Letters from Cupid by Ari McKay
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Available for Purchase at
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host McKay of the writing duo known as Ari McKay here today to talk about their latest release Letters from Cupid. Welcome, McKay!
Hi, I’m the McKay half of Ari McKay! I’d like to thank Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for giving me the opportunity to be a guest blogger today. Ari and I are currently celebrating the release of our Valentine’s Day story, Letters from Cupid, from Dreamspinner Press.
I loved the questions that Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words provided, so I’m going to answer some of those!
How much of yourself goes into a character?
I think it’s safe to say there’s always a little bit of Ari and me in the characters we write. In Letters from Cupid, I wrote Macon, who is a tenured professor in creative writing. I was going to say that Macon isn’t the character who is closest to me out of all our books, but now that I’m thinking about it, he’s pretty close! We’re both academics and creative writers who are introverted, single, and over forty. There’s one scene in which I shamelessly channeled my own opinion through him, and that’s when I let Macon go on a little rant about administration bloat. I could have easily let that rant go on for a good page or more because I have Opinions. I will say his view on faculty meetings and departmental parties isn’t that far from mine either. 😉
Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?
Not really. I think what makes a character a Mary Sue/Gary Stu is their lack of flaws. Everyone loves them, and every obstacle is easily overcome because of their intelligence/super powers/whatever. There’s no real character growth because the character is already “perfect”, and there’s no real conflict.
To me, that’s very different from using your own experiences to create a character. For example, I used a lot of my experiences in academia to create Macon, but I wouldn’t consider him a Gary Stu because he’s an imperfect character, and forcing himself to emerge from his introvert bubble in order to help Derek changes him over the course of the story.
Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?
Ari and I both enjoy doing research. We’re both history buffs, and when we write historical books, we like to make sure we’re getting the details right. So having to do research doesn’t deter us from writing in a particular genre. We enjoy world-building as well, so for us, it comes down to asking “How hard is this plot bunny gnawing on our ankles?” rather than “Do we want to tackle research/world-building?”. If we feel strongly enough about a particular story, we’ll write it, regardless of genre.
Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?
HEA! I think Ari would agree with me when I say we have enough problems, stress, and things out of our control in our real lives that we like being able to fix things for our characters. Writing HEA romances is a form of escapism for us. We may put our characters through the angst mill, but we’ll make it up to them by the end every time.
How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?
I know there are a lot of print purists, and I like the weight of a real book in my hand as much as the next bookworm, but I think ebooks have their advantages as well. I like that I’ve got an extensive library on my phone as well as on my bookshelves. I used to carry a book everywhere, but now I whip out my phone to read while I’m waiting at the doctor’s office.
I think, too, that the rise of ebooks has been beneficial to writers. There are now other avenues for getting published than the traditional publishing houses, and I think having those choices is beneficial for the authors and readers.
There are drawbacks as well. We’ve seen some indie publishers go under in the last year, but I’m inclined to attribute some of that to less than stellar management. Amazon has the potential to saturate the market with self-published works that haven’t known the touch of an editor’s hand.
I think overall, the ebooks market is going to thrive, and it’s not going to spell the end of the print book market because there are plenty of people – myself included – who like reading words on a page instead of a screen sometimes. I think there’s room in the world for both.
What’s next for you as an author?
Right now, we’re finishing up a revision of Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows, which is a 2nd edition story that will be released by Dreamspinner Press in September. After that, we’ve got a to-do list lined up: the first book in a new light contemporary series, a new Herc’s Mercs book, and another book for Dreamspinner’s Dreamspun line. We’re never at a loss for something to write! Our main problem is time. Too many plot bunnies, too little time.
Thanks again to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting us on our blog tour!
About Letters from Cupid
After breaking up with his partner, English professor Dr. Derek Chandler feels like a failure who will never win at romance. His aloof colleague, Dr. Macon Pinney, disagrees and pens an anonymous note of encouragement to Derek, which he signs “Cupid.” Thus begins an exchange of correspondence, a courtship through words where the two men find out they have a great deal in common. Meanwhile, Derek reaches out to Macon, not knowing Macon is his anonymous pen pal. Derek reveals through his letters that someone close by has piqued his interest. Could he mean Macon—or has Macon missed his opportunity and lost Derek to another man?
Perhaps the time has come for Cupid to put in an appearance, and when better to do so than Valentine’s Day?
About the Authors
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.
Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.
McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.