Category Archives: Q&A

Q&A: Object of Desire by Dal Maclean

Title: Object of Desire

Gay, m/m, thriller, psychological thriller, mystery

Buy links:

Amazon

Smashwords

Print: $18.95

Digital: $6.99

Author: Dal Maclean www.dalmaclean.com

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15408926.Dal_Maclean

Author Twitter: @MacleanDal – Dal Maclean

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Dal-Maclean/100010371585020

Author Insta: dalmaclean

Publisher One Block Empire (an imprint of Blind Eye Books) www.blindeyebooks.com

Publisher Twitter: @blindeyebooks

Publisher Insta: @blindeyebooks

Release date: May 22, 2018

Page count: 310

Q&A with Dianne and Dal Maclean

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with the gracious and clever Dal MacLean, author of Bitter Legacy, a 2017 Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Best Gay Mystery. Dal’s highly anticipated new novel, Object of Desire, is due out next week. Readers far and wide – including myself! – have raved over Dal’s brilliant work in Bitter Legacy. I have had the delight of reading Object of Desire and assure you I found it every bit as captivating, surprising, and stunning as Bitter Legacy. Read on to discover more about Dal, her writing process, her stories, and more! ~ Dianne

Welcome Dal! Would you give us some basic background on yourself? You were born in Scotland and currently reside there I believe. I’m wondering if you’ve spent time in London as Bitter Legacy and Object of Desire both feature London as a character in her own right.

I was born and grew up on a Scottish island (hence the glancing knowledge of Gaelic) but I’ve been all over the place. Including London – I’ve spent quite a bit of time there and it’s probably my favourite city anywhere. There are just so many aspects to it; it’s like a book character in its own right.

How long have you been writing? Object of Desire is your second published book, correct?

I’ve written for a long time for work (journalism) but I didn’t try writing creatively until I dabbled in fanfic. Then finally after much cajoling and browbeating I tried my hand at a book for publication. ‘Object of Desire’ is indeed my second published book.

It’s actually the third book I’ve written though using my own characters. My first was a ghost story that I thought in my innocence was also an MM romance but it doesn’t fit Romance structure. So strictly speaking I suppose I’ve written three books! That’s better than two. Oh well. I admit it. I’m not prolific. You may have noticed.

What went through your mind when you heard your debut novel, Bitter Legacy, had made it to the LAMBDA finals for Gay Mystery?

At first I think I was just stunned Bitter Legacy was up for any award at all. Truthfully, I don’t think I understood how prestigious the Lambdas are, until I saw other people’s reactions. ‘Very, very grateful’ sums it up.

Early in 2016 I saw accomplished author/editor Nicole Kimberling of Blind Eye Books promoting Bitter Legacy and that Josh Lanyon had written a rousing recommendation for the book. Based on those connections as well as the book synopsis, I immediately knew I NEEDED that book. How did you come to work with Nicole Kimberling and BEB?

Well (I hope you brought a packed lunch) I met Josh through my fanfic writing and she urged me to try writing for publication. And though it took me a while to do it, when I got started she was hugely generous as always and gave me brilliant advice all the way. One of the brilliant pieces of advice she gave me was to send the manuscript of BL (though it didn’t have that title then) to Nicole, as one of the best editors and writers out there, to get her advice. It wasn’t exactly a traditional MM romance after all—more a hybrid.

To my astonishment Nicole decided that she wanted to publish it, provided I was prepared to do a developmental edit. And since that was what I’d desperately wanted – to learn from a good editor who could show me what book writing was all about – I jumped at the chance. I never studied creative writing (my degree was in History) so everything Nicole could teach me about traditional Romance structures and tropes, and Mystery structures and tropes was invaluable.

Plus she really is brilliant fun to work with. I learned a lot through Bitter Legacy. It was a much more leisurely and stately process than Object of Desire.

Bitter Legacy and the upcoming Object of Desire are both meaty mystery/thrillers which feature complex characters. How did you choose to write mystery as a subgenre?

