TNA: Greetings, Sibley, thanks very much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start your interview by having you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sibley: Thanks for having me! Well, as far as “Sibley” goes, it’s a pen name for Caddy Rowland. Caddy is my real name, and I write dramatic historical family saga (The Gastien Series) and Psychological Thriller/ Drama (There Was a House saga) under Caddy. Those readers don’t expect happy endings, although at times I give them one. On the other hand, romance readers not only expect a happy ending, but demand one. In order not to confuse or alienate any of my old (or new!) readers, I knew a pen name was in order.
I’ve been published for a little over 3 years as Caddy Rowland. I love to write about the sublime joy and bitter tragedy of being human. All of my work is GLBT inclusive. Sometimes a side character is gay or lesbian; sometimes a main character is gay.
I also am a painter. In fact, a painter is what I am in my soul. It’s even more difficult to make a living painting, so I chose to try it as a fiction writer. Hey, one in a million is better than one in a hundred million, right?
TNA: Private Performance and Repeat Performance are the first two books in your new Performance series, and, if I’m not mistaken, is your first M/M romance series. What inspired you to write gay romance? Do you have a favorite book or author in the genre?
Sibley: Kindle Unlimited looked like a great opportunity to try writing some gay romance. I would start with shorts in a series. Easy to write, get edited and put out. I’ve always had a lot of gay and lesbian friends, and have found some of my favorite books are either written by gay men or about gay men. I think it’s because I write and read books that are raw, dark, and emotional. With the persecution and stereotyping gays have suffered over the years, their stories offer plenty of those things.
I ventured into reading m/m romance by mistake. I’m sure glad I did. I love Andrew Ashling’s work and also Brandon Shire’s. When I’d finished both of their more serious work, I ventured into Shire’s romances: Cold and Afflicted. I have to tell you, Andrew can tell a story like no other and Brandon’s writing is the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read. Wow. Both of them set a damn high bar. Then I moved on to Rhys Ford’s Dirty series. She writes the best sex/romance scenes! All of these authors have brought tears to my eyes with their descriptive writing.
I wanted to try romance and m/m romance made more sense to me, as the “formula” isn’t quite as strict. I’m a rebel at heart you know!
TNA: Jason’s love interest, Z, is a rising rock star. What is it you personally find sexy about musicians?
Sibley: I think any kind of creative genius is sexy. The fact that someone can make music, paint, write lyrics or words, and speak to our souls is moving to me. I also find some musician’s voices extremely sexy, Mark Knopfler’s voice in particular. I love a deep, raw, gritty voice. Makes me think the man would be earthy and intense in bed. Sometimes the looks don’t match the voice at all! I also like the rebellious attitude many rockers have. Always one to question authority, I feel a kinship to their driving sounds that promise no holds barred.
TNA: Let’s pretend you’re putting together your fantasy band, made up of the sexiest rock musicians who’ve ever strutted across the stage. Who are the lead singer, lead guitarist, bassist, and drummer in your fantasy band?
Sibley: Oh, boy. Well, first of all, I don’t know many musicians by what instrument they play. I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint in regard to picking the right people for each position, as they most likely don’t play the particular instrument I’d blindly pair them with. So, please allow me to simply list five of the guys I find the sexiest because they are intriguing and creative. (I added a saxophonist. Is there anything sexier than a great male saxophonist?) I didn’t go by looks. I went for stage presence, charisma, dedication, and raw talent.
I would have to have Adam Lambert for his drama and voice range. David Bowie because he is one of the most creative men walking the planet. Then I’d need Mark Knopfler for his voice and guitar playing. Dave McHale from the Boomtown Rats as saxophonist. He is dead, but did play sax for them, and he could kill it. And Bob Geldof, their lead singer and leader. I doubt there has ever been a tighter sounding band than the Boomtown Rats. Yeah, I’ll admit I was a die-hart punk/new waver back in the day when both sounds were first new.
TNA: Would you care to share a short excerpt from Private Performance with us?
Sibley: Sure. The scene takes at a gay bar in Minneapolis during a charity event. Z and Jason each felt like a shockwave hit when Z, onstage, and Jason locked gazes. At the end of the set Z had come over to talk briefly before getting back onstage. Jason sat wondering if it was all for theatre or the interest was real for the dynamic singer. Then, at the end of the show, Z returns:
Blurb: Jason had sworn to never care for a guy again before taking it slow and easy when it came to the relationship department. He’d chosen poorly once. By the time he walked away his self-esteem had been in shreds.
