TNA: Hi, A.M., welcome to The Novel Approach. I’m happy to have you here with us today. Why don’t we start by having you tell us a bit about yourself?
A.M.: Hello! I’m so happy to be here celebrating the releases of Stand By you and Foundation of Trust. Thank you for having me. As for telling you about me, I consider myself remarkably boring. Single mom to a very needy cat. I like to experiment in the kitchen, which can be at times fulfilling, and at other times disastrous. I have been writing fiction since I was a teenager, and I found my way into m/m romance through fanfiction (oh Kish). My goal is to be able to quit my day job in retail so that I can write full time, and one day retire to a quiet little cottage, on a lake, somewhere in the mountains of North Carolina.
TNA: One of Kurt Vonnegut’s rules for writing was: “Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them in order that the reader may see what they are made of.” How much do you feel you adhere to this idea in your writing? Do you believe it’s a protagonist’s flaws and challenges that make up his most interesting parts?
A.M.: Oh my gosh. I’ve heard variations of Vonnegut’s guideline, and I absolutely adhere to it. I also strongly believe in the writing guideline that says the best conflict comes from the within the character, rather than from without. Internal versus external. If a character isn’t being challenged to rise up and be better than what they think they are, then we aren’t doing our jobs as writers. A protagonist’s flaws are definitely the most interesting part of them, and they should be what helps drive the conflict.
For example, in Stand By You, one of the protagonists, Brendan, is deeply closeted about his sexuality, and he doesn’t think he’s good enough for the other protagonist, Romy, simply because he’s a janitor who never graduated college. He measures his self-worth by his job, and believing that Romy deserves someone smarter and with more ambition than him is a major obstacle for the pair. As the author, my challenge is helping my characters overcome their flaws and face their fears head-on so they can find their HEA.
TNA: Of all the characters you’ve created, whom do you find most endearing? Which character holds a place closest to your heart, and why?
A.M.: The answer to this question is constantly changing depending on what I’m writing at the time, so I’m going to limit myself to characters who are now, or who have been published by the time this interview goes live (hint: this will change come February 10,, 2015). I’d have to say that the character I hold closest to my heart is Rey King. He was one of my first heroes, and he has overcome so much over the course of the Cost of Repairs series. Even when he isn’t featured, he’s there to support his friends, and he’s there for David in Foundation of Trust. He is brave, loyal, loving, and he never gives up. He lost custody of his child, he was swimming in debt, he nearly lost his life, and that was only in the first half of his first novel. LOL. So yes, Rey and his amazing resilience.
TNA: If you could bring one of your characters to life, whom would you choose, and why is s/he someone you’d want to befriend?
A.M.: Definitely I’d want to bring Donner Davis to life. He is featured in Maybe This Time but he also appears frequently in Stand By You. Donner is simply a genuine guy. He’s loyal to his family and friends. He stands up for the little guy. He’s patient. And he can mix up a hell of a cocktail. I think he’s the kind of guy we’d all like to call friend—someone who’ll be there at the drop of a hat to help us out, whether it’s with moving house, or getting an acquaintance out of a bad situation.
TNA: If you could go back to any time in history, when would you choose, and why?
A.M.: Bear in mind that I’m a big fan of indoor plumbing, so I wouldn’t want to go too far back in time. I’m also a big fan of “Chicago,” so I’d have to say the 1920’s Jazz Age. The music was pumping and the dresses were gorgeous. I’d like to go back to that era, definitely to a big city, so I could experience that excitement first hand.
TNA: Would you like to share details about your current works-in-progress with us?
A.M.: Goodness, there are so many. I recently finished a rough draft of what will be the second Wilmington book (book one, Getting It Right releases in early 2015 with Carina, and is an adult spin-off of the Belonging series). I hope to have that edited and submitted very soon. I’m also working on the second book in my new Perspectives series (first book, The Truth As He Knows It comes out 2/10/15 with Samhain). Perspectives is a spin-off from the Cost of Repairs series, and has NA undertones. I’m also working on a standalone novel in the Cost of Repairs world that features a character you meet for the first time in Foundation of Trust. I have plenty of other ideas percolating, but these are the three big ones right now.
TNA: Thanks so much for being here with us today, A.M., it’s been a pleasure.
A.M.: Thanks so much for having me!
Blurb – Foundation of Trust: David Weller thought he had it all—a loving partner who gave him a ring, a steady job he didn’t hate, and so much hope for the future. But in the wake of a devastating diagnosis, everything he thought was solid and real lay in pieces at his feet.
Four years later, he’s still sifting through the rubble of his life. His catering partnership occupies his days, while his nights are filled with dangerous sexual hookups and very bad decisions. Then the last person he ever expected to see again walks back into his life.
Owen Hart’s single biggest regret is the way he was forced to leave David behind—no explanations, no chance to make it right. Until now. Finally free of eight years of lies, Owen’s back for the only man he’s ever loved.
An incendiary encounter in a club proves that time hasn’t weakened their physical connection, but David’s wounds run deeper than Owen’s deception. And if David can’t first forgive, Owen doesn’t have a second chance in hell.
Warning: This book contains an Australian transplant with a head full of secrets, a party planner with enough baggage to sink a battleship, and a surly teenager who just wants them both to get over themselves.
Blurb – Stand by You: Three months after his rescue from an abusive boyfriend, twenty-two-year-old Romy Myers has landed his first legitimate job—bussing tables at his friend’s new coffee shop. The job has brought him some stability after years of abuse have left him feeling damaged and broken. He’s working hard on his panic and social anxiety, and those things are often tempered by the big, burly presence of Brendan Walker.
From the moment ex-football player Brendan helped rescue Romy from his ex’s abuse, he’s wanted to protect him. And he does, from a distance, with joking text messages, a new gym routine to toughen him up and a genuine friendship. So far it’s been easy—but Brendan’s feelings aren’t just friendly anymore…
When an argument spirals out of control, a hot and heavy make-out session causes Romy’s friendship with supposedly straight Brendan to reach a new level. The last thing Romy wants is to fall for another guy who could potentially shatter him, but Brendan also wakes up a part of him he thought had been destroyed by violence—his heart.
Author Bio: A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) and “The Young Riders” with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.
Author Contact: Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with your cooking tips (or book comments). You can also find her online, as well as on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, and Musa Publishing.
The Giveaway: An e-copy of Foundation of Trust