I think… it chose me really. As the ghost story will testify. :p I love reading and watching mysteries, so I find writing them can be great fun. Ironically I used to tell Josh when she was trying to persuade me to try writing original fiction, that while I could do emotion and character I wouldn’t be able to write a proper book because I couldn’t do plot. So its been a surprise to realize that I can produce some twisty stuff.

‘Object’ is actually a psychological thriller, as well as a mystery and a romance which I had no clue about until Nicole broke it to me. ‘Bitter Legacy’ is a police procedural. OOD is faster paced, not as slow build as BL. The core story plays out over a matter o days rather than months as in BL.I wanted to write OOD from the perspective of ‘the hunted’ rather than ‘the hunter’. I actually used one character that straddles both books, to try to point that up. He’s seen from the perspective of hindering the hunter in one book, and helping the hunted in the other. Did you notice?

What other subgenre would you be most likely to explore as a writer?

I love reading Fantasy and Historical, but they feel like much harder work. As it is, trying to marry my current two genres (Romance and Mystery) with something approaching equality, is tough enough.

I understand the research needed for historical is daunting, especially for someone as meticulous about it as you are. How about fantasy though, your rules would rule! There would merely be that “invent an entire world and keep it all sorted” stuff to deal with. LOL

Merely! Yeah. You think I’m not prolific now?

BL and OOD feature characters that, shall we say, experienced less than nurturing and wholesome childhoods. How did this aspect come about and in what ways in general does it help build intrigue and character depth?

In BL, the story almost hinges on that exact issue. The idea first came from a real life criminal case which made me think…what about the kids? In OOD it’s obviously far less extreme.

I want to try to give my characters logical and believable reasons to be as they are. But also to show that the adults they’ve become, were only partly created by childhood experience. Their own character traits also cause them to respond to things that happened in their pasts, in certain ways. They’re– part nature, part nurture.

I don’t think characters have to have had seriously dodgy childhoods to be flawed or insecure though. We all have things in our pasts that moulded us, and those may even seem quite trivial things to other people.

Continuing the characterization theme…you’ve written leading men in each book who exhibit behavior that is somewhat unconventional in romance and even venture into antihero territory. These characters are everything to me, as they are a huge force in keeping the reader guessing, conflicted, engaged and ultimately cheering as these characters evolve.

Its lovely to hear you say that! I do realize my main characters can be challenging as romance heroes in some ways and some readers may react less favourably to them because of that. But I personally prefer genuine character flaws in my heroes (as opposed to being ‘just too self sacrificial’) – both reading and writing. For me personally, that makes characters more 3D and real, and it makes the route to a happy ending more of a challenge. I hope my heroes still scrape under the wire to make it as Romance heroes by the end of each book though.

Your secondary characters are vivid, memorable and crucial. Something I find hugely important as a reader and I feel many authors miss the boat on. How much of yourself did you put into your characters? Are any of them based on real people?

Oh thank you! I haven’t based them on particular individuals, no, but maybe they’re composites of the people I’ve met. They seem become themselves as individuals and increasingly pushy as I write them. I’m not sure why. Two characters inspired by people I’ve met though were Magnus and James Henderson in Bitter Legacy – British public school (that’s fee-paying in the UK), stiff upper lip, essentially very honorable, emotionally inexperienced in James’ case; emotionally constipated in Magnus’.

Your books feature great detail about British Murder Investigation Teams, law enforcement in general, and legal issues. What kind of research do you do, and how much time do you devote to researching before and during the process of writing a book?

Too much. I research a lot. Everything. Things that don’t matter, like the furnishings in a particular pub. I can take months doing it, which doesn’t help my productivity at all. And timelines – I do timelines for the story, and before the story, for any character that looks at me the wrong way. I’m incredibly anal about it. Which is why I don’t dare to try a seriously research-heavy genre like Historical.

Object of Desire takes place in the same “world” as Bitter Legacy – readers will be pleased to get some glimpses of familiar characters. However, OOD is not really a spinoff of any characters we met in BL. Why choose to create new characters and not pick a secondary from BL to flesh out? What led to you deciding for your protagonist, Tom, to be a professional model?

