One of the few books I haven't read from DJ Jamison's backlist is her first novella that she mentions in this interview, but that will be changing shortly. I absolutely devoured her most recent series Thrust Into Love and you can read my review of the first book, Swiped by My Dad's Best Friend, the second book Matched by My Rival and her most recent book Tapped by My Roommate!
Once you've added the series to your TBR if you haven't read them already, let's see how DJ answers our ten questions:
Indie or Traditionally published? - Tell us how this works for you…
I’m very much indie. I am fairly sure I never would have taken the leap to become published any other way. Traditional publishing always seemed so overwhelming because you have to jump through hoops. Write query letters, get an agent, do a synopsis, etc. Indie can be a double-edge sword, because it makes it easier for scammers to get in the mix, but I love that it’s opened the doors to the industry and made it an accessible career for more people. It was an especially good fit for me because I’m a former journalist. Which, in my case, means that I did a lot of writing, editing, and design--all things that equipped me well for self-publishing.
Plot or Pants? Do you pre-plot your books, use an outline, fly by the seat of your pants or some combination of things? How do you keep track of characters in a series? Do you keep a journal of your characters’ statistics, such as hair and eye color, relatives, hometown, etc.
I guess the best term for me is a plantser. I started out as a pantser. I wrote out of order, without a plan, and things just happened. The only problem with pantsing is that sometimes...things didn’t really happen lol. The plot could meander. So the more books I wrote, the more I envied these organized plotters who had story plans. But I’ve never been a person to write to an outline. Not even in school when I had to write term papers; I’d write the paper first then write an outline to match it lol. But I did start creating more of a plan for the book, developing a premise and some goals for the characters, and some major plot points i wanted to hit. I have done a couple of outlines, but they’re generally vague and I don’t stick to them entirely, which is why I think I’m a mix of a plotter and pantser at this point. Sometimes I miss my pantsing days because there was a lot of fun in the discovery of just letting your muse take you where it wants to go. But I do think my storylines have gotten better with added planning, even if it feels more like a real job *sigh* #firstworldauthorproblems
Tell us about your first… published M/M fiction/romance
and then your most recent one..
Changing Focus. It’s about a newspaper editor and photographer. As a former journalist who’s worked at a few newspapers, I decided to write what I knew. I didn’t fully understand what readers wanted out of their romance yet, and this story was very much an experiment to see if there was any potential for me as an author. I was really excited to see people read it, and I was making pretty much nothing on it, but it felt like a miracle anyway! I just kept writing, and writing, and somewhere along the way I actually learned how to write full length novels with more complex plots.Tapped By My Roommate. It’s a jock/geek sort of romance, very sweet, set in my Thrust Into Love series about app hookups that go awry. In the case of Tapped, Ethan--who’s beginning to question his sexuality--gets on a hookup app, only to accidentally proposition his roommate without realizing it. These two are already on a course toward love. Rhett is protective of sweet, nerdy Ethan, and the two of them are just so good for one another. Rhett takes it slow, letting Ethan come out of his shell, and there’s some nice character growth for them both. Plus, there’s a lizard in the story! And some very...interesting wildlife sex trivia that will either impress you or worry you that DJ needs help lololol.
Do you write full time or part-time?
I consider myself a full-time author, but I don’t have anything like an eight-hour workday. I write every morning for approximately two hours or so. I do about three hours of virtual schooling with my son. This is a permanent situation, not due to Covid. Then admin/marketing gets worked in during late afternoon, evening, or weekends. I also do extra writing and editing on weekends.
Where do you write? Do you have a routine?
I just set up an office last summer. So, I have a desk and also a comfy chair where I can write. Before the office, I spent a year writing in that same comfy chair in my living room. Before that, I spent a year writing in my bed. I kid you not lol. It’s not great for your back. I’ve been publishing about six years, so I waited over five to make an office lol. Now, I mostly stay in the office, but if I need a change of pace I’ll occasionally work somewhere else. In the past two years, I’ve developed more of a routine. I write first thing in the morning, because otherwise I tend to get sidetracked by life and not get any writing done later on. I have a sprint group, so I get started somewhere around 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and write for a couple of hours with them. I try to do that Monday through Friday, and sometimes Saturday too. Occasionally, I’ll pop on to work on bonus material in the afternoon, but I’m not great at multitasking so it’s usually just the morning or bust.
What are your writing goals for the next year? The future?
My goal for next year is to give myself a bit more time per book for two reasons. One: I need to avoid burnout, which is something I struggle with every year. And two: I want to give myself the time and opportunity to take my writing up another level. As far as the very long-term future, I’d love to explore some MM subgenres. I have ideas for paranormal and science fic MM romance that would be a lot of fun to explore. I just don’t know when that will happen.
What do you do if you hit a wall while writing? How do you combat writer’s block?
Oh, I have a lot of answers for this one! Haha. I’ve got some firsthand experience. When I am struggling to write, I have a few tricks I pull out. First of all, I’ll try writing very casually on my phone--usually in email. These will just be random scenes that might land anywhere in the book. My next trick is to re-read what I’ve written, not with any plan to *do* anything with it. Honestly, brain, we’re just reading. If something happens, well, that’s just a happy accident! (The key is to trick my brain into thinking we’re not really working). Another thing I’ll do is try a change of scenery. I write on a laptop and have an office, but I might move to the living room or write in bed if I need to shake things up.
What do your friends and family think of what you write; do they know?
It varies by the relative. I am open about writing MM romance, so my family/friends do know what I write. Most of my friends are very supportive, though there’s still that element of stigma to writing romance that results in too many “she writes porn” jokes. My family is fairly conservative (I live in Kansas), so not everyone approves, but I made a post on Facebook about a year after I started writing MM and basically said, “I’m doing this. You may not like it, but don’t insult the LGBT friends and readers that follow me here.” As a result, my career is not a topic that is often discussed with extended family, but my husband has always been supportive.
What is your favorite thing about writing M/M romance?
I guess I really love writing those moments of connection between two people. That’s what romance is all about, right? Those small, almost inconsequential moments that make you realize you’re not alone in the world, that someone cares, that someone will love you for who you are. There’s great things in romance: fun tropes, steamy scenes, epic plots. But for me, it’s always going to be about the relationship building. I love to bring characters together, to watch them connect and bond and grow into an amazing, lasting love. (Which is also why I tend to be a bit of a slow-burn queen, I guess lol).
How can we connect with you?
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DjJamisonFacebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/DJandCompanyNewsletter: www.tinyurl.com/DJandCompanyKo-Fi (for bonus content): https://ko-fi.com/readingdj