Hello Iyana! Welcome to my blog and thank you for answering my
nosy, I mean discerning, questions! First, please tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of stories you like to write. Would you say there there is an underlying theme behind your stories?
Hi Sarah! Thank you very much for the opportunity to visit your blog.
Hi all! My name is Iyana. I live in Jakarta, Indonesia. I mostly write m/m stories either adult or young adult. The underlying theme behind my stories is love. They are all love stories.
Oh wow! I wish I’d known in advance that you were from Indonesia! I love finding out more about people’s cultures and countries. Perhaps you’ll come back some time and do a blog post just about life in your part of the world? In honor of your country, I tried to snag some photos to represent Indonesia here today. 🙂
How long have you been writing? Did you write as a child or is it something you developed a passion for later in life?
I’ve liked writing since I was at the elementary school but I’ve just been actively writing since eight years ago, I guess, when I suddenly got inspired.
What gave you the courage to submit your first story to a publisher?
My motivation is actually quite bad. Some people at my office thought that my friends and I at the curriculum development couldn’t write. That sounded so much like a challenge so I sent my first story to Silver Publishing and they accepted it. I’m so glad that the outsiders think my writing is not that bad and are willing to publish it.
That’s too funny! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone else getting into publishing their stories that way! Good for you! I see you write M/M fiction. Would you characterize your stories as M/M romance, erotica, or something in between?
Perhaps somewhere in between, leaning more to romance. I find it very difficult to write sex scenes. 🙂
I don’t think you’re the only one who has difficulty with that! I’ve spoken with many authors that leave the sex scenes for the very last bit. What draws you to the M/M genre? Have you written in other genres?
I started with general fiction and I think a few of my pieces are m/f. But I always find I’m a bit awkward when writing m/f. When I began to read m/m, I found that I liked it. I didn’t immediately write m/m but when I did, I felt like I’m home. I don’t feel awkward at all.
It’s funny you should say that. I had a similar reaction when I discovered M/M fiction–it was like I’d finally found romances that worked for me! So, are you a City Girl or Country Mouse—and why?
Well, I can understand that! I was raised in the suburbs, but I always wanted to be a farm girl. 🙂
“Writers should write what they know.” What does this statement mean to you as an author?
Well I’m not a man and I’m not gay—how can I write m/m? To me that statement feels like limiting writers’ ability. I never live in London so I can’t write about it? Why, there are so many sources you can look up to now and people to ask. And there is this thing about being a writer. Imagination. What’s the use of being a writer if you can’t exploit your imagination?
I know what you mean! I’m sure Tolkien never actually met a Hobbit! On the other hand, I do think it helps lend accuracy to a story if you can draw on your own life experiences to tell the tale. To me, that’s what ‘write what you know’ really means. 🙂
Are you a panster or a plotter? Do you outline extensively or write your story as you go along?
A total panster. I’d get away as far away as I could from outlines. Heheh. Well, not that extreme, but making outlines will drain my energy and interest in a story after I make them. It will result in me abandoning the story altogether.
I’m exactly the same! If I make an extensive outline, it feels as though I’ve already written the story and my interest in it dies completely.
What’s your idea of a perfect vacation?
A perfect vacation for me is the time for me to completely rest and relax. My days are always very full and hectic. It will be totally awesome if I can just sleep all day, eat anything I love, walk around a place with good company, and have a chat around things we love.
Oh wow! You and me both. I love the sound of your vacation! Of the stories you’ve written, which one do you like the most? Which one would you recommend a new reader begin with?
Absolutely my first one, Just a Little Unwell, published by Silver Publishing. I love it very much and I’m very proud of it.
Do you see your writing as a hobby or is it your goal to be a full time writer at some point in the future?
At first I just saw it as a hobby while I kept writing and writing and I have a kind of a story bank. It was my friend who kept telling me to ‘do something about my stories.’ So yeah, I might not be a full time writer but right now I will keep writing and trying to publish my writing pieces.
Most authors admit to feeling uncomfortable with the degree of self-promotion necessary to be successful. Are there some aspects of social media and self-promotion that make you more comfortable than others? Are there some you avoid like the plague?
For right now I still feel okay with the activities I do in regards to promoting myself and I haven’t felt uncomfortable with either those or other people’s effort to promote themselves. I realize that someone has to promote themselves in any walk of life. I happen to do some business in a totally different field in which I have to promote my business, too.
That’s a really interesting (and refreshing!) outlook. Good for you! I confess, I struggle with the whole concept of self-promotion most days (which is why I asked this question). Research: love it or hate it? Which of your stories has required the most research?