Well at first BL was intended as a standalone and it was structured that way. But the response to James In particular as a character, made me wonder if I should write more with him as the central figure. If it had been a mystery book alone, I think I’d probably have gone that way. But these are romances too, and truthfully I put Jamie and Ben through so much in the course of Bitter Legacy, and Ben in particular was so vulnerable, that I don’t think I could challenge their relationship again in any serious way in a full length book and have their happy ever after be believable. Yet I needed some romantic challenge in book 2.

I’d read a couple of things that intrigued me – the peculiar position and psychology of male modeling (as opposed to female modeling) and an article by the victim of psychological manipulation. I considered one of Ben’s circle in BL as the main character, but I knew I needed someone… remarkable. Someone out of the ordinary, hence Tom Gray. Who I now love to bits by the way, awkward, stubborn sod that he is.

Readers love codas. You gave us a Christmas coda as a follow up to Bitter Legacy. Will you be granting us more from either book?

In future yes, I’d love to. I’m trying to plan out book three though and I think it’ll take place quite soon after ‘Object’. So I’m having to hold back on codas for now in case I fall over my own plot.

If not codas, maybe consider taking a scene from BL or OOD where we only got one character’s POV, and write a coda featuring the other main character’s POV?

Funnily enough someone told me they’d seen speculation that Book 3 might be exactly that…. OOD but from Wills POV and I was horrified! LOL

I think the reason I love tight third and its close friend unreliable narration so much is because they’re close to…real life? We can’t see into other peoples’ minds to understand what they really think or feel or why they’ve done something, so we all judge other people’s behavior and feelings through the prisms of our own insecurities and experiences.

I feel sometimes like dual POV is sort of cheating?? Giving the reader the easy way out. Though as a reader I admit there are times easy’s lovely! :p But let’s face it, it takes away the challenge and uncertainty and tension if you KNOW both characters are feeling the same and struggling too so it’s just a matter of getting over any misunderstandings.

So I’d find it hard to do that because it kind of strips away any mystery or ambiguity left in my books and you know I live for mystery and ambiguity.

What are your plans for future projects?

Ha. See immediately above. I’m plotting out book 3 in the BL universe, which as of now will feature Will Foster from OOD as the main character. So it’ll be back to the hunter’s POV, as in Bitter Legacy.

I love that we’ll get to see more of Will in action. Are you able to say if we’ll see James popping up in this third book again, and if so, how prominently?

At the moment that’s the plan – to give Jamie quite a prominent role. But I’m hoping it’s going to emerge very much Will’s book

Who are some of your favorite authors and in what aspects have they been influential in your writing?

In mystery, I admire Agatha Christie for all kinds of reasons, not least because she was always ready unexpectedly, to make her culprit the person the reader didn’t want it to be, as opposed to an easy option, leaving the reader with no emotional price to pay. I also love that she gave her heroes and heroines real flaws. I think in those aspects – her willingness to do difficult things with her characters and plots for the good of the book – I think that edge of unpredictability has kept her work relevant decades on.

I think something similar could be said of Jane Austen. Her heroines and heroes are still compelling because they’re flawed and vulnerable and make huge mistakes. They’re 3D and recognizably human, across centuries and now-largely-alien cultural values.

Otherwise, in romance, I suspect that fanfic has influenced me more than modern M/F books. Fanfic is definitely more red in tooth and claw emotionally. I’m not sure why. That fanfic inheritance could be why I’ve been told I still don’t really write Romance per se (sniff). Maybe I write a hybrid kind of Mystery/Romance thing that could be a less comfortable read? I saw a lady on twitter describe BL as having ‘fanfic levels of angst’ and I think she was onto something. 😀

I have to ask for myself and for a large amount of fellow readers: any plans for Bitter Legacy to be produced in audio form?

I very much want it to be. I want both books to be. But at this stage I’m not quite sure how to make it happen. I’ll keep trying though, I promise.

————————————

Just for fun questions:

Is it true you sing along with dirges? It’s all I do in my spare time.

What is something you never leave home without? Clothes

Loki or Thor? Loki probably, though he’s an annoying bastard. There I go with the flawed characters again.

