Release Day Interview and Giveaway: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Five years ago, Adam Silvera started a notebook that turned into They Both Die At The EndThe release date—September 5, 2017—is coincidentally the same day in which Mateo Torres and Rufus Emeterio receive their respective Death-Cast calls, with notification that within twenty-four hours they will die.

Sound devastating? 

Well, it is. But it’s also incredibly hopeful. These two boys still have one day to live. Once they find each other, Mateo and Rufus turn out to be a perfect foil for each other’s short comings, allowing each of them to … well, you are simply going to have to pick up this book and read it in order to find out for yourself. 

If you’re familiar with Silvera’s work, you’ll know this sort of sweet, funny devastation isn’t a one-off effort. 

More Happy Than Not burst onto the scene in May, 2015 and hit the New York Times Bestseller List the next month. His ambitious debut featured Aaron Soto, a kid who lives in projects in the Bronx who, in struggling with his attraction to other boys, seeks out the Leteo Institute in order to wipe his mind and start again. It’s the greatest of all do-overs and destined to fail. His sophomore effort, History Is All You Left Me, tells the story of Griffin Jennings who is grieving the loss of his love and ex-boyfriend, Theo McIntyre, while his OCD gets progressively worse.

Silvera writes to break our collective hearts. As an own voices author writing queer and latino boys from New York, he’s as authentic as authors get. But there is something in this third novel that’s a little bit different. In the author’s note in my ARC, Silvera writes about how the prior two books stemmed from personal experience but this one came from his own inexperience and in finding the courage to explore that. 

I recently got the chance to chat with Adam Silvera about his newest book.

Alex de Morra: In each of these three novels, the hero’s sexual identity is tied heavily to the story arc. In More Happy Than Not, Aaron wants to erase that part of himself and ends up erasing more than that. In History Is All You Left Me, both Theo’s death and Griffin’s queerness is immutable, as is Griffin’s sense of them as a couple. In They Both Die At The End, Mateo’s identity and his evolution towards living are slowly revealed as he lives more and more of his ‘lifetime in a day.’ Will you talk about that?

Adam Silvera: Since History was the third book I wrote, I was aching to write a narrator whose sexuality wasn’t sheltered or scary. Griffin is just happily gay. And Mateo is relatable because I didn’t come out until I was 19, but had I known that I was going to die at 18, I would’ve come to grips with it on that day. No doubt. I would kiss a guy and say I love you and embrace myself in full force. Not instantly, of course, it would be gradual, but it’s a finish line that would be important for me to cross. 

AdM: It’s interesting that you mention History was actually the third book you wrote even though it was the second one published. What led to swapping History with They Both Die? 

AS: I just knew this book needed more time and wasn’t worth presenting to any editor just yet, and I’ve spent a total of five years on this book from initial thought to final manuscript. The world and characters have grown so much.

AdM: In both Happy and They Both Die, the worlds are built off present day New York but in each case, these are changed due to the presence of a new technology corporation: Leteo Institute in Happy and Death-Cast in They Both Die. But while a name for those who went through the Leteo procedure didn’t feature, there is a name for those who have gotten the call from Death-Cast: Decker. It struck me that when these types of neologisms come up— Cylons, Replicants, Muggles, Hobbits—they are no longer considered human by some even while their humanity is at the core of the story. What does the term Decker mean?

AS: The term Decker is a sort of slang for someone whose fate is “on the deck.” And vocabulary evolving is a natural part of the world changing. The distinctions for deckers felt urgent and heartbreaking. It’s literally a word that someone can personally identify as for less than a day. 

AdM: You have a gift for writing friends that are both intensely loving and fiercely, painfully honest. Will you talk about creating these characters? 

AS: I love when my friends keep it real. When we confront each other and say uncomfortable things, even if it stirs some conflict. We’re most honest with the people we love the most because we want the best for them.

AdM: Speaking of friends…the book ones count, too! I’m so excited to see a reprisal of The Scorpius Hawthorne books. It’s also interesting to see them pop-up even though the speculative worlds of Happy and They Both Die are different ones. I had even heard a rumor you had plans to put them in History. Should we keep our eyes out for them in future books?

AS: Im so happy this Easter egg made its way back in too! And yes, the character Dhonielle in History got cut because I failed to give her the depth she needed to read as a convincing character. But Scorpius Hawthorne was invented as a fun play on Harry Potter and if I write more grounded speculative novels, I think I’ll continue to sneak in this fake saga about the demonic boy wizard. Even if it’s a one-liner.

AdM: If we had forever to talk, I’m sure I could come up with a million questions. Fortunately for us, you’ve got to get back to writing your next effort. For now, though, what question are you hoping someone asks you about this book? And what’s your answer? 

AS: I’d love for someone to ask me if they actually die at the end and I’ll tell them to read and find out.  🙂

A very special thank you to Adam Silvera for joining us today. If you want to follow his writing exploits, please follow him on twitter at @AdamSilvera as he’s likely to give a heads up on touring, writing sprints, and sneak peeks of his writing. Oh, and buy this book. All of his books. And tissues. Trust me. You’ll need tissues. 

Before you go…we also have an opportunity for you to win it below! Enter now and win an ARC of this gorgeous and devastating book.

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Alex claims to read more than any normal, healthy adult should though the rest of the Binge on Books team would beg to differ. You can read all of his reviews here.

Connect with Alex on Twitter: @Alex_deMorra

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Book Talk: Interview with Julia Ember, author of The Seafarer’s Kiss

A quote from a recent article in Vice magazine came back to me vividly as I sat down to read The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember. Queer retellings of stories are a reminder, Vice asserted, that the classics don’t just belong to straight white guys—they belong to the LGBTQ community, too.

Yes, this. Always and forever this. Far too often the classic stories of our childhoods display a very one sided and narrow view of the world, reflecting back the conventions of the time in a pretty package. The original Little Mermaid tale of 1837 is just that–a reflection of what society expected from women at the time. The story follows a mermaid who is willing to give her all–her family, her history, her very identity–in order to marry a man, who in the end refuses to acknowledge her sacrifices, and she dies. No true page time is given to her thoughts or wants. She exists to love a man and when he can’t love her back, she has no more reason to exist.  

Enter Julia Ember and The Seafarer’s Kiss. This gorgeous young adult novel subverts the original, asking readers to view the Little Mermaid in a wholly different light. Mermaid Ersel is a strong, independent female with a layer of protective blubber that keeps her warm in the ice shelves of the northern sea. When she meets Ragna, the sole survivor of a shipwreck and befriends her, feelings blossom between the two. Ersel’s would be suitor catches them and issues an ultimatum: give up this budding relationship or be stuck under the thumb of the Mer-King making babies for the rest of her life. So what does Ersel do? Creates a third choice and takes her own destiny in hand.

Everything about this book is magic — the imagery of the frozen waters of the north is glorious and so real; the sweet new feelings between Ersel and Ragna are confusing and fragile; the questioning of Ersel’s choices and the effects they’ll have on her future underscore what all teens (and adults) feel. And while the themes and threads of the original are still there, this reimagined Little Mermaid is a fierce presence who waits for no man to make choices for her. Plus it incorporates a great deal of Norse Mythology including several killer appearances by the God of Lies themselves, Loki.

Luckily I was able to catch up with Julia Ember before the release of her book to talk The Seafarer’s Kiss, Norse Mythology, homosexuality among the Vikings, and what she ultimately wants to see more of in books.

Judith for Binge on Books: Julia, welcome! I can’t fully do justice to how much I loved the book and its haunting take on the Little Mermaid myth. What was the evolution to writing this? Did you wake up one day and decide that you needed to redo a classic story? Was there a spark or something specific that forced your hand in writing this particular idea?

Julia Ember: I’m so glad you loved the story!

