December 06, 2012

Interview & Excerpt with Lou Sylvre

Today I'm very happy to welcome Lou Sylvre. Thank you for answering my questions, Lou!


Title: Yes: A Vasquez and James Novella
Release Date: 07/18/2012
Author: Lou Sylvre
Author Website: http://www.sylvre.com
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Romance
Blurb:
A Vasquez & James Novella
Professional badass Luki Vasquez and textile artist Sonny James have been married for five years, and despite the sometimes volatile mix, they’re happy. From their first days together, they stood united against deadly enemies and prevailed. But now the deadly enemy they face is the cancer thriving inside Luki, consuming his lungs.

As Luki’s treatment proceeds, Sonny hovers near, determined to provide every care, control every thread of possibility just as he does when he weaves. But he can’t control the progress of the cancer or how Luki’s body reacts to the treatment regime. Sonny tries, but Luki dances with cancer alone—until he gets a startling reminder of the miracle of life. With renewed determination and mutual love, the two men emerge from their coldest winter into a new spring day.

1-Welcome Lou Sylvre! Please tell us a bit about it.
Yes was for me a foray into uncharted territory. The main characters, Luki Vasquez and Sonny James, are the central figures in a suspense/mystery romance series (also published by Dreamspinner. Two of those books are out (Loving Luki Vasquez and Delsyn’s Blues), a third (Finding Jackie) is due out May or June of 2013, and the final in that series is currently being written. But, after I’d written the first book, I started feeling this other story—one that developed naturally out of the way I kept having Luki smoke cigarettes like a fiend. Literally, I was unable to continue writing anything else until I finished a solid draft of Yes. This book revolves around Luki’s lung cancer, but it’s not about cancer. It’s about Luki and Sonny living, loving, and growing—and they learn a lot about what is important, and what it means to love.
Dreamspinner has a “Bittersweet Dreams” category—books that might be romances in a general sense, but don’t have the happy ending most of today’s romance readers expect. I thought at first Yes might belong in that category, but it doesn’t. It’s heartbreaking in places, but—call it a spoiler if you wish—the ending is sweet and, yes, happy. 

2-In what locale is your most recent book set? Why did you choose this setting?
All of Yes takes place in western Washington State, most of it on the Olympic Peninsula, along the banks of the Juan de Fuca Strait, where Sonny and Luki make their home. I didn’t really have much choosing to do, in this case, because the location of their home—which was Sonny’s home first—is already established in earlier books. But the reason I chose that location for Sonny’s place is because it’s beautiful, much of it wild and sparsely populated, surrounded by some “artsy” small towns, near major shipping lanes and just across the Strait from Canada. It just seemed perfect for Sonny, very much a free spirit though he wouldn’t think of himself that way.  
Loving Luki Vasquez, Delsyn’s Blues, and Finding Jackie all move through several places in the USA. The current WIP—which will be the final in the suspense series—Parting the Clouds, actually moves from the Olympic Peninsula to Europe.

3-How long have you been writing?
I can’t really identify a time I started to write. My first publication was about eight or nine years ago.

4-What was your first published book and what compelled you to write this particular story
My first book was a YA Fantasy that was published under a different name. Loving Luki Vasquez was my first book published as Lou Sylvre, and I consider it my first significant book publication.
I mentioned above how I felt compelled to write Yes, but it’s a little hard for me to put my finger on where that feeling came from. I will say that I actually felt guilty about Luki’s smoking, though we had a bit of fun with it in the first two books. And, in my day job I work in a field where I deal with medical realities, so that certainly had some influence. But once I started turning the idea over in my mind, I was most taken by a desire to explore what two strong, independent, beautiful men, devoted to one another, would do and think and feel in such a case, how their love would stand up to the strain.

5-When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
 They are for the most part totally fictional though I do, without shame, admit to using tropes—not stereotypes—as a basis for some of my characters. And, well, giving the question more thought, I guess there are a few characters who resemble people I’ve known. The young Filipino boy Tommy Santiago in Loving Luki Vasquez closely resembles a boy I knew in grade school, for example.

