1. How did you start writing erotic romance?
I was writing romance, and sex happened.
No, seriously, that's what happened the first time. I had an affectionate cuddling scene going, then they were kissing, then hands started roaming, and I suddenly had a sex scene and wasn't sure what to do with it. I ended up deleting it, actually, but the seed was sown (so to speak!) and after that some of my books turned out erotic romance and some just romance.
I've always liked romance as a writer (bores me to death as a reader, ironically) and it was a fairly simple progression for me. That said, I don't write out-and-out erotica because if there's no good story, I'm not interested on any level.
2. Plotter or pantster?
I still 'pants' the sex element most of the time - Some Mistakes was always going to be an erotic romance because that was such a huge part of the story, but literally every other manuscript with sex in it wasn't planned as either sweet romance or erotic romance. I plan the romance part, and if the sex comes naturally, then so be it. One of my current works-in-progress actually turned out quite filthy in the end!
I plot quite loosely. I like to think I know what each chapter will contain - especially if there's particular scenes I want in them - but the end result has often wandered off a fair bit. If I have no plan at all, the momentum fizzles out and the idea ends up in the ever-growing pile of 'stuff I'll do one day.
3. What are three things you have on your writing desk?
Post-it notes. I cover the wall opposite my laptop in them. They're not always about writing, but some of them are. Right next to each other are 'Blog post - Alice Jones (!)' and 'Salzburg/Ljubljana???' All my little reminders go up there, and the master-pad sits by the laptop ready for stray thoughts.
Secondly is a used ticket to Avenue Q in May. I don't know why it's there, but it is.
And thirdly are a couple of bright orange plastic tumblers, because once I'm settled in to have a good writing binge, I will not move. So drinks have to be here. There's a line of Pepsi bottles under the desk, and tumblers ready and waiting on top!
4. Favorite food?
Right now I'm having a serious craving for chicken tikka masala. You can tell I'm English!
5. Tell us a little about your new release. What character in the book really spoke to you?
Some Mistakes is the story of mistakes - how some mistakes can completely destroy somebody's life, and how others can work out for the better if you just ride it out. The main character, Craig, had his life ripped apart ten years ago by someone else's careless mistake, and ever since he's pretty people-phobic in terms of having friendships and relationships. His sex-only, no-feelings-involved affair with Damian is just another mistake - but it's maybe the first one to go right in over a decade.
It's about Craig, but as I started writing it, Damian was the one who shouted louder. Craig's quite wary and watchful, but Damian's a little more carefree and wild. He's not what he seems - in some ways, he's a bigger mystery than Craig - and I felt like I was finding out about him as Craig did. He wasn't letting me in on any secrets, that's for damn sure!
The title - and Damian's approach to life - was very much inspired by a single line in a country song. The rest of the song didn't apply, and I don't even like country music, but Brad Paisley sang, 'Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.' That's pretty much Damian.
6. I write because ____...
I write because...I do. I can't actually pin it down or clarify it. I've been writing since I could hold a pencil, and making shit up for even longer. My mother used to call me the little liar in the family because I would make up total bullshit about my day at nursery school and come off completely convincingly. I won my first story competition when I was ten years old, and it was the first one I ever entered. I never had a moment of wanting to be a writer or an author - I just always took it for granted that whatever I did when I grew up, I'd be writing too. Luckily, I eventually went professional with it anyway!
7. What is your favorite type of character to write about?
Absolute, utter bastards. Not even evil bastards, necessarily, but characters who just don't give a shit. They can be fun and entertaining side characters - best friends who cameo with one-liner jokes every now and then - or they can be huge villainous gits swanning in to mess things up. I grew up on Stargate and loved Jack O'Neill for his bastard tendencies. Voyager bored me until Seven of Nine came along because everyone was too nice. Even heroes have to have their crude or cruel or bastard-y moments for me to love them.
8. What is the sexiest scene you ever wrote?
Until last month, I would have told you the shower scene in Craig's flat in Some Mistakes (now I'm not giving that one away for free, what do you take me for?!) but...