Before deciding that academia wasn’t for me, I spent two years doing a postgraduate degree in Mediaeval Literature. As part of my course, I studied both Anglo-Saxon and Norse poems, as well as their mythology and history. I’ve always been truly fascinated by the pre-Christian Vikings, their legends, their gods and in the cultural shift that happened after they started living among Anglo-Saxons. In a way, it’s a myth that the Vikings conquered the Anglo-Saxons. They did invade their land, but in the end, Anglo-Saxon culture, which was part of the Latin Christian Empire already, lured many of the Vikings away from their historic way of life. There is an Anglo-Saxon poem called The Seafarer which follows an exiled sailor as he laments his loneliness on the high seas. It is a hauntingly beautiful poem. A lot of my inspiration for the character of Ragna came from thinking about that cultural war, and the clash of cultures that plays out in the Seafarer poem.

The Little Mermaid has always been my favourite fairy tale! I always knew that if I was going to write retellings, it would be the first story I would explore. The book itself started out as a short story/novelette. I actually went out on submission with that, had a few requests, but it didn’t sell.

Judith: Since you draw so heavily on Norse Myth to infuse this book, is it safe to assume that there is a Little Mermaid story in that cannon? If so, how do The Seafarer’s Kiss and that myth differ?

Julia: Sadly, there is no Little Mermaid story in Norse Myth! As a category, Norse Myths don’t tend to be particularly romance driven tales nor do they tend to be very character focused. Norse literature and myth is heavily focused on achievements and heroism – conquering monsters, far off lands. The Norse elements in Seafarer’s Kiss are incorporated into the world-building and the characters of Ragna and Loki. Ragna is a gender-swapped, very lose interpretation of Ragnar Lodbrok, a Viking leader who started the process of taking over Anglo-Saxon England. Ragnar may or may not have been a real person, but his legend is pervasive. My version of Loki is much closer to the sinister Norse God than the playful Marvel counterpart.

Judith: So if there’s no Little Mermaid, did you find evidence of queer narratives in any Norse Mythology you used as research?

Julia: Norse mythology is sadly pretty heteronormative, although a few pre-Christian Viking historical sources do indicate that Vikings thought homosexuality was a normal part of getting older. Kind of an odd cultural phenomenon there. The Vikings were a lot like the Romans or the Greeks, in that homosexuality wasn’t illegal or expressly frowned upon, but people did think that in a gay relationship being the passive partner undermined a person’s masculinity.

The god Loki, however, is an interesting one. They are often described as a man, but some legends show them as a woman. There is a well-known Norse myth where Odin punishes Loki by forcing them to give birth to monsters. In that legend, Loki’s gender is very obscure. They become pregnant and give birth, but retain many masculine qualities. The legend does, however, use feminisation as a form of punishment, where other legends simply present Loki as androgynous or female. In my version of Loki, I wanted their fluidity to be something they embraced. I also wanted them in full control of their own identity and self-presentation.

Judith: Even though this is a fairytale retelling, did any of your own experiences influence the writing?

Julia: Seafarer’s Kiss is an #ownvoices bisexual book, and so I wrote that aspect of Ersel and Ragna from my own life experience. I think, like Ersel with Havamal, I also have a bad habit of hanging onto people for a long time, hoping that they will change.

Judith: With that in mind, what do you want to see more of in books? Particularly in YA and NA?

Julia: I definitely want to see more diverse fantasy! I think contemporary has been charging ahead in terms of number of books published with characters across the LGBTQIA spectrum and POC. In fantasy, we’ve had a number of very high profile books that have had terrible representation when that shouldn’t be the case. I think speculative fiction offers such a perfect opportunity for writers to develop worlds that aren’t predominantly white or cishet. It’s disheartening how many books fall into that specification considering the writers are creating new worlds, where nothing else is the same as ours. Prejudice shouldn’t be the common factor between our world and fantasy kingdoms.

Judith: What is one question you would want a reader to ask about this book but they never do?

