Today I am so pleased to welcome Mari Evans to Joyfully Jay. Mari has come to talk to us about her latest release, Trusting Love. She has also brought along a great giveaway to share. Please join me in giving Mari big welcome!
Hi there, I’m Mari Evans. My first novel ‘Trusting Love’ just came out and I’m really excited to be here to talk about it.
The first thing people usually ask me is, “Why gay romance and not straight?”
Well, there is no easy answer. First of all, I don’t care if anyone is gay, bi, straight or whatever they want to identify themselves as, and I’ll read any story as long as it has a happy ending. I like romance and good strong characters. They have to grow during a story, develop and learn how to love and be who they are meant to be.
I discovered the m/m genre by accident and was hooked. The stories have the same romance as hetero ones, but they have a whole extra layer of problems. But also, they have more variety in how the characters love. A long story short, I just like m/m.
Back to why I wrote a gay novel. I was actually writing an m/f one, when a friend came to me with a story about a boy. He was going to buy her horse and she thought ––because she knew I liked to read gay books–– that I’d like this boy. His story gave me a flash of inspiration. It came to me, and I had to write it. The basics about his life story are the same as Laurie’s, but that’s where the similarity ends. Yes, he did live in a foster care facility but still had a great relationship with his mom, his dad was out of the picture and he adored animals. His looks are roughly the same too, but the rest…is all on me.
The second question people ask me is; “Are you going to keep writing m/m?”
Why, yes I am. I’ve already started several new WIP’s.
“So, no m/f at all?”
Maybe, someday I’ll finish the one I started already. But I have no idea if that’ll be the only one. Frankly, I don’t care if I only will ever write gay stories. As long as they are good stories and I feel good about them myself.
“But, there is sex in them too, right?”
Yup, there is. I hated writing that though. Not because I hate gay sex, rather the opposite. But to write a good sex scene is very, very hard. All the body parts have to be at the right place, at the right time. Sounds need to come at the right moment and feels have to be described intensely. The room, the clothes, sounds from the bed or surroundings…it’s all very intense and difficult to write well. I think I managed though, but you be the judge of that.
There is a big gap in age between my two main characters. I hadn’t planned on that in the beginning, but when I thought about what kind of man Laurie needed, it just worked out this way. He’s had a rough childhood and he needed someone older and more mature to handle that. The sex scenes reflect that––and in my opinion, it made the scenes even hotter. Sam is strong and sexy, but not overbearing. Laurie is young and enthusiastic, keeping Sam on his toes.
I enjoyed their lovemaking more reading it back than writing it. It won’t keep me from writing more though, it’s part of a relationship after all.
As for Laurie and Sam, they have a difficult time at first––with their relationship as well as with their sex life. Trust is a big thing in this book. Trusting that the other one loves them too, trust that Laurie knows how to make his own decisions, and trusting that friends and family won’t come between them.
I hope you’ll enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Laurie took the bus to the bar, not wanting to ride his bike back all across town in the middle of the night. He met his friends out front and received hugs and kisses from all three of them. The bar was called InsideOut, and it had a lot of seating areas and a large dance floor. It also was the only bar that accepted a fake ID, even when the person holding it was obviously not over twenty-one yet.
Linda was the most recent addition to their little group. He had met her in a coffee shop while he was waiting for his friends Lola and Becky. She had tripped while holding a cup of coffee, hitting her elbow hard on a nearby table. He had rushed to help and see if she’d hurt herself, but her beet-red face assured him she was mostly just humiliated. Laurie felt for her—and when she accepted his invitation to hang out with his friends, all four of them bonded immediately.
Linda was short and a little bit chubby, with bright blonde hair and blue eyes. She had a very caring personality and a witty sense of humor. She was a year older than Laurie and already in college, studying to be a nurse—which suited her perfectly.
Lola was the kind of girl everybody liked. She had strawberry blonde curls bouncing around her face and cute dimples when she smiled, which she did all the time. She was funny, spontaneous, athletic, and kind to everyone. Her eyes were green—but darker than Laurie’s—with light brown flecks, just like the freckles on her nose.
