Today I am so pleased to welcome Roan Parrish to Joyfully Jay. Roan has come to answer some of my questions about her latest release, RIVEN. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Thanks so much for having me!
Thanks so much for stopping by to talk about your new book, Riven, which releases tomorrow. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Riven is the story of Theo Decker, a rock star who hates being famous, and Caleb Blake Whitman, a long-time musician who’s cut himself off from the music business after rehab. Theo and Caleb have a whirlwind night together and can’t stop thinking about each other, but Theo’s never been in a relationship before, and Caleb’s worried about what might happen to him if he gets thrust into the limelight again.
In their own ways, Theo and Caleb are both people who long for companionship but have been forced to be alone. Theo can’t even go out in public without getting mobbed, so he hides in his apartment or hotel rooms, where he’s terribly lonely. And Caleb loves collaborating and talking about music, but fear for his sobriety has made him hide out in his farmhouse alone since getting out of rehab. So Riven is about these two musicians who find a home in one another, where they haven’t really had homes before.
Thank you! Theo is young, and he got famous as the lead singer of Riven without having much knowledge about the music industry. He joined a band where the drummer, guitarist, and bass player were already the best of friends, and he’d hoped he would become one of them, but it hasn’t really happened. So he feels like an outsider in his band, and incredibly alone in the world because of his fame. But he loves the music. He was a classical pianist as a kid, so he has a really wide range, musically, and he adores the rush of performing. He also struggles with a lot of guilt because he’s quite aware of what the world thinks about famous people who complain about their fame.
Caleb is the opposite in many ways. He’s older, he’s seasoned, and he knows everything there is to know about the business. He was never a rock star, but he’s made a living as a blues musician since he was a teenager, touring for a lot of that time. He’s intense and moody, but also deeply loyal and empathetic. For Caleb, drugs were always a part of performing, but he got by for a while before they became a problem. But when they did, they really did. When Riven begins, Caleb’s been to rehab for the fourth time, and this time, he’s terrified that if it doesn’t stick he won’t have another try in him. So, he has to put his sobriety above everything else. But when he meets Theo, his heart sings. He can’t get enough of him, can’t stop thinking about him. Caleb’s terrified that being in a relationship with Theo might be risky because of Theo’s fame.
So both Theo and Caleb have a lot to lose, and a lot on their plates when they meet, but the connection they have feels worth pushing through all the challenges they face.
So I love a good rock star romance. What drew you to writing a rock star story?
I love music. I’ve always been a huge, huge music fan, and basically spent my whole teens and twenties going to shows, so writing about music had a lot of appeal. Early on, I knew that I wanted to write this in alternating point of view so that I had both Theo and Caleb’s voices on the page, and a big part of that was showing two different perspectives on music. I loved figuring out what each character’s relationship with music would be and then finding ways to write about music that expressed those individualities.
I think often the draw of a romance about rock stars or movie stars is the thrill we get from seeing people who are usually off-limits in intimate ways. I was interested in seeing how that would work when both characters were musicians. Sure, Theo’s wicked famous, but Caleb toured for fifteen years and met hundreds of musicians, so his response to Theo wouldn’t be the same as a fan’s would be. And, since Theo loves the music but hates being famous, it’s almost like a rock star romance in reverse.
One of the things that kind of goes along with being famous is all the attention, often unwanted. How does that play a role in this story?
Yeah, Theo’s hatred of being famous is a huge part of Riven. So, whereas in some stories, attention is a goal, or a neutral byproduct of success, here it’s something that makes Theo feel uncomfortable, vulnerable, and resentful. And, of course, he feels guilty since the people who are giving him attention are also the people who make it possible for him to do music, which he loves. It’s an important part of Theo’s story because it speaks to how deeply conflicted he is about his life, and how out of control he feels as a result.
One of the things that happens when you achieve a certain level of success is that certain things become automatic instead of being purposeful choices. I was really interested in interrupting the way Theo just accepted that automation, and in exploring how he could reclaim autonomy in the face of it. And a big part of what lets him reclaim that autonomy is having Caleb by his side, simply telling him that he has power, he just needs to exert it.
Other than Riven, can you tell us what else you are working on?
Yes! The next project I have coming is Thrall. It’s a queer retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (well, uh, a queer-er retelling; that mo-fo was already queer AF) that I co-wrote with Avon Gale. It’s going to be coming out in time for Halloween.
Thrall is set in New Orleans, where longtime friends Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra are starting to get attention for their true-crime podcast. When Lucy’s brother Harker disappears, Mina and Lucy are thrown into their own real-life mystery. Along with their social media expert Arthur, and Harker’s professor, Van Helsing, they begin to follow Harker’s trail.
When their investigation crosses the path of a possible serial killer, the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur, and so does the line between friendship and love. Lucy and Mina’s longtime bond turns to romance, and what starts as a flirtatious rivalry between computer-savvy Arthur and techno-averse Van Helsing becomes much more.
As they get down to the wire, though, the group discovers that nothing on their screens is as it seems—including their enemy. Only finding Harker will solve the mystery. And only solving the mystery will clear the way for Mina + Lucy and Arthur + Van Helsing to get their happily ever afters!
Just like Dracula, it’s a totally mediated text, so the story is told in chats, texts, transcripts, etc., and I’m super excited about it because I’m a huge gothic novel geek!
If my readers want to learn more about you and your work, where can they find you?
Yes, come find me! 😀
They can find all the info about me and my books on my website: roanparrish.com.
They can keep up to date on new releases, sales, and read my free romance serial, Midnight Fed, by signing up for my newsletter: http://bit.ly/2xHGvBj
Then they can come connect with me on all the social medias:
- My FB group, Parrish or Perish: http://bit.ly/2hFOfBk
- Twitter: twitter.com/RoanParrish
- Facebook: facebook.com/roanparrish
- Instagram: instagram.com/roanparrish
- Pinterest: pinterest.com/ARoanParrish
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/roanparrish
- Amazon: amazon.com/author/roanparrish
- Bookbub: bookbub.com/authors/roan-parrish
Thanks so much for stopping by today!
Thank you so much for having me—my total pleasure!
Two tortured musicians inspire each other to risk their hearts in this edgy and emotional novel.
“Riven is the romance you must read next. You’re welcome.”—Suzanne Brockmann, New York Times bestselling author of Some Kind of Hero
Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.
Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre. When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.