Julia: It’s not really a specific question, but I wish readers would ask more questions about Ragna and her past! She’s a really fierce, independent character, but I think Ersel and Loki steal most of the limelight from her.

***

Originally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.

Julia is a polyamorous, bisexual writer. She regularly takes part in events for queer teens, including those organised by the Scottish Booktrust and LGBT Youth Scotland. A world traveler since childhood, she has now visited more than sixty countries. Her travels inspire the fantasy worlds she creates, though she populates them with magic and monsters.

Julia began her writing career at the age of nine, when her short story about two princesses and their horses won a contest in Touch magazine. In 2016, she published her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, which also focused on two girls and their equines, albeit those with horns. Her second novel, The Seafarer’s Kiss will be released by Interlude Press in May 2017. The book was heavily influenced by Julia’s postgraduate work in Medieval Literature at The University of St. Andrews. It is now responsible for her total obsession with beluga whales.

In August 2017, her third novel and the start of her first series, Tiger’s Watch, will come out with Harmony Ink Press. In writing Tiger’s Watch, Julia has taken her love of cats to a new level.

Learn more on her site.

The Seafarer’s Kiss is out now from Interlude Press.

***

Judith is the owner of Binge on Books, as well as the boutique press, Open Ink, and the literary PR company, A Novel Take PR. You can also find Judith on HEA USA Today and  Teen Vogue talking queer fiction.


 

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Alisa Listens, Audio Review: Stygian by Santino Hassell

stygian-coverTitle and Author:  Stygian by Santino Hassell

Narrator:   Geoffrey Alan

Published by:  Dreamspinner Press

Format:  Audio

Genre:  paranormal, romance, horror

Order link: Audible

Reviewed by:  Alisa

What to expect:  A spooky Southern gothic that is perfect for a Halloween time read.
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Authors in Audio on 10/17: Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali talk it all!

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Hello! And welcome back to Authors in Audio, a podcast special at Binge on Books which features authors Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali answering reader questions in audio! You asked and they answered and through the end of the year, this new series of Authors in Audio will captivate you!

So sit back, relax, and get ready for Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali in…Authors in Audio, 2016 Week 2!



author photo Karen Stivali 2015

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. She writes novels about love…like real life, only hotter.

Connect with Karen in all the places: 

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Website

Pinterest  |  Goodreads

You can hear Karen and writing pal, Santino Hassell, in audio in earlier recordings of their podcast series, Authors in Audio!


Santino Hassell

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino: 

Web | Facebook | Twitter

Patreon | Goodreads | Amazon

You can hear Santino and writing pal, Karen Stivali, in audio in earlier recordings of their podcast series, Authors in Audio!


 

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Authors Interviewing Authors: Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen

It’s time for a brand new…Authors Interviewing Authors! Today on Binge on Books we have Chaos Station co-authors, Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen, joining us with a fun Q&A – and the twist? They ask each other!   chaos-station-covers Read More

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Authors in Audio on 10/3: Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali are back!

karen-and-santino-a-in-a-for-b-on-b-long-versionHello! And welcome back to Authors in Audio, a podcast special at Binge on Books which features authors Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali answering reader questions in audio! You asked and they answered and through the end of the year, this new series of Authors in Audio will captivate you!

It’s just as zany, just as hilarious, just as real as the first go-round. So sit back, relax, and get ready for Santino Hassell and Karen Stivali in…Authors in Audio, 2016 Week 1!



 

Santino HassellSantino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino: 

Web | Facebook | Twitter

Patreon | Goodreads | Amazon

You can hear Santino and writing pal, Karen Stivali, in audio in the first podcast series of Authors in Audio!


author photo Karen Stivali 2015

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. She writes novels about love…like real life, only hotter.

Connect with Karen in all the places: 

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Website

Pinterest  |  Goodreads

You can hear Karen and writing pal, Santino Hassell, in audio in the first podcast series of Authors in Audio!


 

 

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Author Chat with Binge on Books: Sarah J. Maas, Part 1

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Hello and welcome to Author Chat, a quirky, fun books inspired podcast with Judith from Binge on Books interviewing your favorite authors!