But recently I wrote a manuscript called Thicker Than Bone. And it wasn't intentionally erotic, but then one of the main characters turned out to absolutely love sucking cock. It was his thing. He was an honest-to-god cocksucker, and this blowjob scene just came out of nowhere. And it was easily the hottest blowjob I have ever written.
So yeah. Stay tuned for that one.
9. What advice would you give new authors in the erotica/romance field?
Never, ever, ever use the word 'turgid' to describe a penis. Ever. It's wrong. Just don't.
There's loads of advice all over the shop for new authors, but specifically for erotica and erotic romance: sex is not romance. It sounds obvious, right? Apparently it's not because I see this way too much. You can't replace romance with sex and say it's love - and believe me, I have tried this.
Basically, if I see two people having loads of really hot sex all over the place, I will believe they are in lust and I may even believe they have passion. I will not believe they are in love. If you want me to believe that, you have to put in some affection. Some dates, some hand-holding, some kissing, some interaction that doesn't lead to shagging. There's a sad lack of it in favour of rampant sex everywhere, and if you want to be convincing in saying they're in love, then you have to provide the evidence - and sex isn't it.
(And never use the word 'bulbous' either. It might well be, but it's not sexy.)
10. What is next on your writerly horizon?
I currently have one young adult novel - Private - seeking a home, about coming out in a conservative military family. The Kershaws are easily the most fun and incredibly British family unit I have ever written, and I'm insanely proud of them.
I also recently finished an erotic romance, Thicker Than Bone. Would you save someone's life if you could? Anyone's? Really? This is about a frankly gorgeous little relationship between Yazid Al-Batari and Alasdair Barraclough, and the ever-present shadow of Alasdair's older brother, who...disapproves. Shall we say. That one's still being tidied up, but I will hopefully pitch it soon and find it a home too.
And my current work-in-progress is another young adult novel, In The Blood. I have no real explanation for this one yet, aside from an absolutely hilarious scene of two sixteen-year-old boys discovering you can blow up condoms like balloons and release them to fly across the room, farting the whole way. (Nope, totally didn't take that from real life...)
And after that - who knows! (But it's my birthday today, so the writerly horizon can wait for 24 hours.)
Buy link http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=1&products_id=628
Matthew J. Metzger is a British author living, working and drinking just outside of Bristol in the south-west of England. As much a character as those in his books, Matthew was created out of both the desire and the need to keep the writing world away from the day job and the family. Both Matthew and his author are as queer as they come, and more than a little mad.
Matthew's books, unsurprisingly then, address a wide range of issues both LGBT-specific and not. Depression, mental illness, domestic violence, abuse and illness have all featured in his works, both past and current, and probably will continue to do so.
Matthew can be contacted on his Facebook page, Twitter feed, or at his website. He's flaky and a bit sarcastic at times, but he doesn't bite. Generally.
Craig's life is defined by ugly mistakes. This 'arrangement' with sex-mad Damian is another - but maybe some mistakes aren't so bad after all...
Craig is not good at commitment. Relationships are to be avoided at all costs—but when Damian and their evolving coffee-order code fail to elicit anything more serious than Damian's last name, Craig begins to think that this is not a mistake at all, but an opportunity for guilt-free fun, without the prospect of breaking any hearts. Craig cannot afford to be found out, but it looks like Damian isn't interested in asking the right questions.
Then his mother dies. The mistake that ruined Craig's life in the first place is dragged kicking and screaming out of the past—and this casual arrangement with Damian begins to show its true colours.
The party is in full swing. P!nk is singing something about glasses. The DJ already looks high as a kite, but Craig suspects anyone who styles himself as "Timmy-G" and has violently pink dreadlocks has probably been permanently high for several years. He ignores the music, skirts around the dancers, and raises his hand at the bartender. "Lager," he shouts at her over the noise. There's no point specifying a label, because they only serve Foster's. It's shit, but it's cheap.
Lager—gnat's piss—in hand, he turns to scope out the room, leaning against the bar. It's vaguely sticky already; the floor is distinctly sticky, but then the floor always is. Craig scans the crowd. It's almost half nine, and that's after Damian usually turns up, so he's expectant. Likely he has found a dance partner already, because some people just reek of sex appeal without even trying, and Damian is definitely one of them.
It doesn't take long.
As the song changes, the dancers shift, and a neon light ricochets off that fair hair. Craig necks the rest of his glass and moves. He rolls off the bar, predatory, and advances on the shadowed dancer like something on the hunt. Damian is dancing with someone, not quite touching but almost there, and Craig hooks a finger into the top of Damian's tight jeans to turn him, cupping those narrow hips in both hands.
"Hello," Damian says – or, rather, mouths. The music is too loud, but Craig doesn't need to hear him. The way those lips lift at the left side of his face is enough, and then Damian drapes both arms oh-so-casually over Craig's shoulders and begins to sway idly against him. He's wearing those jeans that do something sinful to his arse, and Craig slides both hands into the back pockets. Damian just grins.
"Buy you a drink?" Craig asks against Damian's ear, audible only by the extreme proximity, and bites the lobe lightly when Damian squirms against his hands. Damian has a bony arse, all things considered, but he can move his hips better than any woman in the frankly sensual way he dances, fluid as water, and it more than makes up for it. He twists and flexes as he sways, and if Craig didn't already know his measurements, he'd be able to calculate them now.
Damian nods; Craig guides him to the bar, one hand still in a back pocket, and they lounge against it waiting for the bartender to be free. Damian slips a hand between Craig's shirt and jeans, and his fingers are hot.
"What are you doing here?" he asks, just about audible now they're off the dance floor itself. Craig smirks. Damian's asked this question every Friday night since the second time Craig picked him up, and Craig never gives the same answer.
"Keeping tabs," he says this time, and Damian grins. He's had a few drinks already, judging by the lax way the smile blossoms, and the way he tips his head like his tight, almost strict, control over his own body has slipped a little. It's enticing, and Craig pulls him in and nips at his neck. When there's no shivery wriggle, he bites harder, and Damian sighs. Yep. Not quite drunk yet, but definitely heading there.
"On what?" Damian murmurs and kisses Craig's stubble.
"On who else you play around with."
Damian laughs. There's no illusions here - no strings - and it's what Craig needs. There's no expectations with Damian. They don't go on dates, and they don't know each other outside of sex and a coffee code about sex. Damian doesn't come here to pick up Craig, specifically. And when one of them loses interest and this all stops, it won't matter. There'll be no hideous fallout.
That knowledge is freeing, and it's why Craig keeps a hand in Damian's back pocket— literally—and orders for him at the bar. He knows what Damian drinks by now. The nasty, paint-stripper variety of vodka that Edge of Pleasure serves. Sometimes with a mixer, sometimes straight. Craig always orders it mixed with something, because he hates the taste of vodka alone on Damian's tongue.
"You trying to get me drunk?" Damian asks when Craig slides two double vodka and Cokes along the top of the bar.
"Why?" Damian asks, but knocks the first one back despite the question.
"You're easier to handle when you're smashed," Craig says honestly.
Damian smirks, knocking back the second before looping his arms around Craig's neck again and whispering in his ear. "You can't handle me drunk or sober."
"I can try."
"Mm, you could." Damian peels himself away. Craig watches him, watches who else watches him, and follows to cup those narrow hips and dance with him. He doesn't really know the music, and he's not much of a dancer, but it's easy enough to match Damian's rhythm and get his attention now and then with another bruise on his neck or another kiss. (Once the taste of the vodka dies down, many other kisses.)
Craig hooks a finger into the top of Damian's jeans and keeps him close. He kisses his neck and glowers over Damian's shoulder at another man who keeps hovering. Craig has plans for tonight, and the only unpredictable variable is when Damian has had enough of dancing.
Or rather, enough of dancing vertically.