September 05, 2014

Louise Lyons: Conflicted

Please help me welcome fellow Dreamspinner Press author Louse Lyons with her book Conflicted. She's here to answer some of my nosy questions, share an excerpt, and she's also doing a giveaway.

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Title: Conflicted
Release Date: 20 August 2014
Author: Louise Lyons
Author Twitter: www.twitter.com/louiselyons013
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary



Blurb: Two competing gangs of car and drag racing enthusiasts with a shared history of pain and rivalry leading to outright hatred. Two men from opposite sides of the tracks, yet more in common than they’d like to admit.

Paul Appleton is a troubled man who has never been in a relationship, having lost everyone he cared for in his life. His mother died when he was very young and subsequently, he lost his brother and his best friend. Now Paul is convinced love will always end in tears.

Greg was living on the streets after his parents died and was stabbed by a junkie, ending up in hospital. The Buchanans took Greg under their wing while doing charity work, and Greg joined their loving family when he was adopted. He and his siblings are also car enthusiasts with much more money and therefore better cars than Paul Appleton’s gang.

When they eventually find a connection, Paul fights his feelings and tries to convince himself his lover is only a temporary bit of fun, but Greg has other ideas.

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1-Welcome Louise! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your release.
Hi, and thank you very much for having me. I’m over 40, single, and I have a day-job in the insurance industry. My book is my first release, so all of this is new to me and I’m finding it both exciting and scary at the same time. I’m sure many others authors know exactly what I’m talking about! The story is based around cars and drag racing, so I hope this won’t put readers (particularly ladies) off. Although that scene is an integral part of the story, it’s mostly focused on the main character, Paul, and his determination to isolate himself from love, for fear of being hurt.

2-In what locale is your book set? Why did you choose this setting?
It’s based in the fictitious small town of Stockton, about an hour north of London, UK. The reason I chose this was quite random. I picked a location for the drag racing venue, which forms the setting for the first few chapters of the story and then thought about where I could situate my town, which would require a few hours driving to get to the venue. I wanted an area with open countryside, but fairly close to larger towns/cities, so I studied a map and invented a town, rather that choose an existing one. I didn’t want to use my own favorite drag racing venue for the story, because the story includes an accident caused by lack of attention to safety and I’m sure the real venue wouldn’t appreciate me making out that their standards are any less than exemplary.

3-How long have you been writing?
Pretty much all my life. I started with stories about little girls and ponies when I was 8 years old, progressed into het romance in my teens and not too long after, I began writing M/M romance, featuring my favorite rock stars. Years later I discovered Fan Fiction and after I developed a surprisingly large following, I decided it was time to work on original stories and try to become published.

4-What compelled you to write this particular story?
I’m a bit of a tomboy and a big fan of the Fast & Furious movies. I also have a sporty car and am a member of an owners club, which I join at motor events and exhibit my own car. So this type of scene is something I’m very much part of and the idea for the story grew from that. I live less than 50 miles from a drag strip, and I go there on a regular basis (to watch, not race!)

5-What gave you the courage to submit your story to a publisher?
It was all thanks to my Fan Fiction readers. Some authors aren’t fond of Fan Fiction, I know, and some who have come from the same place prefer not to admit to it. But I’m proud of my Fan Fiction writing. My faithful readers there gave me the courage to try to become published and I found it an incredible launching pad for where I am now. Without it, I certainly wouldn’t have a published novel now.

6-When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
I’ll often have the appearance of someone, or a particular personality aspect that I’ve seen in a person, or someone on TV and I’ll expand on that in my mind and create my character. Other times, a completely fictional character will come to mind, with physical attributes and personality gradually being “born”.

7-Why did you start writing m/m? Is there something special that draws you to this genre?
The first thing that attracted me was the movie My Beautiful Launderette starring Daniel Day Lewis. A friend showed it to me when I was about 15 and about a year later, I wrote my first M/M story, for my own entertainment only! I find two men together a lot more exciting than a man and a woman and the genre is pretty much all I read. It quickly grew into being the only thing I have the inspiration to write. I don’t find female characters so interesting to write and they don’t draw me the way males do.

8-What are you reading right now? Do you have a favorite author or genre?
Some of my favorite authors are Garrett Leigh, Grace R. Duncan, Wade Kelly and Taylin Clavelli. All of these naughty ladies have had me in floods of tears with their incredible ability to yank at the heartstrings. As for genres – that varies quite a lot. I like vampires and other supernatural beings. I’ve recently read some steampunk and BDSM, neither of which I thought I would be that keen on, but I’ve found two genres that I really enjoy there. Whatever I’m reading, I like angst, as long as it has a happy ending. At this moment in time, I’m not actually reading anything, but Taylin Clavelli’s novel Dakota Skies is out very soon and that will be the next book I grab for my Kindle.

