We’re so pleased to have author Mel Gough joining us today on the tour for her upcoming new release, He Is Mine, out September 7th from Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited. Mel is playing tour guide through New York City today, and there’s also a giveaway so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below for details.
My New York
Everyone who’s ever been to New York has their own version of the city. Mine somehow ended up in my new book.
I’ve been to New York many times. I’m a city gal, I love going to the theatre, I like museums and architecture and parks. I’m also not the most adventurous traveller; once I know and love a place, chances are, I’ll be back. When I started outlining He is Mine I just knew it was the perfect location for the book.
My New York exists almost exclusively below Houston. I’ll go into Midtown a few times, mostly for the theatre, and once or twice to Central Park. I’ve been to Harlem, and sometimes I go to Columbia and walk around the campus because it’s pretty. But mostly, I like to stay in Lower Manhattan. That part of New York City isn’t exactly an insider secret, but it’s definitely a little less frequented by tourists.
Where to stay?
For my first solo visit I needed a cheap hotel, and after a long search I found the Bowery House. It’s a hostel, and it doesn’t feature in the book, so I won’t harp on about it. But read about its history on their website, it’s really interesting.
Two of the main characters in He is Mine live in New York. Brad has a house in Brooklyn, and he works out of NYPD’s headquarters in Police Plaza, which is in Downtown Manhattan. He’s on the homicide squad that covers Chinatown, and that’s where Damien lives in his penthouse.
Chinatown might seem an odd choice for a famous actor. When you walk the streets you’d never imagine that anyone with money would want to live there. But it’s quirky and different, and it’s Damien’s kind of place. His penthouse is in a fairly nondescript street that’s otherwise home to Chinese restaurants and printing businesses.
A lot of famous cast-iron dwellings are dotted around the neighbourhood. Stop at a street corner and look up. You can see the penthouse terraces on the roofs of many of those buildings.
I tried to capture the strange vibe of the area in the book. It’s popular with tourists who shop in the souvenir shops, take photos with the weird window displays, eat in the restaurants and sit outside cafés where Chinatown becomes Little Italy. But go down into one of the streets without garlands and lanterns strung across, where all the signs are in Chinese, and suddenly the atmosphere is residential and you can sense what it was like when the tenements were full of immigrant families, and garment sweatshops, laundries and butchers provided employment for the local community.
Food and drink and glamour
In the book, one chapter takes place at the Bowery Hotel – not to be confused with the Bowery House mentioned above. The Bowery Hotel is a high-end hotel with a colonial-style lobby. It looks like a very nice place to stay – as long as price doesn’t matter.
Whenever I stay at the Bowery House, I would go to this 24/7 diner on Allen Street, called the Sugar Café. It was a great place for breakfast, with really nice pancakes and fruit salad. A long, narrow storefront with tables in the all-glass window front and a few booths, it was frequented mostly by locals – and jetlagged tourists on a budget. And then last year when I went to find breakfast on my first morning, it was gone.
That made me sad, so I decided to have Brad and his detective partner Eric go to a similar place for lunch. There are diners and delicatessen aplenty. Brad and Eric are partial to Jewish deli-style food like they serve at Katz’s Deli, though they would probably avoid that since it’s way too crowded thanks to the famous orgasm scene from Harry and Sally.
Another real place I picked for my book is Caffe Roma on Mulberry Street. I’d walked past it many times before I went in for the first time. And boy am I glad I did! Their cappuccino is divine! I picked it as a meeting place for Brad and Damien because I loved the décor, especially the funny, spindly chairs. And also because I wrote part of one chapter in there, when I fled the heat on my last visit. I’d never been to New York in August before, and any excuse to sit down for a bit was welcome.
A little bit of real history
There’s one Lower East Side institution that didn’t make it into the book, even though I would’ve loved to mention it – the Tenement Museum. If you’re interested in the New York of the 19th and early 20th century, then this is where you have to go. The apartments in the building are made up to reflect different times. You learn about the actual families that lived there until the law changed and the tenement was closed in 1935. It is the place to go to learn about immigration to the United States. I really recommend taking part in the Tastings at the Tenement event, too. You find out what the various immigrant communities would eat and then you can try food sourced from shops and restaurants still operating in the neighbourhood.
Brooklyn – The other part of the story
I’ve always loved the brownstones in Brooklyn Heights, and one of the first things that came to me when I started planning He is Mine was that a character had to live in one of those beautiful houses. Brad’s house is on Garfield Place. His is one of the smaller houses – basement, first and second floor. Most of the brownstones have an additional story, and today, many have been converted into separate apartments. Brad’s house – which isn’t based on any particular address – is still a single occupancy dwelling. I loved walking around the neighbourhood, imagining my characters doing the same.
I won’t say too much about what happens in Brooklyn in He is Mine, but one of the cool things I discovered was this Israeli restaurant. I already knew that Damien had Jewish ancestry, and while I sat in Miriam, eating my starters I planned out exactly how the scene with him and Brad on their very first proper night out would go.
This guide is only a snapshot of the locations in He is Mine. I didn’t talk at all about LA or Las Vegas, which also feature. But I hope, when you read the book, this guide will give you some idea about my journey for this story.
About the Book
Title: He is Mine
Author: Mel Gough
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh, Black Jazz Design
Genre/s: M/M psychological romance (with M/F elements)
Release Date: September 7, 2018
Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited: Amazon US || Amazon UK || Universal Amazon Buy Link
Blurb: For you, it was just a fling. For me, so much more…
NYPD detective Brad Moretti’s life is in tatters. A relationship destroyed by his boyfriend’s bipolar disorder has left him feeling guilty, inadequate and emotionally scarred.
Vivienne Aubert seems to have it all – a Hollywood career, supermodel looks, and a director husband about to make it big. And yet, a one-night-stand with rising superstar Damien Thomas makes Viv wonder if she hasn’t settled for second-best. Used to getting her way, she embarks on a ruthless quest to make Damien hers.
Unaware of Viv’s fatal attraction, Damien returns to New York, where a chance encounter with Brad sparks a prompt and rapidly growing affinity between the two men – which Viv is determined to terminate.
Can Brad head off her delusional desires before she destroys his newfound happiness, or will he fail to protect yet another lover?
Read an excerpt of Chapter One HERE
About the Author
Mel was born in Germany, where she spent the first twenty-six years of her life (with a one-year stint in Los Angeles). She has always been fascinated by cultures and human interaction, and got a Masters in Social Anthropology. After finishing university she moved to London, where she has now lived for ten years.
If you were to ask her parents what Mel enjoyed the most since the age of six, they would undoubtedly say “Reading!” She would take fifteen books on a three-week beach holiday, and then read all her mom’s books once she’d devoured her own midway through week two.
Back home in her mom’s attic there’s a box full of journals with stories Mel wrote when she was in her early teens. None of the stories are finished, or any good. She has told herself bedtime stories as far back as she can remember.
In her day job, Mel works as PA and office manager. No other city is quite like London, and Mel loves her city. The hustle and bustle still amaze and thrill her even after all these years. When not reading, writing or going to the theater, Mel spends her time with her long-time boyfriend, discussing science or poking fun at each other.
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