In the Spotlight: Into the Blue by Pene Hanson (excerpt and giveaway)

Into The Blue 1600px FRONT (Smashwords, Amazon)

Into the Blue by Pene Henson
Release Date: July 7, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Colleen M. Good


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to be interviewing Pene Henson author of Into the Blue today. Hi Pene, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

  • What’s the easiest thing about writing?

The easiest part for me is knowing these characters’ hearts and thinking through how they would respond to the world and the things that happen around them. But generally there’s no bad side. 

I love the act of writing enough that my extremely early mornings don’t feel difficult. Not that the work of writing is always easy, but it’s always a joy.

  • Name one author (living or dead) you’d like to write with?

My friend Jo and I wrote a large number of stories together and I’d love to see what we will do if we commit to a novel. She’s a powerful and heart-breaking writer who knows all the odd little quirks of humanity, all the ways people fail others and come good anyway, and I suspect our joint novel will be more complicated than anything I could write alone. 

But she has no idea about tenses and point of view. So I’d be in charge of that.

  • Tell us about your cover and how it came about.

I could talk about this cover forever. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. When our art director, CB Messer, met with me about the cover she had read the book. She’s lived in Hawaii and so connected with the imagery and the subject matter. We instantly agreed on the visuals of that early morning light, the pale golds and shifting blues of surf at dawn. CB suggested we could focus the front cover on the power of the surf and the surfing competition or on the relationship between the characters and the sea. Honestly, either would have been gorgeous but I felt relationships are critical to the book. It’s a gentle book despite their sporting prowess. 

When she sent this drawing through, I loved it even more than I anticipated. I love the light in the sky and reflecting from the water. And the boys, waiting for the next wave, Ollie’s profile and Tai’s strong back visible and recognizably them. It’s the moment before a wave comes in, that waiting time before everything changes.

And then the back. With the warm sunlit deck of the Blue House and the five boards leaning together, one for each of the people living there.

CB is an exceptional artist and really captured the book.

  • Is this book part of a series? Do you have ideas that could make it into a series? If it is a series, tell us a little about it.

No, no it’s not and it was never intended to be. However (is there always a forever) I do have a story to tell about Hannah, who lives with Tai and Ollie. She’s a joy to me. Broad-shouldered and laid back. She’s in love with her best friend but I don’t know that’s going anywhere. I think she could have a whirlwind of a girlfriend who knocks her off her steady perch. And then Tai and Ollie and Sunny would be in the background.

  • Word association. Tell us the first thing that comes to mind when you read these words.

Ketchup – We still call it tomato sauce.

Flakes – Goldfish food

Elastic – Heart ❤

Timer – How to get kids to do anything faster

Google – where all my documents live

Now more about

Into the Blue by Pene Henson


Tai Talagi and Ollie Birkstrom have been inseparable since they met as kids surfing the North Shore. Now they live with their best friends in a pulled-together family, sharing life and the saltwater in their veins. Tai’s spent years setting aside his feelings for Ollie, but when Ollie’s pro surfing aspirations come to fruition, their steady world shifts. Is the relationship worth risking everything for a chance at something terrifying and beautiful and altogether new?


Pages or Words: 236 pages, 72,600 words
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance


Across from them, one of the Brazilians plays guitar. Ollie doesn’t recognize the song even when a couple of others sing along. The beach is wider and the sand finer than on the North Shore, but every beach is a little like home. Ollie misses the Blue House; he misses the surf and the palms and the shoreline he knows so well. He misses Jaime and Sunny and Hannah. Still, though he’s as far from home as he’s ever been, Ollie’s comfortable. These are his people, too. He leans back on his arms and looks up into the dark.

He’s watched the night sky since he was a little kid, but down here in the Southern Hemisphere he doesn’t recognize the hundreds upon hundreds of stars. The Southern Cross is up there. Ollie tries to orient himself.

Tai shifts toward him, then looks up and follows Ollie’s gaze. The warmth of Tai’s body settles into Ollie’s heart, grounds him. Ollie leans into him a little, and their arms brush to the elbow. The contact simmers in the air between them.

Unexpectedly, Ollie knows what he wants. “Come back to the hotel,” he says quietly to Tai. He pitches his voice low. It hums across the tiny space between them. No one else can hear him over the pounding surf and the sound of the music. It’s easy to be bold in the dark of a beach where Ollie’s never been before. He’s shocked by that same boldness.

Buy the book





Meet the Author

Pene Henson has gone from British boarding schools to New York City law firms. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, where she is an intellectual property lawyer and published poet who is deeply immersed in the city’s LGBTQIA community. She spends her spare time enjoying the outdoors and gazing at the ocean with her gorgeous wife and two unexpectedly exceptional sons. Into the Blue is her first novel.

Where to find the author:

Tour Dates & Stops:

7-Jul: Havan Fellows, Louise Lyons, Parker Williams

8-Jul: Outrageous Heroes, Unquietly Me, Dawn’s Reading Nook

11-Jul: Love Bytes, Kirsty Loves Books, Bayou Book Junkie

12-Jul: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Butterfly-O-Meter

13-Jul: Oh My Shelves, Boys on the Brink Reviews

14-Jul: Molly Lolly, Happily Ever Chapter

15-Jul: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Prism Book Alliance

18-Jul: MM Book Escape, Making It Happen, Velvet Panic, BFD Book Blog

19-Jul: Book Lovers 4Ever, My Fiction Nook, V’s Reads

20-Jul: A.M. Leibowitz, Alpha Book Club

Final (1)



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By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.


  1. Thank you for hosting me here! It was delightful to talk about cowriters and the most beautiful cover I’ve ever seen 🙂 also ketchup. Thanks for supporting books!!


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