So I took a week off last week, but am back with a bit of a spring in my step.  Today’s guest is someone about to release her first book next week. Lane Hayes. Lane’s new book – Better Than Good is set in my corner of the universe – Washington, DC, so I’m sure it’ll be great. Lane’s just starting out so please leave comments to encourage her along the way. From what little I’ve seen – and the book isn’t out until Monday July 8th, this looks like a great read. So with that –

Author Profile: Lane Hayes

BetterThanGood-Hayes_headerbanner

1) Tell us about yourself – How long have you been writing? And do you write in any other genres besides m/m?

“Better Than Good” is my first novel.  I am a new author but I must admit reading is my number one passion.  I love books!  I grew up with an appreciation of classics, but found myself consistently drawn to romantic story lines.  To me there is nothing more beautiful than a well-written love story. 

I fell into the M/M genre accidentally.  I think I googled it and was surprised to find a vibrant exciting community of authors writing some fantastic stories with same sex characters.  I have been hooked ever since.  My only gripe was there didn’t seem to be enough, which is how I ended up challenging myself to write one.  My oldest son is gay, so I have a particular interest in the positive portrayal of gay relationships.   We’ve come so far in the fight for equality but there is still a very long way to go.  I’ll step off my soapbox now…

2) Better Than Good – Where did the inspiration for his character come from?

Matt and Aaron, my main characters in “Better Than Good” have been living in my head for a while now.  Aaron is my favorite character probably because of his joie de vie.  I love his exuberance and how self-assured he is.  I met a beautiful, and I mean stop and take a second or third look beautiful, young man who was working as an assistant at a food tasting event I went to.  He is the physical inspiration for Aaron.  I don’t know the guy at all and never met him again, but it was hysterical to see how many grown married women could not take their eyes off of him (myself included).  A second inspiration for him is Angel, the drag queen from Rent.  Angel is such a wonderful character… a voice of hope and life.  I feel Aaron is the same way for Matt.  Matt is an “every man” character.  I think most of us can identify with him because although he knows what he wants and his path in life, his journey isn’t the simple one he thought it would be. 

3) One of your main character’s is a law student, is this based on anyone’s – yourself included – experience?

There are no lawyers in my family… yet.  Matt is a law student at a very prestigious university, however, it is one of those quirky instances where the character tells the author how it is.  Or is that only me hearing voices?

4) Tell us something interesting that’s not in the blurb.

Dupont Circle, Washington, DC

Dupont Circle, Washington, DC

Something interesting that isn’t in the blurb… hmm.  “Better Than Good” deals quite a bit with issues of stereotyping and labeling.  We live in a fast food society where a label makes life easier, faster and more consumable.  Real people aren’t so easily packaged however.  Aaron is a young Latino Catholic gay man who by the very nature of being born gay has learned from an early age how to not just survive but be comfortable with who he is in a sometimes hostile environment.  Matt had always identified as a heterosexual male.  He is an all-American former jock who has to come to terms with an attraction he can’t ignore.  He has to throw away his labels and learn to accept himself so he ultimately can have what he wants… Aaron. 

5) This was your first published book – talk a bit about what it felt like when they accepted your manuscript.

Having my first manuscript accepted was an amazing feeling. Very surreal.  Because this is new in every way to me, I’ve had no idea what to expect.  Everyone has been so gracious and encouraging at Dreamspinner.

6) The process of working with an editor, cover artist etc is vastly different from a beta reader or someone who ‘edit’s for you.’ How did you find the process?

Working with the art director was a breeze.  We zeroed in on what I envisioned early on and he delivered in spades.  My editor was equally cool.  She was supportive and kind in her suggestions.  It really was a somewhat painless process. 

7) What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

My favorite part of writing is when I get in a zone.  I love conversations between characters and have the most fun putting life into a story through verbal interaction.

8) What’s your least favorite?

My least favorite part of writing is when I get stuck.  I have literally sat in front of my computer for a couple of hours working on one sentence before I finally clue in that nothing worthwhile will come that day.  It’s best to walk away and try again later!

9) Tell us about you’re working on next?

Right now I’m working on my third novel.  It’s in its early stages so I’m reluctant to share too much about it.  However, I do have a second novel, which is Jay and Peter’s story, who are Aaron’s best friend and his partner respectively.  They’re featured in Better Than Good, and their story is actually a prequel to Matt and Aaron’s.

10) What have you read lately that most people haven’t read but should?

Matt lives in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC

Matt lives in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC

I’ve been writing more than reading lately!  The last book I read was “Fear, Hope and Bread Pudding” by Marie Sexton.  It was sweet.

11) If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

I really could go on and on about authors I’d love to meet.  I’m a big fan of Josh Lanyon.  I’d love to meet him.  I’m also a huge Anne Rice fan.  I couldn’t get enough of her vampire Lestat back in the day (now that’s a real vampire!). And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Jane Austen, Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Pride and Prejudice, House of Mirth and Tender is the Night are three of my all time favorite book.  I’ll stop now, but I could keep going…

12) What’s a fun – non-writing – day for you?

A non-writing day would be spent reading.  J

13) Besides reading and writing, what else do you enjoy?

