Ok you guys, I have been waiting for this for a long time… the rerelease of Special Delivery by Heidi Cullinan! I adored this book beyond reason the first 100 times I read it, and I was so excited to hear that along with Double Blind, it was getting new life in anticipation of the release of Tough Love, the third book in the series.
Today I am super excited to welcome the fabulous Heidi Cullinan to the blog. To celebrate the the three books being released, we are going to be doing a three part interview. And each one will be accompanied by a giveaway! So today we are talking about Special Delivery and giving a copy away, and the next two interviews and giveaways will follow in March and April.
Thanks for having me, Jay!
So before we go too far here, for folks who aren’t familiar with Special Delivery, can you tell them a little about the book?
Special Delivery is a coming-of-age story about a young man from Iowa, Sam Keller, who meets a trucker, Mitch Tedsoe, in the alley behind his aunt and uncle’s pharmacy and ends up going on a cross-country adventure with him. It’s a very kinky adventure, but the porn trope gives over to Sam’s exploration of himself and his need to figure out what his place in the world is. He helps reunite Mitch with an old friend (Randy Jansen) along the way, and through that he also begins to learn what real family is. It is a total, full-on Disney-level HEA, and when you’re done you’ll never see blue rigs on the highway the same way ever again.
As I mentioned, this is the rerelease of Special Delivery (and the second book Double Blind is being rereleased as well). What made you decide to rerelease these books?
Because the original covers didn’t really match each other, which meant a lot of people didn’t get they were a pair, and because of a clumsy glitch in the Double Blind ebook (the card hands were all messed up), I wanted to re-release the books. That didn’t work for Dreamspinner, so we amicably parted ways. Also, by this point I had fallen completely in love with my editor at Samhain, and I wasn’t sure how I could write book three without her holding my hand. It was the right fit for everyone in the end. The only downside was it meant the books were out of circulation for a year, which I know annoyed a lot of fans. Many apologies for that.
So I have told you this before, but Special Delivery is one of my all time favorites and I have read it a million times. For folks like me who have read the original, what can they expect from the new edition? Are there plot changes? Or just an overall cleanup? Will people benefit from reading the new version even if they read the original?
Special Delivery’s changes are exclusively better, tighter editing. The book lost 10k in edits but no scene was cut, and in fact in a few places I flushed things out a bit. This was correcting passive voice, getting rid of/rewriting dialog tags, little things most readers wouldn’t notice but I do. I would say it’s up to the reader. Though I will say if you order from Samhain during their new release rebate, it’s very inexpensive if you’re sitting on the fence. If you catch them at the right moment when all three books are for sale/preorder and on discount, plus if you’ve never registered with them before, they have a HUGE initial discount when you make an account with them.
Double Blind I recommend replacing if you read the originals and wondered what it meant when Randy said a hand was “8x 9e Qz Js.” Double Blind is significantly tightened, but again, outside of one scene which got merged/tightened, the content isn’t altered or deleted. Mostly when Crabtree and Randy go on their long speeches, I pull the mic away and make them not say things six times in the same paragraph. Again, fans will likely not notice a difference. It’s up to you.
I have read most of your work, and for some reason I have always had a strong attachment to Sam and Mitch in particular. I think it part because these guys are just super sexy together, but also because in many ways they have a very non-traditional relationship, at least in romance land. For example, they have sex with others even while they are committed to each other. Was this something you consciously set out to do, or did it just develop as you were writing the story?
That aspect just sort of happened, but it always made sense to me. One of the reasons Sam loves Mitch so well is he gets, respects, and encourages his need to play. Better yet, Mitch protects Sam while he does it. Sam has held back getting too adventurous because as much as he wanted to drink deeply of sexual abandon, he was nervous about his safety—and rightly so. That was one of my favorite parts of writing them, because what a fantasy: someone who lets you live out your desires, even if they involve other people, and makes sure you’re okay while it happens. I think this is why it gets to the point that while Mitch wouldn’t mind Sam having sex without him there, Sam can’t bring himself to do it.
Mitch says he doesn’t mind sharing Sam because he likes the idea of Sam coming back to him, but I think too it’s a kind of validation. Part of him is never going to accept that someone like Sam wants him, that he doesn’t deserve it. So he’s always taking the fences down and making sure if Sam wants to play outside their relationship, he knows he can—which means every time Sam says “only with you along,” and when Sam makes even sex with other people an act of intimacy between Sam and Mitch, every time is almost a revelation for Mitch. It’s not a test so much as a renewal of vows every time they go play with a third party.
