AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: JP BARNABY
JP Barnaby had stopped for a little chat with the bunnies of Joyfully Reviewed….
Tell us a little about Aaron and the inspiration behind the story:
A few years back, I read a book about a rape victim who just happily jumped into bed with the next person to whom they were attracted. I found this behavior rather implausible. A few days later, I started to hear a tiny little voice in my head describing how he wakes up with the fear and the drugs every single day. He told me about the nightmares and the flashbacks and I wanted with all my heart to make him better, so I started writing.
The book took me two years to finish because there were times when I needed to stop for my own emotional sanity.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
For the most part, I have glimpses of what will happen. I usually know how it starts, have a few scenes written in my head, and have the ending planned – but the details, the marrow of the story comes from the characters and the stories they tell me.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
My very first series, The Forbidden Room Series is MMF, but predominantly MM. I have always written within the romance genre, but because of my bisexuality I can write MM, MF, FF, or any variation therein. I enjoy writing gay romance for several reasons – first because I think it’s important to let boys discovering their sexuality know that they aren’t alone. They need to know that an entire community of us exist and accept them for exactly who they are. Second, I find one guy opening himself up emotionally and sexually to another to be very erotic. Finally, I have several friends within the gay adult entertainment industry, and I like writing about them, showing their lives, fairly and realistically.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
I’d have to say that my favorite character is Master Ethan from the Forbidden Room series. Most Doms that you read in fiction, especially romantic fiction, a Dom is generally portrayed as perfect – always in control.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
The toughest character for me to “get right” would be Jamie Mayfield from the Little Boy Lost series. Much like Brian, I had no experience with illicit drugs or addiction when I started the series. It was difficult to write his homelessness, abuse, and drug addiction without firsthand experience—but with research and the help of a doctor-friend, I believe his life came out plausible. Brian and Jamie were both sympathetic characters, but given their young ages, I also needed to have them make mistakes they could learn and grow from. Watching them stumble was difficult when I just wanted to give them a happily ever after, but they told their story in their own time.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
It’s funny you should ask – the character Micah in the Little Boy Lost series was written from my good friend and adult model Devon Hunter. Originally, Micah was a small character – just there to help Brian find his way sexually after coming to terms with the loss of Jamie. As I wrote him, and the image of Devon formed into my mind, he expanded into a much larger role in Brian’s life.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
My two young nieces live with me, they are 12 and 3 – so my biggest writing challenge is noise. I can’t write with the TV on or them running around under foot. Most of my writing is done on my commute into work. I have about 45 minutes of uninterrupted time each way.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
My bedroom walls are covered in Harry Potter posters. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. My life is pretty much an open book, so there aren’t too many skeletons in my closet that fans don’t already know.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Hmmmmmm…. I’m not sure there are too many pleasures I feel guilty about. If I had to pick one, I’d probably say Doritos. After losing 150lbs last year, they are my one true indulgence.
What TV Show are you addicted to?
I don’t watch TV, but there is a show on Netflix that I became thoroughly addicted to after a rec from my mom. Sherlock from BBC is amazing. I love the characters, and I love how Sherlock Holmes is portrayed not as a stuffy know-it-all, but a manic, kind of out-of-control twenty-something guy with an ambiguous sexual identity. Is he in love with John Watson? That would be something to see.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Quiet. I spent a lot of time writing under headphones. One thing that I do need in order to write some nice hot sex scenes is porn. I’m an audiophile so I like listening to a scene while I write. I don’t even have to watch it.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Nope. I’m not one of these people who has a playlist for every book. I have a “depression” playlist to get me into a certain mood to write angsty scenes, or I’ll listen to porn to get me in the mood to write sexy scenes –but generally I listen to Enigma’s Sadness (Pt. 1) because of the rich sound that blocks out everything else.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
That’s an interesting question. For the Little Boy Lost series, I’d have to say that in my head – Brian is Ian Graves and Jamie is a young Phillip Aubrey.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
My very first contract was a short story with Evernight Publishing – and I was at my desk. I’m pretty sure I told the whole block, but really, I just meant to tell my mother.
For the six book Little Boy Lost contract, I think I may have blacked out for a minute or two before I told someone.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Oh, I’m sure I read a few Harlequin novels when I was a teenager. I was never one for the swooning pirates or damsels in distress. My first M/M romance novel was J. L. Langley’s Tin Star. I’d started reading slash on Fanfiction and had no idea such a genre existed for novels. Once I started, I was hooked.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
I’m very fond of my critique partner’s work – Rowan Speedwell, author of Finding Zach. Other authors that I go totally fangirl over are Cameron Dane, Kele Moon, Tymber Dalton, Rachel Haimowitz, and Zathyn Priest. I love a good story where I can’t see the end coming.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I do – by day, I’m a mild mannered software developer. I write financial applications such as budgeting, accounts payable, and accounts receivable software. To offset the stress of that job, I started writing.
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all time favorite?
I love superhero movies – The Avengers, The Hulk, Iron Man, X-Men – anything sciencey or geeky. Probably my favorite movie of all time is The Core. Having been a Physics major, the science in that movie resonates with me.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
Excerpt from new untitled novel about a man compelled to do BDSM to punish himself after his younger sister’s rape and murder.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Rowan Speedwell or Kele Moon
How do you pick your characters names?
They tell me their names.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I’m not sure I believe at love at first sight – lust at first sight, certainly, but not a strong foundational love. They need to grow into a steady relationship for me to find the story plausible.
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Dove milk chocolate with almonds.