Welcome to author L.A. Witt and the tour for the latest release in her Anchor Point series, Sink or Swim. She’s here to chat about religion and romance today, and there’s also a giveaway so be sure to check out those details below!
Religion & Romance
While religion isn’t a topic in all of my books, it does come up from time to time. Sometimes it’s front and center, like in Lead Me Not (a Christian romance) and Covet Thy Neighbor (a romance between a minister and an atheist). Sometimes it’s in the background or occasionally mentioned in passing. Other times, it’s important, but not a central part of the conflict.
Sink or Swim falls under that last category. Alhazar is Muslim, Dylan is a Protestant chaplain, and they meet because Alhazar comes into the ship’s chapel looking for a place to pray during his workday. Religion isn’t the conflict of the story, though. Their differences in faith are sometimes discussed, but they aren’t a source of tension. Nobody is trying to convert anybody. Neither feels superior or threatened. Neither professes to be a flawless example of their respective faiths—Alhazar occasionally drinks, Dylan rarely sleeps with the same man twice, and they both curse as much as anyone who’s spent time in the Navy.
Throughout the book, we see that their respective faiths are an important part of their lives, but as I said, religion isn’t the source of conflict or tension. It’s present in the same way their military careers are—more active and important than a piece of set dressing, but not front and center either.
Myself, I’ve had a bit of a rocky relationship with religion. It took a lot of studying and soul-searching to figure out my own beliefs, and while I’ve been pretty settled in what I believe for the past 15 years or so, I still find the subject fascinating. I’ve written about characters dealing with abusive and oppressive religious backgrounds, reconciling their faith with who they are, etc., and these days I’m trying to explore more characters who have settled into their religious groove one way or the other. Those for whom religion is a normal part of their daily life.
I know religion is up there with politics—touchy, rife with potential conflict, and something people shy away from in polite conversation. I’ve had people discourage me from including either of those things in my books (as if writing queer romance isn’t political by its very nature, but that’s an entire blog post). I’ll admit that I’m sometimes cautious about picking up books that focus on religion because it can be such an incendiary topic, and it’s easy for a story to become a tool for proselytizing or demonizing a particular faith. So I get why readers sometimes avoid stories with religious themes.
But I write religion into some of my romances because a person’s religion is deeply important to them and to their daily life, not to mention their relationship choices. I also particularly like the idea of people being able to be friends, partners, and lovers even when there are religious differences. It happens all the time in real life, so why not in romance?
Dylan and Alhazar aren’t my first interfaith couple (There’s Covet Thy Neighbor, as well as The Best Laid Plans, which involves a devout Muslim and his nominally Catholic husband), and I doubt they’ll be my last. Actually I know they won’t be my last, but y’all will find out about that book soon enough. ;)
About the Book
When need meets fear, can two very different men find common ground?
Alhazar Bukhari spent his Navy career in the closet. Now he’s retired, divorced, and hungry for the love he’s never had a chance to experience. He tries to put his faith in Allah to bring the right man into his life, but it’s hard to be patient after all this time.
Chaplain Dylan Pedersen spends his days counseling Sailors, and his nights with men he doesn’t know. Months after finally escaping an abusive relationship, he’s terrified of anything more than a physical connection. Maybe it’s a sin, but he’s too lonely to not let men into his bed, and too scared to let them into his heart.
When Alhazar’s civilian job brings him aboard the USS Fort Stevens, and his daily prayers bring him into Dylan’s chapel, the chemistry is instantaneous. Sex and friendship quickly evolve into more, but Dylan’s too haunted by his recent past to be the man Alhazar wants. Alhazar needs love, Dylan needs time, and if they can’t find some sort of balance, they’ll sink before they ever have a chance to swim.
About Anchor Point
Welcome to Anchor Point!
Nestled on the northern coast of Oregon, this small town is home to Naval Air Station Adams. On base, you’ll find freshly minted Sailors who’ve just graduated boot camp, salty officers counting down till retirement, grounded pilots who’ve landed behind desks, and everyone in between—and they’re all looking for love. Well, not all of them, but that won’t stop love from finding them.
So pull up a barstool, grab a beer, and get ready for some sea stories as these men in uniform—or not—navigate the waters of love and life in the military.
Anchor Point stories can be enjoyed in any order. Hop in wherever you’d like!
About the Author
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…
To celebrate the release of Sink or Swim, L.A. is giving away reader’s choice of two eBooks off of her backlist and a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 21, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!