Author Interview: Naomi Aoki

Author Interview: Indie Book Spotlight

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1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

I prefer the feel of paperbacks … but these days it’s easier to read ebooks with being able to adjust the font size, and lighter to hold.

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

If I could only read one genre it’d have to be rom-suspense and with any pairing.

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

There isn’t one book that shaped my childhood. I was a prolific reader from a young age and read pretty much whatever I could get my hands on, fiction or nonfiction.

5.      When did you first start writing?

Well, there was this one story I wrote when I was like six. It was all of twelve lines long and someone died in it … a little prophetic really considering the number of deaths that occur in my books now. But writing stories like I do now, that would’ve been about 6-7 years ago starting with fanfiction.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

At sixteen I announced I was going to write a book to my parents. Of course, at the time I thought it’d be a creative nonfiction work. At several points since then the urge to write hit me, but it wasn’t until I started reading BL Manga that the ‘what’ suddenly made sense and I haven’t stopped since.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I’ve written so many its hard to pick one … but Dangerous Lessons (The Yakuza and the English Teacher, #1) will always hold a special place in my heart as it was the first book I published. It was supposed to be a standalone book, but the characters demanded more.

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

My first stories were fanfiction and published on AO3. I also have lots of half-finished works lying around in notebooks which may or may not get turned into full fledge novels.

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

Across three pen names I have managed to publish approximately 34 novels/novellas …

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Fluffy Dark Yakuza and Mafia Romances, Paranormal and Medieval Mpreg, Contemporary, Historical. Most of them are Queer and I have fondness for polyamory stories.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

It’s a mixture of both. When I was writing Historical Romances, I did a lot of research before starting the story, but I mainly research as I go. With my contemporary stories Google Maps is a constant companion.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

Pantser. The closest I get to planning my plot is a general overview or a vague idea of the story, but my characters always have other ideas, and well, you can’t ignore them.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Self-published and wide. No, I have no plans to change it. The idea of being beholden to one platform doesn’t sit right with me, and I also love that I can make my books available to e-libraries.

14.   Do you currently have a WIP?

I’m currently working on the second book in my (Fluffy) Dark Yakuza MMF Romance under my Naomi Aoki pen name, while also working on book 4 of my Crime Lords under my Mandy Greenwood.

15.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

There are two characters dear to my heart. Jamie from The Yakuza and the English Teacher series, and Hisato Shibata from the Tokyo Nights series.

Jamie was the first character I wrote and is from a rural area of New Zealand where my family lived … I even modelled Jamie’s parent’s farm loosely on my grandfather’s farm.

Hisato was the second character who remained stuck in my head, and actually cycled through two different wips before the Tokyo Nights series came into existence. He’s a rather interesting character, and caries the moniker of ‘murderous detective’ because of what he gets up to with his lovers—a yakuza ward boss, the boss’s second in command, and a top-ranked host.

16.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

That’s a tough one, all my characters and their relationships are special to me. But if I have to choose, then it’d be Hisato’s romance with Tatsuo Ogawa, Masanori, and Angel, in the Tokyo Nights series. Also, I’d say that Ryland Beltrame and Lucas Cicco from my House of Bolton series (MJ Green) would be a close second.

17.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Yes. My music is rather eclectic, and mood based. I listen to anything from classic rock, emo punk, to J-rock and Italian Pop/rock.

18.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

No. But I’d love to!

19.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Be aware of popular trends, but at the end of the day if you don’t love what you’re writing it will be harder to stay focused.

20.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Layla Reyne
Cynthia Eden
Rachel Grant
Tal Bauer
Allyson Lindt

21.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

All my links … social media, where you can find my books etc: Linktree.

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