More Than This
Sometimes life gives you more than this.
Two years after whistle-blowing on irregularities in the company she worked for in the US, businesswoman Veronica Smith runs into Cassandra Forster, the woman with whom she had an intense affair back in New York.
Cass pushed all Ronnie’s buttons as well as her boundaries, and the relationship was becoming something more before Ronnie left without an explanation. When they pick up where they left off, Ronnie finds she still wants more…but does Cass feel the same?
Cass wants an explanation. Being with Ronnie had begun to mean more than great sex, but then Ronnie left her high and dry. Cass’ feelings haven’t changed, but can she trust Ronnie enough not to hurt her again? Can she trust herself to let someone into her life?
Over a weekend and a wedding, the two women finally talk and discover they have more in common than the ability to meet each other’s desires. But can they take this second chance life has given them to have more than this?
TWENTY QUESTIONS with popular author of LGBTQ romance, Alexa Milne
LAK: What inspired you to start writing?
AM: I first started writing fanfiction when my favourite character, Ianto Jones, was killed in Torchwood. I found a whole writing community online and ended up writing lots of stories based on Torchwood, Doctor Who, and Supernatural. Some other fan fiction writers I knew started to write their own stories, and I decided that I would do the same.
LAK: When did you start writing?
AM: I first started writing fanfiction in 2009. I began writing my first story Sporting Chance in 2012 and it was published in 2014.
LAK: What comes first, the plot or characters?
AM: Usually, I get an idea for characters first then an idea of how they meet. After that, I get them together, pull them apart, put them back together again, and give them a happy ending. After all, I do write romance. I don’t plot from the beginning and tend to follow my characters, who can take me in all sorts of directions.
LAK: Describe a typical writing day.
AM: For me there’s no such thing as a typical writing day. At the moment, I’m not writing at all due to a hand injury. Usually, I find an hour or so in the day, at any time, to write between 500 and 1000 words. I don’t have a set pattern or time to write. I’m not one of these people who can write thousands of words in a day. I write at my own pace and when things are going well hope to complete around 5000 words a week. I don’t beat myself up if I don’t achieve that target.
LAK: How do you research for your book?
AM: I’ve had to research all sorts of things for my books. Some things like rugby, I was already a fan of, so knew the rules. I’ve had to research spinal injuries, police procedure, use of PReP, inventions in aeronautics, the Scottish Presbyterian Church, the Postal Service, how a cow gives birth, the fashion industry, and being a solicitor to name but a few. Google is my friend.
LAK: How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
AM: I’ve written eight full length novels, a couple of novellas and several short stories. It’s hard to say which is my favourite, but I do have a soft spot for My Highland Cowboy.
LAK: Where do you get your inspiration?
AM: Inspiration for stories comes from all over the place. I found some on stories in TV shows, including Countryfile. My first story idea came from wondering what would happen to two teenage characters from a fan fiction when they grew up. Some stories have been inspired by people in the news or on social media and their experiences.
LAK: Where can readers purchase your books?
LAK: Is there lots to do before you dive in and start writing?
AM: Before I start writing, I usually throw all my ideas onto an A3 sheet. This is all the planning I do. Then, I get my characters together usually in the first few pages and see where I go from there. I keep a character sheet which I add to as I go along to make sure I don’t suddenly change eye or hair colour, or their names, which I have been known to do.
LAK: Which of your books were the most enjoyable?
AM: I imagine this is a bit like asking the name of your favourite child. Some books are easier to write than others. Sporting Chance came easily because I already knew some of the main characters and their histories. Whereas some of the Call of Home series wouldn’t cooperate, and I had to rethink several times. My Highland Cowboy is probably the least angsty of my books and was fun to write.
LAK: Tell us about your first published book? What was the journey like?
AM: My first book was Sporting Chance. I’d written a fanfiction with several original characters including teenagers Dan and Aron. Sporting Chance, and later Comfort Zone, became the stories of what happened to them when they grew up. Dan is an openly gay international rugby player. He and Aron drifted apart a few years before. Dan meets Iestyn, a history teacher, but life conspires to keep them apart until friends and family help put them together again. I got help and advice from another author, and the second publisher I submitted to offered me a contract. Editing was a big learning curve, but so valuable. Sporting Chance came out November 2014.
LAK: Can you share something about your current book that isn’t in the blurb?
AM: More Than This is my first venture into lesbian romance. The first scene takes place in an office with one character sitting on a desk. Below is a snippet from that scene.
LAK: Can you share a snippet?
Cass picked up my phone. “Hello, Matthew. Could you hold all Ms. Smith’s calls for the next hour? Thank you.” She placed the phone back. “So, we have sixty minutes. What do you think we should we do with them?”
“This isn’t appropriate, Cass.” My voice barely managed a whisper. I swallowed, trying to wet my arid mouth then, without thinking, licked my lips. “I have work to do.” Please don’t go.
“Since when has appropriate mattered to me?”
LAK: What is the significance of the title?
AM: More Than This comes from a note one character gives to the other in the story asking if she wants more than this, to meet her at a hotel for the weekend.
LAK: What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
AM: This was a different genre for me. My other stories are m/m romance and written in the third person. I wrote this to get myself out of a rut. It’s a F/F romance but written in alternating first person and more erotic than my usual writing.
LAK: Are you working on anything at present you would like to share with your readers?
AM: I’m currently working on the second part of a pair of books with the overall title of Half Full. The MCs are Jonah and Owen. Jonah makes beautiful things from wood and has a passion for amateur dramatics, and Owen is a librarian who fosters cats. They both had difficult starts in life and face difficulties as adults. They get together, go on a journey of discovery and re-evaluation, but events conspire to tear them apart. I’m nearing the end of book two, but writing has been curtailed by my hand injury.
LAK: How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?
AM: Too many. I have four stories already started and another four with characters asking for their stories to be written. One story is of a footballer who is in the closet. He suffers a tragedy but can show nothing. He breaks down and his club put out the story that he’s injured. He hides out with his grandmother in Cornwell where he meets a social worker. I haven’t started this one yet just thrown ideas down on my A3 sheet when they come to me.
LAK: What are you reading now?
AM: Two books – a re-read of Nothing Ever Happens by Sue Brown and Tombland by C J Sanson.
LAK: What was your favourite book as a child?
AM: I know it’s not PC to say this, but I loved Enid Blyton books, especially the Five Find Outers series.
LAK: How many bookshelves are in your house?
AM: Too many – not all the books are mine but there are over ten in various sizes.
Other Reads: More Than This will be on general release from 17th March. I have a novel out in June with a Doctor Who theme called His Perfect Companion and, hopefully, there will be a Christmas story. You can find all my stories in the usual places and at my publisher’s page here:
Keep up with more news from Alexa Milne, on her BLOG