Z is a dynamic, sensual rock star in the making. His band is hoping to hit the big-time and they’re getting close. He realized long ago his lifestyle had no room for a long-term relationship.
Then Z plays at Boys Will Be Boys, a popular gay club for a charity event, and Jason has a front row table. When their eyes meet it seems destiny has other plans for the two young men. Both tell themselves it can’t work out. They should just enjoy one night of hot sex and move on.
But love insists on entering the scene, just when neither is looking for it.
Excerpt: “Thanks for hanging around the last set.”
Z had come back down to Jason’s table, and was wiping the sweat from his face with a rag. “God, I sweat like a pig up there. Those lights are brutal when you move around like I do.”
“I kind of like the way you move around.” Jason hoped he wasn’t going to get rebuffed. If the guy had come back, he must be interested.
“I noticed.” Z grinned. “You motivated me to perform even better.”
Jason looked surprised. “I did? How?”
“Come on, have you looked in a mirror lately?”
It was Jason’s turn to grin. “You think so?”
“Yeah. Your sad, brown eyes spoke to me. Add your long, wavy dark brown hair and my knees went weak up there.” He laughed softly. “I have a thing for long, dark hair, especially if it’s wavy.”
“Hmm. Good thing I didn’t put it in a tail.”
“Yeah. Good thing.” Z sighed. “I get ogled all the time. It comes with the territory, you know? I’m used to it. Or was, until you. Once I saw your face, I had to come over and see if the body matched. And, of course, if you were an ass or a moron.”
“Wow. You know so quickly?”
“After being in this business a few years? Yeah, I do. I learned early on to protect myself. Everyone wants a piece of me, either career-wise, for status, or for—well, the traditional meaning of getting a piece, you know? It’s like people think I’m candy in the candy shop, a special treat they can just pick out, sample, and move on.”
“I don’t think about you that way. I mean, I think you’re incredibly hot, but I don’t want to sample you and move on. I’m not that kind of person. In fact, I’m not usually the kind of person who sits and drools over a lead singer. It’s just—I don’t know—there’s this pull from you.” He laughed self-consciously. “I’m sure it’s part of your stage presence.”
“No, I feel it from you, too. It scares the hell out of me because I can’t let feelings get in the way of my career. It’s really starting to take off, and feelings can screw things up.”
“They don’t have to. Not if you’re with the right person. But I know what you mean. I was hurt really badly by someone over a year ago. I had fallen in love at first sight, in spite of being warned by Andy about the guy being a total user. Andy, by the way, is the guy who was with me earlier.”
“Yeah. Anyway, he warned me, and I went all in anyway. Before I knew it, the guy was asking me to move in. I did, and then he proceeded to treat me like shit. Going out and not returning home until the next morning, belittling me in front of his friends, always asking for money even though he had a good job. When he brought home a male whore and asked me to use the dude while he watched I finally had enough. I walked out and never went back.”
“Wow. Sounds like a rough time. I’m sorry it happened to you.”
“Not your fault, and I’m not asking for pity. I just wanted you to know I’m not usually into instant relationships anymore myself. Perhaps, as you mentioned earlier, we can just be friends?”
Z’s eyebrow went up again. His laugh was low and sensual. “Oh, Jason. I believe we’re going to be something, but I doubt it will be just friends. Does it feel like just friends to you?”
“Um, no,” Jason admitted. “No, it sure doesn’t.”
Z stood. “Let me grab us a beer. The place is slowly clearing out, but last call was just announced a few minutes ago.”
Jason watched as Z walked away. The man had a fine ass. Set up high, well rounded and firm. He concentrated on not licking his lips. As he looked around he stifled a laugh. He wasn’t the only one checking out Z’s ass. It seemed every man in the place was taking a good, long look. And, yes, a few licked their lips. To his amazement he felt jealousy fire up in his gut. Who did they think they were, checking him out like he was meat?
He snorted. They weren’t doing anything he wasn’t. An ass like Z’s demanded attention. Z also knew it, by the way he walked. He may not like being treated like a piece of candy, but he damn well knew how to display the goods. Of course, any performer better understand how to strut their stuff if they wanted to make it in the music business. Z knowing how wasn’t a bad thing. Not at all. He’d just have to get used to everyone looking if things ended up the way he was beginning to hope they would.
