Today’s post is a bit of a mix between a release day post and a Throwback Thursday post. Crossfire, my new mm romance novella, was part of the big MM Romance Valentine’s Day Giveaway – and thank you to everyone who took a chance on Crossfire and downloaded it! I hope you enjoy Dean’s story.
I find release days a weird mix of elation, trepidation, and relief, and since this is my seventh time around this particular mulberry bush, I should have gotten used to it. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
My brain runs itself ragged in the days before, worrying about all sorts of stuff I have no control over. And then, when the book is truly out of my hands, it pulls the plug on me. Today’s no different. I’m buying books, studying knitting patterns, baking shortbread and looking at last year’s holiday photos, knowing my brain will kick in and let me work when it’s good and ready.
So this post will most likely turn out as introspective as Dean’s story, and that feels somehow fitting. Crossfire differs from the stories I usually write. More introspection, more “romance”, much less action and suspense… and it’s written in first person.
It’s the story of an introvert who was content to protect his more outgoing twin sister and follow where she led him, socially speaking. Until he properly noticed another person, another man.
Dean is as surprised by that as only a introvert can be. Some of us, the thinking types, can be spectacularly unobservant, and Dean is a fine example. He can spend all day stuck in his head, designing apps, devising solutions to problems many people can’t even perceive, but when it comes to social interaction, he needs a map with particularly large print.
Fortunately, he has Cat, who may be his twin, but is a very different character. And Cat, who looks out for her brother as he looks out for her, wants Dean to have a chance at exploring his new awareness.
I had a lot of fun experimenting with personality types as I was writing this, especially when I realised that Martin has exactly the same traits as Dean, except for the fact he’s an extrovert. If two such men went into business together, they could take over the world. Or they could murder each other in very short order. It would all hinge on whether they’d manage to become friends and respect each other’s boundaries. Exploring how that might work created a big chunk of the enjoyment I found writing Crossfire.
The other really enjoyable part was picking locations. I used London, because it’s a wonderful place, and Devon, where we once rented an 18th century music room that had been converted into a gorgeous holiday cottage. And then, when I was about halfway through and thought I knew exactly where the story would end…. with Martin’s phonecall and Dean saying he’d wait…. the Muse suggested I keep going. Add heat and blue skies and bluer waters. Add lemon groves and olive trees, and before I knew it I had Martin’s holiday home on the Italian Amalfi coast.
It seemed a fitting destination for Dean’s journey, even though Naples isn’t, perhaps, the ideal holiday location for an introvert. The pace is frenetic, it’s hot, and the noise level can be surprising. But I somehow trusted that Martin would know what to do, and when I came to write the last chapter, I realised I’d been right. And here’s how Dean finds out:
“I told you I loved the Amalfi coast. I have a place there, and that’s where we’re going.”
I recalled our discussion in the jazz club. “Does it have a sea view and lemon trees outside the bedroom window?”
“That’s the one.” Now his smile was positively wicked. “And you’re going to love it.”
Martin had been right. I fell in love with the house at first sight. Most people, I imagine, would have paid money just for the view. Never mind the garden filled with lemon trees, and colourful flowers I couldn’t name, or the outrageous infinity pool. It was damned inviting after stuffy London, a long flight, and the late afternoon heat.
“May I?” I looked longingly at the pool.
For a romantic location, the Amalfi coast with its stunning colours and fabulous food is hard to beat. Provided you manage to get away from the noise and the crowds, that is. So in writing Crossfire, I’ve picked the best bits from our holiday, added a few things that were missing and ended up with the perfect place to bring an introvert and make them fall in love with you.
And as I already pointed out… I had great fun doing so.
So, Dean Gilchrist and Martin Pendleton have left home and headed out into the wide beyond and here’s where you can find them:
Martin Pendleton was the most beautiful man I’d ever met. He was also the first man I’d ever been attracted to.
I’m Dean Gilchrist, and my twin sister Cat and I run a small tech startup. Looking for angel investors isn’t my favourite way to spend time. Not even when they’re gorgeous and charming. But there’s gorgeous and charming, and then there’s Martin Pendleton.
I’ve no idea why Martin caught my eye. Could be his charisma. Could be the hint of frost at his temples. Could be his voice. All I know is looking at him gives me the shivers and one word from him can turn me into the awkward, tongue-tied nerd I used to be. Nobody else has ever managed that. It’s all very strange.
Stranger still, Cat is totally fine with my sudden interest in batting for the other team. Not that I’ve done an awful lot of batting for the regular side, you understand. And I’ve no idea how to go about wooing a guy. But the way Martin makes me feel? I’ve got to try this even if it kills me. And with the way bullets suddenly start flying… it just might.