Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Kat and Agnes.
Agnes: We are two inseparable authors, who share a pen name. Currently residing together near London. I’m a 28 year-old psychologist, at the moment completely focused on something else altogether. I have a passion for unusual clothes, twisted stories and have a private definition of the word ‘romantic’. I also believe I should have been born with purple hair.
Kat: I’m a painter/illustrator, who lately put all and any painting on hiatus because I’m too obsessed with writing. I still love art and fashion though and long for an extra 24h hours in a day, so that I could pursue both passions. In an attempt to not become a social outcast and recluse, I spend free time going out with friends or playing fantasy role-playing games.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
Agnes: I’m baby-faced and love to wear cute dresses with colorful prints, so I suppose people don’t expect me to have a dirty mind. On top of that, I become a tornado when I lose my temper, and have infamously beaten up our sofa once during such an episode.
Kat: I suppose I’m the opposite of Agnes in this sense, because I can come off as a take-no-prisoners kind of person with a permanent case of bitch-face, whereas in fact, I’m a big softie. I love Broadway musicals, Disney Land and I cry a lot too much when we write.
When did you start writing? Is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
Agnes: I always liked reading and had a vivid imagination, so I enjoyed creating my own stories, but I wrote my first short story for a school assignment when I was about ten years old. I wasn’t writing for my own pleasure at that time though, and it was only in my teens, when I discovered yaoi fanfiction, that I started dedicating a lot of time to it. After three years, I upgraded to writing original fiction with various co-authors, but I don’t think I developed much in terms of style and storytelling before I teamed up with Kat. Once I met someone who got me, motivated me, and shared my love for the strange and wonderful, it all started making much more sense. And since then, I spend most of my free time typing, or plotting.
Kat: My story is quite similar to Agnes’s. Started off with some really horrible, yaoi inspired fiction, progressed to writing role-play with different co-authors. My last one before I found Agnes was someone I wrote an epically long, kinky story about boys in a Catholic boarding school. But then our ways parted, we had different aspirations when it came to writing. My partner at the time did it just for fun and I wanted to develop more and write a lot more than she could handle, or even wanted to for that matter. For a long time, we wrote with Agnes just for fun as well, but even then it was more focused and most importantly, we were both heading in the same direction. From deciding we want to publish online, to trying to make our stories less soap-opera, more focused, to learning more about writing and deciding to jump into publishing.
When I look back at what I’ve written since I was a teenager, I can only now recognize that I always had the need to tell stories and play with imagination. Whether it was actual writing, doing role-playing games or developing an RP system.
Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
Agnes: It’s much better. I was convinced I would never be willing to publish, I thought I would suffer of constant writer’s block, that eventually, I would be burnt out, but none of this seems to be happening. And with the way my life is developing, I don’t believe it will. Instead, I found something I have real passion for, I met so many interesting, lovely people. Writing changed my perspective on what I want from life, so no, it turned out to be nothing like I imagined ;)
Kat: I will end up being an echo for Agnes because when we started writing, it was just a hobby. It was only with the help and motivation of my sister that I believed we could make it. I know it will take time, but I’m more than willing to invest my time in something if I can see the fruit of my labor.
There was a point when I was at a crossroads. I had a crappy job, my life didn’t seem to go nowhere, yet I couldn’t help spending hours and hours every day on what I considered just my ‘fun’. I tried to look for jobs as an illustrator, but I couldn’t find as much passion for it as I had for writing. So it was sink or swim, either I would decide I want to focus on writing, which meant we would both have to be on board for that, or I would have to completely scale down on writing to a few hours a week. We talked it through with Agnes, decided to take a leap of faith, switched from Polish, to writing in English and worked our asses off since then on making our writing exceed our expectations. We always try to keep challenging ourselves.
How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
Agnes: Ecstatic. Finally, I could share all the stories in my head with other people.
Kat: Excited. Every new publication is this surge of endorphins :D
What's your favorite part of writing a book?
Agnes: Hard to say. I love both the constant brainstorming, and the writing process itself. I guess what I like the most is the moment I understand that I really got in sync with the character I’m writing, because this means it will be lifelike.
Kat: Writing. I like planning, but I think my absolute favorite is when I’ve got a scene planned out and even though it can always change as we go along, I can immerse myself in the character and just enjoy the process. I love interacting with Agnes’s characters.
Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
Agnes: I read a lot of M/M, which is both for pleasure and research. Other than that, I mostly read monographies about culture, art, history (mostly cultural history), or sex. I sometimes read historical fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, but I usually dislike contemporary books.
Kat: I’m always for the lookout for a good, entertaining M/M, but I’m super picky, so I refresh my palate with monographies when I’m frustrated. (See, I’m an echo for Agnes)
Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
Agnes: Yes and no. One of the reasons behind the length of our books is the fact that we like mixing romance with other genres, although I don’t think I would like to write a book that wasn’t M/M at this point.
Kat: I like experimenting with different genres, but what keeps me interested is the M/M factor, so I’m not in a hurry to leave homoerotica. Be it contemporary mafia thriller or folk fairy tale.
Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
Agnes: We have recently published the second, final book of Special Needs. It’s a contemporary comedy about a young wheelchair-bound guy who falls in love with his handsome caretaker. That sounds simple enough, but this story is anything but that. There are many plot twists, and the characters have all too many secrets. Despite the developing serious plotline, there will be lots of wacky humor and two lovable alternative guys who gradually fall in love.
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
Kat: Our upcoming book is The Copper Horse: Fear, which is the first book in a ponyplay trilogy set in our ‘Zombie Gentlemen’ universe. Even though it’s set in an alternative Victorian London, with zombies, it’s not a zombie story. It’s a kinky erotic romance where the relationship develops from slavery/captivity, to a BDSM relationship. I’ve been fascinated with ponyplay ever since I read the Beauty series by Anne Rice, and The Copper Horse is our way of expressing that interest. There is a love story in there, but also a tonne of pony kink, from grooming and animalization, through wearing hooves and pulling a cart, to breeding by a stud and even a pony championship!
Agnes: We have lots up our sleeve, and whole folders of ideas that keep coming too quick for us to keep up. But in the near future, we will publish more erotic shorts from the XXX’d series. At the moment, we are almost done with the second book of The Copper Horse trilogy and are halfway through a contemporary novel about the mafia. There will be guns, brutality, guys who don’t become soft just because they fall in love, and very hot sex ;)
Anything you want to say to your readers?
Agnes: It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. We get lots of inspiration from the adult-oriented modern television shows, and so we don’t necessarily want to follow your typical romance rules. Our readers can expect the unexpected ;)
Kat: We’re always happy to hear from readers, so if you have anything to share, feel encouraged to e-mail!
K.A. Merokan's recent releases:
The Copper Horse: Fear
Special Needs 2
Excerpt from Special Needs 2:
Ryan pulled his hands away and played around with Liam’s hair. It was silky and smooth in the water, so unlike the way it felt when sun-dried into straw-like streaks. Liam groaned with a smile and turned around in the water, submerging most of his body, but kept his gaze firmly trained on Ryan’s face.
“What? Are you a shark now?” Ryan sucked in his bottom lip, readying himself for attack.
“Am I the shark? Or are you?” Liam squinted, but the soft curve of his mouth betrayed just how amused he was.
“Maybe I am...” Ryan submerged himself in the water up to his neck and started circling Liam in return, brushing his feet over the bottom of the pool. Liam pretended not to see him, but his shoulders shook, though nobody would know for sure if it was from laughter... or terror. Ryan laughed to himself at the thought and counted to three, before taking the plunge and jumping Liam’s back. He wrapped his arms around his boyfriend’s neck and legs around his waist with a roar.
“Oh no!” Liam grabbed Ryan’s thighs and got to his feet, fidgeting like a rodeo bull. “Where is your fin, you monster shark?”
Ryan squealed and grabbed on tighter. “You can’t fight me unless you’re Giant Octopus, because I am Mega Shark!” He shifted to the side to playfully bite Liam’s arm. His skin was so delicious, even as he pretended to struggle.
“Ha, you can’t win when my tentacles penetrate every orifice in your body!”
“Oh my God! That’s filthy! Filthy, slippery, hot filth.” Ryan couldn’t stop his giggles as Liam almost fell to the side.
“Uh-huh, I’ll hold you down and give you the whole suction and tentacle treatment. You’re so gonna pay!”
Ryan couldn’t stop laughing, all weight dropping off his chest. “Oh no! I’m not Mega Shark then! I’m just a peaceful dolphin, nothing to see here.” His words turned into a scream when he realized Liam was letting himself fall into the water. On top of Ryan.
He clutched Liam’s arms, but it wouldn’t help. All there was left to do was to try and get a deep breath before they both dropped into the water. For a tiny moment Ryan wanted to prank Liam and pull his pants down, but they were in a public place after all. It wasn’t right to unleash a monster here.
He took a big gulp of air just before his nose filled with water. They were slowly falling toward the blue tiles at the bottom of the pool, with the water trying to pressure them out to the surface. He loosened his hold on Liam, who turned in his arms and nuzzled his nose with lips and air bubbles. Ryan opened his eyes and it was like being saved by a surfer-turned-merman when Liam grabbed him under the arms and gently pulled him out. The soft smile and floating locks created a picture that made Ryan’s heart clench with emotion. He closed his eyes again, letting Liam pull him closer and eventually resting his cheek on the strong shoulder as they broke the surface. The sudden change of temperature was yet another reason to lean in closer.
A sharp whistle brought him back to reality, and his eyelids flew open. A forty-something, buff lifeguard was standing just by the edge of the pool and the condescending look he was giving them made Ryan slowly pull away from his boyfriend.
“Getting carried away, guys?” The lifeguard raised his eyebrows.
Liam grinned. “Sorry, mister lifeguard. I was exercising my mouth-to-mouth skills.”
The guy narrowed his eyes and Ryan’s widened at the same time. He took in a deep breath, shocked by Liam’s bluntness.
“I don’t really care.” The lifeguard tapped his foot in a way that suggested he actually did. “But the pool is no place for horseplay like that. You could have caused an accident, and you are both giving a terrible example.” The lifeguard pointed to something behind them and when Ryan turned around, he wanted to hide his head under water like a sea-ostrich.