YEAH!!! – It’s release day for Repaired by Melissa Collins. Lisa and I could hardly wait to tell you what we think, we’ve been bursting to tell everyone for a week now. Today we can – WOOHOO! Check out our review.
We have Melissa with us today talking about why she loves writing M/M novels. So don’t miss it and be sure to read what she has to say. There is also a giveaway where one lucky winner gets to choose any book from Melissa’s back catalogue. So check out the post and don’t miss out on anything.
Why do I write gay romances?
I am not a gay man.
You’re probably shocked right?
So then why do I write gay romances?
I was recently at a signing, chatting with an author and she said, “I just don’t know how you do it. I mean, I never could. I don’t feel like I could capture the feelings the right way, you know? Like how does it feel…” She was getting to how she wouldn’t know how gay sex would feel, therefore she’d never be able to write about it.
Now, I can appreciate that, but let’s face it. Authors don’t always live through everything they write in order to properly capture the feel of it. We’re creative and imaginative, descriptive and vivid. That’s how we do it. And before you get too cheeky and ask me about how I know what I know, let’s just leave it at that I research… a lot. And by research, I mean lots and lots of porn.
But it got me thinking – which is always dangerous. Her focus was on not being able to accurately convey the physical feelings of sex. At no point in our conversation did she discuss emotions. To put it bluntly, since she had never had anal sex, she couldn’t wrap her head around writing about two men. The more I thought about that, the more it bothered me.
I think there’s a grave misconception out there that all M/M novels are erotica, that they’re just about the hot sex.
While the hot sex in M/M novels is a bonus, that’s not always the primary focus. And it’s most definitely not the case with my books. Don’t get me wrong. I love erotica. It’s my second favorite genre to read. But, when a strictly erotica reader dives into a romance novel, there’s a chance for there to be a misalignment of expectations. The first sex scene in Repaired doesn’t happen until 45% or so. For many erotica readers, that’s a problem. But for romance readers, who can appreciate the slow burn and build up of emotions, this is actually a strong point of the novel.
For me, the romance is the most beautiful part of writing M/M novels. I love throwing together two men whose paths might not necessarily cross and letting them fall in love. There’s a raw brokenness to them and I love watching it heal. And more often than not, it heals with love and emotion, not lube and sex.
That being said, sex is important in romance novels (just like it is in real life). As a reader, you get a privileged view into the very private life of two people. And that’s why the sex has to be meaningful. Either both or one of the characters need to get something out of the sex (other than an orgasm). There has to be growth – either of the individual or of the couple – in order to make the scene meaningful.
In a totally separate conversation with a blogger, she wanted to know why I wrote about gay men instead of lesbians. Her theory was that since I was a woman, wouldn’t I be better at writing about women. Again her point was alluding to the fact that I would have an easier time capturing emotions that were somehow more aligned with my own. For me, the answer was simple. I know what it feels like to be wanted by a man and I know what it feels like to want a man, to be loved by a man, and to love one in return. That’s the emotion I build on, and if two characters who happen to be lesbians ever pop into my head, then I know I’d be able to write their story beautifully because it would be about the love and not just the sex.
So for me, the mantra of “love is love” is the reason why I write gay romances. There’s nothing gay or straight about it. It’s a human experience and that’s the beauty of it all. No matter who you are, no matter who you love, no matter where the parts go when you have sex, love is love.
Publisher: Melissa Collins
Release: 23rd June 2015
Genre: M/M (contemporary)
Liam Davis is a man without a past. That’s what he wants everyone to believe, anyway. Hell-bent on erasing any memories of his previous life, he knows that starting over is all he can do. Hiding who he is, where he’s from, why he’s running, and especially who he’s left behind, Liam has run away from everything he’s ever known. His plan works perfectly until one day when Parker Ryan threatens to expose his carefully concealed world.
Parker Ryan is a man without a future. Sure, he’s a partner in one of New York’s most prestigious law firms, but he’ll never be more than a failure in the eyes of his boss, his father. Rather than break away from his father’s standards, he finds himself mindlessly pursuing them, in turn sacrificing anything that would actually make him happy.
When Liam’s and Parker’s lives collide, the ugly truth about who they really are, and who they hope to become reveals itself when they least expect it. As both of their lives become wrecked beyond all belief, they’ll learn how to rely on each other in their journey to become Repaired.
