Today I am so pleased to welcome Damon Suede to Joyfully Jay. Damon has come as part of Opposites Attract Week to talk to us about his release, Lickety Split. We also have a whole bunch of great giveaway stuff going on. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
SAME DIFF: the tender tension between itch and scratch
Thanks so much to Joyfully Jay for inviting me here today as one of the last stops in my Lickety Split release tour. It’s so perfect that this visit coincides with Opposites Attract week, because that more than any other trope defines ALL of my books. I mean yes, Lickety Split is May/December, cityslicker/shitkicker, but for that matter Pent Up was brain vs brawn plus brute vs. suit. Hell, Horn Gate is human/demon and hot/not. Bad Idea and Hot Head both used introvert/extrovert.
Opposites attract is such a primal narrative pattern that almost every other trope in the romance genre can be traced back to it. In the same way that epoxy bonds when you smoosh its two putties together, a great romance practically requires opposing forces to find common ground.: dukes and drudges, vampires and victims, crudes and prudes, cops and crooks… Essential contrast produces clarity, drama, and more than anything else: friction.
And as my mom always said, “Friction is the reason fucking feels good.”
When the first notion of Lickety Split got under my skin, I knew that it would be about a smalltown boy coming home to a town he’d fled, and I knew that he’d fall for a cowboy who represented all the stuff he thought he hated. I didn’t run away from home, but I imagined it plenty and to this day get twitchy when I head down south. But of course I started with pairs of opposites: city/country, young/old, fast/slow, vanilla/kink, work/play, easy/hard, ambitious/lazy, helpful/hurtful, anxious/calm, friends/enemies. I laid out all the possible oppositional options for a homoerotic cowboy romance set in East Texas and then just splashed around in them, scattering them between my two lovers like I was divvying loot.
That’s an old trick I learned from writing comedy for stage and screen… always look for pairs in diametric opposition and force them into close proximity, rub two sticks till you get a fire. There’s a reason that so much of classic comedy comes out of contrasted duos: Bugs Bunny & Elmer Fudd, Abbot & Costello, Tom & Jerry, French & Saunders, Laurel & Hardy, Burns & Allen, Hope & Crosby, Tracy & Hepburn, Penn & Teller, Tina Fey & Amy Poehler…two great tastes that taste great together.
The contrast between worldviews, background, approaches to problems create instant emotion and interest and no matter what side of the divide they fall on, your readers will see themselves and connect. In the case of Lickety Split, the core enemies-to-lovers plot let me push the attraction of opposites to its logical extreme. The further Tucker and Patch stood from each other at the beginning, the closer they’d end up together. Narratively, it was like pouring rocket fuel into a model A.
It’s all well and good to say that Patch is a city boy who hates his hometown because once upon a time I fled Texas like someone getting out of a burning building, but patch actually returns home in every sense of the word and rediscovers the things he lost by running. For me, Tucker really represents the very best and worst of rural Texas… the sexiness, the stubbornness, the patience, the languor, the nostalgia, and the scrappiness.
I knew from the jump that Patch’s homecoming would let him make peace with his family, his roots, his mistakes…but that the hostility with Tucker would keep their story a balls-to-bone romance. One of my favorite things about the process of writing is the tiny, unexpected discoveries you make along the way. Sure enough, the more I wrote the more I realized that I too had made peace with my roots in the Lone Star State. Would I ever move back there? Not a chance. But I can love my home state from a safe distance and honor what’s great about it.
It’s all too easy to forget that every sword cuts both ways, but every element contains the seed of its opposite. There’s a reason that the yin-yang symbol features a small contrasting dot in each of its swirls. We are all star-stuff and E really does equal MC2. The world is wide and will not fit within the shadow of our steeple.
Oscar Wilde once said, “The secret of wit is in finding the differences between things that are similar in the similarities between things that are different.” I think that carries over into emotion, drama, and irony as well. As any compass can tell you, opposing poles generate magnetism. Every book I write starts with those ineluctable, eternal opposites that rub each other the right way.
Writing Patch and Tucker’s journey to each other in Lickety Split turned out to be an amazing process before, during, and after. It seriously picked me up by the scruff of the neck and shook my creative fleas loose. And right now as I type this, I’m already deep into drafting the next book. I’m not gonna say anything specific about what it is just yet, but I can promise you this: those characters are radical, passionate opposites and those opposites, they attract.
Lickety Split: love won’t wait.
Patch Hastle grew up in a hurry, ditching East Texas for NYC to make his name as a DJ and model without ever looking back. When his parents die unexpectedly, he heads home to unload the family farm ASAP and skedaddle. Except the will left Patch’s worst enemy in charge: his father’s handsome best friend who made his high school years hell.
Tucker Biggs is going nowhere. Twenty years past his rodeo days, he’s put down roots as the caretaker of the Hastle farm. He knows his buddy’s smartass son still hates his guts, but when Patch shows up growed-up, looking like sin in tight denim, Tucker turns his homecoming into a lesson about old dogs and new kinks.
Patch and Tucker fool around, but they can’t fool themselves. Once the farm’s sold, they mean to call it quits and head off to separate sunsets. With the clock ticking, the city slicker and his down-home hick get roped into each other’s life. If they’re gonna last longer than spit on a griddle, they better figure out what matters—fast.
Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him at:
We are giving a copy of Lickety Split away in our Opposites Attract Week giveaway. Stop by and check out our massive giveaway post for a chance to win that and other great prizes!
There are also a few more hours left on Damon’s Lickety Split tour giveaway for a signed print copy of Lickety Split, with a matching ecopy for convenience and other swaggy bits. Just follow the Rafflecopter to enter.
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