Who among your characters do you see yourself being besties with? Argh… After every book I write, I end up in love with my main characters. At the moment its Tom and Will. But, though dare I say, if we’re talking besties to gossip and get pissed with – maybe Steggie from Bitter Legacy? Do I detect hisses of outrage?

Steggie huh? Actually I can see the appeal… to a point!

Aw – he was lovely. Up to a point. 😀 Seriously you’re quite rare as a BL reader. So many people hated my guts over Steggie. They far preferred him to Ben because what Ben did was harder to forgive to many romance readers. (True story!)

Maybe *Pez then. A lot more edge/bitchiness than Stegs, but still – fun to go on the tear with.

*Note to readers: Pez appears in OOD!

Are you at liberty to reveal the present location of Dal Carrington Colby Dexter?

Liberty is the operative word. I have grave tidings from Equatorial Guinea. DCCD has taken cunning advantage of the absence of her ineffectual carer (that’s me) and engineered yet another breakout from her padded cell using a lion, several tons of jewel encrusted high explosive and an egg spoon. She is once again pursuing her plans for galactic domination, beginning with the immediate overthrow of the mighty Lanyon Empire. So. I’ll just dig out the dart gun and the butterfly net. Again.

DCCD is on the loose?!! What type of ruse could we devise to best draw her in?

Diamonds usually work. They work for me too. Just saying.

 

BlurbTom Gray is one of the world’s top models–an effortless object of desire. Self-contained, elusive and always in control, he’s accustomed to living life entirely on his own terms. But when Tom comes under suspicion in the gory death of his employer, his world spirals into chaos.

Someone’s framing him. Someone’s stalking him. And as old secrets come to light, Tom finds his adversary always one step ahead.

Will Foster is the only man Tom trusts to help. But Tom brutally burned all bridges between them two years before, and Will paid a bitter price. If he wants to survive, Tom must prove his innocence to Will–and to the world.

Praise for Object of Desire

Another twisty, densely plotted, utterly satisfying thriller/romance. Highly recommended.” Elin Gregory, author of Eleventh Hour

Praise for Dal Maclean’s debut novel, Bitter Legacy.

“This is a superbly plotted crime novel where the romance is cleverly integrated rather than an obvious add-on and both elements have equal importance and are written with equal intensity. I could hardly put the book down… I award it my highest recommendation…” Desert Island Keeper, BJ Jansen, All About Romance

Bio:  Dal Maclean comes from Scotland. Her background is in journalism, and she has an undying passion for history, the more gossipy and scandalous the better. Dal has lived in Asia and worked all over the world, but home is now the UK. She dislikes the Tragic Gay trope, but loves imperfect characters and genuine emotional conflict in romantic fiction. As an author, and a reader, she believes it’s worth a bit of work to reach a happy ending. Agatha Christie, English gardens and ill-advised cocktails are three fatal weaknesses, though not usually at the same time.

Her first book, “Bitter Legacy”, was a 2017 Lambda Literary Award Finalist for best Gay Mystery and was chosen by the American Libraries Association for their 2018 Over The Rainbow Recommended Books List. 

Q & A with HB Kurtzwilde

I was lucky enough to get HB Kurtzwilde to answer some questions for me. I’m a huge fan of his books, and really just wanted to jump up and down and ask him EVERYTHING that could conceivably happen all while talking about how much I loved stuff. I restrained myself and tried to ask competent questions. The books discussed here, which I highly recommend, are available at Loose Id, Amazon, and other retailers. ~ Faye

 

hbk_tsaof3_servantforthepresentQuestion 1: After reading The Secret Art of Failure trilogy I’ve found myself very fascinated with the character of Sarafel. I keep wanting to imagine she’s done something significant to either the Telsma or the Fellowship. Am I simply missing the obvious that her biggest impact on Kourt and the other Fighting Lizards has been as an abusive and drug addicted foster parent and colleague?

Answer: Oh dear. Sarafel? I suppose she is hypnotic in the way cobras are. Continue reading Q & A with HB Kurtzwilde

Guest Post: Pawsitively in Love by M.J. O’Shea

Hey there this is MJ O’Shea! I thought I’d introduce you to my character Evan, from Pawsitively In Love I won’t give him any more of an introduction. I think I’ll let him do that for himself.