Lisa’s and Mark’s Review
“Have you ever felt as if the life you’re living is supposed to be so much more than it actually is? Like it’s not the one you’re supposed to have, but you have no clue how to change it?”
Lisa: Repaired is the newest stand-alone M/M romance by Melissa Collins. I now have a few books by this author under my belt and I readily admit that she is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. Her books are so heartfelt, passionate and real. This latest story is no exception. Both men in this tale are in desperate need of love, understanding and acceptance. Can they find their way to a life of happiness that seems so far out of reach? What are your overall first impressions regarding this book, Mark? I know you love this author as much as I do. :)
Mark: OMG, Lisa! Once again Melissa has pushed all my buttons with this latest addition to her M/M romances and all I can say is, at the end of this book I was left emotionally drained. Melissa for me is a genius. A wordsmith of emotion, with real characters and situations that you connect to immediately. You feel for them, their joys, their lows, their issues, their emotions, their fears and hopes. Her writing flows and reads easily but is never superficial or overly flowery, always letting the reader get to the real emotion driving her characters. Her plots are well paced and thought out, keeping the reader glued to the page. Once again Melissa builds up the dynamics of romance beautifully with her two MCs before they get to the sex, so you have to be patient but when it happens it’s all the more meaningful and poignant because of it, not forgetting hot of course! She took me once again on a roller-coaster ride of indescribable feelings, from despair to exuberance, from anger to love, from anguish to pure joy. Yep, it is little wonder for me that she is a New York Times Best Selling Author. Melissa in my book deserves the Pultizer Prize for Romance. I would buy her books blind. I think that possibly makes me a qualified and certified fan-girl!!! *squeee* - lol! Anyway, time to calm down and talk about the story. Over to you Lisa while I go and fan myself.
“He had a past he wanted to erase and I had a future I wanted to escape.”
Lisa: Liam Davis is a man that has been running from his past for ten years. A little bit of luck and a lot of hard work has allowed Liam to make something of himself as a mechanic. He’s allowed only a few people into his inner circle and even they do not know everything that happened to him when he was a young teen. Liam is guarded and firmly believes that love, a family and a happy future are not in his destiny. Who knew it would take a sexy lawyer with some alpha tendencies to tilt Liam’s world off its axis and chip away at his carefully erected walls?
Mark: Liam, oh poor Liam! From the first chapter my heart went out to him. This lost and lonely boy on the run. Trying to escape a past he doesn’t want to remember and with all good reason. However, Melissa doesn’t portray him as some helpless young man, like a puppy looking for love. No, he has real issues that keep him from believing he can ever be happy. He has raw spots that when pressed make him just want to run and hide all over again, where his temper flares up uncontrollably and you’re left thinking, “WTF is his problem?” So as much as I loved him, in real life he would seriously be difficult to handle. Right up until the end, Liam is shrouded in this mystery about his past that he doesn’t want to share. It gives the reader the constant feeling of, “My goodness, what did he suffer as a teenager to make him so mistrustful of people?” - “What is this terrible past that he can’t tell anyone?” However, Melissa’s skilful writing starts to give you the clues hidden within his behaviour of what possibly could have happened, but you never know for sure. At about 50% in I had a pretty good idea of what he could have gone through but not exactly. Even then you push it to the back of your mind as it is one of the unspeakable horrors.
Then at the end of the book when the dam breaks and there is no way out for Liam, he lays it out there for Parker - OMG and HOLY SH**!! It was like being run over by an express train of emotion. I went from despair, anger and being sick to the pit of my stomach (not at Liam but what he experienced in his past), to relief, happiness and an overwhelming joy. Yes, I cried a river for both characters! But most of all for Liam. Nothing gets my tear ducts flowing more than when a broken character finds his closure. You’d better take over Lisa, my monitor is going blurry again with watery eyes just thinking about Liam. Lets change the subject quick. So, what did you think of Parker then?
Lisa: Parker Ryan exudes confidence and is the picture of a successful man all wrapped up in a freshly pressed suit. His life has always been about pleasing his distant and stoic father, who hates the fact that Parker is gay. Rather than accepting that he will never be good enough in his eyes, Parker relentlessly pursues his father’s agenda all the while sacrificing a life that can actually make him happy. He’s a successful lawyer working for his father’s prestigious law firm, engaging in cases he does not believe in and working for individuals who make his skin crawl. Parker comes from money and greed and is unable to grasp his bleak future. It takes one incredibly broken mechanic to challenge him and perhaps set him on a different path.
