Title: Blowing It
Author: Kate Aaron
Publisher: Croft House
Released: 22nd February 2015
Genre: M/M (Contemporary)
Owen Barnes never expected writing to make him rich, much less with a YA novel written for a bet. Being nominated for the Carnegie Medal, the most prestigious award a children’s author can win, is a dream come true. But Owen’s newfound fame comes at a price, and not just changing his surname to Black.
Gruff, gentle building surveyor Magnus Cassidy is the first man to catch Owen’s interest in almost two years. Owen’s agent, Max, might be trying to control his image, but Magnus sees the real Owen: the eyeliner, drainpipe jeans, and sexy underwear, not the Young Conservative in a tweed jacket Max is turning him into.
When a photo of Owen and Magnus appears online, just weeks before the Carnegie ceremony, Max starts damage limitation. Out and proud since he was fourteen, Owen isn’t going back into the closet without a fight, and he refuses to let his agent erase Magnus from his life. Encouraged by his friends, Owen lashes out, not realising his behaviour could hurt the man he’s doing it all for. Can Owen find a way to reconcile his public and private lives, or has he already blown it?
Contents: passive tops and slutty bottoms, bitchy best friends, bad jokes, sexy underwear, an excess of beards, and a smattering of angst. May contain nuts.
For me this was a light but thoroughly entertaining read. Owen Barnes is now a popular author after writing a YA novel after a bet with a friend that he couldn’t do it. It’s not what he ever wanted to write but it gives him a very popular lifestyle. The only problem with such a lifestyle where you are more or less public property of your agent and always in the public eye means that he has had to go back into the closet and bang the door firmly shut. the public knowing that he’s gay doesn’t fit the image of a YA novelist. I must admit to thinking how difficult this must be and for stars alike. Having to hide yourself because of the media and press. For someone like Owen who is actually very open this must have excruciating living a double or undercover life. It takes a lot of courage, even today, to come out and then to have to go back into the closet must have been a nightmare. Owen copes with this although his rebellious self is always lurking under the surface.
Both MCs were in poisonous relationships before and carry the emotional scars from that time. I loved this aspect where not only are they under pressure to make their own relationship work considering the circumstances, but also have to learn with each other’s help to leave the baggage of their previous relationships behind them. You could really feel how this previous experiences have also affected their behaviour and the people they are today. After I all we are all a product of our experiences and this is evident here with Owen and Magnus.
His world is thrown for a loop when he meets Magnus, a building surveyor, at one of his public readings who is there with his niece who is a big fan of Owen and loves his books. Magnus I loved, he is down to earth, caring, understanding and even when he lets himself into a relationship with Owen realises due to Owen’s public profile what he is letting himself in for. However, even as perfect as Magnus is this would put a strain on anyone’s relationship and inevitably does. Owen is now in a dilemma and wishes nothing more than to be with Magnus in the public eye. However, his agent has other plans and sets Owen up so at least the media thinks he has a girlfriend. I found this a really dirty and rotten trick from his agent and hated the man straight away. Someone who really doesn’t care about Owen’s own happiness but only thinks about the sales and image of his prized author.
This becomes too much for Owen and in an act of defiance he goes out one evening and lets the whole world know through the press that he is gay. Oh my! Talk about the proverbial hitting the fan. A media scandal of the best type. This had me laughing as if you’re really going to come out to the world then I guess there are no half measures and boy did Owen do this in style. Causing a shit-storm for his agent and publisher. But people are more understanding than you think thank goodness and doesn’t affect Owen’s popularity as much as you would think.
He has to write the third and last book in his trilogy but is having a problem doing it. I loved the parallel that Kate draws here. Owen struggling with his book because he isn’t allowed to write the ending he feels in his heart he needs to, but having to bow to the commercial side of editors, agents and publishers. But once he throws caution to the wind then the HEA can happen and the book becomes a roaring success. A huge middle finger salute to his agent – YES!!!!
This is book for me that shows how difficult it is to lead two lives in one. The public and the private but once the flood gates break then all’s well that ends well.
Meet Kate Aaron
She holds a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature and an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture, and is an outspoken advocate for equal rights. When not hitting the campaign trail, doting slavishly on Elvis or simply trying to earn a crust, she does what she does best – writes about men in love.