Hi, everyone. My name is Jacob Z. Flores, and I’m thrilled to be back here at The Novel Approach. I just love Lisa, Jackie, Tina Marie, Lynn, and all the other reviewers here. They’ve all been so nice to me throughout the years. You really couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people!
What will I be talking about today? Well, I’m here to promote When Love Comes to Town, my latest release from Dreamspinner. This book is the fourth and final book in the Provincetown Series, and in case you were wondering, the books don’t have to be read in order of publication. I did my best to make the books in this set stand alone books that could be read in any order the reader wished to read them in. So you could start with this book and then work backward or read them in whatever ordered you wanted. I try to be as reader friendly as possible because, really, where would I be without all of you?
So what will I be sharing with you today? Well, I thought it might be fun to sit down with the main characters—Brody O’Shea and Eric Vasquez—and let them interview me. Before I surrender all control to them, here’s the story blurb to give you a bit of information on the characters.
Blurb: Brody O’Shea isn’t looking for much, just a hot guy with a decent job, who is sane and doesn’t have kids. The son of a former rock star, Brody has lived through the pain of bankruptcy and bad parenting, and he doesn’t want to experience it again. As a reformed horndog, he wants the security and stability of a relationship. But almost every guy he meets seems satisfied with Mr. Right Now, and he wants to find Mr. Right—now!
The only men Eric Vasquez chases are criminals. As a deputy and single father, he has no need for a relationship after his last one ended disastrously. He lives for and through Maddie, his nine-year-old daughter. Everything else is a needless distraction, but distraction is what Eric gets when he comes to Provincetown to attend the wedding between his cousin Van and the man of his dreams.
When Brody and Eric meet, what they want and what they find conflict. An ocean of expectations separates them. If they cannot move past their reservations to reach each other’s shores, they might miss the boat when love comes to town.
Okay, now that you have some background information on Brody and Eric, I’m turning over the keyboard to them. Wish me luck. Every time I do this, I end up regretting it!
Jacob: (giving her a great big hug) Maddie, I wasn’t expecting you. I didn’t think you were going to make it. Your dad said you were hanging out with Quinn and Gary.
Maddie: I see them all the time. Besides, it’s not every day I get to chat with an author. I just had to come!
Jacob: Well, I’m glad you did. But where’s your dad and Brody?
Maddie: (rolling her eyes) They’re somewhere outside I think. Papa’s really good with being punctual, but Brody can be slower than molasses going uphill in a strong wind.
Jacob: That’s a very concise description.
Maddie: (grinning) Of course. It’s what I do. And I’m right. You and I both know it.
Jacob: Yes, Brody does seem to operate on his own schedule.
Maddie: Tell me about it! I like Brody and all, but jeez. Sometimes I have to practically push him out the door.
Eric: (barging in the door) Madison, what have I told you about running ahead?
Maddie: Not to do it.
Eric: And yet you do it anyway.
Maddie: You and Brody were taking too long, and I hate to be late. You know that. Besides, it’s Jacob. I’m completely safe with the man who created me, don’t you think?
Eric: I suppose, but you need to mind better.
Brody: (entering the room) I see you found the rascal.
Maddie: I’m not a rascal. I’m strong willed.
Eric: Same thing. (turning to me) Sorry about that but we had some business to take care of before coming in.
Maddie: Which basically means kissing.
Maddie: What? It’s true, isn’t it?
Jacob: Don’t worry about it. I’m all for kissing.
Maddie: Is that why you write about men kissing all the time?
Brody: Maddie, remember what you’re dad said.
Maddie: My questions to adults should always be appropriate.
Maddie: But that was an appropriate question. (she turns to me) You’re an author right?
Maddie: And you write gay romance, right?
Jacob: Right again.
Maddie: Then asking a gay romance author why he writes about kissing seems appropriate.
Jacob: She’s right, guys.
Eric: Don’t encourage her.
Jacob: I’m not. I swear, but I think it’s a valid question under these circumstances. And I’ll answer it.
Maddie: Thank you.
Jacob: Besides the fact that kissing can be sweet and tender, I like to write about kissing because it’s a way that two people can show how much they love each other.
Maddie: I guess that means Papa and Brody are really, really in love. They kiss all the time. It’s embarrassing.