6-Why did you start writing m/m?
 Men who loved each other appeared in my other fiction. They were great characters and I became attached to them. I actually didn’t realize that slash existed as a genre until I finished Loving Luki Vasquez and was looking for a market.

7-What are you reading right now? Do you have a favorite author?
My favorite authors are constantly shifting, but I’ll try to give some kind of answer. Among M/M authors I love Jamie Fessenden’s work—especially By That Sin Fell the Angels, but really I’ve enjoyed whatever I’ve read by him. I’m currently reading several books, including Fessenden’s Saturn in Retrograde, also Ethan Who Loved Carter, by Ryan Loveless. Just finished Of Being Yours by Anna Martin and (believe it or not) the Fifty Shades trilogy by E.L. James, and I’m working on 3 by Jacob Z Flores. I have Elizabeth Noble’s For the Long Run,  Rhys Ford’s Dirty Secrets, and Second Chances by T.A. Webb lined up. I’ve enjoyed Anne Barwell’s books. Ruth Sims wrote a fantastic historical called Counterpoint. I loved Isabelle Rowan’s Notes in the Margins. I better stop there, because if I really get started I could go on for a long time! Of course, there are many authors of broader appeal that influenced me long before I heard of ‘slash.’ And then, too, I’m also currently enjoying a couple of non-fiction books about poisons and one about how to “disappear.” ;) 

8-What are you working on now?
This is the first time in a while I have more than one novel in the works. I’m really focused (not necessarily on purpose) right now mostly on Parting the Clouds, the last Vasquez and James suspense/mystery romance. I’m also working on a Scottish Historical M/M with a touch of magic—co-writing with Anne Barwell, I’m pleased to say. I have a new themed series in mind—occupations and opposites—and I’ve started the first book, probably novella length. I’m currently calling it Stones, but that could change. It features a stone mason and man who salvages valuable components from old homes that will be demolished—such as carved banisters, etc.


