Gene Gant on Why He Writes and his new book Borrowed Boy (guest interview)

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Borrowed Boy by Gene Gant 

Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and  Rogue Words is happy to host Gene Gant here today on tour with his latest story, Borrowed Boy.  Welcome, Gene.

~ A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Gene Gant ~

 

With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write mostly because I have a passion for it, the same as I do for reading. I enjoy telling a story as much as I enjoy reading one. But my writing is often driven by events and situations occurring in the world around us. The Battle for Jericho, as an example, grew out of my concern that religious belief was (and still is) having far too much influence on our country’s laws and public policy. Child exploitation is a recurring theme in many of my works because someone dear to me was sexually abused as a kid and left with permanent, debilitating emotional scars.

Division, intolerance and hatred are on the rise in our country. Police shootings of unarmed black people; Trump’s use of racism, xenophobia and blatant lies to set his administration’s agenda and stoke the ire of his supporters against “the other side”; the steady erosion of civil rights protections for people of color and those on the LGBTQ spectrum; the woefully under-addressed crisis of climate change; these are all things that weigh on my mind. Writing about them is a way of coping for me.

But I don’t see only the dark and ugly aspects of human nature. There is still beauty, hope, joy and love in the world, and those things find their way into my writing as well. We need to nurture them, hold onto them, because they will ultimately see us through the chaos and bring us together.

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

The artists at Harmony Ink Press design multiple covers for my books using my input. Among other things, they ask what I’d like to see in a cover, if there are any objects or images I want included, and if there is any particular thing I don’t want in the cover. The result is that I’m usually presented with several cover versions that are all so good it’s hard to pick one.

It comes down to feeling. Which cover comes closest to the overall mood of the story? Which one do I feel best represents the characters and situations depicted in the novel? Which one pulls at me and makes me wish I could walk right into it? The cover you see on Borrowed Boy pushed all my buttons. In my humble opinion, it effectively captures the emotion and the hope of the story.

If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

That would be a nice little house with a covered patio that looks out on a private beach. Why? Well, I love the ocean for one thing  And for me, writing is a necessarily solitary venture. I have to let my mind settle into the world I’m building, have to inhabit the souls of the characters I’m bringing to life. To do that I need an environment that is quiet and without distraction.

Those conditions that can be hard to come by when you have a family, as I do. That means there’s usually someone watching TV or talking on a cell phone or listening to music, all at the loudest of volumes. It’s hard to hear the voices in your head with that kind of distraction going on. (Voices in my head…hm. Does that make me sound unwell?)

Sometimes I write in the midst of the hullabaloo because I have no choice; my novels would never get finished if I didn’t. Fortunately, I live in an area that’s fairly rural, so in temperate times I can retreat to the patio, which looks out on a spread where a neighbor has horses and chickens, for a bit of quiet isolation in which to write. There’s also the rare occasion during the day when I have the house all to myself, allowing me to turn off everything except my laptop and let my imagination run free. Of course, push come to shove, I can always wait until the wee hours when everyone is asleep and do my thing.

What’s next for you as a writer?

Next I have a companion piece to Borrowed Boy titled Golden Like Summer, which will be published by Harmony Ink Press in 2019. This second book is not a sequel or part of a series as it doesn’t involve any of the characters from Borrowed Boy. But they both grew out of the same general idea of a kid discovering that he’s been living under a false identity.

Beyond that, I’m working on a new adult novella/novel (not sure yet how long it’s going to be) about a young man starting his freshman year of college. He’s been homeschooled and sheltered and is eager to jump into all the things he thinks he’s missed out on, including parties, drinking, drugs, and losing his virginity. He’s going to quickly discover that adult life is a lot more complicated than he thinks. The working title is Mannish. So far, I haven’t run into the dreaded writer’s block on this one. Keep your fingers crossed for me.    

Blurb:

An entire life can be snatched away in an instant.

Thirteen-year-old Zavier Beckham is an average teen living in Memphis. He has great parents and a quirky best friend named Cole. He’s happy, and he thinks his life is totally normal… until an FBI agent shows up and informs Zavier he was stolen as an infant and sold to an adoption agency.

Now his biological parents want him back.

Forced to confront his distant past, Zavier faces an uncertain future. He may be taken from the only home he’s known by parents who are strangers living in Chicago. He may have to deal with a brother who hates and torments him. He meets Brendan, an older boy who offers him friendship and wakens a strong, unsettling attraction in Zavier. Brendan has secrets of his own, and he’ll either be the one ray of light in Zavier’s tense situation or the last straw that breaks Zavier under the pressure.

 

 

About the Author

Gene Gant grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. After living for a time in Missouri and Illinois, he now makes his home on a quiet country lane outside Memphis.

Website

An Author’s Interview with Gene Gant of In Time I Dream About You (author guest interview/new book release)

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In Time I Dream About You by Gene Gant
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Gene Gant here today talking about writing, books and In Time I Dream About You, the author’s latest release from Harmony Ink Press!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Very little, if anything at all. I strive to make every character as distinct a person as possible. In the process of writing, each character becomes a separate individual to me, with his or her own personality, history, political views and opinions. As such, they often take off in directions that surprise me, pulling the story in an entirely unexpected direction. I always work from an outline of the plot, but I’m forced to be flexible with it when a character takes control of things. There really isn’t much opportunity for me to insert any of my experiences or personal views under such circumstances. (Although a character occasionally likes my favorite food, reads one of my favorite books, or dresses in a style I personally favor.) Besides, I’m not all that interesting. Readers want compelling characters. Unlike Gavin Goode, for example, I’ve so far lived a fairly uneventful life. Or, as Donald Trump might tweet: BORING.

How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part)

My publisher has a team of artists who work with authors to create covers. They begin with a series of questions to get an understanding of the plot, setting and characters along with the writer’s preferences. Using that information, they prepare two or more drafts of what will eventually become the cover. A great cover has to be eye-catching, convey a general sense of the story’s mood and pull the reader in. I usually go for the one that invokes the biggest emotional response in me, the one that makes me want to jump in and inhabit the world it depicts.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Yes, definitely. I’ve always enjoyed fiction across a variety of genres, some of my favorites being contemporary, romance, mystery, fantasy, science fiction and horror. The stories I write fall mostly in the genres I love to read. I sometimes combine genres, as in the case of In Time I Dream About You, which is a blend of romance and science fiction/urban fantasy. Ironically, as a teenager, I read mostly adult novels by the likes of Stephen King, Peter Straub, James Patterson, John Grisham, J.R.R. Tolkien, Eric Jerome Dickey and Sue Grafton. Now, as an adult, I find myself reading an awful lot of—some would say far too much—young adult fiction.   

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

I’ve had to put stories aside for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I lose interest in the main character, which is never a good sign. Occasionally, I discover that an idea just doesn’t come together in the writing and needs to be revamped

In Time I Dream About You actually began as a tale more heavily tilted toward romance than science fiction, with Cato as the main character who falls in love with Gavin while observing him from the future. He knows Gavin dies in a tragic event and is torn between letting history take its course or violating the law against changing the past and saving Gavin. Perhaps a third of the way into the story, I found myself getting stuck. I’d fire up my computer and sit there staring at the screen, unable to write a word. I moved on to another project, unsure whether the story would ever get finished. After a few months, I read through what I’d written so far and realized I was focusing more on Gavin than Cato, because Gavin’s life was resonating more emotionally with me than Cato’s. Once I shifted the point of view to Gavin, I finished the story rather quickly. Gavin’s tale was less romantic than Cato’s would have been, but for me, the heart of the story was with him.

What’s next for you as an author?

