Lynley: Thanks for having me. It’s an honor to be here. Me? Well, let’s see. I was born and raised in Indiana, but at the age of nineteen I packed all my belongings in my car and headed for warmer weather. I’ve lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast every since. For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a writer. I have boxes of notebooks with stories or scenes or ideas written down. I even have a few floppy discs with my earlier works. It wasn’t until 2009 that I made the decision to pursue it as a career. I signed my first contract in 2011 and my first book, Scars, was released in September of 2012
TNA: I’m going to ask you a question that’s way off-topic for your visit today, but since we both have Indiana ties, I’m asking it anyway. How excited are you that the court of appeals overturned Indiana’s same sex marriage ban? Do you see each of these victories as yet another step toward equality in all 50 states sooner rather than later? Or do you think we’re still a ways off from that eventuality?
Lynley: I am thrilled with the court’s ruling. In a country that has been used as a symbol of freedom for so many years, I find it disappointing, on so many levels, that we are still fighting for equality. We should have been the country leading the charge for equal rights. Seventeen other countries have already made it legal for same-sex couples to marry. (Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, Britain, and Luxembourg) I think it’s just a matter of time before the United States joins them.
TNA: Which came first, reading gay fiction or writing it? Do you remember the first gay romance novel you ever read? What was it, and how do you feel it impacted or influenced you or writing?
Lynley: I started reading the genre a year or so before I wrote my first gay romance. I was still working on a fantasy series that I was hoping to submit, when the character of Jace Montgomery popped into my head. He was so demanding that I couldn’t ignore him. I had tried once before to write a gay romance and that manuscript will never be seen by anyone other than me. But, Jace, he was different. I knew almost from page one that this was the book. I knew it wasn’t great and it had issues, but I felt it had potential.
I have a confession to make; I’m horrible with remembering titles. I even have trouble with my own. So, I’m not sure about the name of the first gay romance book I read. However, I can tell you that it wasn’t until I was about a third of the way through the book that I realized it was two men. I know, I know. In my defense, at the time I had no idea there was a gay romance genre. I did a search on Amazon for something like: Paranormal Romance or Vampire Romance. Back then I was reading two to three books a day, so I had to go through several pages of suggestions just to find one I hadn’t read yet. I read the blurb and it sounded like a good story so I downloaded it. I don’t remember the character’s names either, but I do remember that one was something obviously male, like John or Kevin. The other one was a unisex name like Robin or Kelly. It wasn’t until the first sex scene, which was about a third of the way through; that it became obvious character two was not a female. After that revelation a whole new world was opened to me.
TNA: Speaking as a reader rather than an author for a moment, do you have a go-to genre? What are you favorite kinds of books, and why?
Lynley: Not really. Typically, I go through phases of what I’m in the mood for. I like to read romance, gay romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thrillers, suspense… whatever catches my interest. My taste in reading is pretty much like my taste in anything: eclectic. I’ve never been one to fit into a box, so to speak, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
TNA: Let’s talk a little bit about the book that brings you here today, your newest release Facing Demons. You’ve told me about the song that inspired the title, but share with readers what that is, and how/why it’s the perfect song for Cam’s story.
Lynley: I don’t listen to a lot of music anymore. I wish I was one of those writers who can write with music blaring in the background, but I’m not. I need quiet to write. About the only time I listen to music anymore is when I’m in the car—which isn’t often. One day I decided I needed a change of scenery, so I headed to Starbucks hoping to enjoy a chai latte and get some work done. As I pulled into the parking lot a song came on the radio. The song was, Demons by Imagine Dragons. Up to that point I had been calling it Seth’s book, since Seth was introduced in, Rocky’s Road, and I couldn’t come up with a title. After hearing how perfect that song was for Cam, I knew I had my title.
The part where is says:
I wanna hide the truth
I wanna shelter you
But with the beast inside
There’s nowhere we can hide
Those four lines epitomize, Cam. He doesn’t want anyone to know all the horrible things he has to deal with, especially not Seth. He has a need to protect, to shield, those he cares about from the bad things, even if it means hurting himself. At the same time, Cam knows he has the potential to turn into his father.
During the writing of this book, whenever I would have a hard time connecting to the story or getting in the right headspace, I would play that song a few times. It always helped.
TNA: Many authors have playlists they listen to while writing, or credit songs they were inspired by. Do you find music inspires your writing quite a bit, or was this more of a one-time inspiration? Why do you think there seems to be a natural creative connection between music and storytelling?
Lynley: This was a first for me, but I don’t want to say it was a one-time inspiration. It may happen again in the future, but then again it may not. I never know what’s going to inspire me. Music may end up being one of those things I use on occasion.
It makes sense to me that so many writers find inspiration in music. If you really think about it, they are both forms of storytelling. The only difference is one comes with it’s own soundtrack. I believe it all comes from the need for human beings to express themselves and be heard by others. It doesn’t matter if it’s song, poetry, painting, sculpting, photography, or writing. Those are just the mediums that we use to tell our stories to the world. When we hear others tell their stories, then I think it gives us courage, or may permission, to tell our own. Even though I writer fiction, each book I write has a bit of my own truth in it, whether it is Jace’s view of sexuality, Emily’s views on family, Rocky’s feeling of never quite fitting in, or Dan’s fear of losing the person who anchors him, they are all a part of me. In order for me to emotionally connect to my readers I use words.
TNA: This is the third book in your Scars Series, though you’ve said they technically can be read as standalones. Tell us a little bit about the common theme that runs through the three books, and what prompted the Scars title.
