Happy Release Day to Santino Hassell
Santino Hassel is with us today at Sinfully! So please join us in welcoming him on the release day of his new novel Stygian. He’s popped in to chat about unrequited love and just some of the awesome romance novels that feature it so well.
Talking about tropes is fun because even though they can be overused, most writers approach them in different ways. Whether we’re discussing possessive lovers, opposites attract, or friends-to-lovers, the scenario is influenced by personalities and circumstances unique to the characters in that novel.
STYGIAN is hella tropey. Friends-to-lovers, unrequited love, jealousy, mysterious strangers, and of course paranormal beings stacked with beauty and sensuality. Am I ashamed of using tropes? Hell no. I didn’t start outlining with a checklist by my side. The plot came together after I developed the characters and thought about how each one interacts with the world, how the world responds, and why. The plot changed close to a dozen times as I went through this process.
I set out with the intentions of this book being a human/vampire love story but because of the chemistry between Jeremy and Kennedy, STYGIAN evolved into a story of trust and friendship, but also perceived unrequited love—one of my favorite tropes.
There’s something about this sort of romance that leaves me immensely satisfied by the end, which is probably why the theme pops up often in my books. However, I don’t just love writing about it—I love reading it as well. Below is a short list of awesome romance novels featuring characters who have no idea the object of their affection feels the same way.
rock by Anyta Sunday – This book is phenomenal. After Cooper’s parents divorce, he finds himself living in a strange house with a stepbrother who he really wants to despise. Except he doesn’t. We watch Cooper grow up and see his feelings evolve from resentment to grudging acceptance to a crush that slowly turns into an agonizing swelling of forbidden love and affection.
Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen – Two friends reconnect on a beach vacation after not seeing each other for years, and their friendship heats up. There are a lot of layers to this book—Carey initially identifies as straight and is suffering from PTSD while Jase has been yearning for him all along, but never believed anything could happen between them.
Daron’s Guitar Chronicles by Cecilia Tan – I haven’t read this book yet but it has come highly recommended by many friends, and I’m bumping it up on my packed TBR. It’s a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll set in the 1980s and follows a closeted musician who is fighting feelings for his bandmate. Judging by the reviews, my mini summary doesn’t do this series justice at ALL.
Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson – I love this story so much. After college, two life-long best friends head out on a cross-country road trip while dealing with looming expectations, loss, and mutual love and affection they’ve both been stifling for years.
The Lonely Drop by Vanessa North – Not sure how I managed to not read this considering the glowing reviews. Snow storms, sizzling sex, and friends who have been reunited after years and are still too reluctant to let down their guards and open up? Yeah, I’ll take a double helping.
How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by JC Lillis – Friends who yearn and deal with perceived unrequited love, but with a NA twist! Two young vloggers head out on a road trip and realize their fans aren’t the only ones who’ve been shipping them. Team Abandon for life!
What are some of your favorite romances featuring unrequited love?
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 26th October 2015
Genre ~ Gothic Horror M/M Romance
Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but—lost in their own problems—they’re far from the family he sought.
Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band's enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music, but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway.
Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he's finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroways’ secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.
Meet Santino Hassell
Santino Hassell says that while New York City is his heart, writing is his soul. He writes LGBTQ romance heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of NYC, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.
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