Today I am so pleased to welcome Megan Erickson to Joyfully Jay. Megan has come to talk to us about her latest release, Trust The Focus. I absolutely adored this book and have the review coming up later today. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Thanks so much for having me on the blog Jay!
So, I write m/f and m/m. And Trust the Focus was a book where I had a vague idea of the plot, but the characters weren’t coming to me. So when Justin began talking to me — and it was about Landry — I knew why I couldn’t nail down this book. Because Justin was gay and in love with Landry. So I started writing and this book really poured out of me. It was truly one of the best writing experiences I ever had. I fell in love with the characters as they fell in love with each other.
I consider this very much a New Adult story. These are twenty-two-year-old boy/men. They make impulsive decisions and a lot of mistakes. And although Justin’s journey isn’t one everyone has, I hope readers connect to him, and to that time in their lives when they were uncertain who they were, and how they fit into the world.
We filed into line at the first coaster we encountered. It was called the Trailblazer, and the sign proudly announced that it was the first roller coaster built at the amusement park. It was wooden, patched, and sounded rickety as hell.
A grin permanently stretched my lips and my skin tingled, anticipating the rush of air and the belly-flipping drops, as I reveled in the screams of the current riders.
Landry was eerily quiet beside me, and when I focused on him, his eyes were wide, brow beaded with sweat.
“You’re still freaked out about roller coasters?”
Landry had a weird relationship with the machines. He practically came out of his skin with excitement about amusement parks, eyes sparkling with the thought of throwing his arms in the air and screaming his heart out. But when we were in line, that moment before stepping into the padded seats, he sweated bullets.
“I’m okay,” he said, biting his lip.
“I don’t get it. You’re so excited and then turn into a stress ball in line.”
Landry wiped his brow. “You know the moment the cars reach the top of the hill? And there is that second pause between when the track lets go and the coaster rumbles down the hill?”
I nodded. My favorite part. That anticipation. As long as you endured the seconds when your stomach rose up in your throat, the euphoria at the bottom of the hill made it all worthwhile.
He took a deep breath. “That pause freaks me out. I think, what if we go backward? Slide right down the way we came? And all that anticipation, that racing heartbeat as the cars climb . . . was all for nothing?”
I frowned. “That wouldn’t happen, Lan. I mean, these things are built tough. Once you’re up, you don’t go back—”
“But what if it did?” He was close to me now, having taken a step forward sometime in this conversation. His breath coasted over my face, warm and cinnamony from the fresh roasted peanuts we’d snagged that were currently warming my pocket. And I got the feeling we weren’t talking about roller coasters anymore.
His wide blue eyes were locked on mine, darting back and forth, his lips parted and his body silently surging forward into mine, like he was egging me on to do something, say something.
But I didn’t, like the coward I was. And then he leaned back, his face softened, and he laughed, waving a hand in the air.
The moment was over.
With his college graduation gown expertly pitched into the trash, Justin Akron is ready for the road trip he planned with his best friend Landry— and ready for one last summer of escape from his mother’s controlling grip. Climbing into the Winnebago his father left him, they set out across America in search of the sites his father had captured through the lens of his Nikon.
As an aspiring photographer, Justin can think of no better way to honor his father’s memory than to scatter his ashes at the sites he held sacred. And there’s no one Justin would rather share the experience with more than Landry.
But Justin knows he can’t escape forever. Eventually he’ll have to return home and join his mother’s Senate campaign. Nor can he escape the truth of who he is, and the fact that he’s in love with his out-and-proud travel companion.
Admitting what he wants could hurt his mother’s conservative political career. But with every click of his shutter and every sprinkle of ash, Justin can’t resist Landry’s pull. And when the truth comes into focus, neither is prepared for the secrets the other is hiding.
Megan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she’s not tapping away on her laptop, she’s probably listening to the characters in her head who won’t stop talking.
For more, visit meganerickson.org