Lisa: Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Strays blog tour. We’re so glad to have the book’s author, Garrett Leigh, joining us today to chat a bit about this newest installment in the Urban Soul series.
Garrett, let’s start with the series title. For readers who might not be familiar with it yet, what’s the significance of Urban Soul? Is there not only a literal significance to the title but a figurative one too?
Garrett: Hey…thanks for having me!
The Urban is obviously linked to the London setting of the series. The Soul brings a more holistic element to the series. It’s about the characters finding not only love, but a true sense of self (if that doesn’t make me sound like a pretentious twit)
Lisa: When you’re writing a -verse such as this, is there a difference, in terms of your creative enjoyment, between carrying a series arc through with the same couple versus featuring a new couple with each installment? Do you feel it’s more challenging, less so, or no different?
Garrett: Carrying a couple through more than one book is a challenge because readers in the MM genre generally like to see a couple meet, get to know each other, and have a tasty conclusion all in one book. HFNs do work, but you have to do something special with subsequent books to truly move the couple on.
Lisa: One common thread between Misfits and Strays is the man who finds himself in need of a helping hand. What is it that attracts you to the character who isn’t the perfect and put-together stereotype of the alpha romantic protagonist?
Garrett: Nothing in my life is alpha-typical so I doubt that I’d know where to start.
Lisa: There’s such a romantic connection between food and nurturing and comfort. How do you explore that in the series, if at all, and do you consider yourself a foodie?
Garrett: I am definitely a foodie. I’ve worked in pro kitchens since I was fifteen years old, and still work a few hours a week in one now. On the home front, cooking for my family is the most nurturing thing I can manage to do for them!
Lisa: When you name your characters, do you put a lot of thought behind it, in terms of their personalities, for example? In other words, why Nero?
Garrett: I didn’t actually put a lot of thought into Nero’s name, as I never intended to write him a book. But as far as choosing names go, I always pick ones that I find attractive. It’s hard to write a hot guy who sounds like he could be my dad’s mate.
Lisa: What do you have slated as your next release after Strays? Have you started working on the next book in the Urban Soul series yet, or is that still a ways off?
Garrett: I have a rerelease in May, and a book under a different pen name for another genre. My next new MM is coming from Riptide in July, and is an instalment in their new shared world series. House of Cards is available for preorder from Riptide now!
As far as Urban Soul goes, I have no idea when/if it will continue…
Lisa: It’s always a pleasure having you here with us, Garrett, thanks so much for stopping by!
Garrett: Thank you, Lisa! It’s always a pleasure to be here!
About the Book
Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.
Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.
Fast-forward a month and neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.
About the Author
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.
Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.
Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.
To celebrate the release of Strays, one lucky winner will receive $25 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 1, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!