Thank you so much for inviting me to come play with you today! As summer packs in hard, and day after day feels like the Hell Mouth has opened up and swallowed me, my attention span drops to approximately that of a juvenile squirrel, and that’s when it’s time to reach for the short, sassy, sexy beach reads of summer.
The mere thought of lifting a dense, depressing novel like War and Peace, let alone opening the cover or, God forbid, slogging through it makes me need an umbrella drink. Now. In fact, I’ll be back in sec…
Now, where was I? Oh yes? Summer beach reads. They’re delicious little nuggets of hot fun, nothing too serious, nothing too deep. Or are they?
If we look at the archetypal fairy tale, on the surface, those stories are pretty simple: boy meets girl, obstacle character blocks them from being together, boy and girl triumph over evil, and boy gets girl. But if we dig a little deeper, there are issues of neglect and outright abuse, abandonment, cruelty, and even murder. Who says Game of Thrones has a monopoly on dark? Hah! Give Grimm’s Fairy Tales a try.
In my most recent book, Ace in the Hole, the surface themes look pretty lightweight. Boy meets boy. Sparks fly, obstacles ensue. Boys sneak around for a while, eventually are exposed as lovers, confront bad guy, find a way to be together.
But in the context of the society we live in today and the insanity we wake to on the news feeds every morning, those themes take on a new significance. I write about consenting adults who feel free to pursue love in whatever form they so choose. What a concept. I write about mature adults who are not so scarred by their pasts and their sexual identities that they can pursue a reasonably normal and emotional crisis-free romance. Shock.
I’ve published fifty straight romances over the past fifteen years or so, and I wrote the exact same story for Christian Brandeis and Stone Jackson that I would have written if one of them was a woman. Well, not exactly the same. They are both dudes, after all, and the relationship dynamics are a bit different. But the point is, two guys should get approximately the same chance at approximately the same love story as a hetero couple, and that’s what I tried to do in Ace in the Hole.
I imagine I’ll get slammed in a few circles for being too gender blind. But I’ve written mixed race couples, military women who are the alpha in their relationships, and any other variety of love stories. And the one thing they all have in common is two people finding mutual attraction that ultimately grows into a strong and abiding love. Why should two human beings of the same gender be any different? Why should their stories, in a perfect world, be any different?
I try to write for the world as it should be, as I hope it will be one day. I dare to dream of a world where we’re all just people, and where none of us take ourselves too seriously. Ace in The Hole is surely not the next great American novel. But it is a love story—a light, fun, even silly love story. But wouldn’t you like to live in a world where those are the norm and not the exception? I know I would.
So here’s to happily-ever-afters of every size and shape for each of us in whatever forms they take. May you have already found yours!
About the Book
Series: Wild Cards
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspun Desires
Length: 216 Pages
Blurb: Surveillance, seduction, and extra-dirty politics.
Christian Chatsworth-Brandeis has a problem. A huge one. The US senator he works for has run away with his latest mistress on the eve of a make-or-break fund-raising event, and it’s up to him to cover his boss’s irresponsible tracks.
Stone Jackson, the senator’s new bodyguard, looks enough like the senator that, with some extensive grooming, he might pass for Senator Lacey. Christian and Stone hatch a plan to fool everyone by substituting Stone for the senator, but Miami madness and the incendiary heat between them are throwing obstacles in their way. It’s a race to find the senator and pull off the con of the century before the attraction between them spins completely out of control.
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Ava Drake, grew up in the heart of the rural Midwest, but beat a hasty retreat to the big city and bright lights as fast as humanly possible. Armed with a pilot’s license, fluency in several languages, and a large dose of daring, she took off to travel the world.
She flew everything from single-seat private airplanes to supersonic jets and the western world’s largest airplane, the mighty C-5 Galaxy. In her adventures, she visited forty-two countries on five continents, was detained by the KGB and East German secret police, got shot at, flew in the first Gulf War, met her dashingly handsome husband, and amassed a lifetime’s worth of war stories. Along the way, she engaged in a little light espionage and met more than her share of dark, dangerous, and good-looking men.
Travel weary at last, she came home and settled down to the business of writing stories of romance and adventure, which may or may not be autobiographical. Winner of a Golden Heart and Holt Medallion for Romantic Suspense, Ava is a five-time finalist and two-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award for Romance Fiction. She’s also a two-time winner of RT Book Review’s Best Harlequin Romantic Suspense Novel of the Year, and is a Romantic Times Lifetime Career Achievement nominee.