Today I am so pleased to welcome Liam Livings to Joyfully Jay. Liam has come to talk to us about his latest release, And Then That Happened. He has also brought along a giveaway to share. Please join me in giving Liam a big welcome!
What inspired this book?
I wanted to write something about a man in a long term relationship after my first novel series was about a man coming out, and starting to explore being gay. I thought it would be interesting to look at how someone can be in a long term relationship that has stopped living.
The concept of an and then that happened, was from a Canadian friend in 2005. It’s to explain something that comes along in your life, in the middle of everything else, and knocks you off kilter. An unexpected pregnancy, a notice of redundancy at work, an old friend coming back into your life. You can have a good and then that happened, and a bad one too.
I wanted Dominic to have an and then that happened to make him re-evaluate his whole life, so it’s not clear whether that’s a good or bad thing at the start. Once I had that, the rest of the story unfolded before me.
And then that happened.
I was first introduced to this concept by a friend at work: we were at the nurses’ desk and she was telling us about a holiday she’d had with her boyfriend. ‘We were walking along the beach, holding hands, and he stops and says he wants to split up with me, he’s moving out next week. I asked him where this had come from, and he just shrugged. So he packed his stuff and moved out last Wednesday.’ My colleague had paused as we all took in what she’d just said. Before anyone could jump in with the usual ‘Oh, poor you,’ back rubbing and tilted head action, she added, ‘So yeah, and then that happened! Who’s doing tea?’ before returning to the kitchen for a round of tea and coffee.
Some people think there’s some cosmic plan for our lives, someone orchestrating what happens, like an ethereal puppet master. I don’t. I think it’s all random. I think you can plan until you’re exhausted, and something will still come from the side and knock you over. Because life’s random like that. You know when something happens that comes out of nowhere or is so big and shocking there’s nothing more to say, no ‘oh it’ll be fine,’ back rubbing. It is what it is. And that’s all there is to it. Because sometimes life’s like that. Well, that’s And Then That Happened.
Should you settle for a nearly perfect happiness or put your heart on the line for more?
It’s 1999 and 28-year-old Dominic’s carefully planned suburban life with his boyfriend Luke is perfect. His job as a nurse, his best friend Matt, his relationship with his parents, everything is just right. He and Luke have been together ten years, seen each other through friends’ deaths and their parents’ ups and downs, and even had a commitment ceremony.
Gabe isn’t happy with his boyfriend, but he stays with him, because, well it’s complicated.
Fate throws Gabe into Dominic’s life. And then that happened. Gabe’s open relationship, impulsive nature, enthusiasm for life and straight talking advice are fascinating to Dominic. They’re friends, they click over a shared love of Goldie Hawn and Gabe shows Dominic there can be more to life than planned and safe. So why can’t he take his own advice?
And Then That Happened is about finding a new kind of happiness, even when what you have is already perfect. And how sometimes perfect isn’t quite what it seems.
Eight things about Liam Livings, one is untrue, can you guess which one?
- He lives, with his partner, where east London ends and becomes nine-carat-gold- highlights-and-fake-tan-west-Essex
- He was born in Hampshire with two club feet (look it up, it’s not nice) and problem ears, needing grommets: this meant he was in plaster from toe to groin until he was two, and had to swim with a cap and olive oil soaked lamb’s wool over his ears – olive oil bought from a health food shop, before it was sold by supermarkets.
- He started writing when he was 14: sat in French lessons during a French exchange trip, for want of anything better to do, he wrote pen portraits about his French exchange’s teachers. He wrote for his school’s creative writing magazine and still writes a diary every day.
- He grew up on the edge of the New Forest – not in the New Forest mind, but on the edge. Now it’s a national park, it’s so much more glamorous. He went to uni in London and never really left.
- One evening, flicking through the channels, he stumbled across the film, Saving Private Ryan, and it took twenty minutes of not seeing Goldie Hawn in an army uniform, before he realised it wasn’t actually the film, Private Benjamin.
- When not writing, he also enjoys baking.
- He avoided any sport at secondary school by having an orthodontist appointment between the age of 14 and 16, and when he was old enough to drive, just drove home instead of playing rugby/hockey/whatever.
- He is a car geek, his particular passion is old French classics, and his every day car is what is popularly referred to as a ‘hairdressers car’ a Mazda MX5 in powder blue – Muriel.
Liam has brought a $15 Amazon or ARe gift card to give away to one lucky reader along his tour. Just follow the link for the Rafflecopter giveaway below to enter.
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