Welcome, one and all, to another author interview! Today, I’m welcoming Theophilia St. Claire aboard. Theophilia is a fan of yaoi, and recently had a dark thriller titled Obsession published. So, let’s get to the questions!
Hi Theophilia! Before we begin, can you give readers a quick introduction to yourself and your work?
I’m an up-and-coming author of dark gay fiction, currently on a journey to becoming a bestseller. I enjoy romance, anime, yaoi, cats, and I’m a TV show lover. My work is dark, sometimes taboo, psychological, and can usually fall into the thriller/suspense genres.
Your latest novel, Obsession, is out now. The book tells the story of Nick and Claude. The two men are, in some ways, polar opposites; Nick works in an East Harlem bar to make ends meet and pay for his sister’s medical bills, and Claude has everything he could ever want from a monetary standpoint. On the surface, it sounds like a tried and true romance novel, but as you read through the blurb, it becomes clear that this is a little different. In fact, the book strays into thriller territory and gets pretty gritty. Was it always planned to be this sort of tale, or did this world develop around the story as you were writing?
It was always planned to be this way, which worried me when I first had the idea years ago. At the time, I wanted to market to romance fans, but there was no way this was a romance, so I refrained from writing Obsession for a while. I wasn’t sure where this would fall into until I began research on the mystery/suspense/thriller genres, which I thought would be a perfect fit.
The book has been well received thus far, with many praising your ability to build suspense and tension. How gratifying has it been to see readers take to the story?
It’s been unbelievably gratifying. I was especially worried about this story since I was trying to market it under the thriller/suspense genres, yet I wasn’t a hardcore suspense/thriller fan. My favorite genre to read is paranormal romance, but I don’t like to write it. On the plus side, my favorite movies and shows to watch tend to be in the thriller, suspense, horror, and psychological genres. So maybe that helped with this story. Either way, I’m glad that readers like the story the way it is.
Did you find any particular scenes difficult to work on, or did you have a favourite scene to write?
There wasn’t any particular scene that was difficult as it was just the story as a whole. Through writing it, I kept telling myself that I need to make the story different, tone the dark elements down and make it more appealing to romance readers. It was a struggle to finally say, “No, I’m going to do the story the way it’s meant to be, and if people like it, cool. If they don’t like it, cool.”
Obsession is published by NineStar Press. How did you find this publisher, and how have you found working them on the project?
I found NineStar Press through The Novel Approach review website, which I follow for book recommendations. I noticed that NineStar Press books had beautiful covers and a great mission statement so I was only too happy to send my book there. I love working with NSP. Raevyn has been stellar. And I love my editors. I’ve learned a lot from them and they have really helped make Obsession what it is today.
What’s next for you in terms of novels? Do you have another project in mind already? Will it take readers down darker thriller paths again, or stray into other genres?
I do. I have a novel that I’m currently editing. I suppose it’s still a thriller, but it’s much lighter in tone than Obsession and has more romantic elements. I have another dark thriller that I need to re-write after that. There are so many ideas I can’t wait to get out. I don’t think they stray into other genres, yet. I do have an idea for a typical schoolboys yaoi series.
You state on your website that you’re a fan of anime, which fits in nicely here. How long have you been into anime? Do you remember your first exposure to the medium?
Goodness, I’ve been a fan of anime since I first discovered DragonBall Z in ’98. So about 20 years, and I show no signs of slowing down either.
Do you have any current favourites?
Yes! I have too many to name here, but some of my current faves are: Yuri!! On Ice, Scum’s Wish, Attack on Titan, Orange, Tokyo Ghoul, Future Diary, Citrus, and Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens. Some of my all-time faves are: DragonBall Z, NANA, Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne, Hell Girl and Ouran High School Host Club. But again, there are many more I can name.
You are a fan of yaoi, which focuses on romantic and sexual relationships between males. Does this influence your writing at all, or did you find yaoi after you started working on your own books? Again, any recommendations?
Funny thing is I discovered yaoi after I’d written my own male/male fiction at age eleven. For me, I think yaoi was the permission I needed to say that it’s okay to read and write these types of stories. For years, I didn’t think anyone here in America published much m/m. So when I read yaoi, specifically published works, I thought that it would be nice to someday publish my own yaoi-esque stories. Some great recommendations are anything by Yamane Ayano, particularly her You’re My Loveprize in Viewfinder series, which is still immensely popular. Koogi’s Killing Stalking manhwa (Korean manga) is the most sadistic, dark, and horrifying thing you’ll probably ever read, and it’s right up my alley. Scarlett Beriko’s Jackass! is surprisingly funny and cute and realistic with just a little angst thrown in.
Finally, I wanted to thank you for coming on board today. Did you have any final messages for readers? Where can they find out more about you? Feel free to link to anywhere that you want.
Thank you for having me! To readers, I want to say to keep an eye out as I have much more to offer soon. You can find me at: