Ten Things About... Onley James, An Author Interview

I put out a call for more author friends to come and hang out with us here and one of the first to respond and start answering our questions was a blog favourite with the team, the wonderfully deep and dark, Onley James....

Let's dive right into what she wants us to know...

Indie or Traditionally published? - Tell us how this works for you…
I am indie published. I started out writing YA books in 2015 and I never even tried to get traditionally published. There were too many pitfalls and gatekeepers and I wanted to write the stories I wanted. When I switched to M/M romance a few years ago, I wanted to be able to maintain control of my business from top to bottom. It was most definitely the right way to go.

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’m a pantser through and through. Sometimes to my own detriment. I know the characters, the setting and where I want the story to end and that’s it. It has made for some oopsies along the way but my ADHD hates an outline. 

Tell us about your first… published M/M fiction/romance 
My first MM romance novel was Intoxicating, the first book in my Elite Series. It was a Daddy kink novel about a soldier turned bodyguard to the bratty son of a ‘family values’ senator. I still go back and reread this book. 

 and then your most recent one..
My latest book is the third book in my Necessary Evils Series, Moonstruck and it features a prickly but surprisingly docile psychopath and the very dominant vigilante who knows just how to settle him down. 

Do you write full time or part-time?  
I write full-time. I gave up my nursing career in 2020 but my days as a psych nurse very much still bleed into my novels. My books are my therapy. 

If you could invite 4 people (real or fictional, living or dead) to a dinner party, who would you invite and what would you serve?
Jesus. I’m a pagan but I would like to hear directly from him what he was all about. 2.) Misha Collins because he’s literally my idea of the perfect man. 3.) Damon Salvatore from the Vampire Diaries because I just feel that would add an element of chaos to my dinner party. 4) Ruth Bader Ginsberg because she’s Ruth Bader Ginsberg. As for what I’d serve… probably something cooked by somebody else. I hate cooking. 

Something people would be surprised to know about you
I worked in the porn industry for a few years writing ad copy for cheesy porn videos. 

Which character still pops into your mind to visit from time to time?
Mine or someone else’s? Mine, Wyatt. He’s my first MM character and I just have a soft spot for him. Somebody else’s...probably Micah from Stella Starling’s Looking for Love. I just adored him. He was just pathologically chipper. 

Where do you write?  Do you have a routine?
I write at home. I used to have a home office but we’re in a shoebox sized apartment until our move to North Carolina in a few months. So for now, I write at my tiny desk in my room or in bed. 

What are your writing goals for the next year?  The future?
So many. I will be finishing the Necessary Evils Series in both book and audiobook. I will be launching the spin-off series. I will be launching my Elite Series on Radish in a serialized format. I am also having all my books translated into other languages starting in May. As for the future, who knows? 

What’s the hardest part about writing M/M romance or erotica?
The hardest part for me is getting out of my own head enough to write. But that’s with any writer. For romance or erotica I think it’s getting over the initial thought of I’m writing all these dirty, kinky sex scenes and people will be judging them for a multitude of reasons. It’s scary. But 13 books later, now I don’t think so much about it. 

What is the funniest scene you’ve written?
I think it would have to be the scene between Calder and Lincoln in his office when Calder is being chastised for having slept with both a client’s wife and his son. The whole exchange still makes me laugh. 

What’s the hardest part about writing?
Actually writing. That’s the hardest part. Sitting down and just putting the words on the page. Anything can be fixed in editing but you can’t revise what you never wrote. Just word vomit it all onto the page and rearrange it later. Just finish the story. 

Who’s your biggest supporter/cheerleader?
My family. My entire family. My daughter, her significant others, my sister, her husband, my niece and her husband. Literally, my whole family supports me in everything I do, even if they don’t read it (I would die). 

What made you decide M/M romance was the genre you wanted to write?  Do you write other genres?
I was writing YA LGBT Urban Fantasy and doing well, but I was reading more M/M romance. When the YA market kept moving more and more towards a book a month rapid release series my books couldn’t keep up. I was writing 152-160k word books every six months vs 50k word books monthly. Lynn Van Dorn and Kyleen Neuhold were both friends and encouraged me to give it a shot. I’ve never looked back. I love love love writing M/M romance. 

Where do you find inspiration?
I was a psych nurse for a children’s residential treatment facility and every single day I saw horrible things being done by horrible people. Most of the tragic backstories of my characters are based on real people as are the monstrous parents I tend to write. I mean it when I say writing these books is my therapy. 

What do you do if you hit a wall while writing?  How do you combat writer’s block?
It depends. If I am just at a loss of how to craft a scene but I know what needs to happen, sometimes I’ll poll my reader group asking what kinds of scenes they’re hoping for from whatever book I’m working on. They have some great ideas. If its my ADHD just preventing me from writing, then I’ll just work on the admin side of my business until my brain unsticks. If I truly am just stuck, I’ll interview my characters and usually that will jumpstart my creativity again. 

What do your friends and family think of what you write; do they know?
I come from an insanely liberal family. We’re two steps away from living on a commune growing our own weed. I have never hidden what I write. I’m very proud of my books. My family is very proud as well even if they do make fun of me quite a bit. If anything, they’re a little shocked at how successful I’ve managed to get writing romance. 

What is your favorite thing about writing M/M romance?
Everything? I love being able to write the mystery/suspense/anti-hero/action-packed books I love but being able to make them gay. There’s such an insane lack of representation in media that isn’t just ‘coming out’ stories. I wanted like action movies, dark comedies, that just happened to feature gay people in the lead. So now I get to write that. 

How can we connect with you?

You can find me pretty much everywhere by going to fans.link/OnleyJames