The Novel Approach welcomes back authors Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae to talk about their upcoming release in the Love in Los Angeles series, Doves.
Doves (Love in Los Angeles 2) isn’t a BDSM book despite the ropes on the cover. It is, however, a book about consent — in life, in love, and yes, in the bedroom. And while we all know what consent is, how people ask for it and how people give it can, and does, vary.
One of the characters in the Love in Los Angeles series has a developmental disability. That’s been true since he first appeared in our very first draft of the very first book. Readers, however, may or may not have noticed this yet because his disability hasn’t been mentioned explicitly on the page, and this character works hard to make sure no one notices anything about him that he doesn’t want them to notice.
Besides, a disability isn’t a plot point. It’s more like the weather. Sometimes you mention it’s raining, and sometimes it’s just raining. But like the weather, if you have a disability, it’s always there whether you comment on it or not. And sometimes it merits more comment than others.
In Doves, the fact that this character has a disability is a bit more obvious than it was in Starling. At times it affects how he communicates, and that, in turn, affects how he consents.
But, it doesn’t affect his ability to consent.
Despite being a writer, and a pretty verbal person in almost every way, sometimes speech is hard for me. If I’m tired or overwhelmed or anxious, the seven years I spent in speech therapy as a child elude me. My words are not clear, or I struggle to find them and place them in the right order. When this happens, instead of saying yes (or no) with my voice, I say it with my hands or my keyboard or my eyes.
When Erin and I started writing this series, we didn’t know we were going to include a developmental disability. We never said, “Hey, let’s do this.” Instead, one of us said, “So, I think this is what’s going on with this guy.” We didn’t decide he was disabled; he informed us he was.
We know that Doves is, in many ways, a dark, confronting book. On the way to their happily ever afters, our characters face a lot of obstacles, reveal horrifying moments from their personal pasts, and sometimes fail to maintain the resiliency they have come to rely on. But we hope the periodic silence of our character, who hasn’t yet chosen to explain or justify why he is the way he is to most of the people he shares a book with, won’t be part of that.
Instead, we hope that readers will see themselves, or people they love, or people they might love, and recognize there are many different ways to communicate and to receive information.
Two years after the events of Starling, Cinderella story and star of The Fourth Estate J. Alex Cook is living happily ever after with his boyfriend, television writer Paul Marion Keane. But when Paul’s pilot, Winsome, AZ, gets picked up, the competing demands of their high-profile careers make them question their future together.
…can tear you apart
As Paul becomes increasingly absent from their relationship, Alex tries to regain control of his private life and establish a career path independent of Fourth’s enigmatic, and at times malevolent, showrunner Victor. But the delicate web of relationships that connects Alex, Paul, and their friends — including Alex’s excitable ex-lover Liam and his no-nonsense fiancée Carly — threatens to unravel.
With the business of Hollywood making it hard to remember who he is when the whole world isn’t watching, Alex is forced to confront major changes in the fairytale life he never wanted as he discovers that love in Los Angeles often looks nothing like the movies.
About the Authors: Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese are authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry (Starling (September 10, 2014), Doves (January 21, 2015), and Phoenix (June 10, 2015)), all from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella Midsummer, Book One of the Love’s Labour series, about a summerstock Shakespeare company, is from Dreamspinner Press (Summer 2015). They also have a forthcoming story in Best Gay Romance 2015, edited by Felice Picano. Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller; Erin is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. They write stories and scripts about the intersection of private lives, fame, and desire. You can find them on the web at their Joint Blog, Joint Facebook Page, Erin’s Twitter, Racheline’s Twitter