If I'm asked what I write, my answer is usually that I write romance between men. I've had a few raised eyebrows and lots of questions when I've given that answer.
I first started writing fanfiction in the Torchwood fandom seven years ago now - doesn't time fly. Torchwood also provided great, and sometimes controversial, female characters, and from the beginning, I determined my writing would never show them in a negative light. As a female writer, whose main characters are gay and bisexual men, I feel it is vital not to portray women in a less than positive light.
Now, don't get me wrong, sometimes characters can initially be presented as the 'bad guys'. In Choosing Home, the first of the Call of Home series, Zac McKenzie's ex-wife starts off as a more negative character, which, I feel she's entitled to be. However, by the end of the story, I hope I show how her views change and how supportive she is to Zac. The story also has one of my favourite female characters, Zac's daughter, Abby. She's bright and feisty, as well as being protective of her dad and keen to help him find love. Another daughter who plays a major role is one year old Ellie in Comfort Zone, helping her father find love and Aron get over his fears.
The men in my stories all have women in their lives - mothers, grandmothers, sisters, friends, ex-wives, daughters. They all contribute to the stories and help, or occasionally hinder, the main characters.
In Sporting Chance, Iestyn's best friend, Julie plays a major role in bringing him and Dan back together. Iestyn is close to his mother as Dan is to his grandmother. I love writing family scenes and both Dan and Iestyn have to go through the meet the family dinner. Getting Dan's grandmother's approval is a big thing for Iestyn. I based the character on my own Nan - a formidable women - who could be rather forthright even with me, her favourite grandchild.
Families also play an important role in Returning Home. Darach McNaughton returns home after twelve years away to find his mother is in the early stages of dementia. She knows her memory is affected, but struggles to accept how this will change her life. Darach has his sister Maggie, a strong woman, who's been dealing running her business as well as helping with the family farm. Maggie is the organiser in the family, making sure everything runs like clockwork.
In my most recent story, Staying Home, Sam Carmichael gets inspiration from three women. His sister in law, Aisling comes to his support during a difficult conversation with his family - there's that family connection again, but Sam is one of five brothers. At another point, Sam overhears a conversation between a student and one of elders of his church. When, the student admits she's gay, he expects Mrs McPherson to disapprove. Instead, he hears about her son, sent away by her husband when he came out. These two help inspire him to make changes in his life, and to help Mrs McPherson, who becomes his staunch supporter in the church.
I remain determined to have strong female characters in every story I write, and ask beta readers to check on characterisation. They may not all be perfect, for which of us is, but they will support, cajole, and sometimes tell the main characters a few home truths this author thinks they need to hear.
About Staying Home:
You can never escape yourself.
It has been a year since the death of Brodie 'Tosh' Mackintosh's husband, Harry. Unable to face all the memories of their life together, he moves into the house of his best friend, Darach McNaughton, and is comforted by the local Church of Scotland minister, Sam Carmichael, the middle of the five Carmichael brothers.
Sam Carmichael has always been a bit different from his siblings. He's the only blond in a family of redheads, and the only one with religious beliefs. He also has more than one secret.
Can these two men overcome the events of their pasts and find truth and comfort with each other? And, when all their secrets are revealed, will they be forced apart or be able to plan on staying home together?
General Release Date: 22nd November 2016
About Alexa Milne:
Originally from South Wales, Alexa has lived for over thirty years in the North West of England. Now retired, after a long career in teaching, she devotes her time to her obsessions.
Alexa began writing when her favourite character was killed in her favourite show. After producing a lot of fanfiction she ventured into original writing.
She is currently owned by a mad cat and spends her time writing about the men in her head, watching her favourite television programmes and usually crying over her favourite football team.