A.M Arthur is on the blog today to talk about writing and her most recent release, Body Rocks, out today! The first in a new series, it follows rock stars, secret relationships, and some sweet and steamy romance!
Body Rocks, by A.M. Arthur
Series: Off Beat, Book One
Publisher: SMP Swerve
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Rafa reviewed Body Rocks and said it was “well written and the storyline well executed” with a “really sweet, really hot romance”.
So keep reading to find out more about the book, and check out Rafa’s interview with A.M.
Everything is finally falling into place for Trey Cooper: his band has been accepted into one of the biggest music competitions in the country…too bad their drummer just quit to play with XYZ, their biggest rival. When Trey has a mind-blowingly hot hookup with a mysterious violinist, Trey definitely plans to see him again – just not on stage as a member XYZ.
Dominic Bounds’ time to make his musical dreams come true is running out. If something doesn’t happen fast, he has to head home to find a real job. This competition is his last chance, and Dom needs to come out on top – but he never expected to fall for his rival. As Dom and Trey risk everything to begin a secret affair, there’s no denying their chemistry is off the charts – but could their band rivalry turn their romance into a one-hit wonder?
Hi A.M.! Thank you for joining us here today!
Music and performing is a huge part of your new release, Body Rocks (and presumably the rest of the Off Beat series). What artists are you currently listening to, and do you have a favorite music competition show on TV (eg. Idol, The Voice, etc)? Also, do you yourself play any musical instruments?
I’ll tell you a secret: I’m not a huge music person. That probably sounds hugely weird, considering the series, but the rival musicians/rock star idea was something that I hatched together my editor at Swerve. I’d never given much thought to writing about musicians. I don’t play any instruments. The closest I got to it in high school was carrying the school banner for the marching band. So I don’t watch any of those reality TV shows. But for an idea of some of my favorite songs, you can look right at the text of Body Rocks. Many of the songs mentioned are favorites of mine for various reasons. Especially Evanescence.
One of my favorite things about the book was the diversity within the awesome Bounds family. How do you tend to approach diversity in your writing? Is it something you consciously think about, or is it something that comes naturally as you picture your characters?
I love being part of the romance community, because it’s truly opened my eyes to so many things and helped me be more self-aware of the privilege that comes with being white. I listen to POC authors when they’re speaking up about things that hurt them, or changes they’d like to see in the industry. The first POC character I wrote was Gavin Perez (Weight of Silence), and when Gavin told me he was half-Mexican, half-Hawaiian I was a little nervous. Until then, my characters had been very white, and we simply do not live in a white world. But one piece of advice tweeted from a POC author to white authors writing POC characters has always stuck with me (and I’m paraphrasing): write people, not stereotypes.
When it came to creating Dominic Bounds, I based his physical appearance on a gay porn star I have a mega-crush on, so the half-Filipino, half-Italian heritage was build-in. And when he told me he was adopted as a baby, having white parents was just too automatic. White people aren’t the only ones who can adopt, so then came the Bounds, a loving and financially successful couple who were also black. The rest of their adopted clan just sort of grew from there. I wanted to portray a big, loving family built from a solid foundation of generosity and joy. Your family doesn’t always have to be blood related or the same color, and I think that’s been a continuing theme of many of my novels.
You’ve released works in both the Adult and New Adult genres. What do you like best about writing in each of these genres? And are there other genres you’d like to try your hand at in the future?
One of my favorite things about writing New Adult is the discovery of self that often comes with writing characters between the ages of 19-26-ish. Personally, I only figured out I was asexual a few years ago, right around the time I started writing NA characters, so I see a bit of myself in these characters. Not only the ones who are coming out and coming into their sexual identity, but also the characters who are finding their way in life. Learning what they want to do in the future. Who they really are.
I love writing Adult characters because they come with a bit more stability (unless you’re a wrecking ball like Elliott Quinn). They’re usually more settled in their lives, be in career or sexual identity. In those books, I get to really focus on the romance between the pair.
I’m looking forward to reading Dominic’s best friend, Lincoln’s story, which I understand is up next. When will that be out, and can you share anything more on the rest of the Off Beat series? Judging by the name of the series, will the other books also be musically inclined?
I loved writing Lincoln’s book so much, and I can’t wait for folks to get their hands on it. Without spoiling Body Rocks, Linc was a very special kind of challenge, but so worth it. Steady Stroke releases September 6, 2016. Book 3, Hot Licks, will release early 2017, and will definitely be musically inclined. This is my first ménage! And a gay/bi/pansexual ménage at that. I hadn’t planned it like that, but while drafting Steady Stroke a certain supporting character hit me like a freight train and said “THIS.” How could I argue?
You’ve written characters who are battling inner demons, overcoming overwhelming odds, and trying to come to terms with difficult life changes. What draws you to characters like these?
This is probably a two-part answer. One of the things that draws me to battered, angsty characters is the challenge in writing them. In creating a fully-realized character who has a traumatic past, but who’s also trying to deal with it, live their life, and potentially fall in love. It gives the story more nuances and layers than two well-adjusted people meeting and falling for each other.
The other thing is the sense of hope at the end. I know people in my life who’ve been abused, who’ve suffered, and who’ve been depressed, felt unworthy, all for things done to them. I’ve known people who thought they were damaged goods that no one would want again. These people exist, but a lot of times we’re uncomfortable admitting that. Writing the characters I write, showing them overcoming emotional and physical trauma, and finding that happily ever after, I hope, reinforces the belief that no one is damaged beyond repair. The world is ugly most of the time, but there is still light and love and life to be discovered.
Can we expect any other books from you this year? What are you working on right now?
Definitely. Steady Stroke (Off Beat #2) on September 6, and then right after on September 12 is Say It Right (All Saints #2). I’m currently getting to the end of a first draft of All Saints #3, and after that I’ll start brainstorming for Hot Licks (Off Beat #3), which is my next project. I also have several other things in-progress (another Cole/Jeremy novella, and a new Prodigal story). I’ll also be self-publishing my first title sometime this year, Fractured Hymns. I’ve been teasing this book for almost two years now, and it’s a sort-of spin-off of Cost of Repairs featuring Ethaniel Shockley (Foundation of Trust).
Ooooh, we can’t wait!
Thank you again for joining us!
Body Rocks is out now!
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No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long. She credits an early fascination with male friendships and “bromance” (and “The Young Riders”) with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories. When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others