Erin McLellan on her Cast of Characters in her latest release Controlled Burn (author guest blog and giveaway)

Controlled Burn by Erin McLellan
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art by Natasha Snow

Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here at Riptide Publishing



Hello! I’m Erin, and welcome to the blog tour for my m/m college romance, Controlled Burn! I can’t wait for you to meet Joel and Paulie, and hope you enjoy their romance as much as I enjoyed writing it.


Meet the Cast of Controlled Burn

When I’m writing, I seldom have an actor or model in mind as I create characters. But as I was revising and editing Controlled Burn, I often came across actors, models, or musicians who reminded me of the characters. Below I’ve included some models and actors to help introduce you to the cast of Controlled Burn.

Joel: He’s the main character of Controlled Burn—the entire story is from his point of view. Joel has not had an easy life, and he’s actively dealing with some grief. Sometimes he says the wrong thing, and he is often selfish or self-centered. He’s certainly flawed. But at his core, he’s sensitive and strong-willed and loving. My current inspiration for Joel is the actor Joe Alwyn.

Paulie: He is Joel’s love interest. Paulie also hasn’t had an easy life, but he handles it quite differently than Joel. While Joel can be closed-off, Paulie is open, swishy, fun, flirty, and sweet. He makes friends everywhere he goes, and loves openly and honestly. Paulie was a delight for me to write, and the model Brandon Logie is my current inspiration for him.

Travis: Travis is Joel’s best friend and housemate. They share a crappy two bedroom, one bathroom rental house right off campus. Travis is sarcastic, honest, sometimes outrageous, and a little kinky. He plays lots of instruments, poorly, and has a wide range of bizarre interests. He is also emotionally intelligent, which sometimes causes problems for Joel, who hides his emotions. My inspiration for Travis is the lovely John Boyega.

Daria: Daria is Paulie’s younger sister. Like Paulie, she is estranged from their very large family. She’s a nursing student and has vast reserves of empathy. She also struggles with anxiety and depression. The bond between her and Paulie is very special. My inspiration for Daria is actress Maika Monroe.

Alex: Alex was a really fun character to write, and I hope I get to revisit his story eventually. He is a fun, sexy, tattooed guy with a super soft center. He’s really understanding during moments when some people wouldn’t be. My inspiration for him is model Diego Barrueco.

Angie: Angie is Paulie’s best friend. She’s an accounting major, like him, and is wild and fun. She has a sly sense of humor and an open heart. My current inspiration for Angie is Ariel Winter.

Aunt Ruth: Ruth is Paulie and Daria’s aunt. She takes first Paulie and then Daria in when they are teenagers and are no longer welcome at their parents’ home. She’s stubborn and mischievous, as well as being a loving mother figure to Paulie and Daria. My inspiration for Aunt Ruth is Diane Keaton. Also, I just really love this picture of her.

Follow along as I stop off at several blogs throughout the week, and don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card!

About Controlled Burn


At eighteen, Joel Smith’s life fell to pieces. His boyfriend died in a car crash while reading a sext from him, the local newspaper outed them both in the aftermath, and his parents got a divorce. Joel did everything possible to outrun his past: he moved to Oklahoma for college, legally changed his name, and started over.


Since then, he hasn’t let anyone get close—not his classmates, not his roommate, and definitely not his hookups. The strategy has served him well for over three years. Why would he change it now?


But Joel doesn’t plan on the articles about his boyfriend’s death being used as a case study in one of his classes. And he doesn’t plan on Paulie McPherson, who is sweet and giving and fun. In Paulie, he finds a home for the first time in years.


But love isn’t simple, and lies have a tendency to get in the way. Joel must figure out if he’ll allow his grief to rule him, or if his connection with Paulie is worth letting all of his walls come tumbling down.


Now available from Riptide Publishing.


About Erin McLellan


Erin McLellan writes contemporary romance, often set in the South or Midwest—particularly Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas—with characters that are complex, good-hearted, and sometimes a little quirky. Erin likes her stories to have a sexy spark and a happily ever after.


Erin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Oklahoma. She has always enjoyed writing, but becoming a librarian and meeting enthusiastic romance readers helped her find her own writing passion. Now Erin cheerfully writes romance with characters across the LGBTQIA spectrum. A former public librarian, she still enjoys being surrounded by books and readers, but Erin hopes to find her stories on the shelves as well.


Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska with her husband, and spends her time dreaming up love stories set in the Great Plains. She is a lover of chocolate, college sports, antiquing, Dr Pepper, and binge-worthy TV shows.


Connect with Erin:



To celebrate the release of Controlled Burn, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 19, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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. Congratulations on your book release, Erin. Thanks for sharing the inspiration for your characters. Aunt Ruth, particularly, sounds FUN.



  2. Congrats, Erin, and thanks for sharing the pics & inspirations.. I know it’s helpful when writing, and some readers get an idea of someone as well, but don’t relate characters to others but try to enjoy them as written by the author. – Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com


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