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Oh my gosh! The short answer is I have a unique perspective. The long answer is I attended an RWA meeting where the speaker discussed high concept. She had written Pride and Prejudice meets The Bachelorette, and I thought, hm… how about Dirty Jobs meets gay romance? I was so excited, because really, the way people react to something like a suicide scene or the carnage of a car crash is rife with possibility for character development. And it’s kind of cool, too. I’m probably the only author on the block who writes boy meets boy, boys clean up something horrible together, boys fall in love stories.
Of course, I love all those shows like Bones and CSI, where they take a truly grim reality and make it the source of subtle humor. And I have had the experience of being with people at the hour of their death, and I’ve had the experience of caring for my mother’s dead body, because it’s the custom of the women in the community to dress the dead. Subtle humor and a strong sense of empathy is what gets you through it.
As far as characters, wow. You can have a field day when you slap a guy in a room full of gore.
In Grime Doesn’t Pay, Eddie is a compassionate person. He sees his job as a way to help people. He’s also able to do it without much emotion. He compartmentalizes very well. It’s just another mess to him, whatever it is. He’s going to clean it up and dance off any jangled nerves later.
Andrew isn’t the kind of guy to flinch away from something interesting. Plus, his mother died when he was a kid, and at the end, they kept him away from her. That caused him to imagine things that were probably worse than reality. So he actually needs to reassure himself by looking death in the eye.
But actually, in this book, the main problem isn’t gore, it’s hoarding, which biohazardous waste technicians also face. So when Andrew’s father’s hoarding gets so out of hand it could cost him his house, Eddie is uniquely qualified to help him.
Maybe it just seems to me that the world is full of books with doctors and lawyers and Navy SEALS. I love those books, don’t get me wrong. But I wanted to write about seriously sexy men in a seriously unsexy profession, and who they meet and how they fall in love.
That seemed kind of interesting to me!
Eddie Vasquez is hot for his niece Lucy’s third grade teacher, B. Andrew (call me Andrew) Daley. Eddie can’t wait to take Andrew dancing to show him his moves. The only problem is, Andrew keeps talking about books Eddie hasn’t read, that he can’t read — at least not in the usual way — because Eddie’s dyslexic.
When the two men find Eddie’s favorite teacher, Mrs. Henderson, wandering the school grounds confused and smelling of human decomposition, they come together to help her. Eddie’s fiercely loyal, and this is the teacher who uncovered Eddie’s learning disability and helped him regain his self-esteem. He’ll do anything, even take on a massive cleaning job pro bono to pay Mrs. Henderson back for the support she’s given him.
Andrew and Eddie come from different worlds, Eddie can’t read, Andrew can’t dance. Andrew’s father is a horrible snob and if all Eddie’s secrets are laid bare, he’ll have plenty to feel superior about. But Eddie and Andrew have taken on a massive project together, and their growing attraction can’t be denied. They learn the trick to forming a lasting partnership in dance and in life might be finding a partner whose weaknesses you can live with and whose strengths make you look good, in Grime Doesn’t Pay.
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Z. A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back. Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. Three things reverberate throughout all her stories: Unconditional love, redemption, and the belief that miracles happen when we least expect them.
If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four can find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”
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