9-What are you working on now?
I’ve been writing a few short stories for anthologies, but I’m planning two new novels. One involves domestic abuse. It’s something I’ve been through myself, so I can draw on the experience to apply to my male MC. The story will start after he escapes from the situation he’s in, but follows his attempts to leave it behind, and his struggles with self-esteem and confidence. That story is something I aim to work on toward the end of the year. In the meantime, the second one is a romance with some angst, set in the rock music scene of the 1990s, which was another big part of my life. I made many trips to one of the UK’s famous rock clubs, Rock City in Nottingham, which will feature in the story.

10-When you're not writing, how do you like to spend your time?
I have a lot of hobbies. I love animals and I have a dog, tropical fish and tarantulas, so I spend a lot of time caring for them. I like to run long distance and I do cross stitch needlework. Plus I have my much-loved car and also a motorcycle, which I like to work on, take to shows and so on.

11-What are your writing goals for 2014/2015?
I’d like to see another two or three of my novels published by the end of 2015, depending on how much time I have and of course whether the works are deemed worthy by publishers! I’m delighted that I’ve recently had two short stories accepted for anthologies so that’s a start.

12-Do you have personal goals for 2014/2015?
I plan to compete in the 2014 Great Eastern Run half marathon, in the UK. I’ve been training for it since July and it’ll be the 4th time I’ve run it. I’d like to beat my best time. I’d also like to be able to reduce the hours I work at a “proper” job to give me more time for writing, but that will depend on how well I do over the next 18 months with publishing my work and gradually building an income from it.

Would you like to share an excerpt from “Conflicted”?
I would be delighted. Here you go…

