Today I am so pleased to welcome the fabulous Thorny Sterling to Joyfully Jay. Thorny has come to talk to us about his debut release, Splinters. He has also brought along a copy to give away. So please join me in giving Thorny a big welcome!
Hi, Jay! 😀 Thanks for having me here today.
So first off, I reviewed Splinters a couple of weeks ago and totally loved it, but can you give folks just a quick summary just in case they missed it?
SPLINTERS is about Allan Seville, a model and actor, who wakes up in a Texas field with no memory of how he got there. While the reasons are pretty sinister, Al doesn’t immediately think he’s in too much danger. He focuses on the strange peacefulness of the ranch and especially on Duke Walters, the cowboy who rescued him. There’s a very instant attraction between the two men, but the mystery of who abducted Al and the fact things are escalating force the couple to part. Neither wants to give up on their connection, and when they reunite, the bad guy is there to finish what he started.
Now this story has some interesting background in that it was inspired by a photo you saw. Can you tell my readers more about the photo and how it led to you writing the book?
The original photo was of a naked man tied to a bunch of planks in a field of golden grass. There were a lot of things that intrigued me about the photo, like who he was, why he was tied up, who did it. He was obviously aroused, but his head was turned away, so I figured it for a BDSM shot that was possibly consensual. But in my head, I asked myself a bunch of questions and started to see something else. The story I built was a little bit of a mystery and a lot of romance between someone in trouble and the person who rescues him.
When I wrote down my initial scene ideas, Al and Duke popped up with very distinct personalities with Al being a smart ass and Duke being patient. I honestly never intended for it to go beyond a sort of flash fiction scene to explain the story. But after getting some feedback from writer friends, I found myself asking more questions because I didn’t answer all of them in that original scene. I didn’t say how he got like that or why, and I realized that was the rest of the story. It took a while for me to get the hang of writing a whole book, to learn my craft, but I’m really pleased with how it’s all come together.
If anyone would like to see the original photo or the painting I did based on that photo, please remember they’re both NSFW.
Some of my readers may not know that you are also an artist and you painted your own cover for Splinters. Can you tell us a little about that process of cover design? Do you think it was easier or harder to create a cover for your own book?
I’ve always been interested in cover art. I follow a few people online who make covers for a living and I try to break down why I like them and whether I think they fit the book itself or how the cover influenced my purchase. I probably think about covers more than most people just because I either see art or wish they were more artistic.
Creating my own cover? OMG it was kind of brutal. I might’ve known what I liked, but I didn’t know the first thing about the reasons behind the choices some designers make. Once I started reading articles, I understood why there were do’s and don’ts and I knew my original idea – to use the painting I did based on the inspiration photo – was a bad idea: it conveyed a false impression of the book’s content (there’s no BDSM in the book) and was too explicit to be accepted in most online stores (full-frontal nudity).
Rethinking the cover took me back again and again to one scene where Duke takes Al out onto the ranch with him. Al sees the land and this twisted, tough old tree and has a real moment of clarity. I love that scene. But I worried it wasn’t right for a romance novel cover because it’s so different from the usual covers. Except…maybe unusual is good. So I painted the tree and the open range, tried it out, got some opinions from a real professional, and fell in love with the image just like the scene.
One of the things I really liked about the book is the detailed sensory experience, whether it is the food Al eats or the way fabric feels against his skin. In fact, I was so inspired after reading about Al’s pancake breakfast that I made some for dinner the next day! Do you think your background in art impacts your writing style?
Maybe? I’ve been taught to analyze art and one thing I love about it is how you can be visually immersed in an emotion. My favorite pieces of art make me feel. So, yes, I guess that does trickle into my writing because I can see and feel the scene in my head and want to convey it to you so you see and feel the same thing. I’m thrilled to know I made you crave pancakes! 🙂
Now that Splinters is released, do you have anything else planned?
I’m working on a short story based on another photo that I plan on posting on my blog in the next few weeks. I may do it as a three- or four-part serial, actually. An author friend of mine was talking to me about this strange phenomenon where you finish writing/publishing a book and feel kind of lost. Or like I lost something. Turns out I did need a sort of mourning period. Writing this short has helped me get back on the horse (LOL) and give in to the writing bug again. Not that I’ve let go of Al and Duke because, wow, I haven’t. Could be you’ll see them around the blog later on, too 😉
If readers want to know more about you or your work, where can they find you?
The “My Stories” page on my blog has links to all the free stories I’ve written as well as all the information for SPLINTERS.
Thanks so much for stopping by today Thorny!
Thanks for having me! <3
Waking up in a strange place isn’t a first for model and actor Allan Seville, but discovering himself alone and bound to a rough plank in the middle of an open Texas range certainly is. With no memory of who did this to him or why, panic sets in, until rescue comes riding up on a big, brown horse.
There’s more to Duke Walters than a handsome face and sexy drawl. In the arms of this rugged cowboy, Al discovers a peace and safety he never knew he needed, and now doesn’t want to be without.
But someone wants Al out of the way and drugging him during a movie junket in Houston is only the beginning. A world of differences may separate this cowboy and diva, but when danger strikes again, Duke might be the only one who can get them out alive.
It all started with a blog, a lunch receipt, and the hope of true love.
In 2010, with the encouragement of his blog followers, Thorny Sterling wrote his email address on the back of a receipt and gave it to a returning customer who’d caught his eye. One email and a four-hour phone call later, their fates were sealed. Thorny and his husband Jazz have been together ever since.
On his blog, Thorny writes about daily life as a twenty-something gay genderfluid who attends college in Ohio. In his free time, Thorny paints both digitally and in acrylics and writes gay (M/M) romantic fiction. In the summer of 2014, Thorny published his first novel while also taking steps to sell his artwork online. He often donates a portion of his profits from art sales to various LGBT equality and military support charities.
Someday soon, Thorny hopes to become a teacher and legally marry his husband.
Thorny has brought a paperback copy of Splinters to give away to one lucky reader (ebook only for International). Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Tuesday, August 5th 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.