Joining us today is Erica Pike. Her newest release, Absolutely Eric, was published earlier this month by MLR Press.
Kathy: Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with us today. What motivated you to become an author? How long have you been writing?
Ms. Pike: Thanks for having me, Kathy. I’ve always had an overactive imagination and have always daydreamed a lot. I used to write poetry and very-short stories (didn’t know how to make them longer) as a teen. I took up writing for real in early 2008 when I was in my late twenties. That was around the time I discovered that I only have this one life and I better go and do something interesting with it. I mean, why waste it on something you don’t like doing when, with a little effort, you could be doing what you love? I wrote a full-length manuscript and once the financial catastrophe hit Iceland, I figured it was high time to get cracking. After all, no one was going to make my dream come true for me, so I pored myself into the work.
Kathy: As a relatively new author, you have accumulated an impressive backlist of books. Were the novels and stories already written when you began searching for a publisher?
Ms. Pike: Yes, I had already written the two novels and five short stories before I queried. I figured it would be best to hit the market with a loud smack, but mostly it was because I had a very hard time letting go and actually submit my manuscripts (I have a problem with perfectionism). Turned out I didn’t need to be so worried, because MLR Press picked up A Life Without You after a few days and I got the most amazing editor to work with.
Kathy: What influenced your decision to write gay romances? Are there other genres you would consider writing?
Ms. Pike: I was writing YA paranormal before I got into gay romance. I would consider going back to YA…but I’d probably want to write from a gay boy’s perspective. I think it would be interesting to write gay paranormal YA. Anyway, I reviewed books alongside my writing, and as a member of Netgalley I got curious about the LGBT section. I got denied every time, because my focus was on YA, but then one publisher decided to chance on me and sent me an m/m title. Spice and Solace by KC Burn was my first m/m and there was no turning back after that. Mind you, I’ve always been fascinated by male/male love, I just didn’t realize it was such a widespread topic in books before I read that book.
Kathy: What types of books do you read? Do you have a favorite novel? A comfort read?
Ms. Pike: I only read m/m now. I used to be all about paranormal YA, but now it’s mostly m/m contemporary. I also love m/m sci-if and dystpoians. My favorite novels are The Curtis Reincarnation by Zathyn Priest and Conquest by KC Burn, though Riot Boy by Kathy Hawthorne is also great. The best short stories ever – books I read as comfort reads – are Left of Center by Zathyn Priest and Joy Ride by JM Snyder. I recommend all of those (obviously), they’re excellent.
Kathy: Your current releases are from two different series. Were the series planned in advance? Or did they evolve as you wrote the first story of each series?
Ms. Pike: The first series, Boston Boys, wasn’t planned. I wrote the first book and it spawned a secondary character, Eric Wesley, who took on a life of his own and demanded his own book. As I wrote it, I realized that the other characters wanted to be heard as well, so I’ll be writing their stories in the future (currently working on Jazz). The College Fun and Gays series was planned as a five-story series. That is, I knew there were going to be five stories, but the ideas came to me over the course of a few months.
Kathy: What is the typical day like as author Erica Pike? Do you write every day?
Ms. Pike: I know I’m supposed to say I write every day…but I don’t. I did a year ago, but not today. I divorced last year and I’ve been building a new home for me and my two soon-to-be five year old sons. But mostly I’m having trouble with concentration due to my depression and anxiety. However, I’ve been trying to get things in order, so I go to the gym in the morning during work days. Then I head for the library and stay there for roughly four hours – to write, edit, or do whatever needs to be done. Then I go home, take a nap, pick up the kids from the preschool, do various things until they go to sleep, and then I’m on the internet promoting, socializing and such. I know it sounds lonely, but I’m a loner, so it’s how I prefer things.
Kathy: Can you tell us a little bit about the Boston Boys series and Absolutely Eric?
Ms. Pike: The Boston Boys are a group of gay friends in Boston. They have various professions: Adam, Jesse and Eric are college students, Alex is a publisher, Rick is a construction worker, Benji does odd-jobs, Jazz is an artist, Cal-Al is a hairdresser, and Terry is a sex-shop owner. Their age range is from eighteen to twenty-eight. They are very open with each other and they get up to the most ridiculous things. I always have a huge smile on my face when I’m writing the interaction between those guys.
Absolutely Eric features Eric from A Life Without You. He’s a twenty year old college student and is quite the little spitfire. He’s a proud twink and at the beginning of the book he’s also proud of his man-hunting skills. However, after taking part in a threesome with a very loving couple, he realizes what’s been missing out on and sets out to find love of his own…only with the wrong man after having dumped the right man onto Terry’s lap. When I wrote this story, I giggled for the whole five weeks (it practically wrote itself, by the way). And then I giggled for another month while editing. I was a tiny bit sad when I sent in the final version for release, because it meant letting go, but maybe I’ll write another story that features Eric. There is so much potential for more. He will pop up in the future Boston Boys stories though, since he’s the bright little center of the group.
Kathy: What projects are you currently working on? What can readers look forward to from you in the upcoming year?
Ms. Pike: I just turned in my free read for the Love is Always Write event at the M/M Romance group on Goodreads. It’s called Half-Baked Promises and should be out sometime in the next couple of months. My next two College Fun and Gays stories should also be out before the end of the year (and maybe a Boston Boys Christmas story!). I’m currently working on sexy Jazz as my next novel. I need something extraordinary for him, since I pretty much left him hanging in the first two books. He’s an easy going guy and takes life as it comes, but he’s also dark horse with a less-than-stellar past. Other than that, I’m planning the Boston Boys #1.5, where we’ll get to follow Adam and Jesse to meet Jesse’s parents. It’s called “Mom, I’m Gay” (you can guess what it’s about, hehe). And, here’s the surprise, I’m also working on an m/m paranormal Viking story. I figured, who better to write a Viking story than an Icelander, right? We learn about them from when we’re very little and read the sagas in school. We also live in the harsh weather conditions they did and it’s easy to put ourselves into their shoes.
Kathy: I have enjoyed chatting with you today. Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?
Ms. Pike: Yes, the Hop Against Homophobia was a huge success. I want to thank all the 200+ m/m authors, reviewers and publishers who took part in the hop and everyone who visited. There’ll be another hop same time next year, on the International Day Against Homophobia.
Thanks so much for having me, Kathy.
Kathy: Ms. Pike, congratulations on the release of Absolutely Eric and thank you so much for visiting with us today. Feel free to drop by anytime you happen to be in the neighborhood.
Erica’s social links:
To celebrate her visit here today, Ms.Pike is giving away a digital copy of Absolutely Eric to one lucky commenter.
Title: Absolutely Eric by Erica Pike
Boston Boys Book Two
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 264 pages
Twenty year old college student Eric Wesley is looking for love, but instead of choosing Mr. Right, he goes after Mr. Wrong.
Eric Wesley is short and snazzy, hot and happy. Or that’s what he thought. After three years of living on the wild side he’s tired of being a playboy and wants to find love.
Eric, however, has never been in love before and doesn’t see that the guy who’s been gazing at him all summer might be Mr. Right. Alexander Centauri isn’t only style-less and clumsy, but also terribly awkward. After a miserable date, Eric plants Alex on another guy’s lap and goes after Mr. Wrong…who looks so right.
When Eric realizes his mistake, it might be too late.
NOTE: Although part of a series, Absolutely Eric may be read as a standalone novel.
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