In between updates on my writing and little articles about life’s daily challenges, I’ll be hosting wee interviews with some of my fellow authors.
Now, just to be upfront about this, a very large proportion of these authors write adult fiction. And by ‘adult’ I do indeed mean that this is the kind of fiction you read alone, with the bedroom door locked. While the interviews are PG-rated, it’s all 18+ once you’ve hit the ‘buy’ links at the bottom of this article.
If erotica’s not your thing, then don’t click the links.
Now, with that said… please welcome Meg Amor!
Your environmental descriptions are just gorgeous and totally soul-consuming. If I spend a fortune I don’t have to buy a holiday in Hawaii, it’ll be all your fault. Since Hawaiian Lei, I’ve had a craving to visit. Would you mind sharing a little about your personal connection to Hawaii?
Aloha!! And thank you, mahalo, for having me and loving my descriptions. I love the Hawaiian Islands, they’ve become part of who I am as a person. Sorry, about the holiday!! LOL. But you’ll love it when you get there. I promise. And I know all the best places to go. Never mind a guidebook, just take my Hawaiians series on your Kindle. 😊
An excellent plan. I don’t like guidebooks, anyway. They’re always written by disappointed people, as shown through the selection of ‘vital language’ in the phrasebook section: “My wallet has been stolen.” “There are many dogs, and they are all smelly.” “Where’s the US Embassy?” etc. Kindle it is.
I love showcasing the islands in my books. I’ve been in love with the Hawaiian Islands since I was nine-years-old. Mum went on a world trip with her dad and bought me all these fabulous dollies from around the world back. But the one I treasured the most was a wee plastic hula dolly, with her jet-black, long hair, her ‘grass’ skirt and flower lei. The islands captured my imagination. And, being a Kiwi, I’m always essentially an islander.
I grew up in the cold South Island of New Zealand. The South Seas have always held my imagination and I’m sure we’ve got some pirate in there too actually. The aloha spirit is largely who I am as a person, so Hawai’i and the tropics call to my soul. It’s my American home state. The first place I landed in the US was Hawai’i, in O’ahu. Then we flew out to the Big Island for a holiday. I returned there to live and got my citizenship over in the courthouse at Hilo.
I’m so jealous. Jealous, jealous jealous…
I’m temporarily living on the Mainland in the States at the moment, and being too far from the water makes me feel antsy and claustrophobic.
Okay, now I’m slightly less jealous. I know what it is to be homesick!
When I’m home on the Big Island, I live in Kona and it’s the place I’m most at home in the world. My soul is fed. I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life. I fit there. I belong.
I still have my Kiwi accent and it’s fairly strong but when I’m home in Hawai’i, people assume I’m a local. It’s fascinating to me. But I’m very accepted there. It’s home.
And that totally comes through in the writing. But it’s not just the topography that gets me about your series. I can’t get through three chapters without wanting to stuff my face with food. Are you part of a cunning, secret conspiracy to make readers feel snackish?
Yes, and to send me threatening letters from their Weight Watchers class! LOL.
I’m convinced it’s a Kiwi thing. Jacqui Greaves has that effect on me, too…
Actually, I love good food. One of my great pleasures in life is dining out. Part of my travels are always about the food. They’re part of my memories. I still salivate over a mushroom soup I had nearly 35 years ago in Singapore. It was out of this world.
My mum was like that too. She went to Europe in 1972 when I was 9 and came back with amazing stories of Europe. We come from a family of Irish senachies (storytellers) and she’d tell us about amazing food she’d eaten. And decided that we kids would learn to eat at restaurants and know how to behave like the European children did.
Depends on which bit of Europe you’re talking about 😃 Some parts are more refined than others.
So we started going out once a week. Now back in NZ in the day, this was a rare thing. Children did not go to restaurants much with their parents in general. It was for adults, so this was the height of sophistication as far as I was concerned. And I loved it. It became one of my great loves.
I’ll happily eat at a restaurant by myself. But god help you if you take away my plate when there is still sauce on it. I might just stab you with a fork (until I’ve licked the plate clean) then you can take it away.
I approve. I always have my waiter-repelling fork at the ready
France for me is one of the most divine places in the world because of the beautiful alcohol, butter, and cream sauces. And I do have French heritage on my mum’s side as well, so it isn’t too surprising, but to me, sitting down at a table and eating, drinking, and talking for hours is one of life’s greatest pleasures. 😊
I love to try food from books I’ve read. And I’ve had readers who tell me they tried things because they read about them in one of my books. I think that’s terrific.
