Author of the Month Interview - Anyta Sunday

Our author of the month for July is the FANTABULOUS Anyta Sunday. I am a huge fan of her work (as are some of the other Unicorns *cough Jenni Lea *cough*) and so it has been an honour and pleasure to have her visit the clubhouse and answer some questions for us. So without further ado...

BMBR: Hi Anyta, thank you so much for visiting the clubhouse and being our AOTM. To get to know you better we put together a few questions....
AS: Thank you Boy Meets Boy for inviting me to come chat about bits and books. ;)

BMBR: My (Lorix) favourite book of yours is Lenny for your Thoughts. To me, though it carries the trademark Anyta Sunday slow burn and fabulous characters, it has a different feel to it to most of your contemporary novels. Was this intentional or did it just evolve this way?
AS: (Whispers) It’s my favorite too. ;)

I feel very close to this book; it was one I just had to write, I couldn’t sleep properly thinking about Lenny and Julien and their story, and each scene snuck up on me, grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go. I felt Lenny, felt Julien, felt their story so badly I couldn’t rest until I’d written it. I guess you could say the story stemmed from an emotion, that yearning and knowing you shouldn’t, that maybe this love was even wrong, and yet . . . and yet it just felt so right. And so I explored it the best I could.

It was the first book I wrote where I played with the time-line having chapters alternate between “then” and “now” and how their history shapes the insecurities/and deep need of their present.

I originally wrote this book in chronological order, even though right from the beginning, I knew I would chop it up and mess with the timeline. I did this so that I could understand each motivation and mental/emotional head space of the character at that point in their lives and how it then went on to affect the next stages of their lives. It was through writing their childhood/teenage years together that I discovered with Lenny and Julien where and how they very slowly move from a family/cousin-based love to something more intimate.

When I cut the story up, I added clues in the present and or past that would then have some emotion significance at another point of time. For example, there is a moment about a quarter way through the book where Lenny locks up his best friend Ben and sister Caro in the attic after they’ve fought. Only later the significance of that action comes out and why Julien remarks that he took delight in doing it; and that is when we get to the flashback with Lenny and Julien after their fight as teens, when they made up in the attic.

BMBR: I know you have a whole series for enemies to lovers - but I still have to ask.... Friends to lovers or enemies to lovers?
AS: LOL. Funny you ask . . . I am a big enemies-to-lovers and friends-to-lovers fiend, but the first series I wrote (Shane & Trey, St-st-stuffed, William, The F Words) got pegged early on by a reader as enemies-to-lovers and it stuck. I was kind of at a loss that anyone was reading my books at all, so when they put it up on GR as enemies-to-lovers, I was so speechless (and stoked) that I smiled and nodded, and the subsequent books I tagged as that as well.

BMBR: Do you have a favourite character (or couple) from your books - and why do they earn the title?
AS: I love all the boys I write about. As a couple, Lenny and Julien have claimed the most emotion, but as a single character . . . I think I feel for Rory from The F Words the most, because he’s gone through a lot with losing his best-friend, and he redeems himself for being an asshole to Eric. (I like redemption stories and anti-heroes . . . )

BMBR: Liam, from Liam Davis and the Raven, is a fantastic character. In general you avoid the typical alpha male stereotypes, is this by design or accident?
AS: Liam! :D He’s a special guy with a mild case of Asperger’s, rendering him a little socially awkward, he has a big heart—just shows his love differently.
It’s true, I don’t often write about the alpha male, but . . . well . . . I have written an urban fantasy novel that is centered on an anti-hero (This is an m-f novel with an m-m subplot). So there will be a dose of alpha in future books.

BMBR: Where do you find inspiration for characters such as Liam?
AS: Liam was loosely inspired by someone I knew growing up. A man who was/is socially a wee bit challenged, but you know that he means well, even if he doesn’t express it as others might. Of course, that is as far as the resemblance goes. Liam also reflects the time I was in Pittsburgh and the atmosphere/feelings I felt living there for a couple of years.

