Lisa: Welcome to author A.E. Wasp and the blog tour for her new novel, Skater Boy, book four in the Hot Off the Ice series. A.E., let’s start things off with you telling us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
AE: I’m such an open book. I’m sure people on Facebook wish they knew a little bit less about me. I think that most people, especially people who found me through my Hot Off the Ice hockey books as opposed to my Veterans Affairs series, are surprised to find out I spent a year in Kabul, working at the American Embassy.
Lisa: What’s your favorite scene in Skater Boy, and what makes it a fave?
AE: It’s hard to pick, but I think one of my favorites is where Alex shaves Sergei. They have an interesting dynamic. Sergei is older, but because of his sexuality, hasn’t had much sexual experience at all. He needs to be I love first, and Alex is the first person he’s been in love with. Now he’s had a taste of what it’s like to be with someone he loves, he wants to go full speed ahead and make up for lost time.
Alex, who has had several crappy relationships that all started with sex, wants to take it really slow, so he can be sure he’s not mistaking lust for love. So Alex has come up with this list of things they can and can’t do. Sergei likes to push the boundaries. Alex likes to show him that his definition of what is sexual is too limited. They both get to do that in this scene.
Lisa: Would you care to share an excerpt from the scene with us?
The Excerpt: Alex hopped up to sit on the counter next to Sergei’s sink. “Come here,” he ordered, tugging Sergei to stand between his legs.
“I like your shirt,” Sergei said, running his hands down Alex’s arms. “The color suits you.”
Alex grabbed Sergei’s chin, tilting it up so he could swipe at the skin below his neck. “You might want to reconsider fondling my arms while I have a razor to your throat.”
Sergei hummed in agreement and wrapped his hands around Alex’s waist, his thumbs making slow sweeps from the tops of his jeans to the bottom of his rib cage. “Better?” Sergei asked, letting Alex tilt his head side to side. “I break no rules.”
“Stop talking,” Alex said, pinching Sergei’s chin. “You’re making my job harder.”
Alex had to spread his legs wide in order for Sergei to fit between them. The heat from Sergei’s skin seeped through the two layers of denim separating them, and Alex couldn’t help but imagine them in a much more intimate position; a much more naked position.
Shaving cream disappeared beneath his blade, and he leaned over to rinse the razor off in the hot water streaming from the faucet. Sergei’s hands slid to Alex’s thighs, his grip firm as he stroked from knee to hip.
“Ah, ah, ah!” Alex said, waving the razor at Sergei. “No hands below the waist.” Truthfully, he was going to wrap his legs around Sergei and jump into his arms if he didn’t stop.
“Rules,” Sergei grumbled, reluctantly moving his hands back to Alex’s torso.
Alex pulled Sergei’s head down, cupping his cheeks with both hands and looking him in the eyes. “You have to take this seriously. This thing…” He swiped the razor at the top of Sergei’s beard. He liked it a little lower than Sergei did, and he wasn’t going to miss his chance. “This thing is so new. Like crazy new. We’re like a newborn baby deer hobbling around on wobbly legs. Like a soufflé rising, or a bubble floating gently over a cactus.”
“I am very much being serious,” Sergei promised. “So, we are the baby deers? Or am I a soufflé and you are a soap bubble?” He craned his neck, trying to see around Alex into the mirror.
Alex yanked his head back. “I’m searching for the perfect metaphor. Let me search, stop metaphor blocking me!”
Lisa: If you could spend some real-life time with one of the characters in the book, who would you choose and why?
AE: It would probably be Allie, the wife of Charles, Alex’s horrible lying ex-boyfriend. She needs someone to sit her down and tell her how amazing she is and how much more she deserves in life.
Lisa: On the flipside, which character would you probably least get along with? Why?
AE: Hmm. It’s too easy to say Charles, because he’s the villain of the piece, though hands down it would be him. I spend a lot of time with these guys, so I tend to write people I like, even the background characters! Alex’s need to be perfect all the time would probably get on my nerves, and his lack of self-worth at the beginning (something else he shares with Allie) would get tiring.
