So here we go:
1. What am I working on?
This is a somewhat tricky question as my work divides into two parts. I write my original pieces in English, but I also translate other people's books into German. The latter has become increasingly important to me, as a) my own muse is a fickle thing and only kisses me when she feels like it, which sadly doesn't happen as often as I'd like, and b) translating has a very particular magic of its own. Putting the pictures I see in my head while reading into the words of my own language, knowing I'll make the stories I love so much accessible to others who otherwise would've never known they existed - that's almost heady.
So, as for my own work, I'm currently writing the sequel/ prequel to my novel Thorns, Nic and Louis's story, tentatively named “Tendrils”. Have been at it for years, actually; that particular story has spawned a published novel in the meantime and still refuses to be written. Sigh. Good things etc., hope it'll be worth it in the end.
Aside from that, my muse seems to get horny lately, so to speak, because she dripped another story into me that even flows quite nicely at the moment. Tentatively titled "Heidelberg Blues", it is set in my hometown and will most likely end up a novella. I can't say much more about it at that point, only that motorbikes will be involved. And Asbach Uralt brandy. And a huge pile of old stones, aka the Heidelberg castle.
As for my translations, I've recently had the privilege of finishing a project very near and dear to me - "Zero at the Bone" by Jane Seville will be published in German sometime later this year. Also, "Fish & Chips" by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban is finished and will hopefully come out by the end of the year. Some other projects are still up in the air (that is to say, in the queue).
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think the most individual feature of my work is the setting, the background, the trappings and context in which the romance happens. Yes, I write romance, but I try to have my characters not to be defined by the fact that they fall in love. I try to make them ordinary people who lead regular lives - regular to them, anyway - and have the extraordinary happen to them. And for greater enjoyment - mainly my own (yes, I'm a geek, so sue me!), but also that of my readers - I take pleasure in giving my characters unusual professions or placing them in exotic environments.
That's why "my" ornithologist Hunter Devereaux from Desert Falcon and City Falcon used to live among the Bedouins in Kuwait and ended up working as a falconer at JFK Airport, New York City.
That's why "my" journalist Will Yeats from Thorns finds himself at a racehorse training center in Normandy, France, investigating a Kentucky Derby scandal that happened twenty years earlier.
And that will be why "my" Nic Pithiviers, a horse trainer from France, will find his life and everything he thought to know about his profession and himself turned upside down by a young German jockey.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Short and sweet: I write what I like to read myself, and since I like to read m/m romance, I write m/m romance. Yes, it’s that easy.
As for a more in-depth answer, I guess it’s the same for me as it is for other women of no matter which sexual orientation who write in this genre: there’s just something so liberating about writing romance when both main characters are the same gender.
No matter how open-minded the author’s (or the reader’s) approach, there will always be preconceived gender-specific undertones if it’s a het pairing. With two men (or two women, for that matter*), the dynamics are much more open. Whether they meet as equals or not, neither of them is pigeonholed in advance. Anything goes, everything is possible, and that’s just so much more interesting, both to read and to write about.
*I think the same applies to f/f, which I also read occasionally. It just so happened that I ended up writing in the m/m genre, but if inspiration strikes, I might well try my hand at a f/f story in the future, who knows?
4. How does my writing process work?
Most of the time, I start with the first sentence and go on from there. That might sound simplistic, but is actually not; most of my stories start with a sentence that just pops up in my mind one day. I have a whole folder with single sentences on my hard drive; most of them will never make it into a story, others might perhaps end up as first sentences of chapters or paragraphs in other stories. I’m the queen of one-liners.
Plotting, outlining is something that happens when I’m halfway through mostly. It’s often the case that I know the first few chapters and some sections near the halfway point. I don’t write linearly; in most cases, I know what the climactic event is going to be and where I want the main characters to end up. But it’s getting them from point A to Point Z without mixing up the rest of the alphabet in between that I often struggle with.
My writing process in and of itself is slow for some other reason too. When I write, I think and formulate in English, but sometimes a word or a sentence I use feels just wrong to me, even if it's, for all intents and purposes, proper and correct English. It can take me an hour or longer of consulting the dictionary, looking for the one English word or expression that says exactly what I want to say.
When I translate, the process of finding the right words is much faster since it's "only" a matter of conveying the author's intention into the language I use actively every day. (Anecdotally - growing up, I spoke a strong German vernacular, so proper German is, in fact, not my first language. I've been told this shows in my translations occasionally, but that's another matter altogether ;-) )
I also draw inspiration from things I read, be it newspapers, novels of other genres, non-fiction books, even trade journals. Airport falconer Hunter Devereaux, for example, had his very first beginnings in an article from our local rag that portrayed a female falconer who kept the parking garages at Stuttgart airport dove-free with her birds.
And being a reader for as long as I can remember, I of course have idols and inspiring examples. Everybody who’s ever read Dick Francis will know that Thorns is, in its modest way, a small homage to this admirable writer.