Do you have a favourite TV chef?
I have a few actually. 😊 These are such interesting questions! Thank you. I love to cook Gordon Ramsey’s food and think he’s an interesting man. I enjoyed his make-over kitchen programs. He can be very sweet with people and very straight up and I like that. I don’t watch his own cooking shows though. He drives me nuts. LOL.
LOVE Nigella Lawson. She’s darling, sexy, very interesting, and can cook yummy food.
Of the American chefs, I love Bobby Flay, his recipes and cooking style. His taste buds and mine match.
And I’m a huge fan of Master Chef, the British version. 😊 I love most cooking programs actually.
Your book boys seem to have unfailing powers for successful outdoor cooking. Have you ever had a profoundly unsuccessful luau (barbecue?) what went wrong?
LOL. Yes, I have been to one but never made one myself. In New Zealand, we do something similar to a luau called a hangi, a native New Zealand Maori do. And I once went to one out in the wop-wops, and the local cow cockies thought he’d put down a hangi. Well. Yeah… ish!
It wasn’t quite hot enough. You have to let the stones heat for hours. I actually write about one in Hawaiian Ginger. And then make sure you let the food cook long enough. So, it takes all day basically. The guy who put it down took a few short-cuts on the time and it was… Ugh… I shudder just thinking about it. It was greasy, ashy, and tasted disgusting!!
A good hangi is really yummy. Smoky, melt in your mouth meat, root vegetables. Lovely. But to be perfectly Francis with you, I’ve never had a decent one that wasn’t put down by a Maori.
When I was a wee kid, we lived on a Maori Pa and boy, did we have GOOD hangi’s there. It was an all-day event, and they’d be Maori songs and dances. And I got to dance in one with my wee flax headband around my then super blond hair and pale, white skin among the gorgeous brown-skinned Maori kids, making an awful hash of the swinging pois. The ‘uncles’ made me an incredibly cool beer tab belt for my dress.
I would love to see that!
I think that’s partly why I’ve always felt very at home among Polynesian cultures. I’m drawn to the community and easy-going nature of Polynesian life.
This leads me rather conveniently to one of the chief pleasures of reading your books: your very sexy cast of some very laid-back men, like Beau and Rob. And the slightly less chilled fellas. Mattie, for example, has had my ovaries exploding from the first in the series, and in the third instalment, Danny’s passion has made my eyes water. When did Danny first come to life in your imagination?
LOL. Ohhh, thank you. 😊 I love my characters. They all capture me on different levels. Danny is one of the “lost boys” who were introduced in Hawaiian Orchid that Kulani hanais—which means informal adoption in Hawaiian culture. They were all kicked out of home for being gay and Kulani slowly took them in and gave them a place to belong.
Danny just popped up as my characters often do. And he had such a strong personality right from the start. I probably know Danny the best out of all the boys. He was so vulnerable, angry, and hurt, but he’s also intelligent. I knew Danny emotionally. And he does grow and heal through things that happen. My muse for him was the very beautiful, inside and out, French/Vietnamese/Senegalese model Willy Cartier.
Watching Danny grow and become a young adult man has been amazing. He’s come from this pain in the arse, aggressive kid to a really nice, strong but vulnerable and emotionally more mature, whole man.
I’ve so enjoyed watching the growing bromance between Danny and his ohana brother Zane, particularly as they initially irritated the living daylights out of each other. Did you have it in your mind from the early stages that they would become close, or did their growing closeness take even you by surprise?
No. It took me completely by surprise. I never thought in a million years these two would become attracted to each other. I initially resisted this turn of events but you have to go with what your characters want. There comes a point in any book where you’re not really writing it anymore. The characters are just telling you their story. Your job is to get it down. So it was fascinating to me to watch Danny fight with his attraction to Zane. Because God knows, he and Zane used to butt heads all the time. They were shocking.
And they seem really different. But underneath, they’re emotionally very similar and that’s where we really connect to people at the heart of a good relationship. When you emotionally get someone and they get you—that’s golden. And rare.
What or who were your inspirations as Zane came to life? It’s so nice to see a profoundly deaf character taking on a significant role where deafness is just one aspect of their being, and not the centre of a plot construction showing how or why people become deaf!
Actually, you were, Sam! Seriously. You helped me enormously with getting Zane right. And any boo-boos I’ve made are my own.
Gone all pink and blushy!
Also, when I first started writing it, they had a deaf model on Dancing with the Stars who was trying to win the dance competition.
