Today I am so pleased to welcome Anna Zabo to Joyfully Jay. Anna has come to talk to us about their latest release, Syncopation. They have also brought along some backlist books to give away. Please join me in giving them a big welcome!

Flipping the Rocker Trope

For me, rockstar romances are a take on the royalty romance, in that you’ve got rich and powerful people, loved by many, who can float above society. They’ve got privilege and power, but they’re also kept apart from the common folk (as it were). But unlike royalty, rockers are made into who they are, not necessarily born into that privilege, so the edges of the trope can be played with. And they often are, too. You see rockstar romances about sudden stardom. Or a fish out of water. Or someone trapped by fame.

I don’t think Syncopation flips the rocker trope entirely, though there are aspects of the book that twist some parts used withinthe rocker trope.

One of the biggest decisions I made was that I didn’t want the queerness of the characters to be the focal point of the book. I didn’t want to write about the queer performer who has to hide their true self because they’ll lose their contract or bandmates if they ever come out. I’m tired of closet rockers, so I rejected that.

Twisted Wishes is a band with an openly out lead singer. The other members are queer, their songs have queer aspects, and that’s one of the things the fans loveabout the band. So, this isn’t a book about Ray coming out. Ray’s been out since high school. Everyone knows he’s gay and, for the most part, it’s not an issue at all.

I did play with the whole “bad-boy rocker who gets into trouble and has to be tamed” trope. Ray is brash and loud on and off stage. He’s mouthy. He fights with his manager and says the wrong things to the press sometimes. At the opening of the book, he’s the center of a scandal that leaves Twisted Wishes without a drummer.

Zavier, their replacement drummer and Ray’s high school crush, thinks Ray’s out of control, at least at first at first. After spending time with the band, Zav comes to discover that Ray’s fiercely dedicated to the members of his band, to the fans, and to music. Ray fought his way to where he is now, but he’s also the kind of guy who will sacrifice himself for everyone around him. And indeed, that’s what he does. Constantly.

Ray also struggles with self-doubt and the fear that he’s done the wrong thing at every turn, that he’ll take the band down with him. He’s not a weak man, he’s one who is completely stressed out and carries the weight of the world on his shoulders to keep that shit from pouring out over onto the people he loves. So Ray might be a brash bad boy outwardly, but inwardly, it’s a different story. He’s got a heart that’s huge and breaking.

The band is family. A found one, one that lives on top of each other, but also one that trusts each other. And in the end, its that trust and love that makes the band survive and thrive.

One of the tropes I didn’t mess with was that for each of the members of the band, especially for Ray and for Zavier—it’s the music that drives them. The stage and the experience of playing. That, I think, is one of the hearts of the rocker trope, because its one of the things readers know too: the amazing moment during a concert when everything is perfect and your heart soars right along with the music.>

I hope Syncopation captures that moment for readers.


9781488089350There’s no resisting the thrum of temptation in this male/male rock-star romance from genre-favorite author Anna Zabo!

Twisted Wishes front man Ray Van Zeller is in one hell of a tight spot. After a heated confrontation with his bandmate goes viral, Ray is hit with a PR nightmare the fledgling band so doesn’t need. But his problems only multiply when they snag a talented new drummer—insufferably sexy Zavier Demos, the high school crush Ray barely survived.

Zavier’s kept a casual eye on Twisted Wishes for years, and lately, he likes what he sees. What he doesn’t like is how out of control Ray seems—something Zavier’s aching to correct after their first pulse-pounding encounter. If Ray’s up for the challenge.

Despite the prospect of a glorious sexual encore, Ray is reluctant to trust Zavier with his band—or his heart. And Zavier has always had big dreams; this gig was supposed to be temporary. But touring together has opened their eyes to new passions and new possibilities, making them rethink their commitments, both to the band and to each other.



Headshots-Anna-Zabo-1Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.</span>

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Connect with Anna Zabo: 

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Anna has brought two copies of any back list book to give away along the tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

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