 
Greg went to the bar to get a beer and was just handing over the money when he noticed the very man he had been hoping to avoid was right next to him, nursing his own bottle of Budweiser.
I thought you went to a bar in Stevenage,” Paul commented without looking at Greg.
I couldn’t be bothered driving over there tonight,” Greg said and gulped some of his beer. He leaned against the bar and glanced at Paul. His gray T-shirt looked about three sizes too small and only emphasized the size of his shoulders and broad back. Intentional, no doubt. His faded jeans were even tighter, and clung to his muscular thighs and firm ass as if they were painted on. Damn, he was hot, and Greg wanted to kick himself for thinking that.
Not even in the new car?” Paul turned to look at him and raised an eyebrow. His eyes were deep brown and piercing, as if he were looking into Greg rather than at him.
Not tonight.”
Nice, by the way. Shame we don’t all have rich parents to shower us with toys like that.”
It was just what Greg expected – a brief compliment quickly crushed by an insult. He was immediately pissed.
You know nothing about it,” he growled.
Paul shrugged. “I can’t blame you. I wouldn’t have said no either.”
Listen, Appleton, I won’t pretend I’m not smug as hell driving around in an R34, but I didn’t ask for it and to be honest, I would rather have bought a car I can afford with my own money, which I do earn, by the way. I don’t just live off of them like a fucking leech!”
Alright, chill, I’m sorry,” Paul said.
Yeah, well, it gets up my nose that people think I’m rich and spoiled when I work hard like anybody else. I can’t help the fact that I got adopted by the Buchanans. I came from an ordinary family, same as most people, even you.”
My family was anything but ordinary,” Paul grumbled. “So how come you were adopted anyway?”
You actually want to know?” Greg asked in surprise.
Yeah, why not?”
Okay, we might as well get a seat, then.” Greg turned away from the bar and headed for a corner away from the main bustle, leaving Paul to follow if he felt like it. Greg wasn’t particularly delighted by the prospect of spending more time with him, but since he was here, there wasn’t much else Greg could do. Annoyingly, his pulse sped up as he made his way to an unoccupied corner bench and sat down. He chewed his lip. Paul was still at the bar, speaking to someone he apparently knew, but a moment later, he moved away and walked toward Greg. Fuck, those jeans were tight, and Greg would have bet Paul had no underwear on either.
Jesus, don’t stare. He shifted his eyes up – to bulging pecs. Heat rushed to his groin, and he tried to think about something else. The last thing he wanted was a hard-on, but too long with no fun except for his own hands, and now the company of the hottest guy in the pub, had him stiffening regardless. Greg wondered what the chances were. Would Paul be up for it? Greg knew nothing about him, but he couldn’t imagine him being shy. Greg would bet Paul would shag anything that looked twice at him – or certainly play around with them.
So? You were going to tell me where you came from,” Paul prompted, dropping onto the seat a little distance away, facing Greg.
Uh…um…yeah, well, my parents were just ordinary – my dad was a builder and my mum was a waitress. They died in a car crash when I was sixteen.”
Sorry to hear that,” Paul said with a frown. “Did they treat you okay?”
My parents? Of course, why wouldn’t they?” That comment puzzled Greg, but he carried on talking. Anything to stop himself imagining Paul’s hand, which was gripping his beer bottle, wrapped around Greg’s cock instead. “They had a huge mortgage, the house got repossessed after they died, and the system didn’t want to know. I lived on the streets for a year, then ended up in hospital, and Agnes Buchanan, who was there doing charity work, took pity on me. And the rest is history.”
That was lucky.” Paul nodded. “What put you in hospital?”
A bloke with a knife.”
Shit.”
So, how did you end up living with…Stewart Sanders, is it?” Greg asked.
It’s a long story,” Paul grunted. “I left home when I was sixteen, and he and Abby took me in.”
Why did you leave?”
Paul scowled and drained the rest of his beer before answering. “It’s not important.”
Humor me,” Greg said, genuinely interested.
I’m not here to entertain you!” Paul snapped and got to his feet.
Hey…” Greg protested. Hell, the guy had a chip on his shoulder. A huge chip. And he was about to walk away from Greg just when he was beginning to convince himself that they were getting along, and that he might possibly get his hand inside those tight jeans later. But Paul was already walking to the bar.
Shit!” Greg growled under his breath. He was annoyed that Paul walked away and more annoyed still that he was disappointed. It had seemed like they might be starting to move past what happened at Octane, and Greg hoped the stupid feud might have been forgotten too.
Paul hadn’t gone far. He had wedged himself between two men at the bar and was waiting to be served another drink. Greg stared at his ass until he turned around again and then quickly dropped his eyes and pretended interest in the last mouthful of beer in his bottle.
Sorry.” Paul appeared at the other side of the table, placed a fresh bottle of Bud in front of Greg, and then stepped over his legs and took up his original seat, maybe a foot closer to Greg than before.
No, I’m sorry. I suppose I come across as if I’m prying, but really, I’m just interested.”
The corner of Paul’s mouth twitched up slightly into a hint of a smile. “Just don’t ask me about family.”
Okay. So can I ask about your job at the club? Don’t they need you on a Friday night?”
They rotate the weekend days off. It’s my first in the month I’ve been there. It’s a good job – decent pay too, better than the shitty warehouse I was in before.”
Yeah, I imagine bouncers get paid pretty well.” Greg nodded. “Do you have to use your fists much?” Damn, Greg, what the hell did you say that for? He cursed himself.
Paul grinned. “Not really. You get more trouble with drunken girls trying to slobber all over you.” He pulled a face. “If there’s real trouble, you diffuse it rather than add to it. I do kickboxing and jujitsu to help with that.”
Cool,” Greg said. It was something they had in common. “I did kickboxing for a few years. I’ve been thinking about taking up something else too.”
Paul nodded and took another drink. Greg watched the movement of his throat as he swallowed and imagined his lips were wrapped around his cock instead of the bottle. He shifted awkwardly and rested his arm across his lap, hoping not to draw attention to the fact that he was getting uncomfortably hard. Paul lowered the bottle, and his eyes slid from Greg’s face, down his chest, and fixed on exactly what he was hoping Paul wouldn’t look at. He grinned and trapped the tip of his tongue between his teeth. Oh fuck. He was checking Greg out and way more obviously than Greg was checking him.
Should Greg ignore it, or go with it? Did he seriously want to get off with Paul? How difficult would that make things if they ran into each other at shows or something in the future? What the hell would the family say if they found out? What on earth was Greg thinking when he considered taking a chance with a person who went out of his way to make trouble for himself and others?
Greg thought for another minute and realized that it was going to be the only chance he had, at least for that evening. Besides, who was going to know? Paul didn’t want anyone finding out about him anymore than Greg did.
What are you looking at?” Greg grunted as a way of starting a sort of flirting interaction.
Isn’t it obvious? Like my company, do you?” Paul responded.
It seems like it, doesn’t it?”
Paul arched an eyebrow and leaned back. He shifted his ass forward on the seat and drew attention to the fact that the ridiculously tight jeans were virtually crushing him. Greg could make out the head of his cock pushing against the fabric. He wondered if it was his imagination or if he was more turned on than he’d ever been in his life.

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2 comments:

  1. Congrats on your debut novel. Thanks for the chance to win. Sounds like a good novel to read. Added to tbr list

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  2. Sounds interesting. congrats on getting published. Will put it on my wish list. Sherri Sherck

    ReplyDelete