Let's jump right into the questions:
Indie or Traditionally published? Tell us how this works for you...
I’m a hybrid, like one of those fantastical creatures you see on medieval maps.
I self-publish my ebooks, and have contracts with publishers for the audiobooks and the French language rights.
Plot or Pants? Do you pre-plot your books, use an outline, fly by the seat of your pants or some combination of things?
I need to know a few key things before I can start writing, such as basic character dynamics and arcs and—if there’s magic—how the magic system will work.
But I keep things fluid and don’t make many notes or an outline (apart from research notes, of which I make HEAPS).
So, when I start writing, I know the general direction of travel plus three or four key scenes, but I don’t know how the characters will get there. The characters often surprise me, saying or doing things very differently than I originally imagined – which is one of the most magical things about writing!
Tell us about your first published M/M fiction/romance
The first I wrote was Salt Magic, Skin Magic—a historical fantasy romance set in Yorkshire, England in 1851. It features an industrial magician who’s just finished work on the Crystal Palace (for the Great Exhibition). He goes to investigate a case of witchcraft and falls for the very beautiful and arrogant Lord Thornby, who is not what he seems…
That book’s very close to my heart because it was so much FUN to write. It’s got everything I adore: a crumbling gothic mansion, a haughty aristocrat, a mysterious curse, a sexy magician, and an unexpected hedgehog.
Do you write full time or part-time?
I write two or three days a week. Three days a week I work as a communications adviser in a big government department. And I have a family and an energetic young collie dog who needs long walks in the hills. I wish I had more time to write, but then doesn’t every writer?
Something people would be surprised to know about you
I live such a quiet life these days I think it’d surprise some people to know I used to love parties and nightclubs and dancing ‘til dawn.
Which character(s) still pops into your mind to visit from time to time?
Alex and Joe from my contemporary m/m romance ‘Mended with Gold’ often pop into my head.
I think it’s because the story’s set on the wild west coast of Wellington, New Zealand, not far from where I live. Whenever there’s a storm, I think of them, hunkered down in Alex’s little house near the beach, with the surf pounding on the rocks and the wind shaking the house. It makes me happy to think of them. Joe’s probably drawing a new comic. Alex might be editing some photos. Or maybe they’re watching the storm, warmed by a fire in the old wood-burner…they’re so real to me!
What are your writing goals for the next year? The future?
First goal is to decide what story to write next. I have dozens of ideas but haven’t figured out which one has the best ‘legs’ yet.
Ultimately, I’d like to write a book a year for the next twenty years, to love writing them all, and for them all to be as well-received as my first three.
What’s the hardest part about writing?
For me, it’s coming up with ideas that feel original and exciting enough to be worth spending a year of my life researching, writing, editing, re-writing, editing, proofing, promoting etc.
I have thousands of ideas, but toss most of them out as feeling too weak or not exciting enough. Writing has to be fun for me, and I need to have something to say, otherwise I flounder.
Where do you find inspiration?
In the strangest things. For example, Seducing the Sorcerer was partly inspired by a really bad drawing of a horse, alongside a desire to write a book about two men in their 40s, with pasts and positions and responsibilities.
What do you do if you hit a wall while writing? How do you combat writer’s block?
With a wall, I stop and do something else—walk the dog, weed the garden—to give my subconscious time to figure out how to vault over it or dig under it. If that doesn’t work, I read children’s books, which help me relax and feel more creative. If THAT doesn’t work, I might try talking it through with a friend.
Writer’s block is different for me. It goes on much longer (months or years) and is associated with low mood and brain fog and feeling that all my ideas are dumb. Last time I had that, I abandoned the book I was working on and haven’t gone back to it yet. I wrote Seducing the Sorcerer instead—that book was the stream that wore away the block!
How can we connect with you?
Website + newsletter sign up: https://leewelchwriter.com/
Twitter: @leewelchwriter - https://twitter.com/leewelchwriter