Writing Rough Boys

(In case you didn’t notice, the Epilogue is now up.)

It’s hard to describe how close I feel to the characters in my story after spending many, many hours a week in their company over the past year and a half. I will miss them a great deal, but of course, their story had to come to an end. This is not a soap opera (although I’m sure at times it seemed such) destined to go on season after season with new trials and heartbreak until all but the most diehard fans have had enough. I have other stories to tell and so will move on.

But before I leave this story completely behind, I’ll answer some of the questions that have been asked of me, and some that haven’t although maybe some of you have wondered.

What inspired me? Why did I write this story in the first place?

I was inspired by Pete Townshend’s song of the same name—if you’re not familiar with it, you should check it out; it’s awesome. I heard it on the radio one morning (not my usual station) and started thinking about what kind of boys these would be: “Rough boys, running the streets … rough toys, under the sheets….” I wanted to “get inside their bitter minds.” I slammed out the first chapter in a week or so and posted it without too much thought. I was overwhelmed with the response I received and shortly abandoned all other in-progress writing efforts to focus on this one.

How long is it?

Rough Boys came to 306,366 words—approximately 875 paperback novel pages! It still boggles my mind that it’s so long, and maybe it boggles yours too if you read it chapter-by-chapter as I posted. When I first started writing it, I thought it would be five or six chapter’s long—maybe sixty-to-eighty-thousand words. LOL!

What surprised me while I was writing it?

First of all, Kaeden surprised me. I conceived of him as a short-term companion for Dani (Dani was invented because I knew Ty wasn’t going to be having sex soon, and since I was publishing on an erotic site, I thought I needed to have some sex in there). Originally Kaeden’s name was Jon, but as soon as I came up with his hairstyle (I saw an Asian on the bus with similar hair one day), Jon seemed too mundane.  After that Kaeden blossomed and became a force all his own. He insisted that I tell his story too. He wouldn’t take no for an answer.  I think the story is better for the telling, but I hadn’t intended it at all.

One of the other things that shocked the shit out of me was Sean’s proposal. I honestly had no intention of having anyone get engaged or married in my novel. I always find that too cliché. However, when I was writing that scene, I was in the moment and I was flowing, and that’s what came out of Sean’s mouth. I looked at it and said, “No way!” But it fit, so I let it stand.

Whatever happened to Trish?

Ty doesn’t know because it doesn’t make sense in the context of the story for him to know. I suppose I could have arranged it, but it would have seemed contrived to me and I think it’s okay to leave a few intentional loose ends. I, as the author, know what happened to Trish—her sister came looking for her and found her. She took her away to live with her in the suburb of a different city. Trish never did recover from being an alcoholic, but she did get off the streets.

What’s next for Rough Boys?

I am intending to publish Rough Boys. And because I do everything the hard way, instead of finding a publisher or just publishing myself, I decided to start my own publishing company.  I just got the domain name I wanted (I have to wait one more week before it’s completely mine), and I’ll be publishing under Divergent Publishing LLC, hopefully before the end of the year. You’ll find links here when it’s finally up for sale. I’m planning to publish in eBook format only.

Meanwhile, if you found mistakes in the story—things that were confusing, unrealistic, details that I got wrong—please let me know and I’ll try to fix them before the release.

Also, if you’ve written a story you’d like to see published, watch my website for a link to the publishing website. It should be up in a few weeks and will have instructions for how to submit a manuscript.

Will there ever be a sequel to Rough Boys?

Never say never. I actually have something in mind, but I have at least five other stories that are queued ahead of that one, so if I do write a sequel it won’t be for a while.

What else am I working on?

I’m currently writing what I hope will be a short story or perhaps a novella. We’ll see how well I do with that. It’s a M/M dystopia story. I have two other unfinished fantasy novels that are not M/M, but I’d like to get back to them soon. I have a M/M cowboy and Indian story that is bursting to come out (inspired by just the first line of Steely Dan’s “Do It Again”). I’ve also been inspired by Tracy Chapman’s “For your Lover” to write a M/M prison story. Unfortunately my day-job has gotten super-busy and it’s taking time away from writing, so I don’t know how quickly I’ll be cranking out future stories.

What is my day-job?

I manage software developers and testers. No I don’t work at Microsoft—been there, done that, won’t do it again (I had absolutely no time to write when I was a manager at Microsoft).

What is my dream?

