Welcome to the new visitors of the tour, and hello again to my returning friends. As I’ve been explaining throughout, Second Star to the Right is a romance story about a man seeking to define himself, an escort caught between the desire to find connection yet keep himself grounded, and how the brilliance of love can be the brightest light in dark skies if we’re willing to let it burn.
So… in an effort to attempt something a little different for this blog tour, I decided it might be cool to connect with you, the reader, and explain how I define myself. I sent out a call, asking “Inquiring Minds” to throw some questions at me, and offered to do my best to answer them. Let’s light up the sky together, and hopefully have a little fun in the process…
(Be sure to read through to the end for details on the release, as well as a chance to WIN your very own ebook copy.)
vinvalen asks: As someone incredibly prolific in your writing, I always wonder where you find your inspiration! <3
Henley replies: First of all, thank you. That’s very nice of you to say so. Some days I feel more prolific than others, most certainly. As for your question, I don’t get inspiration from any one thing. I wish I did – that way I could just hit up whatever it is whenever I’m looking for a mental boost. Inspiration can come in the form of a person that I know, a problem that I’m dealing with, a prompt from a friend or an open call, a picture of a man with a seemingly happy smile but hauntingly sad eyes, something from my past that’s started to gnaw at me from out of the blue, or a set of stairs that gives me a moment’s pause. If it hits, it’s stuck there until I finally write “The End.” And on the other side of things, if there’s nothing, man, oh man, there is nothing. I can’t force an idea to grow.
I tend to feel like I just wander along with an open mind and something in the Universe throws out a story tentacle, and then forces that tentacle up one of my nostrils whether I’m interested in it or not. For example, I used to swear that I’d never write about vampires. I, obviously, was a great big ‘ol liar. More recently I sat down and wrote an eighteen-hundred-word plot synopsis for a new novel, start to finish, about characters I’d never thought about, in a world I didn’t know, and a story that I couldn’t even figure out the point of until I wrote the last line.
Drawboy7 asks: You just typed the very last word of a new novel. What are your thoughts then?
Henley replies: There is a ridiculous amount of relief in typing out the words “The End.” It is, however, a short-lived moment of gratitude. Once you’ve been through the process once or twice, and you have a handle on what happens next, you know, in that moment, that the next few weeks are going to be emotional hell.
See… the elation of completion is immediately followed by the self-loathing that takes place while you run through your own personal editing process, and do your best to convince yourself that it’s not all a bunch of hogwash. Or, if necessary, that it is and needs some major revision.
That feeling is quickly replaced by the angst of submitting. Waiting for a reply can be all-consuming and gut-wrenching. (God, they have some issues with it. No, they don’t like it. They actually hate it. They hate me. They hate my whole family! Why do I do this for a living? I’m obviously terrible at it! Oh, hey, is that an email…)
Then comes the official editing process. Now, I’ve been lucky. I’ve had supportive, considerate, reasonable editors. However … I also have a tendency to, well … wax poetically. As the gods are my witness, nothing slices deeper in the soul of a creator than the emotional turmoil of having to accept the beheading of one’s flowery prose. (See what I mean?)
After that comes tour planning, blog writing, dealing with those first few reviews … Terrifying process start to finish. Knowing what’s coming next can definitely put on an edge on the joy of finishing your newest work.
Christopher D asks: Do you have any causes that are near and dear to you?
Henley replies: Cause (noun): a principle, aim, or movement that, because of a deep commitment, one is prepared to defend or advocate. (Thank you, Google.)
That’s a surprisingly tough question to answer. Mostly because my “causes” tend to jump from day to day, depending on whatever’s got me riled most at that given moment. In other words, there are a lot of things I’d be more than happy to pick up a sign for. The problem with causes though, is that I’ve got to an age where the black and white of my beliefs have bled into grey. I can’t stand on a soapbox and scream about things without pointing out that there is, indeed, a level of responsibility and some kind of a cap to how far things can be pushed. For example, I’m all for freedom of speech, as long as your speech isn’t hateful or destructive to somebody else. I think everyone should have the right to live their life as they see fit – as long as they aren’t hurting anyone or anything in the process. Worship the God of your choice, but don’t try and shove your beliefs down anybody else’s throat. I could go on… but I promise, I won’t.
That being said, if I was standing in front of some kind of pearly gate, and being asked to recant the things I did to make the world a better place, to recite the principle aim that I committed myself to, I’d probably tell the petulant angel staring at me over the rim of his glasses, that I chose to preach the gospel of Universal Connection and do my best to offer the world a tiny taste of romance to the tune of “Happily Ever After.”
Bet you weren’t expecting an answer quite that cheesy, were you? 😀
Be it unrequited fascination with his straight best friend or impossible fantasies of rekindled interest with his heartbreaking ex, Mason has no clue why the perfect connection seems to keep slipping through his fingers. When another lonely holiday seems like too much weight to shoulder, Mason gives up on romance and seeks out the next best thing—rented company. Jack is everything a person could want in an escort: willing, hot, and built like an angel.
Mason can’t resist. After all, who wouldn’t be interested in a guy who loves kid’s movies, is a self-professed Peter Pan, and has no problem throwing caution to the wind at a moment’s notice. But then interest quickly blooms into a whole new emotion—an emotion that Mason knows far too well, especially when Jack has no interest in returning it, preferring to keep his heart safely tucked away in Neverland.
• Word count: 43,000
• Pairing: M/M
• Content: Contains some explicit content.
About the Author:
Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.
A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.
Henley has been proudly working with LT3 since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since—an indentured servant to the belief that romance and true love can mend the most broken soul. Even when presented in prose.
Find me at:
As a thanks for reading, I’m offering up an ebook copy of Second Star to the Right, in the format of the winner’s choice. Simply leave a comment below to be entered in the draw.
And! As an extra bonus! All participators in the blog tour giveaway will AUTOMATICALLY BE ENTERED in a future-dated contest for a signed print copy of the novel, and a genuine Swarovski pendant, hand-picked for Second Star to the Right significance. Stay tuned to any of the above-referenced AF Henley sites for details.
• Please ensure The Novel Approach has a way to notify you of the win.
• Contest is open from now until March 2nd, 2014.
• Winner will be picked using a random number generator.
• By commenting below you guarantee that you are legally able to accept the prize.
A huge thank you to The Novel Approach for having me today, as well as to the readers, friends, associates, and followers who stopped by to take part. Here’s hoping you have an awesome and adventurous day. And off we go…
THE E-BOOK CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
AF Henley <3