A warm welcome to today’s Spotlight Author, Nora Phoenix.
Thank you for joining us and sharing more about yourself.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a single mom who decided to finally realize her dream to become a fiction writer. I’ve published non-fiction books under a different name (both traditionally published and self published), but writing stories has always had my heart. I’m super excited I’m now finally doing this!
What would people be most surprised to know about you?
I’m good at public speaking and talking to people, so most people assume I’m an extravert. In reality, I really need time alone to recharge after I’ve been around people too much. An hour or two with my head in a book usually helps. Or a hike. I love hiking and being outside. It helps me recharge and clear my head. And I get the best ideas while walking!
How long have you been writing and what made you fall in love with writing?
I started writing when I was still in elementary school. I created monthly magazines and distributed them to family. As a teen, I ventured into romance writing. I’ve kept all those stories, and they’re totally adorable, all filled with teen angst. I minored in journalism in college, and worked for a local newspaper. Ever since, I’ve been writing in some way, though more focused on non-fiction at first. I love writing in all shapes and forms really, but there’s something magical about writing stories. It’s cathartic to me as well, and it brings so much joy. About six years ago, I started getting serious about fiction writing, and now I’m releasing my first book.
What are your ambitions for your writing career and what’s your favorite part of writing?
My dream is to write full time. I’ve had many different types of jobs in my life, but nothing brings me as much joy and satisfaction as writing. It would be absolutely beyond epic to do this for a living. I never have to force myself to write, and I rarely suffer from writer’s block. My favorite part is the beginning of a new book. Beginnings and endings are relatively easy, because they’re filled with possibilities. The middle is always hard because you have to make your characters suffer. I suck at that.
Why did you choose to write GLBTQ romance? Why not another genre?
I recently got divorced because my husband (now ex) came out as gay after twenty years of marriage. When we met he’d told me he was also attracted to men, but because we both came from conservative Christian backgrounds, we ignored it. Being gay was not an option. You got married, never talked about it again, and you prayed away the gay. Turns out it doesn’t work like that. When we were finally ready to face that we were never going to work, I wanted to understand better what it meant to be gay. I read tons of books, non-fiction ones, did research, so to speak. Accidentally, I came across my first MM book in the J.R Ward’s Black dagger Brotherhood series. It was seriously hot, but it also spoke to me. I started reading more in the MM genre, and fell completely in love with it. And yes, I can appreciate the irony of me writing in this genre considering my story, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My ex and I are still best friends, and we co-parent our son together. He’s happy now that he can be himself, and so am I because I’m no longer stuck in a marriage that was never gonna work.
Do you write any other genre?
I’ve written young adult before, but not published. It wasn’t ready yet, or maybe I wasn’t ready yet. It’s a genre that appeals to me besides MM romances.
Give the readers a brief summary of your latest book.
My latest book No Filter also happens to be my first book, so that’s easy. It’s the story of Indy, who is on the run to escape his mobster ex. During a store robbery, he saves someone’s life, and meets Noah, a former Army medic. They click, which results in a huge problem for Indy, because he needs to run to keep himself and Noah safe, but Noah makes him want to stay.
What genre does it fall in?
It’s an MM romance.
Share a few words about your latest book, other than the usual blurb.
I love reading stories that are a tad unconventional, so that’s what I write as well. No Filter definitely falls into that category, because it flirts with various labels, tropes, and genres. It has a hint of ménage, friendships that defy labels, and some sweet kink to spice it up. Plus, hot sex, because you know, hot sex.
Give us a little insight into your main characters.
I like characters that are real, and to me, that means a little broken. Indy is a survivor, but he didn’t escape his ex unharmed. He’s got scars, bot literally and figuratively. Because of that, he’s convinced no one could ever love him, because he’s too damaged. Noah comes across as this strong man, but underneath he’s struggling to stay afloat. He feels responsible for his best friend who is coping with PTSD, while trying to deal with his own physical and mental wounds at the same time. At first, Indy sees Noah as this perfect, strong man, until he discovers Noah is just as messed up as he is, only in a different way. They’re two wounded people who discover they’re perfect for each other.
Will we be seeing these characters again any time soon? Is this book part of a series?
No Filter is the first book in the No Shame Series, and they’re not stand-alone novels, so they have to be read in order. We’ll be meeting a new MM couple in each book, but we’ll also follow the story of Indy throughout the entire series. There will be some happy-for-nows and cliffhangers along the way, but I promise a big, fat happy end in the last book. The second book in the series, No Limits, will come out around November 27th.
What do you enjoy reading in your free time?
I read like crazy, probably about a book a day. It helps that I’m a fast reader, haha. I read mostly MM, but in all different subgenres. I appreciate most subgenres, from mpreg to kink and super sexy. I also read tons of non-fiction, mostly popular psychology stuff, but memoirs as well, or social science and history.
What does your writing process look like?
I used to be a big plotter, outlining my plot in detail, complete with index cards and all. I’d read some books on writing where they stated that’s how it was done. Turns out, that doesn’t work well for me. Now I only spend a lot of time plotting my characters. I have a basic premise and conflict, and then I simply start writing. It’s a process called organic writing, where you write asking yourself ‘what would this character logically do next?’ and it works wonders for me. Writing has become more fun since I started writing this way, and a lot more spontaneous. My characters have taken me on some epic journeys.
Thank you for telling us more about yourself.
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