Welcome to the
Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Starstruck, the first in the multi-author Bluewater Bay series!
Every comment on
this blog tour enters you in a drawing for
a choice of two eBooks off L.A. Witt’s backlist (excluding Starstruck) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at
midnight, Eastern time, on November 9th, and winners will be
announced on November 10th.
Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
We are very happy to welcome
L.A. Witt to the Smoocher’s Voice blog today. L.A.’s latest novel Starstruck is available on Riptide
Publishing. Starstruck is the first book in the Bluewater
L.A. Witt is an author of gay erotic romances, and has been
recently exiled from Okinawa, Japan, to Omaha, Nebraska. She resides there with
her husband, a telekinetic goldfish, and two incredibly spoiled cats. It’s
unclear if the exile was the result of the mostly classified “Aquarium
Incident,” or if she’s actually being hidden, for her protection, from the
Polynesian Mafia and her arch nemesis, erotic romance authorLauren Gallagher.
you L.A. for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. I have
to admit I am a long-time fan of your writing, your solo works as well as your
collaborative efforts. Although Starstruck is a solo effort, it is part of a
newly created universe, similar to Tucker
Springs. What is the inspiration
for Bluewater Bay and this world of characters?
L.A.: Basically, after
Tucker Springs ended, I wanted to try the multi-author/same-town series again,
but in a different area, with a larger group of authors, and with some existing
issue/conflict within the town (which ended up being the TV series threatening
the small town lifestyle). Aleksandr Voinov and I chatted for a while, and
after doing some brainstorming, we came up with the town of Bluewater Bay,
situated on the north end of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Then we
started bringing authors on board, and they started populating the town with
interesting characters and cool places.
And of course, since
Bluewater Bay is right up the highway from Forks, we thought it would be fun to
give a little hat tip to Twilight,
which is set in and filmed in Forks. So
our town is the home of Wolf’s Landing, a paranormal television series mostly
revolving around werewolves. From there, we wanted to really incorporate the
fun of a series with that kind of following, so things like conventions and
fandom play a huge role in the shenanigans of Bluewater Bay.
Pritchard is an interesting character. Like some of the characters in your
other books, Levi is living behind the closed door of a closet. Why does his
family still have such a controlling part in the decisions he makes regarding
L.A.: I think our knee
jerk reaction is that once someone is over eighteen or so, their parents’ input
should cease to have any significant effect on their lives. But the fact is, it often doesn’t work
that way. Parental disapproval can be incredibly damaging to kids, but also
adults. Further, the results of a dysfunctional family can last well into
In Levi’s case, he’s
in his late thirties, and has always craved both his parents’ approval and just
a peaceful relationship with his folks. Because he’s worked so hard for so many
years to iron out some of the longstanding dysfunction in his family, and has
made loads of progress, he’s scared to death to throw a monkey wrench in the
whole thing. And yeah, on the surface, it seems weird for a man in his late
thirties to be that hung up on what his parents think, but I can’t even count
the number of people in my life who suppress aspects of their lives, worry
about their folks finding out about things, and agonize over how to gently
break boat-rocking news to their parents, even when they’re into their forties
lot of people live vicariously through the lives of their favorite actors and
musicians. Do you think fans, in general, are affected when they find out an
actor portraying a macho superhero is gay?
L.A.: I don’t think it’s
as big of a deal as it used to be for celebrities in general to come out, but
just from listening to conversations with people speculating about celebrity
sexualities (oh, the things people wring their hands over…) there’s definitely
a different standard for each “tier” of celebrities. If a pop star or a cute
young actor comes out, there’s some gossip and headlines about it, but it’s not
as big of a deal as if someone like Vin Diesel or Sylvester Stallone were to
come out. Which is silly, of course, but we’re talking about a society in which Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Keeping Up With the Kardashians exist.
In other words, we’re a strange people. LOL
you base Levi’s character on any real personalities?
L.A.: Levi got a little
bit of my reclusiveness and film snobbery, but for the most part, he’s his own
guy. He and Carter were both super vocal right from the start, and their
personalities crystallized almost immediately. Some characters are a bit tough
to draw a bead on at first, but not those two.
seems torn between his desire to act and his hatred of all things Hollywood.