Mark: Yep, your typical case of on the outside he’s all successful, suave, swimming in money and the occasional asshole. On the inside though he is as emotionally poor and broken as Liam. He really is that child who had no love and affection from his parents. Possibly the only reason his parents ever had him in the first place was to make sure their Law Firm continues in family hands, a child to be used as a means to an end like everything else in their lives. What a shock that must have been when he told his father he was gay. His father never lets him forget it either, that this is one of his biggest disappointments in Parker and has no qualms in telling him. What a bigot of the worst kind. Ooohh, I wanted to give him a mouthful and stand up to him for Parker. But it takes Liam to show that Parker does need to cower to his father, constantly trying to feign his affection like the lost little boy that was never loved. Liam gave him the strength to break away, giving his father a huge one finger salute (YES!! *fist-pump*) and realising that he is loved very much even if it isn’t from his own family. But what about the pair of them together? Two world’s collide, right?
Lisa: Yes, the romance between Liam and Parker was so sweet and passionate. I loved how they both simply fell for one another, something they did not see coming. It was not easy and they both find themselves being thrown off kilter; however, what they shared was beautifully messy, honest and something worth diving into. I think Liam came into Parker’s life at exactly the right moment. It was like Parker had hit a fork in the dark and dismal road he was travelling. He could continue sacrificing his own life and happiness and be the man he thinks his father wants him to be, or he could finally be brave enough to break free and become the man he has always wanted to become. I think Liam and the promise of what they could have were the little push that Parker needed. As their lives intertwined, Liam was someone who brought light and happiness into Parker’s world and it was that beautiful light that was calling him and led him to take the right path.
Mark: Exactly! As broken as Liam was he had admirable qualities that just drew Parker in. They were, for each other, a shining light in their individual, emotional turmoil that promised it could be more. Together they could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a long journey they have to embark on first. They could heal each other, however as always there are a number of hurdles to be jumped. Coming from two completely different backgrounds as far as social class is concerned, the one common thing they had was that the love of their families were non-existent. So the question was more, could these differences in social class be bridged, even though they are good for each other, can they accept their very different pasts. This is still a difficult thing to escape and Melissa handles this subject beautifully, never saccharine, always realistic and down-to-earth.
Lisa: Parker was also someone that challenged Liam and gave him exactly what he needed. He slowly breaks through his cautiously erected barriers even when Liam tries to push him away. It definitely took time for Liam to trust Parker enough with his past and his secrets, something that did not come easy for him. I simply loved how Parker stepped up to the plate and slowly began to repair all of Liam’s cracks. Just like Liam was slowly repairing all of his. What they gave to one another was nothing short of beautiful.
Mark: Couldn’t agree more Lisa. Parker was exactly the sort of person Liam needed at that time in his life. He breaks down Liam’s defences with an empathy that can only come when two people really understand and love each other. He is supportive when needed, challenging when needed, knowing when to back off when he has gone too far with Liam. You can feel all of this which keeps you willing them on to that light at the end of the tunnel.
Lisa: All in all, Repaired is yet another example of why I love this author and her beautifully intricate romances. Ms. Collins never fails to capture my attention and my heart with her emotional, effortless and poignant writing style. I love how she took these two men from different worlds and showed us how even when our lives seem to be a mess and heading in a direction that you may never have expected, even when there are twists and turns you may not see coming, love can show us the way.
Mark: All I can say to that Lisa is, “DITTO and AMEN!”
Meet Melissa Collins
Melissa Collins has always been a book worm. Studying Literature in college ensured that her nose was always stuck in a book. She followed her passion for reading to the most logical career choice: English teacher. Her hope was to share her passion for reading and the escapism of books to her students. Having spent more than a decade in front of a classroom, she can easily say that it’s been a dream.
Her passion for writing didn’t start until more recently. When she was home on maternity leave in early 2012, she read her first romance novel and her head filled with the passion, angst and laughter of the characters who she read about it. It wasn’t long before characters of her own took shape in her mind. Their lives took over Melissa’s brain and The Love Series was born.
*To celebrate the release of Repaired, On Solid Ground will be on sale this week for a special price of $0.99!*
On Solid Ground
Let Love Live
Melissa will be giving away a choice of any book from her back catalogue to celebrate the release of Repaired. Just enter the rafflecopter draw below.
Good Luck X