We’re so pleased to have author Annabeth Albert today on the tour for her soon-to-be released sixth book in the Out of Uniform series, Tight Quarters. Annabeth is chatting about diversity today, and there’s also a giveaway so be sure to check out those details below.
Writing a Diverse Cast
Hi! I’m so excited to be here celebrating the release of TIGHT QUARTERS which is book six in my Out of Uniform SEAL series. This series can be read in any order, but everyone’s been anticipating Bacon’s book ever since his first appearance in WHEELS UP. Bacon’s co-hero is a silver fox older journalist who gets to embed with his SEAL team. Bacon is my first hero who self-identifies as pansexual and joins a diverse cast of heroes. So, I thought it would be fun to talk some about the diversity in the series, its origins, and the joy of writing diverse identities.
In the first three books, we had gay men at various stages in their life journey. Book one features Zack, who is just discovering his sexuality and coming out, while book 2 features Dylan who’s been out since his teens and Apollo who has been widowed from his same-sex marriage. No coming out issues, but the second-chance romance had its own challenges as Apollo is in a unique life situation. Also, Apollo’s Greek heritage was a lot of fun to research and include. Book three features Ben and Maddox who are both out, but have a long-standing friendship standing between them and HEA.
Book Four introduced my first bisexual hero for the series, Dustin. Dustin is interesting because when he first made his appearance in book two as Dylan’s brother, I assumed he was straight. Then about halfway through that book, he tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Not so fast. Oh and I want a book.” So he got a book, and his journey exploring his bisexuality is one of my favorite things in the series. The subplot in his book involving his parents’ reaction was really interesting to me, because I’ve seen this happen a number of times in real life where parents have different expectations for different children. As a bisexual myself who is only recently comfortable being out, I empathized greatly with Dustin’s journey.
Book Five features one of my favorite couples. And honestly, Mark surprised the heck out of me when I was plotting and starting out on the book and he revealed that he was gray ace/demisexual and figuring out where on the ace spectrum his sexuality lies. Cue a ton of research, multiple ace beta readers, more research, more editing, more beta readers, and I’m incredibly proud of this one. This book also features Isaiah, who is biracial. I used sensitivity readers for him as well (this book really was a team effort), and Isaiah’s family was one of my favorite parts of the book. I find that the more diverse my heroes are, the more I rely on sensitivity and beta readers to help me make sure the representation is on track, but I actually find the research and process of working with them very satisfying.
In Book Five, Bacon who is the hero of Book Six appeared and revealed that he identified as pansexual. I was super excited about his book, and I “auditioned” several potential partners for him, trying this idea and that idea. I was, frankly, shocked when I came up with the idea of his journalist co-hero being a silver fox, uber-professional guy, and Bacon said, “That one. That’s my guy.” So I rolled with it, and the result is TIGHT QUARTERS. Bacon’s pretty firm that he identifies as pansexual rather than another label, because it really is the individual person he’s attracted to. I see his sexuality as distinct from how Dustin (book four) or the hero of book seven (Rooster) view their bisexuality. Understanding the nuances of bisexuality and pansexuality has been a deeply personal and fascinating journey.
In sum, I’ve tried to include a wide variety of characters in the series, but much of that has been the characters themselves speaking up and revealing themselves to me and me doing the necessary research and work to bring them to life. The characters that have required the most research and finessing are actually some of my favorites of the series—I really do enjoy doing the work to get the representation to a point where I’m proud of it. And no representation is going to be perfect. I own that. Despite my use of beta and sensitivity readers and research, there are flaws, I’m sure. But I’m proud of myself for staying true to who these characters are, who they presented themselves to me as, and of their journeys.
About the Book
Title: Tight Quarters
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform #6
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: ebook: July 9, 2018 | print: July 31, 2018
Subgenre: M/M Contemporary Military Romance
Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo
Blurb: Petty Officer Bacon, a navy SEAL and ace sharpshooter, has been on the front lines of more than his fair share of dangerous ops. Yet when a minor injury relegates him to the beta team, he’s tasked with what may be his riskiest assignment yet: the silver fox journalist he’s babysitting is the hottest, most charismatic man he’s ever encountered.
Award-winning journalist Spencer Bryant may have been named one of Pride magazine’s most eligible bachelors of the year, but he’s not looking to change his relationship status. He’s a consummate professional who won’t risk his ethics or impeccable reputation by getting involved with a source. Even a sexy-as-hell military man. But while Spencer can resist his physical attraction to Bacon, he has less control over his emotions—especially when the mission goes sideways and the two men are trapped alone.
Getting out of the jungle alive turns out to be easy compared to facing the truth about their feelings for one another back in the real world. And whether or not they can build a future is a different story altogether.
“Is something up with you and the reporter?” Curly demanded as they walked to the building where the LT and the rest of the leadership had a situation room for planning their strategy.
“Nope. We were just talking.” Bacon wasn’t lying—they had been talking. And Curly sure as hell didn’t need to know how close to rage-kissing Spencer he’d been. He’d been more pissed off than he’d been in years, and Spencer was a threat on so many levels, and yet somehow, he’d been turned on. It was fucked up, and the impulse to lean in and kiss the living daylights out of Spencer had been stupid and impulsive, things he tried hard not be anymore, and he needed to make sure it didn’t happen again.
“Good. We don’t need any of us getting all buddy-buddy with the reporter, right?”
“Yeah.” Bacon hoped his reluctance didn’t show in his tone. He wasn’t overly friendly now, but there on the bluff, telling him about Jamie, he’d felt something more than animosity. And in a way, that had him madder now. He’d let his guard down, and he wasn’t sure whether Spencer would take advantage or not.
“I talked to Donaldson. He’s going to try to can it with the wisecracks.” Curly was slightly out of breath—he was probably even more bushed than Bacon felt. It had been a long ass forty-eight hours, and the night was muggy and smelled dank, like a basement full of plants.
“Try isn’t as good as will.” Bacon frowned. “But thanks. And it’s not just him, you know? On the plane, no one was stopping him.”
“It wasn’t really offensive,” Curly protested. “Just him running his mouth.”
“It was to me,” Bacon said with a sigh. He hated that they needed to have this conversation. “I’m probably going to come out as pan to the team soon, and I need to know you’ve got my six, man. You staying silent when people are homophobic—even if it’s just a joke—fucking hurts.”
“I’m sorry,” Curly said quietly as they reached the building. “I’ll try—will—do better. And you coming out, that’s probably a good thing, yeah? That alone might silence some of it. And who knows whether someone else is also wondering whether or not to come out. Good role model and all that.”
“Yeah.” Bacon really didn’t want to be a diversity poster-child, but he also wasn’t sure how much longer he could quietly seethe.
About the Author
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series.
To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.
Connect with Annabeth: Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Group | Newsletter | Instagram | Website
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