An interview with author T R Byron

You blog, you write short stories, you’re a novelist and a poet. Do you have a preference for a particular format? Do you find it hard to switch between them?
I usually have a general idea of where I’m going, but I usually don’t know exactly where the stories will take me. Blogging is a stress reliever for me. As for poetry, that is my biggest struggle. Staying structured makes me a little crazy.

How long have you been writing?
Since I was in grade school. I came across a few books I wrote as a child. They are horrible! But you could tell that I had a knack for putting stories together. I was in my late twenties when I really started writing novels and short stories. My first novel I wrote in twenty-four hours. I couldn’t sleep, the story wouldn’t let me get any rest until I had it all written down. That one book turned into a four book series. This was during my VC Andrews phase and that series really shows it.

What has been the hardest thing for you so far on your writing journey?
Probably believing in myself, in work, that it is good enough. Aside from the common issues with grammar and missing words, I tend to be a perfectionist, and am constantly editing trying to make it better.

What genres do you write in? Do you have a favourite?
Romance and erotica mostly. I love flawed characters with heart. If I had to choose, it would definitely be Romance.

Do you ever find it hard to admit that you write erotica, or to let close friends/family read your erotica?
Definitely. Most people think erotica is porn and cannot see the difference. They focus on the sex and nothing more. And then, of course, there’s that little flash I will see in their eyes where some people wonder if I’m just a tramp. If you write about it so openly, then you must be doing something dirty. What they fail to see is sex is as natural as breathing. If feel that if I’m going to write about love and romance, it’s a natural progression, and leaving the intimacy out downplays its importance.

So, can you explain the difference between porn and erotica, when it comes to writing/reading?
I see porn as having no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire. Anyone can do that. Plot isn’t required in Pornography, nor is the emotional connection between the main characters. The characters usually don’t grow emotionally, stay together, or even in some instances like one another. Readers of porn want to read about sex, plain and simple. Pornography’s concentration lays in the physical activity between the characters. You won’t find a happily-ever-after here, but do expect a wham, bam, thank you ma’am. Don’t assume the word choices will be nice or sensual either. They won’t be. They can get rather crude, distasteful and cringe-worthy, which all depends on your preference of what you want and prefer

The driving force behind Erotica is exploring a character’s sexual discovery. I see it as a romance. Sex is the common link between Erotica and Romance, but the outcome of the story can be completely different. Erotica can easily leave the door open to the characters staying together, or going their separate ways, while in romance the couple must come together by the end of the book. All Romances have a hero and heroine that strive to be together no matter what, the reader expects to root for both, and to have the happy conclusion. What set Romance and Erotica apart are the details in the sex scenes itself. My erotic scenes fall in the middle of Romance and Porn. The most important thing to me is making that emotional connection between my characters and reader, and letting my readers enjoy the journey with them as well.

Are there any difficulties particular to writing erotica? For instance, I find it hard to write erotica in first person because I end up feeling like I’m writing about my own experiences even if I’m not!
I’m like you there and usually write in third person. It allows me to step outside and visual the scene more clearly in my head as I write from my characters point of view. The most difficult for me was my first erotica novel, Distracting Duncan. I had this one character who used women, loved prostitutes and used his status to the fullest. I had to write a scene where he gets physical with the prostitute, and I struggled for weeks to write that one scene. I had to keep stepping away, but when I finally completed it, it made me hate that character, and that was the emotion I really needed my reader to hone in on.

Are there any genres you’re afraid to try, or struggle to write in?
I try to put a little comedy in my stories. I love to laugh. I don’t think I could write a real tale of horror.

Do you read in the same genres that you write in?
Yes. I am always looking for a good romance to read.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas from?
People inspire me. I like getting to know people, what makes them tick, those little things that make them smile. I get my ideas everywhere. I find myself watching television or movies and thinking, I wouldn’t have written it that way. I love good dialogue, and will often write certain phrases in a notebook to use for my characters.

Do you have a favourite author? Or perhaps an author you view as an inspiration?
I’ve read everything by VC Andrews and that is what really started me on my writing path. I am a huge fan of Linda Lael Miller and Maggie Shayne. Miller has great romances, a lot of them centered around cowboys. Maggie Shayne does supernatural. I like that even her darker characters have some endearing qualities.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Slow down and visualize the scene. In the beginning, I had a tendency to rush through just to get the story out. When I came to Writing.com, that’s when I really learned to slow the scene and work on painting a picture so the reader could catch a glimpse of what was happening.

What is your purpose in writing? Do you aspire to be published?
Being published is the dream. I even went so far as to pay $1500 for an editor who was supposed to shop my book around. After a year, and minimal editing, they sent my manuscript back. It was a good lesson. I’ve tried for years to find an agent, sending in manuscripts. Finally, last year, I decided to put my books out there on CreateSpace. Mostly family bought them, but I’ll never forget seeing my book in print.

What’s your favourite piece of your own writing?
My novel, A Perfect Fit. My main character has a lot of me in her. I think she’s the stronger, more outgoing version of me.

Anna flew out of the Boutique on cloud nine, ready to burst. In her excitement, she plowed right into someone on the street. Their hard figure was as unmovable as a brick wall. Her eyes focused on a chest covered in a light brown T-shirt. The man caught her at the elbow, preventing her from stumbling to the ground. When she looked up into his face, her knees almost buckled and her heart pounded at an erratic pace. Those eyes she knew so well looked down at her, and Nolan smiled for a change.

“Where’s the fire?”

Anna swallowed the hard lump in her throat. The mere sight of him, mixed with the feel of those strong hands holding onto her sent her pulse racing as she fought for control.

“Sorry. Guess I didn’t see you.” She couldn’t let that smile and those intoxicating dark eyes deceive her again. She refused to let him into her heart so he could take advantage of her emotions, not to mention her eager body. Their eyes met and locked, making Anna powerless to look away, even though she knew she should.

“That’s obvious. What are you doing in this part of town?” The softness in his eyes disappeared. The coldness returned while he continued to stare at her. One eyebrow lifted as he waited for her to respond. “Checking up on me or you just couldn’t stay away?”

“Try again,” she said taking a step back. Anna steeled her spine and stood tall as irritation flooded her. “If you must know I was offered a job, not that it’s any of your business.” The quick anger thankfully hardened her voice. This man was nothing but trouble, and trouble she didn’t need.

“So you are trying to get close to me, honey,” he said, moving closer.

Again with that word! The endearment rattled her mind and began to break away all her defenses, not that she had many when it came to him. The fact that he presumed she was following him galled her and reinforced Anna’s opinion about his massive ego. He did nothing more than irritate the hell out of her, knew it and enjoyed it.

“I’m not your honey, so don’t say it again. For your information, I don’t spend my days wondering where you are and what you’re doing.”

A Perfect Fit by T R Byron

Do you do anything in particular to promote your published works?
I did start a facebook page, and I had a few giveaways for my books, hoping that I would get some objective reviews from it, but sadly, nothing happened. I find it hard to try and promote myself, and I know I seriously need to look into doing that. I’ve considered donating a few of my books to my local library, but haven’t yet.

Is there a third book in the Endurance series, and when can we expect it to be available?
Books three and four are halfway complete. I started a big edit of Bride 2 Be, the third book in the series, and am hoping to finally finish it by the end of the year so I can complete book four.

You can find the first two books in T R Byron’s Endurance series, A Perfect Fit and Megan’s Man at her Amazon profile.

The Scene Is Set

Bathed in tranquil moonlight,
a stage adorned with silken strands.
A tale to tell of hunger,
of passion,
of dark desire.

No whispers,
no wrenching pleas,
no tormented soliloquies.
Not yet.

A sticky plot awaiting luckless lovers,
the scene set for an unwelcome rendezvous.
Last curtain call.

Patience.

Fate’s dance will bring chaos
and glory;
triumph.
And each fragile filament will have served its final purpose.

Spring’s Canvas

Spring has descended
with all her savage fury,
altering the urban landscape
as office workers scuttle to their cars,
umbrellas held aloft.

A raindrop scurries downward,
helpless against gravity’s endless allure.
Reflecting a microscopic world
in a single bead of water.

Sodden, slippery leaves,
trampled.
A smooshed mess of
autumnal browns
abandoned for the newest spring fashions.

Bloated with dark malcontent,
clouds glare,
spitting contempt
and disapproval.
Roiling, a mass of greys
and charcoal.

Broken umbrellas,
discarded,
abandoned.
A splotch of vivid fuschia
with arms askew
and limbs in awkward disarray.

Each puddle a glossy mirror,
disturbed by every vibration,
rippling in concentric circles.
Drinking greedily and
lying in wait to confront the unwary.

Blades of grass
bending under a soggy burden,
flummoxed by the sheer weight of sweet rain water.
Glossy and shiny
in the dim glow of streetlights,
bowing face down to the ground.

Half a man’s boot print in the mud,
outlined in deep, rich brown ridges.
Mouldable,
yet vulnerable to a swift demise.