Why does he stay in Bluewater Bay when Hollywood comes to town?
L.A.: I think Levi really
likes the town, and he’s holding out hope that Wolf’s Landing will eventually
go away. Plus he lives far enough from the town proper that he can avoid it all
most of the time, even though it annoys him to have to avoid it.
Samuels is openly gay and has a bit of a hero worship thing going with Levi –
at first. Carter is younger than Levi. This is a dynamic you have explored in a
few of your novels. What is it about the age dynamic about an older and younger
man that intrigues you?
L.A.: Before I got
married, I had, shall we say, a habit of dating older men. So I have a lot of
firsthand experience with the way people behave around relationships with big
age gaps, and to a lesser extent, the challenges of being in one of those
relationships. (A lesser extent because it really wasn’t that challenging for
us.) When I started writing romances, I
like playing with age gaps, but not making a huge deal out of them.
us a little about Carter and what makes him tick?
L.A.: Carter is cool. I
love him. He’s just so much fun. As far as what makes him tick, I think he’s
just straight up ambition. He doesn’t just want to act, he wants to be a great
actor. He’s ballsy and snarky, but has this little shy streak that I think is
so sweet, especially when he’s first trying to talk to Levi without turning
into a squealing fanboy.
the difference in generations the reason the two men view being openly gay
L.A.: To a degree,
yes. Neither of their families were
terribly accepting of the idea, but Carter had the implicit support of his
generation. These days, we’re shocked and horrified by families who reject
their children based on sexuality, so even when his parents were upset, Carter
had had enough exposure to people who did accept homosexuality to know they
were being jerks. Obviously it still hurt, but there’s a difference between
“you aren’t accepting who I am” and “there really is something wrong with
me.” Levi came from a generation where
he’d be more inclined to believe HE was the problem, rather than his parents’
reaction being the problem.
does Hollywood seem more accepting of Carter and Ari than of Levi and Anna?
L.A.: With Carter, he’s
been out from day one. He started his career as a young gay man, and it’s
what’s expected of him. Levi, however, established himself as a macho action
hero, which gave himself two strikes: one, he didn’t come out right away, so
people assumed he was straight, and two, he’s the “macho” type, which people
incorrectly assume means straight. So for Levi, coming out meant redefining
himself. And Hollywood isn’t big on that kind of thing, which is why you see
actors get typecast and struggle to break out of that type (i.e., comedy actors
trying to be taken seriously).
Plus, as Finn Larson
(the slimy producer) points out to Levi, the public sometimes perceives coming
out as something “trendy” or done for attention. If Levi came out while he was in
the middle of making an acting comeback, it could easily be perceived as a
publicity stunt. (And yes, just writing that makes me see red.)
As far as Anna,
well, to be honest, there’s no shortage of misogyny in Hollywood. Being a
director, Anna’s already fighting an uphill battle just by being female. Adding
in that she’s a lesbian – and thus “rejecting” men – she has an even bigger
struggle. Without naming names, that sadly comes from actual anecdotes from
people I know.
Jodi: You and Aleksandr
partnered up, again, to write The Lone Wolf, which is the fourth book set in Bluewater Bay. Tell
us a little about that book.
L.A.: First, it’s the
closest thing to a romantic comedy that Team VoinWitt will ever produce. Second,
it’s kind of a hat tip to fan fiction writers. Many M/M fans came to this genre
from fanfic, so we thought it would be fun to work fanfic into a book.
Easton is the author of the wildly successful Wolf’s Landing series, and he’s
stuck on the next book. A friend of his (who goes by the handle Lone Wolf)
writes some novel-length fanfic. Lone Wolf – aka, Kevin – thinks he’s sending
his book to another fan for some beta reading, but it turns out, he’s actually
sent it to Hunter Easton himself. And Hunter adores the book. So you have a
fanfic book that winds up getting incorporated into the series it was based on,
and all the while, author and fanfic author are falling in love with each
It was just some
good fun. So much fun, in fact, that Aleks’s partner didn’t believe we were
actually working. I was staying with them in London while we wrote it, and we
kept laughing our heads off. He was convinced we were just goofing off. But we
were actually writing!
collaborate with other authors all of the time and seem to have a great rapport
with Aleks (Market
Garden universe, Hostile Ground). Is it more challenging to write with a cowriter?
