One of the joys of running UKGayRomance is meeting people all over the world who have gay romance books based in the UK. Today, Saura Underscore explains her path to publishing.
How did you discover the MM/gay romance genre?
Long time ago, in the times of the first LOTRs movie, I was made administrator of a fan board in which some people dared to wrote fanfiction. First thing I was told: “not to allow slash”. I had no idea of what that was, until I found one. It was so well written I fell in love so completely with it. I couldn’t understand what was so wrong with it that I needed to be taken down. I left the admin job and started reading everything related to slash, moving from one couple to another until I finally found Dreamspinner Press and their original MM gay romance stories, which I love (and I have my kindle full of their stories).
It was then that I discovered WHAT was going wrong with my own little writings. Even though you can find a gay character in most of them, and even though the principal character was always involved in a gay relationship to one point, boy and girl always ended up together in the most typical and boring way. And that might be the reason why I never managed to finish writing anything.
The first time I dared to write the principal character ending up with his male friend, the story wrote itself, and it felt right and satisfying.
What made you start writing in the genre?
After reading the story that got me into this genre, I decided I needed to do one myself. Check if I was able to write something simple to check if the love of two men could be as beautiful as this other author made it look like. I confess it was very difficult for me to get a proper story done. It took me a lot of little stories to get from just platonic love to a full relationship between two males. But it was the right thing to write.
Where do you base your book(s)?
My books are mostly based in England; probably because it’s the land I know (it’s closer to Spain). I’ve been in London a lot of times (enough to feel bad for not having visited any museum yet), and I’ve visited the south of UK (Dover, Canterbury…), Bath and Cardiff a couple of times (tomorrow I’m leaving for Cardiff again *yay*)
My next project for Dreamspinner Press is mostly based in Jerusalem. It’s historical fiction based on the Medieval times, but all the characters are British (except for the Jerusalem’s Caliph, of course).
There’s just another one that isn’t based in England, and that’s “Azure”. That’s based somewhere (undetermined) in Egypt –the story is about four archeologists and their founding, and it’s a work in progress for now, but one of the four principal roles is British, and they travel to London once in the story.
Tell me about your current/forthcoming novel.
I’m a newbie, and I only have one published novel. “Indie Radio 113.9” is a dream came true: Jacob is a fan of Ethan Moore, radio host, and lusts after him. One day they meet and it’s instant love. Like a gay Disney tale *wink-wink*, only in real life things get a little tricky and I wanted to show a little trouble in the story. That was probably the most difficult part to write for me: to get my characters into the kind of trouble in which they don’t speak to each other. I’m all for communication (never go to bed angry with your lover) –and I had to do it with my characters or I’ll run out of story. I also wanted to show that non-communication can be dangerous and I put my characters into serious trouble for it. But I’m also a happy-ending writer. I think that life is hard enough as it is: books are for enjoying and dreaming, not to suffer: that’s what TV news is for, right?
My current project for Dreamspinner Press is “The Medieval Tales”, and it’s on the editing stage right now. It’s historical fiction and it tells the love story of a monk and a knight who is sent to the Crusades. Is based on the idea of the Medieval England, not set on a proper place, but the second book (which is right now a work in progress), would travel England, freeing it from a fictional Viking invasion.
What are you writing at the moment?
Right now I’m two or three chapters away of finishing “The Medieval Tales” book II, and editing “Azure”, setting it in proper shape to be sent to consideration. I’m also working in the Dreamspinner Press Spanish project, coordinating and translating, and also doing a little of control quality. It’s very exciting because even though it’s not proper writing (or original writing), I’m learning a lot of the editing process, and about other’s authors style –which helps a lot to understand what goes wrong with mine.
SAURA UNDERSCORE (Saura_) was born under a dictatorial regime, only daughter of the typical tight-minded family. Taught to be revel at a progressive school, she never learned to cook, sew or spot-clean, but as soon as democracy arrived she participated in as many concentration defending women and gay rights as she could, which earned her several disinherit threatens from her father.
Her head has always been full of birds and dragons (at the same percentage), and she soon learned to set them free using her writing.
In her teenage stories you could always find a gay reference, but still Saura always thought that something was amiss. That Prince Charming didn’t have his whole heart on it. It wasn’t until she discovered Prince Charming and his squire at it on the barn of her mind, that she realized what exactly was the right thing to write.
She learned English and all about “slash” on the internet, and she travelled all around the world. She has friends from the six continents and it’s said she could travel the world finding one good friend to have lunch with, in every country.
Saura is married to a man that looked for her a second “perfect pairing” when the first died away, has a small kid.
You can contact Saura Underscore at:
Jacob Timber is hopelessly crushing on very private radio personality Ethan Moore—host of the most famous Indie music radio show on London’s 113.9, the Jukebox Hour—but being in love with a voice isn’t much different than being alone. Jacob’s not even sure the man is gay.
Jacob is so infatuated that all he wants for his birthday is to meet his crush in person—and he gets his wish. With Ethan and Jacob, it’s love at first sight.
But do dreams really come true? Despite how he feels in Ethan’s arms, Jacob doubts it. He knows he’ll never be happy with a man who pretends to love him, only to bring his true girlfriend to public events.
JACOB TIMBER waited for the bus, exactly like he did every Saturday night to go to work at Ian’s pub. It was raining, and the dirty snow on the streets was melting. The streetlights already illuminated everything, even though there still was just a little bit of gray daylight left in the sky. But it wouldn’t last more than a few more minutes.
“Hey, guys. I’m back after the amazing ‘Multiply’ from Jamie Lidell. So, any plans for tonight?”
The passing cars pushed up the water that pooled at the side of the road, and the heavy rain hit the roof of the small shelter; the air that passed through the bus stop was freezing. A couple of shivering people like him waited in the cold under the dubious cover, but fortunately they could see the bus coming now.
“’Cause it’s Saturday evening in rainy London, and if you’re getting ready to go out tonight, I must remind you not to forget to protect yourself. And you know what I mean.”
The skies poured rain on top of Jacob’s head, and the rivers it formed streamed down the road and soaked his sneakers as soon as he left the protection of the shelter to step onto the bus.
It was very warm inside, and as Jacob scanned his pass, he unzipped his coat and pushed the damp hood from his head. His face heated immediately, and for a moment it felt like the skin of his cheeks was burning.
“In case you forgot, you are listening to Indie Radio, independent music at 113.9 on your FM dial—”
Jacob sat down on a free seat, put his backpack between his legs, and rested his head on the bus window. The glass felt cool against his overheated forehead. He adjusted his right earphone, and as the kind, almost teasing voice went on purring in his ear, Jacob smiled.
“—and you’re listening to the Jukebox Hour. My name is Ethan Moore—hiya—and I’m playing the most excellent selection of the best indie bands to prepare you for a good night. So, to make it even better for you while you choose what to wear to go for the kill tonight, I’m going to delight your ears with two songs. First you’re going to hear ‘Last Kiss’ from the amazing The Explorers Club. And after that, I’m going to make your ears explode with pleasure by playing ‘Everybody Knows’ by Ryan Adams.”
Jacob’s ears were nearly exploding with pleasure at that very moment. As far as he was concerned, Ethan Moore could keep on speaking forever. He closed his eyes and smiled wider. He figured he looked a little silly, soaking wet from the rain and smiling at the drops on the window, but he didn’t care. Ethan rambled on about where Ryan Adams was going to have his next concert and not to miss it, but Jacob was not really listening to the words. He was listening to the voice.
“So, without further ado I offer you ‘Last Kiss’. See you in a mo’. Don’t go yet, yeah?”
Jacob loved this show. Not only because he loved the music—which he did—but because of the host. Ethan Moore had really good taste in music. His playlists usually got the best marks from the listeners who judged the songs on the station’s website, and he had a voice made for radio. Well, for radio and for purring sweet things into a lover’s ear.
He never, ever missed Ethan’s show. In fact, Ethan hosted a late show every Tuesday, starting at eleven o’clock, and as soon as Jacob found out, he asked to have his night off on Tuesdays. His boss was more than happy to give it to him because the pub always got more crowded during the weekend.
Jacob would never tell his friends that he took his night off every Tuesday only to be able to listen to Ethan from his bed. Just as he was not willing to confess he often jerked off to the sound of Ethan’s voice surrounding him.
But it was true.
Ethan’s voice felt like velvet, and it caressed Jacob as if it were Ethan’s hands on his skin, doing it for real. His delicious British accent seemed to dance along with the movements of Jacob’s hand around his hard shaft. There was nothing in this world that could make him come as hard as Ethan saying “Take it away.” Not even a blowjob from Luke—friend, coworker, and probably the sexiest man Jacob had ever met. He’d had one once, and it was very good. Still, it couldn’t be compared to the soft sound of Ethan Moore’s voice.
It was stupid and childish, yes, for sure. It was also true that Jacob had no idea what Ethan Moore looked like. The station’s website didn’t provide a picture, and Moore was extremely guarded about his privacy. He could be, like Jacob’s sister had said once, as ugly as Quasimodo, but Jacob couldn’t care less.
Anyway, how could a man with Ethan Moore’s voice be ugly? That was inconceivable.
Jacob imagined Ethan to be taller than him with fair skin, dark hair and a beard, and big, sure, and warm hands. He would always dress casual, Jacob thought, in funny T-shirts and ripped jeans and sneakers. Sometimes, when Jacob envisioned Ethan and him together and about to make love, he pretended Ethan’s body was a little like his own, but harder in all the right places—furry chest, tough round ass, and thick cock. The Ethan in his dreams had green eyes, though sometimes they turned blue in the middle of the fantasy. Sometimes both colors mixed in his dreams.
And Jacob just knew that Ethan’s smile would be the most beautiful one in the world, because he could hear Ethan smiling through the wires of his earphones.
“Hey. You still there? That’s great. You know I like it when you listen. After the great quality of the music we’ve shared this evening, we’re reaching the end of the show, unfortunately, but I don’t want to go without giving you one of my favorites tonight.”
Jacob smiled to himself. He knew Ethan was going to play something from the Beatles next, because he was nearly as big a fan of theirs as Jacob was of Ethan. The bus took a turn on the street and shook, and as always that was Jacob’s cue to stand up and press the stop-request button.
“It’s my pleasure to say good night to you with ‘Julia’, from the most brilliant musical genius ever born, John Lennon. And with this, I’m going to say my good-byes. I’ll be back on Tuesday with the Late Show. Have a fantastic weekend, and remember to always keep it on and be safe.”
Every Saturday Ethan said something about safe sex, and that made things even better for Jacob’s imagination. Though in all honesty, in his mind Ethan never used a condom, and Jacob wasn’t really sure he’d ask the guy for one if he ever had the opportunity. But it didn’t really matter because Ethan would always use one anyway, wouldn’t he?
“Say hello to Daniel Torino, who’s coming into the studio right now, and that means good-bye from me. Don’t touch that dial, all right? This is Ethan Moore for the Jukebox Show at Indie Radio 113.9, and this is all from me for tonight. I’ll see you around.”
And besides, it wasn’t like Jacob was ever going to meet Ethan, was he? No matter how much he wanted to believe that they’d see each other around.
The bus stopped, and Jacob stepped out, racing through the rain toward the pub’s entrance.
JACOB pulled the white shirt of his uniform over his head and tucked it into the smart dark-pearl-colored ass-fitting trousers in the locker room at the back of the pub, getting ready for his Saturday-night shift. At his side, his coworker Luke was doing the same. They had to dress quickly because it was nearly six o’clock, and the pub was about to open.
“So, what do you want for your birthday?” Luke asked merrily as he finished combing back his fairly long curly black hair, trying to tie it into a small ponytail low on his neck. “Name your wish, and it’ll be yours. But don’t ask for anything sexual—you know I’m already taken.”
“Oh, ‘taken’ is it now?” Jacob gave his friend a funny look as he finished dressing. He liked his uniform even if it didn’t suit him as well as it did Luke. “How long did you say you’ve been with this Gary guy?”
Luke was out and proud, tall and athletic, with smooth skin tanned on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, and he swore that he could curse a man with just a look of his deep green eyes because his mother was a Spanish gypsy. He exuded some sort of sexual energy that attracted lots of people to him, and that once included Jacob—even if after that unique blowjob he discovered Luke was not truly his type, and they were better off as friends.
Without turning around, Luke stuck his tongue out at him in the mirror. “For your information, we’ve spent the most fantastic three weeks of our lives together,” he said proudly.
“Oh. I’m sure he must have asked you to marry him already!” Jacob said mockingly.
“Did I really say you could ask for any present you like? Forget it, you naughty kid.” Luke said, acting as if he felt offended.
Jacob laughed and hung his clothes on the metal wardrobe hanger. He took a look at his still-wet coat, hanging on the rack to dry.
“So I can ask for anything?” Jacob repeated the offer as he got close to the mirror to comb his unruly brown hair. “Can I ask for the day off?” he inquired hopefully.
“Unfortunately, young man, you can’t,” Ian, the pub’s owner, said as he entered the room. He was almost fifty, but still tall and obviously proud of his body. “I need you tonight.”
“My birthday is tomorrow,” Jacob reminded his boss, still hopeful.
“Technically it starts tonight, and I still need you,” Ian said, though by the tone of his voice, Jacob knew he regretted not being able to give Jacob what he wanted. “Let’s do this. I’ll allow you to come in later tomorrow or leave earlier, whichever one you prefer, okay?”
“All right. Thanks, boss.” Jacob smiled at Ian.
“Now, come on and hurry. The pub is open already,” Ian said as he left.
“So what do you want?” Luke asked again when they started moving out of the changing room and into the pub’s main area.
“I can ask for anything, you say?” Jacob grinned mischievously.
“Except for sexual favors, you can ask for the moon, the sun….”
“I want Ethan Moore for my birthday,” Jacob deadpanned.
Luke looked oddly at him. “Jesus. You can ask for the moon and the sun, and you ask for an indie radio host? You’re obsessed, mate.”
“It’s my birthday, and you said I could ask for whatever I wanted,” Jacob said firmly and then laughed. “And I want Ethan Moore. Now get him for me,” he added as Luke rolled his eyes.
Both men went behind the bar, greeting Allen, who was already there. Allen was an occasional coworker, mostly on weekends. The fact that he was at the pub today meant Ian expected it to be a very busy Saturday.