Today I am so pleased to welcome Ryan Loveless to Joyfully Jay. Ryan has come to talk to us about her latest release, In Me an Invincible Summer. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Ryan a big welcome!
I love writing tropes. I believe tropes exist for a reason and that reason is that people love them. And by ‘people’, I mean me. And also, I am guessing, a lot of you. In thinking about this post, I thought back on the tropes I’ve done. Closeted celebrity outnumbers the others by far. Offside had three closeted soccer players (or former players) in its main character roster. Building Arcadia (Blueprints Not Included) had a closeted bisexual musician. Pop Life, which was about pop stars–where do I even start? Almost everyone in that book had something going on behind closed doors. The other tropes I’ve done have been one-offs–werewolves (Wolf Hunter), rentboys (Last Chance Charlie), neighbors falling in love (Ethan, Who Loved Carter). The ‘trick’ to writing a trope is to do it in a way that gives it a fresh take. At least, I thought that was the trick… until I looked up the definition of trope on Merriam-Webster.
And do you know what the first definition of trope is?
a word, phrase, or image used in a new and different way in order to create an artistic effect
I couldn’t believe it. What do you think of when you hear “trope”? Something overused, typical, jeez can’t people think of anything new anymore? Me too. Brace yourself: It turns out that that is the second subset definition. It comes after the first definition and subset 1: “a word or phrase used in a figurative sense.”
b: a common or overused theme or device: clichè
I’m going to pause for a calming break because this blew my mind, and maybe you need one too. It’s the third fricking definition.
Okay, I’m back. So we established above that I have weakness (read: great and abiding affection for) closeted celebrities. One of my favorite plots ever is the “actor takes on a gay role and has a gay costar who awakens certain feelings in him.” Usually this manifests in a presumably (to himself) straight actor falling in love with his (sometimes already out) gay costar and the guys end up together. Sometimes the costar isn’t known to be gay at the start. Sometimes neither man identifies as gay and the plot moves into the “gay for you” trope. So I looked at that trope that I love and I really wanted to do one of my own, but I wanted to make it different. I didn’t know that I was aligning with the first definition of trope when I had this thought, but isn’t that awesome?
In my new release In Me an Invincible Summer, I started with the base plot: actor takes on a gay role with a (gay) costar and as a result develops feelings for the costar. Then I tweaked it. My actor, Joe, already knows he’s gay. He’s so closeted that only one person knows his secret… Derek, his best friend and stalwart assistant. (Well, Derek and the few hundred male escorts Joe has slept with over the last decade or so, all of whom have signed Derek’s ironclad confidentiality clauses.) The costar, Hunter, is gay and out and not the romantic interest. He’s happily married to Chris. However, Hunter sure does raise some feelings in Joe. Feelings of jealousy and rage, mainly, as Joe looks at Hunter and Chris and starts to long for a similar relationship–which he believes impossible as long as he’s closeted. But he can’t come out without risking his career and his already tense relationship with his father.
In Me an Invincible Summer is about what happens when Joe lets these feelings motivate him to take a big step. It’s a coming of age story where the character happens to be in his forties. It’s a trope in the first and third definitions. It was a heck of a lot of fun to write, and if you like this trope as much as I do, I think you’ll enjoy reading this book.
Thank you for visiting me at Joyfully Jay today, thank you to Jay for kindly hosting me, and I hope to see you all around the web! You can find me at @ryanloveless on Twitter or at ryanloveless.dreamwidth.org.
Let me know in the comments what is your favorite trope and what’s a book that uses it well?
PS. The final definition of trope is “a phrase or verse added as an embellishment or interpolation to the sung parts of the Mass in the Middle Ages” and if anyone writes a book based on that definition, I would like to read it.
- Title: In Me an Invincible Summer
- Author: Ryan Loveless
- Genre: MM contemporary romance novel
- Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
- Length: 100,000+ words/336 pp
- Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon $6.99 ebook. $17.99 paperback.
Fuck, he wanted to give himself a blackout and wake up to discover that he hadn’t done the stupidest thing ever. He’d told his father. What was he thinking?
Joe bounced from foot to foot as he waited for someone to come to the door. He pounded the doorbell again and touched his forehead. The blood had dried to a tacky mess at his hairline. He hoped Hunter answered; that way he could punch him without preamble instead of having to talk his way past Chris. Joe didn’t think he could talk right now, and drunk or not, he wasn’t stupid enough to try punching Chris.
The door opened. “Joe?”
Hunter staggered backward when Joe punched him in the mouth, and Joe followed him into the house.
“What the fu?Chris!”
“It’s your fault!” Joe struck away the sudden tears rolling from his eyes, infuriated with the way they blocked his vision and angry that he hadn’t hit Hunter hard enough to make him bleed. “Fuck you!” He flung himself at Hunter’s throat, but instead ended up on the floor beneath Chris, coughing from the impact of a 220-pound block of muscle striking him from the side. Chris sat on him, using his knees to pin Joe’s hands next to his waist.
“Jesus, Joe.” Chris wrinkled his nose. “You smell like a beer bath.” His gaze paused on Joe’s forehead. “Why are you bleeding?”
“Crashed the car.” Joe couldn’t have sounded more pitiful if he’d aimed for it. “And fuck you too!” he said to recover some of his pride.
“Are you going to tell us what’s going on, or are we calling the police?” If Joe weren’t out of his head, Chris’s level tone would scare him shitless. But at the moment he didn’t have the self-preservation to care that Chris could smash his skull in.
“If you two weren’t so fucking happy together. Making me think I could… I could….” Snot dripped into his mouth. Licking it away, he renewed his fight, but he couldn’t budge Chris. Hunter hovered behind Chris’s shoulder, looking pissed.
“Oh sure, it’s our fault, whatever it is.” Hunter pointed at Joe. “Can’t stand two men being in love, can you? Fucking asshole.”
“I told my dad.” Joe turned his head and spat, trying to clear his mouth of tears and snot.
“You told your dad about us?”
Chris sounded confused. Joe used the moment to try fighting but ended up thrashing like a fish on land.
“I told him about me. And he told me to fuck off.”
“Told him what?” Hunter asked.
Joe didn’t have the strength left to glare, never mind answer. Chris did it for him. “He’s gay, Hunt.” He squeezed Joe’s shoulder, a comforting touch even as he restrained him. “He told his dad he’s gay.”
“Holy shit,” Hunter said. He crouched next to Joe’s head, but a good six inches back as if he feared Joe would bite. “Guess I should have known. It’s always the fucking homophobes, isn’t it?”
He didn’t seem to want an answer, but Joe snapped his teeth at him anyway, giving himself over to his primal urge to tear Hunter’s throat.
“Let it out, man.” Chris held him down until Joe gave up the struggle.
He closed his eyes and wept.
To an outsider’s view, world-famous action star Joe Nestra lives the Hollywood dream—parties, women, and a high-profile divorce. In reality, Joe’s agent directs his public life. Those women he’s supposedly intimate with? Prearranged dates ending at the red carpet. With his assistant and best friend Derek Simmons’ help, Joe has lived safely in the closet since his divorce, choosing to let off steam with discreet male escorts rather than risk an actual boyfriend. At forty-four, he has no plans to change. Then, taking a role in a film without flashy explosions upends that.
When Joe signs on to play an early 1990s-era AIDS-stricken gay man, his internalized homophobia threatens the production. His out costar Hunter Starling won’t put up with Joe’s behavior. As the animosity between Joe and Hunter grows, saving the film means Joe must face his deepest fear. Challenges pile up from all directions, from his father disowning him to the entertainment industry’s backstabbing reaction. Amid the backlash, Joe ventures into his first gay romantic relationship, tries to help others worse off, and slowly learns how to live his life instead of just acting it.
Ryan Loveless is a farmer’s daughter. She has a BA in English from a private college in Illinois and a master’s degree in library and information science with an archival certificate from a university in New York. Raised in a conservative family, she was shocked and relieved when her coming out was largely uneventful. She has been writing since she could read and has always drifted toward M/M because she enjoys the relationship dynamics. It’s possible that her first story was about GI Joe. She wishes she still had that story.
Ryan has brought a pdf ebook from her backlist (not the current release) to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Saturday, November 15th at 11:59 pm EST.
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