Hi Evan!

Tell us about your hobbiesI really like to work on my house. It was PawsitivelyInLoveLGbuilt in the 1920s and has a lot of great features but it still has a ways to go with renovation in some places. And I like to grocery shop. That makes me sound pretty boring. I guess my newest hobby is pug puppy owner. He’s the best thing ever.

Where do you like to socialize?I’m still pretty new to town. I’ve met a few people at the gym and I like to go have a few drinks with them at The Mix and the Silverstone. They’re the only two gay bars in my neighborhood. Continue reading Guest Post: Pawsitively in Love by M.J. O’Shea

Guest Post and Giveaway: It’s Brilliant, Really

26195309Today, we interview a character from Edmond Manning’s King John, a man named Alistair Robertson. Alistair attended the last six Burning Man events and this year, has a mission while attending Burning Man, 2002.

Alistair: Well, I wouldn’t really call it a mission, mate.

Interviewer: No? Did you not reveal to me a few moments ago this is your third year looking for the king maker?

Alistair (shifting uncomfortably): Yes, I mean, yes, I said that, right but, that’s not quite…I mean, I wouldn’t call it a mission. More like a hobby. Continue reading Guest Post and Giveaway: It’s Brilliant, Really

Guest Post, Character Interview, and Excerpt: Drama Queen by Joe Cosentino

Character Interview and Excerpt

 

25687813Author: Joe Cosentino

Publisher: Lethe Press

Type: Start of a Series

Buy Links: Lethe Press, Smashwords, and Amazon

 

 

 

Blurb: It could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant…and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!

Character Interview:

Continue reading Guest Post, Character Interview, and Excerpt: Drama Queen by Joe Cosentino

Song of the Navigator: Blog Tour Q&A and Giveaway with Astrid Amara

song-of-the-navigatorQ&A:

I am ridiculously excited to have Astrid Amara here at It’s About The Book. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time. As she’s got a new release, Song of the Navigator, I wanted to not only ask her some questions about that, but about things in general. Thanks for being here!

The first books of yours I read were A Policy of Lies and the stories in the Hell Cop anthologies. I had an image of your books in my head as being dark speculative fiction. Then people were talking about the Bellski books, and how Astrid Amara writes such great holiday stories. What is coming at us in Song of the Navigator? Will your characters have to stiffen their spines and admit they have strong feelings, or will they have to dodge an obsidian bladed ax? Continue reading Song of the Navigator: Blog Tour Q&A and Giveaway with Astrid Amara

Truth & Tenderness: Blog Tour Q&A with Tere Michaels

Truth&TendernessLGQ&A:

It’s About The Book would like to welcome Tere Michaels! Thanks so much for coming to chat with us.

I feel like in the past year a lot of my favorite series have either ended or their authors have announced the ending is coming soon. As a reader it feels bittersweet. I’m sad I’m losing friends, (Yes, I know they aren’t real) but at the same time I’m happy the series are going out on a high. How does this feel as a writer? I imagine the Cerelli’s, Matt, and all their friends won’t be leaving your head.

It wasn’t a hard decision to make – it had to end at some point! – but at the same time, it took me awhile to find the right ending, the one that would satisfy me. So much of my series has been about what happens after the “happy ending” and so to find a final resting place, I wanted to examine the full circle all these characters have come. Who was Evan when this story started and who is he when it ends? What did he learn? Same with the other characters – did they get what they wanted? Are they satisfied? Because if the characters are, I think the audience will be as well. At least that’s what I’m hoping! Continue reading Truth & Tenderness: Blog Tour Q&A with Tere Michaels

When the Planets Align: Blog Tour Q&A with Kate McMurray

PlanetsBlogTour

We here at It’s About The Book would like to welcome Kate McMurray. Thank you for agreeing to answer some questions.

Thanks! I am happy to be here.

Your love of baseball is well known. Are you a one team woman, or do you have a variety of favorites? Have you ever played in a Fantasy Baseball league?
Continue reading When the Planets Align: Blog Tour Q&A with Kate McMurray

Interview and Black Friday Giveaway with Jennifer Estep

It’s Black Friday & we’ve got free books!