Becky was the spitfire of their group. She was tiny and slender, but with the biggest personality of them all. Her wavy brown hair was usually in a ponytail, except when they went out, like tonight. Her brown eyes were friendly and sweet until she was provoked—then they could shoot daggers. She was a lioness when it came to protecting her friends.
Becky was actually his first and best friend. They met in fourth grade, when the class bully tried to shove him into a locker. She went off like a fire alarm, screaming at the guy to get lost, and lots of other things girls her age shouldn’t even know anything about, until a teacher came to the bully’s rescue. After the teacher found out what happened, Becky was sent back to class without any repercussions other than a lecture about not screaming and not using crude language. The boy who tried to shove him in a locker, however, was stuck in detention for a week. Laurie and Becky had been attached at the hip ever since, and still were.
The four of them made it into the bar with their fake IDs and found a table at the edge of the shiny hardwood dance floor. Laurie handed his jacket to Becky and suggested getting the usual first round of drinks. They all nodded their agreement, because the DJ had just put on an up-tempo song and the noise made it hard to hear.
Laurie bounced over to the large, cherrywood bar to buy the drinks. The bartender had on a leather vest and black jeans, nothing more. Laurie admired his hairy chest and rippling muscles until it was his turn to order. The bar wasn’t busy yet, but there were enough people to make it hard to navigate with four drinks in his hands.
There were flashing lights above the dance area, but overall the bar was sparsely lit. Laurie couldn’t wait get into the throng of people on the dance floor. He wanted to lose himself in the rhythm of the music and forget about his shower episode earlier.
When he got back to the table, he slid into his chair and watched the dance floor, sipping his Coke. He didn’t drink––didn’t need it to have fun.
There were both women and men dancing, but he could see a couple of men dancing together, gyrating their hips against each other and kissing occasionally. A few other guys were dancing in their vicinity, looking with obvious envy at the couple making out. Some of the guys were pretty cute, and Laurie wanted to join them.
Becky elbowed him in his side. “What’s with you tonight? You’re awfully quiet.” Laurie shrugged. “Nothing. Just a busy day.” He didn’t look her in the eye as he said it.
“Wanna dance?” He added quickly, before she could question him any further.
He didn’t want to share these feelings—which he didn’t understand himself—with anybody. Not even Becky. She looked at him suspiciously but let it go, grabbed his hand, and followed him into the dancing crowd. As usual, they started dancing together, but over the course of the night, they got separated and danced either alone or with someone else.
He swayed his hips, waved his arms, and bopped his head. The guys he danced with all tried to get him to the bathrooms, but he gracefully danced away from them.
The girls he danced with tried to kiss him, but he just laughed and told them they were barking up the wrong tree. Most girls accepted it without any fight, but some looked down their noses at him. He didn’t care. He was having fun—loving the music, the movement, the smell, and the feel of the bodies around him.
Laurie danced until he was sweaty and out of breath. It was well after midnight and he wanted to go home, so he looked around for any of his friends. He spotted Linda first. She was leaning against the bar, talking to a girl with blue hair and black lipstick. The girl was pretty in her own way, with a slim but toned body. When Linda spotted him, she blushed a little, which Laurie thought was kind of strange.
He walked up to them, and the girl introduced herself. “Hi, I’m Vee.” Linda introduced Laurie to her, but she never looked directly into his face. And then it dawned on him… she liked girls. She liked this girl.
He leaned into Linda and whispered in her ear, “You’ve been holding out on us. That’s going to cost you, girl.” Linda blushed a deep red and looked shocked. It made Laurie burst out laughing. “Relax, Lin, it’s fine. Who am I to judge, eh?” He gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Are you ready to go home yet? I don’t want to rain on your parade, but I have a busy day tomorrow.”
“Can you find the others first? I want to say goodbye to Vee.” Linda sounded kind of shy, so Laurie nodded without any more teasing and took off, looking for Becky and Lola.