A rust stained drain,
sturdy arms outstretched,
undaunted by torrential forces.
Unbending,
unrelenting,
staunchly parallel
and dead straight.

Twigs wrenched from shelter,
tossed and thrown about the street
at the whim of the wind and rain.
A small fork,
with one tine a touch shorter
than the other.

A scrap of paper,
once crisp, now soggy,
drowning in depths it can’t absorb.
Bleached of colour,
its ink washed away
along with all meaning and purpose.

The street is a canvas of mottled grey
and dark shadows,
painted with the amber glow of
streetlights and headlights.
Spring’s violent rampage
steals the scene.

Contradictions

It is rage,
fists clenched so tight
your fingers ache,
teeth grinding.

Love,
a blushing heat
stealing into your cheeks,
making you dream of
sweet, innocent,
close-mouthed kisses.

Passion,
clouding your mind,
a desperate need for
release.

The tight, painful prickle of
sunburn and
regret.

The warm comfort of
a hot water bottle on
a crisp night.

It is the sear
of ice against
naked flesh.

The wail of a siren
that only ever heralds
pain and tragedy.

The obnoxious screech
of a fire alarm
jolting you from a sound sleep and
flooding you with adrenaline.

The crackle of a fire as
you snuggle with your lover
on a soft rug and
whisper promises and
fantasies.

It is the tart punch
of a pomegranate
as the seeds slide
down your throat.

The mellow heat
of mulled wine
seasoned with cinnamon
and star anise.

The plastic flavour
of lipstick,
leaving you wishing for
honesty.

Red is a contradiction.

Passing Judgement

You turn your head away,
a star in your own sanctimonious soap opera.

For the cost of one of your overpriced lattes,
I could ease the gnawing ache in my belly,
but no, you need that latte.
God forbid you resort to instant.

You roll your eyes,
the ones you spent hours staring at
in the mirror of your fancy ass bathroom,
as you carefully coated those sneering lips
in I Don’t Give A Fuck Red.
“He’ll only spend it on drugs and alcohol.”

Kindness costs nothing, bitch!
A smile costs nothing.

No, of course you can’t spare a dollar.
Jenny’s phone is two models out of date,
and Little Johnny wants new soccer boots
because green isn’t his favourite colour anymore.

You keep walking in your fucking expensive shoes
that hurt like a bastard, but hey, they look good.
You keep passing judgement.
Don’t you worry about me. I’ll be fine.

Books read in July

Strong Enough by Melanie Harlow and David Romanov *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

Hard Wired by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Mature Content by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Just One Touch by Maya Banks *Star**Starw**Starw**Starw**Starw*

Healed By A Dragon by Lauren Lively *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

The Farther He Runs by Lynda Aicher *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

Logan’s Need by Sloane Kennedy *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Never Seduce A Scot by Maya Banks *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

Wondering Sight by Melissa McShane *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Skin Deep by S W Vaughn *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

After The End by Katie Ruggle *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Run To Ground by Katie Ruggle *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Just One Touch by Maya Banks
This book is so below Maya Banks’ normal standards. I know she can do better than this!

Okay, first off, the instalove. Jenna is a healer, and when Isaac is shot, she heals him. This is their very first interaction. Apparently Jenna doesn’t just heal Isaac’s body, but his soul too. He likens to her to an angel. Despite others she heals having very similar reactions, Isaac decides he is in love with Jenna, and she has no choice but to love him back. There is virtually no mention of any other facet of Jenna, just her amazing healing ability. He barely even knows her.

Jenna has lived an extremely sheltered life. She has never been touched in kindness by a man, let alone had a kiss or fallen in love. She falls for Isaac’s worship of her, and believes they are meant to be together. Again, she barely knows him and is more in love with the idea of being loved than anything particular to Isaac.

Secondly, Isaac’s ‘love’ for Jenna is more like obsession. There are numerous mentions of how he can’t ever let her go and how lucky it is that she loves him too because he wouldn’t let her go either way. Um, what? That’s so wrong, not to mention illegal. He even acknowledges the similarities between Jenna’s kidnappers and himself, noting that the only difference is that he would adore her instead of using her. Her permission seems irrelevant.

It’s all so wrong. And so shockingly beneath Maya Banks’ normal standards of book. Do NOT be put off Maya Banks if you haven’t read her other work. I’d even recommend the first three books in this series, where we meet Ari, Gracie and Ramie. Those three books were fantastic. The fourth didn’t do much for me, but this fifth Slow Burn novel is not worth your time and attention.