We’ve got two copies of the book from the publisher on standby for delivery to the first two, lucky commenters that get this answer right: What is the title of the book Fletcher is reading when he’s killed in the Pork Pit. Later, Gin has it framed and hangs it over the cash register, blood stains and all. Remember?

image001Filled with death-defying feats and sweeping emotions, Estep’s 12th Elemental Assassin contemporary paranormal (after Poison Promise) is one of the strongest to date.”— Publishers Weekly

 “Estep’s outstanding skill and talent have made sure this series remains one of the absolute best in the genre. Utterly gripping!”— RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ Stars, Hot

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/o2g6zag
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/nfvf6xx
Books-A-Million: http://tinyurl.com/kpkywm4
IndieBound: http://tinyurl.com/lbc4rwv
iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/p3t88tm
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ktj5mnk
Audible: http://tinyurl.com/kw66o7r

Blurb for Black Widow: Jennifer Estep is back with BLACK WIDOW – out November 25, 2014! Lethal, sexy, and always ready to protect her friends, Gin Blanco (a.k.a. the Spider) takes on the mysterious M.M. Monroe in book twelve of the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. Let me know if you are interested in featuring.

There’s nothing worse than a cruel, cunning enemy with time to kill—and my murder to plan. With wicked Fire elemental Mab Monroe long gone, you’d think I could finally catch a break. But someone’s always trying to take me down, either as Gin Blanco or my assassin alter-ago. Now along comes the Spider’s new arch-nemesis, the mysteriously named M. M. Monroe, who is gleefully working overtime to trap me in a sticky web of deceit.

The thing is, I’m not the only target. I can see through the tangled threads enough to know that every bit of bad luck my friends have been having lately is no accident—and that each unfortunate “coincidence” is just one more arrow drawing ever closer to hitting the real bull’s-eye. Though new to Ashland, this M. M. Monroe is no stranger to irony, trying to get me, an assassin, framed for murder. Yet, as my enemy’s master plan is slowly revealed, I have a sinking feeling that it will take more than my powerful Ice and Stone magic to stop my whole life from going up in flames.

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, Tangled Threads, Spider’s Revenge, By a Thread, Widow’s Web, Deadly Sting, Heart of Venom, The Spider, Poison Promise, and Black Widow, along with the e-shorts Thread of Death, Parlor Tricks, and Kiss of Venom, are the other titles in her red-hot Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. Jennifer is also the author of the Black Blade and Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series. For more on Jennifer and her books, visit JenniferEstep.com and @Jennifer_Estep.

Interview:

1. I’ve read that you plot, write, then come back fresh and fix. Have you ever changed the fate of someone in one if those edits? Saved a character you’d previously killed off? Continue reading Interview and Black Friday Giveaway with Jennifer Estep

An Interview With Buck Baxter

BuckBaxter_LoveD_100dpi_cvrBuck Baxter was gracious enough to talk to us here at It’s About The Book.

Hello, Buck! Thanks so much for agreeing to answer some questions.

It’s my pleasure, although you may have to explain to me again later what a blog is. Here in Wilde City, you get the news from Skip the news-kid on the corner, or else one of your more reliable sources, preferably in some out-of-the-way gin joint where the lights are low and everybody is good at mindin’ their own business. This town is full of respectable dives where everyone knows that keeping to yourself is the best way to keep alive. But this blog business is a little beyond me. And what the hell is the internet? Some sort of equipment the cops use to drag bodies out of the river? There’s a lotta loose-lipped schmucks at the bottom of Wilde City harbour comparin’ concrete shoe sizes these days, thanks to the gangster war between Mama Marlow and Bugsy Brown. Talk about a marriage gone wrong. I tell ya, I see plenty of those in my line of work. Boy meets girl. Boy cheats on girl. Girl pops boy in the head with a pistol. It’s the kinda thing that keeps me in business. Just look at my latest case—Miss Winnipeg Whitmore wants proof that her husband ain’t nothin’ but a lyin, cheatin’, two-timin’, yella-bellied alligator. But is she after the truth… or hidin’ secrets of her own?

