Today I sat down with Kristian Parker to learn ten things about him... and we just kept right on chatting...
Indie or Traditionally published? - Tell us how this works for you...
I am traditionally published by Pride Publishing, and it works brilliantly for me. I have the most wonderful editor who has taught me so much in the 18 months we’ve been working together. I’m very lucky.
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 100% plotter although I’ve never pantsed so who knows? Maybe one day I’ll give it a whirl and see what happens. I have my MA in TV & Radio Scriptwriting and we were taught to plot, plot, plot. It works for me though.
How do I keep track? Spreadsheet of course. I am a firm believer of “If in doubt, get a spreadsheet going”.
Venetian Valentine and it’s nearly a year old! It’s an adventure caper featuring a London boy traveling to Venice to mend a broken heart but getting caught up with a handsome gondolier and a mafia hit on a policewoman. Quite the holiday romance.
and then your most recent one..
To Light A Fire follows Frank Harris to his friend, Charlie Fitzwilliam’s stately home where he finds more than he bargained for with one of the servants. The second story, Call It Love, is out on 1st March and this is Charlie’s story. There will be a third, Spotlight on Love, out in the summer.
Being cheeky here but would also like to mention my contemporary series which starts this summer. Village Affairs has a MMM vibe and is set in the fictional Yorkshire village of Napthwaite. Rule of Three is the first release and will be out in June. I really love this series and am very proud of it indeed!
Do you write full time or part-time?
I have dreams of full time but at the moment those bills need paying so I have a day job in finance for a charity. I find those dull meetings to be perfect for working out tricky plot points so in a way I’m full time too. Don’t tell my boss though.
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?
Madonna – a lifelong obsession with her means she has to be there. Even though she might be a diva, I’d love to know!
Miriam Margoyles – perfect dinner party guest!
Marlon Brando (do I have a fetish for people whose name starts with M?) – stunning and complex. Who wouldn’t want to sit across the table from him?
Quentin Crisp – another fascinating life and he died two streets from where I used to live so if the conversation got stale, we could chat about that.
Of mine? I don’t really have enough behind me for them to pop back up but Sergio the cheeky yet gorgeous gondolier from Venetian Valentine was fun to write.
Where do you write? Do you have a routine?
I have a study that backs onto the woods and is the perfect place to write. I don’t have a routine as such although I can only write the first draft in the morning for some reason.
I can edit and do other jobs in the evening. But there’s simply no point in trying to grind out a brand new chapter post noon! I end up scrapping it and getting cross with myself.
Luckily I’m working from home at the moment so I set the alarm for 5.30 and do a couple of hours before putting my finance head on. Far more fun than a commute.
What are your writing goals for the next year? The future?
I have submitted the first draft for the final book in the Village Affairs trilogy and now am turning my attention from a cosy Yorkshire village to the gangland underworld of Manchester for my 2023 trilogy, Two Tribes. I cannot wait to get stuck in.
I also have another big project that I’m cooking up at the moment. I don’t want to say too much about it but if you join my newsletter at www.kristianparker.com there will be some free reads this year which will tease the world I’m building. That was a shameless plug, I’m sorry.
Telling my mother what I was writing haha
Seriously though, I think focusing on the task in hand. I have so many ideas bubbling around inside my head that it's easy to flit from one to the other. Of course I have my trusty spreadsheet to keep me in check!
This isn’t a scene as such but in the Village Affairs series there is a secondary character, Mrs Turnbull, who crops up in all the books. I grew up in a small village and she is a mixture of lots of women who were around at that time. I love including her in the stories.
Finding your way. There are a lot of blind alleys you can make the mistake of going down. I got my MA in 2013 and at first tried to write scripts but it’s very much a closed shop. I then had detours in freelance journalism and blogging which didn’t bear much fruit.
I really feel that I have found my groove now and am so happy to have discovered the world of M/M romance. Everyone is wonderful and there is no other genre where you can try everything. Sending off that first query to Pride Publishing (which became To Light A Fire) was the best thing I ever did.
Who’s your biggest supporter/cheerleader?
My editor, Rebecca Fairfax, has made this experience a joy. I cannot stress this enough. Having never formally trained in prose, my grasp of grammar was a challenge to say the least (I still have an unhealthy addiction to the word “was”). She has been so supportive and patient with me.
Personally, I have a squad of friends who I would be lost without. I know I can press the emergency button and they will be there. Vice versa of course.
Last and no means least, my parents are incredible. Sorry, this has turned into an Oscar winner speech.
I wrote a couple of novels before. One was about a gay gangster (which I’m lifting bits from for Two Tribes – nothing is for nothing) and another about a LGBTQ care home (not sure that will lend itself to M/M romance but you never know). I do have aspirations to write in other genres, I am currently formulating a family saga along the lines of the 80s soaps like Dynasty. Stay tuned.
Everywhere but mainly my weird brain haha. There are some personal life experiences in my books but I’m certainly not telling you which! Sometimes my characters are loosely based on real people but that’s the secondary ones. It would be slightly uncomfortable to write the more spicier scenes if I was visualising someone in my life.
Two of my 2021 releases are set in overseas places I’ve visited. Venetian Valentine is obviously in Italy and Sun, Sea and Spotted Squid is set in Spain. We were in the midst of one of the lockdowns and I was craving travel. It was the closest I could manage but revisiting those places in my head did lift the claustrophobia a little bit.
Because I’m a plotter and I build up from the original idea, I haven’t really experienced writer’s block as such. If I’m not feeling a particular project that day, there is always something else to move onto. I don’t believe in trying to get blood out of a stone so I try to find a task to match my mood.
Yes, most people know. They all think it is great although not many have read anything I’ve written haha. They think it is funny that during a global pandemic when most people were hanging in there, I’ve reinvented myself as a romance writer. Living on my own, I think I would have been climbing the walls if I hadn’t had this to throw myself into.
The community. I haven’t seen any drama or rivalry (so far). Everyone has been really friendly and kind.
Come join my brand-new readers group “Kristiansworld” on Facebook.
Also, I’m launching a newsletter in March which will have deleted scenes, free stories and competitions. Sign up at www.kristianparker.com
Other than that, you can find me hanging out in the usual dives Twitter, Facebook and Insta. All @kparkerwriter.
Please come and say hello, I’d love to hear from you.