Hello everyone! Today I am so pleased to welcome the fabulous Aleksandr Voinov to the blog. Aleks is here to tell us about his new release, Hostile Ground, co-written by L.A. Witt. Aleks has also brought details on a great giveaway! So please join me in giving him a big welcome!
Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Aleksandr Voinov/L. A. Witt blog tour for our thriller, Hostile Ground!
Being Queer and Muslim in Hostile Ground
One of the ideas for Hostile Ground goes way back. Years and years (I’m being vague because my best guess is that it’s 5+ years ago). I happened to come across a documentary on queer Muslims in the UK. Islam, like Christianity, doesn’t currently have the best track record with regards to LGBTQ people. Also, I knew nothing about what it’s like to be gay and Muslim, and I’m endlessly curious about the things I don’t know.
The documentary brought people together who were fighting that battle that seems very familiar – the struggle between faith, tradition, family and identity, only we seem generally to know more about the type we encounter in our “Christian culture” (I’m assuming that you, the reader, operate in a similar cultural context to me, but I can of course be wrong). The type of “Christian family” that turns their queer sons and daughters away, or abuses them, or tries to “pray the gay away”.
One guy impressed me a great deal; he was working to organise queer Muslims and said in a lovely, genuinely humble voice: “I know Allah made me this way and that he loves me.”
Boom. Here was a guy who reclaimed his faith from the homophobic wider culture and retains his dignity and humility. I was impressed. Since then, I’ve kept an eye on every visible attempt of queer Muslims dealing with these issues, getting organised, and trying to achieve inner and outer peace with two things that seem to go together so uneasily.
Mahir, one of the main characters in Hostile Ground, hasn’t quite managed to keep his faith in the same way. To him, being a Muslim is largely a cultural thing—I expect he keeps Ramadan, but I don’t expect him to do the haj or pray in the proscribed manner. (He calls himself “Muslim light” in one scene.) I think being gay did alienate him from his faith, which is another reality for queer Muslims. Fighting for your right to exist is exhausting, and he’s an ex-soldier and currently a cop, and that’s where he puts his energy, but being a Syrian Arab and a Muslim is who he is—not least because that is how he is being treated by the rest of the USA. It’s not something he can ever escape from, and sometimes he’s upset and hurt by it, but he copes and fights back.
I loved exploring those sides of him and hope Mahir’s competence and bad-assness is a credit to the people who shared their journey and struggles in that documentary and the other articles, blog posts and books I’ve read. And I hope you guys enjoy him as much as I did.
About the Authors
Aleksandr has been published for twenty years, both in print and ebook. He has ten years’ experience as a writing coach, book doctor, and writing teacher, and until recently worked as an editor in financial services.
After co-authoring the M/M military cult classic Special Forces, Aleksandr embarked on a quest to write gritty, edgy, sometimes literary M/M and gay fiction (much of which is romance/erotica)—the only way he can use his American Literature degree these days.
He’s been published with Heyne/Random House, Carina Press, Samhain Publishing, and others, and is an EPIC Awards winner and a Lambda Awards finalist.
Connect with Aleks:
- Website: aleksandrvoinov.com
- Blog: aleksandrvoinov.blogspot.com
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/Vashtan
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.
Hostile Ground Blurb
After the deaths of three undercover cops investigating a drug ring in a seedy strip club in Seattle, Detective Mahir Hussain has been sent to finish the job. He joins the club’s security team in the hopes of finding enough evidence to bust the operation before the men in charge find a reason to put him in a shallow grave.
To protect the strippers, only gay men can work the club. Ridley, the cold and intimidating head of security, knows exactly how to test potential new hires—including Mahir. From the minute they meet, Mahir and Ridley engage in a dangerous dance of sex and mind games. Mahir needs to find his evidence before Ridley figures out he’s a cop—and before they both grow too close to betray one another.
As the game goes on, Mahir burrows deeper into the operation, where he learns there’s much more happening than meets the eye . . . and why every cop who made it this far has been silenced with a bullet.
Hostile Ground is available May 12th from Riptide Publishing.
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off our backlists (excluding Hostile Ground) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on May 17th, and winners will be announced on May 19th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
To enter, follow the Rafflecopter link: