You Belong With Me by J.R. Loveless
Cover art by Anne Cain
November 9, 2016
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have J.R. Loveless here today. J.R. agree to answer some questions for us and here’s terrific interview that resulted. Welcome, J.R.
Hi, good morning/afternoon/evening, depending on where you are in the world! I’m J.R. Loveless and I’m here to introduce a new novella release as well as to answer some really awesome questions proposed by Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words! I want to say thanks to the host here for letting me guest post today. It’s a privilege and an honor to be here.
You Belong With Me was released on November 9th from Dreamspinner Press. The story was inspired by a song and the feeling it sparked inside of me when I heard it. Please continue reading for a glimpse into the story and into some of what makes me the writer I am today. I hope you enjoy the interview and the excerpt from my latest novella.
- Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from? A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal? – My inspiration for books comes from every direction. I read a lot, watch movies, listen to music, but even a single conversation can spark an idea. In fact, even discussing my tattoo that I recently got this year sparked an idea for a new universe of shifters. I could be standing in the shower and an idea will come to be from nowhere. I currently have about six WIPs and another seven ideas written down.
- Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And why? – I am definitely a pantzer. I have tried planning or plotting out a story completely from A to Z but by the time I got even a couple of chapters into the story I found myself unable to finish it. Mostly because I was bored with the storyline. I like the mystery of letting my characters write the story as I work on it. It may seem like more work because I have to be careful not to leave plot holes as I go along but at the same time it gives me more of a surprise and more to work with as the story progresses. It leaves it fresh for me really, keeps me on the edge of my seat.
- Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else? Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so? – I prefer paranormal/fantasy. There’s just something about werewolves, vampires, and other creatures, humans being able to shapeshift, just draws me in. Typically when I look for stories, I tend to turn toward those first. I do read contemporary, but there has to be a certain element to it in order for it to grab my attention. I like angst for sure, not just straight up “date and fall in love” romance.
- If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why? – I think I’d have to choose Seth from Chasing Seth. I’d make him a little less… of a wilting flower so to speak. I’d make him stronger. He started off that way, but after Kasey came into the picture, he kind of trailed off into leaning on Kasey a bit too much and allowed more of his emotions to show through.
- Can a author have favorites among their characters and do you have them? – Of course! Even though a parent will tell you they don’t play favorites, they always do. I don’t care what anyone says on that front. People will always have favorites of one kind or another. My favorite character out of all of my own would have to be Logan from Touch Me Gently. Who doesn’t want a strong, gorgeous, kind, sweet cowboy to come sweep them off their feet and show them the kind of love and acceptance Logan shows Kaden?
- If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list? – As I indicated before I love paranormal/urban fantasy so I would definitely be taking shifter stories. I only read gay romance for the most part. Some of my favorite authors are Mary Calmes, Lisa Oliver, and Lynn Hagen. I pretty much read everything by them. I also would have to take my Harry Potter series. 🙂
- Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why? – I was an early reader, actually. I picked up anything and everything I could. My favorite book as a child was Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. As I grew older I also loved The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. See the theme? Animal stories! I think that’s why most of my stories usually have an animal in them in some way or another, typically.
- If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be? – Where’s the Love?
Scott has been in love with his best friend Craig for years, but watching Craig with his manipulative boyfriend has worn Scott down, and he knows he needs a break from the pain and maybe a change of scenery and perspective. His twin sister, Karen, convinces him to spend a summer in Paris.
Karen is sick and tired of seeing Scott suffer, and she’s not going to stand for it anymore. She confronts Craig and tells him what he’s been missing by spurning Scott’s affection in favor of a jerk who mistreats him.
When Craig unknowingly breaks Scott’s heart, Craig opens his eyes—and his own heart—to the possibility of a future with Scott. He plans to use the time while Scott’s abroad to orchestrate a romantic surprise that will show Scott they belong together. But when he sees Scott with another man at the airport, Craig fears he’s too late.
Having slept all day, Scott couldn’t sleep that night. He felt restless and constantly moved his shoulders. Something seemed off and he couldn’t put his finger on it. After some major debating with himself, he finally turned on his cell phone. There were multiple texts from Craig, but he couldn’t bring himself to read them. The odd thing was, once the phone was on, there were no calls or texts. His brooding grew worse.
Stanley tried everything he could to distract him from thinking, but even the smallest thing reminded Scott of Craig. They hadn’t gone a full twenty-four hours in their entire friendship without at least talking to each other. Sadly, last night might be the last time they spoke for a while. Craig would be so pissed at him for leaving without saying good-bye.
That would lead to Scott having to explain why. Could he finally tell him? After all this time? Would Craig hate him? Pity him? It might even end their friendship. Could he survive that? Questions raced each other around and around inside his head, never letting up as the hours drifted by at a slow pace.
“Scott,” Stanley said with exasperation, as if he’d called his name more than once. “Come on. It’s your turn.”
They were in the middle of playing Monopoly. Scott gave a chagrined smile. “Sorry. Guess my mind isn’t all here.”
“Would you rather watch a movie?” Stanley was trying to keep his face passive, blank. Scott knew he felt bad for him.
Scott shrugged. “If you’d prefer.”
They cleaned up the game, and Stanley popped in an action movie that didn’t have a speck of romance. “Want some popcorn?” he offered.
“Nah. I’m not really hungry.” In fact, Scott hadn’t eaten all day. The thought of food made him feel sick to his stomach.
Not more than thirty minutes into the movie, Stanley fell asleep. Scott heard his soft snuffle and smiled. He stood up and pulled the afghan from the back of the couch to cover him. He carefully removed Stanley’s wire-framed glasses to set them on the coffee table. It reminded him of the many times Craig had fallen asleep while they were watching a movie late at night.
Scott sighed and wearily sank down into the easy chair nearby. He knew it was time to let Craig go, but how would he find the strength he needed to do it? It wasn’t fair to Craig if he just cut him from his life. Craig didn’t know.
He wasn’t even sure how he let himself fall in love with Craig. But he clearly remembered the day he realized it. They were playing basketball outside his house, and Craig stripped off his shirt to wipe the sweat from his face. Scott’s eyes were drawn to Craig’s chest and stomach. The sun glinted off the beads of sweat like diamonds. Craig tossed the shirt at him teasingly. “What? You want my hot bod?” He flexed his miniscule muscles arrogantly.
Maybe that was Scott’s chance, but he swallowed hard and shakily said, “No. Who’d want your skinny-chicken self?”
Craig let out an indignant shout and rushed at him. Scott tried to run, but Craig was faster and tackled him in the grass before he started to tickle him. Tears were rolling by the time Craig collapsed onto the grass next to him, huffing from his own laughter. His eyes were sparkling with happiness and affection. “Buds forever, right?”
As he looked into Craig’s eyes, Scott’s heart started to pound so hard against his rib cage. And an overwhelming sense of wanting to kiss his beautiful lips washed over him. He managed to choke out, “Yeah.”
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