What’s your best memory of time spent with one the rent boys from The Velvet Viper?

Memories are for people in love. They’re for schmucks who tuck keepsakes inside books and stick photographs in albums. I ain’t got nothin’ but bad memories of growin’ up, of being trapped in that orphanage at Hell’s Bells convent as a boy. Since leavin’ there, I’ve tried my best not to be the kinda guy to collect fond memories. Visits to the Velvet Viper are about gettin’ some ass, I go there for a good time, not a long time. Sure the boys are handsome as hell, and a couple of them—like Naughty Nick who used to work there, and the new kid Clarrie and that tight ass of his—some of them have whet my whistle… and I ain’t talkin’ about offerin’ me a drink. But now that Holden Hart is on the scene, I ain’t sure I’ll ever go back to that sexy, sinful snakepit… unless of course I need some information for a case.

If Mama couldn’t get gin into Wilde City what would be your second choice of beverage?

My second choice would be to move to another town, I hear the bootleggin’ is reliable down in Atlantic City. But since I’m kinda partial to Wilde City, I guess I could stay and switch to something else. Madame Chang has more than just pot in her floating opium den The Peking Empress. I’m sure she could fix me up a potion or two that’d satisfy my needs.

We were going to ask you a question about your cannabis smoking, but we can’t remember what it was. Do you have any snacks?

I ain’t much for snacks, I’ll admit that. Perhaps I’ll chew on some beef jerky from time to time, and there’s always some ice in the bottom of a glass of gin to crunch on, if that counts. The gin never lasts long enough for the ice to melt… funny that.

Do think Holden’s family will accept you given your very different upbringings and stations in life?

My jury’s still out on Holden’s parents, Howard and Crystal Hart. I’m gettin’ the picture that Holden and his dad may not see eye to eye, and I got a feeling in my gut that Howard Hart has some secrets of his own. Stay tuned, I’ll be sure to dig for more.

Have you thought about how having a celebrity boyfriend will affect your life now?

I’ve always been one to lay low and stay outta the limelight, so I’m thinkin’ me and Holden may have some rocky times ahead. This town thinks he’s the cat’s meow, and so do I to be honest. But with his bein’ the popular party-boy and wealthy socialite that he is, I’m sure there’s gonna be moments when I step back into the shadows and let him take the stage alone. Whether or not that causes some friction, time will tell. But I’m a private detective, not a celebrity or a star. Fame is somethin’ I’ve never wanted. Avoidin’ it, however, may be a different ballgame altogether.

Considering you are a detective, why did you never think to look for your childhood friend?

I didn’t get outta Hell’s Bells till I was thrown out at the age of sixteen. I had no money, nowhere to live, no food to eat. I had to get a job to survive. I sold papers to start with… I’m the guy who got Skip the news-kid his job… the little wise-ass is yet to thank me. After that I tended bars, worked as a waiter, shined shoes, anything I could to make ends meet. All the while I kept my ear to the ground, making connections, figuring out the clockwork of Wilde City, and what—or rather who—makes it tick… which is when I fell into the job of private detective. Sure I thought of Harry a lot, but in the struggle to survive I didn’t have the time to look for him. It’s something I’ll always regret.

Do you think your kind of friending of Mama put you on her side of the break up?

I don’t like to take anyone’s side in a feud, but if I had to have an ally in either Mama or Bugsy, I’d choose Mama any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Bugsy’s the kinda guy who’ll smile at ya face then pop you in the back as soon as you turn around. At least Mama’s willing to do business. Having said that, I’d never wanna cross her. That Mama Marlow is one tough dame.

We’d really like to thank you for answering our questions, Buck.  Even if this whole blog thing is a bit confusing and you didn’t bring any snacks.

Thanks again for having me. I gotta get back to my latest case now. The divas who are starring in the new production of The Snake Charmer’s Slave down at the Maharaja Majestic Theatre keep disappearin’. Nobody’s sure if there’s a killer on the loose… or a phantom at the opera. Sounds like a mystery for Buck Baxter to solve!

Buck Baxter, Love Detective is available for purchase at Wilde City Press and Amazon as well as other retailers.