In the Spotlight with Bayou Book Junkie ~ Author Jay Northcote
Bayou Book Junkie is delighted to have Jay Northcote over for a short visit, to talk about his upcoming release, A Family For Christmas, due out today (don't miss out on Rita's 4 Star Review and the Release Blitz here), as well as anything else he’d like to share!
BBJ: Welcome, Jay. Firstly, belated Happy 3rd Publishing Birthday!!! We’re massive fans of yours and can’t wait for Zac and Rudy. Can you tell us a little about what inspired the tale, please? And, do you think there may be a follow-up for them? (Or for any other of your couples?)
JN: Hi, thanks for having me, and for the publishing birthday wishes. A Family for Christmas was inspired by my own family Christmases. I’m lucky to have a family who are a lot of fun to be around, and I wanted to write a story where my characters were in the middle of a big family Christmas for a change. In my previous two Christmas novellas the characters are alone together and I thought it would be fun to do the opposite this year.
I doubt there will be a follow-up as the story is a standalone. I rarely write direct sequels because I don’t enjoy writing established relationship stories.
BBJ: And, is there any chance of getting a little of the inside scoop on your release plans/hopes for 2017, however vague they may be at this time? And, signing up for your newsletter is the best way of keeping up-to-date with releases, right?
JN: The only thing I can (almost) guarantee at this stage is that January or February should bring you a fourth book in the Housemates series. I’m about halfway through writing that one, so it’s pretty much a definite now. Apart from that, I have a few ideas but nothing concrete.
And yes, for readers who want to be sure of catching all my new releases, my newsletter sign-up form is here: http://tinyurl.com/JN-readers
I only send out release announcements so you don’t get frequent emails.
BBJ: You attended GRL this year – could you please tell us a little about it, as we’ve been relying on social media and pics for our thrills? Was it everything you’d imagined, and did you fanguy over your fave authors? Would you do it again next year, seeing that the UK Meet isn’t on in 2017?
JN: Yes! I went to my first GRL this year in Kansas City, and it was a wonderful experience. I was nervous about going because it’s a long way to travel for me from the UK, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But it was awesome. I got to meet some old friends in person for the first time who I’ve known online for years. And I also made lots of new connections. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming and it was a great atmosphere. The only downside for me was the jet lag, but I’m definitely considering going to Denver in 2017 if I can get a ticket.
BBJ: Jay, you’ve been through some challenging and soul-searching times this year, which you’ve recently shared with readers, and you’ve announced you’re transitioning – your coming out poem was moving and inspiring. Do you have any advice for people in a similar situation? And, what has been the reaction from the LGBTQIA author and reader community?
JN: Yes, 2016 has been quite a year for me. The realisation that I’m transgender (FTM) wasn’t completely new. It’s been a long time coming; but digging my way out of years of denial was a slow and painful process. I finally came crashing out of the closet in June, and went into therapy to work out what I wanted to do. After a couple of months it became very clear that I need to transition despite the challenges that will bring for me and the people close to me.
My advice to anyone questioning their gender is to read all you can about it. Reach out to the trans community online for support. Tell a trusted friend or family member if you feel safe to do so. Allow yourself the time and space to explore those feelings. Trust your instincts. It’s all too easy to convince yourself that your feelings aren’t real, because they’re scary. But if you’re questioning your gender to any serious degree, then chances are, you are transgender, because most cisgender people don’t spend hours/days/weeks agonising over their gender identity. But being trans doesn’t mean you’re binary trans. There is a whole spectrum under the transgender umbrella and it’s important to work out where you fit, and what you need in terms of transitioning (or not transitioning).
I’ve had fantastic support from within the LGBT+ reader and author community, not that I would have expected anything less, but it’s still wonderful to experience.
BBJ: You’ve tweeted than an upcoming Housemates tale may feature a trans character - sounds like a great opportunity for a message of hope and honesty? Do you generally try to imbue your tales with messages?
JN: That’s one of my vague plans that might not see the light of day, but I do have an idea for a new character in that series. I suspect he will make me write his story soon. And I think I do try to put messages or morals into my books. The same themes tend to recur in lots of my stories and I guess those are ones that are relevant to my own life: taking chances, being true to yourself, being honest, letting people in rather than pushing them away.... I think those are very archetypal romance themes that all readers can identify with and relate to their own lives.
BBJ: And, a bit random, we know, but is there some special significance to your most recent tat, the octopus one?
JN: Well, he’s part of a more general sea/nautical theme that I have going on that arm. I have a compass as a memorial to my dad, and a merman who represents masculinity and duality. I chose the octopus partly because tentacles are AWESOME. But also, octopuses represent disguise and adaptability because they have the chameleon-like ability to change their colour to blend into their surroundings. That seemed very fitting for me as a transgender man who had been living as female for years. I always felt as though my female self was a disguise or facade, long before I understood why.
BBJ: More randomness - if you could have dinner with any person in history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you want to talk about?
JN: I’d like to have dinner with both my parents so I could have the chance to explain my journey to them, and hope that they would understand and accept me for the person I now know myself to be. I like to think they would, but I will never know for sure because they both died before I came out, and that’s a source of great sadness to me.
BBJ: Last bit of randomness - do any of your friends or family members ever end up between the pages of your books?
JN: Not in their complete form. I think that would be inappropriate! But there are definitely aspects of real people in some of my characters. I think that’s true for all authors though. We’re like magpies, we collect little pieces of people and use them in our writing.
BBJ: And finally, Jay, what are your hopes and aspirations for 2017?
JN: Personally 2017 is going to be a year of huge change because I will be beginning my physical transition. I will also be dealing with the consequences of that for my personal relationships.
Professionally, I’m hoping to keep to a similar publishing schedule to 2016, so if all goes well I will publish five more books in 2017, and will keep writing new ones. I’m very happy as a self-publisher so have no plans to change that. I’ll also be focusing on bringing out more audiobooks and translations.
Thanks for joining us, Jay, and good luck on the release and all the very best for your future plans.
One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.
Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.
Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.