Maddie: Well you do.
Eric: (clearly embarrassed) How about we switch topics?
Jacob: I think that’ll be wise.
Eric: When Love Comes to Town is the fourth and final book of the Provincetown Series. How did you feel when you wrote the final sentence?
Jacob: It was bittersweet. An overwhelming sense of accomplishment took over me. I’d written four books of a series, and I was so proud of myself. Honestly, I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to do it. Writing one book is daunting enough, but the idea of planning stories that involved the same set of characters and locale terrified me. But I did it, and when that final line was written, I grew sad. I’d spent over a year with you guys. To have to say good-bye, well, it’s a hard thing to accomplish.
Maddie: Then don’t. You can write more books in the series, but I think you should change your focus. The young adult market is booming, and I think a whole series about my life and adventures would really speak to readers. You could call it The Chronicles of Maddie.
Jacob: (laughing) I’ve toyed with the idea of visiting P-town again in the future. Perhaps writing a Return to Provincetown series, but that’s a few books away right now. And I may have to give your Chronicles of Maddie idea some serious thought.
Maddie: I think you should.
Brody: I’ve got a question for you.
Jacob: Ask away.
Brody: When you create characters, why do you have to make them so difficult? Take Maddie for example—
Brody: —you could have written her as a perfect angel who did exactly as she was told.
Maddie: (blowing raspberries at Brody, who returns the favor)
Jacob: I could, Brody. But where would the fun be in that?
Maddie: Yeah! (giving Brody another raspberry for good measure) I like you, Jacob.
Jacob: And I like you too, Maddie. (to Brody) But in all seriousness, characters have to be real and they have to have flaws and quirks. We all do, so you guys have to as well.
Brody: Did you have to go so overboard with Nino, though? He’s got more flaws than not.
Eric: Be nice.
Maddie: Yeah, I like Nino. He’s funny.
Jacob: I like Nino too. I like all you guys for different reasons.
Brody: What do you like most about me?
Jacob: Your loyalty and your determination. You’re a true friend to those around you. You have relationship issues—
Brody: (to Eric) Hello, Pot. I’m Kettle.
Jacob: You both have issues, and they’re understandable ones. They make you who you are. And what I loved most about you, Eric, was your devotion to Maddie and your family. As a father, I admire that in a man.
Eric: Thank you.
Maddie: Yes, thank you. You gave me the best dad in the world.
Eric: (hugging Maddie) And the best daughter in the world.
Brody: What about me?
Maddie: We’ll keep you I guess. I’ve always been fond of strays.
Maddie: (hugging Brody) Just be glad you like classic rock too. If all you listened to was Britney Spears, you would’ve been crossed off my list.
Eric: I’ve got one last question before we have to do.
Jacob: What is it?
Eric: I won’t give away too much by talking about the ending, but that epilogue. I have to see was pretty good. What made you decide to end the series as you did?
Jacob: After four books of fun in the sun and romantic ups and downs, it seemed like the best way to close out the series for all the main characters I’ve had the pleasure of writing.
Brody: It was great. I think readers will like it too.
Jacob: I’m hoping.
Maddie: Thanks for letting us talk with you today, Jacob. It’s been fun.
Jacob: I’ve enjoyed it as well. I’m going to miss you all. Tell Zach and Van, Tom and Gil, Nino and Teddy, and Gary and Quinn hello for me.
Brody: Tell them yourself. We’ll always be around, waiting for you to come back and visit.
Jacob: One day, I promise I will.
Before I go, I want to thank everyone who stopped by today for this rather unconventional interview. I had a blast doing it. I also want to thank my hosts for allowing me back. Hopefully, we can do this again for the next book.
For those interested, I have included an excerpt below. Additionally, as part of my blog tour I’m hosting a giveaway.
The When Love Comes to Town Giveaway Contest:
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Excerpt: “Maddie,” he warned her again for the millionth time. She just couldn’t stop herself from turning in the direction of the conversation she just happened to be listening to at the time. “It’s not polite to stare. Or to eavesdrop.”
She let out a long-suffering sigh before she turned her big green eyes to him. “I’m not eavesdropping. I’m observing.”
