OMG! This story has just blown me away, chewed me up, spat me out and left me physically and emotionally drained. It’s not very often that I read a story that gets me sobbing buckets, but this one did it! Thank goodness it will continue otherwise I will be flying over to pay Carter Quinn a visit and camping outside his house on his front garden until the next instalment arrives. Check out why I’m ranting about this book in my review below………..
We are so delighted to have Carter here with us today on the Sinfully Sexy Sofa answering some of the questions Mark has had…………
Author: Carter Quinn
Released: 17th September 2014
Genre: M/M (mystery)
Henry Cooley has good friends and a good life. He’s secure in his job and his relationship. He and Tom, the love of his life, are about to celebrate their twenty-first anniversary as a couple. Their son, CJ, is in his second year at Cal Arts. Henry's only problems are his growing dissatisfaction with his job and the fact that Tom's parents still hate him, even after all these years. At least those are his only problems until the morning he wakes up to discover Tom has vanished.
OMG!…..OMG!……….HOLY CRAP!! I haven’t…… I have never………I just can’t……it’s been a long time since I have read something that has packed a punch like this and all that in 78 pages – WOW! I mean it was like “freaking amazeballs” to coin a phrase from my fellow blogger Macky. This book blew me away and still has a firm grip on my nerves and heart-strings 24 hrs later. This book just won’t let me go.
It begins with Henry and Tom living their Happy Ever After. They’ve made it and the story starts where most romances leave off. Henry Cooley and Tom MacKinnon have everything any couple would wish for. They have been together for 21 years, have jobs, although not their dream jobs anymore but it gives them a comfortable lifestyle. They also have an adopted son they love, adore and our extremely proud of. They are also still very much in love with each other after all these years. Sheer domestic bliss! May sound a little schmaltzy and I’m sure that even these two would have had their disagreements but nothing that was ever bad enough to pull them asunder. This we all learn through Henry’s reflecting on his past. Everyone’s perfect couple. Geez, I could just feel the love these two guys had for each other. You could almost cry for joy at the pair of them. A rare thing indeed and a real fairy tale HEA. Wonderful!
Henry wakes up one Monday morning with a serious hangover after heavily hitting the booze the night before to find that Tom is already up and gone for his morning run. Nothing unusual here, routine as normal. Anyway, Henry goes to work even though they would normally go together after having breakfast, but Henry reckons Tom’s run must have taken him longer than normal due to the evening before and after 21 years together doesn’t really make anything of it, leaves a note for him and sets off to work. I mean who wouldn’t? However, in a nutshell Henry never hears from Tom again.
Carter builds up the suspense and angst with such skill that without thinking anything too bad at the beginning, as anyone in a solid relationship would know, you might be forgiven in thinking, “Oh, Tom will turn up!” But time starts to tick by and when the preliminary attempts to contact Tom fail by doing the normal things like trying to reach him on his cell phone or at the office. You start to make the usual logical explanations to yourself why you haven’t heard anything and start telling yourself to stop being so silly, while trying to push away that little irksome feeling of panic in the back of your mind. I’m sure some of us have been there at some stage in our lives, if it’s only been for a couple of hours or half a day. You know the feeling, “Damn it, where can he be?” However, after 48 hours and no life sign then you can really fall apart as Henry does and has every right to do so. He calls upon his best friend Shaun in his hour of need, but several things left me feeling that I really didn’t trust this guy one bit. Later I could have hugged him and then at the end I was left once again with a huge question mark over his friendship with Henry.
Oh shit! This IS everyone’s own personal nightmare and Carter takes you on this hell ride with him into your worst fears about such a situation experienced through the eyes of Henry. I just couldn’t put the book down and blew my bed time curfew. A good job it was only a short story otherwise I seriously would have been in danger of being awake for the rest of the night. I was having palpitations of pure angst at only the thought of what Henry was going through. It really is I reckon one of the worst nightmare scenarios anyone could find themselves in. While I was reading I kept glancing at my husband of 11 years now, partner for 14, only thinking to myself, fuck, fuck, what if this was my hubby? Would I behave like Henry? The only answer I could give myself was ~ YES, like totally!!!!
Then comes a revelation a turn of events that I never in my wildest dreams expected. I was left crying rivers! Henry’s sense of loss for me was all consuming, as if a part of him has died with Tom’s disappearance. I was snivelling everywhere, could hardly read through the tears in my eyes and could have bought shares in Kleenex Tissues. Reduced to a complete emotional wreck! My hubby was looking at me as though I had lost the plot and he really would have been right! GAWD, Henry’s anguish, his heart-break, his torment, his suffering, and written in such a way that anyone who could read this and not reach for a tissue to wipe away a tear can’t have a single emotional bone left in their body. Because although it may set out to be a mystery, it definitely packs a punch in the grief department and that feeling was the main theme for me, I was an emotional mess. But then…… But then…….. comes the end of the story WTF!!!! I tell you if the next part of this story isn’t published soon I’ll be setting up camp on Carter’s front lawn and staying put until it has been written.
It’s a very rare thing when I book reduces me to such emotions that I just feel the urge to persuade anyone and everyone to read it. I think you can probably tell by my review, so I apologise if I may be a little incoherent on this occasion, this book has left me totally awed. To think that this was all packed into 78 pages of pure, unadulterated, literary emotion is absolutely incredible! All I can say is READ THIS BOOK! I beg you. If you have nothing else planned for two hours then sit down undisturbed, take the phone off the hook, tissues at hand or at best a glass of wine and some comfort chocolate, buckle up and be prepared to be taken on an emotional ride that will stay with you for a long time.
Interview with Carter Quinn
Mark: Hi Carter and welcome to Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews. You have just left me breathless with your book Vanished, I mean WOW what a hell of a ride that was. Where did the ideas come from for this story?
Carter: Thank you for having me, Mark. It’s a pleasure to be here. And thank you for the awesome review. It means a lot. This book is pretty special to me.
The concept came from thinking about my parents and grandparents. At the time I started writing it, Mom and Dad had been together for 42 years and my dad was dying. (My grandfather died a week after his and Grandma’s 44th anniversary.) I couldn’t help but wonder how Mom (and Grandma before her) would feel one day waking up and suddenly remembering he’d never be there beside her again. I couldn’t imagine the emptiness one would feel. And then my writer’s mind morphed it into “how would it feel if the man I loved just vanished without a trace one night?”
Mark: As I said in my review, Henry and Tom are living their HEA until they are ripped out of it by the circumstances of Tom’s disappearance. This must be everyone’s personal nightmare scenario. Was there any research put in about how people might behave in such a situation?
Carter: They really are, aren’t they? I almost felt bad messing with their world, but it had to be done. My brother-in-law is a psychologist, so I talked to him a bit about it. He said I was on the right track, so I just let my mind explore as I wrote.
Mark: Henry and Tom were a long time together before they could legally wed and they also have an adopted son. What is the current situation in the US on marriage equality generally today?
Carter: We’re winning, slowly but surely. It’s been amazing to watch. If you’d told me when I came out 22 years ago that this would happen, I would never have believed you.
Mark: One question I thought I would like a little more info on is where does Henry’s fear of bridges really come from? It was for me quite an irrational fear, but are there really people of have such a fear?
Carter: Haha. It’s a real thing! It’s called gephyrophobia. That was a little bit of the writer inserting himself into the story. I remember as a kid riding with a buddy and his mom to their place. We were getting close to this tiny little bridge that crossed a dried up old creek. Cam turned to me and whispered that I needed to be very quiet until after the bridge. His mother slowed down to about 20 mph and drove right down the middle. I don’t know what she would have done if someone had been coming. Little ones like that don’t bother me, but those triple height interstate exchanges terrify me. Every time I’m approaching one I have a vision of blowing a tire and going right off the edge. But I make it through. Much like Henry, I think they’re beautiful, I just don’t particularly care to be on them.
Mark: You packed so much into so few pages I found this feat alone absolutely incredible. Would you say there is an art or maybe a kind of formula to writing short stories?
Carter: Thank you. There is a definite art to a shorter story, but I’m not that good a writer. I just ran out of words! I had intended Vanished to be quite a bit longer, but somehow I found myself at the end. I may have panicked a bit then. I’m just really glad it worked.
Mark: You live in Colorado if I’m correct, could you tell us something about why you like living there?
Carter: The obvious answer is the mountains, but for me it’s the climate. Summers are dry and warm but not scorching. The winters are relatively mild, minus the occasional blizzard. The day after I moved here, we got 19 inches of snow. I considered it my Welcome to Colorado blizzard. I haven’t seen that much at one time since. Also, my Colorado Avalanche are right down the interstate. And it’s October now, so it’s hockey season again. Hallelujah!
Mark: How did you first start writing M/M romance?
Carter: I had put my pencils away for several years when I came across a website that was having a contest for readers to try writing. I’d seen the previous winner and thought I could do better, so I came up with In the Crease, which is now a free read on my website. The contest was canceled for lack of entries, but by then I was already about 15,000 words into The Way Back, so I just kept going. Then Out of the Blackness took two years to write and one to recover from. But I’m back in the saddle now.
Mark: There are many women out there writing fantastic M/M romance stories and all power to them too, but do you feel that as a male author you may have a slightly different angle on things or has this nothing really to do with gender and sexuality?
Carter: Honestly, I don’t. I have this huge answer for you, but I’m just going to boil it down to the basics. Here’s a secret: writers make up stuff. It’s the communication from the writer’s brain to the page and to the reader’s heart/mind that matters, not a writer’s gender.
Mark: Apart from your writing are there any hobbies or interests you have that you would like to tell us about?
Carter: You may have heard I’m a bit obsessive about hockey?
Mark: This book was left on a cliff-hanger where I had to read the last paragraph like three times to make sure I hadn’t missed something - lol! Would you maybe divulge a little about the continuation as I can’t imagine that it’s going to end here?
Carter: Aw, poor Henry. He’s been through a lot. He’s going to have a hard time convincing people he hasn’t gone off the deep end. I’m looking forward to writing it. Should be fun.
Mark: As I said in my review the next book can’t come soon enough. Would you be able to give us some indication as to how long we may have to wait? Will it be out next week? - lol!
Carter: Haha. Thank you. I have it penciled in for next summer.
Mark: Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Carter: I just want to say thank you for buying and reading and rating/reviewing. The support I receive from the readers really blows my mind and fuels my determination to keep going. Also, if you pick up Vanished, please scroll back and read the Dedication and Author’s Note. They’ll tell you so much more than I can.
Mark: Thank you for taking the time today Carter to stop by and talking with us here on the Sinfully Sexy Casting Couch. I won’t hold you up any longer from your writing Carter as I for one need the sequel to Vanished like yesterday. So off you go now and get writing - lol! Was a pleasure talking to you.
About the Author
Carter Quinn was born and raised in a very small Western Kansas town where cattle vastly outnumber humans. He began spinning tales in fourth grade. After high school, he shelved his creativity in favor of a career. Now that he knows gay fiction doesn’t have to be depressing, he’s told Corporate America to kiss his books. Carter lives in the Denver area, near his beloved Colorado Avalanche.
Connect with the Author
Carter will be giving away one eBook copy of Vanished to one very lucky winner. Just enter the Rafflecopter draw below. Good Luck!
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