The lovely Lynn Charles has popped in for a chat today as she celebrates the release of her new book Black Dust.
Author Q & A with Lynn Charles
Hi Lynn, thanks for popping in for a chat, could you tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
I'm happy to be here! I’m an author, wife and mother living in Central Ohio. I’ve been writing—from lavish journal entries to fictional stories—most of my life. My first novel, Chef's Table, was published in December 2014 with Interlude Press. Black Dust is about a couple who, fifteen years after a tragic car accident tore them apart, are given a second chance to heal and to love.
What genres do you enjoy writing in?
I have always written romance. I started writing het romance years ago—what I typically read at the time—but now I enjoy writing gay romance. I'd love to try suspense or mystery, or even general fiction before I hang up my keyboard. But for now, love is a great theme.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
I had a serious case of the sophomore slumps with this book. I mentally heard editorial comments during my first sloppy draft. I heard one previous bad review mocking every decision I tried to make. I fought with time management and with self-doubt. It honestly knocked me on my backside. But, even through great frustration, I kept pushing. I was able to silence the editorial commentary and the bad reviews—for the most part—and then it was just me and the characters sitting down to tell their story. Sadly, that didn't hit until about 2/3rds of the way through the book. But it happened, and then I could go back and make more sense of it as a whole.
What did you enjoy most about writing your book?
I genuinely liked my characters. I liked spending time with them, even when they were being stupid. I liked my minor characters as well. Mac was someone I'd love to spend an evening with. I wish I could watch Derek perform and I had a million Tori's in my life as a voice major and the short period of time I taught. I believed in Emmett and Toby and the need for them to be together, so it was fun (when it wasn't stressful—see previous answer) to make that happen for them.
What cultural value do you see in writing?
Words have power, even if they're just for entertainment. They can be a mirror to our visible world, or to the worlds inside each of us. They paint in true colors and expand our imagination into new shades and hues. Even if spelled out in sci-fi or fantasy, they reflect the human experience and show us what can be.
What is your favourite positive saying?
This is the signature of my email:
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
~ Dalai Lama
The trick is being kind when you don't feel like it's possible—or when you're so frustrated you don't take the extra minute to find the possibility. I keep trying…
Publisher ~ Interlude Press
Published ~ 7th April 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
No matter how busy he keeps himself, successful Broadway musician Tobias Spence can’t outrun the memory of a tragic car crash from his past that claimed a friend’s life and permanently injured his former boyfriend, Emmett.
Even after losing Tobias, Emmett Henderson made peace with that awful night, living in his Indiana hometown where he has become a revered choral director. When his students are asked to perform in New York City, he decides to chance reconnecting with his former love, if for no other reason than to get a proper goodbye.
When Emmett and Tobias finally meet 15 years after parting ways, it is clear to both of them that their feelings for each other have not changed. As they explore their renewed relationship, the two men face old hurts and the new challenges of a long-distance romance. Will Tobias lose his second chance at love to the ghosts he can’t seem to put to rest?
::: ALAN’S REVIEW :::
"I can't, Emmett. I—can't go back."
"Then we are clearly not ready for any sort of commitment."
"Wait. You won't agree to—to us—unless I come to Indiana?"
"I won't," Emmett said. "It's all feeling a little one-sided to me, and I'm not okay with that."
"You don't understand."
"I do understand, Toby. I was there for everything that makes you afraid of that place."
"Yes. You were," Toby said, taking Emmett's hand in his. "But my concerns about going back have nothing to do with you."
"Maybe they should have something to do with me."
"That's—" Toby pulled his hand away. "That's not fair."
"It really is," Emmett said. He reached across the table for Toby's hand again. "Please?" Toby took his hand and Emmett squeezed, holding on as if he might never let go. "We experienced a great tragedy together. And while Scotty's parents lost their son, no one felt the things we felt. No one else woke up screaming and sweating when we heard the sounds of the crash in our sleep."
"No one else knew the fear of maybe never walking again. No one else lost weight and a semester of school because he might get thrown in jail. No one else felt the things we felt together. That's all ours. As much as you want to, you cannot take me out of the equation."
"But, that's just it, Em. I don’t want to feel those things again. I cannot walk back into that—that darkness."
Emmett pulled their joined hands to his lips and kissed Toby’s knuckles. "You already have. You have been so enamored—you've practically spent this entire week making love to my scars. You're there. And it's not so dark anymore."
"No, because you're whole again. You're not broken anymore."
Emmett saw it, then. He saw in the way Toby had almost obsessed over the ridiculous tattoo and Emmett's scars, as if begging for them to also bring him the powers that Derek had wished upon Emmett's body those years ago. He saw it in Toby's insistence that they start all over as if the accident never happened, as if the years of silence weren't strung between them like a rope and plank bridge connecting two separate lands.
So he said it. To give it power. To make it a truth they shared—like their shared tragedy. "And you still are. Broken."
Toby nodded, grasping at Emmett's fingers like a lifeline. "I'm so—" He took a deep, shuddering breath. "I'm so exhausted making sure no one knows."
"Oh, Toby." All the more reason “trying again” was a bad idea. Unready to let go, Emmett kissed Toby's fingers again. "Then come to my home," Emmett offered, trite as it sounded in his own ears. "I've remodeled the master and made a party room in my basement for the kids."
"You've never told me—"
"It's beautiful, really. It's on a couple of acres, and the back of the property is lined with a stream you can hear from the kitchen when the windows are open. It's very peaceful. It sounds like you need some peace."
"You deserve a beautiful life."
"So let me share it with you. At least think about it?"
Toby nodded and began to clean up. "Will you still come see me in San Francisco after school's out?"
"I don't know. I'd really like an answer before I agree to see you again."
"Okay. I'm sorry it's not as easy as it should be."
"I am too, Toby. Being with you was always so easy."
Connect with the Author
Lynn Charles earned her degree in music education and for many years performed and directed choral music. When she’s not writing, she can be found strolling through local farmers markets near her home in Central Ohio in search of ingredients for new recipes. Her novel Chef’s Table was published in 2014 by Interlude Press.
Rafflecopter Prize: $25 IP Gift Card Grand Prize + 5 eBooks editions of Black Dust