Lisa: Let’s take off your author cap and put on your reader cap for a moment: what do you look for in a book, what sort of protagonists do you love, and do you have a favorite genre/sub-genre?
AE: I like real protagonists with a whole life – friends, family, hobbies, things beyond just the main romantic interests. And a sense of humor is crucial. I’m always going to root for the underdog, or love the bass player more than the lead singer, if you know what I mean.
Contemporary romance is my favorite type. I love to read motorcycle club guy or race car drivers. Those are hard to find. If someone would rewrite Fast & Furious with the two males leads in love, I would really appreciate it.
Lisa: What are your least and most favorite things about being an author?
AE: Least favorite is having to track things—how promos are working or have worked, Google Analytics for keywords and things like that. Anything that needs me to track something on a regular basis. I can’t do that. I’m terrible at it. Also the way I tend to shower a lot less frequently now that I’m writing full time.
Most favorite thing, by far, is the reward I get when a story that I’ve fought with and bled over and cried over touches a reader or readers and the write to let me know. Someone said that after reading Country Boy, it was the best they had ever felt about themselves as a gay Christian. And I’ve had readers say that they appreciate the way I handle PTSD and all the other issues surrounding leaving the military and re-entering civilian life.
Lisa: Have you ever written a line, paragraph, or passage, and thought, “Darn, that’s pretty amazing, even if I do say so myself”? What was it?
AE: Oh sure. But I can’t think of one now! My writing tends to be more towards the simple side than the purple prose, I think. Oh, wait. There is a scene near the end of Skater Boy where Paul (one of the MC’s from Country Boy) talks to Alex about the concept of grace and what people do and don’t ‘deserve’ in life. It wasn’t something I had planned, it just kind of happened, but I was very happy with the way it came out.
Lisa: What’s the one genre/sub-genre you haven’t written yet, but would love to? What’s kept you from it so far?
AE: I really want to write fantasy. I have this urban fantasy series planned out. But the world building is hard, and writing it would take time away from my contemporary romances, and right now I enjoy writing them. One day when I have a nice backlist and can a break for a little while I will write this!
Lisa: Let’s talk tropes: do you have a few favorites that you enjoy both writing and reading? If so, what are they and what makes them your faves?
AE: I love to read pretend boyfriends/fake married because it can make for such funny scenes and great dialogue. Especially if you combine it with ‘we only got one bed for you both because you guys are totally a real couple, right?’ I haven’t written that yet, but I really want to!
Friends to lovers is another favorite because it really makes you examine where that line between loving someone and being in love with someone is and if it makes that much of a difference. That is part of what I explored with Sergei and Alex who have been friends for years.
Lisa: If you could choose one of your books to be adapted for the silver screen, which would you choose? Why do you think it would translate well to film?
AE: I think City Boy. It has some strong scenes like their ‘meet cute’ and the Friendsgiving. It’s set in a very scenic location, an apple orchard with a huge farmhouse. It has a strong supporting cast in Bryce’s family and Dakota’s friends. And most of the action and conflict is external. They talk a lot of stuff through with each other. There’s not of long introspective mental monologuing by either guy which is very difficult to translate into film.
Lisa: What’s the one book you’ve read in your lifetime that you wish you’d written? Why did this particular book leave such a lasting impact on you?
AE: Oh, so many. But probably the Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. (It’s three short books, technically, but you need to read them all.) Because the language is so beautiful, so gorgeous and high-fantasy formal and at the same time so expressive. He makes you feel every emotion. I cry like a baby every time I read it. And I gasp at things I know are going to happen. And he manages to gather pretty much every high fantasy trope you can imagine into one world, explain why the world is that way, and make you believe it.
Lisa: If I were to interview Alex and Sergei, what would they say about you?
AE: They would probably say I am a meany who didn’t let them get down to business enough before throwing a monkey wrench into everything. And that they trust me to make everything all right at the end.
Lisa: What’s the best piece of writing/author advice you’ve received that you’d pass on to someone else just getting started in the business?
