Today I am so pleased to welcome Vanessa North to Joyfully Jay. Vanessa has come to talk to us about her latest release, Blueberry Boys (which I adored and reviewed here). She has also brought along a great tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
So, you heard there was religious stuff in this book…
Talk about a subject I never, ever thought I’d write: religion. I mean—I write romance novels. Sexy ones! About queer people! I can’t go five minutes without swearing, and my son’s first three-word sentence was blasphemous. How could I write about religion? Vanessa North and God stuff? Do these things even go together? How does that work?
So. How did it happen? While I am not a religious person, I understand and appreciate the comfort and the joy people take from faith and from religious practice. I am all for people celebrating traditions that bring them peace, love, and happiness—regardless of whether I participate in those traditions or not. I’m not religious, but I’m not anti-religious either.
Blueberry Boys, like all of my stories, is a book about family and community in addition to being a sexy romance. The story is set in a small New England town—Blandford—whose dominant architectural feature is the church in the center of town. Built in the 1820s, the church is a beautiful example of a colonial meetinghouse. While it doesn’t actually hold services, and hasn’t in years, it’s a striking symbol of the town’s history. So for Blueberry Boys, I created a congregation to fill the church, and a man whose faith was an integral part of his life as a main character.
Over the last ten years or so of my life, I’ve known a handful of men—some close friends, some merely acquaintances–my age (I’m 38) and older coming out for the first time. I started toying with the idea of a coming out story as part of Jed’s narrative, and from there the ideas started to flow and Jed’s faith became a vital part of his coming out.
I didn’t set out to write a story about religion. But sometimes you just gotta go where the story and the characters take you, and in this case, I can’t imagine it any other way.
Connor Graham is a city boy—a celebrated fashion photographer in New York. When his uncle’s death drags him back to the family blueberry farm, all he wants to do is sell it as quickly as he can. Until he meets his uncle’s tenant farmer.
Jed Jones, shy and stammering, devout and dedicated, has always yearned for land of his own and a man to share it with. Kept in the closet by his church, family, and disastrous first love, he longs to be accepted for who he is. But now, with his farm and his future in Connor’s careless hands, he stands to lose even the little he has.
Neither man expects the connection between them. Jed sees Connor—appreciates his art and passion like no one else in this godforsaken town ever has. Connor hears Jed—looks past his stutter to listen to the man inside. The time they share is idyllic, but with the farm sale pending, even their sanctuary is a source of tension. As work, family, and their town’s old-fashioned attitudes pull them apart, they must find a way to reconcile commitments to their careers and to each other.
Author of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog.
Connect with Vanessa:
- Website: vanessanorth.com
- Facebook profile page: facebook.com/AuthorVanessaNorth
- Twitter: @VanessaNWrites
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/VanessaNorth
To celebrate the release of Blueberry Boys, Vanessa North is giving away a $30 Amazon gift card! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 5, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!
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