I’d love to be able to leave my day-job completely behind and focus on writing, with maybe an occasional foray into third-world charity work. Please buy my novel and spread the word. 🙂

Thank you so much for reading and especially for your inspiring comments. In turn, I hope I’ve inspired you.

As Kaeden said, “Love you guys!”


8 thoughts on “Writing Rough Boys

  1. Good for you sweetie 😀 i’ll be watching out for your site and RBbook..
    I have to say i felt like i got to know you a lot better now 😀

  2. Hey J,

    Congrats on your publishing plans. I will definitely want me own copy once its out. 🙂
    Thanks for an amazing story. I didn’t see it when you started but I discovered it when chapter 10 came out, got caught up with earlier parts and have been following closely ever since.
    It is an excellent piece of writing.
    Looking forward to reading the other stories you write.
    Btw- I was curious, can you say happened to Tim? I was just wondering what he went on to do etc… after he left Ty and Abe alone….

    Thanks again for sharing with us J.



  3. Fantastic finish to a fantastic story. Congrats on opening your own publishing house, this is a big deal! I’ll be watching to see how things work out.


  4. thanks for writing i loved your story and i will wait for that sequel u said
    all the best dear and one thing Kaeden im so happy u write his story

  5. Jay, I am so thankful you shared Rough Boys. How amazing re your publishing company, but so astute; it’s about time writers took back their power from corporate publishers who have called the shots for too long, and forgotten that – hello – they need the writers more than we need the publishers (to paraphrase Doris Lessing). It goes without saying I will buy your work, and I am sure it will be a joy to read, as Rough Boys was; you have a super talent and you will be writing full time at some point,I’m sure. Thanks again, Jay, and good luck!

  6. I have read Rough Boys about 4 times now. I just adore it. I write similar-ish type stories (just for my own enjoyment) and nowhere near as well as you. Rough Boys has inspired me to try and write better characters and to write more in-depthly about their personalities. Thank you for introducing me to your wonderful boys. Kaeden is brilliant:) love him. And Sean of course. But i adore Tye and Abe most of all. Beautiful relationship. What a shame they’re fictional. In my head they’ll always exist a little bit though. I could read about them forever. I hope they get stay together and stay happy, have a few gorgeous babies and maybe get married (though marriage is a bit overrated imho;) I dont see Abe ever falling out of love with Ty. And vice-versa. And Kaeden and Sean have to stay together too! They absolutely need eachother. Ok i’ll stop rambling on now!

    • Hi Jo,
      Thanks for your comment. I love comments like yours; you really inspire me to write more. I’m happy I’ve been an inspiration for you as well.
      The boys will always exist in my head too — LOL! But I have other characters in there wanting to get out also. My biggest problem right now is trying to figure out what I really want to write next and finding the time to write it — my schedule has gotten crazy again. I have an idea for a sequel to RB, but I won’t write it for awhile. I need to let those boys have happy lives for a time before I run them into more adventures.

  7. Hi J, I hardly ever make comments online (i was compelled to because of how much i love R Boys!) when i returned to your site today i was surprised to see that you had replied to my comment. Thanks:) I totally understand that you have so many more stories/characters to squeeze out of your head. And so little time:) life really does get in the way sometimes doesn’t it? I am really looking forward to reading what you come up with next, i hope it will be as good as RB. Absolutely no pressure then lol! You have a great flair for writing personalities. Even your more minor characters are integral to the story in their own way. I loved Verona Williams. You wrote her so well I could almost see her. Her bitch-fighting with Tommy at the hospital was hilarious:) and her warmth towards Abe and his and Ty’s relationship was lovely, and it brought home why Abe is as sweet as he is. I could totally see them as mother and son. (I had to google collard greens though lol) Being English myself, i enjoyed seeing how much effort you put into conveying Nigel and Sean’s nationalities through their speech. There were very few parts of theirs where i thought their words/grammar was slightly off. And i loved Sean’s use of ‘lass’ all the time and Nigel calling people ‘love’. Very true to life, half the people i know call people ‘love’. It’s used while speaking to loved ones and even to complete strangers. Spot on with that:) Thanks for trying so hard. Small things like that added a lot to the story, for me anyway. Well it’s a good job i don’t comment very often because when i start i can’t seem to stop! I just know i will keep re-reading RB in future and i look forward to your next adventure. Enjoy writing it (when you get time lol) and good luck.

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