Eric rolled his eyes as Maddie reluctantly turned back around in her seat. Even though she faced forward, her ears were noticeably tuned into the conversation Mr. Fire Island Hot Tub was having behind them. He could tell by the way she chewed on her lower lip while her eyes moved slowly from left to right. It was her standard I’m-listening-when-I-shouldn’t-be pose.
“Madison,” he scolded. Whenever he didn’t use her nickname, he got her complete and undivided attention. “You’re doing it again.”
“I can’t help it,” she admitted. “I find this whole situation intriguing.”
Intriguing? When did the average nine-year-old start using words like intriguing? Well, that was easy enough to answer. Maddie was anything but average. Not many fourth graders he knew read as much as she did or listened to classic rock music. His daughter was anything but average.
“How so?” he finally asked as she peered up at him, just dying to have a conversation about what she’d heard. If she started asking about hookups or hot-tub orgies, he would likely kill all the men in their general vicinity.
“As you know, I’ve lived a very sheltered life.” She gazed up at him accusatorily. As if being a good father and protecting her from all of life’s evils was somehow something he should apologize for. “I’ve never really been around gay men. Other than you and Daddy.”
That much was true. Petersham, Massachusetts wasn’t exactly a gay mecca, and he was fine with that. He enjoyed their sleepy little town. He didn’t care if he was the only gay in the village. It wasn’t like he wanted another relationship. As far as he was concerned, that part of his life was over. His only purpose in life was raising his daughter and keeping her safe. Not much else mattered to him.
“It’s not like I haven’t seen other gay people on television,” she added. “But the networks only show gay people as no different from anyone else. Which they really aren’t, I know. But gay men aren’t all fathers just wanting to be happy with each other and their kids, are they?”
“No, they’re not,” he agreed. “Some are happy being single. Just like there are some straight people who are happy without being married with children.”
“Makes sense,” she said with a tiny nod. “I guess what surprises me is that I always thought that more gay men were like you and Daddy.” She motioned her head to the guy behind her, who was still going on about the hot tubs. “But based on my observations, you and Daddy seem to be more of a minority within a minority.”
Where the hell did she get all this stuff? Based on her observations? A minority within a minority? Was she nine or nineteen?
“You think too much,” he finally told her. “Don’t worry about what other people are doing or not doing. Just enjoy yourself.”
“Why should I?” she asked. “You don’t.”
Ouch. When did Maddie’s astute observations turn on him?
“Please don’t be angry with me,” she said. Although Maddie never begged or pleaded, since she saw that as being far too childish, her wide eyes clearly communicated her sincere apology and her wish for him not to be mad. “But I worry about you as much as you worry about me.”
“What are you talking about?” he asked. “Why do you worry about me? I’m a big, strong guy. I can take care of myself. I even carry a gun. There’s nothing for you to worry about.”
She stared blankly at him as if he was completely missing the obvious. “Seeing all these guys here. How much fun they are having and how they’re living their lives. Some rather irresponsibly,” she stated as she shot a disapproving glare over her shoulder at Mr. Fire Island Hot Tub. “But they’re living. They’re getting out there. Making friends and finding boyfriends.” She pulled her knees up onto the chair and wrapped her tiny arms around his neck. “I don’t want you to be alone, Papa. I don’t want you to think about me all the time. It’s okay for you to think about yourself sometimes too.”
Good Lord. Was his life really that pathetic that his nine-year-old now saw fit to give him relationship advice?
“I’m your father,” he told her as he hugged her tight. “My job is to take care of you.”
She rose from his shoulder and locked eyes with him. Her face turned serious and determined. He’d seen that look before on Charlie’s face whenever Charlie thought he was being stubborn, which was more often than not. “And my job is to take care of you.”
He shook his head. “Your job is to be nine, do good in school, and mind your papa.”
She rolled her eyes in feigned exasperation. “I can multitask, you know.”
For that, he started tickling Maddie’s side. She absolutely hated being tickled, which was why he was doing it. She screeched and carried on, laughing hysterically while her limbs flailed all over the place. Only when he tortured her this way did the nine-year-old girl step forward. That was who he wanted her to be right now. Not the observant little adult with far too much common sense and insight.
Maddie couldn’t be worried about him and his lack of a personal life. Whether she was right or not, that wasn’t her concern. He was happy with his life the way it was. And he didn’t want anything or anyone to change it.
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