Rockets and Romance (States of Love) by Wendy Qualls
Publication: August 2nd 2019
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Sales Links: Amazon | Author’s Website
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Wendy Quall here today on tour for her new novel, Rockets and Romance. Welcome, Wendy.
It’s August, which means my new book ROCKETS AND ROMANCE is out! Instead of giving you a boring, coherent plot summary, I’ve asked my seven-year-old daughter Evelyn to help me “interview” my hero Julian. It… didn’t go in the direction I’d expect.
Me: All right, imagine you’re talking to my hero, Julian. what do you want to ask?
Evelyn: Is the character a boy?
Me: Yes, he is a boy.
[This is obviously a strike against him in her mind.]
Evelyn: Is the whole book about gay people?
Me: Two main ones. Julian is a gay boy who grew up in California. He got the job he always wanted with NASA, but he had to move to Huntsville to take it. So he left Los Angeles–that’s a very big city–and came to Huntsville and found that everything is very different here.
Evelyn: Why did you add people who are gay into it?
Me: Because I like writing books about different kinds of people falling in love!
Evelyn: Okay. And they’re in love in this story?
Me: Not at first… Look, let’s pretend that I’m Julian and you can ask me things like what’s my favorite whatever, anything like that.
Evelyn: Ummm… do you like tea?
Me, answering as Julian: Yes, but I prefer coffee.
Evelyn: Do you have a favorite kind of tea? And if so, what is it?
Me: Why all the tea questions?
Evelyn: I like tea.
[Note: she has recently discovered that I like iced chai and that it tastes loads better than the straight-up overbrewed green tea my husband drinks. I now find myself making random herbal flavors pretty regularly because I’m not sharing my sweet, sweet caffeine.]
Me/Julian: Iced tea, I guess. Iced tea in California is never sweet tea and that’s different here in Alabama.
Evelyn: Are you picky at all?
Me/Julian: Am I picky? I’m a vegetarian, so I don’t eat meat, but I do eat a lot of different things. I don’t mind spicy foods.
Evelyn: *makes face* What’s your favorite kind of spicy food?
Me/Julian: Probably Thai food. Spicy peanut flavored.
Evelyn: Okay… How many people are in the story?
Me/Julian: A lot! It’s about me and the man I fall in love with–his name is Cody. I used to have a boyfriend back in California, and we broke up when I moved here but he still talks with me on the phone when I’m feeling lonely. Cody has friends, too, and we work together so there’s other people there on our team. Oh, and Cody has two cats. One of them lives outside and one lives both outside and inside and she’s really sneaky.
Evelyn: What color of shirt do you have?
Me/Julian: I wear different shirts throughout the story…
Evelyn: What’s your favorite color?
Me/Julian: *totally blanking on color names all of a sudden* I… rainbow. Lots and lots of rainbow things I like.
Evelyn: Do you like cats or dogs better?
Me/Julian; I don’t think I have a preference, but Cody has cats. One is grumpy and the other is very sweet. And at least the sweet one likes me.
Evelyn: What’s your favorite thing?
Me/Julian: Space, I guess. I grew up watching space movies with my dad and that’s how I decided I wanted to work at NASA when I grew up. And so I became an aerospace engineer and I got a job there. But it wasn’t the NASA job I thought it would be, in Los Angeles–I had to move all the way to Huntsville without warning.
Evelyn: Why did you choose to work at NASA instead of any other astronaut place?
Me/Julian: Because NASA is the best! They’ve got the biggest budget for studying space and science things. And at NASA I can do work for the International Space Station. Who wouldn’t want that/
Evelyn: *long pause* Mom, when will I be old enough to read your books?
Me: When you’re old enough to be embarrassed that your mom wrote ‘em, kid.
So that clears everything up, right? 🙂 Seriously, though, if you want to read something that could only ever happen in one place and you like books about clueless gay nerds who initially can’t stand each other slowly falling in love, ROCKETS AND ROMANCE will be right up your alley!
Julian Barlow has finally landed his dream job working for NASA. The catch? He has to move to Huntsville, Alabama—a daunting prospect for a gay pescatarian from Los Angeles who’s never been south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Fellow engineer Cody Ewing is an Alabama boy through and through, and Julian’s casual assumptions about the South in general and Southern homophobia in particular makes it dislike at first sight. Then NASA throws them together on a months-long project, and they have to make it work.
Forced to rely on each other, the two men develop a tentative friendship that becomes something more as Cody shows Julian Alabama’s good side. Julian’s insistence on secrecy and Cody’s hot-and-cold act could scuttle their chances before they ever get off the ground, though.
About the Author
Wendy Qualls was a small town librarian until she finished reading everything her library had to offer. At that point she put her expensive and totally unrelated college degree to use by writing smutty romance novels and wasting time on the internet. She lives in Northern Alabama with her husband, two girls, two dogs, and a seasonally fluctuating swarm of unwanted ladybugs. Wendy can be found on Twitter as @wendyqualls. She is represented by Moe Ferrara of BookEnds Literary Agency.