Saturday, August 13, 2016

Creating Don't Twunk by Renae Kaye

To me, writing a book is very personal.

It’s personal from the point of view that somehow the characters are actually a part of you… and LOL, I’ve just invited all these readers into their bedroom.
But it’s also personal from the view point that my experiences and knowledge flavour the book completely.  Authors often refer to their book as “their baby” and in a way it’s true.  A child of yours is 50% your DNA.  And so I also think my books are about 50% me.  I often wonder about if I get amnesia and couldn’t remember writing a book, would I read it and recognise it as mine?  Can readers pick up their favourite authors’ personality and life between the lines?  Would you recognise your favourite author if they wrote a book under another name?  Would you recognise that a book isn’t your favourite author’s work, even if it’s published under their name?
When I write a passage in a WIP and I have to create something about a character – let’s say their favourite colour – I often think about my favourite colour first and align my love for the colour against the character’s personality.  If the character is very unlike me, I will think of my least favourite colour – so in a way that like/dislike is still me.
My characters live in suburbs I’ve lived in or visited often.  They often work industries I’m familiar with.  They eat foods I eat, go to restaurants I go to, and have pets that I’ve had.  And if their house isn’t similar to mine, then it will be somewhere I’ve been to on a regular basis.  For example, Kee lives in my sister’s first house.  The position of the main bedroom and house I visualised when I wrote the scenes were all from her house.  Tate lives in my best friend’s house, but in another suburb.  Kee has the job one of my nephews has, and he hates tofu the same as me.  Tate’s political leanings are mine. 
Hank lives in a house my dad used to own.  Shawn lives on a hill near a friend’s house.  Liam shares a profession another friend has.  Lon lives in the caravan my parents had.  Brett, Gavin and Frank are my actual neighbours.  Mitch is the carpenter up the road from me….
And of course, my books are set in Perth (or at least Western Australia) so I’m comfortable writing about the places.
My characters are my creation and are me in someone way.  So offering a new book to the world is both scary and exhilarating.  On one hand I want everyone to see my pride-and-joy, just like a parent wants their child to shine on that stage, dressed in a sparkly tutu with tiny ballerina shoes on their feet.  But I also want to protect my progeny like a lioness protects her cubs from danger.  Everyone who doesn’t love it as much as me gets the evil eye.  (Only half-joking).  But yes – criticism hurts when it’s dished out in an uncaring manner, or in a manner designed to sting.
I consider myself a fledgling writer – I have a number of books written, but I’m no expert.  There are authors out there with dozens of titles.  I seriously wonder how they can do it, because do all the characters start to blur at some stage?  Is character M from your third novel the same as character Z from your 24th novel?  What’s it like to even write your 24th novel?
When I began thinking of a second story to follow Loving Jay I had some problem creating a new character for it.  Jay is one of the best characters I’ve written because he’s so… him.  He’s unapologetically flamboyant and everything flows from there.  I wanted to recapture the fun and vivacity of that in the second story, but in a new character.  I didn’t want “another Jay” because there could never be another Jay in my heart.
I try to retain the flavour of book within the series.  Loving Jay was a bunch of laughs with a bit of seriousness behind it.  In the Safe Series I aim for more seriousness and also amp the flame.  My Tav Series is light-hearted, but not as light hearted as the Loving You Series.
One day I was thinking about Jay and wondered what ever happens to these slim, beautiful, young twinks we often see in pictures or movies.  What happens as they age?  A twink by definition is young.  So what’s an old twink?  And what does a twink’s friend think about him if he sheds the twink image?  For I’m sure that there are a lot of men who get caught up in the image of being a twink and are lost should they lose that moniker.
And so I found the perfect two characters for my new book, Don’t Twunk With My Heart.  Tate, the aging twink, and Kee, the twink who’s no longer a twink.  I placed them together in a nightclub, added a little dance music and alcohol, a pinch of competition to liven things up, and then sprinkled desire into the mix.  Bake in a soft bed of white until the sun comes up the following morning.  Allow to cool, but consume while warm…

Don't Twunk With My Heart releases on the 26th of August 2016.  It is available for preorder at Dreamspinner and most other book sellers.

How to contact Renae:
Twitter:  @renaekkaye

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