BMBR: Part of our book discussion covered the fact that Shane and Trey was set in a nameless/ stateless generic country, what inspired you to make this decision?
AS: The book discussion! LMAO. Okay, so I stumbled across it when Jenni Lea friended me over FB, and I couldn’t help myself. I was nervous, because Shane & Trey was the first gay romance book I wrote and, well, it’s one of those “jeez, I’ve learned so much since writing this 'cringe' book". Lol. So I went in with a wince and came out at the other end in tears—of laughter!

Really, it’s a magical book. Everyone got a different version. Jenni Lea had Shane & Troy, Lori had the no camping or dorm party scene, Natasha had clown orgies, and there were various unicorns making guest appearances, as well as some toe licking going on just for Breann . . .

Ah, crap, I’m giggling just remembering! First of all, thank you for that fun and for all of you taking your time to read it.

Secondly, to address the different version thing . . . I mentioned cringing above, well, a few months ago I went over the story again and I just went through shaking my head. I couldn’t re-write the entire thing, but boy something needed to be done. So I got my red pen (delete button) and slashed the thing apart. I took out about 20K of story and tightened it up a bit, got rid of the misunderstanding that even drove me crazy re-reading it (although, can I admit here, that I don’t mind a wee bit of this in other stories I read), and I added in a second sex scene (where Shane bottoms) because I felt like I had left something out in their coming-of-age-and-sexual-experience. I also wanted to have the ending more hopeful with the father, so I tweaked a few lines with him as well. Oh, and a couple of other bits and pieces to make it seem less “cheaty” which was never my intention in this book. It was more meant to be an exploration of teenage angst and figuring out oneself and what one likes/needs etc. Yeah, the guys make mistakes and screw up a bit, but hell, didn’t we all at that age?

Now to the actual question, because it’s a really interesting one: the setting.

I think the setting-less state of the story really came from a feeling of homelessness. When I wrote this book, I didn’t feel at home anywhere. I mean, I love New Zealand and I was happily brought up there, but it didn’t feel like the place where I was going to settle, and then I began travelling and ended up in Berlin, and back then, while I loved Germany, I still felt like it wasn’t “my place” either. It was like I had no “me” in association with a place. I was just me regardless of place. And I still felt real and alive and I still had emotion and relationships that worked. So when I wrote Shane & Trey and St-st-stuffed the characters and the story, and their emotions and journey was important, but it didn’t matter where they were. I wanted it to be a story that could exist anywhere, and tried to be vague with details of place.

However, linguistics failed me in this aim. Because I grew up a Kiwi, there are words, and syntax and grammar etc. that I use without even thinking—like the beloved fish-slice ;)—that mark the story and force it to have a setting.
Because of that, I realized it was a mistake not to have set it somewhere concrete, and which was why in the third book, I moved the series to New Zealand, where I could ground readers more in a sense of time and place.

(Oh, and just to clarify, Emma was not a beta reader for Shane & Trey. Have no idea where and how that came about???) :P

BMBR: What inspired you to have siblings (twins, even!) as the "rivals" for the MC's affections in Shane and Trey?
AS: I can’t remember! I think I just wanted to create some immediate tension right from the start, and figured . . . yeah, twins who like the same guy, that’s a nice pickle!

BMBR: Did it feel controversial using cousins as the MC's in Lenny for Your Thoughts?
AS: I know two cousins falling in love is controversial to people, but it made me need to write the book more, because I understood it . . . love has no boundaries. Lenny and Julien fell in love with each other, and that’s beautiful.
 (It so was, their relationship was...ungh!)

BMBR: What is your favourite thing about writing? And the worst?
AS: Favorite thing . . . I love it when a story comes crashing into your heart and you just need to get it written, and I also love the feeling that comes when it’s done, it’s written, and that little bit of love that was only in your head is now alive and real.

BMBR: and lastly, but very, very important...starters, mains or pudding?

Thank you so much Anyta for stopping by. Of course we couldn't invite an Author of the Month into the stable without immortalising them forever as a unicorn. So, from the 'pen' of the talented Natasha Snow, I'd like to introduce....

Now ain't that just the most adorable unicorn ever?


  1. Tulip Sparkle Head. Love it. :) Tulips are my favorite flower, btw! So super appropriate. ;)

    Cheers for the fun interview! :D

  2. Mine too! Thank you for coming along, it was fun. :)

  3. Liam!!! LOL - my favorite is Liam :)

    Great interview!