Who’s up today, you ask? I’ll give you a hint: Sarah J. Maas! (I’m the worst hinter, admittedly)

Sarah stopped by Binge on Books to talk favorite books, her writing, upcoming projects, who she’d most love to write a book with, what’s going on with the next ACOTAR book (yes!) and so much more! It was so much in fact, Author Chat with Sarah J. Maas will be a 2-part series. Part 1 features Sarah talking her publishing journey and giving us some hilarious answers to a down and dirty lightning round Q&A. Part 2 features more in depth reader questions and runs the gamut of what’s going on in her world (and yes, she talks Catwoman, ACOTAR, what historical novels you need to read, and so much more!).

So sit back, relax, and get ready for: Author Chat with Binge on Books featuring the talented and oh so funny Sarah J. Maas!

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Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well as a USA Today and international bestselling author. Sarah wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in thirty-five languages. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. Empire of Storms, the fifth Throne of Glass novel, will release on September 6th, 2016.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

Get in touch with Sarah via Twitter or her website!

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Judith is the curator of Binge on Books as well as an upcoming contributor to USA Today and past Publicity Manager for Queer Romance Month. You can hear more of her in Author Chat  and What’s On My Kindle? as well as her reviews on the site.

Get in touch with her on Twitter or send her an email (she loves email!) at judith@bingeonbooks.com.

 

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Authors Interviewing Authors: SJD Peterson interviews Kade Boehme

August brings you two well known authors from the LGBTQ community, SJD Peterson and Kade BoehmeThey get together for a quick, intimate look at Kade and his writing in this fun, fast new addition to Authors Interviewing Authors! Read More

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Authors Interviewing Authors: Sam Schooler interviews Wes Kennedy

It’s time for a little…Authors Interviewing Authors here on Binge on Books! April’s interview features Queer New Adult author, Sam Schooler, chatting with brand spanking new author, Wes Kennedy. With Wes’ quirky and diverse debut out April 27th, we wanted to learn more more more(!) about her and what else she has in the works. So here’s Sam Schooler and Wes Kennedy talking debut novellas, grammar and editing, and a love of all things Kung Fu!

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Authors Interviewing Authors: Avon Gale Interviews Piper Vaughn

March Authors Interviewing Authors is here and with it, we get a very special treat: the first ever in person edition! Avon Gale recently caught up with Piper Vaughn in her home to discuss Piper’s plans for future books, Young Adult Fiction from the 90s (shout out to Judith’s fave, LJ SMITH!), and their shared passion, hockey!

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Avon: Hello! I’m Avon Gale and I’m so excited to interview Piper Vaughn today, especially because I am sitting next to her on her couch while we watch some hockey. So thank you for having me, both as a house guest and as an interviewer!!

Piper: Thanks for coming! I’m thrilled to have you here watching hockey with me, and I’m excited to get to the interview. 😀

Avon: So, since I am sitting here in your house I’m able to look at your bookshelves! I already noticed that you and I share a love for an Elizabeth Lowell series (and are both sad that she never wrote Eric’s story!), but you have quite an eclectic collection as a reader. As a writer, what other genres are you interested in writing?

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Piper: Outside of M/M, I’m most interested in writing mainstream YA, though I’ll probably stay true to my roots and keep it LGBT related. I have plans for a couple of contemporary, coming-of-age stories, and I also have a broad outline for a potential urban fantasy series.

Avon: What kind of YA books were your favorite when you were younger?

Piper: I was a big fan of LJ Smith. Hello, “Vampire Diaries,” “The Secret Circle,” “The Forbidden Game,” “Dark Visions” and the “Night World” books. I read everything she wrote. I also loved RL Stine, and Christopher Pike. Then there were the Sweet Valley High books, and this series called “Love Stories,” which were basically category romances for young adults. My little romance-loving heart adored those books. I consumed them like candy! My favorite was “Sharing Sam” by Katherine Applegate.  

