Welcome CJane Elliot to my blog. CJane has dropped by to tell us a little about her new release Aidan’s Journey.
What’s your writing process? Plotter/punster? Complete the first/tinker as you? Multiple WIPs?
I generally start with an outline that lays out as much of the story that I can come up with. I usually get one or two of my beta readers to brainstorm with me at this stage of the process. Sometimes I don’t yet know the ending and I often add or change scenes, so I change/revise the outline as the writing process goes along. Sometimes I scrap the initial outline and start over, but I’m always working with an outline. Another organizational thing I do, for novels especially, is a timeline. I put in dates for when events occur, and play around with the timing of things. Right now I have a whiteboard which has timelines for the MCs in the first four Serpentine novels: Pete, Aidan, Jed, and Kent/Tucker (characters that will be introduced in the Jed novel). As for the writing itself, I aim for writing an entire first draft before going back and editing, although I’ll do some minor editing as I go along. I write from beginning to end, and check off each scene on the outline when I’ve finished it. I write the first draft in longhand, and type the scenes into a Word Document at the end of each day. When I’m done with the draft and before I start editing, I go back through the manuscript and do a final version of the outline. I edit on the computer and I save any deleted material in a separate folder, in case I decide to use it later. I’m not one to have multiple WIPs going. I find I like to stick with one project until the end before starting another one. I’m awfully LINEAR! And what I love the most is when ideas or scenes or even characters appear unplanned, and I get to be surprised.
What’s your favourite type of scene to write?
I love the scenes where the main character is being helped by a friend or family member to understand something that the MC isn’t seeing about himself, his love interest, or the situation. My characters are mostly “new adult”, or college-aged, and they don’t understand everything about themselves or the world yet, even if they may think they do. Aidan has a blind spot where Professor R is concerned, persisting in thinking that they have a romance or love relationship when in reality Professor R is abusing him emotionally. Here’s a snippet of a scene between Aidan and one of my favourite characters in the story, Luke, where Luke is trying to get Aidan to see this.
“Rodney and I used to be in a relationship.”
“What?” He stared at me as I rushed on.
“It started last year. Well, we had sex once at the end of school and then in August when I was in London. And this year after school began we became boyfriends. It ended in April.”
“April?” he asked slowly.
“I know. I know you and I started dating before that. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I broke up with him because I wanted to be with you, and I… I didn’t want to have an open relationship anymore.”
“An open relationship? What the hell does that mean?”
“We were free to be with other people as long as we kept our primary commitment to each other. We weren’t supposed to get involved in a long-term way with anyone else, although we could sleep with someone more than once.”
“Yeah. It sounds strange, but Rodney isn’t able to be monogamous, so I went along with it. It worked for a while, but then Rodney started a relationship with Tish… and I started dating you and… everything got messed up.”
“You… he….” Luke pulled at his hair with both hands. “Are you telling me Professor R seduced you when you were barely eighteen and then convinced you to have an open relationship? As in he gets to sleep with whoever he wants while keeping you on a string?”
When he put it that way, it sounded worse than it was.
[Actually, it was that bad. I just couldn’t see it then.]
“Um, well, we fell in love with each other, but Rodney has a problem with commitment, or… no, not commitment, because he’s been committed to being with me ever since, but he has a problem with being sexually involved with only one person. He was fine with me having sex with other people too, I mean, he wasn’t possessive or anything, he—”
“Stop!” Luke winced. “Don’t you hear how crazy that is? How can you call that love? Rodney preyed on you, got you to fall for him, and has been using and abusing you ever since.”
“No,” I said hesitantly. “He hasn’t abused me. He loves me. But it’s complicated.”
“Aidan.” Luke spoke slowly as if to a second grader. “Rodney Montgomery is a professor. He’s… what? Thirty or something?”
“Thirty. He turns thirty-one in June.”
“Right. Twelve years older than you and in a position of authority. He’s also handsome, intelligent, witty, and knew exactly how to sweep you off your feet.”
