The friend zone is often talked about in movies (often a bit silly in my opinion) but what I want to talk about is why someone would leave the friend zone – and it’s something people can only do together. Pat McDermott kindly invited me to ponder this on her blog, Across the Plain of Shining Books.
Ever wonder what it would be like to have your soul ripped from your body? Adam Short knows.
Does anyone else know, though?
We might have an idea.
I still clearly remember when I got the idea for The Soul of Adam Short. It was almost exactly fifteen years ago – I typed up the first note on October second, year Two-Thousand. I was standing at a junction much like the Mosley Road of the book, having paused my bike. I stopped because I was sure a car was coming down the street, but when I looked more carefully there was nothing. It was a very strange feeling.
I cycled on, wondering what had happened, and wondering what would happen if a ghost car “knocked you down.” Could the spirit of the vehicle and its driver interact with your own sprit, your soul?
Once that situation of a character losing his or her soul occurred to me, the rest of the story took rough shape and I knew it was a tale for Young Adults, even though until then I’d written “adult.” books. The characters had to be teens. Lots of adults cycle – I still do, every day – but the symptoms of such an event would be more likely accepted as just a brain malfunction in a middle-aged person. (Yes, I consider myself middle-aged – doesn’t mean I am old, just I’m halfway through what I expect to attain, barring accidents… everyone older than me is OLD.)
And only teens would have the tenacity to go against the grain of what’s considered okay, the accepted wisdom, the proper thing to do. Some of us adults still have a little of that left, but not enough. Most of us are afraid of what “others might think” A look at the world today can show that fairly clearly. Unfortunately many teens think they’re not capable of acting on their own. They’ve been told they were toddlers that they’re too small to do things, it’s too dangerous to climb the tree, to walk home alone from school half the time.
One lesson Adam Short learns, is that life is as short as his name, that it can fly by in a heartbeat if you’re not paying attention, and the future is not something to be feared, but embraced; because it doesn’t matter, in the end, what your parents or neighbours think of your life choices. Everyone ends up before they’re quite ready, either sitting by the side of Mosley Road, or attending their own funeral, and it can happen in a heartbeat if you’re not ready. But being aware of it, it loses its scariness – and you can appreciate the little things that make a life worth living( some of which Adam loses and some he discovers), and step up to do the things that make a life great.
If we don’t at least try, well, we may as well have no soul.
Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing JD Martins, fellow author at Tirgearr Publishing and man after my own heart because he has also pledged to donate 10% of royalties from his first published book to WWW the World Wildlife Fund.
Thanks for coming by, JD and answering some of my probing questions.
No problem, David. Thanks for having me by – but can you keep the double entendres to a minimum?
Yes, of course, sorry about that. Is it easier to write a novella rather than a novel?
Not so much as you’d expect, to be honest. Everyone has their own favourite size, I suppose, but there’s not really that much difference between a 25k novella and a 70k novel when it comes down to figuring out the characters and their back-story. Every romance has to have at least two main characters, with their motivations and story arc and that’s where most of the work is, for me. I find I need to cut down pretty savagely to fit a story into the shorter format – especially if half the time the characters are having sex, or thinking about it.
So, then, why write erotic romance?
This is my first story, and I did this because I heard about the City Nights Series that Tirgearr were making and I decided to try my hand at it. It was the first time I wrote anything for a specific reason other than just for my own pleasure.
Tell us what inspired the story.
I used to live in Madrid back in the early two thousands – the noughties, they’re sometimes called. I spent my fair share of time in bars there. I had written a short story about looking for people you know when you go to bars and if you were in a place where nobody knew you, meeting someone from your former life, and whether that would be a good thing or not. I decided to turn my story into an erotic romance, taking the story a few paces further along from where it had originally trodden.
So it was pretty much done, then – you just added the steamy parts?
Not quite. It was hard going, actually. I went through about ten or twelve rewrites and drafts before it was accepted, then a few more afterwards with my editor, Lucy Felthouse, who was great.
