With or Without You by Zane Riley
Sequel to ‘Go Your Own Way’
Release Date: July 21, 2016
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Colleen M. Good
Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is very happy to be interviewing Zane Riley author of With or Without You. Hi Zane, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hi! I’m Zane, and I’m a queer transgender writer from northern Virginia. Currently, I’m in the process of packing up to move to Washington state, so I’m pretty busy at the moment, but also very excited. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, although I didn’t get truly serious about it until college when I switched my major to Creative Writing.
With or Without You is my second novel and a sequel to my first. It continues Will and Lennox’s story as they finish up their senior year of high school. As they begin to learn how to navigate their growing relationship, Will plans for his future in college while Lennox struggles to accept that his future is more than surviving until the next day. They each begin to forge their own paths only to realize that the futures they each want may lead them away from each other.
- Do you have any strange writing habits?
I used to, but in recent years the strangeness has melted away a little bit. When I first started writing daily I would change my location often to keep myself inspired. I once wrote from my bathtub, fully clothed with a bunch of blankets and my cat. Besides that, I can pretty much write anywhere at any time, although I prefer to be alone or at least to not have a bunch of people sitting next to me or looking over my shoulder.
- Just as your books will inspire others, what books have inspired you?
A few recent ones were Tales of the Madmen Underground and The Book Thief. It’s sort of a constant revolving door for me. I read a book and it inspires me with its world and characters, it has an impact on how I look at different ways I write or words I use. Then I read another book, and it shifts again. I really like the books that I read and alter how I’m looking at my own work.
- What do you consider to be your best accomplishment (writing or life)?
It’s a toss up between graduating from college and moving out of Virginia. I’m the first in my family to make it to college and to graduate, so it’s a big deal to them and to me. My mom’s one of six and only one of them graduated high school, two went back for their GEDs, and the other three dropped out. I’m pretty proud of getting my degree, even though it took a few extra years because I was working and trying to pay for as much of it as I could while in school.
Moving out of Virginia is my other big one since that’s happening right now. I’ve been saying I want to move away from the congestion of northern Virginia and D.C. since I was twelve, so I’m hyped to finally make it a reality.
- Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Traveling the world would be amazing, but I’ll settle for student loan free and with a steady income to afford to live. That’s the dream, ha ha. I’d like to have a cat or dog, probably a cat, once I’m settled and out on my own.
- If you had a super power, what would it be?
I always think super speed would be nice, but then I stop and consider how slow the rest of the world would seem in comparison. It’d be cool to be able to run across water or to just pop over to Europe whenever, but I don’t think I could handle the fallback of that power. I’d finish things so much faster, the world would literally be inching along compared to the speed I was running at, because I can’t see how super speed wouldn’t also affect your mental speeds and the way you experience the world. Everything would be so slow, and I would get bored very fast.
Thank you, Zane, for that wonderful interview. Now more about With or Without You.
In the much-anticipated sequel to Go Your Own Way, high school seniors Lennox McAvoy and Will Osborne pick up right where they left off—navigating the tumultuous waters of a new relationship and dealing with Will’s disapproving father.
When a violent incident forces Lennox to give up his independent ways, he must come to terms with his past just as Will is grappling with his future. As Will’s college plans become reality, will Lennox have the courage to go after the opportunities he doesn’t think he deserves?
Pages or Words: 348 pages
Should be read in order to appreciate the books
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult
The band room was empty when he pushed the door open, but the piano was set up like it was almost every afternoon these days. Only Mr. Robinette and a music stand littered with sheet music was absent.
The silence struck Lennox as odd, but as he sat down he also realized how strange it was to announce himself. So much had changed since the first time he’d snuck in here to play on his own. Now he was auditioning for some college he still couldn’t fathom.
To make Will happy. And maybe a little bit for himself.
“Ah, I wondered if you were going to show up.”
Mr. Robinette was behind him, the door to his office now wide open. He’d taken off his tie and undone a few buttons on his shirt like he did most afternoons when they practiced.
“You just want to play it through a few times or mess around with something else?”
Lennox took a seat at the piano, but didn’t both opening his bag. He’d memorized the piece he was playing by Valentine’s Day and now, almost two weeks later, he could write it out measure for measure on blank sheet music. But playing it was becoming repetitive. For two hours, three times a week, almost nonstop with the same four pages and nothing else.
“I’d rather try something new. That piece is getting a little old.”
Mr. Robinette smiled and pulled a chair up beside him. “I had a nightmare the other night and it was the theme song while I ran around a haunted house Scooby Doo style.”
“You didn’t catch a ride in the Mystery Machine, did you? I’ve always wanted that van.”
“I’ve got a lunch box version of it. It doesn’t fit much though because it’s too narrow. Anyway, play what you want. I’ll be here until about four-thirty, so it’s all yours.”
As Mr. Robinette returned to his office, Lennox pulled what had become his music notebook out of his bag and opened it to the latest page. He’d taken to composing during class when he should have been taking notes, especially calculus where he had no reason to pay attention anyway.
The latest page was a tune he’d come up with while the other kids had been tapping their pencils and erasing answers. Every moment of his life carried a rhythm, a melody, and an emotion he could create with, and his notebook was becoming a testament to that. He played through everything he’d jotted down over the past few days, but after several rounds he kept coming back to one. It was a piano version he’d tried—and mostly failed—to create of one of the songs Will had played on a loop a few weeks ago.
“I’m getting ready to lock up!”
Mr. Robinette’s voice carried out of the office and into the band room. A few minutes and several jingles of Mr. Robinette’s keys later, the office door was shut and Lennox was closing the cover on the keys.
“That last piece you were playing, was it a cover?”
Lennox shrugged as they headed for the door.
“It was supposed to be. Didn’t sound much like the song.”
“Well, the others did. They were all really good, even the ones that weren’t covers.”
Lennox watched him at the door to the parking lot for a moment. He’d been a great help over the last month—all year if Lennox was honest. Mr. Robinette had believed in him in his own way since school had begun, and thanks to him he had a decent shot at this audition.
“Thanks for… all of this. I actually feel like—just thanks.”
Mr. Robinette gave him a genuine smile and patted him on the shoulder.
“You’re very welcome. Let me know how it goes when you get back, okay? I’m rooting for you. Got all of my fingers and limbs crossed. You deserve the chance. Don’t doubt that or yourself.”
It was funny to have so many people believing in him after so long. Happiness was a strange feeling as well. Until he’d let Will into his life he couldn’t remember how to capture such a feeling in his chest and keep it there.
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Meet the author
Zane Riley is a transgender writer who wrote his first work of fan fiction in the fourth grade. He is a recent transplant to Vancouver, Washington where he spends his time watching long distance baseball games, hiking, and exploring the musical depths of the internet. His first novel, Go Your Own Way, was published by Interlude Press in 2015.
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