Posted on 11/11/2015 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Aria Grace decided to try her hand at writing thanks to someone else’s encouragement.

Now, the shoe is on the other foot: A fan-fiction contest she hosted proved to be the springboard for another budding author’s writing career.

Grace — the author of several novels, including the “More Than Just Friends” gay romance series (which was the backdrop for her fan-fic contest) — told us about her circuitous path to publication and the happiness it’s brought her.

SADYE: How does a Web developer turn into a best-selling gay-romance author?

ARIA: My career has been varied. I was a technical writer, then taught myself HTML and became a Web developer, then evolved into a more general marketing role for my company, then started doing freelance marketing, then met a writer and started editing her work, then she convinced me to start writing on my own.

I didn't think I was creative enough to write anything other than erotica. It was a topic I actually knew about so it was an easy starting point. 

Now, my books are more “contemporary erotic romance” with just a handful of explicit scenes and much more character development.

SADYE: What prompted you, as a woman married to a man, to begin writing male-male erotica?

ARIA: I've always been fascinated by gay relationships. I didn't grow up around any gay couples and there aren't any openly LGBT people in my family, so I think it started out as curiosity.

When my husband started renting (yeah, back in the day we used to go to a store and rent movies), I'd always grab gay porn for myself to get in the mood. Eventually, I discovered M/M romance novels and became hooked.

When I thought about the types of books I wanted to write, I immediately gravitated to the books I like to read most. I love men. And two are even better than one!

SADYE: Are there any particular challenges you — again, as a woman married to a man — face writing M/M romance, or do you think the writing/reading world generally accepts an author writing beyond their individual demographic?

ARIA: Well, since sci-fi writers aren't generally aliens, and paranormal writers aren't generally vampires, I think most people understand that fiction is fiction.

However, I do find that a lot of people think I'm a lesbian because I write gay romance. I'm not quite sure the connection but I get that question a lot.

SADYE: Your “More Than Just Friends” fan fiction contest was a great idea — what was the inspiration for it?

ARIA: Several fans loved Zach and Ryan from book 1 and book 2 and really wanted more of that couple. But I moved the series to a different town and kinda left them on their own. I figured, if other people wanted to pick up where I left off, they should go for it.

I got some great entries and the winner, Kyan Christopher, has actually launched a writing career of his own. He's just about to release book 3 of the Bathhouse series that started off as “More Than Friends” fan fiction.

Nothing makes me more excited than to help/encourage other budding writers to just go for it. Fan fiction is a fun way to dip your toe in the writing water.

SADYE: What’s the best/most meaningful piece of reader feedback you’ve received?

ARIA: I've had several closeted gay men tell me that they had never even heard of the M/M genre when they came across “More Than Friends,” but it really spoke to them and gave them hope that they could find happiness and acceptance one day.

I had no idea my words could touch people in a real and significant way, but it has really encouraged me to go deeper with my characters, making them more realistic.

SADYE: What genres of books or authors do you read in your spare time? 

ARIA: I primarily read paranormal, contemporary and M/M romance. I just love love!

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To learn more about or contact Aria, visit her website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter. You can purchase her books on her website and at Amazon.

Categories: Author Interview

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