“No, he was the one who said we shouldn’t do it. I went after him.”
“Oh God.” Luke dropped his face into his hands for a moment, then looked up. “He manipulated you into thinking that, if that’s what you think. Because an adult and a professor who actually had integrity would never have allowed anything to happen, no matter how much a student was going after them.”
“He… he said he fell in love with me.”
I must have looked stricken, because Luke softened his argument. “And maybe he did. But that doesn’t give him the right to prey on you and involve you in some creepy, open sexual relationship. What the hell was he thinking?”
What inspired Aidan’s Journey?
Aidan was inspired by many things. He’s a tall, handsome, charming actor with a killer voice. I had an early love of theater, particularly musical theater, and acted in plays throughout high school. I’ve always had a penchant for tall, handsome men, and I love performers, particularly singers.
When I first wrote Aidan’s character in my initial drafts of the novel Serpentine Walls, he was a charming cad who slept with guys right and left and had something going on with the sleazy Professor R. But as I continued to write, Aidan’s character got more and more dimensional and I could see he had a heart and a lot of pain under that gleaming surface. I started to wonder why he was the way he was and what had led him to be involved with Professor R. Being a therapist by profession, I’m fascinated with people’s psychology and what drives them. I also wanted to explore how Aidan could heal himself and get to his own happy ending. And that was the inspiration for Aidan’s Journey.
Author Bio: After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of gay equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.
In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.
Author Contact: You can contact CJane at email@example.com. Her website is http://www.cjaneelliott.com. Twitter: https://twitter.com/CJaneElliott and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cjane.elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
The star of the University of Virginia theater department, Aidan Emery is lusted after and admired for living out and proud. He uses his talent and good looks to his advantage and never sleeps with the same guy twice. But his glamorous patina has been carefully honed to hide the pain he carries inside.
Aidan wasn’t always such a player. He starts college naively romantic, hungry for the attention he can’t get from his workaholic father and mentally ill mother. Unfortunately, that leaves him ripe pickings for predatory professor Rodney Montgomery. Rodney’s flattering regard seduces Aidan into a dysfunctional relationship that destroys his innocence.
Life looks up for Aidan when he finally breaks free of Rodney’s pull and moves to New York City to make it as an actor. Meeting sweet fellow actor Patrick Jaymes seems like the start of a fairy tale. But before Aidan can rebuild his life into happily ever after, family secrets rip him wide open, leaving him easy prey when Rodney decides he’s not willing to let Aidan go.
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult
Every good story begins with a journey. Mine started on a June day in 2011 as the Amtrak train pulled out of Union Station in Washington, DC. Lee and I were bound for New York City, ready to dazzle ’em all with our acting and singing chops. Look out, Broadway, here come Aidan Emery and Lee Dunlap, the stars of the U.Va. drama department! Jazz hands!
I was leaving my family home—which I’d recently been kicked out of by my father. I was also leaving behind a long-term, toxic relationship. Yes! I felt pretty fucking victorious sitting on that train, talking and laughing with Lee. I’d done it! Left my past behind! Right? I was sure, with all the surety of a twenty-one-year-old, that my dragons had been slain and New York City was where the gold awaited.
Not so fast there, bucko, I want to tell myself now. You’ll get to the gold, but you have many more hard roads to travel before you arrive. Oh, but don’t despair—there is a Prince Charming at the end of it all.
October 14: Love Bytes
October 15: Amanda C. Stone
October 16: MM Good Book Reviews
October 17: Wicked Faeries Reviews
October 20: Tara Lain, Michael Mandrake
October 21: Parker Williams, Multitasking Mommas
October 22: Cate Ashwood
October 23: Inked Rainbow Reads, It’s Raining Men
October 24: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
October 27: Rebecca Cohen Writes, BFD Book Blog, Smoocher’s Voice
October 28: Prism Book Alliance, Jade Crystal
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Rafflecopter Prize: eBook of one of my previous titles, including novel Serpentine Walls, or novellas