I am sooo happy to share with you my interview with Eva LeNoir and Andrea Smith. They wrote one of the best books I ever read, Black Balled. The story of Larson and Babu will stay forever inside of my book lover's heart. I laugh a lot, it was thought provoking and so well written ! You can check my review of Black Balled and the Blog Tour post here on my blog.
1) Hello and merci to the both of you for this interview ! I'm glad I have the chance to get to know you a bit more. To start, my favorite question : when and how did you know you wanted to become writers ?
EL: Bonjour Leatitia!! Thank you so much for having us today!
Ha! That's a tough question. I knew for sure I would write a novel when I was in College but publishing it was a whole different story. I started a couple of stories but I outgrew them before I even finished. Then a few years ago I decided it was time to get my arse moving! Or should I say, my friend Sophie gave me a swift kick in the ass and told me to do it.
AS: Hello Leatitia! It’s great to be here. I always dreamed of writing romantic fiction. Years back, I actually sent a letter to Author Johanna Lindsey, asking her for tips on my work in progress historical fiction. She actually wrote me back!! This was way before self-publishing, so she basically told me to submit to reputable publishers, and to stay away from the vanity publishers. Then life got in the way, and twenty years later I found myself unemployed and I spent the next six weeks on my laptop and Maybe Baby was my first self-published work in 2012.
2) How did you get the amazing idea to write a book together ? Please, tell us a bit more about this collaboration :
EL: Believe it or not, we were chatting and goofing off in the inbox after we released the Intrigue Anthology and joked about writing a story together. Then BAM, one day I received an email with the first chapter of Black Balled. Naturally, I responded.
AS: **Laughing ** True story!! I met Eva online during their buddy read of These Men in the Bend Anthology. I loved that she didn’t trash my story—LOL! And then I saw that she was an author, so I went in and bought her Underdogs of the Arena Series and totally fell in love with her writing style! So, after Intrigue, we kicked around a couple different plot lines. Then one Sunday, I wrote a comical review as if I were the literary critic and emailed it to her. She whipped up a chapter from the male author’s POV, and we just continued to feed chapters back and forth, and voila! Black Balled was born!
3) I have to admit that reading a book involving an author and reviewer's relationship intrigued me a lot ! And as I said in my review, I never read a MM Romance before so I'm simply curious to know why you chose these topics ? What inspired you ?
EL: Basically, we were brainstorming ideas on possible conflicts. There are so many different subjects out there that when we suggested the author/reviewer conflict for our main characters it felt just right. The MM was basically a given since we wanted as much Alpha interaction as possible. That's when Troy and Larson were born!
AS: I confess, I was a bit intimidated by the sex scenes, so when I reached an impasse, Eva took the wheel!! LOL!! But, I learned so much!!!
4) I find Larson and Babu unforgettable ! They are so realistic and intense ! So tell us, what do you prefer about them ? Which one could become your best friend ?
EL: OMG, I'm pretty sure I would stab one...or both...on numerous occasions if either were my best friend. That being said, I love that Babu is no holds barred. As we say in French: "Il est entier" He doesn't play a game, doesn't pretend to do or say...he just IS. I love that about him. Larson? Well, I would spend my time hiding his coffee :D
AS: Okay, seriously? Babu scares the hell out of me with his lack of social skills, dark sense of humor and unfiltered mouth. I think I would have way more fun with Larson because he’s playful and for the most part, he’s fun and a good sport. I would love yanking his chain—again and again!
5) If you had to pick one of them to write a book with you, who would it be and why ?
EL: Definitely NOT Larson. There's not enough room in my brain for all that ego. Babu might work out best if he's able to keep his attitude in check. Maybe I'll just give him a time-out with Muffy when he gets pissy.
AS: Wow, now that’s a tough one. How would anyone be able to strike a balance? Larson’s ego is only trumped by Babu’s stubbornness. I choose Ida Whatley!! I bet by now, she has enough stories on those two for a boxed set!
6) I'm aware that when writing a book, there are awesome and less fun parts. What was the most fun or/and the most complicated about writing Black Balled ? About writing in general ?
EL: The elevator scene. Holy crap, that scene was brutal. It was pivotal in the story so it could NOT go wrong! The difficult part of writing for me is finding the time to disconnect. I still have a full-time job so it's not always easy to isolate myself from work and family.
AS: The scene where Babu has to put into writing what happened in his childhood with his Stepfather, Wayne, for his psychiatrist. It was vital to explaining his issues, and homophobia, yet it was painful to write. Eva is still not over “the stick.”
7) I'm sure I'm not the first to ask but... will you write another book together ? And if not, what can we expect from the both of you in the next few months ?
EL: Apart from joking around about it, we haven't seriously discussed it. I still have to finish my fourth and final installment of the Underdogs of the Arena Series (for those of you who have been waiting for Jonas I AM SO SORRY!). Also, I will be republishing Disheveled from the #UCC Saga and then finishing writing Jade's story. I have several other projects on hold as well so I need to get those things out of my crammed head!
AS: I would love to co-author another book with Eva. We’ve discussed another plot for a book, but that was way before Black Balled even. I know Eva has some books to finish, and I am finishing up Book 2 in the September Series, entitled “When September Ends.” It’s NA and written under my pen name of Graysen Blue. It is due out early June. And then I will be starting Book 3 in the Limbo Series, my paranormal/suspense/romance/erotica entitled, “Crimson and Clover.” Of course, if people are eager for another co-authored book, just let me know. You see, I have a little secret. All I have to do is write the first chapter, send it to Eva, and voila! A work in progress is born!
8) Last questions : what would you advise to an aspiring writer ? And what are you reading lately ?
EL: Hmmmmm, do you want the cookie-cutter advice or the Babu-style advice? To be honest, the writing world can be brutal but you need to listen to your characters and ultimately they will win...or drive you to drink. And when a reader inboxes you or tags you saying they loved what you wrote? That's better than any drug I know, granted I don't know many (unless chocolate is considered one then I know A LOT of them!) Just be yourself, don't put on a persona. If you are shy in life, then you are allowed to be shy as an author. If you are a loud, f-bomb dropper in life, then by all means...bombard the internet with our naughty words of wisdom. At the end of the day, you will have readers who love your work and those who will not. And guess what? That's O.K.
I just finished "Hard" by Eve Jagger and it was fantastic. Right now, I'm reading "My Time in the Affair" by Stylo Fantome and it's absolutely amazing. Love her writing! Next up..."Trust" by Ella Frank and I can't wait!
AS: Advice to an aspiring writer? A) Select Beta readers who will be brutally honest, and then listen to them. B) Have a great editor and cover designer; C) And never, ever break The Cardinal Rule!
I’m reading Elle Kennedy lately and absolutely LOVE her NA Series!! She is one class act for sure. Right now, I’m reading “The Mistake.” It is totally epic!
What a fun and amazing interview ! I loved it ! And that's just a glimpse of how nice and talented Andrea and Eva are. If you haven't yet, please consider buying Black Balled, you won't regret it ! THANKS again to Andrea and Eva, you are one of the best !