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Boys in our Books is SO EXCITED to welcome to the blog for the first time, Roan Parrish, as she discusses her first novel “In the Middle of Somewhere” and the road to getting published…
Say Anything: Reading Intimately
My first novel, In the Middle of Somewhere, came out in July and I had absolutely no clue what I was in for. I didn’t know anything about publishing or being an author, especially in the age of social media and easy author–reader contact. When I was a kid *sounds supremely old* reading was a solitary act and the intimacy was between me and the book I was reading. I didn’t really talk about what I read with anyone, and certainly never had any notion that I could communicate with an author (though I do vaguely remember penning a fan letter to S.E. Hinton around age ten . . .) Point is, everything about being an author is new to me, but so is everything about being a reader these days.
For me, the defining trait of romantic fiction is that it places an intimate relationship at the center of the story, whether the romance is a contemporary mystery, hard science fiction, or an historical. Which I knew, of course. But what I didn’t give much thought to was the way that a genre based around intimacy would produce such intimacy in the conversations people had about those books.
Talking about the books we love (or hate, or feel strongly about in any direction) has always felt intimate to me anyway. Explaining our investments in plot points, our allegiance to a certain character, our desperate hope that the next book in the series will do this instead of that—it’s all ways of talking about what we value, who we endorse, and why we feel the things we do, and some of my most personal conversations have had a text at their center. But there seems to be an additional layer in the conversations about queer romance that I’ve seen unfold. The fact that intimacy is at the center of the books seems to allow the conversations to cut to intimacy faster than they might otherwise, or to bypass some initial hurdles to it.
I’ve been humbled to be included in that intimacy by people who’ve read In the Middle of Somewhere and written to tell me how or why they connected with it. But I’ve also found that reading has taken on rather a different cast. Now that I’m part of a community that’s constantly talking about what we read, and talking about it intimately, reading itself feels different. It still feels private and solitary in all the ways I enjoy, but I can’t help but also have a feeling of being connected. And I think it’s that sense of connection that makes me excited about being a part of the community moving into the future. Because sometimes there’s great power in intimacy. Sometimes expressing things to people that you might ordinarily hold back makes a difference you can’t possibly predict. And, hey, the book recommendations aren’t bad either.
Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates look down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Northern Michigan, but, a city boy through and through, when Daniel arrives in Holiday, Michigan, it’s clear that this small town is one more place he just won’t fit in.
Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his large, muscular body until it can handle anything, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people. Though he loves the quiet and solitude of his little cabin in the woods, Rex can’t help but want someone to share it with.
When Daniel arrives in Holiday, they are smitten with each other, but though the sex is intense and explosive, Rex fears that Daniel will be one more in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in could be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls that have been keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia where a secret is revealed that changes the way he understands everything.
In the Middle of Somewhere is available now!
Roan Parrish grew up in Michigan and lives in Philadelphia, but is always a few minutes away from deciding to move. A former academic, she’s used to writing things that no one reads. She still loves to geek out about books, movies, TV, and music—now, though, she’s excited to be writing the kind of romantic, angsty stories that she loves to escape into.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, wandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and cheese. But mostly cheese.
You can check out Roan’s website [link to embed: http://roanparrish.com/%5D and sign up for her newsletter [link to embed: http://bit.ly/1bNCAaF%5D, and you can come hang out with her in all the usual places: