Monday, February 13, 2017

As I Am: Release Day Thoughts on Leaving Wilmington for a While

AS I AM, the third All Saints book, releases today, and it's a bittersweet release day. This book was a happy accident and certainly not one I ever expected to write when I first contracted the series. This series was, like all of my other books with Carina Press, set in my fictional Wilmington, DE, and had interconnected characters and locations. So I knew we'd be seeing familiar faces. I just never expected one particular face.

A few years ago, when I was writing GETTING IT RIGHT (Restoration #1), I wanted to show the main character James as more than just the party guy he'd been portrayed as in the Belonging series. He's also a devoted psychiatrist who is damned good at his job. So in walked a broken teenager named Will Madden. Will was a mess, but James did everything in his power to help Will, and to some extent, he succeeded. And later on, months after the book released, a reader asked about Will. No, I hadn't planned on revisiting him again, but thanks for asking.

And then another reader asked. And another. As I began drafting COME WHAT WAY, the first All Saints, I realized that I wanted to know what had happened to Will, too. The passage of fictional time between his first appearance in GIR and his second appearance is CWM meant Will was now legally an adult. So I brought him into CWM in a small, side role that stole readers' attention right away--even readers who didn't remember/know him from GIR. He popped up again in the second All Saints, SAY IT RIGHT, and it was during that book that I knew I could finally tell Will's story. I could give him the happy ending he so deserved.

In AS I AM, three years have passed since he first began working with Dr. Taggert and trying to put his life together. He's still a mess, but he's trying to get better, to make his life into something worthwhile. Finding a worthy hero for him wasn't easy, but Taz is exactly that: worthy and perfect for Will. Taz is reclusive, bordering on agoraphobic, overweight, scarred, and is positive no one will ever want him. Will is skittish, short, too skinny, and is all mixed up about sex and attraction. Together?

Well, I'll let you readers decide how perfect they are for each other. I'm biased.

I've had a lot of fun building this interconnected world through Belonging, Restoration and All Saints. I'm stepping away from Wilmington for a little while to play in some other sandboxes, but I'll be back. There are characters with stories yet to tell, and I'll always have room for ficlets that revisit your (and my) favorite couples.

Will Madden is healing.

Thanks to therapy and a growing support system, he’s taking baby steps into a promising future. One of those steps leads him to an online chatroom, where he quickly bonds with fellow PTSD sufferer Taz Zachary.

Despite their virtual connection, Taz is initially freaked out at the idea of meeting Will face-to-face. A sexual relationship may be the last thing on his mind, but his craving for human interaction—and more of the way Will makes him laugh—gives him the courage he needs to take the next step.

In person, the chemistry between them is undeniable. But Will is hurt when Taz doesn’t seem to be in any rush to get him into bed. Still, acceptance, love, and happiness all seem within reach for the first time in forever--until demons from the past threaten the future they both finally believe they deserve.


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