Monday, February 17, 2014

Afternoon Tea with Arielle Pierce

Today, I'm welcoming author Arielle Pierce to the The Swamp to talk about her new release, The Faery Reel. Arielle has graciously agreed to make the dangerous astoundingly gorgeous trek through The Swamp to join me for Afternoon Tea...

Jaye: [rubbing hands together in gleeful anticipation] Ooh, look… another victim guest! Looks like that Heffalump Trap worked as advertised…

Arielle: [picking damp leaves and twigs out of her hair] Er… Jaye? I think I might be lost. And I just fell down a hole. There was chocolate and a bottle of wine at the bottom…

Jaye: [proudly] Yes, that’s my Author Trap. What did you think? Highly effective, eh?

Arielle: Hmm...that's not really the correct hole to put a wine bottle in... [rubbing backside and glaring at Jaye]

Jaye: [muttering] … rusty engineering skills… out of the work-force… unemployable…

Osian: [rolling eyes] Doesn’t surprise me one bit. I'm sure she plays the bodhran as well.

Arielle: Er…

Jaye: Come on then, sit down, look, there’s a tea pot and real tea, and biscuits… [shooing away small alligator which has curled up on the biscuit plate and is contentedly munching away] er… well, they’re a bit soggy, but they should still be good…

Arielle: [eyeing soggy biscuits distrustfully] Er… no, thanks, really, I’m not hungry. Just a cup of tea, perhaps…

Jaye: [pouring tea] And who is this sweet little morsel you’ve brought with you?

Osian: Oh please! I'm on to you, lady.

Arielle: This is Osian. He’s the main character in my new release, The Faery Reel.

Jaye: Ooh, a new release… do tell…

Arielle: Well, it takes place in Ireland, at the beginning, and is about a young violinist named Osian (pronounced 'OSH-yin) who has been conned over by his best friend, who is American (Osian is Welsh) for a fiddle workshop. He catches the eye of Conall, a faery, whilst they're playing in a pub, and Conall kidnaps him during the summer solstice, taking him to the Otherworld. Osian cares for him and is given the choice of escaping, via a faery deal, or staying with a man who loves him.

Jaye: Sounds intriguing… what about Osian? Is he as sweet and innocent as he looks?

Osian: I am not innocent!

Jaye: [growling] Watch it, mate, I’ve got a swamp full of hungry alligators here…

Arielle: Osian, really! [nudges Jaye's side] We already know you're not innocent.

Osian: [spluttering for a moment] Fuck off.

Jaye: [shooting Osian an evil look] Those alligators all play the bodhran, you know. Incessantly. [Turns to Arielle and rolls her eyes] And I suppose you’re going to tell me he’s your favorite character in the story.

Arielle: Oh, absolutely, hands down. He's such a snarky, bitchy but comical little git.

Jaye: [under her breath] I’ll say.

Osian: [looking smug] coc oen

Jaye: [whispering] Alligators…

Arielle: I couldn't help but fall in love with him.

Jaye: Can’t imagine why.

Arielle: I think I just love how unconscious he is about himself, how everything he thinks he isn't, well... actually, he is. He may think (or want to think) he's not short...but he is. He may want to think he's not a twink and he doesn't have pretty boy looks...but he both is and does. And he may want to think he's not submissive... but....

Osian: [going rather red and looking indignant] Hey, by Welshmen standards, I'm just the right size, thank you very much!

Jaye: [ignoring him] Did it take a lot of work to get just the right degree of bitchiness and submissiveness?

Osian: [glaring] I am not submissive! Whatever gave you that idea?

[patting Osian on the head] Actually, you are, dear, but that’s all right. Unlike some characters who slowly develop, he came into my mind's eye fully formed as he is in the story. Conall, his faery lover, changed a lot, but Osian didn't.

Jaye: Hmm, well, I’ve read the story. Definitely submissive. And certainly oblivious.

[grumbling] Don’t know why I put up with this abuse…

If Osian’s any example of the sorts of voices you have in your head, I find myself wondering what got you started writing in the first place?

I started writing seriously when I came back from staying in Spain over two years ago, with this idea of a horse shifter. I just loved him and couldn't stop thinking about him, and the two bull shifters he gets involved with, in Spain, within the world of rejoneo, the bullfight on horseback. As I was merrily writing (and knowing absolutely nothing about M/M romance) my mind began wandering back to what had happened to Rafael and how he came from living in Mexico to being rescued by these two bull shifters. It was around that time that my best friend informed me in her 'I know best' tone that I should write gay erotica. I took a peek in at other stories and thought 'yeah, I can do this' and began writing out the beginning of Rafael's coming of age in Mexico.

In Oct of 2012 I finished the first part of his story and published it as a gay erotica. What a steep learning curve that was! In the space of a few weeks I had to learn to format correctly, in doc, text and mobi and epub. I had to very quickly learn to make a cover and about stock sites, and fonts, etc.

I think I did every single thing wrong, in that first story. I felt this quite sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hit that 'publish' button on Amazon. And then about fainted when I returned the morning after and discovered that someone had actually bought that story!

Jaye: It is definitely a great feeling when you put your first offering out there and people actually buy it. So the story that got you started on this road was a gay romance/erotica sort of plot. What made you continue working in the M/M genre?

Arielle: My mum is a lesbian, and came out when I was 12. I spent my teen years living half the week with her, half with my dad, and she was a big fan of Naiad Press, which was the big press back then for lesbian romance. I just loved reading her books and I loved the fresh feeling those authors brought to their work, and said to myself, even back then, that I wanted to write a book that would be published by them, even though I wasn't a lesbian myself.

I mean, I really kind of wish I were lesbian. Life certainly would be simpler with a female lover! But no, I was into men.

Like really into men, and the more men, the better.

Luckily for me, so was my older brother! So in addition to hanging out with my mum's friends, I also tagged along when my brother went to gay clubs and hung out with all his friends as well. I was sort of like their teen punk bargain basement fruit fly fruit fly for six gay men! I just loved it and love that world. For a young girl there was no better, and safer place, to grow up in.

I've written my whole life and in almost all my stories, the main character is a gay man, so honestly, it was no hardship at all to open the door to their bedroom and see what they were getting up to.

I do have to pinch myself everyday. I just can't believe I'm writing in a field I love so much and surrounding myself in a world I grew up in and am so proud of. Every day I smile when I get to sit down to write. I just love it.

Jaye: Tell us a little bit about that sitting-down-to-write process. How does that work for you?

Arielle: I'm this annoying type of person who has to have some sort of narrative to go along with anything I'm really interested in, or that I watch a lot. So when I sit to watch the racing on TV, I have to have a story about a trainer and his stable of steeplechasers. When I watch Wimbledon I have to have a little plot going on about a Spanish guy coming back from injury and his admiration of another handsome player/competitor. When I watch anything on WWII I have to have a plot on about a group of spies...etc., etc., you get the idea. So that's sort of the first stage, what I call the daydreaming stage.

If an idea really gets stuck in there, or I think now's the time for it, I sit and begin the main plotting points. I tend to be hit sideways by the opening and write that down quickly, and then let the idea sit and/or begin the plotting for it. Once the main points are in place, then I go back and start off where that beginning ended.

So like with The Faery Reel I had been researching the plot for a Roman slave story (just how different could this story have turned out than The Faery Reel!) and I was reading The Faery Faiths of Celtic Countries and the opening of this story hit me right up against the side of the head. I quickly wrote it down and then just let it sit for a few months before coming back, once there was space to begin writing it and all the main points were worked out. A lot of things didn't stick with the script in this one, but Osian's voice is what held it together from the start.

His strong voice was both a blessing and a bit of curse, for me.

Osian: [shuddering delicately and tugging on Arielle’s sleeve] Can we go home now? [eyes baby alligator which has returned to biscuit plate] I’m tired of this creepy, horrible bog!

Jaye: [plucking baby alligator from biscuit plate and setting it on her shoulder] Hey! This is my home!

Osian: [muttering] And your point is?

Arielle: [taking Osian firmly by the hand] Yes, I think it’s time we took our leave. Thanks for the chat, Jaye. And the soggy biscuits.

Jaye: [waving dispiritedly while absently petting the baby alligator, which is curled around her neck and chewing on her hair] Bye! Thanks for coming… [mutters to self] How come nobody ever wants to stick around?

So yeah, folks, that was Arielle Pierce and her pretty boy, Osian. If you’d like to read about Osian’s adventures, check out Arielle’s new release, The Faery Reel. It’s available on Amazon and Smashwords, and will be coming soon to other retailers.

Arielle can be found at Goodreads and at her blog.

Check back for more Afternoon Tea fun and frolics! I am already in liability insurance discussions negotiations with a couple more potential alligator snacks guests!

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