Oh! Nyle DiMarco? Yes, familiar with him. A good role model and hot as heck.
And I thought, how amazing, I’m just writing about a deaf dancer. And he was fascinating. People amaze me with what they can do.
Agreed. And I think it was a good move for them to silence the music for a few bars in one of his performances to show what he could hear of the score – nothing!
It’s not the first time I’ve written a deaf character but the first time I’ve had them as a central character. Throughout my life, I’ve had a number of friends who had various abilities that were limited in some way. And I’ve always admired them enormously for their courage, the way they did things despite obstacles at times. I found this incredibly inspirational.
I had a friend Janet in Australia who was severely deaf and had never had hearing aids. Nothing stopped her. It would take me about half an hour to get used to her speech pattern, then we were away talking up a storm. Our mutual friend Mikey (Michele Michael Rakes) is also hearing impaired. And another friend of ours is badly dyslexic and nearly gave up being a writer because of it. And people were so rude to her about the dyslexia. It made my blood boil. I thought, “screw you people. I will edit for you. You will become the writer you want to be.” She just sold over a thousand books in the last month under one of her pen names. I’m so proud of her for not giving up. As she says, “I write in Russian. I just can’t read it.” But she kept going, despite the hard time people gave her.
Good to hear it!
I went to an alternative high school and there were a few kids who were dyslexic. I got to see first-hand how things worked for them and their frustrations at times. I also had a friend who couldn’t read and write. He’d slipped through the system somewhere. But he had the most incredibly intelligent strategies for doing things: he’d shop by colors on boxes, pictures, size of letters, length of words for food products. He’d get stuffed up if they changed a box design. But he had this unbelievable amount of things memorized. And he was shopping for a stereo once and I asked him how he decided. He basically took a picture in his mind of the unit he’d been looking at, then copied the price numbers onto some paper. This is how he knew which one was which. I now suspect he was also dyslexic in some way. But it was incredibly frustrating for him at times and I felt for him enormously. I also admired him so much.
I was an odd kid growing up and I suspect that other people’s differences made me feel slightly less odd. Perhaps too, because my parents brought me up to see differences are something special in people. I spent six weeks in a burns unit as an eleven-month-old. I was walking at eleven months and poured boiling hot black coffee down my arm.
Ow. Ow ow ow. OWWWWW
Mum got me under cold water which saved my arm probably but I always had a big scar on it. But my parents were wonderful. I grew up thinking that was pretty cool and I was a bit special because I had this scar. LOL. So I think I always saw things that other people had that might have set them apart as slightly on the extremely cool side too. 😊
I imagine it’s an extremely impressive war wound! That’s one way to look at things, I suppose!
I also had a couple of friends who were thalidomide babies and were missing parts of limbs. One painted and wrote with her feet. How incredible! People inspire me that you might think are impaired in some way but they achieve fantastic things.
I see people’s prejudices I suppose on so many levels, about so many things, and there’s always a part of me that wants to show the world that underneath it all—we’re all just humans, needing love, attention, friendship, understanding, support, and to be treated with respect.
Right, we can’t say too much about your books because there’s serious danger of one of us inadvertently leaking spoilers, given the number of twists and turns. I’m not one for spoilers – even my Amazon reviews are mysterious. So, a writerly question: what are your top five tips for getting around the dreaded writer’s block?
Right. Just putting on my asbestos suit and locking myself in the Anderson shelter before I answer this one.
I don’t get writer’s block. Or very rarely.
What!? Begone, you prolific pariah, you! Actually, don’t go — Explain!
If I do, it’s because I’m trying to get my characters to do something they don’t want to do. And they just dig their toes in. I tried to make Kulani and Rob have a lovely romantic luxury weekend at Huka Lodge near Taupo in New Zealand in Hawaiian Orchid, and it was a bitch of a thing to write. It just would not roll. It sounded weird, boring, dull, stilted etc.
I sat back and thought, what is going on with this scene? I thought, they just want to go home to Hawai’i. But, but… I protested. I’m trying to give you this fabulous weekend, you wee ungrateful sods. I’d KILL to stay at Huka Lodge. Come on guys! It’s gorgeous. The food is out of this world.
I finally gave up, put them on the next plane to Hawai’i, and found them superb accommodation on O’ahu’s North Shore instead. LOL. And then the story just flowed. So…
- Listen to your characters. You might want to give them something special but if they just want bacon and eggs instead of a five-star dining experience—let them.