I love doing research and want it or not I always have to do that because what I write is mostly something totally different from my life. I once wrote a story about arson. At that time I really had to search anything about it. I printed the information, read it over, and highlighted the important parts. The title for that story ended up coming from the thing I read. 🙂
Hah! That’s very cool! I love research too–but sometimes I get so caught up in it I forget that I’m there to actually write a story! I think that all the research you do, whether or not you use that bit in the story directly, goes to create the right atmosphere and background. 🙂 What about editing? Love it or hate it?
I find it hard but I actually enjoy editing my stories. But sometimes it’s quite distracting when you are still writing the story but your eyes keep catching mistakes. It can distract you from the writing itself.
That makes sense to me! I’ve been working with a voice recognition software program and sometimes I spend so much time ‘teaching’ the software that it really breaks up the flow of writing! I’ve learned not to use the software for first drafts now! If you could pick one of your stories to become real, one world which you could be part of, which would you choose and why?
Well, I’d have to say it’s my short story, Glowing Dim as an Ember. I love the setting and the situation of the story as I love tales that revolves around royalties that were exiled from that kind of life to be back again later.
Intelligence and a sense of humor are paramount, but what’s your favorite physical characteristic on a man or woman? What do you check out first? What makes you decide if someone’s good looking or not?
Intelligence is the most important to me. My ideal man should be the one who knows what he talks about and someone I can learn from. Stupidity turns me off fast. I admire intelligent men even if they are not too good looking. (But looks are relative, huh? 🙂 What makes me decide if someone is good looking? I think it will be a good bone structure.
What’s your go-to method of providing comfort after a bad day (week, month, year)? Is it a favorite book, movie, television show? What gets you through the rough times?
Writing stories. If I’ve been so fed up with my job or people on my job, for example, I would not care with anything else and dip myself into continuing my WIPs or editing my existing ones. That way I’d lose myself in a different world, into another dimension.
How much do you think that a good blurb and good cover art figure into the success of a story?
I’ll say they are important but not the only things that influence the success of a story. The story itself should be good and there is this thing called promotion. Promotion and good reference are important.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, do you find what you listen to influences the story at all?
Yes, I do. Just like for my RL work, I can’t write without having my earplugs stuck into my ears playing my favorite songs. Sometimes they help too when I get stuck. I can try to find inspirations from the lyrics I’m listening to.
What is your favorite genre to read, and is it different from the one(s) in which you write?
It depends on the mood but most books I have are romance thriller, whether m/f or m/m.
Self-publishing: thumbs up or down?
I have mixed feelings for this. For someone to self-publish, they have to make sure that they are very good in their writing. If not, I think writers should send their work to a publisher to make sure that their writing is good enough to be sent to the market.
If you had the option, is there anything you would change about your latest book?
Having regrets is something I try to avoid. It’s no use feeling sorry about something that has been done. I might not be satisfied with my latest book and I know there might be a lot of things I wanted to change about it, but I try not to think about it. I’d rather think about what the book had failed to deliver and I’d focus on improving myself and my writing in my next books and stories.
Again, thank you so much for the interview, Sarah.
It was fun having you here! Do come back sometime and tell us all about life in Jakarta! 🙂
A Part of Me: In the middle of the snow on their way to get home for Christmas, Connor Williams crashed his car into a tree. He was badly injured but his boyfriend that was also in the car, Zach Tyler, was barely alive. How then, that morning in Connor’s room, was Zach by his side, waiting for him to wake up?
Publisher: Alfie Dog Fiction
Price: £0.39 or $0.60
The road was dark and empty, but Zach kept running and he nearly wept in joy when there was light from a car coming from the opposite direction.
“Hey! Over here! Please!”
The car drove past him, as if he didn’t exist, to where he’d left Connor. Zach called out once more and chased after it. He hoped against hope that it would see their car stuck into a tree.
Instead of all hell breaking loose when both Connor’s and his parents came, it was a hushed grief and mourning. Zach accompanied them to the morgue. His mother’s swollen eyes—Zach thought she hadn’t stopped crying since she first heard of his death—were full of unshed tears even before the morgue staff showed her his body. And she sobbed as she buried her face into Zach’s father’s chest when they took the sight of their son lying there lifelessly. Zach was relieved at the condition his body was in. There was no more blood, and the cuts and bruises were not as bad as before. His father squeezed his mother like he would not let her go again, ever.
BUY LINK: A Part of Me by Iyana Jenna
A little about me:
I’m Iyana Jenna and you can call me Iyana. I like writing, romance, and man love so as you can see on this site, you’re mostly going to find m/m stories whether they are for adults or young adults. They are not going to be too heavy on explicit sex, though, as many say that my stories are considered sweet romance.
When I don’t write, I teach English to children, teens, and adults. I also work in the curriculum and materials department in an institution. Among my responsibilities are writing books and tests.
Find Iyana here: