We are thrilled to welcome and interview Zane Riley here at Sinfully today, as he celebrates the release of With or Without You. There is also a giveaway, so don’t forget to enter!
Hi Zane, thank you for popping in for this interview. Could you please tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hi! I’m Zane, and I’m a queer transgender writer from northern Virginia. Currently, I’m in the process of packing up to move to Washington state, so I’m pretty busy at the moment, but also very excited. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, although I didn’t get truly serious about it until college when I switched my major to Creative Writing.
With or Without You is my second novel and a sequel to my first. It continues Will and Lennox’s story as they finish up their senior year of high school. As they begin to learn how to navigate their growing relationship, Will plans for his future in college while Lennox struggles to accept that his future is more than surviving until the next day. They each begin to forge their own paths only to realize that the futures they each want may lead them away from each other.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To never stop seems to vague, but also true. I want to keep writing and creating and growing, both as a person and as an intellectual and as a writer. I once told my mother, jokingly, that I wanted to publish ten books by my thirtieth birthday. I don’t think I’ll make it to ten, but two isn’t a bad start. I’d rather be a little slower to produce, and give myself the extra time to make sure my work is growing and as great as it can be at that point in time, than publish every little thing I write. So I amend that joking quip at my mother to “I want to still be writing at thirty. I still want to be writing for myself, in my free time, and writing stories that become novels.”
How many published books do you have? Can you tell us something about them?
With or Without You is my second book. It is a sequel to my first novel, Go Your Own Way, which is the story of two teenage boys from very different backgrounds who meet and fall in love. Their relationship is very tumultuous, and it takes time and hardship for Will and Lennox to learn to understand each other. It’s a story about people being more than what they show themselves to be, and about finding a home and family.
With or Without You is the follow up to that, and continues Will and Lennox’s story as they finish their senior year of high school and try to navigate themselves towards a future they can’t predict. This second novel, I think, becomes a deeper exploration of what love can be in someone’s life, but also what it can’t change or “fix”. Lennox’s journey takes center stage as he simultaneously realizes his past doesn’t dictate his future and that not every love in his life means that he ultimately gets left behind.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
In this second novel, I would argue that Lennox is the biggest of the main characters, but I think Will is the best choice to answer this question. So much of the story revolves around Lennox’s personality, his abilities, capabilities, and so on, that Will can become background at times. He’s this steadiness for the narrative while they’re in high school and in Virginia and in a setting were Will is entirely at ease.
Little fractures start to appear for that with this novel, but for me what makes Will so special is his patience, his ability to give people the chances and opportunities to be the best of what they are. He has this way of seeing these little parts of people they might be ashamed of or might want to hide, and he waits for those. He hopes. In some ways, it’s a naïve way to navigate life. It can be dangerous, and Will’s been lucky so far. Lennox is more than he appears to be, better and less cruel than he acts in Go Your Own Way. But not every person who acts like Lennox is a good person, both in stories or in real life. And that’s a lesson Will still hasn’t learned while he’s been sheltered in Virginia.
What are you working on at the moment? What’s it about?
I have two projects that I’m currently working on. The first is the third in this series, following after With or Without You. I won’t say too much else about it because spoilers, but it’s going to finish up Will and Lennox’s journey.
My second project is about a transgender boy with synesthesia as he deals with the upheaval of his teenage years. Also skateboarding, street art, and probably a road trip. It’s still in the early stages, but it’s an idea I’ve had for a few years now.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I generally aim for about one thousand words a day, but that’s not a hard goal. As long as I write something every day then I’m content. I try not to set too many parameters for writing unless I’m on a deadline. I don’t say, “You’ve got to write this one! Ignore what’s actually inspiring you and force yourself to write this one!” I’ve found, for me, that doing that is very counterproductive. Ideally, I’d write the one that’s got a deadline first, but some days that doesn’t work out and that’s fine. I think it’s more important to get some sort of writing done every day, than it is to work on a specific project daily.
With or Without You
(Go Your Own Way #2)
Publisher ~ Interlude Press
Published ~ 21st July 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary NA M/M Romance
In the much-anticipated sequel to Go Your Own Way, high school seniors Lennox McAvoy and Will Osborne pick up right where they left off—navigating the tumultuous waters of a new relationship and dealing with Will’s disapproving father.
When a violent incident forces Lennox to give up his independent ways, he must come to terms with his past just as Will is grappling with his future. As Will’s college plans become reality, will Lennox have the courage to go after the opportunities he doesn’t think he deserves?
The band room was empty when he pushed the door open, but the piano was set up like it was almost every afternoon these days. Only Mr. Robinette and a music stand littered with sheet music was absent.
The silence struck Lennox as odd, but as he sat down he also realized how strange it was to announce himself. So much had changed since the first time he'd snuck in here to play on his own. Now he was auditioning for some college he still couldn't fathom.
To make Will happy. And maybe a little bit for himself.
"Ah, I wondered if you were going to show up."
Mr. Robinette was behind him, the door to his office now wide open. He'd taken off his tie and undone a few buttons on his shirt like he did most afternoons when they practiced.
"You just want to play it through a few times or mess around with something else?"
Lennox took a seat at the piano, but didn't both opening his bag. He'd memorized the piece he was playing by Valentine's Day and now, almost two weeks later, he could write it out measure for measure on blank sheet music. But playing it was becoming repetitive. For two hours, three times a week, almost nonstop with the same four pages and nothing else.
"I'd rather try something new. That piece is getting a little old."
Mr. Robinette smiled and pulled a chair up beside him. "I had a nightmare the other night and it was the theme song while I ran around a haunted house Scooby Doo style."
"You didn't catch a ride in the Mystery Machine, did you? I've always wanted that van."
"I've got a lunch box version of it. It doesn't fit much though because it's too narrow. Anyway, play what you want. I'll be here until about four-thirty, so it's all yours."
As Mr. Robinette returned to his office, Lennox pulled what had become his music notebook out of his bag and opened it to the latest page. He'd taken to composing during class when he should have been taking notes, especially calculus where he had no reason to pay attention anyway.
The latest page was a tune he'd come up with while the other kids had been tapping their pencils and erasing answers. Every moment of his life carried a rhythm, a melody, and an emotion he could create with, and his notebook was becoming a testament to that. He played through everything he'd jotted down over the past few days, but after several rounds he kept coming back to one. It was a piano version he'd tried—and mostly failed—to create of one of the songs Will had played on a loop a few weeks ago.
"I'm getting ready to lock up!"
Mr. Robinette's voice carried out of the office and into the band room. A few minutes and several jingles of Mr. Robinette's keys later, the office door was shut and Lennox was closing the cover on the keys.
"That last piece you were playing, was it a cover?"
Lennox shrugged as they headed for the door.
"It was supposed to be. Didn't sound much like the song."
"Well, the others did. They were all really good, even the ones that weren't covers."
Lennox watched him at the door to the parking lot for a moment. He'd been a great help over the last month—all year if Lennox was honest. Mr. Robinette had believed in him in his own way since school had begun, and thanks to him he had a decent shot at this audition.
"Thanks for… all of this. I actually feel like—just thanks."
Mr. Robinette gave him a genuine smile and patted him on the shoulder.
"You're very welcome. Let me know how it goes when you get back, okay? I'm rooting for you. Got all of my fingers and limbs crossed. You deserve the chance. Don't doubt that or yourself."
It was funny to have so many people believing in him after so long. Happiness was a strange feeling as well. Until he'd let Will into his life he couldn't remember how to capture such a feeling in his chest and keep it there.
Meet Zane Riley
Zane Riley is a transgender writer who wrote his first work of fan fiction in the fourth grade. He is a recent transplant to Vancouver, Washington where he spends his time watching long distance baseball games, hiking, and exploring the musical depths of the internet. His first novel, Go Your Own Way, was published by Interlude Press in 2015.
Rafflecopter Prize: Grand Prize: $25 Interlude Press Gift Card, 5 first prizes: e-Copy of ‘With Or Without You’ by Zane Riley
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