TNA: Hi, Suki, welcome back to The Novel Approach. I’m so pleased to have you back to discuss your new novel Wild Summer. Your young heroes meet and fall in love as teenagers, go their separate ways, only to find each other again years later. Do you believe in the idea that in real life two people can be destined for each other, or is that only the stuff of fairy tales and romance novels? Why do you believe one way or the other?
Suki: No, I don’t believe in destiny. But I do believe the love and connection you feel for someone can be overwhelmingly strong. I believe in finding love and making it work because I find the lengths people go to, to try, is romantic.
But in fiction I like reading all aspects of romance and people falling in love, no matter if it’s destiny or not, as long as the author makes it plausible.
TNA: What do you find most romantic about the idea of a second chance at love?
Suki: That someone has waited and longed and perhaps tried to forget and get over someone but can’t. And then the realization that the person they have been longing for has also been longing for them. Heart crushingly sweet^^
TNA: You explore domestic abuse in Wild Summer, which is a very real problem but not often explored in gay fiction. Why did you want to bring this issue to the fore and examine it in your story?
Suki: This is the first story I’ve actually written as a YA (in This is Not a Love Story, my first novel this is a spin off to, the characters just happened to be young, and I didn’t think about what sort of audience might read it as I wrote it, tbh).
In Wild Summer, I did want to address the fact that it’s easy to be manipulated into a damaging relationship when you’re young, because a lot of the time you don’t even know there is a way out. This is how Summer feels. He is manipulated into a relationship by an older man when he is only 17, and he stays in that relationship because he doesn’t know anything else.
Thankfully, kids are now being educated about domestic abuse in schools, but that focus is still very one sided and very much focused on straight relationships—boys being abusive to their girlfriends. My daughter’s sex ed. class covered this subject recently and both my daughter and I were both shocked that not one mention was made to this problem occurring in anything but straight relationships. This needs to change.
Blurb: A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
A novella from the Love Story Universe
At fifteen, Christopher falls in love with a boy whose life he saves. But things go wrong and four years later, he wishes he’d acted differently. His conscience begins to haunt him, and he knows he must find Summer again.
At seventeen, Summer pushes away the boy who saved him. Four years later, he is stuck in an abusive, damaging relationship. When he sees Christopher again, it’s a sign he can’t go on living like he is, but he can’t begin to see a way out.
For either boy to stand a chance at happiness, they must find each other and obliterate the wrongs of their shared past.
DAWN’S ROSE glow filtered through Summer’s thin curtains. As gently as he could, Christopher eased his slightly deadened arm out from beneath Summer’s side and crept, in what he hoped was a quiet fashion, over to the window, opening it a tiny bit to let the scent of the sea fill his lungs. Everything was still and newly beautiful. He’d never felt as alive as he did right then, as if his life before now had been spent just sleeping. It was all so exactly right.
A warm arm encircled his waist, startling him, but then thrilling him to the core when the shock passed. Perhaps he needed to work on the creeping. Summer’s sharp chin rested on his shoulder—he must have been standing on the very tips of his toes to reach.
“I’m sorry I woke you,” Christopher said, turning around and pulling Summer loosely into his arms.
“Missed you, that’s all.” Summer smiled. “Want to go for a walk? The sunrise looks amazing over the sea.”
Shoeless and still in the clothes they slept in, they climbed out Summer’s window, leaving it wedged open with a folded piece of paper, and walked hand in hand down to the cliff edge.
If everything stopped right now—time, the world, paused in this moment—Christopher knew he wouldn’t have minded.
Sitting on the sea wall, they watched the pink glow expand like a slow explosion of light across the horizon. They didn’t kiss, but Christopher held Summer close and hoped with everything inside him that what he felt was not one-sided.
Back in Summer’s room, Christopher helped Summer shift his wardrobe in front of his door so they wouldn’t be disturbed, and they fell straight back into bed. Summer didn’t pull back this time when Christopher slipped his hands beneath his T-shirt. With a look of slightly fearful determination in his eyes, Summer pulled his T-shirt off over his head.
“We don’t have to… do anything. I just want to feel you close,” Christopher said, running his fingers down Summer’s spine, causing him to arch, eyes closed, mouth open, against Christopher’s chest.
“Don’t talk,” Summer said, shaking his head. “Talking makes everything too real, and we’re not—we’re magical.”
The Giveaway: THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED