Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have J.V. Speyer here today on her tour for Whirlwind. Welcome, Jaye.
Hi, my name is Jaye and I’m here to talk about my new book, Whirlwind. Whirlwind is the story of a rock star and a mystery writer who fall in love at their siblings’ weddings. It’s a contemporary romance, and it’s my first published love story between women.
The story grew from a few different seeds. The first was my daughter. She’s been agitating for me to write a story “about girls” for a while now. Actually, she’s been requesting a story “with all girls, no romance, no kissing, and with the boys getting sent to the moon and left there” for a couple of years. (She’s eight.) I was pretty up front with her about the need for there to be romance in a romance story, and she finally conceded that I could write a story with romance “as long as no one of any gender kisses any boys.”
So I came up with a story, and I wrote the outline, and then it sat on my hard drive for a while. Then I saw a call for submissions for stories involving characters who were opposites, and I thought, “Well, half of the work is already done for this one…”
The characters of Jo and Valeria came from a few different places. Jo is a musical prodigy, which was inspired by Prince. Her backstory was inspired by some more current events, though. Jo didn’t choose to come out. She was outed by someone she was dating, and not for good reasons.
That was inspired by legislation put forward in some US states recently. When I was a kid, some activists made a practice of outing celebrities and public figures. While that was problematic in and of itself, at the time it had its place in eroding stigma and saving lives. The legislation put forward now, in the modern era, required teachers and other adults to out children to their parents, or even to report suspicions of non-heterosexual orientations. These states had high concentrations of evangelical Christians, and I think any reasonable person would fear for the safety of children so reported.
Jo, of course, was over eighteen and no longer living at home. I didn’t want to go quite so dark in this book, but I did want to address the consequences of outing someone. In Whirlwind, it’s all in the past. Jo is still paying the price, of course. Her family doesn’t want anything to do with her, and she is treated poorly at the wedding because of it. Jo’s experiences, however, give her a lot of sympathy for Valeria.
Valeria is closeted. When she’s at home in Brooklyn she can live relatively openly, but her mother is one of the most vitriolic anti-LGBT pundits and conservative talk show hosts in the country. Thanks to some quirks of a rapidly consolidating publishing industry, they have enough shared business interests that Valeria has concerns about her future if she ever comes out. Does it make sense to throw away her family, and possibly her career, for someone she’s known for such a short time?
Valeria’s situation is a little more, er, personal. I spent most of my life in the closet. While no one in my family made a living from homophobia, there were some issues that kept me there until fairly recently. (Please note that I was not inspired to come out by a sudden romance with a gorgeous rock star, but one shouldn’t close doors to things like that. I’m just saying.) I spent a long time thinking, “Is there a reason to do that? Why? Is it worth it?”
Not every inspiration from Whirlwind came from such a heavy place, of course. Weddings, and the events around them, can bring out some of the most “unique” aspects of people’s personalities and most of the shenanigans seen in Whirlwind have their origins in real-life events that happened to me or people in my circle.
The bridal shop is based on one near my old house. I was in a wedding once, and the bride insisted on going to this salon that I swear was like being inside one of those ceramic tea sets you see in museums. It was my vision of Hell. The shop owner made a point of body shaming the bride at every turn, but she still wanted to give them her money. I don’t get it. I guess I don’t have to, it wasn’t my money, but it definitely had to make an appearance here.
The fight scene from the bridal shower? It happened, although it happened at a wedding reception. My parents were the witnesses, not me, and apparently chairs were involved. As far as I know, the police were not involved. The thing is, weddings involve family, and often alcohol, and things get heated. And the rest of the crowd just wants something a little more entertaining than watching Uncle Egbert trying to figure out how to dance to Rihanna, so no one’s going to try to calm anything down…
So basically, all kinds of little incidents from real life combined to inspire Whirlwind. They all got folded into the batter and baked, and this is the final result. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
QSFer J.V. Speyer has a new FF romance book out:
Rock star Jo Avery didn’t have a choice about coming out, but ever since her ex outed her as bi she’s been a proud advocate for LGBTQ+ issues. Most of her family wants nothing to do with her, but her brother has always supported her. When he gets married, he wants her in the wedding party, and she has to accept.
The only problem? Her new sister in law is the daughter of conservative pundit and anti-LGBT warrior Sarah Tremblay. Sarah has another daughter, too, the beautiful and charming Valeria.
Valeria has been in the closet since she was fourteen. She’s always envied Jo’s strength and freedom, if not her path to living her authentic life. She soon finds herself falling for the fierce, pretty rocker, but coming out could cost her everything. How many risks can she take for someone she’ll only know for two weeks?
Can Jo and Valeria turn attraction into love, or will their whirlwind romance blow out before it gets off the ground?
JV Speyer is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d476/?
Simon shifted uneasily in his seat. “Should I step in?”
Jo shrugged. “Seems dangerous. You’re not being paid to break up fights between conservative media hosts.” She looked up and groaned as she saw Sarah Tremblay making her way toward her. “Just when the fight was getting good.”
Simon straightened up in his seat as Sarah swept into position beside Jo. “This is not the way people should behave at an event like this. It’s supposed to be a joyous occasion, where people give the bride the material she’ll need in her new life as a wife. Not some kind of spectacle for the enjoyment of others.” She sniffed and cast her gaze pointedly at guests who had their phones out, recording the action.
Jo hated the thought of agreeing with Sarah Tremblay about anything, but she couldn’t argue either. “It’s a little bit like watching daytime television.”
Sarah stared as hotel security swooped in and separated the fighting women. The one who’d been kneed in the face was going to need an ambulance. “This is what comes from an overly permissive culture,” she said after a moment. “This is why I fight so hard.”
Jo rolled her eyes. And of course it all comes down to this. “So we can all enjoy a live action version of the Jerry Springer Show?”
Sarah curled her lip. “Do you honestly think any of this would have happened if you hadn’t showed your face here today?”
Jo lowered her eyes and laughed. “Sarah, I don’t even know those women. Any of those women. The great part of being a pariah at things like this is that no one can say they did anything because of me.”
Sarah grabbed onto Jo’s wrist with one claw-like hand. “You come walking in here with all of those tattoos exposed. That alone lowers the tone. It tells people, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter what you do.’ And with you flaunting your sin all over the place, disobeying your mother, giving your body to anyone who wants it, wallowing in the sin of Sodom and Gomorra without shame, everyone knows who you are. They know what you do.
“They think to themselves, If she can get away with that, then I don’t have to worry about what I do. I don’t have to live a clean and wholesome life. I don’t have to behave myself in public. And then we get what we had here today.”
“Wow. You get all that from a couple of tattoos and a complete failure at reading the Bible.” Jo snorted. Her hands shook, but they were hiding under the table so it didn’t matter. “Did you miss the part about motes and beams and all that? Or the Samaritan woman? I’m, like, ninety percent sure that those people would have fought even if I’d stayed on tour.”
“You should have stayed on tour. No one wants you here.” Sarah narrowed her eyes at Jo. “If even your own mother can’t stand to look at you, why should the rest of us be troubled with your presence?”
Jo shrugged. “Take it up with Tom. Much as I love hanging out here and being harangued about my sex life, I’d rather be out there with my band mates touring.”
Sarah recoiled, nose in the air. “I can see I’m not going to get anywhere with you. Just stay away from my daughter.”
Jo blinked for a second. Was Sarah really worried about Valeria’s virtue around her? If she was, that must mean she had a reason to be. Maybe there was hope after all. As for the rest of it …
She curled her lips into a wolfish smile and stood up. As Simon stood up beside her, she dropped a hand onto Sarah’s shoulder. “Oh, Sarah. I didn’t realize. I didn’t mean to lead you on. I’m not great with subtle hints. If you wanted to ‘get somewhere’ with me, you should have been more direct. If you want, I can help you find someone who might be looking for someone a little more like you, though.” She walked out of the shower, smiling.
J. V. Speyer has lived in upstate New York and rural Catalonia before making the greater Boston, Massachusetts area her permanent home. She has worked in archaeology, security, accountancy, finance, and non-profit management. She currently lives just south of Boston in a house with more animals than people.
J. V. finds most of her inspiration from music. Her tastes run the gamut from traditional to industrial and back again. When not writing she can usually be found enjoying a baseball game. She’s learning to crochet so she can make blankets to fortify herself against the cold.
J. V. can be found on Twitter at @JVSpeyer, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JVSpeyer
Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/JVSpeyerAuthor/
QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-v-speyer/