- I don’t write from start to finish. I write as the ‘hot’ scenes come up. And I don’t mean the sexual ones. The hot scenes are ones that are running hot in my head. And I literally am just taking dictation from my characters, typing like mad to get them down. If I get stuck on a scene, I just move on to another one. Cut and paste is my friend. I also don’t start at the start of the scene. I start from where it’s running fast and hot and get it down. Then go back and ‘fill’ in the lead up and wind down bits.
- I often write more than one book at once, so if one isn’t flowing or inspiration has gone to the Bahamas (my muses are on first name basis with EVERYONE in the whole of the Bahamas), then I can just switch to another story.
- I don’t write in a set time frame. i.e. From 8pm at night to 2am. I write when it comes to me. I get my best work this way and I don’t get blocked and waste time. I don’t write every day either. I write when I’m running ‘hot’ and then the words just fly onto the screen. Saves a lot of time and rewrites.
- And then if all else fails, I edit. Eventually, I’ll feel ‘pushed’ by the muses to write something or while I’m editing my work, something will pop in and off I’ll go again. I also edit for other people. It all helps to keep me unblocked and rolling.
That’s good advice. I do sometimes feel hammered by people who say ‘write at the same time every day, so your muse knows when to show up’. Well, they’ve not met my muse, who has a serious punctuality problem.
Right, about you – I sense your love for animals. I’m betting you have fur-kids…
LOL. I do. I have a 21-year-old ginger and white, short haired tabby called Mr. Leo Ray Jr. He’s an American and has travelled all over the world with me. Leo is fighting fit for his age—literally. Even now, every couple of weeks, he still boxes Bob (one of the yard cats) round the ears, and anyone else silly enough to get in the way. And he usually wins. He’s on thyroid meds and he could do with a pair of glasses but otherwise, he’s going well.
I also had another huge ginger and white boy called Mr. Beaumont who is memorialized in Hawaiian Ginger and yes, he really did do all those things.
Having been lucky enough to see early drafts of Hawaiian Ginger, I can testify to ‘Beau’ being an utter pest, lol. Gave me the giggles!
He was a complete terror but I loved him. He was my lumberjack cat, whereas my Leo is my scholarly gentleman puss, who thinks when I call him a cat, I’m being funny. Not that he has a sense of humor. It’s decidedly lacking! He’s my gourmet puss and has a great love of Thai food or anything Asian. Beau-Beau had American taste buds but did like Mexican food.
I grew up with a lot of animals. We had a real menagerie: rabbits, guinea pigs, black and white cats all called Puss-in-Boots when I was younger, Siamese when I was older, and one magpie who was brutal to dad but would let me feed him thing with my bare hands. Also, we often had a boxer dog which are completely mad but a lot of fun.
But I love my cats, they’re my kids. I can’t abide men who don’t like cats. So if you don’t hit it off with Leo, there’s the door. Au revoir.
A reasonable philosophy! So -cats have the power of nine lives, they say. If you could have super power, what would it be?
Teleporting, so I could travel all over the place whenever I wanted. Although, I’d miss the airline meals. Seriously, I do enjoy those. All these little individual servings of things. You get a bit of everything. That’s why when I go to a restaurant, I usually order all appetizers, so I get a taste of several things.
Lol yeah, it’s like a secret, guilty pleasure, isn’t it?
And if I could teleport, then I could pop into France for decent crispy croissants and baguettes. Or a good tarte fraise. Or have a lovely potato and bacon soup in Ireland. Or I could pop in and see you, and have a full English breakfast in England. I could nip down to NZ and see my family and best friend down there. When I got a craving for fish and chips cooked in pure fat, I’d just whizz into Christchurch where I’m from. Imagine how convenient this would be!!
It’s a good power to have. I know many a parent with children at different schools who could do with that particular ability during the school run… and finally, I want the recipe for mac salad, please. I’ve seen it mentioned in many a place and I’m aching to try it, even if I can’t go to Hawaii.
And see, even here. This teleporting would be so handy. I could pop in to Matsu’s on the highway on the BI (Big Island) and grab you some mac salad, then nip over to you in England, drop it off. Stay for a cuppa or a glass of wine or three, and be home in time to give Leo his thyroid meds and be in my own bed at night. Failing that, I’ll just give you a recipe for now. 😊
Everyone has their own version they swear by, but this is close to the stuff I get at home. Although I also like to add tuna and cooked peas to mine and no onion. It’s very creamy, don’t skimp on the mayo. 😊 Yummm.
