Please join us in welcoming author Archer Kay Leah to TNA today, on tour for her newest publication, Four, book two in the Republic series. She’s here sharing not only a great guest post but is also giving four lucky readers the chance to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card, so be sure to check out the details below.
Hi there everyone! I’m Archer Kay Leah, author of LGTBQA+ speculative fiction romance with a particular love for smashing up genres and situations. My heartfelt thanks to The Novel Approach for hosting me today and allowing me to chat about my book, Four (The Republic #2)!
On the surface, Four is a collision of high fantasy and M/M romance. The story is told from the perspective of Mayr, a sarcastic but kind Head of the Guard. Mayr’s a little rough around the edges but a sweetheart at the core. He’s also a hopeless romantic. The boy bleeds love. By his nature and position, he’s an alpha male with a soft, squishy heart who prefers to give his lovers the power in romantic relationships. He doesn’t demand much, gives everything, and hopes for the best. It’s what he’s taken from watching his parents: his father will do anything for his mother, his mother will do anything for their family, and both of them respect each other.
But try as Mayr may, the kind of love his parents have keeps slipping through Mayr’s fingers. His track record with women is horrendous: they fall for his status and the idea of hooking up with a badass but are disappointed when he isn’t what they think he should be. Mayr likes men, too, but he’s convinced all of those relationships will end in rejection.
The moment Tash shows up, everything goes topsy-turvy.
Their first meeting is a huge deal. It’s the shock that makes Four come to life with what I’ll call “The 4 Cs of True Love”: Care, Compassion, Consent, and Communication. Together, they form the heart of Four and guide Mayr and Tash through the rest of the series. No matter the tangents, they always come back to these four things.
Be Still My Heart
Tash is a mystery wrapped up in sweet smiles. Sometimes rambles like a priest but other times he talks like he’s straight off the street. He looks harmless but bears signs of being harmed. He’s soft and hard and secretive. But he’s also highly observant. Tash reads people and prefers to work with them on their level. He’s careful, feels things deeply, and considers the needs of others. He’s also very screwed up. His past has left him damaged, but instead of being bitter and hateful, Tash clings to mercy and faith.
Tash offers all of this to Mayr, regardless of expectation or judgment. When they meet, Tash sees what everyone else does: a sarcastic, tattooed, high-ranking guard who carries himself like he owns the place. However, Tash catches onto what others don’t: it’s a façade, a carefully tended illusion. Beneath the display, Mayr is uncertain, nervous, and not okay.
Instead of playing Mayr, Tash goes a different route: he asks questions and listens to the answers, but also listens to everything between them. He reads every emotion, every move, and every hint of vulnerability – all of which leads to the matter of consent and equality. When Tash offers Mayr a way out of the threesome they’d agreed to, he effectively breaks down the walls between them. By putting the right to say no out there, Tash switches roles on Mayr and opens the door to shiny new options. Even after Mayr refuses the opportunity, Tash does everything possible to make the experience safe, keeping within Mayr’s comfort level despite expectations to the contrary.
The same concern continues throughout the book, resulting in something beautiful: Tash takes the power Mayr gives him and turns it around, offering Mayr a portion of the control to balance the give-and-take between them. It’s no longer a case of one giving everything; it’s both getting what they need without losing anything.
The Sneakiness of Love
To be honest, these weren’t themes I’d anticipated exploring, not consciously. I allowed the characters to take me on the journey and everything fell into place. By the end, there was a theme in the book about bucking stereotypes, expectations, and generalizations of genders based on the care Tash and Mayr show each other.
I suppose it’s what makes these guys so dear to my heart. From that first night, Tash is very much Mayr’s other half. That night not only sets the pace for their relationship but forges the tone of their love. Tash takes on Mayr’s issues with self-esteem and guilt and offers back strength and peace. Once Tash’s past comes to light, Mayr is determined to make sure it doesn’t ruin Tash. They aren’t perfect, and they butt heads because they’re both terribly stubborn, but they always return to the same four things: care for the people they are, compassion for what they feel, consent for what they’ll do together, and communication about what they need. To me, they’re a shining example of soulmates and true romantic love.
Thank you so much for reading! I love hearing from readers, so feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts on love, romance, or anything really.
About the Book
On the outside, Mayr seems to have it all: a successful career as Head of the Guard for a prominent politician, family and friends who adore him, and the attention of beautiful women. But appearances are a good way to bury secrets, including the fact that while Mayr is a romantic at heart, searching for the one person to share his life with, his lovers keep leaving him.
When his last girlfriend takes him back and suggests an intimate night with Tash, one of her lovers, Mayr reluctantly agrees. The last thing he expects is to fall hard for Tash, who is nothing like Mayr’s previous lovers—and about to undertake the Uldana Trials. If Tash fails, he’ll likely die. If he succeeds, he must give up Mayr, and become the latest to leave Mayr standing alone with a broken heart.
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
About the Author
Archer Kay Leah was raised in Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, this diversity inspired a love for toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and difficult situations.
Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged. When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek with too many hobbies and keeps busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a bigender partner and rather chatty cat.
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