Today I am so pleased to welcome Kate McMurray to Joyfully Jay. Kate has come to talk to us about her latest release, When the Planets Align. She has also brought along a copy of the book to give away. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Recently, I played host/tour guide to a few different sets of friends who were in New York City from out of town and hadn’t been to the city in years. There’s something invigorating about watching someone experience New York for the first time in a long time—or ever—for a me as a resident. I’ve lived here twelve and a half years, after all, so the city is not a tourist attraction for me. But something about watching a friend’s eyes go wide at the sight of something new or different to them reminds me of what it was like to be a kid in the New Jersey suburbs who used to press my nose to the window of my mom’s car when we drove down the Turnpike because there was a stretch near the Meadowlands where you could see the city skyline perfectly. I wanted to be a part of the city from a very young age.
One of the recurring themes in my new book When the Planets Align is coming to and leaving and coming back to New York City. There’s a scene early in the book in which Simon announces to his best friend Michael that he wants to live in New York, because the books on LGBT history he’s secretly been checking out of the library all mention New York. And then, when Simon arrives, it’s everything he’s dreamed of and more.
But it’s not for everyone, this city. It can be a tough place to live. It’s dirty and expensive. You spend half your time waiting on lines or for the subway. The summers are hot and muggy and the winters are cold and harsh. But there’s magic, too. I tried to put some of that in When the Planets Align. There’s the perfect bagel, loaded with cream cheese half an inch thick; there’s Katz’s Deli at 2am; there’s brunch and Thai food and the best pizza you’ll ever eat; there are oddball shops that sell anything you can imagine; there are coffee shops that charge so much for a latte you expect the cups to be lined with gold, but also places that’ll sell you a hot dog for a dollar; there’s music and dance, Broadway and little theaters tucked away in tall buildings, spontaneous concerts in parks or on library steps, and something happening somewhere at all times no matter if it’s day or night.
In the book, Simon comes to New York and wants to experience all of it. And he does.
My favorite scene in the book is one that happens shortly after Simon returns to New York after a long absence. He takes a walk around the city and every square of sidewalk, every building, every brick is imprinted with some memory, and after more than twelve years in New York, it’s like that for me, too. In a way, this book is kind of a love letter to the New York I experienced when I first moved here in my twenties, when I was spending a lot of time in Greenwich Village. Some of the places I used to frequent are still there, but a lot of them aren’t, and that’s the nature of a city like New York: the bones of the city stay the same even if the surface changes. For Simon and Michael, the city changes around them, and they themselves change, but something fundamental about their relationship stays the same, so they can always find each other when they need it.
I’m hoping that readers find some of that magic in the book as well.
Best friends Michael Reeves and Simon Newell always lived within ten minutes of each other, but somehow they’re never in the same place at the same time.
Brash, outgoing Michael’s unwavering confidence that he and Simon are meant to be carries him through some hard times. When Simon moves to New York, Michael dutifully follows. Quiet, practical Simon loves Michael as a dear friend, but he’s not ready for anything romantic.
Several years and several failed relationships later, Simon realizes he’s been in love with Michael all along. Only now Michael has moved on. Though Simon offers everything Michael’s ever dreamed of, the timing is all wrong. Confusion, betrayal, and secrets from the past threaten their friendship until it might be time for them to go their separate ways. Or maybe the planets will finally align, and Michael and Simon will find themselves in the right place at the right time to take the next step.
Kate McMurray is an award-winning romance author and fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She is active in RWA and has served as president of Rainbow Romance Writers and on the board of RWANYC. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Kate has brought an ebook copy of When the Planets Align to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday, December 24th at 11:59 pm EST.
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