Bru Baker on Writing, Books, and her latest release ‘Tall, Dark, and Deported’ (author interview)

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Tall, Dark, and Deported by Bru Baker
Release date: April 1, 2017

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Bru Baker here today talking about her latest novel, Tall, Dark, and Deported! Welcome, Bru!

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How much of yourself goes into a character?

Honestly, I draw a lot more from the people around me than I do myself. It’s not even a conscious thing, but after I’ve formed a character I might realize I’ve incorporated mannerisms, speech patterns, and personality quirks from people I know. I do my best not to base a character on a real person, but there are often bits and pieces of a few people influencing things.

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?

There’s definitely a line there that we as authors have to skirt. That said, I often use my own experiences in books because I’m able to give a scene more depth if I know how a situation or event feels firsthand. Actually, the entire premise for Tall, Dark, and Deported came about from an experience I had coming home from GRL in 2015. I found myself stranded after my connecting flight home from Chicago was cancelled. The ticket counters were overwhelmed and no flights were available. They offered me a solution that would get me home thirty-six hours later–and Chicago is only a three-hour drive from my home in Indianapolis! So I started talking with two strangers who’d also been scheduled for that flight and we hatched a plan to rent a car and drive. Granted, I just used the experience as a jumping-off point. I certainly didn’t find myself crossing an international border and engaging in a Green card marriage like Mateus and Crawford. (My husband would have something to say about that, I’m sure. *g*)

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I’m a former journalist and I work in the reference department of a library–it’s safe to say I adore research. I have so much respect for authors who can craft a world out of the ether, but I’m not one of them. I tend to blend research with make believe. I’ve driven from Seattle to Vancouver along the road Mateus and Crawford take in Tall, Dark, and Deported, but the hotel they spend is plucked from my imagination. And of course, I’ve taken a lot of liberties with immigration policies.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m a fan of HFN, mostly because I have an overactive imagination and leaving a couple at the HFN give me the chance to fill in the blank for them myself as a reader. As a writer, I don’t like to tie up all the loose ends in a pretty bow because that’s rarely how life works. I want to leave my characters in a place where they’re happy and clearly meant to be together forever but without spelling out every action they’ll take.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I was a horror and classic literature fan as a teenager. My favorite authors in high school were Daphne DuMaurier, Emily Bronte, Robin Cook, Stephen King, and Michael Crichton. It’s an interesting mix. They’re still my go-to comfort reads, especially Rebecca and Wuthering Heights. As an adult I read a broad spectrum of things as part of my job as a librarian, but my favorites at the moment are cozy mysteries and quirky romances.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I know most authors would say they couldn’t choose because they love them all, just like parents are supposed to say that when you ask them which of their children they love the most. But I do have favorites, both among my books and my kids. (I joke, I joke. Most days both kids annoy me equally. No favoritism!) Playing House is hands-down my favorite of the books I’ve written, and I think it’s because it was the hardest to write. Writing is almost always sheer joy for me. I’m pretty sure I smiled maniacally all the way through writing King of the Kitchen, and writing Talk Turkey actually made me laugh out loud. But Playing House came from a very painful place for me–imagining what kind of emotional bonds someone with autism could forge as an adult, and whether or not they could successfully navigate marriage and parenthood. My son is on the spectrum, and there just isn’t a lot of positive representation of people with ASD in books and movies. So Playing House was me challenging myself to write a character who could make the average reader fall in love with a character who is flawed in a way that wasn’t quirky or eccentric, but real. I’ve had readers message me after reading the book and tell me they see themselves or their partners in the main character and that it encouraged them to seek help or a diagnosis, sometimes for the first time ever. And that’s amazing.

What’s next for you as an author?

Right now I’m working on a submission for Dreamspinner Press’s Advent Calendar Anthology. I absolutely love fluffy holiday romance, and I have a really soft spot in my heart for the Advent anthology in particular because it gave me my break into publishing in the 2012 calendar with my short story, Traditions from the Heart. I’m also in edits right now on a release that’s coming out toward the end of the year with Dreamspinner as part of the Dreamspun Beyond line–it’s about werewolves! True to my style, of course, one of them turns out to be a pretty big failure as a werewolf. So big, in face, that he has to go to a camp to learn how to werewolf. Enter hilarity, a little angst, and, of course, romance.