As I said, these guys are super sexy together, and have a lot of kinky play. A lot of the story focuses on Sam coming to terms with his kinky side, and the idea that it is ok for him to be a little slutty and want to feel dirty sometimes. Do you think having Mitch be older and more experienced helps Sam come to terms with that side of himself? Or do you think it is something else that helps him accept his feelings as ok?
With the caveat that Sam doesn’t in any way see Mitch as a father, I don’t think it’s possible for someone as lacking in strong male role models as Sam to date an older man and not end up filling in some of those gaps via the relationship. I think the being older helped a lot of subtle things, though the greatest is Mitch is willing to be very patient. For Mitch so much of this is bonus round: he figured he was too fucked up to play this game, and then here comes this bright-eyed kid. For Mitch I think Sam had to be innocent and if not young, at least sheltered. I think they impress a lot of themselves and what they need a partner to be on each other, especially at first. So yes, I think Sam is able to confess and play a bit more because he’s decided Mitch is a teacher. Though I would argue as soon as they cross the mountain everything starts flipping. Mitch starts showing his insecurities, Sam starts showing his strength of character and his wisdom. After that point while they’re still older man and ingénue, they’re mixing it up and saving each other.
I have told you this before, but after reading Special Delivery, every time I pass a truck on the highway with a big cab, I try to imagine a bed in the back and someone having sexy times back there. Am I the only one who does this? Or have you created a legion of trucker fans out of this book?
If I had a dollar for every time someone emails, tweets, FB messages, or in some way shares a picture of a blue semi with me, or reports a sighting, I could have a very nice vacation. The weird thing was, my family did it first. Even my daughter. She didn’t know what game we were playing exactly, but she would always find the blue trucks. Though she’s the only one to point out the joke their names make (which is not intentional). “Sammich. Get it, Mom? Sam and Mitch? Sandwich? Sammich? Get it?” Thankfully she doesn’t get quite the other allusions that joke makes…
So after this, you are releasing the other two books in the series. Can you give folks a time frame for when they should look for them?
One month after the other. Double Blind is March 4, Tough Love April 9.
Is there anything else you are working on you want to mention?
Well, I keep waiting for someone to ask me about Sam’s aunt. So maybe I’ll talk about that. People will reference her in reviews, usually saying she’s too far, but no one has ever asked me directly, “What the hell is up with the aunt?” and after four years I’m ready to say nobody will. And actually I started a big answer here, then realized I could put all this in the short I’m writing for Valentine’s day.
So I’ll mention that instead. “I’m finally writing Sam and Mitch’s wedding, and the short will be out around Valentine’s Day.” I started it, but then I had to go quick finish a Christmas book, which I’m almost finished with now. Delilah will come to the wedding and defend herself. I’m sure that won’t be awkward at all. [OMG, dying of excitement!]
If my readers want to learn more about you or your books, where can they find you?
At www.heidicullinan.com I have links to all my books, excerpts, reviews, press kits, social media links, and even a forum.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us today Heidi. I am looking forward to chatting with you more around the release of Double Blind!
I am too! Thanks for having me by, Jay!
Be sure to check back next month for the second part of our interview! And my review of Special Delivery will be up a little later today!
Sam Keller knows he’ll never find the excitement he craves in Middleton, Iowa—not while he’s busting his ass in nursing school and paying rent by slaving away in a pharmacy stockroom. Then Sam meets Mitch Tedsoe, an independent, long-haul trucker who makes a delivery to a shop across the alley. Innocent flirting quickly leads to a fling, and when Mitch offers to take him on a road trip west, Sam jumps at the chance for adventure. Mitch is sexy, funny and friendly, but once they embark on their journey, something changes. One minute he’s the star of Sam’s every x-rated fantasy, the next he’s almost too much a perfect gentleman. And when they hit the Las Vegas city limit, Sam has a name to pin on Mitch’s malady: Randy.
For better or for worse, Sam grapples with the meaning of friendship, letting go, growing up—even the meaning of love—because no matter how far he travels, eventually all roads lead home.
Warning: This story contains trucker fantasies, threesomes and kinky consensual sex.
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.
Heidi has brought a copy of Special Delivery to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, February 7th at 11:59 pm EST.
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