TNA: Welcome back to The Novel Approach, Lane, it’s lovely to have you with us today. Let’s start off with a tough question:
Love his books or hate them, there’s no doubt Stephen King has been successful at the business of writing and selling a few books. One of his top 20 tips for writers is to leave out the boring parts and kill your darlings: Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your ecgocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.
Was there any one scene you ended up cutting from The Right Words, or any of your books, for that matter, that killed you to leave out of the story? If so, what was the scene, and how do you ultimately come to the decision of what stays and what goes?
Lane: Stephen King is quite right. Any writer, whether or not he or she ever reaches the success of Mr. King, will be guilty of over-writing. Self-editing is the hardest part of writing any story. It’s natural to think every line is crucial, but too much information distracts as easily as too little! I usually write 25K more words on average in my books than I will actually send to the publisher. Crazy, huh? So yes, I did this in The Right Words too. I cut a scene where Luke and Michael are painting a room together. It was cute but ultimately, it’s only purpose was to get them in bed. Lol! Never fear, I found another way to make it happen! 🙂 I try to make sure each scene has meaning. It can be funny or cute but it must keep the story moving.
TNA: Speaking as a reader, I can say that one of the most important aspects of a book is the ability to relate to, and even fall in love a little bit, with its characters – flaws, quirks, shortcomings and all. As a writer, what are some of the things you strive to do to make your characters loveable? Do you have a formula or set of rules you use as a guideline when creating your MCs?
Lane: I completely agree! Flaws, quirks and shortcomings are what make us human and relatable. I don’t necessarily strive to create loveable characters, but I do think it’s important to be able to relate to them on some level. I don’t use a formula or specific guidelines, but I always am cognizant I’m writing human characters. No one is perfect. Everyone has little idiosyncrasies, things you do when you’re nervous or ways to help you cope when things get out of hand. In The Right Words, Luke is coming from an abusive relationship that’s left him rattled. His coping mechanism is reciting poems and pieces of his favorite literature. Can I relate exactly? No, but I can relate on some level. And that’s the key.
TNA: The old axiom of writing is “write what you know”. Have you ever included something that’s happened to you in real life in one of your books? If so, what was it, and how did it influence the storyline?
Lane: Yes! In Better Than Friends, Curt’s dad has cancer. He wasn’t close to his father, but he explores that relationship and tries to understand how it has influenced the man he becomes. My own father passed away from lung cancer four years ago. Unlike Curt, I had a good relationship with my dad and losing him was heart wrenching. Nothing prepares you for that kind of loss. It’s deep and dark and unbearably lonely. I draw from those feelings in an almost cathartic way sometimes when I’m writing something difficult. Everyone has been there though their story may be different. (By the way, that was a big sharing moment for me! I’m feeling choked up!)
TNA: One-night-stand (don’t call me, I’ll call you), boyfriend material (you have potential but definitely need some work), husband material (I would marry the shit out of you right now) – you have to pick one of your characters and decide who would fall into what category for you. Who would you choose for each, and why do they fit into their respective niches.
Lane: Great question! I have to think about this one. Hmm. The “One-night-stand” award goes to Peter in Better Than Chance, but only loosely. I would totally want the sex part with him, he’s crazy hot! But he has so many layers, the Catholic guilt, overbearing mother issues, and he’s an overachiever. He’s one of those guys who is very hard to get to know. Thankfully, Jay did! (And they live happily ever after 🙂 ). “Boyfriend Material” award is a tie between Matt from Better Than Good and Jack from Better Than Friends. Matt is so damn sweet and attentive. I love the way he loves Aaron! And Jack is so real. He’s charming, sexy as hell and funny. As far as the needing work part to those boys, I’ll leave that to Aaron and Curt! Lol! The “Husband Material” award goes to Michael, my MC from The Right Words. He is the closest character I’ve written to my own husband. He’s tall, dark, handsome and Latino. He has, as Luke observes, a face with a view. He’s brooding at times but is witty and kind with an unexpected depth. He has his own issues but he notices Luke’s pain and is unbearably gentle. I love Michael’s complexity. He’s captivating to me. Someone I wish I had another few hundred pages to explore!
TNA: Thanks so much for taking the time to be here with us today, Lane. It’s been fun!
Lane: Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! I love these thought provoking questions! 🙂
Lane Hayes xo
Blurb: Escaping an abusive relationship left Luke Preston anxious and spouting panic-induced poetry. Desperate for a fresh start, Luke accepts a job remodeling a tired old beach house for a professional soccer player and his model girlfriend. While his passion is literature, not sports, focusing on the renovations eases his anxiety. Until the job he signed up for turns out to be more complicated than advertised.
Sidelined with a serious injury, soccer star Michael Martinez decides his beach house is the perfect place to recuperate. Remodeling might be the diversion he needs to keep his mind off his busted knee. Falling for the pretty designer with some quirky habits wasn’t on the drawing board. Unfortunately, Luke didn’t build a big enough closet for Michael to hide in. Having a star-powered sports career used to be all Michael lived for, but he’ll have to reevaluate his plans and find the right words if he wants to build more than a beach house with Luke.
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Humor, Romance
About Lane: Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writingfull-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and her third received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow Lab everin an almost empty nest.
The Giveaway: $25 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of The Right Words