In the Spotlight: Truth, Pride, Victory, Love by David Connor and E.F. Mulder

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Truth, Pride, Victory, Love by David Connor, E.F. Mulder
Dreamspinner Press

Available for Purchase at

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Hi all! We are happy to be here to answer some questions about writing, in conjunction with the release of our new novel, Truth, Pride, Victory, Love, a story about three boys who discover a love of swimming as they discover themselves and feelings for one another. 

  • Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal? 

E. F.: It depends. Sometimes we like answering a call, like in the recent Dreamspinner Advent “Bah Humbug” where the theme is presented and we work up a story that fits. That can be a lot of fun. “Why would someone not like Christmas? Hmm….” Other times, David will say, “I had this weird dream last night,” and one of us will say, “You know….” When it came to “Truth, Pride, Victory, Love,” well, The Olympics are always a great event to build a story around. It was sort of like we had our theme. What came next was “What sport?” “What’s are the issues that cause the drama?” “What draws Reed toward a certain guy?” “What comes between them?”

  • Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And why?

F. F.: Okay, so once we have the idea as mentioned above, I try to plan the beginning, the middle, and the end. David is definitely a pantzer. I kind of envy him. He is one of those people for whom the story just seems to write itself. Mostly, when we write together, it’s more bouncing ideas than bouncing the actual file back and forth. “Guess what just happened,” he’ll say. “That’s good,” I’ll respond, “but what happens next?” “I have no idea.” Then the story writes itself and sometimes something we actually planned doesn’t seem to fit naturally anymore. We originally had Reed and Mathias first meet in a different way, but the David sat down and wrote that amazing opening scene and I was hooked.

David: That was fun. Hopefully, within an instant, people get who Reed is. Also, when you get to work with a great editor, they will say, “How does so and so react?” and then you can go off and add another couple of pages of stuff you never even thought about. I LOVE that. The best editors really spark creativity! The relationship between editor and writer is very important.

  • 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?

E. F.: We stick mostly with contemporary. We go historical once in a while and we like to play with paranormal stuff.

David: I always like to get into a character’s head, no matter the subgenre, to find out why he shuns love, falls for a guy at the drop of a hat, hates Christmas, or wants to constantly compete and always win, like Reed.

E. F.: David says he always wanted to be an FBI profiler. He’s really good, I think, at knowing why people act/say/and do things, especially when they act contrary to how they say they are.

  • 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?

David: How about a whole book? “Double Flip”! Haha

E. F.: We’re on a roll lately where we are revisiting characters to find out what “happily ever after” really means. It surely isn’t wine and roses every day. We’ve recently been editing a book with Tom Alan, Milo, and Erika in it and just “finished” the first draft of a new story for Eli and TJ from “Orange You Glad I Said Kiss”.

  • Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?

E. F.: Hmm. We both seem to fall in love with all of them. Secondary characters can be such a hoot! It’s like with children or fur babies. You try not to have a favorite cat, but the one who sits on your lap a lot feels like it quite often. However, sometimes the one who never comes near you gives squinty eyes from across the room and you say, “She likes me. She really likes me.” Then she’s your favorite for a while.

David: There’s an analogy for you,

E. F.: What’s hard is—and maybe this should go unsaid—when someone doesn’t like a character we love so much, it feels like we’ve failed him or her. If the reader isn’t cheering for our main guys, or doesn’t get why they fell in love, or doesn’t like one of them, we didn’t do the story justice. It’s like introducing your new boyfriend to your best friend and your best friend is like, “No.” So, yeah, they’re all like people we know and love.

  • How early in your life did you begin writing?

E. F.: I think we both starting writing as soon as we knew how to write. I found an old report card a while back where my first grade teacher said I was very creative.

David: My middle school English teacher told me I should write for soap operas. Romance novels and soaps are very similar.

E. F.: We hope everyone enjoys “Truth, Pride, Victory, Love”. Like a soap opera—like life—there is humor, heartbreak, romance, adventure, family drama, a few surprises, and a lot of sexiness.

David: And water. Lots of water.

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Blurb

Beneath the surface, they share more than dreams of Olympic gold.

Since elementary school, the question of Reed Watson’s race has needled him. But the one thing he’s always known is that he is destined to become an Olympic star—he felt it the moment he first hit the water. Chosen by a former Olympic swimmer to train for the 2016 Olympics, Reed determinedly works toward his dream.

Along the way, Reed develops feelings for two men he’s known since childhood: Cal, his next-door neighbor, and Mathias, his rival since the fourth grade. Cal’s struggle with his sexual identity and a tragedy complicate Reed’s feelings, while Mathias’s wealth quickly makes it obvious they are from vastly different worlds. 

As Rio approaches, Mathias becomes a gay sports icon, while Reed is told to hide his sexuality for a lucrative endorsement deal that will offer his family a financial boost and help him with mounting debt. Reed’s unresolved desires for both men remain and so too do all the things that have kept them apart. Has he grown enough to navigate rougher waters, to find truth, pride, victory, and love?

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