Blurb

Crossing the border into love.

Snap decisions and misguided ideas bring Portuguese national Mateus Fontes and businessman Crawford Hargrave together at the Canadian border crossing.

Mateus is caught in a catch-22. With his almost-expired tourist visa, entrance to Canada is denied, but the US won’t let him back in either. Crawford thinks he’s solved things when he tells the border agent they’re engaged, and it works—except now they have to actually get married before either of them can get back into the United States. But Crawford has been burned by marriage once, and he’s determined not to make that mistake again.

Neither of them expects real feelings to bloom out of their fake marriage, but they do. And the two of them have to learn how to be honest with each other to make things work, which is especially hard when their entire marriage is based on lies.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 236 pages

Tags: Gay; M/M; Dreamspun Desires

About the Author

Bru Baker spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tall, Dark, and Deported by Bru Baker

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Crossing the border into love.

Snap decisions and misguided ideas bring Portuguese national Mateus Fontes and businessman Crawford Hargrave together at the Canadian border crossing.

Mateus is caught in a catch-22. With his almost-expired tourist visa, entrance to Canada is denied, but the US won’t let him back in either. Crawford thinks he’s solved things when he tells the border agent they’re engaged, and it works—except now they have to actually get married before either of them can get back into the United States. But Crawford has been burned by marriage once, and he’s determined not to make that mistake again.

Neither of them expects real feelings to bloom out of their fake marriage, but they do. And the two of them have to learn how to be honest with each other to make things work, which is especially hard when their entire marriage is based on lies.

 

In Tall, Dark, and Deported author Bru Baker takes that old trope of the fake marriage and makes something wonderful and real.  I’ve read countless stories that use this old great workhorse of a theme but few make it past the cute and fluffy.  Which is fine, don’t get me wrong, I adore those stories too.  But I love it when a writer takes it deeper, adds those layers and dimension to their characters, their situation and locations that make me sit up and pay more attention.  That happened here.

It starts with Mateus, his almost expired tourist visa and the vineyard/wine business he and his sibling (and her family) have back in the Northwest.  They’ve suffered setbacks, and now, because he let it slide in face of other issues, he’s got to take care of his visa.  The option he took?  Backfires in the most believable manner possible.  We will all be groaning there with him in full blown panic mode.  In a short amount of time, the author has let us get to know Mateus, find him so real and likable that we need to know he’s  going to be alright.  Then in comes Crawford.

Crawford is another man who’s easily accessible.  His first marriage to someone shallow and callous ended the way you might expect.  Unfortunately he didn’t see it coming and the result is a bitterness towards love and commitment.  But Baker lets us see Crawford as a kind, generous man, a little trampled on but with a big heart.  When these two connect, we want them to be together.

There are so many details here I loved.  One the fact that they could not just easily get married and poof, that was it.  No, there were rules and regulations to be followed.  Suspicions about their marriage on both sides of the border (no quickies marriages, thank you very much) so government agencies were brought in. That dose of reality was wonderful.  Loved Mateus’ family and town as well as the idea of exactly what Crawford did for a living.  It spiced up the story and gave a foundation for both the men and their relationship.

But it was their fumbling towards love and  HEA that made this story.  I believed absolutely in them and their feelings for each other.  The tenderness and the hot attraction, it was all there in the story. Tall, Dark, and Deported by Bru Baker is another wonderful Dreamspun Desire novel you won’t want to miss. I’m so glad I didn’t.  I highly recommend you pick it up and make your acquaintance with Mateus and Crawford today.

Cover Artist: Bree Archer.  Works for the character but the background is pretty nondescript. Eh.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook, 236 pages
Expected publication: April 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634776844 (ISBN13: 9781634776844)
Edition LanguageEnglish
settingVancouver, British Columbia (Canada)
Washington (United States)