Jason tried to talk some sense into himself. What was he doing? Was he drunk enough to believe a man as sensual and popular as Z could really be interested in a relationship? Besides, he didn’t even know the man. He could be full of irritating habits and personality traits. It was best to go slow. His head knew it and told him so, but his heart and his dick sure didn’t. Every time his brain whispered “slow down” his heart told him the man would be worth it. Which was totally stupid. He’d just met the man, what could his heart know about him? His cock had no sense at all. Regardless, he knew deep inside the sexy blond was worth holding onto if he only got the chance.
Z returned with a swagger, smiling as he handed Jason a beer.
“Like what you see?” he asked.
Playing innocent, Jason replied, “Pardon me?”
Z rolled his eyes. “I asked if you liked what you were staring at. My ass.”
“Please. Let’s agree to be honest with each other right up front. I’m a performer. I know when I’m being looked at.”
“Yeah, me and every other man in the club.”
Z’s eye’s danced. “Maybe. But the swaying was just for you.”
Jason grinned. “So you say.”
“And so I mean. I want you hot and bothered, just like me. Hot, bothered and rock hard.”
By the time they’d drank half their beers the place was empty. Only the band members were working at putting away their equipment. The charity event was moving on to the venues staying open until dawn. As the lights dimmed, Z took a final gulp of his beer.
Suddenly, Z stood up. Motioning to Jason, he led him back behind the stage. It was dark and quiet, except for the pounding of both hearts. Z tilted his head up and wrapped his arms around Jason’s well muscled shoulders. Rubbing his hardened length against Jason’s rigid cock, he whispered, “Take me.”
God, the man smells like summer, thought Jason. Salty summer skin, berries, and a hint of campfire. I could get lost in his smell. And his hard-on! He now knew the man hadn’t stuffed anything down his pants in order to please the crowd. This man was carrying a concealed weapon, and it was his cock.
Jason groaned. His own cock was exceptional in length, but this man seemed to be a match in that particular department. He couldn’t wait to see it.
Oh yeah, baby. I’ll take you, promised Jason silently.
I’ll take you, and when I do I’m never going to let you go.
TNA: What do you feel makes a great protagonist? What qualities do you think your MCs share that make them real, relatable, sexy, everything?
Sibley: They have conflicting traits. For instance, Z is confident and driven; yet he is tired of the rocker lifestyle and using men for quick sex. He tells himself he doesn’t have time for a real relationship, yet his heart is that of a lover. Jason has been hurt, so he tries to be cautious. But he, too, longs for a man who wants more than a quick screw. Z and Jason are both men, not femme, yet they are willing to take turns being the receiving partner, or bottom. They each display tenderness, yet they can be obscenely primal when it comes to taking the man they want. I think all of us have a little animal in us, and a little soft spot in our heart. They’re sexy because of their conflicting traits and because they aren’t afraid to be who they are. They’re open and honest; up front about what they want, need, and fear. Voicing one’s fears as a man can be incredibly sexy, as it shows vulnerability and allows the partner to either be a soft spot to fall or to hurt them and move on.
TNA: Have you ever finished a book and thought, wow, I wish I’d written this? What book was it, and what about it made such a big impact on you?
Sibley: 1984 by George Orwell. That novel shook me to the core. I read it decades ago and it still haunts me today. As I said, I’ve always been a rebel. Living in a society completely controlled by the government scares the hell out of me. I have yet to read a dystopian novel even half as good. We are coming too close. 1984 should be mandatory reading for all people.
TNA: If time travel were possible, would you take advantage of it? If so, would you want to travel to the future or the past? Why?
Sibley: Well, I believe in past lives. I’ve been there, done that. However, since I’m an artist I would like to experience (or re-experience???) the late nineteenth/early twentieth century in Montmartre, France. Impressionism was born then, and from it all kinds of modern painting styles. It was a ribald, wicked time and sounds like a whole lot of fun. I’d be a man, so I could enjoy all the debauchery!
TNA: Would you like to share some information with us on some of your current WIPs and upcoming releases?
Sibley: The next two Performance books (and possibly another by the time this interview publishes) are available. There will be a total of six. I might also do a series about Jason’s room-mate and his lover. I’m also thinking about doing a series with a man who owns a ranch and his ranch-hand. I’m not sure yet. Under Caddy Rowland I’ve started writing my second psychological fiction series. I also plan on writing a series of love stories about 4 artists who live in Lowertown, St. Paul. All of my work is GLBT inclusive, as I mentioned earlier.
TNA: Thanks so much for being with us, Sibley. Will you share with us where we can find you on the internet?
Sibley: I’d be glad to. And thank you again! It’s been a blast. Some of the social media is shared with my Caddy Rowland name:
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED