We were lucky enough to get a chance to interview popular Gay Romance author Nora Phoenix
Nora Phoenix loves writing steamy gay romance books. She also love reading books. According to her, books are everything. Nora truly adores her genre because she loves writing and reading about flawed, strong men who are just a tad broken; who find their happy ever after anyway. Her favorite books to read are pretty much all MM/Gay romances as long as they have a happy end. Kink is another plus. Join us in our conversation as Nora talks about the thought process involved in the making of each of her novels and upcoming book releases!
1) Your “No Shame Series” has all the makings of an unconventional storytelling- puppy play, Daddy kink, BSDM, and polyamorous relationship along with the concept of “Found Family”. What made you bring these characters to life and portray their love stories?
The idea came to me as I was visiting Boston and had a fun conversation with a local about Boston and how much he loved it, but also about the criminal elements in certain areas. That’s how I got the idea for the character of Indy Baldwin, the main character in this series, who is from Boston originally but is on the run from his mobster ex.
The No Shame series was the first series I published, and in hindsight, it’s amazing to me that I dared to kick off my career with such an unconventional series. But those books really came from my heart as I was exploring the concept of identity and what it means to be yourself. We’re all wired a certain way, and as long as it’s between consenting adults, that’s all okay.
Love has no shame, that’s really the theme of that series…and it became the theme of many of my books. I wanted to show what it means to accept yourself the way you are and then find others who will love you for you, even if your blood family doesn’t. I’m still incredibly proud of that series…
2) “Irresistible Omegas Series” is one of my favorite book series. How different are these couples from each other and how much fun did you have depicting their romance?
This series started when a reader posted in my group that they’d love to see more poly romances, especially with more than three people. That triggered an idea in me for a romance with four men, but I wanted them to all need each other in equal measure, to truly be connected with all four. Then the idea came to make it mpreg, and that’s how that series started.
Originally, I was just going to write three books, but it took off, and I honestly loved the world I had created so I kept writing. The rest of the series are all threesomes, and they’re all different. Here. Too, I’m exploring what it means to be yourself, even if your true identity doesn’t match what you look like on the outside. But I also simply had fun coming up with lots of sexy situations and shenanigans, as well as all the suspense stuff. That series wasn’t always easy to write because of the intricate plotting, but I loved writing each book.
3) “Ignite Series” is set in a disruptive dystopian universe which is hugely homophobic and under siege by aliens. The main characters are involved in a ménage. How did this fictional romance materialize?
This started when I saw the cover for the first book, which was a premade cover by a designer I’d worked with before. I loved it and so I got it. Then I was on a summer trip with my son, and we started brainstorming about a scenario where aliens would attack Earth. He came up with some incredible stuff (trust me, he’ll be a writer when he’s older… He’s got SO many amazing ideas!) and I put that all in the books.
It’s a bit of an outlier, this series, because it has a survivalist feel with some dystopian elements, but also aliens and a threesome romance. But it’s a story that has a lot of my personal feelings in it, and I loved writing it. Readers sometimes skip it because they feel it might be too depressing or angsty, but it’s still a romance… It still has all the elements my other books have as well, including a very satisfying happily ever after…
4) “Perfect Hands Series” is an interesting mix of Daddy kink with age play. What did you have in mind when you wrote about these slow burn, sensual relationships?
The idea for Firm Hand, the first book, came to me as I was driving through Australia on a trip. It’s still the fastest book I’ve ever written since I finished it in just ten days. The story was so strong inside me that it just needed to get out. I love taking familiar concepts like an age gap and a Daddy/boy relationship and then twisting them a little.
In this case, I wondered what it would be like when a deeply submissive man would lose his best friend, get hurt in the process, and then was taking care of by his best friend’s son. What does it look like when being a Daddy isn’t about age but simply about needs? That’s what inspired Firm Hand.
The rest of the series is an exploration of all kinds of Daddy kink because there is no one way or one approach. Gentle Hand shows a more traditional relationship, but with a sweet boy who struggles with his ADHD and with trauma from the past. Slow Hand is about a Daddy with two boys, and Healing Hand shows a relationship where sex isn’t a big part since one character is demi and one is asexual. They’re still Daddy and boy, though. I love exploring those themes of being who you truly are, even if it’s not what others might expect.