Avon: I loved Sweet Valley High! I’m pretty sure I shipped Jessica/Lila before I knew what that meant. Have you gone back and re-read any of your favorite YA series recently? I’d totally be down for a Christopher Pike re-read bonanza if you want. Do you see influences of your favorite YA or romance series in your own writing, and if so, tell us about it!

Piper: Oh, that might be fun! I haven’t read a Christopher Pike book since high school. I wonder if I’d still enjoy them. As for influences, I think if I ever write the YA urban fantasy series, it might be influenced by what I loved about LJ Smith–strong, kickass heroines I both envied and had crushes on and heroes I wished I could keep for myself. But I don’t know that there’s any one author or series in particular that I can say influenced my own style. I certainly admire plenty of authors and love many series, but I just do my own thing and hope people enjoy it. 🙂

Avon: You have a lot of historical romance novels on your shelves, but they’re primarily het. And you write mostly M/M contemporary. What interested you about that genre in M/M that didn’t capture your attention as a reader of M/F?

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Piper: Yeah, I never read very much M/F contemporary. Some, but not nearly as much as historicals or paranormal books. I think my lack of interest in M/F contemporary came from an inability to relate to the heroines, to be honest. I rarely saw myself in or felt connected to most of these modern-day heroines, and that lessened my enjoyment. That expectation wasn’t there when I read historicals or paranormal. I didn’t expect those heroines to be relatable, if that makes sense. My day-to-day life isn’t filled with werewolves or dance cards and the censure of the ton. I always connected to the heroes of contemporary instead–and I think that’s why when I discovered M/M as an actual book genre (I’d been reading it online in fanfic for years before that), I was drawn to contemporary. I get along well with men, and I’ve always been a tomboy. I think my brain is male (and, trust me, I don’t say that lightly), and I feel like the power dynamic in M/M contemporary is much more equal than it is in M/F. Then when I started writing original stories in M/M, I found that 90% of my ideas were contemporary, and I just rolled with it.

Avon: Thank you for sharing all of that! I always like hearing how authors find their genre and their interests. Speaking of interests, we started talking not only because of our shared M/M love (and can I take this opportunity to share with everyone how absolutely welcoming and supportive Piper is to new authors? <3) — and our love for hockey! We’re both sitting here talking about points and standings and the playoffs, but as you’ve mentioned, this is your first playoff season being invested in the outcome (and I’m sorry because sports exists to break your heart 🙁 ). What got you into hockey, and led to the point where you’re muttering at the Wild about closing out this game in OT?

Piper: And now that the Wild have won in a shootout (woot!), I can answer this question. 😛 I actually got into hockey through Tumblr. I follow a few hockey fans and had seen their reblogs about certain teams and players. I started to get really invested in Jonathan Toews and some of the other Blackhawks and started wanting to watch games and possibly write a hockey romance. Because my husband is a longtime hockey fan (he loves the Red Wings), he encouraged this idea. I started watching with him late last season, and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s now become an obsession. And sometimes loving hockey does feel like suffering. You’re right about the heartbreak. Oi. But I do love it so.

Avon: That’s the great thing about writing hockey romance — you can give your characters, and their teams, a happy ending! What about hockey do you think makes it a good focus for a romance novel?

Piper: I love the way hockey teams become a family of a kind. I love the nicknames and the intensity of the sport and the potential for rivalries–and how for a lot of players, that rivalry can end once they step off the ice and they can actually be friends. And, well, by now I think hockey is the greatest sport of all time, and if I want to read–or write–about any sport, this is going to be it. Hockey has become one of my happy places, and so is romance. Of course I’d want to combine the two. 🙂

Avon: I love that too, about the teams, and especially how even beyond the team name on the front of the jersey, hockey players, coaches, staff, fans….it’s all a family! It’s so much fun to meet and talk to other fans (even if you end up having to change your FB and Twitter icon to a hated team logo because of a bet *coughs*) who share a similar passion for the sport. As an author in M/M, would you say that is a similar sort of feeling?

