About the Author
A UK native, J.W. Tapper has lived in both England and Wales; he currently lives in Gloucester with his wife and son.
He has been writing fiction for his own entertainment ever since he first learned to write. He has had numerous non-fiction articles published, mostly in computing related magazines, and has won several competitions for writing video game reviews. He has also been running the mobile video game review website Arcadelife since January 2011, although that has had to take a bit of a back seat while he has been been concentrating on writing novels since 2012.
Apart from writing, he has played bass guitar in a punk band, broken his leg racing motocross, been married in Las Vegas, lost countless hours playing and reviewing video games, and worked for a variety of IT departments in the UK.
A few of his favorite authors are Michael Marshall Smith, Richard Laymon, James Lee Burke, and Christa Faust.
What inspires you to write romance books?
Fundamentally, the desire to entertain inspires me to create romantic fiction. I write to entertain myself and I love to create unexpected romantic scenarios to entertain and surprise my readers. I don’t get inspiration from following a predictable or generic romance plot. I’ll create a set of characters who are believable and diverse, and I’ll let them inspire me to create a world that they deserve – somewhere they can have fun.
Tell us about how you write:
I create characters, often before I even write anything down, and run them through a variety of scenes to see how they would behave and react. I’ll use the most entertaining set of scenes as the basic storyboard for a novel, or a series of novels. Then I’ll plan how I’m going to get the characters from each key scene to the next, all within an overarching storyline.
Why does that work for me? Because the characters *are* the story, at least for my romance novels they are. I want the reader to know a character, know them well enough not just to care about them but to want them to succeed, or fail, fall in love, get laid, get ditched… and then laugh when it doesn’t all turn out quite the way they were expecting it to.
From a technical perspective, I write a novel chronologically; I will always have a plan and I’ll have rough outlines of scenes written down before I start. I create character notes, with the level of detail varying depending on how important the character is. I’ll list a lot of detail for major characters, even if I’m not going to use it all in a novel. I’ll research the brands of clothing and perfume they would choose, the shops they would prefer, cars they would drive – details that may seem shallow and not worth the time to research but which go a long way to filling out a character in my head. They need to be people I know, not just a bunch of words on a page. If I know what a character keeps in the glovebox of her car, I know a bit more about her. I don’t need to tell my reader what’s in there, not unless it’s essential to the plot, but I still need to know.
Sex scenes are always fun to write, of course. I know this might spoil the magic, but I choreograph each one as meticulously as possible and I’ll spend a great deal of time figuring out who is going to be where, doing what, and for how long. I also like to get inside the protagonist’s head during sex scenes, often for a bit of smutty comedy value or to show what kind of a guilty emotional rollercoaster they’re riding if they happen to be doing something (or someone) that they shouldn’t be doing.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Probably too much. Before I had finished writing Kissing The Scorpion I had an interesting time dealing with a profound sense of disappointment over the fact that I was never actually going to meet Kate Hayes in real life.
I also read each novel aloud, not just the dialogue, during the final editing phase. You’ll hear other authors, far more notable than me, advising that this is an essential method of getting your written work as readable as possible. Heed their advice, even if you ignore mine!
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t treat romance as a throwaway genre.
Learn from other writers; don’t copy them.
Care about your characters. Know them, and know why they do what they do.
‘Conflict and emotion’ don’t have to mean arguments, despair and crying. There’s nothing wrong with writing a romance where people have fun and nobody has a terminal disease or a bondage fetish.
Write realistic sex scenes that are entertaining on more than one level and give insights into one or more of the characters.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I waited until I had received a sufficient number of agent rejection emails and then I followed the e-book self-publishing route.
If you want to save time, go directly to self-publishing.
If you are absolutely, 100% confident that you have written The Next Big Thing, approach a few agents and build up a portfolio of rejection letters before self-publishing.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it’s great that pretty much anyone can write and publish a book these days. It’s not so great that I’m only one of those countless millions of e-book authors and it’s constantly challenging to get anyone to even download a free sample of anything I’ve written. I suspect the future will involve a heavier emphasis on marketing and promotion than on actually writing the books one wishes others to read.
What genres do you write:: Contemporary romance, Historical erotic thriller (unpublished), Contemporary thriller(unpublished), YA fantasy(unpublished)
What formats are your books in: Both eBook and Print