AE: Decide why you are writing, what the goal is. To have a long career as an author? To tell the story you just have to tell? To make fast money? And once you know, do your market research so you know what to expect. Matching expectations to the reality of the market is the best way to avoid heartache.
Lisa: If you won the lottery, what’s the first completely self-indulgent thing you’d do?
AE: I would probably fly my kids and our friends to some crazy all-inclusive resort for a week.
Lisa: Let’s pretend you’re taking a road trip, and you can choose any three of your characters to go with you. First, who would you want on the ride-along, and why them? Second, who would be most likely to:
AE: Paul (from Country Boy), because he has a sweet 1976 corvette, though that wouldn’t fit all of us. He’s the best driver of the bunch. (Bryce can barely drive.)
Alex (From Skater Boy), because he would be so organized, every time someone said, ‘hey do we have a…?’ He would whip out whatever it was before the question could even be answered.
Joey (from Boy Toys) because it would never be boring and he could probably get us all kinds of free stuff.
*Have to hit every rest stop bathroom
Robbie, because proper hydration is important you know.
*Whine about how long it’s taking to get where you’re going
Sergei, which is why he isn’t invited. Besides he speeds a lot.
*Break wind with the windows rolled up
Paul, 100%. He’s the most dudebro of the group.
*Flip incessantly through songs on their music app
Joey because he has the attention span of a gnat sometimes.
Lisa: What book that you’ve read and loved would you most like to be a character in? Who would you be, and why?
AE: Any of the sports books, mine or anyone else’s, where I’m rich, young, and in perfect physical shape.
Lisa: If you could be any animal in the world, what would you choose? Why?
AE: A cat. Nobody expects them to do anything and they get to lie around in the sun and get pets.
Lisa: If you could travel back in time, with all your years of experience and wisdom intact, what advice would you give to your teenage self?
AE: Trust your instincts. You should probably not date men. And maybe try and get some ADD meds before you hit 50.
Lisa: If you were to sit down and write your autobiography today, what would the title be?
AE: I Did NOT See That Coming
Lisa: Thanks so much for chatting with me today, A.E., it was great to have you drop in!
About Skater Boy
Series: Hot Off the Ice #4
Author: A. E. Wasp
Cover Artist: Ana J. Phoenix
Genre/s: Gay Sports Romance
Length: 75,750 words/303 pages
Skater Boy is a standalone story in the Hot Off the Ice series.
Blurb: In a world that measures success in dollars, how do you put a price on happiness?
Love, marriage, and a baby carriage. It’s all Alex Staunton has ever wanted. Well, that and an Olympic medal for figure skating. The medal he got. The rest of it – not so much.
When his most recent poor decision comes to a door-slamming end, Alex moves into the house of his best friend, Thunder starting goalie, Sergei Pergov. But when tragedy strikes, giving Sergei custody of the twins he fathered confidentially, Alex’s problems take a backseat to the needs of two infants, and Alex vows to be the best fake-dad and house-husband he can be.
Sergei is dazzled by the way Alex makes managing all the craziness look as easy as doing a triple-axel. As their friendship grows even deeper, Sergei realizes he doesn’t want to imagine a life without Alex in it. Alex is the one who makes their house a home; his love makes them a family. How can Sergei make Alex understand he’s worth everything?
Skater Boy is a story about falling in love with your best friend. It contains discussions about baby poop, day drinking, girls’ night out, and the purchase of a mini-van.
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About the Author
After time spent raising children, earning several college degrees, and traveling the world with the U.S. State Department, she is returning to her first love – writing.
A dreamer and an idealist, Amy writes about people finding connection in a world that can seem lonely and magic in a world that can seem all too mundane. She invites readers into her characters’ lives and worlds when they are their most vulnerable, their most human, living with the same hopes and fears we all have. An avid traveler who has lived in big cities and small towns in four different continents, Amy has found that time and distance are no barriers to love. She invites her readers to reach out and share how her characters have touched their lives or how the found families they have gathered around them have shaped their worlds.
Born on Long Island, NY, Amy has lived in Los Angeles, London, and Bangkok. She currently lives in a town suspiciously like Red Deer, Colorado.
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