At the moment, I’m working on a young adult novel about a lonely fifteen-year-old boy who gets dumped by his girlfriend and is surprised to find himself falling for one of his male teachers.  It’s more of a coming of age story than a romance, with the kid having to face certain truths about himself and the people in his life. I also have this idea percolating in my head about a boy who discovers he is adopted when his birth parents surface unexpectedly in his life, just as he is settling into a relationship with his new boyfriend. Beyond that, I have no other stories planned…yet, I should add. Ideas for stories tend to pop out of the blue on me, and I’m sure it won’t be long before my mind is conjuring up new characters and situations.

Blurb

Gavin Goode, a promising high school athlete with good grades, forfeited his future when he joined a brutal street gang called the Cold Bloods. The gang’s leader, Apache, discovered Gavin is gay and framed him for murder. Now in prison, Gavin faces rape and abuse on a daily basis as gang members there attempt to break him. When his father is critically injured and Gavin reaches his lowest point, a mysterious ally appears. Cato is much more than the guard he seems. He has come from the future, and he possesses the technology to undo everything that’s gone wrong in Gavin’s life.

But meddling in the timeline has dire consequences, and Gavin faces an impossible decision: sacrifice himself and his father, or let thousands of innocents die instead.

About the Author

‘m Tennessean by birth, a resident of Memphis for most of my life. I tried living in a few northern cities after graduating from college, but I couldn’t take the brutal winters, and I missed good ol’ southern barbecue. Now I make my home on a country lane outside of Memphis. When I’m not reading, working out, watching movies or spending time with family and friends, you can find me tapping away at my computer.

Website

A Mika Review: Lucky Linus by Gene Grant

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Rating:  5 out of 5 stars    ★★★★★ 

Lucky Linus coverIs the possibility of fulfilling your heart’s desire worth the risk of breaking it?

Fourteen-year-old Linus Lightman is understandably reluctant to trust his newest foster family, the Nelsons, after he’s bounced through the system since being being taken from his neglectful mother. He’s certain they will reject him when they find out he’s gay, and getting to know them will only lead to hurt later. Trying to cope, he builds a friendship with Kevin Mapleton, and it quickly grows into romance, despite Linus’s fears. Then a video of Linus and Kevin having sex is posted online, and Linus knows from past experience exactly what’s going to happen. This sort of scandal will cost him his new home and Kevin’s love, snatching away his fragile hopes of belonging.

I did not know what to expect out of this book. It was hard for me to read this because I don’t deal with with abandoned children. I knew that going into the story, but I wanted to see if I could. I did, and I would again, because I really enjoyed the story from Linus perspective. Linus never gave up the fight, he was determined not to let his abandonment and neglect bring him down. We see often in real life and in this story how some kids give up after moving from place to place. They lose hope in people, and in themselves. I was angry, distraught reading this, and couldn’t stop crying. I think cried the entire story. I was pleading while reading this book that someone would love him. Linus doesn’t have it easy, but his outlook and attitude is so inspiring. You’d think that he would be surly, down, and depressed. Well he’s not; he’s taking one step at a time. I didn’t know how I was going to feel reading a story about a 14 yr old. This is the youngest age group that I’ve ventured into, and my emotions were put into the ringer. I’m happy with the outcome of the story. I really loved it. 

Goodness when I was reading this, and found out that the setting was in Mississippi. I did not expect good things, let me tell you that. Egg on my face for thinking there’s no good folks in the state of Mississippi. The entire NELSON family was amazing. I really loved them. I related so much to Linus, not just aa child of an addict. I know what it’s like to have a parent addicted to something. I was fortunate enough that my dad raised us. I was also fortunate enough to have my mom in my life. I can tell you I fell in love with Lucky Linus from the very start and  I’ll be on the lookout for more from Gene Gant.

Cover Art by Paul Richmond: I picked this book because of the cover. The cover model is really adorable, and for some reason he pulled at my heart strings. I thought it was a very fitting cover.

Sales Links:   Harmony Ink Press | All Romance |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published July 23rd 2015 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN139781634760706
edition languageEnglish