I’d like to offer a warm welcome to Nell Iris, our first Spotlight Author.
How long have you been writing for, and what inspired you to start writing?
I guess I’ve been writing in some form or other my entire life. When I was a teenager, I dreamt of being a writer. My teachers encouraged my writing and I even tried being an arts and culture journalist for a very brief period of time, before I realized journalism wasn’t my thing. At all. Then life interfered and my dreams were forgotten in favor of adult responsibilities. I didn’t try writing fiction again until almost two years ago, but I’ve sort of always been writing. I’ve had a personal blog for more than 11 years and I worked with writing when I had a day job back in Sweden. It didn’t give me much room to be creative, but it was writing. After I moved to Malaysia and didn’t have to work anymore, I revived that old dream, but it wasn’t until my husband—one day out of the blue—said I think you should try writing that I actually tried. And here I am.
I’ve loved romance books forever. The idea of happily ever after has been my favorite kind of drug for as long as I can remember. But to be honest, M/F romances are kind of predictable. You forgot the condom? Here comes the pregnancy in 3…2…1…BAM. And gender stereotypes can be very tiresome. Which is why I fell in love with M/M the first time I read it. The dynamics between two male characters are more interesting and not as set in stone. Writing two male characters gives an author more room to play and explore without having to adhere to the rules that are set by society…and that I don’t like. Besides, I’m all for diversity.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing the blurb! Do you have any idea how difficult it is to summarize your literary masterpiece (LOL) into 150-200 words?? Gaah, frustrating.
Are any of your characters based on you or people you know?
Not entire characters, but bits and pieces of them. For example, the way Cory is listening to music in Cinnamon Eyes is how I listen to music. He immerses himself in the lyrics and the song and feels it in his entire being. And there’s a memory described in that book, how Cory and Asher used to lie on the floor and listen to music with the volume turned up when they were teenagers. That scene is from my own teenage years.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
A total pantser. I tried plotting out a story once because I’d gotten into my head that it was the right way to do it, but doing so killed all my creativity. I didn’t feel like I had space to explore the characters when I was writing, and sadly Milo and Dane ended up in my virtual Abandoned Writing-drawer. I’ve made them a promise that once I’ve forgotten whatever it was I decided for them in the first place, I’m going to give them redemption and finish their love story 🙂
Do characters and stories just pop into your head, or do you take your time thinking about and planning them?
They pop into my head. Knock on the door to my brain, demanding to have their story told, and not caring if I’m in the middle of something else when they show up 🙂
Do you write often? Do you have a schedule?
I don’t write every day, but I do something related to my writing every day. Critiquing my author friends’ work. Advertising, blogging, chatting with writer friends. Or lying on the couch, trying to figure out the next scene.
I don’t do well with schedules. I thrive on deadlines, but day-to-day schedules aren’t really my thing. I prefer setting a weekly or monthly goal for myself so I can move around the writing days as I see fit. But a deadline works wonders for my creativity and I work really well under pressure. Somehow self-inflicted deadlines don’t seem to work as well as if someone else set them for me, though. I have to work on that.
Are you obsessed with stationery? And if so, what and why?
Yes. Pretty notebooks! I have a gazillion of them and I rarely use them because they’re too pretty to write in. What if I write something not so great in the prettiest notebook I own? That would be a tragedy, indeed 🙂
If you had access to a time machine just once, is there anything you’d go back and change? Either on a personal level or an historical event?
It would easy to say that I’d go back and stop Hitler or maybe tell my teenage self to not get involved with that guy that wasn’t good for me. But I’ve seen far too many episodes of Star Trek and am familiar with the Temporal Prime Directive (lol, yes I’m a Star Trek nerd), so I wouldn’t do it. What if we got something much worse? Maybe I wouldn’t have wasted a couple years on that douche canoe, but what if I’d ended up with someone even more awful? Maybe someone who’d abused me? And what if the world had gotten someone more wretched than Hitler, who succeeded in their goal of exterminating an entire race of people? We learn something from history (hopefully!) and might lose something important if we tamper with it. That being said, I might stop in for a cup of afternoon tea with Jane Austen. Surely that wouldn’t be so bad? 🙂
Are you a cat person or a dog person? Tell us about your pets.
I’m an allergic person and can’t have pets. I would love a cat or two, but sadly, it’s impossible. Instead, I have a tiny cuddly tiger that I sleep with every night (who’s named Tiggr and has a big personality), and two geckos that moved into our kitchen without our consent, but they eat a lot of bugs so they can stay (and we’ve even named them by now). But my favorite animal in the whole wide world is the elephant and my family is fostering orphaned elephant babies at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. They are the pets of my heart. One day I’d like to go to Kenya and meet them face to…eh, trunk. Check out the trust for pictures of super cute baby elephants!
Thank you for telling us more about yourself.
More about the author
Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along but let’s face it, she’s not Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!
Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.
Nell is a 40-something bi-sexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, where she spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her life long dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.
Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, and wants to write diverse and unique characters.
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