We are thrilled to welcome Mila McWarren to Sinfully today with her debut novel The Luckest. We asked Mila what's it’s like moving from the world of fandom, to actually having your work published? Check out what she has to say…
Well, first: obviously it's scary. The first reason for this is that fandom has some cultural practices around fan writing; everything is done for free, on a volunteer basis, and so generally there is a culture of being kind to writers. Any criticism should be private and kind and "constructive", but generally it's a very enthusiastic environment. It's a GREAT place to treat as a writing lab and I generally can't recommend it enough. Taking the first steps out of it are scary. The process isn't very different at all, really – you write, you have people read it and tell you how it sucks, you rewrite it, you do that a few times until you can't look at it anymore and gratefully shove it back at your editor. I did the same things in fandom, so the process itself isn't that different. It's just that the stakes are changed.
The other thing, though: this is not the first time I have been published – I'm a researcher, and so I'm sort of used to the vulnerability of having to put my stuff out there for other people to look at. I thought that was going to help. It totally doesn't, and I'm still figuring out why. I think it has something to do with the kind of research I do? It's all numbers based, and as long as you don't really screw up then the criticism doesn't feel very personal. Also, though, it's probably because I've been doing that for so long that I have a measure of confidence about it that is just… well. I don't feel as confident as a writer, because this is my first published novel. New is always hard.
So yeah. I'm probably supposed to be more excited about it, aren't I? Honestly, mostly I'm terrified and brazening it out. I have a life policy of trying everything I can, even (especially) the stuff that is the scariest. Most of the time that works out in the end –I'm old enough now to have realized that if it doesn't kill me, it might not make me stronger, but it will probably at least be a little funny by the end of it. I'm always looking for life experiences I can dine out on, and my kids and partner are going to love me no matter what, so what the hell.
(I will confess here, just between us: last week I sent a text to a friend that said, "the next time I try something with the justification 'why the hell not?', I may need you to remind me of this sick feeling in my belly." It's good to have friends, isn't it?)
The Luckiest by Mila McWarren
Publisher: Interlude Press
Genre: Contemporary, Gay fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance
Release Date: July 7, 2015
When New York-based memoirist Aaron Wilkinson gathers with his high school friends to marry off two of their own, he is forced to spend a week with Nik, the boy who broke his heart.
As they settle into the Texas beach house where the nuptials will be performed, Nik quickly makes his intentions clear: he wants Aaron back. "He's coming hard, baby," a friend warns, setting the tone for a week of transition where Aaron and Nik must decide if they are playing for keeps.
Aaron finishes the song and Stephanie snatches the mic out of his hand, crooks her finger at Nik and launches them into a reprise of their performance of "Dancing on My Own" from the homecoming weekend they all spent here at the house back in senior year. Stephanie still has questionable rhythm and tragic pitch—she loves to sing, which is why they have a karaoke machine in this house, but it's one thing she will admit she doesn't have much of a gift for—but there's a reason Nik majored in music at The University of Texas, and his voice has come a long way.
Somehow, this deliberate throwback to a memory that was never anything but happy seems different than what Aaron has just done. He sits on the sofa, flanked by Alex and Jasmine, hating them both a little for participating in it even while he smiles. Nik dances—how can you not, with this song—but he still watches Aaron, gives him a little head-tilt during the chorus, and it's charming and devastating and infuriating.
Jasmine leans to murmur, "Oh, I see how it is."
"Oh, shut up."
"You might not be desperate, but I'm not sure about him. He's coming hard, baby."
Meet Mila McWarren
Mila McWarren grew up in Texas, but has happily made her home on the East Coast for the last decade. In her day job she works as a social scientist and has spent the last 10 years developing her fiction writing online. She lives with her husband and their two kids. When she isn't using working, writing, or hanging out with her family, she likes knitting and watching television, because they go together like peanut butter and chocolate, two of her other great loves.
Rafflecopter Prize: One $25 Interlude Press gift card. Five e-book copies of ‘The Luckiest’