For one thing there are voices, and I know they’re not in the room with me.
We’ve located the last one. There was a discharge of energy that should have torn him apart, but it’s been shielding him, so he must still be alive. I didn’t think that any of them would have been capable of that. We still can’t locate him through usual means, but a discharge like that should have killed him so it’s bound to have done some damage. We have been monitoring the hospitals in the area. The shield was very effective in... unusual ways, and we have only just received the intelligence. There’s a car on the way. He must be neutralised, or he will present a danger to us all.
Shit. I expand my awareness, not missing the fact of how easy and effective it is now. I feel Laurie close by and then, as I widen the scope, I sense lots of people, strangers. No, no, no. I sit bolt upright and get a startled exclamation from Laurie.
“What the fuck? Laurie, I told you... I TOLD you… not to bring me here. Fuck, Laurie...”
“Calm down. What do you expect? We’ve all been scared stiff. You’ve been out for more than two days.”
“Fuck. But I have to get out of here.”
Panic screams through every fibre of my being, and I’m half out of the bed before Laurie pushes me back.
“Woah, Gabriel. You can’t wake up from being unconscious for almost three days and walk straight out of here. You can't.”
“Like fuck I can’t! Laurie... you don’t understand. You just don’t understand. You just don’t... I’m in danger, Laurie. It’s not safe here, it’s not safe.”
“Of course it’s safe, Gabriel. It’s a hospital.”
I try to calm down, but it’s not easy. The panic is swamping me, consuming me. “Nowhere’s safe, here least of all. They’re coming. They know where I am. I have to get out of here.”
“Who’s coming? Who do you think is after you?”
“Not think. They’re coming Laurie, coming now. Please... I have to. I have to get out of here right now.” My head’s killing me and I can’t shut out the voices. Now they’re there, they won’t go away. If I concentrate, I can understand what they’re saying. If I don’t, they slide into the background, but they’re like an itch I can’t scratch, a background fizz that is always there and makes my head hurt.
“Look. I don’t know what’s going on, Gabriel, but you can’t just walk out of a hospital after being unconscious all this time.”
“Watch me,” I grind out, glaring at him.
“You’re naked Gabriel,” he says softly.
Laurie presses gently against my shoulder, pushing me back. “Listen. I don’t pretend to know what’s going on here but that night, the night you kissed me and... Something, something happened. The world... changed. Because of that, I’m prepared to believe that there’s something deeply weird going on, and give you the benefit of the doubt. But you still can’t walk out of here Gabriel. You need to find out what’s wrong with you before... before...”
“I know what’s wrong with me.” I can’t look at him. I know he doesn’t believe me. He thinks I’m being stubborn. There’s an internal battle going on between the part of me that’s begging me to trust him and the part of me which is screaming... run, run, run.
“No. It’s true, Laurie. I do know what’s wrong with me, and it isn’t something they can help me with here. I know I haven’t given you much reason to trust me but... but I... Look... I’ll give you all the information you want. I’ll tell you everything you want to know, I promise, only please... please believe me that we’re in danger, terrible danger, and it gets worse every moment we stay in this place. I have to get out of here.”
Laurie looks at me for a few minutes and I can see the conflict in his eyes. It’s nowhere near as bad as the conflict that’s ripping through my mind. The voices are buzzing like angry bees, and I know it’s because they’re discussing me. Every now and then I tap in and I know from what I feel and what they say that they’re getting closer. Some of the other things they’re saying are equally terrifying. People are dying, and if they get here before I leave, I’m going to be next.
Eventually he nods. “Alright, but you still can’t walk out of here naked. I have your clothes in the car. They gave them to me when they brought you in and I haven’t thought about them since. Damn, I’ve spent almost every moment here.” He stops, looking uncomfortable. “I’ll get them. Just don’t do anything stupid before I get back.”
Grinning with relief, I nod.
He should’ve known better. As soon as he walked out the door, the panic set in again. I tune in to the voices and check where they are... close. Too damn close. For the first time I realise that there’s the usual medical paraphernalia surrounding me. I know... it’s insane that I actually didn’t notice it all before. In my defence, all I can say is that the panic blinded me to everything.
Needless to say, once I start freeing myself, alarms start going off. I make sure that I deal with the non-alarmed stuff first, and by the time the first nurse comes bursting through the door, I’m standing clear of the bed and ready for a fight. I’m quite prepared to physically fight them if I have to, but I’d really rather not. The pain in my head’s blinding, and the adrenaline’s not going to do it any good at all.
I force myself to stay calm as a nurse built like the side of a house tries to manhandle me back to bed. I say very softly, but very clearly, “If you don’t take your hands off me right now, I’m going to call the police and have you charged with assault.”
Where can we find you and your books on the web?
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/120555 (The Unfairness of life)
http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-unfairness-of-life/18838315?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1 The Unfairness of Life Paperback
http://1placeforromance.com/romantic-fiction/the-unfairness-of-life/prod_6606.html (the Unfairness of Life)
You can also find details on my blog