Interview with E.J. Noyes

E.J. Noyes books are filled with unforgettable characters, fantastic plots and a lot of hotness!  She is near the top of my favorite writers list and I am so honored to have had a chance to chat with her.

E.J., your latest book, Go Around, comes out on November 18th.  Can you give us a sneak peak of this one?

I can point you to a sneaky peek… There’s an excerpt up on the Bella Books site:

Go Around is a second-chance romance told from the point of view of Avery, a Federal Air Marshal who comes across her ex-girlfriend—famous actress Elise Hayes—fifteen months after a very one-sided breakup. They’re forced into a situation where they have to live together again, which is super awkward. So not only does Avery have to deal with her feelings about the breakup, but they both need to figure out how to move past a huge obstacle in the way of them getting back together. And there’s a great dog!

I may have shrieked like a little girl when I read that you are writing another Rebecca and Sabine story. This one from Rebecca’s point of view during the events of Ask, Tell. These characters have stayed in readers hearts and I’m so glad you are writing this. What makes these characters so special that you wanted to visit with them again?

I’ve been so thrilled by how much people love Sabine and Rebecca! If I Don’t Ask is a story I’ve wanted to write pretty much ever since I wrote Ask, Tell but other projects kept pushing in front of it in the queue. It queue-hopped because I really needed to write a comfort book for myself after moving overseas during a pandemic which came with some pretty major stress. And I thought what a fabulous thing for Book #10—to go back to where it began and spend some time with characters I know and love.

Technically, I suppose it’s a book that could have remained unwritten, but Ask, Tell was my debut novel and set within a very rigid period of time. I always felt there was so much that was implied within the text and that I trusted readers to accept, like that the attraction between Sabine and Rebecca had been simmering for quite some time. So I’ve often thought—why not show some of that attraction building up and give readers the opportunity to see how Rebecca felt about the whole thing, the whys and hows of her feelings for Sabine and her awareness and fear of the consequences if she gave in to it.

One of my favorite characters is Morgan in Reaping the Benefits.  A lot of your books are based on things you have experience with, Gold- skiing, Dressage- Pas De Deux. I’m assuming you have no experience with being an immortal death’s minions. What inspired this story and do you plan to write Cici’s story in the future?

Who says I’m not secretly an immortal Death’s Minion? Can you meet me in my office at 2 p.m. please?

Reaping the Benefits was originally an idea about Death just being out in the world around people and doing her thing with nobody any the wiser as to who she really was. The scene idea that started it was, like most of my story ideas, just a thought of “Wouldn’t it be funny if…” In this case I had this idea of Death bringing one of her employees in to tell her she’s dying soon and that she needs to sign this death contract. And once it’s all done she’d be like “Okay, bye, can you get me a coffee please?” as if it was just no big deal for her to do that to someone. And just the whole spin off of disbelief and hilarity that went through my head sparked the rest of the idea.

I do plan to write a Cici story, but I just can’t quite figure out the rest of it aside from the basic idea. I have this idea that I’d like to write at least one story that fits every WLW-fiction trope, and Cici fits perfectly into the trope of “Player falls for one woman.” I already know who I want her to fall for (and if you’ve read the short story Something (Really) Old from the Bella Books anthology Save the Date you might be able to pick who it is…) but the meat on those bones is eluding me so far. One day…

Your writing combined with Abby Craden’s narration is one of the best writer/narrator partnerships there is. You recently broke the internet when you posted her reading of the phonebook. What is it about Abby that makes her such a great narrator for your books and how did she react when you asked her to read the phonebook?

I think Abby is just an amazing narrator for any book she performs!

For my novels though, aside from her incredible ability for characterisation which is so important in my work, I think she has an amazing skill for figuring out what I’m trying to say and putting that into her performance. It’s like she finds nuances I hadn’t even realised were there. And I’ve always felt like she instinctively understands the tone of my work, which is so variable from novel to novel, so well and just brings that out in every performance.

Hahahaha, The Phone Book. It’s still making me laugh. Abby very graciously agreed to my very bizarre and I would imagine very boring to record request 🙂

You recently moved from Australia to New Zealand. Besides Jacinda Ardern, who I’m a little in love with and I’m sure she feels the same about me, what do you love about New Zealand and what do you miss most about Australia?

I’m absolutely sure she does feel the same! If I were you, I’d expect her call any day now.

I love the climate of NZ so much better than Australia. I lived in a hot place my whole life in Australia and I hate hot places. I love being closer to skiing (technically, if you go by distance not time to get there). I love the scenery around here and the whole vibe of Dunedin—it feels so chill and super LGBTQ+ friendly from what I’ve witnessed. I love all the flowers we’ve planted that are thriving in the cooler climate. I love being so close to the city! So convenient.

I miss snakes, oddly enough. We lived rurally and there were always lovely friendly snake pals around. And I miss some weird little supermarket items like this flavoured couscous which was great for hiking and some savoury biscuit things. I miss a gyoza place we had, Harajuku Gyoza, and good quick takeaway Mexican. OH! I really really miss reasonably priced fruit and veg ($4.99 for one cucumber?! $19 for a tiny thing of blueberries?! $15 for a kg of tomatoes?!)

Alone is such an interesting book. If you had to be alone with four other lesfic writers for an extended period of time, let’s say four months,  who would you chose and why? 

How much money are we getting if we complete the four months?

Lee Winter, because she’s a good pal and we’d be able to nerd about wildlife together.

Jae, because she’s amazing but also because I think she’d help me with my German for four months and I know she’d be so nice and I wouldn’t feel so stupidly self-conscious about speaking it.

Cari Hunter, because she’d be good for helping us with any injuries but also we could go hiking around our hypothetical place and maybe she’d be able to help me with my hatred of rain while hiking.

Karin Kallmaker, because she’d bring ice cream and jigsaw puzzles.

What are a few of your biggest pet peeves?

Intolerance/bigotry/hatred etc. Basically, I can’t stand people being assholes.

People who don’t use indicators when they’re driving.

And eggplant, which is technically not a pet peeve but I still really fucking hate it.

My son is in his senior year of high school and is hoping to get an Esports scholarship to college playing Overwatch. I know you’re a gamer as well. What are your go to video games to play?

Firstly, why were Esports scholarships not a thing when I was younger?!

I am indeed a gamer, much to the dismay of my writing productivity. This is a dangerous question, brace yourselves…

At the moment my most consistently played game is Call of Duty (Warzone and Black Ops Cold War Zombies mostly, and soon to be Vanguard!).

My last “new” game was Deathloop which is INCREDIBLE, not surprising given it’s made by a studio that’s made two of my other favourites: Dishonored 2 and Prey. I have another playthrough or five lined up when I can find the time.
I recently finished the Mass Effect series, which I’d passed over previously because I really struggle with third-person games (especially shooters). I’m slowly doing another playthrough and catching a lot of missed things.

I also went into Assassin’s Creed for the first time with Odyssey but found the actual controls really disorienting because see above with the third-person. Side note…if you’re wondering what Elise Hayes from Go Around looks like, she looks basically like the video game character Kassandra from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Then when the mood takes me I jump into my favourites as mentioned above, as well as Star Wars: The Old Republic, Fallout 4, Wolfenstein (The New Order and The New Colossus). I used to be hugely into World of Warcraft (thanks to my mother who got me into the game), raiding and running a guild and all that delightfully nerdy stuff but when I started writing I had to stop playing because it was too time intensive.

Describe yourself in few words and what is something we would be surprised to learn about you? 

Irreverent, empathetic, confusing. Or should that be confused?

Hmm…probably that despite working with horses from the age of 12 and owning them for most of my life from age 14, I actually don’t like riding horses in a training capacity at all. The occasional chill trail ride on a chill horse? Sure. But the enjoyment I used to get from training type riding and/or competing kind of fell away not long before I sold my first horse when I was 18-ish, and it never really returned. I found my niche supporting my wife while she competed, which suited both of us just fine, mostly because she doesn’t like braiding manes and I love it. It’s basically how I wooed her…

If your life were being made into a television show what would the title be and who would play you and your wife?

That’s Too Much Salt.

I think I’d have to play myself, simply because I don’t think they could pay anyone enough to take the role. Or…pssst, because I really can’t think of anyone. Suggestions?

Kristen Stewart or Julia Roberts would play my wife simply because she loathes both of those actresses with an inexplicable amount of hatred. And it would bring me great joy to know she was stuck being portrayed by someone she disliked so much. I know, she has no taste.

E.J. thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me. It was an absolute honor. Thank you for bringing us such wonderful stories and unforgettable characters.

Thanks for having me along, and thanks so much to everyone for reading my novels! I’m truly hashtag blessed to have such awesome fan-pals!