We are honored to have Author Onley James taking a break from ghost stories, true crime documentaries, obsessively scrolling social media, and writing kinky, snarky books about men who fall in love with other men to share a little conversation with us.
Q You had previously wrote in different genres how did you start writing adult m/m romance?
A. Even though I started out writing YA paranormal, I was determined to write inclusive fiction that was as diverse as my friend group so there were many LGBTQIA + characters. I was reading a great deal of m/m romance and had several friends in the genre who really liked my YA books and were encouraging me to expand into the genre. I was hesitant to do so because I was writing very low heat YA books and knew that would mean upping my game with the sexy times. I finally decided it didn’t hurt to try and if I never tried I’d never know what I was missing. So I did.
Q You are a very prolific author , what is your secret to your production schedule?
A. The secret to my writing schedule is having a full staff and no life. I have a personal assistant, a virtual assistant, a business partner who handles all the back end stuff like covers, formatting, uploading. I have a publicist and a social media manager. I didn’t always have those things. In the beginning I did a lot of bartering to get what I needed. But now, I have the privilege of being able to delegate much of the stuff most indie’s have to do themselves which allows me to focus on writing and making content for my Patreon subscribers.
Q What media did you grow up on that inspired your writing?
A. I was obsessed with books growing up. I read everything from bodice ripper romances to horror stories. I checked out textbooks on psychology and psychobiology and read true crime novels. I was determined to grow up and become a behavioral profiler. My parents were worried I was trying to grow up to be a serial killer. I also watched a lot of shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer which helped hone my sarcasm.
Q Did your background as a nurse help you when writing some of your characters who are pyschopaths?
A. I think my background as a psych nurse definitely helps me write a very romanticized version of psychopathy. There is no diagnosis of psychopath in the DSM-5, it’s more a series of symptoms. But I wanted to explore the idea of how people who can’t love might express their version of romance. I choose to be fantastical with the psychopathy aspect and focus on being accurate with how I portray the mental distress of things like PTSD, autism, ADHD and child abuse. The crimes that take place in the books are almost always based on real cases and events and most of the characters’ traumatic backstories are from patients I had as children. I use the books as my own therapy to write them the happy ending most likely never got.
Q Your books are romantic and dark but also have a lot of humor, how do you balance the moods when writing?
A. I’m not a fan of trauma porn or sadness for the sake of sadness and no matter how bad people’s lives are, they’re not just that one thing. You can have PTSD and still think things are funny. You can cope with bad things with dark humor. Many of us do. I think it’s a matter of using people’s real life ability to compartmentalize during a crisis that helps me know when to lighten the mood. My nursing background helps. We use a lot of dark humor to cope with what we do. I just like to show all aspects of people and I come from a super sarcastic family and it just tends to naturally bleed into any conversation.
Q What is the next project you are working on?
A. The next project is Jericho’s Boys book 1, Paladin, the first Necessary Evils spin-off. It will follow Arsen who many know from the series already, as he meets and falls for a boy he rescues from a horrible situation. It will be released in April. Then I’ll be switching gears to the second Necessary Evils spin-off, The Watch Series and start writing The Bone Collector about a boy named Gift who attends a graduate school for psychopathic assassins and the handler he falls in love with. That should be released sometime in July.
Q} if people want more info about you or your books where should they go?
A. You can find me in all the places using my linktree: linktr.ee/OnleyJames
Final four questions –we ask everybody
Q) When the zombies take over the world where will you be?
A. I’m going to the mall, Dawn of the Dead style. I am an indoor girl and malls have food courts and generators and underground tunnels. I’m not going to be sweating out in the sun trying to do cardio to stay alive. When the power gets cut for good, I’m likely going to deliberately turn myself into zombie chow.
Q ) What is your favorite Fandom
A. It’s like asking my favorite child. I’m a huge fanfiction junkie and I tend to favor the slash ships like Sterek (Stiles and Derek from Teen Wolf) and Destiel (Dean and Cas from Supernatural). Other than that, most of the media I consume lately comes out of Asia in the form of k-dramas and BL series.
Q) What piece of art, be it in the form of music, a book, a film or picture, do you think people must experience before they die?
A. I think everyone should check out the surreal artwork of Nathalia Suellen. Her stuff is different and thought provoking and both beautiful and somewhat disturbing at times.
Q) Give one fact that most people would not believe about you?
A. I have had over a hundred jobs since I was 12 years old from selling palm trees to working in the porn industry to giving psychic readings on the phone. I’m the literal Jack of all trades, master of none and writing is probably the only career I’ve ever wanted to have and the only career where having all of those jobs in my past is a benefit.