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August CSR Discussion Day-Soul Music: Love Encountered by northie


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Wow, I can't believe it's the end of August already! Back to school (for me) and time for you all to get to enjoy this interview with northie, hopefully after you've already enjoyed Soul Music: Love Encountered. Did you know there's a sequel too? Make sure you leave your comments below, but first... northie took the time to answer these questions. 

Do you eat your fruits and vegetables?

Vegetables - absolutely. I enjoy eating vegetarian and sometimes, vegan dishes. Fruit? Not so much. I eat little raw and as I don’t bake or otherwise make desserts, there’s no cooked fruit at home. However, if I’m eating somewhere else that offers desserts with fruit, I’ll eat them with pleasure.  

If you were an animal, what would you be?

Something that doesn’t move around a huge amount and doesn’t specialise in chomping other beasts. It should still have a brain though. So not sheep or cattle… Maybe, suggestions on a postcard?

If you’re not writing, what would we find you doing for fun?

Playing music. At various times, I’ve played piano, orchestral percussion, and recorders. Recorders are my current favourite. Reading. I’ve rediscovered the pleasures of consuming other people’s writing. Quite apart from everything else, it sparks off all kinds of ideas for experimenting. Gardening. For me, flowers and small shrubs only as my garden consists of 40ish varied pots. I also love hearing about other people’s gardening adventures.

What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story?

All my fiction has been located in the UK so far. I quite fancy New Zealand as a location. A couple of years ago I watched a ‘slow’ TV documentary following a train which left Auckland in North Island and meandered right down to the tip of the South Island. Fascinating country with a fascinating multi-cultural history. Will I ever get there? I suspect that’s quite another story.

What’s the first thing you do when you start writing a new story?

OK… well, this is where I should say I plan out the entire thing - plot, sub-plots, main characters, pivotal scenes. *hollow, hollow laughter* On current showing, I sit down with an opening scene, a single principal character, and a vague idea of where it’s going to go. Everything else is left to chance / research / inspiration. I am very definitely a ‘pantser’.

In Soul Music: Love Encountered there’s obviously music. Research or personal experience?

Well, I kinda answered that question earlier. I used to sing back in the day, so I’ve plenty of choir memories to draw on as well.

Okay, another research-related question… your characters have personal quirks that make them relatable. How do you decide what to include for defining characteristics, such as shyness for Geoff?

Geoff is in many ways an extension of me. All my principal characters reflect aspects of their author but Geoff is the closest. Or the closest to who I was then. Finding my label has made me more confident, more likely to speak out. I still have body image issues but they have a different source now. Geoff as extension was, I think, a consequence of how new a writer I was at the time. Tony’s characteristics came out of what was needed as a foil to Geoff.

In more general terms, all my characters are flawed in ways that go beyond those traits commonly found in M/M fiction. I try to make them real people.

What is your favorite scene or line from the story?

Wow - it’s been so long since I really thought about these guys. The dynamics of them playing piano duets always make me smile - the fun, concentration, competitiveness, and joy. I also liked writing the short scenes of them in the bath together, though I think I’d do a much better job of it now.

Thinking back over Soul Music: Love Encountered, since it’s been a few years… is there anything you’d change now?

Some readers have asked whether I’ll go back to their story. Finish it off properly. The answer is no. Part of the reason is there’s so much structurally awry with what’s already there. I was too timid when it came to depicting relationships. I had no real concept of developing backstories for characters. Their motivations and psychological traits aren’t anchored properly, and with the possible exception of Geoff, there is no real sense of character arcs. This growth in my writing is evident in the three books of Eric’s story. The first book dates from about the same time as this one. By the time of the third book in his story, I’d progressed a great deal.

My invaluable and long-suffering editor / beta-reader, Parker Owens, pushes me much harder nowadays. We know each other much better and we’ve both grown into our roles.

Will you share a little of your current work or future projects with readers?

I’ve two projects on the go. The first is two guys in the present day who want to change their lives for the better. Ian yearns to live a more authentic life, even if it means him leaving his current relationship. Luke, a younger guy, is uncertain about what the future holds. He wants to escape his family’s influence, make better decisions for himself, but he’s at a crossroads. Expect music, self-discovery, dysfunctional relationships, the North East of England, and maybe, just maybe, a happy(ish) ending.

The other is my first attempt at writing a YA story. In a future England, life is very different. The Warming has fractured everything. Heat, drought, ignorance, and the eternal quest for power and dominance form a backdrop to Harb’s first journey beyond the confines of home. Who or what will he find on his way to a long-abandoned city? How will they change his life? This will probably have a more open ending. There again, what do I know? Remember, pantser.

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3 hours ago, Headstall said:

I just realized, in trying to think of an animal northie might be, that the most clever animals seem to be meat eaters. Food for thought? All I could come up with is a mountain goat... I mean, I suspect they might be clever since they are very difficult to hunt, but they tend to be isolated from the rest of the world, so maybe they are dumb as hell. :)  

I think a cat would be perfect, but they definitely munch on other creatures.   Cjames is our resident goat, so that animal is taken.  Maybe a raccoon? Trash pandas are pretty clever.  Although I think they eat fish... :unsure:  

cake raccoon GIF

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16 minutes ago, Valkyrie said:

I think a cat would be perfect, but they definitely munch on other creatures.   Cjames is our resident goat, so that animal is taken.  Maybe a raccoon? Trash pandas are pretty clever.  Although I think they eat fish... :unsure:  

cake raccoon GIF

Racoons will eat meat for sure, including small cats and kittens. :(  I used to have a herd of 31 goats, and I don't know if they are stupid, or just intentionally annoying. :) 

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7 minutes ago, Headstall said:

Racoons will eat meat for sure, including small cats and kittens. :(  I used to have a herd of 31 goats, and I don't know if they are stupid, or just intentionally annoying. :) 

Nothing is dumber than sheep.  And I will not look upon trash pandas the same now... :(  

I bet @northie never thought their interview would become a discussion about what animal they're best suited to be :rofl:

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4 minutes ago, Valkyrie said:

I bet @northie never thought their interview would become a discussion about what animal they're best suited to be

I got it. A parrot... they are clever... they eat seeds... and fruit (sorry @northie ) and they can carry a tune or mimic a musical instrument... and they are majestic. :) 

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10 minutes ago, Headstall said:

I got it. A parrot... they are clever... they eat seeds... and fruit (sorry @northie ) and they can carry a tune or mimic a musical instrument... and they are majestic. :) 

bird parrot GIF

Perfect! 

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Great Interview, Northie :yes: I agree that with those questions and answers, that I think I know you a bit better. Thanks for that!

As for your question, I focused on the first part your answer:

Quote

If you were an animal, what would you be?

Something that doesn’t move around a huge amount and doesn’t specialise in chomping other beasts. It should still have a brain though. So not sheep or cattle… Maybe, suggestions on a postcard

This came right to mind:

Quote

Sloths are one of the slowest animals on the face of the earth, but they are also one of the smartest animals. They are funny, cute and very noisy.

Quote

What do sloths eat? Sloths munch on leaves, twigs and buds. Because the animals don't have incisors, they trim down leaves by smacking their firm lips together. 

Look how cute Northie is :hug: image.png

 

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15 hours ago, Valkyrie said:

I bet @northie never thought their interview would become a discussion about what animal they're best suited to be

🙄 See... this is what happens when I can't bring myself to answer a question. 👀🤨😄

I think I'd prefer the parrot to a sloth. I can move quite briskly - I'm just not that keen on doing it too often. 

Happy London GIF by MUTANT MAGIC

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