Q1. Hello, Ofelia, and welcome to my blog! Tell us a little bit about yourself. How and when did you start writing?
Hi, and thank you for having me! What to tell, what to tell… I’m living with my husband, our four children, a dog, three cats, and a various amount of fish in a house on the outskirts of an incredibly small population centre in Sweden. I grew up on the Swedish west coast but now we live deep in the woods, and yes I do miss the sea.
I’m a teacher, used to teach kids in the ages sixteen to nineteen, but since we moved here, I’ve been picking mushrooms instead. In some ways, I miss teaching, but there is great freedom in going to work and not coming home with a stack of essays to read. And there are so many things I didn’t know about mushrooms!
I’ve always written in one way or another, but I didn’t sit down to write fiction until I went on parental leave with my son eight years ago. I wrote paranormal romance in Swedish then, I even sent it to some publishers and got very nice rejection letters. Back then I didn’t realise personally written rejection letters where the publisher encouraged me to submit again was something good.
Then I stumbled upon the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads and their Don’t Read in the Closet event, so 2014 I snagged a prompt and that was the first time I wrote fiction in English—quite nerve-racking but exciting, and I don’t regret it for a second.
Q2. Who are your favorite authors and do you think they’ve influenced your work?
Oh, favourites, I don’t know. There are so many great authors, but I don’t know if I’m able to pick a favourite. I love urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and the authors who got me hooked are Laurell K. Hamilton, J.R. Ward, Darynda Jones, Jeaniene Frost, Chloe Neill, and Charlaine Harris of course.
If we’re going to talk M/M, which is what I write, it’s the Jordans; you can’t go wrong with the Jordans—Jordan Castillo Price and Jordan L. Hawk.
I think we’re always influenced by what we read, but I can’t pinpoint anything in particular that I’ve taken with me from the goddesses mentioned above. But, I do believe reading teaches us something so despite not being consciously aware of what they’ve taught me, I’m sure they’ve influenced me one way or another.
Q3. What are your biggest achievements? You can include professional and personal ones.
Achievements? That’s a bit harder, isn’t it? I haven’t achieved anything special. Erm… I’ve managed to get a teaching degree in three subjects, I’ve given birth to four children, I’ve written a copious amount of stories and managed to publish a few of them, some are self-published and some with a publisher. I’m a healthcare masseuse (though I’ve never worked as it). I once held a Swedish record in air rifle shooting—it’s true, though it didn’t last long. But at the end of the day, I don’t know if any of that counts. My kids, they always count.
Q4. I’ve reviewed your short story Worth His Salt (click the link if you’d like to read my review), which is a part of Tattooed Corpse; tell us, what inspired the series?
Oh, that was just for fun. I spend a lot of my online time with Amy Spector and Al Stewart, both of them are M/M romance authors too, and you should check them out! Amy and I did a project a couple of years back called Buried Desires where we wrote a horror story each and gave out as a double feature. We thought it was time to do something together again but instead of putting our stories together we reckoned we should make a series. That way we could write a story when we felt like it and one wasn’t depending on the other—we’re trying to convince Mr. Stewart to write a story too.
But to get a series to feel like a series we figured we needed something to tie the stories together. That we decided to have the same body reappear in every story is a result of what happens when authors get too much freedom, too little sleep, and too many cups of coffee.
To clarify, the Tattooed Corpse series is a series of short stories that have nothing in common except that the same body appears somewhere in each story, and that body has a snake tattoo on its arm.
Q5. What are you working on right now and what can we expect from you in the future?
I just started a new story actually, it’s a paranormal one with a werewolf, a vampire, and a psychic. My plans for this year is to write at least one more story in my Nortown series which is a series with lumberjacks. I started out trying to hit as many romance tropes as possible in every book. Later I changed it so I’m concentrating on one central trope per story, but yeah they’re trope-y.
I’ve also been flirting with the idea of writing an M/F story. More than flirting maybe—I have a first draft that I’ve hidden away that I’m thinking about bringing up to the surface. It’s hard doing a genre shift, though, or that’s what I imagine at least. I think if readers associate you with one type of stories and then all of a sudden you’re publishing something else it might turn into a disaster. So right now I’m debating starting a new name or not. I fear it’ll be a lot of work to maintain a presence when split in two. What do you think is best, divide M/M and M/F stories between two names, or have both M/M and M/F stories under the same name?
One thing is for certain, though, and that is that I will continue to write, it’s what keeps me sane.
Q6. I might not be the best person to ask since I read M/F, M/M and F/F and therefore I have nothing against authors using the same name for their straight and LGBT romances. But since you did ask: if you are only going to write one or two M/F shorts, it might not be worth the hassle of picking a new pen name just for them. Maybe mention the woman or man from the straight couple in one of your M/M books and add a note at the end of that book that goes “If you want to read *Straight Guy/Girl’s Name*‘s love story, check out my *Title of Book with Them*“?
Anyway… Who is your biggest supporter and what would you like to say to them?
I want to say thank you to all my supporters. It still amazes me that someone wants to read what I’ve written. My sister is the one who encourages me the most, and quite often I bounce ideas off her. Then I have my husband, of course. He might not be very invested in the stories I write, but he does his best to sound supportive. I’ve already mentioned Al and Amy; I wouldn’t last a week without them.
Q7. If you could give other authors one piece of advice, be it about writing, editing, promoting or increasing their audience, what would it be?
To have someone or a couple of someones who are in the same position as you, striving for similar goals. When I say I wouldn’t last a week without Al and Amy, I’m serious, I would survive of course, but they understand how I feel because they have felt the same way at some point in their writing career.
Starting out is frightening. I remember when my first story was published, and I didn’t know anyone in the community. The second project I was part of was an anthology that Beaten Track Publishing gave out, and it was through it that I met Al and Amy. We talk every day, EVERY DAY, some of it is just gossip of course, but a lot is writing, marketing, and editing related. We try out different things; we share our results, we help each other out when we can. If I have a bad day, they’re there with me, if I have a great day they cheer me on.
There’s an abundance of advice and tips out there—how to launch your book, how to get 10 000 subscribers, how to write a compelling blurb, get a contract, make a marketing plan, etc., etc. I’m sure we can learn something from all of that, but my advice is to find a community or group, big or small, of like-minded people that can inspire and push you forward.
Q8. This is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard! Thank you for giving me this interview! Before we part, tell us: where can people connect with you online?
Thank you for letting me visit!
I’m everywhere, almost. I try to blog once a week, though sometimes real life gets in the way, I spent an unhealthy amount of time on Goodreads, and I’m starting to enjoy Instagram more and more. I have a mailing list, and if you sign up for that, you’ll get a copy of The Empty Egg (one of those lumberjack stories I talked about earlier). It’s on my to-do list to swap that story to another… I just need to write it first.