I couldn’t agree more about that. So it’s not all that easy to write erotica as it would seem?
Not for me at least! I’ve heard some say that it’s easy to distinguish a male and female writer of erotica, because the woman will put in 80-90% emotion and 10-20% physical. So it stands to reason that in general readers of the same gender will want to read that proportion. Since it’s also generally true that women make up 80-90% of erotica readers, my challenge as a male writer is to put that extra 50% in that I wouldn’t normally think necessary. The other major difficulty is avoiding repetition when basically describing something so common and quotidian in such great detail. Everyone already knows what happens during sex. That’s really hard. It’s similar to writing poetry than prose in that sense: always looking for new ways of saying the same thing. And it took me as long to write 25k of prose, as it would have 25k of poetry.
Why do you think readers want to read erotica so much nowadays?
Several reasons, I suppose, though I must say I’m no authority on the matter – I’m fairly new to writing, if not to sex. In one sense it seems a bit unnecessary. We don’t write about how we eat chocolate croissants in such great detail, or how a person gets dressed or washes the dishes, and yet we stop the story to concentrate on how the characters have sex, or even masturbate.
Because we can, is the first answer. It’s great that finally we can be – more or less – comfortable with our sexuality again. I say again because I believe the two hundred years or so of prudishness that we are vigorously shaking off now are an anomaly in our history. People used to live in much closer quarters and shared experiences of bodily functions. The Marquis de Sade was writing about stuff much stronger than anything we have in 50 Shades of Grey or anything I’d have the guts to write – I can’t see that leap being made from somewhere so prudish as our own time, or definitely not 50 years ago.
The second reason is because we want to know how others are doing it. I know how to drive a car and eat a chocolate croissant perfectly well, thanks very much, but I could always use a new idea for how to pleasure my partner, or myself. Even though it’s an everyday activity, we don’t actually all do it the same way. We aren’t even sure what others to at all, because we don’t usually talk about it. And when we do exchange information, we can be quite surprised by the differences between couples. This divide can be wide: I know some who only have oral sex – specifically fellatio – on rare, and usually special, occasions, while others have a quick oral sex session when they’re not feeling energetic enough to do the “full” thing. Reading about ways others have sex is therefore much more interesting than reading about how someone eats their cornflakes.
Additionally, we’re a bit like budgerigars in a way (and I’m more an authority of budgies/parakeets than of erotic novellas in a way) – we like to get it on when we see others getting it on! So it’s much more stimulating to read about sex than it would make me want to break out the Cadbury’s milk tray if I read about someone licking the inside out of her chocolate croissant…
The last reason is that it doesn’t matter – if that’s what the readers want, then we give them what they want. After all, if we go with the percentages again, most men won’t read my novella. But they will go watch an action film with a shit-load of blood and guts. In the old days the baddies got shot and they fell off the horse, and we didn’t worry too much about them after that. But now that we can – because we have the special effects and because the powers that be are men and they like that shit, so it’s ok to put it in PG 13 movies – we do indeed look very closely at what the bullet does and how much blood there is and how much damage it does, and then, because we are all now fairly familiar with what damage a bullet does, we have dreamed up lots of different ways to kill someone and put them in books or on the big screen. Well, if women want to read about the ins and outs of the old in and out, then who are we to do anything but satisfy their consumer whims?
True. So, any plans for more satisfaction of whims?
I have submitted a synopsis of a novella set in Pamplona – another town I’ve lived in, and have been asked to submit the rest of the story, which I am working on. I have a couple of other cities I’ve spent time in that I’d like to write about, though I’m not sure if I have the energy for so much sex all at once. I might have to space them out.
Well, I look forward to hearing about your next book. As you know, I live in Pamplona, so I’ll have to read it to make sure you’ve got the city right. I won’t opine on the saucy parts, though, lest I show my ignorance! Thanks for visiting today, JD!
Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure.
You can check out JD’s facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/JDMartinsauthor and read his bio at
And of course get his book for any device at: http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martins_JD/one-night-in-madrid.htm
Or straight from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk at these two links: