I am very excited today to welcome the fabulous Sloan Parker to Joyfully Jay!  She is here today to talk to us about her new book, Take Me Home, and is offering a copy as a giveaway.  

Sloan, I am a huge fan so I am so glad you decided to stop by today and chat with us today!

I’m so excited to be here and honored to have you as one of my wonderful readers. Thank you for having me at Joyfully Jay and letting me share with your readers.

To start us off, why don’t you tell us a bit about the story? (I will be reviewing it here at Joyfully Jay on December 21st)

I’d love to. Take Me Home is a friends-to-lovers story. Kyle and Evan met their senior year of high school when Kyle moved to their small Ohio town. Evan fell in love hard with his new neighbor, but Kyle was the kind of guy who didn’t want anything more than friendship—or sex—with any man. He wasn’t ready for commitment, forget love.

Ten years later they are both living in California where they’d gone to college. Evan is staying with Kyle after a breakup with his long-time partner, but it isn’t his former partner he’s dreaming about. It’s Kyle. And it’s not only Evan who’s been having the most erotic dreams of his life. The two end up on a train traveling home to Ohio for the Christmas holiday. Along the way they learn so many truths, they are unable to steer their relationship back to the way things used to be between them, and this time, neither of them want to go back.

Part of Take Me Hometakes place on a train ride home for the holidays. Looking at the pictures there is something so romantic about the idea of a little sleeper car (although looking at those tiny bunks makes it hard to imagine much fun happening!). What inspired you to set part of the story on the train? (BTW, I love the mystery element on the train – very Orient Express!)

Photo Credit: The West End

LOL. I think the beds on my train are slightly larger than those in the pictures on my site, but yeah, the close quarters definitely help set the scene for the more romantic, erotic scenes.

I never meticulously planned out the setting for this book. Although, several years ago, I made the same journey that Kyle and Evan make in Take Me Home, so I had experience on a similar train to draw from (well, not too similar to their experience since I was traveling with my parents, but it gave me a lot of details on the setting of the train).

The idea for Take Me Home came to me while I was taking a shower one day (where so many of my ideas come to me). It started out with the holiday, best friends, a train trip, and a journal from one man’s grandfather. The setting and pieces of the story just popped into my head. I can’t even remember what I’d been thinking about at the time. I played around with the plot and characters while I showered. Then when I got out, I sat on the edge of the tub and wrote pages and pages of notes about the story. When I had the book drafted, that’s when I knew that half the story would take place on that train. I wanted the book to be an erotic romance, and putting them into a sleeper compartment together, plus another location during that train trip which I won’t reveal as not to spoil it for any readers, were fantastic choices in keeping my characters close together and focused on each other.

I see on your website that you have a playlist for Evan and Kyle featuring “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green, “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol, and “First Time” by Lifehouse (among others). Are these songs you listened to while writing, or songs that inspired the story? Do you always use music as a connection to your books?

These were songs I listened to while writing and editing. Some I came across even after I had submitted the book to my publisher. Once I really know my characters and their story, I usually hear songs that connect me even more with the story and the men in it. I still listen to those songs for Take Me Home and others for my previous two releases, More and Breathe, and I get emotional when I hear them because I’m right back to the lives of those men and all the emotions I put them through while writing their stories. Finding songs that fit the tone of the book and the characters’ journeys will probably be something I’ll continue to do with each story.

Take Me Home takes place over the holidays. Can you tell us more about how that is incorporated into the book? Would you consider this a “holiday” story?

Take Me Home takes place during the six days leading up to Christmas. Kyle and Evan live in California, but every year they travel home to Ohio to stay with their families and celebrate Christmas and the New Year. Evan loves all things Christmas, and going home to see his mom in their hometown is a favorite time of year for him. Only this year, things are anything but normal. It’s the first holiday he and Kyle are making the trip without Evan’s former boyfriend, and with the blizzard, this might be the first time they can’t make it home in time to celebrate with their families.

I consider this more a story about going “home” and finding “home” than a holiday story, but there are seasonal details throughout that tie into this special time of year for Evan and Kyle.

Can you tell us what else you are working on? (Personally I am just DYING for the other books in the More series!)

Thanks! I’m glad to hear there are readers who want more of More because I have so much I want to do with those guys, and I can’t wait to get to the series ending that I’ve had planned since I finished writing the first book.

I’m currently revising Walter and Kevin’s story (which has no official title yet). Walter is a secondary character from More and is finding love with a much younger man. I’ve made some major revisions to the first few chapters that affect the rest of the story, so it’s taking me longer than I planned to revise this manuscript, but it will be finished in the first half of 2012. I have plans for another contemporary single-title with all new characters that I’m really excited to write. I call it my super-secret book because not even my sweetie knows what it’s about. We thought it would be fun for me to write a book that she knows nothing about until she reads the entire thing as my first beta reader. I’ll probably outline that story after I finish Walter’s book, and then I’ll be working on Morebook 2, which continues with the story of Luke, Richard, and Matthew and will be told from Richard’s point of view.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all my questions! If folks want to know more about you or your books, how can they find you?

They can find out more at my website: www.sloanparker.com, which has all the links to my social networking sites and yahoo groups. Anyone can also sign up for my newsletter to get the latest on my work and read my free serial story, More Than Just a Good Book. To sign up, go to http://www.sloanparker.com/news.htm.

Thank you so much for coming! You know you are always welcome back here at Joyfully Jay!

Thank you! These were fantastic questions and a lot of fun to answer. It was so very kind of you to tailor them to me and my work. I’d love to come back anytime. Thanks again.

If you have a chance, check out the Behind the Scenes page on Sloan’s website.  It has all sorts of info on story inspiration, pictures of how Sloan imagines Kyle and Evan, song inspirations, great scenery and train pictures, etc.  Really fun to see what fueled the story.

Today we are really lucky because Sloan has generously offered up a copy of Take Me Home to one lucky visitor.  Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win.  The contest will close Tuesday, December 20 at 11:59 pm EST.  As always…

  • By entering the contest, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay and leave your email address if it is not in your profile.

Thanks again to Sloan for stopping by! 

FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Interview