Giveaway!!Chris will be awarding a $100 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. So, comment often and follow the tour to comment some more! Find the schedule HERE.
At fifteen, Justin is already a cynic. He’s experienced too many betrayals, too many disappointments. He doesn’t want to be involved in anything. He doesn’t want to be popular. He doesn’t even want friends anymore, since they only ever let you down. He just wants to get through high school and the best way he can come up with to accomplish that goal is to simply be invisible.
His self-imposed exile from high school life is threatened when Liam, the scary stoner, reaches out to him. What starts out as a strange and unsettling encounter with the unnerving, pot-smoking teenager evolves into the sort of friendship that changes the course of a person’s life.
But as Liam drags the reluctant Justin out of his shell, Liam’s own secret is revealed.
Fearless is the story of the myriad shades of love, how to find one’s courage and the transformative power of friendship.
“Is that you, Liam?” a woman’s voice called.
“It’s me, mom. And I brought my friend Justin with me.”
Liam’s mom was one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen in real life. I guess I mean that she was obviously a beautiful woman, underneath the signs of exhaustion. Her green eyes were soft and kind, but under them were dark rings that hinted at many sleepless nights. Her face was flawless, but it was also gaunt.
She cleaned her hands with a towel and smiled at the both of us. “Justin, it’s nice to meet you. You can just call me Anna.”
“Um, hi.” I looked sidelong at Liam. “Uh, nice to meet you too.”
“We’re going to take Sully out to the park, okay?”
A brief squall of worry passed over Anna’s face, and when it was gone her warm smile was back. “All right. Dinner’s at five.”
“Hot dogs and potato salad?” Liam asked, and even I could tell that his hopeful look was sarcastic.
“Very funny. The store had a good sale on cabbage and spinach, so it’s Brown Rice Bake tonight.”
“Joy,” Liam sighed.
“Are you staying for dinner?”
“Uh,” I looked at Liam and I could see he didn’t want to face this mysterious rice dish alone. My mom was going to be working late anyway. “If it’s not any trouble.”
“Of course not, there’s plenty.”
“In fact, you can have mine,” Liam muttered.
He affected an innocent look, which made his mom roll her eyes and head into the kitchen.
Meet the Author
What is it about the YA novel genre that called to you?
The teen years are a time of tremendous flux. People come and go in your life, you start to have romantic feelings, you are working out who you are as a person. And yet you are still in the nest, your life is still (to some degree) ruled by your family. It’s a time period rich with story possibilities.
How has your self-publishing career treated you in the past few years?
Quite well. I was very uncertain in the beginning, but the more I have gotten into it, the more I have come to love it. I’m not quite so arrogant to think I don’t need an editor, so I won’t say that I love being able to write whatever I want. However, I do like that I have the final say on content, covers and marketing. Also, it’s nice that I get to keep most of the money from my efforts.
What would you do differently, if you could, and what would you never change for the world?
In general? In my life? In this book? Seriously, I could write a whole book just answering this question. Limiting the scope of this question to Fearless (since that’s what we’re here to talk about) I would have made it longer. I am totally happy with it the way it is. And I am glad I stuck to my goal. YA books are supposed to be shorter, so I targeted this one to be 40K words. It was 43K when I finished the first draft, and 51K after a much-needed rewrite. Several scenes that had floated around my head never made it to the page. With so many people asking me, “Why was it so short?” I have come to think that I should have done more. But as it is, I am quite happy with the book.
LOL... Elyah mentioned that she wishes it were longer too.
What do you think was the largest influencing factor that pushes you as a writer?
The need for a paycheck. No! I kid! Seriously, ever since I started writing, I’ve had ideas flooding my brain. I talk about having a muse, because it’s like there is something in me that just needs to craft stories.
Do you have any other projects coming up that you are excited about?
Naturally. For a long time, I’ve wanted to create something like Hunger Games or Harry Potter that actually acknowledged the existence of gay people. I decided to go with a super hero theme. Then my muse tricked me and turned it into a Sci Fi story. I’ve been working really hard on the first book, throwing it out to author friends and editors to guarantee the highest quality. Hybrids: Arrival is due out before the end of the year. Hybrids: Conversion will follow soon, I hope.
Can't wait for it to come out! We would love to review it for you as well.
What was your inspiration for Fearless?
As I have said at other stops, there I this phrase, “the only thing worse than fear is regret” that I think all people should take to heart. It’s something I wish I had learned when I was younger. Yes, it hurts to ask someone out and be rejected. Yes, it’s scary to try something new that you may fail at. But life should be lived, not observed.
Fearless was inspired by that phrase and how one might come to learn to face the difficulties life throws at you with courage.
Who is(are) your favorite author(s)?
Alex Sanchez and Brent Hartinger are simply the best gay YA authors out there. Sanchez’s “Getting It” heavily influenced the direction I went in with my YA books. Hartinger’s Russell Middlebrook series is fantastic, but his novel Shadow Walkers blazed the trail for what I am trying to do with Hybrids—show that gay teens can have adventures and be the hero too. In YA romance, the best I’ve read of late was Superhero by Eli Easton. Adult romance, I am loving R. Cooper’s Being(s) in Love series.
We want to thank SOOOOO much for joining us Chris! Thank you for the great book and such wonderful answers to our questions.