Lynley: The series title comes from the title of the first book, but it’s also a nod to the fact that none of us escape this world without scars, whether they’re physical or emotional. In the first book, Scars, Jace Montgomery has obvious physical scars from the war, but it’s his mental and emotional scars that cause him the most problems. He suffers from PTSD.
In Rocky’s Road, Rocky Montgomery, Jace’s younger brother, is trying to figure out who he is and dealing with the fact that he’s never felt like he fit anywhere. He has always felt unwanted or left out when it came to his four older brothers. Because of that, it left an emotional scar that has him constantly questioning himself and feeling like there’s something wrong with him.
In Facing Demons, Seth was scarred by the loss of Cam. Cam was scarred by… life. (I don’t want to give anything away) When they find each other again they realize the wounds they suffered, as teens, may not have healed as much as they first thought.
TNA: Tell us a little bit about Cam and Seth, if you will. Their romance goes through some starts and stops before they find their way back to each other again. What is it, what connection do they share with each other, that makes them destined to be together and so perfect for each other?
Lynley: They met when they were kids. Growing up, Landon, Seth, and Cam were inseparable. As they grow into teens, Seth stops seeing Cam as a friend and begins to see him as more. Cam fights it because of certain things in his life; he knows it isn’t a good idea to get involved with Seth. Eventually, Seth wears him down. For a while they’re happy. Then things beyond their control force them apart.
I think their connection comes from a lifetime of trust and acceptance between them. Seth understands that Cam isn’t like everyone else and he doesn’t try to change him. He loves him for who he is, rough edges and all.For Cam, I think it’s knowingthat Seth will always be there. That Seth will never let him down. Cam hasn’t has a lot of that in his life.
They balance each other.
TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt from the book with us?
Lynley: Sure. Here you go.
At the age of fifteen, Seth Dempsey gave his heart to Cameron Reyes. Three years later, Cam shattered it when he walked away. When Cam blows back into Seth’s life years later, Seth knows he will do whatever it takes to ensure Cam doesn’t slip away again. Even if it means going up against a corrupt DEA agent and a drug cartel.
Cameron Reyes was born on the wrong side of the tracks. He fell in love with Seth, but knew the only way to keep him safe was to leave, no matter how much it hurt. Eleven years later, when his life implodes, he knows the only person he can trust is the boy whose heart he broke all those years ago.
While they fight to stay one step ahead of everyone and clear Cam’s name, can they learn to work together in order to face down the demons of the past and find the happily ever after they have dreamed of?
Excerpt: “Hurry up. We’re going to be late.” Seth pounded his fist against the bathroom door a few times to punctuate his words.
The door opened and Cam stood in the doorway looking good enough to eat. His jeans, which had fit moments before, now seemed to be two sizes too small.
“You know we don’t actually have to be there at a certain time, right?” Cam asked as he made his way to the dresser where his wallet and watch were.
Adjusting himself, Seth nodded. Cam was sex on a stick. He had said he bought a new outfit for the club, but Seth hadn’t seen it until now. The leather pants hugged his ass and muscular thighs. The plain black T-shirt was tight enough Seth could make out the definition in his arms and chest.
Cam had worked hard on getting that body, but this was the first time Seth had ever seen him show it off. His usual clothes tended to run more toward the baggy side.
Not sloppy, but looser.
He stood there with his eyes fixed on that tight ass.
When Cam cleared his throat, Seth glanced up. Cam was peering sideways at him, his brow arched and the corner of his mouth turned up in amusement. “See something you like?”
“You could say that.” It surprised him how breathy his own voice sounded.
“Good,” Cam said, stalking toward him. His movements resembled those of a big cat, all slow and controlled, with a definite sway to his hips.
Seth was mesmerized.
Cam stopped in front of him. Less than an inch separated their bodies. He felt Cam’s warm breath on his face and shivered. “I thought you were in a hurry. You’re not moving very fast.”
He knew Cam was teasing him. It was something that didn’t happen often, so even though it was pure torture, he also enjoyed seeing the more playful side of the man he loved. “I was and then I saw you and time stopped. It happens every time.”
With a shake of his head and a snigger, Cam pushed him back a step. “You are such a sap.”
It was no secret Seth was a romantic. He didn’t try to hide the fact. As much grief as Cam gave him, Seth also knew it was one of the things Cam loved about him.
Grabbing the back of Cam’s neck, Seth pulled him in and kissed him. It wasn’t a sweet kiss. No. It was a kiss filled with longing, hunger, and a promise of things to come.
When they broke apart they were both panting. Cam reached for him again, but Seth dodged him and moved back. With a wink, he turned and walked out of the bedroom.
“You’ll pay for that,” Cam hollered after him.
“I look forward to it,” Seth yelled back. “Now hurry up. Landon should be here any minute.”
TNA: Do you have any works in progress you’d like to share a little bit of information about?
Lynley: At the moment I’m working on the sequel to, A Life Interrupted. I’m still trying to decide on a title, but this one will be told from Travis’s point of view. It takes place a few months after the end of the first one. I don’t know when I’ll finish it, but you can follow my progress on my website.
TNA: Thanks again for stopping in to chat, Lynley. Would you share with us all the places we can find you on the internet?
Lynley: Sure. You can find me on my website, of course, or on Twitter. I’m also on Facebook. You can friend me on my personal page or you can like my Author page. I also have a newsletter you can sign up for. I only send one out when I have news, like a book release, cover reveal, blog tour, etc. You can find the signup form on the left hand side of my website or on my Facebook author page. And I always look forward to hearing from readers, so feel free to contact me directly, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to thank you for all you do for the authors and the readers of the gay romance genre.
The Giveaway: THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED