Welcome to author Ava Hayden, who’s joining us today to celebrate her latest release from Dreamspinner Press, Highballer, book number seventeen in the World of Love series!
Thanks to The Novel Approach for hosting me today to talk about Highballer, #17 in Dreamspinner’s World of Love series. Highballer takes place in Alberta, Canada and follows Remy and Levi through grueling months of tree planting.
Tree planting is some of the hardest work out there. As a tree planter in Alberta, your earnings are limited only by the effort you are willing to expend, because you are paid by the tree rather than by the hour (except for rookies in training, who are sometimes paid minimum wage while they learn). People willing to pour themselves into the work can wind up making much more than some fellow planters. The ones who earn the most are called “highballers.”
I enjoyed hearing stories about tree planting from family members who paid much of their way through university with their earnings. Nothing they told me about the work made me want to try it myself, but camp life sounded like fun. (Okay, some of it did.) In Highballer I wanted to portray that feeling of comradery and paint a picture of camp life that people could relate to. Lucky for me, even though I never was a planter, I had some experiences that gave me a taste of what it might be like to work hard alongside a crew for months, away from home and everything familiar.
When I was a student, I spent three summers working at a “getaway” resort conference center located far outside the nearest town. There was no internet back then. If you called home, you did it from a pay phone. Downtime entertainment consisted of playing sports, watching TV in staff housing (one lounge with one television for all the employees, no cable of course), hiking the surrounding mountains, or cramming into someone’s car and going “into town” on the one night a week that there were no guests.
Each summer there were always a few people who washed out—because they’d never been away from home that long (yes, even as university students), or they’d never shared a room (we were three and four to a room in staff housing), or they’d never worked menial jobs (and they’d expected to be doing something exciting). I stuck it out my first summer working housekeeping—yep, just like it sounds. I cleaned rooms. The reward for working the crappiest jobs in your first summer was getting something better the next. My last summer I worked in guest recreation. Rec staffers were about as close to rock stars as summer employees could get. We strutted around wearing whistles dangling on lanyards, our skin shiny from Coppertone, always in sunglasses marking us as the cool staff. Best of all, we wore shorts to work every day. Gutting out my miserable first summer paid off.
Have you ever had one of those summer jobs stuck in the middle of nowhere with the same people day in and day out? Like camp counselor or resort staff or summer worker in a national park? Or maybe even tree planter?
About the Book
What happens when the man is as tempting as the money?
Remy Delacour’s family doesn’t believe in mainstream medicine, and when Remy’s boyfriend reveals that Remy is majoring in nursing, they cut him off. He has to find money to finish his education—fast. And he is so done with boyfriends.
Levi Aronson met the guy of his dreams and followed him to Australia. He knew the chances for a lasting romance were slim—and boy, was he right. Now he’s back in Canada, a year behind in his university program, and short of funds. He needs money, not another man.
Tree planting is a way to make a lot of money fast, but it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. When Levi, an experienced planter, sees pretty, sloe-eyed Remy, Levi is certain he’ll never last.
They’ll have to pry Remy’s shovel from his cold, stiff fingers, because he won’t quit—or let anything take his eyes off the prize. When a storm brings Remy and Levi together, each finds the other a distraction from the big goal. But can anything develop between two men who have sworn off relationships?
World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.
About the Author
Ava Hayden lives and writes in Alberta, Canada. When not writing, she loves reading yaoi manga and gay romance, baking, seeing plays, hearing live music, and hiking (even though she once came face to face with two grizzlies on a trail). Most of the time her life isn’t that exciting, and that’s fine by her.
More about Ava: Ava Hayden Writes || Ava Hayden on Instagram || Ava Hayden on Pinterest || Ava Hayden on Facebook || Ava Hayden on Amazon || Ava Hayden on Goodreads || Ava Hayden at Dreamspinner Press