Hello everyone! Today I am SO excited to welcome the fabulous Jay Bell to the blog. He is here to chat with us about his latest release, Something Like Spring. This is the fourth book in his series that kicked off with Something Like Summer, which we reviewed here and loved. Jay has also brought FOUR books to give away today, so be sure to check out the details at the end of the post. Welcome Jay!
So I’ve got this series, except it was never really meant to be one, which has left me in an awkward situation. Something Like Summer started out as an experiment, a break from what I imagined would be a lucrative career as a fantasy author. (Ha!) I never expected to enjoy writing romance so much, and I certainly never dreamed that anyone would actually like reading Summer. I loved writing that book, and enough wonderfully kind readers kept asking me for more. As usual, I was eager to put out. Keeping the story going seemed only natural. Expect I didn’t. Not exactly. Instead I retold the story from another character’s perspective.
Why do that? I’ve given a lot of reasons over the years. Usually I say I wanted people to understand a certain character who can come across the wrong way. But I also didn’t want to push the story further, because life can get complicated. You ever notice how all those Hollywood romances pretty much end once the couple gets together? Sure there might be an argument or a conniving ex, but past all the conflict the couple agrees to get hitched, the credits start rolling, and it’s happily ever after. Except life is never that simple. Marriage is a huge pain in the ass. Pun intended. I love my husband and I love being with him, but keeping our relationship emotionally vibrant takes a lot of work. Unfortunately it’s not the kind of work that makes for interesting reading. Listening to each other, being respectful of differing opinions, the need for personal space, making the other person feel appreciated, keeping them healthy, happy, and horny… All that is great to live through, but not near as exciting as cheating and divorces and Big Misunderstandings. Those are exactly the sorts of things I didn’t want to put the happy couple in Summer through. I quite simply love them too much.
So rather than depict a boring future or one fraught with conflict, I fleshed out the same story by telling it from a new perspective in Winter. Then I did so again in Autumn. I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that pesky fourth season. I’m afraid I can’t use the same trick again. So how do I keep the victorious couple in Something Like Summer safe? Especially since this is the last season, meaning it should be a grand finale, the stakes higher than ever before. Surely that’s got to be more than just one of them surprising the other with pancakes in the morning. It’s gotta be big, like a terminal disease or infidelity involving a entire football team of ridiculously hung mermen from outer space. Ugh.
In the end, I decided to tell another story entirely. Jason Grant is a teenager in foster care who has nothing but an old guitar, a bunch of painful memories, and an attitude that both keeps him safe and ensures he’ll never have a proper home. Just like the other books in the series, we get to see the main character grow up. Years go by and Jason becomes a man, and because the laws of fiction are cruel, a number of conflicts shape who he becomes. Eventually though, Jason ends up right at the end of those other three books. This time I don’t drop the curtain there. No credits roll, and neither are the reins handed over to more familiar faces. Instead we continue on with Jason. Surrounding him are the remnants of those old stories. Faces and names and references that get one final moment in the spotlight, even if they aren’t on center stage. And that’s exactly how I want it, because being center stage also means being in the crosshairs. So that couple from the first book, they’re safe. Thanks to a stranger, they can carry on without a care in the world. At least that was my intention. The best laid plans and all that…
So that’s my grand finale. A new beginning. I’m not sure if it makes sense, or if anyone will like it, but I’m grateful that so many of you have stuck with me thus far. If this is the book that makes you turn on me, I only ask that you wait until afternoon before showing up with pitchforks and torches. I can’t stand noise in the morning, and you really don’t want to see my bed head. Trust me.
Something Like Spring is available in paperback format today from Amazon, and is due out in eBook format on January 30th. You can already preorder it from iTunes, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords. But hey, if you’re feeling thrifty, I’m also giving away four copies of whichever season tickles your fancy. Just comment below to enter!
Jay Bell never gave much thought to Germany until he met a handsome foreign exchange student. At that moment, beer and pretzels became the most important thing in the world. After moving to Germany and getting married, Jay found himself desperate to communicate the feelings of alienation, adventure, and love that surrounded this decision. He has been putting pen to paper ever since.
Jay is offering up four books to give away to some of our lucky readers. Winners can choose a book from any of the four seasons. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, January 31st at 11:59 pm EST.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
- By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
- Void where prohibited by law.