Today I’m answering some questions you’ve asked RJ on facebook, as well as telling you about my new release, a novella called Christmas Serendipity which is published on 8 December by JMS. For a chance to be one of the first to read Christmas Serendipity, simply leave a comment at the end of this post.
What made you decide to start writing? What was your personal "kick-off"?
I had been thinking about writing a novel for a while, and I mentioned it to my friend, Louise. She asked me what I was waiting for, and said I should just do it. I went home that evening and plotted the whole story. The following weekend I wrote the first chapter. Seven months later I had finished it. It was a massive 200,000 manuscript which is being published by Wilde City Press as the Best Friends Perfect series from spring 2014. See here for more details.
Tetley's or PG Tips?
Yorkshire tea I’m afraid. I am a huge lover of tea, and I’ve realised lots of my stories involve people drinking tea and sharing their fears/worries/misadventures.
What do YOU like to read? Do you read completely different genres, or do you read m/m?
I read a mixture of autobiographies, and ‘chick lit’ and also go a bit off piste with things like, Gone Girl. I love a good long multi character saga, with character names at the start, spanning the years. I do now read m/m, but I find my life is gay enough and I wasn't looking for any more ‘gay’ in it, in the form of fiction to read. When I wrote Best Friends Perfect, I didn't even think it was a m/m book, I’d just written a love story with characters based on people and experiences I’d had in my life. Turns out as I am ‘a gay man’ that was all pretty gay. See here and here for more details.
What are some of your plans for future books, plot lines, etc..?
Best Friends Perfect, a coming of age, friendship story about a man who realises his new best friend, isn't quite what he thought he was, is out in spring 2014.
I have a fairytale bedtime story in an anthology in the pipeline at the moment. It’s called, Frangipani Kisses and you can read more about it here.
My second novel, And Then That Happened, is about a man in a long term relationship who meets someone which makes him completely re-evaluate everything in his life: boyfriend, friends, relationship with his parents. That’s with beta readers at the moment and again you can read more about it here.
My Nanowrimo novel is called Guardian Angel at the moment, and it’s about a man who falls in love with his guardian angel. I've just finished the very rough 1st draft and will leave that to rest until Jan/Feb 2014.
I am currently plotting a novel about a writer who falls in love with a man through a mistake he makes at his local writers group and I also have an idea about a novella called The Bad Samaritan, but that’s still bubbling away in my unconscious brain.
Do you take a lot of ideas from your own personal life and experiences?
Yes, I definitely do. Many of my friends are gay men. Much of what I write about is at least in small part, based on something I've experienced, or a close friend of mine has experienced. It might only be the nugget of their personal experience, but I will build a different character, a different story around that truth.
For example, a character in one story has a chronic condition - the story is about how that affects his relationships. I have a number of friends who are living with this chronic condition, so I have tried to realistically portray how it affects those around the character. However, the character is not any one of my friends.
Christmas Serendipity - Available 8th December 2013
Just before the Christmas holiday, in a snowy small town in England, refugees of Christmas bad luck, handyman, plumber Christian and office worker David find themselves thrown together at miss Organiser, Cathy’s non-family Christmas.
Christian thinks the world has ended as his parents get used to him being gay, and disinvite him to their Christmas. David has just been fired from his waiting job, and is still getting used to the fact that he has dumped him. Although David’s ex was a useless cheating, money grabbing waste of space, he was at least, David’s useless, cheating, money grabbing waste of space. And now David doesn’t even have that. He’s not in the mood for a night out with his best friend, camp Tony, just before Christmas. Instead they retire to Cathy and Tony’s place, to find a quiet Christian.
With Cathy’s organizational skills and enthusiasm, these four spend a non-family Christmas together, making the best of it. Together they drink, eat and play their way through Christmas, surprising each other at how it turns out, and how well they all get to know one another during the short break.
Refugees of serendipity and luck, David and Christian realize that spending the holiday season together may be just what they both needed, when they both needed it. They find that apart from both just escaping from awful relationships, they also have much more in common.
We talked late into the night, moving onto Cathy’s special Christmas spirits. “Only to be drunk at this time of year,” she explained. She appeared with a tray of snowballs—yellow advocaat and lemonade, foaming with a little red cherry perched on top of each one. “This’ll send us to sleep,” she advised.
We took it in turns to throw more wood onto the fire, until we ran out. Cathy announced she was going to bed. She’d made up the spare room for Christian, and she pointed to the sofa in the corner for me.
I looked at her, feeling slightly light-headed from the alcohol, and started to ask if she’d show me how to make it up. Before I could say anything more, somehow she’d managed with just one hand, to turn it into a bed and cover it with perfect duvet and pillows.
“Thanks, Cathy. Night.” I stood up, a little unsteadily.
She kissed my cheek. “Night boys.” And she made her way up the stairs.
Tony followed, waving goodnight to us both.
And then there were two. I’ll admit I did consider, for a brief moment, just following Christian to his room. But I decided he wasn’t that sort of boy, and really, neither was I. So instead, I opted for an awkward goodnight hug/kiss, standing over the remains of the Indian takeaway in the middle of the floor. The gentle glow from the fire and a few candles around the room gave the only light. He kissed my cheek and I his, before lingering for a moment too long on his neck, holding the hug as long as I could manage without seeming creepy. I felt his breath on my neck and I felt myself responding in my boxer shorts. We both pulled back and stared into each other’s eyes, his warm breath mixing with mine as I breathed in and out. He smiled. I stared into his deep blue eyes and kissed him again, this time with our tongues exploring each other’s mouths. He gently bit my bottom lip and a jolt went to my groin. I felt his hand on my bum, trying to pull me towards him, despite our legs being a few feet apart, separated by the takeaway. We fell onto the sofa, his small frame landing gently on my muscly chest. He sat astride me, leaning down and continuing to kiss me. His hands caressed my pectoral muscles under my T-shirt, tweaking my nipples, harder and harder.
Maybe he was that sort of boy, and maybe I was too.
Christmas Serendipity will be published by JMS on 8 December.
About Liam Livings
Three things about him – there are five more on the website, one is a lie.
- He lives, with his partner and cats, where east London ends and becomes nine-carat-gold- highlights-and-fake-tan-west-Essex.
- He was born in Hampshire with two club feet (look it up, it’s not nice) and problem ears, needing grommets: this meant he was in plaster from toe to groin until he was two, and had to swim with a cap and olive oil soaked lamb’s wool over his ears - olive oil bought from a health food shop, before it was sold by supermarkets.
- He started writing when he was 14: sat in French lessons during a French exchange trip, for want of anything better to do, he wrote pen portraits about his French exchange’s teachers. He wrote for his school’s creative writing magazine and still writes a diary every day.
How to get in touch with Liam Livings
His Website: www.liamlivings.com
His Blog: www.liamlivings.com/blog.html
Via Twitter: @LiamLivings
Via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/liam.livings
He told me he’s new to facebook, so please be gentle with him :).