Piper: Yes! I’ve mentioned this to you before, but when I first discovered M/M romance as a book genre, nearly 8 years after I started reading slash/fanfic online, I felt like I’d found my people. The M/M romance group was only about 200 members, maybe, when I joined. There were so few of us reading and writing at the time, about 6+ years ago, and people were so welcoming. I felt like I’d finally found where I belong–as a person and as an author–and I’ve made some of my best friends in this community.

Avon: As an author and a reader, what are your hopes for the genre in the larger scheme of the romance community?

Piper: Well, more than anything, I’d love to see it get more visibility. I’d love to see more of our (as in the collective M/M romance writing community) books hitting mainstream bestseller lists and being reviewed on the bigger blogs and in magazines. I’d love for it not to feel like a subgenre of the broader heterosexual romance community. I want it to be considered romance, period, and I’d love to see more of our books in my brick-and-mortar stores.

Avon: If you had a shelf for your favorite M/M romances, give us a sample of what you’d find on it!

Piper: Sure! I’m a huge fan of Jordan Castillo Price, so of course the “PsyCop” series would be on it. I love Andrea Speed’s “Infected” series, though I’d call it M/M urban fantasy with romantic subplots instead of M/M romance. “Bone Rider” by J. Fally would definitely be there, too, along with “Brothers of the Wild North Sea” by Harper Fox and Marie Sexton’s “Coda” series, JL Langley’s “With or Without” series and “Speechless” by Kim Fielding. There’d also be a few Megan Derr titles on there and plenty of others! I have lots of favorites.

Avon: What advice would you give to new authors who are just venturing forth into the world of publishing, no matter what genre?

Piper: I’d tell them to write what they enjoy. Sometimes we can get caught up in the market and what the next big trend is–and I’m not saying it’s not important to keep an eye on trends–but I feel like if you’re not writing what you love, you run the risk of burning yourself out and the whole process can lose its fun. I think it’s more important to love what you’re doing than, say, forcing yourself to write about firemen if you don’t actually have any interest in writing books about first responders. Write what calls to you and find the publisher best suited to help you polish and promote that book. That’s probably my best advice, aside from the whole practice makes perfect thing. 😉

Avon: And finally, who’s your prediction for the Stanley Cup matchup and eventual winner? The romantic version, or the more mundane RL one 😉

Piper: Well, if the Hawks get their act together, I can see them being in the championship again and possibly destroying the Washington Capitals to win the Stanley Cup. In the more romantic version, I think it’d be amazing to see it come down to the Boston Bruins against the Minnesota Wild. I’d be happy if the Bruins won, because you did sway me over to their side, but I’d be so thrilled to see the Wild win. I do love those boys, and not to be disloyal to my Blackhawks, but it’s not like they haven’t won a few times in the last 6 years. I mean, I do have a tube of melted 2015 Stanley Cup ice sitting on my bookshelf from their win last year, and I did watch that game. So, yeah. I think it’d be fun to see the Wild take the Cup. 🙂

Avon: There is only one thing in this that I can support, that being the Boston Bruins in the finals. Since, as we all know, I hate your hockey team. But luckily, our rivalry is a fun part of our friendship (and if you weren’t such a great friend, I’d toss that bottle of Stanley Cup ice into traffic. What?) and hockey fans are family no matter the team.

Thanks Piper!! I had so much fun interviewing you, watching hockey and finding out how to tweet Elizabeth Lowell and tell her we need her to write a book about Eric. Let’s do this again sometime! 😀

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Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and she never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.

Find Avon: @Facebook  |  @avongalewrites.com  |  @twitter

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Piper VaughnPiper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book.

Visit Piper at: Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Google+

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Authors Interviewing Authors is a monthly series featuring your favorite authors interviewing their favorite authors. If you have recommendations for interviews you’d like to see happen, please feel free to submit them at any time: submit@bingeonbooks.com.

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