5) I’m also a huge fan of your “White House Men Series”. How did you both craft this suspenseful yet political gay romance?
I’ve always been fascinated by the presidency and the White House. One of my all time favorite movies is The American President, where Michael Douglas plays the widower president who falls for a lobbyist. I love that movie! There’s also an older TV series called The West Wing that’s my favorite show ever. It’s set in the White House around a fictional president, and it’s the perfect combination of drama, humor, politics, some romance, and more.
I wanted to write something similar, though lighter on the politics, and gay, of course, plus with some added suspense. That’s how The White House Men series was born. I did a lot of research for it, reading stacks of books on the White House, the Secret Service, the FBI and CIA, and more. I wanted to make it as authentic as possible, while still being fun and sexy, of course. I just finished writing the last book, and I’m so proud of how this series turned out. It’s got plenty of suspense, but also that found family theme that’s in a lot of my books, as well as schmoopy romances, hot sexy times, and all the feels. I think this is my most emotional series…so people will need some tissues!
6) I have noticed that you are particularly interested in concepts like Daddy Kink, Polyamory with hints of BDSM. Why are you drawn to such subjects? What do you have in mind when you normally conceptualize a storyline or characters?
What fascinates me is the struggle between who people are expected to be and who they really are. Kink is still so often shamed, especially being a submissive. Our society places a high value on being independent, on not needing anyone, but not everyone is wired that way. Some people are simply needy and need someone else to take care of them, and others have a deep need to be the caretaker, to be in charge. There’s nothing wrong with either way, and I love exploring that journey to accept yourself and show your true colors. That keeps popping up in all my books, is to let go of the shame and embrace who you really are.
7) Do you have any favorite book, drama or movie that has left an ever lasting impression on your mind?
Oh, so many. I’ve always been an avid reader, and I still am. I read a lot of different genres too, not just MM romance. My favorites are romance in general (Nora Roberts will always be my queen…), thrillers, self help/psychology, social science, memoirs, and more. I also devour books on writing and craft since I always want to keep learning and growing. The research part of writing has always been a favorite aspect for me. For example, I needed to do a lot of research for the White House Men series, and I loved it. I read a lot of biographies/memoirs from law enforcement agents, and those were fascinating…
8) Do you enjoy reading MM Romance novels written by your contemporary authors? If yes, then who is your current favorite author and why?
I do! And I have many favorites, including N.R. Walker, May Archer, Lucy Lennox, Alessandra Hazard, Cara Dee, and many, many more. It really depends on what I’m in the mood for!
9) Being a Gay Romance Author yourself, what is your opinion about the current status of LGBTQ representation in books?
I’m very happy to see more and more representation in books, especially the wave in young adult after the massive success of Red, White & Royal Blue. That book paved the way for a lot of queer representation, and I’m so excited about that. But it’s just a start.
Sadly, not all representation is positive. We’re still seeing books come out with transphobic undertones, for example, even when they feature transgender main characters. We need to stand up for all letters under the queer umbrella, not just lesbian and gay. And too often. Queer characters are either a token, shown in a harmful stereotypical way, or are killed off. It’s gotten better, but we need to protest these things when they happen.
I also think we still need much more diversity in terms of race and ethnicity, body types, disabled characters, sexuality, and more. We’re not seeing a lot of asexual characters, for example, and I think those are important. Our books need to be as colourful and diverse as our real worlds are, and we’re not there yet.
10) What are you working on right now? Talk to us about your future books?
I’m in the middle of planning my releases for next year, though as always, it’s super tentative since plans can change. I’ve learned to follow my muse more than a strict plan, since those unexpected deviations from what I had in mind have led to some incredible books (like Firm Hand and Alpha’s Sacrifice, for example… Neither of those were planned!) I’m hoping to pick the No Regrets series back up and tell the sexy, kinky stories of Wander’s men, as well as start on the spin off from the Irresistible Omegas series. And I have a few more surprises planned for you guys!
The BL Xpress would like to thank Nora Phoenix for taking the time to answer our questions!