He found Becky dancing with a guy at the edge of the dance floor, but when she spotted him, she immediately said something to the guy and came over to him. “Ready to go?” she asked.
“I just need to find Lola and then we can go.” Together they went searching for Lola. They finally located her in the middle of the bar in a booth with a group of girls she apparently knew from school. Laurie vaguely recognized them, but as he never socialized at school, he wasn’t sure who they were. As soon as Lola saw them approaching, she stood up and waved them over. Most girls were sitting, but some of them where standing around the booth––talking and flirting with the few guys also standing there.
“Hey, Beck, Laurie, these are the girls from the cheerleading squad. I was just talking with them about the gymnastics class I used to take. It turns out they could use someone to help them with one of their jumps.” Lola beamed.
As the girls heard Laurie’s name they started to giggle. One of the girls, a blonde bimbo, said in a mocking voice, “Laurie, is your dick so small that your mother thought you were a girl when you were born?” Just when Laurie could feel Becky gearing up to verbally attack the dumb blonde, he laid his hand on her arm and gave her a tiny shake of his head.
“I’m sorry, but who are you?” he asked the girl standing next to the booth.
“Amanda Willshire. What’s it to you?” She put her hands on her hips and looked arrogantly at him.
“Your mom should have taken some parenting classes before she got you. Maybe she wouldn’t have dropped you on your head so often and the brain damage wouldn’t have been this severe. Although all the peroxide you use isn’t helping either, of course.”
Laurie whirled around and strutted away with an extra bit of hip swish in his walk. Lola and Becky started to laugh uncontrollably. Amanda’s face was turning red and her anger was starting to rise, but Lola shoved her back into the booth and stumbled away. Becky followed her, and they were both still giggling when they caught up with Laurie.
The DJ chose that moment to change the music to a quieter song, allowing them to speak normally. “Can you believe that girl?” Lola sniggered. “She must think that insulting my friends would make me want to help her more—the idiot.”
“She would never believe you would rather be friends with the school’s queer than with her clique,” Laurie offered. In the distance they could hear Amanda yelling after them, “I’m a natural blonde, you stupid idiot.” This only made Becky and Lola giggle more. Laurie didn’t look back, but he did wave over his shoulder with the most feminine wrist and finger wiggle he could muster.
Laurie Stallon isn’t like other high schoolers. After suffering years of abuse at his father’s hands, he now lives in a foster care facility and finds solace volunteering at the local animal shelter. Laurie’s had to grow up fast, and even though his eighteenth birthday is still weeks away, he’s more adult than most adults he knows. When he meets Dr. Sam Davies, the new shelter veterinarian, the attraction is instant. They become friends at work, but Laurie knows Sam will never go for someone like him. No matter how Laurie tries to prove his maturity to Sam, Sam continues to reject him as too young.
Needing a distraction, Laurie goes out dancing for his birthday and finds his life in danger yet again. When Sam is called to the hospital, he realizes Laurie needs someone to care for him. Sam takes him home, and they slowly build a relationship. But more than their age difference works against them. Facing the disapproval of friends and the scars from Laurie’s past, they’ll need to put all their trust in love for a chance at a future together.
Mari Evans is a wife and the proud mother of a very active daughter, two dogs and two cats. She’s a very social kind of girl, who loves to talk. It’s both her best and worst quality.
From the moment she could read, she devoured books. Anything goes, as long as it has a happy ending.
There were always stories swirling around in her head and as a child she liked to lay in bed and let the characters have their story and happy ending. It wasn’t until 2013 that she actually tried to put one of the whole stories down and submit it to a publisher. To her own surprise and excitement it was accepted. This gave her the drive to keep going.
The decision to write m/m was made when a friend told a story about a young gay man that struck a chord, even as her husband had already encouraged her to try it earlier.
Now she found her passion, having already found the love in her family and friends, her life is completely chaotic, crazy but wonderful.
Mari has brought a great tour wide giveaway to share today. She is giving away three ebooks and one signed copy of Trusting Love. Just follow the Rafflecopter link below to enter.
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