I love to travel.  If time and expense weren’t considerations, I’d love to spend time exploring the world.   I also enjoy spending time with my family.  I’m very lucky to have three very fabulous kids and an amazing supportive husband.  

14) Last question is all yours – feel free to talk about anything you want your readers to know about you, your book, anything at all.

I’m a designer also. When I describe a room in my books, I tend to give a lot of detail to colors and perspective.  I think the overall visual of a story’s setting is important.  It’s something I personally love as a reader.

Thanks for being my guest, now it’s time to plug your work –

Thank you for having me! 

Better Than Good

Available Monday, July 8th

Pre-order Link: Dreamspinner Press

BetterThanGood-Hayes_postcard_front_DSPBlurb:

Matt Sullivan understands labels: law student, athlete, heterosexual. He has goals: graduate and begin his career in law. One fateful night, Matt tags along with his gay roommate to a dance club and everything changes. Matt finds himself attracted to the most beautiful man he’s ever seen. All labels go flying out the window.

Aaron Mendez doesn’t believe in labels, and he’s leery of straight curious men.  He makes it clear that he’ll hide his fabulous light for no one. While Aaron can’t deny the attraction between him and Matt, he is reluctant to start anything with someone who is still dealing with what this new label means—especially when that someone has a girlfriend.

Excerpt:

By the time I took him back to his place, it was three a.m.  The usually busy streets were virtually empty.  A fine layer of fog from the river painted the low lying shrubs and sidewalks in front of his building.   It looked a little mystic and magical as though the early morning hour still held promise.  I pulled close to the curb, set the car in park and turned toward my companion.  I didn’t want to say goodbye, yet I didn’t know where this thing between us could go.  I felt that familiar wave of frustration. 

“Can I walk you up?  I mean it.  I just want to be sure you’re safe.”  It sounded like a lame request, but Aaron seemed pleasantly surprised.

“You are a gentleman, aren’t you?”  His eyes twinkled.   “I won’t say no and I’ll try to keep my hands to myself.  There’s a parking spot up there.  Take it so you don’t get a ticket.” 

I parked the car as instructed and met Aaron at the curb.  His smile lit his entire face.  God, he was beautiful.    He took my arm when I reached his side.  I didn’t protest, though the gesture seemed overly familiar.  It just felt amazing to have this beautiful creature at my side looking at me like I was some kind of hero for offering to walk him to his door.

There was a bright lantern light on above the old glass and iron front door.  Aaron couldn’t get the latch to catch, so I took the key from him and gave it a try. 

“It sticks sometimes.”  He muttered under his breath.

It opened easily for me.  I was beginning to think my levels of chivalry were being tested.  The thought made me grin when I should have been annoyed.

“You’re my hero!” he whispered loudly. 

“Knock it off.  Where is your place?”

“Uh oh, Matty’s getting mad.  Watch out kids.”  Aaron pointed to the elevator off to the right.   The corridor was not as well lit as the front alcove had been.  I was actually glad that I was making sure he was safe.  I was a little nervous myself.  Which must have shown on my face, because Aaron laughed out right as the elevator doors opened.

“Relax, sweetie.  This isn’t the Bates Motel.  It’s just an old building.  Supposedly historic, but really it just means the lighting is poor and the water pressure is worse.  My apartment is cute though.  Come see.  You’re safe.” 

I rolled my eyes this time, but gamely followed him.

His apartment was on the fifth floor.  He led me down another long hallway and stopped in front of #5E. 

“Home sweet home.” He said with a flourish as he opened his door.  “Come make sure there are no boogie men and then I promise to let you go, Matty.”

Aaron turned on a light and breezed through his small entry into a larger living room.  As I followed him I took in my surroundings.  The apartment was small with an open floor plan.

I could see into his bedroom from the living area and although it was dark, I could see that the bed was neatly made.  Aaron’s entire apartment was immaculate.  And the juxtaposition of his modern tastes and the apartment’s older features, like the high ceilings and a floor heater, made for a homey and comfortable space.  It was nice, and it suited Aaron perfectly.

Aaron threw his keys in the egg shaped bright orange bowl on his small kitchen table and turned around with his arms outstretched.

“Well, it’s tiny but it’s all mine.  As long as I pay the rent, that is.”

“It’s really nice.  Suits you.”  I felt a little awkward as I stuffed my hands back in the leather jacket Aaron had returned to me earlier.

“Thanks for walking me up.  That was very gentlemanly of you.  Is that a word?  Whatever, it was sweet.”  His smile was a little shy and his bangs had fallen back into his eyes.  This time I couldn’t help myself.  I reached out to move his hair away from his eyes.  He looked up at me in surprise and my breath caught.  We stared at one another for a second more before our mouths met.

 

About the Author 

Lane Hayes is a designer by trade, but is first and foremost a lover of the written word.  An avid reader from an early age, Lane has always been drawn to romance novels.  She truly believes there is nothing more inspiring than a well-told love story.  Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. She loves to travel and wishes she could do it more often.  Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband, three teenage kids and Rex, the coolest yellow lab ever.

Finder Her:  

New Facebook page! www.facebook.com/lane-hayes  (It’s brand new… like her please!)

She is working on a webpage and blog presence.

Email:  lanehayes@ymail.com