A.J. DeWall has stopped by on her Virtual Book Tour for Forever Man today for a wonderful interview. She also brought along a contest for everyone to enter.
The author will be awarding a $25 Barnes & Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter (enter here) during the tour, and a $25 Barnes & Noble GC and a print edition of Forever Man (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn host. A free download of an Interlude Press eBook title or an author/book swag pack (US ONLY) will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter at each stop during the tour. As usual, you must be 18 years of age or older to enter!
A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with A.J. DeWall…
STRW: 1. The plot behind Forever Man is incredibly poignant. Do you personally believe in a love that can last thru the ages, even when parted?
A.J. DeWall: Absolutely. I am one of those romantics who believes love never dies. Maybe it changes; maybe you find out that you’re better off as friends, or sometime lovers, but it’s always there.
In high school, my great love was tall redheaded boy who wrote me love letters and talked with me for hours about our future, about art, about who we would be become together. We both realized we were gay—he was first, and I fell in love with a woman a few years later. We went off and lived our own lives, staying in touch every few months. Today, I’m happily married to that woman and he is the father of our son. We’re our own, made-up family. That love is still there; it’s just different.
STRW: 2. I have always loved plots that bring together lovers parted who finally reconnect. What is it about that idea that resonates with you?
A.J.DeWall: Me too! I love the idea of getting another chance to make things right, a fresh start. And when two people who love each other have a chance to be together—again, or for the first time, as is the case in Forever Man—they will move heaven and earth to make it happen. I like underdogs, stories about doing the impossible; strength of will, doing whatever it takes. Don’t we all wish we would shine in those make-or-break moments?
STRW: 3. A favorite question of mine is which came first? Character or storyline?
A.J. DeWall: Character. For me, story comes from character. Whenever I’ve tried to write based on a plot idea, or theme, it takes me forever to write it and I end up with a bunch of useless stuff.
I get a sense of a character when a scene pops into my mind. It’s usually just a few seconds of a scene. Then I have to figure out where in their life story the scene falls, and if I want to tell that part of their story, or another. It’s like getting a glimpse of someone’s life, and then knowing right away I want to get to know them better.
STRW: 4. Some authors say their characters “talk” to them, so much so it can bump a secondary satellite persona up to main. Has that ever happened to you?
A.J.DeWall: I certainly have experienced days when the writing flows effortlessly, and dialog is a joy to write—every time—but I can’t say I hear characters talking to me. Talking to each other in the story, sure. I started out as a playwright, and so I still think of the writing as a series of scenes. I see it, and I hear it, but I’m always aware that I’m creating that world.
STRW: 5. With contemporary fiction that stretches over time it is important to get the historical aspects accurate. How much research did you do for your story?
A.J. DeWall: With respect to time, I did not do any research. Nothing revealed about Ren and Cole’s shared past required research, as most of their memories had to do with the emotion of turning point moments—when they met, when each of them realized their feelings for the other, the various times they chose not to act on their feelings—and less to do with the specific time period in which their memories took place.
STRW: 6. What comes first? Title or plot?
A.J. DeWall: Title, usually. Titles have always come easily to me, but starting with title every time is a habit I picked up working as a ghostwriter. Authors tell us the so much when they title a book—what is most important to them about their own story, the point of it, the heart of it.
STRW: 7. Tragic lovers have been a staple since before Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. What new twist do you bring to this storyline?
A.J. DeWall: I’m not sure it’s a new twist, but the forces that keep them apart are internal. It’s their own doing, those idiots! They let their own assumptions and fears get in the way of going after what they want—each other. They settle. They pine. They move on with their lives—until fate steps in to give them one more chance.
STRW: 8. Favorite characters? And if so, who? And in what story?
A.J. DeWall: I’m a massive fan of ensemble stories with interweaving plots and characters that show up again and again. I’m particularly fond of the Tales of The City series by Armistead Maupin. The final book in that series just came out, and it’s amazing.
Also Louise Erdrich has a number of books with ensemble characters, the most famous and critically acclaimed in that group is Love Medicine. I think I’ve read it four times. It’s one of the few books that I felt I had to read out loud it was just so good.
Thank you so much for asking such thoughtful and interesting questions!
STRW: And thank you, A.J. DeWall, for the wonderful and fascinating answers. It’s been delightful. And now a closer look at the book and author, Forever Man by A.J. DeWall
by A.J. DeWall
Buy Link: Interlude Press
A bond forged in Catholic school, an unspoken attraction that outlasts years of separation and other relationships.
Ren and Cole never acted on that thing that always bubbled beneath the surface of their friendship, not until a chance encounter in a Santa Fe bar and a song that would tip the scales forced them to confront their feelings. Will the influence of a music superstar, a New York socialite and a mystical property manager finally bring them together, or will a history of missed opportunities, their own fears and an impending wedding keep them apart? Can they just have one night, and then walk away?
Forever Man is a story of the consequences of the choices we make, and how the courage to change can last a lifetime.
Ren turns to see Cole standing not five feet away, a bit out of breath.
“Did you mean it?” Ren asks.
“You’re in love with me?”
Ren doubles over again, trying to catch his breath. Cole crosses to him, rubbing his back but saying nothing. After a moment, Ren straightens out and asks, “How long?”
“I want us to be together—”
“No. How long have you been in love with me?”
The answer to this one question is all Ren needs to know. Because this man, this friend, this lover of his has always given in to whims and drama and intensity, and Ren has to be sure that he is not that. He has to be sure that this is not new.
Cole steps into Ren’s space, tilts his chin up and kisses him. The kiss is firm, an answer, a promise.
“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in love with you.”
“I was a coward, Ren. And I’m… I’m so very sorry.”
Ren touches Cole’s cheek. “You were an idiot.”
“I was an idiot.”
“I was an idiot, too. I still am, I think.”
“Why do you say that?” Cole asks, his heart in his throat.
“Because this idiot is hopelessly, madly, undeniably in love with you, and has been for a very, very long time… and, aside from admitting to a schoolboy’s crush once up on a time, never did a damn thing about it.”
Cole lets out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. His head drops in relief, falling on to Ren’s thigh, and he’s kissing Ren’s hand—fast kisses, a dozen or more, in gratitude.
“Oh Ren, Ren. Say it again. Say it one thousand times.”
Ren lifts Cole’s head, and just as he did not two hours before, holds his face in his hands. But this time is different. This time he looks down on Cole with shining eyes and says, “You are so in love with me.”
Cole whispers, “Yes, yes, yes.”
“And I am so in love with you.”
“Oh God. Yes.”
Their kiss is long and deep. Cole feels it in every cell in his body: this opening up, this rightness. When it’s too much he pulls away, plasters his face into Ren’s neck until he catches his breath and then dives back in again, taking hold, slipping every secret wish into Ren’s mouth as his tongue lays claim over its contours. He feels like Ren is sucking the truth right out of him, pulling him down, down, down until they are both panting and dazed with the enormity of it all.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A professional writer for more than 20 years, A.J. DeWall began her career as a playwright. She is the ghostwriter behind dozens of nonfiction books, including several award-winning bestsellers. As a writer of fan fiction, her online titles have hundreds of thousands of reads. Forever Man is her first novel. She lives in New York with her wife and son.
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