Hi everyone! Today I am so excited to welcome back the fabulous J.A. Rock to the blog. She is here as part of the The Big Gay Wedding Tour sponsored by a group of Loose Id authors releasing books as part of Loose Ids I Do…Unless I don’t collection. J.A.’s book is The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker, sequel to the fabulous Wacky Wednesday. She will be giving a copy away, so be sure to leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. Welcome J.A.!
Bad Grad Student: How P.G. Wodehouse Got Me Thinking Dirty
My second year of grad school, I had to read a P.G. Wodehouse novel for a class. Amazon had been recommending Wodehouse to me for years, pretty much every time I made a purchase. Insistently. HEY, WE REALLY THINK YOU WOULD LIKE P.G. WODEHOUSE. SERIOUSLY. THIS SHIT IS RIGHT UP YOUR ALLEY, ROCK. And I kept saying, “One day. I’ll get to it one day.”
So school finally required me to get to it. I could list a lot of reasons I fell in love, but I think this quote from Right Ho, Jeeves will do:
“He looked like a pterodactyl with a secret sorrow.”
With that one line, I knew I’d found a writer to whom I could soul bond myself.
Wodehouse’s books are farces. They’re super-British and incredibly hilarious. The protagonist of the Jeeves series, Bertie Wooster, is hapless, jobless, kind of a dick but still somehow charming, and full of hare-brained schemes that get him into trouble. His butler, Jeeves, is entirely logical, highly intelligent, and capable of solving any problem. The real joy in Wodehouse is in the language. I’ll be reading, and a sentence like the one above will hit me so hard and suddenly that I’ll cackle and scare the dog.
It was during this semester, the semester of Wodehouse, that I got it in my head to try writing erotic romance. And one of the first ideas that occurred to me was the plot for Wacky Wednesday…about a hapless brat full of hare-brained schemes and the steadfast, levelheaded Dom who keeps him in check.
And about how they switch bodies, which has nothing to do with Wodehouse.
Okay, WW maybe has more direct parallels to Freaky Friday than to the Jeeves books, but Wodehouse is definitely an influence on the WW series, as is my theater background. I love the five-door farce. Love it. I want everybody all the time entering and exiting and dressing in disguises and lying and trying to cover up their lies and running in circles trailing thread until they’re all tied up in a big ball of craziness that someone has to unravel.
WW was my chance to dip my toe in those waters. The plot’s not too elaborate, the cast isn’t unmanageably large. I wanted a book that could be short and sweet, funny with some grounding moments. And then, once I’d dipped my toe in, I started thinking I might like to cannonball. With The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker, I got to explore more of that Wodehouse territory of mistaken identities, plans gone awry, “please won’t you do me this favor,” “don’t tell ANYONE about this,” gun in the first act must go off in the third, etc.
Except in this case it’s more of a bath brush in the first act.
The challenge lies in the balance of farce and realism. The grounding moments need to be there, because it’s romance and the characters come before plot. But this is a world where you can suspend some disbelief. Where things can get crazy out of control, but everything turns out okay. Getting to pull all the strings of the plot puppet was fun but also a challenge, because these characters need to make the worst choices possible—believably, and without readers thinking they’re totally stupid. It’s often about the distribution of information: who knows what about the situation at any given moment, and how can a character’s knowledge gaps be exploited so that he or she ends up compounding the problem through ignorance?
It’s a marvelous game to play as a writer, and I have to thank Wodehouse for inspiring me to try to play it. I should clarify here that I am not comparing myself to Wodehouse by any means—merely citing a much-loved influence. Maybe someday I can aspire to be the poor man/woman’s gay spanking sexy-time Wodehouse. And even that’ll be giving myself too much credit.
But I love to experiment as a writer, and it’s a pleasure to practice the game with two characters like Jayk and Amon, who can create, exacerbate, and ultimately fix any disaster.
And apologies, school, for what I did with my education.
The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker is part of The Big Gay Wedding Tour! This month, Loose Id is releasing its I Do…Unless I don’t collection, and several m/m authors have books coming out in the next two weeks. Join us as we tour the m/m romancesphere, talking about the books and giving away prizes. There will be big group giveaways at our last two stops as well.
- Kate McMurray – Save the Date
- J.A. Rock – The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker
- Cassandra Gold – Always a Groomsman
- Dev Bentham – Bread, Salt, and Wine
- Dominique Frost – The Bitter Rednesses of Love
- Joyfully Jay: 6/4
- Purple Rose Tea House: 6/5 and 6/12
- Flirty Author Bitches: 6/7
- Armchair Reader: 6/11 and 6/18
- Tara Lain 6/14 and 6/15
- Romance Lives Forever: 6/18
- Kay Berrisford 6/19-6/21
J.A. has brought a copy of the Brat-tastic Jayk Parker to give away to one lucky winner. The contest ends Friday June 7th at 11:59 pm so be sure to leave a comment to enter.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
- By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
- Void where prohibited by law.