- 1 (1 lb.) box macaroni
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1/4 c. onion, shredded (optional)
- 2 1/2 c. Best Foods (or Hellman’s) mayonnaise… no substitutes!
- 1/4 c. milk
- 2 tsp. sugar
- kosher salt & pepper, to taste
- Add tuna and/or peas if desired.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain well and place macaroni in a large bowl.
- While macaroni is still hot, sprinkle on vinegar and add carrot and onion. Toss together until well combined. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
- In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together mayo, milk, and sugar.
- Fold mayo mixture into the macaroni until all the noodles are evenly coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours (best if overnight). Gently stir before serving (adding a little more milk if needed, no more than a Tbsp. or two).
Then…and this is the important bit. Try not to eat it all in one sitting. LOL.
I think that would last me about six weeks, lol!! But thank you. And I will try that out this weekend!
Thanks very much for being my guest! Now… about those lovely books:
Book 3 in the series (RELEASING 2nd May)
Danny’s a fourth-generation Big Islander, from the wealthy Lucerno ranching family. He’s gorgeous—a mix of Portuguese male and Argentine passion, all dark haired, smoldering sensuality. His family disowned him for being gay, now he’s part of the Masterson-Mahikoa “lost boys” family.
When he meets the wealthy, sophisticated, sensuous Brazilian, Paolo Bastini, he’s swept off his feet into a glitzy Las Vegas lifestyle of money, and luxury—the world he grew up in. But it takes Danny away from Hawai’i where his soul roams free and his family live. He struggles as Paolo plays loosely with their partnership and thinks Danny is being “a baby” for wanting a monogamous relationship. And who is this past lover firmly wedged in Paolo’s heart?
Zane is severely deaf—finding new dance partners is hard. When he loses another one, Danny steps in to dance the tango competitions with him. Jealousy flares and things reach dangerous levels between Paolo and Danny. His adopted and birth family must bond together in a daring rescue of Danny from the depths of Brazil.
But he’s not completely out of danger. Now he’s fighting an attraction to the feminine Zane who’s always annoyed him. Which man has his heart?
(Best Contemporary Gay Romance ~ Rainbow Awards 2016 ~ Runner-up), second in series
Kulani Mahikoa is “The Orchid,” a young, insecure, pro surfer from a rough background on the Big Island of Hawai’i. He’s Beau Toyama’s cousin from Hawaiian Lei and a healer with a heart as deep as the ocean he’s part of. Like many of the great Hawaiians, Kulani epitomizes the spirit of aloha and love. Kulani’s healing his own wounds, and “The Lost Boys”, the young, homeless abandoned and abused gay boys he cares for.
He meets the lone and lonely New Zealand widower, Rob Masterson–a wounded psychologist who’s trying to come to terms with his husband’s death. When he died, they were separated but still living together. Rob needs to reconcile all the pieces of guilt and love to heal before he can fall in love again.
The age difference raises one barrier, and besides that, Kulani has more layers than Rob–with his own New Zealand heritage and tangled knot of emotion–ever bargained for. Traveling between the South Sea Islands of beautiful New Zealand and the exotic Hawaiian Islands, they forge a bond–two wounded men find a home for their shrapnel-laced souls.
Buy link on AMAZON
Publisher link: http://www.loose-id.com/the-hawaiians-2-hawaiian-orchid.html
The first in the series: Hawaiian Lei
Beau Toyama, a “mixed plate” Hawaiian/Japanese/Tahitian man, is a flight instructor on the Big Island of Hawai’i. He’s a lovely, gentle, shy soul from a dysfunctional island. One day his wife Mikey said, “I love you, babe, but this isn’t working. I need a good man…” She’d paused. “And so do you.”
Matt Quintal, a New Zealand painter with a Norfolk Island and Maori background, has been living the “gay scene” in LA and knows it’s a crock. Needing to escape, his Polynesian soul is drawn back to the Pacific. He visits his sister Rach in Kona on the Big Island, where his spirit connects.
When Matt’s heart is drawn to the sound of a biplane’s radial engines flying overhead, his life is about to change. There’s an instant soul connection and heat between Beau and Matt. Unbeknownst to them, the spirit of Beau’s mom, Tehani, has guided Matt home to Beau.
Beau and Matt need to work together to overcome family dysfunction and abuse. Can they reveal their deep emotional vulnerabilities to find redemption and healing? What they both want is a loving relationship. But they must allow their hearts and souls to open before they can love and trust again.
Buy link on AMAZON
Publisher link: http://www.loose-id.com/hawaiian-lei.html?___SID=U