Recently, I was invited to do a blog hop by Sara Madison (my post about the blog hop is here). Now it's my turn to answer some questions about my most recent work, which happens to be the novel up there with the beautiful cover by Reese Dante (artist's link is NSFW)..
I am incredibly excited to finally have a published novel. :D The book will be available in January and should be up on Dreamspinner Press's Upcoming Books Page soon.
(Here's my Dreamspinner Author's Page.)
What is the title of your book? Black Hawk Tattoo
What genre does your book fall under? Contemporary M/M Romance
What is the synopsis of your book? This is the official synopsis from Dreamspinner:
Toronto artist Gabriel Navarro splits his time between slinging ink and working on his master's degree. He's sure of his beliefs and his artistic integrity and naïve enough to think he'll never compromise—until Iraq war veteran Jake MacLean shows up in his tattoo parlor.
Overcome with anger and survivor's guilt, Jake is locked in a struggle to atone for sins he's sure will never be forgiven. Desperate to get his life back on track and with nowhere else to go, he moves in with his sister in Toronto. He doesn't expect to fall for Gabe.
Though Jake's refusal to talk about what happened in Iraq frustrates Gabe, accepting Jake's claims that he's "fine" is easier than dealing with the truth. But pretty soon it's clear Jake can't control his panic attacks, and his condition is worsening. If Gabe can't help him face his demons, Jake is headed for a crash—and there's every chance he'll take Gabriel down with him.Where did the idea come from for the book?
That goes to ribbon_purple. Way back in--sheesh--2009 she and I ended up IM chatting about ideas for fanfiction stories. She had one in particular for an alternate universe story where John Sheppard from the SyFy channel show Stargate Atlantis was a tattoo artist, and Rodney McKay (from the same show) had lost a bet and therefore become his client. Her idea was something sweet and funny, which I instantly suggested she turn into something angsty and serious, because that's how I roll.
The more we discussed the idea, the more obvious it became that this would be far too long for fanfiction, so I suggested that we write it together as an original novel. ribbon_purple agreed and that's where Black Hawk Tattoo came from.
Later on I ended up writing the book alone with her blessing, but I owe the novel's existence to my friend. RP, thank you.
The irony of my first published novel coming from a genre I had never written or had even wanted to write has not been lost on me, let me tell you. But I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed writing something confined to our everyday world. I wouldn't even mind doing it again. :)
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither, actually. :) It's being published by Dreamspinner Press. It will be available for pre-order in December, and will be released in January.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Kind of ridiculously long. I started in 2009, but didn't actually finish the book until late 2011. But I did have four short stories published between writing BHT, which isn't too shabby. You can find out about them here, here, and here.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
ribbon_purple was definitely the catalyst. But as I got further into the novel I was motivated by the real stories of veterans of the Iraq war, the ones hurting from the mental and emotional toll of their experiences. I wanted to do justice to their suffering without glamorizing or exploiting it; I hope I have.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I enjoyed finding out about the inner workings of a typical tattoo parlor, especially the details that go into preparing someone's skin for the tattoo. I also based Gabe partially on the artist who inked the pumpkin on my arm. He considered himself an artist rather than 'just' a tattoo artist, and took his work very seriously. He refused to use most of the more common tattoo slang, because he thought it was demeaning to the artistry that went into the profession.
And…Toronto! I loved setting the novel in this great city and, in a small way, being able to celebrate my old stomping grounds. Jake's sister's house is based on the one I grew up in and that my sister owns now, and I've walked south down Yonge from the Yonge and Bloor subway more times than I can count. I would be very happy if some of that fondness comes across in the story.
Thank you for reading. :) Now the Next Big Thing hop goes to dungeonwriter who is writing a spec television script, my good friend the playwright and mystery novelist wpadmirer, and laylalawlor, who will be talking about her latest comic. They'll be posting on December 5. Please go check them out. :) And please make sure you check out Sara Madison's blog if you haven't already, because not only did she let me know about this in the first place, she also happens to be working on something pretty nifty and has been published more often than I have. And she's a great person, too. (I've also borrowed the idea of using pictures from her, because that was cool.)