L.A.: I’m fairly certain
that Aleks has a USB port in the base of my skull. The connection we have is
unreal. I have a great rapport with all of my co-authors, but with Aleks, it’s
kind of spooky sometimes.
In general, it’s
actually easier to co-write. On my own, when I get stuck, I either have to
figure it out myself or go hit up a beta reader. When you’re co-writing, you
have two brains in the same book, which makes it exponentially easier to work
out plot problems. And brainstorming with a co-author is ridiculously fun.
Plus, you can’t
co-write with someone and not learn something. I’ve learned from every single
one of my co-writers, and I think I’m a better author (on my own and otherwise)
because of it.
are some of the challenges with creating a universe for a series that will have
multiple authors’ writing stories?
L.A.: The biggest thing is
making sure everybody is on the same page about what the town looks like and
what kind of “vibe” it has. With Tucker Springs, for example, Marie Sexton and
I actually spent some time together in the area on which the town was based.
We generally create
a “bible” containing all the pertinent information about the town, and we
update it based on what everybody does: Like if someone closes a business,
opens a new one, burns a building down, etc. We do the same with people –
anyone who is mentioned, from a barista at the coffee shop all the way up to
main characters, gets listed, and then we make sure everyone uses them
consistently. Characters listed in the bible are also fair game for anyone who
wants to write a story about them, too.
It’s challenging, but it’s not too hard.
Lauren Gallagher ever write about characters from L.A. Witt’s books? For
example would Lauren write a book focused on Anna Maxwell?
L.A.: Lauren actually is writing Anna Maxwell’s book. That one
will be out much later in the series, and is tentatively titled Stuck Landing, but yes, Lauren will be
getting involved with Bluewater Bay.
As far as Lauren
writing characters from L.A. Witt’s books in general… there are a few cameo
Easter eggs in some of my books (Angel and Dante from Out of Focus make a brief appearance in I’ll Show You Mine, for example). There’s also a character from The Princess and the Porn Star (one of
Lauren’s books) who will likely get his own L.A. Witt story at some point.
is your next project?
L.A.: As always, I have
numerous projects in the works. I’m currently finishing up a sweet Christian
romance, which will be released by Riptide next year under the name Ann
Gallagher. I also seem to be on a bisexual ménage binge, so expect to see some
of those in the very near future. Then there’s the sequel to Aleks Voinov’s Dark Soul, which sadly had to go onto
the back burner for a little while but is going to get done before the end of
And speaking of
Aleks, he’ll be coming to visit me in Seattle very soon, and we’ll be getting
some long overdue co-writing time in. We’ve got some Market Garden books in the
works, a WWII historical that we’ve been itching to finish, and some other cool
stuff in the works.
Hollywood is full of dirty
secrets, but Carter refuses to be Levi’s.
Retired action star Levi
Pritchard has made a quiet life for himself in the sleepy logging town of
Bluewater Bay, Washington. But then Hollywood comes to film the wildly popular
television series Wolf’s Landing, and Bluewater Bay isn’t so sleepy anymore.
His retirement doesn’t stick, either, because he’s offered a part on the
show—exactly the kind of complex role he’d always wanted, one that would prove
him more than a glorified stuntman. The only catch? He has to stay in the
closet—no matter how attractive he finds his co-star.
Carter Samuels is the
critically-acclaimed male lead on Wolf’s Landing. And now, the man who inspired
him to take up acting—and made him realize he’s gay—is joining the cast, and
sparks fly between them instantly. But Carter is out and proud and determined
to stay true to himself.
Remaining just friends is
the only thing to do, as both the studio and Levi’s disapproving, dysfunctional
family keep reminding them. Except their friendship deepens by the day,
tempting them with what they can’t have but both desperately need.