Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Ann Gallagher blog tour for All The Wrong Places!
All The Wrong Places, by Ann Gallagher
Series: Bluewater Bay (Stand-Alone)
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: June 13, 2016
Today Ann Gallagher is joining us to talk about her newest release, and she’s brought a fantastic giveaway with her as well! So keep reading to find out more about this great new release, why Ann decided to write about an asexual character, and how you can get your hands on two of Ann’s ebooks (written under any of her pen names) plus a $10 gift certificate!
Three cheating girlfriends in a row have given skateboarder Brennan Cross the same excuse: he wasn’t meeting their needs. Desperate and humiliated, he goes to the professionals at the local sex shop for advice.
Zafir Hamady, a sales clerk at Red Hot Bluewater, has an unusual theory: he doesn’t think Brennan is a bad lover. In fact, he doesn’t think Brennan is heterosexual. Or sexual at all, for that matter. He also can’t stop thinking about Brennan. But even if he’s right and Brennan really is asexual, that doesn’t mean Zafir has a chance. Brennan’s never dated a man, and Zafir’s never met anyone who’s game for a Muslim single father with a smart mouth and a GED.
Brennan’s always thought of himself as straight. But when sex is explicitly out of the mix, he finds himself drawn to Zafir for the qualities and interests they share. And Zafir can’t help enjoying Brennan’s company and the growing bond between Brennan and his son. They work well together, but with so many issues between them, doubts creep in, and Brennan’s struggle with his identity could push away the one person he didn’t know he could love.
Kristie interviewed Ann Gallagher about her writing, characters, and whether we might see some familiar faces appear in future Bluewater Bay books. Check it out!
Kristie: You’ve written under three pen names throughout the Bluewater Bay series, as well as co-written one of those books. That’s also a lot of characters, with such different personalities. Is it difficult to keep each of your characters compartmentalized or in their own spaces while writing?
Not really. I write a lot of series with numerous characters, not to mention standalones, and the characters all stay pretty distinct. The best way I can describe it is when you think of the characters from Star Wars, and then the characters from X-Men, they don’t really cross over and get mixed up. That’s how separate my characters are in my head even though the majority of them are contemporary.
The diversity throughout the whole Bluewater Bay series is fantastic. What is it that drew you to write a book focusing on two asexual characters?
I saw a lot of readers commenting that they wanted to see more asexual representation in the genre, and since diversity is a goal in Bluewater Bay, it made sense that we needed some ace characters. I wanted to write some ace characters anyway (the third Running With Scissors book will be a romance involving an ace character), so…why not include ace characters in Bluewater Bay?
One of the things I appreciated was Brennan being so open to asking questions, to search for a greater understanding of various issues and topics. This includes getting to know Zafir’s habits and rules surrounding Tariq, and anything that surrounds Zafir’s Muslim beliefs. The complexity of their characters really shows itself in their discussions with each other. Did those conversations flow as freely while writing them as the seem?
The conversations between Zafir and Brennan were some of the most organic I’ve ever written. It was really cool to write those two because as soon as they were on the page together, the dialogue just…happened. The book wasn’t effortless to write by any means, but the dialogue frequently was, and it was such a blast to play with these two.
Brennan sorts through a wide range of emotions and choices as he tries to find his footing. Not only learning that asexuality is part of the larger sexuality spectrum, but there is even more to it than just being Ace. How conscious were you of potentially teaching readers about the Ace spectrum, without making it seem like we are in the middle of a lesson plan?
The main thing was to write about a character exploring who *he* was. I’ve been there, done that, with exploring my own bisexuality, so I wrote with that experience in mind, and made Brennan’s journey about *him* learning. I was conscious of the fact that readers would be learning about it too, but first and foremost was what Brennan learned. By doing that, it’s pretty easy to stay away from sounding like a lecture or a sermon.
What was your approach to writing an ace character, and how did that differ (or not) from writing your Christian romance Lead Me Not? They’re both romances without sex, but with very different reasons, so I’m curious to know more about that.
The main similarity between the two books is that Isaac (Lead Me Not) and Brennan (All The Wrong Places) are discovering their sexualities might not be what they originally thought. Brennan doesn’t immediately embrace it, but he’s open-minded, whereas Isaac fights it, and he fights it hard for a significant portion of the book. I wrote Brennan as a man who’s learning who he is, struggling to understand, and not quite sure how he feels about it, but Isaac was outright hostile toward his urges and desires. For Isaac, coming to terms with his sexuality meant coming to terms with his religious beliefs in a way that’s very, very difficult and painful for him. That’s not to say it’s easy for Brennan, but embracing his asexuality doesn’t require nearly the degree of foundation-shifting as Isaac, who has spent his whole life openly and loudly condemning homosexuality. All The Wrong Places is definitely a lighter, gentler story than Lead Me Not.
Will we see more of Zafir, Brennan, and Tariq in any upcoming books?
It’s quite possible! I’m brainstorming some ideas for my next Bluewater Bay book right now, and have definitely not ruled them out.
Ann Gallagher is the slightly more civilized alter ego of L.A. Witt, Lauren Gallagher, and Lori A. Witt. So she tells herself, anyway. When she isn’t wreaking havoc on Spain with her husband and trusty two-headed Brahma bull, she writes romances just like her wilder counterparts, but without all the heat. She is also far too mature to get involved in the petty battle between L.A. and Lauren, but she’s seriously going to get even with Lori for a certain incident that shall not be discussed publicly.
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding All The Wrong Places, but including books written as L.A. Witt or Lauren Gallagher) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 20th, and winners will be announced on June 21st. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.