Would you like to share an excerpt?
Certainly! This is from Yes, and it sort of walks the line between some of the lighter moments in that novella (yes, there are light moments!) and some heavier things.
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DR. Z sent Luki to two other oncologists, one to work out the chemo and the other to work out the radiation. “Then when the time comes,” he said, “you’ll see a surgeon.”
Luki knew that time might not come. The cancer might grow despite the initial therapies—they called them induction therapies, which made Luki, a soldier’s son, think of military things. The cancer might keep right on chewing up his lung, getting fat on his cells. It might stake a claim on his liver or his bones or, for God’s sake, his brain. If that happened, they wouldn’t bother the surgeon. But there in Dr. Z’s office, which no longer seemed so cold to Luki, he didn’t say that. He wasn’t fool enough to think Sonny didn’t know the very same thing, but he thought it would be unkind to remind him.
Sometimes he wished Sonny didn’t love him quite so fiercely. It would be worlds easier to selfishly think only of himself at a time like this. But he didn’t have it in him to do that now, so he only said, “Can I do the chemo and radiation closer to home?”
Yes, he could, and roughly thirty-six hours later, he found himself doing just that. Sitting so-called comfortably with an IV line in his arm.
In the chemo chair.
One chair in a line of chemo chairs, each with its own dripping bag, most occupants—Luki included—with blankets because the drug chilled them, some with oxygen or catheters. A few without anyone to sit with them. Luki felt sorry for those patients. He thought of sending Sonny out on a mission to make them feel noticed, but he supposed some of them might prefer the solitary grief, might have grown tired of having people watch them as if they were a classroom experiment. And besides, the nurses gave those people just a bit more attention than the others, like Luki, who had come equipped with their own hovering angels.
Sonny couldn’t really be said to hover, however. He read. Aloud. A sappy gay romance that he’d bought for the occasion. He kept his best smart-ass look on his face, and read a little louder when an older man with a red, swollen face, a catheter, and an oxygen tube, in the chair next to Luki, made noises expressing offense.
“Stop doing that, Sonny. The old guy’s got it tough enough.”
Sonny looked sheepish. “Do you want me to stop reading?”
“No, no. You’re just getting to the good part. But don’t be loud just to taunt the old coot.”
“I know, that was bad.”
It was clear to Luki that Sonny understood what he didn’t say—that might be me someday… someday not so long from now. Kindly, Sonny gave voice to no such thoughts. Instead, he scooted his chair (not one of the comfortable ones) closer to Luki, reached across him, and caught the St. Christopher medal, which had fallen, forgotten, from Luki’s grasp. He dropped it into Luki’s hand, the one not occupied with the IV line, and closed his fingers around it. To Luki, who had no doubt that his frontline saint would do what he could, Sonny’s act felt like rescue. Right, he thought, because if I were St. Christopher, I’d only help someone if they were actually holding on to a medal with my name on it.
He laughed at the thought, quietly, which made Sonny smile and tilt his head quizzically. Luki shook his head. “Nothing. Read? They were just getting to the bear rug in front of the hunting lodge fireplace. You can’t stop there.”
Sonny laughed, because the book had no bear rug, no hunting lodge—so far, not even a fireplace. But sympathetic characters Ron and Stevie were just getting to the good stuff. So good, in fact, that after the first sentences, Sonny blushed and scooted even closer. Somehow he managed to read and whisper into Luki’s ear at the same time.
“Now there’s an idea,” Luki whispered in return at the end of the passage, fighting to keep his own body from responding to the images of fingers and tongues and penises, coupled with the sweet tickle of Sonny’s breath. His reaction felt a little miraculous, since he’d experienced far too little bodily responding in recent weeks, but it would be too embarrassing to allow. “Maybe you’d better stop for a while. I saw a Reader’s Digest on the table as we came in. Maybe….” He was kidding, but Sonny got up—wearing an even more mischievous look—got the tacky journal, and started reading the jokes. Luki and Sonny laughed at them—some because they were actually funny, some because they were utterly stupid. Luki caught the old bigot next to him chuckling, too, and gestured to Sonny, who nodded and started to read a little louder. It wasn’t long before the younger woman to Luki’s right—and her visitor, who seemed to be her sister—joined in laughing, too, and even the nurse, working his way down the row of chairs.
Luki watched Sonny, stared at him so long and intently that he began to see light shining around him like a full-length halo. His long, dark hair—an indefinable color. His smooth skin, dark eyes sparkling… literally sparkling. His smile. His hands. His… oh my God his beautiful body. Watching Sonny, thinking those thoughts, feeling the wash of emotions that went with them, Luki fell asleep. He woke up an hour later and let Sonny steady him as he got to his feet.
“Thank you,” he said. “Sonny, thank you.”
Sonny smiled softly, shook his head, and dropped St. Christopher’s chain past Luki’s curls. The medallion fell to rest near his heart.
 

Lou's bio:

Lou Sylvre hails from Southern California but now lives and writes on the rainy side of Washington State. When she’s not writing, she’s reading—fiction in nearly every genre, romance in all its tints and shades, and the occasional book about history, physics, or police procedure. Her personal assistant is Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow. She loves her family, her friends, a Chihuahua named Joe, and (in random order) coffee, chocolate, sunshine, and wild roses. And music. And books. One must never forget music and books.

Visit her at http://www.sylvre.com or contact her at lou.sylvre@gmail.com.

4 comments:

  1. Chris, thanks for having me on your blog! I enjoyed the interview and appreciate the chance to showcase a bit of my work. You rock!

    Lou

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    1. It was a pleasure to have you here, Lou!

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  2. oooh... I loved this story!! It was so touching!! Eeek... All I wanna ask is when will there be another story in this series? LOL....

    Enjoyed the post! :))

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    1. I'm sure Lou will be thrilled to read this!

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