Secret Smile

Secret Smile

Secret Smile Is a story about forbidden love, and sticking together no matter what. I’ve always loved stories of forbidden love—a furtive, heated glance, stolen touches and that special smile that can say more than ten thousand words.


You have devoured books since the age of three so what did you read when you were young?


I loved Enid Blyton when I was a child. The Secret Seven books were particular favourites. My mum always knew I would be on my best behaviour if there was the promise of a new book at the end of it!


You discovered your mother’s stashes of romance novels when you were a teenager, so what was the appeal when your first read them?


Honestly, at twelve or thirteen it was all about the naughty bits, but as I got older I realised that I loved stories about people—rather than a big blockbuster with tons of action, I prefer to read a story about people interacting and finding their way through the maze of human emotions.


You have wanted to be a writer since you discovered that people write of characters and other worlds, so when did you first begin to write?


I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t telling stories. One of the first Christmas presents my brother bought me was a big thick notebook and a pen. I was about five at the time and it felt like he’d handed me the crown jewels! During the school holidays my best friend and I used to take turns sleeping at each other’s houses, and we would stay up into the wee small hours as I made up stories about our favourite actors and pop stars.


The book has been compared to Mate by Eden Cole and Lynn Hagen, so how does this make you feel?

They are both wonderful writers, so I’m very flattered!


What made you choose to have the characters of Ben and James as actors?


There seems to be a lot more actors coming out in recent times, and I think that must take a lot of courage when faced with the prospect of letting the world in on the most private area of your life. There are a lot of professions where it isn’t easy to be openly gay, but none that puts as much scrutiny on a person as acting; famous actors literally have the eyes of the world on them, and are judged on everything from their political views to the colour of their socks.


Why is it so difficult for actors to come out and proud like James and Ben?


There’s still very much a double standard when it comes to actors and their sexuality, I think. When Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal made Brokeback Mountain nobody said they couldn’t do it because they were straight; it was just accepted that they were acting. But if a gay actor makes a straight romance movie there’s always someone who says ‘yeah, but you know he’s gay, right?’ So what—a straight actor can play any role, but an actor who happens to be gay can only play gay roles? As a result, I think gay actors might find themselves pigeon-holed.


Did you have to research into the pressures of being a famous actor and being gay?


I think you just need to watch TV or read the newspapers to see the reactions to an actor coming out to get a sense of how difficult it must be.


Do you think that couples can still make their toes curl even after ten years?


Absolutely! But it takes a lot of work.


What is next for you?


Right now I’m working on a follow-up book to my novel Kiss of the White Wolf. It’s the story of the boy, Milo, who was rescued by werewolf Luke. I had people hinting and asking for Milo’s story, and it planted the seed! Milo was such a poor wee thing, he deserves his own happy ending.


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