The Author Spotlight will focus on a different author every few weeks – it may feature an experienced writer who has a long history of published books, or a new author who is destined to be a future star. Today our Author Spotlight will be on Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae. You can keep in touch with them at the links following the interview!
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Author Spotlight: Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae
First off, I want to thank Racheline and Erin for taking the time to answer these questions for me. Please feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comment section below!
ABOUT THE BOOKS:
What is the title of your newest or upcoming book?
What publisher is this book being published by?
What is the publication date?
Purchase links: Amazon /Torquere Press / Goodreads
THE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese are authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry (Starling (September 10, 2014), Doves (January 21, 2015), and Phoenix (June 10, 2015)), all from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella Midsummer (Summer 2015), about a summerstock Shakespeare company, is from Dreamspinner Press. Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller; Erin is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. They write stories and scripts about the intersection of private lives, fame, and desire.
Can you give the readers a brief summary of your latest book?
The ties that bind… Two years after the events of Starling, Cinderella story and star of The Fourth Estate J. Alex Cook is living happily ever after with his boyfriend, television writer Paul Marion Keane. But when Paul’s pilot, Winsome, AZ, gets picked up, the competing demands of their high-profile careers make them question their future together. …can sometimes tear you apart As Paul becomes increasingly absent from their relationship, Alex tries to regain control of his private life and establish a career path independent of Fourth’s enigmatic, and at times malevolent, showrunner Victor. But the delicate web of relationships that connects Alex, Paul, and their friends — including Alex’s excitable ex-lover Liam and his no-nonsense fiancée Carly — threatens to unravel. With the business of Hollywood making it hard to remember who he is when the whole world isn’t watching, Alex is forced to confront major changes in the fairytale life he never wanted as he discovers that love in Los Angeles often looks nothing like the movies. Doves is Book Two in the Love in Los Angeles series.
What genre does it fall in?
Will you share a few words about your latest book, other than the usual blurb?
Doves is a romance about what happens when an established couple who face a lot of outside pressures start to realize what the long haul looks like and panics. It’s about taking control of your life, and learning how to be in love even if it’s sometimes difficult or confusing or imperfect. It’s very much a book about marriage.
Give us a little insight into your main characters! Who are they?
None of them are easy people. All of them are a little bit broken. Alex, our protagonist (we hesitate to use the word “hero” — neither of these men exactly fit the romance hero mold), became a TV star overnight; he’s still learning to navigate fame and adulthood. In Doves he’s 22, ten years younger than his boyfriend Paul, and is still working on the idea that being in a relationship doesn’t mean being owned. Paul, our other main protagonist, has workaholic tendencies that have doomed his relationships in the past. Now that he’s running his own show, he’s struggling to balance his work obligations and existing as a partner to Alex. Some of the other characters include a bisexual, polyamorous, former child-star, his fiancee, and his asexual boyfriend, who also happens to be Alex’s and Paul’s boss. These people were all supporting characters in our first novel, and while their role is still secondary to the main romance narrative, we were able to give their romances a lot more page-time in this book. We’re really excited to have an opportunity to show how different relationship styles and orientations work for some people.
Will we be seeing these characters again any time soon? Is this book part of a series?
Yes – it’s Book Two of our Love in Los Angeles series, an LGBTQ Hollywood contemporary romance series
Tell us a little bit about your writing style. When and where is your favorite time/place to write?
Erin: Everywhere. All the time. We’re working constantly, whether we’re at home on the couch or on the train to work. We’ve broken more than one story sitting at red lights. But we also have space at an office in Philadelphia, that we try to get to twice a month (I’m based in D.C., Racheline’s based in NYC). Being able to work face to face is nice (it’s also way more efficient than email for yelling excitedly back and forth), but there’s something about the energy of our office that consistently leads to good things. Also we always bring really good cheese.
Racheline: I travel a lot for my other work so I’m an anywhere anytime sort of person. 3am in a small town in Switzerland? Check. Poolside in Los Angeles? Sure. On a lawn in South Africa? Yup. On a plane? Very frequently. Mostly, though, I really dig my couch. I think between the two of us, Erin and I are up to at least 20 cities we’ve worked on this book series in.
What sort of book do you enjoy reading in your free time? What was the last book you read? Did you enjoy it?
Erin: The last book I read was S, by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. I loved it. The conceit of the book is that it’s this novel that has been passed back and forth by two grad students trying to unravel a mystery. The margins are full of their “notes” to each other, and there are little ephemera — postcards and letters and photos — stuck in the pages. It’s a brilliant exercise in nonlinear storytelling; it’s also a gorgeous loveletter to the written word.
Racheline: I just read Raine O’Tierney’s Sweet Giordan, Please Remember. We’ve known Raine for a while through the romance community, but this was the first chance I’ve had to read her work, which has a crisp, clean style that’s easy to sink into. She also took a trope that I was a little skeptical of and made it work, so I definitely had a good time with that.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Have you held any interesting jobs while you worked on your books?
Erin: I always knew I was a writer. For me the leap was more from being a person who wrote things, to being a person who wrote things and then submitted them for publication. Which wasn’t necessarily easy, but it was simple. I do have a day job, but the interesting thing is really juggling working 40 hours a week at that, easily another 40 at the writing job, and not totally failing to be a good partner.
Racheline: My academic degree is in journalism, and I’ve been writing and publishing work professionally since I had some poetry accepted into various journals when I was in high school. I am a jack of all trades though, in the extreme. I’ve worked for a major news wire service; I’ve been a sex worker; and I have some really wild stories from Internet start-ups I worked at in the 1990s. In college I worked in the shipping warehouse of a major LGBT bookstore. I’m also a SAG-AFTRA member, so you can see me in some films like Revolutionary Road and American Gangster.
What does your writing process look like?
Erin: It’s obsessive and continual. Our primary mode of communication is email, since we live in different cities. We outline stories by telling each other stories in email, essentially, and plot them out by asking each other “so what happens if?” Once we have an outline, or enough of one to go on, we move into Google Docs. Some cowriting pairs assign certain characters or chapters to each partner; we write everything and everyone, all the time. Whoever has time next, writes the next chunk of the story. We also edit and write over each other constantly.
Why did you choose to write GLBTQ romance? Why not another genre?
Racheline: I think genre is complicated for us. We’re both people who like to use relationships and sex to tell stories and reveal character. We’re queer people and therefore we write about queer people. While we are writing stories with happy endings, we do violate a lot of romance genre or M/M romance expectations. Some of our characters are non-monogamous; some of our stories feature M/M, F/F sexuality, and M/F sexuality. So the GLBTQ romance space is definitely the best fit for us — and we do have or are working on stories with characters that represent all those letters — but how we fit here is something we do feel like we benefit from explaining at times.
One last questions…totally unrelated to books! I am a passionate foodie. Is there one thing in your pantry that you would be horrified for people to know that you eat?
Erin: When we meet at our writing office, we subsist on goat cheese, corn chips, and those amazing little chocolate mint things from Trader Joe’s. Sometimes we go out for dinner, but writing days are mostly junk food fests.
Racheline: I love food. I also have celiac disease, so I have to be very mindful about my food. Which means I talk about it all the time and totally don’t do food shame. That said, my obsessive love of Mike & Ike candy is kind of weird, but I accept this about myself.
Thankyou so much for answering my questions. I think my readers will enjoy learning more about you! Good luck in your future writing!