Today I am so pleased to welcome Victoria Sue to Joyfully Jay. Sue has come to talk to us about her latest release, Guarding His Melody. She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
I wanted to write something a little different than just the usual excerpt for this release. I fully admit to being nervous about this one because it’s not the HERO team from the other three books, so I wanted to explain the process that brought me there.
I was supposed to be writing Vance’s story, andI fell down a research rabbit hole, which included some very good articles written by some cool people about how they treasure being different and don’t consider their difference to be a “disability” at all.
The word “disability” is definedas “a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities.”
One girl says that’s crap. She became deaf at seventeen, and she now teaches. Up to being seventeen, she was heading (her words) “for a life of unemployment and bad choices.”
That made me want to know what deafness meant to the people themselves. According to an article in the Telegraph, Deaf people (with a capital D) see themselves more as an ethnic minority, with their own (sign) language, schools, and proud history.
Which led me to another way of thinking because there were many people in this article who had refused—for example—devices like cochlear implants because they don’t consider being deaf a “disability.”
And while I would never everwant to sound patronizing – Good for them.
I think a lot of people are going to make an assumption about this book, so let me make it clear. Seb is deaf at the start of the book, and he is still deaf at the end.
Deafness isn’t an illness, and therefore it doesn’t need curing. It might have been caused by an illness (In Seb’s case meningitis) but I don’t want readers to associate my enhanced world with an assumption that everything needs fixing.
Because different doesn’t mean it’s broken.
And this community probably more than a few others should understand that.
There are parts of the story that are scientific. My enhanced series is based on human evolution speeded up a few thousand years. My editor asked me at one point if I was using a little poetic license and I said that just because something wasn’t understood right at this moment in time didn’t mean it wouldn’t be in another few years.
Which I guess is a huge get-out clause. (Insert evil grin)
Oh, and Vance’s story still got written, but this was squeezed in between.
It was puzzling. Seb’s ability shouldn’t mean more operations; it should mean fewer, but Seb’s dad didn’t know he even had an ability. And with all the research at his disposal, he should already know none of the enhanced abilities could be reproduced. Even Gray knew that much. You either got them or you didn’t, and no scientists knew why. The more Seb tried to explain his father’s motives, the less Gray understood.
“He’s obsessed with the science behind ultrasound, very similar to how whales use echolocation.”
“It’s like vibrations or sound bouncing off objects. Sonar?”
Gray nodded. He knew that.
“Well, one of the theories with the enhanced abilities is they think that it’s just normal human development speeded up. Like a lot of what they can do now wouldn’t so much as raise an eyebrow in a thousand years. You mentioned you had researched hearing through the skin? Think how weird that sounds.”
“You’re right of course.”
“Deaf people have been able to experience music through vibrations for a while now. Mine’s just a little more advanced, and it only works with the headphones.” Seb smiled for the first time since they had been talking.
“But not just what the headphones are connected to. You heard my voice?”
“Yes, and everyone knows that vocal chords are merely bits of skin that vibrate to make sound. It has to be an enhanced ability that means I can take this one step further.”
Which seemed strange he could only hear with the headphones. If he was going to get an ability, you would think it would be the whole deal, but Seb’s hearing was already damaged and who knew what effect that would have? It made Gray’s brain fry to think of all the possibilities.
“But why does that lead you to think your dad would want more operations? He can’t copy an enhanced ability.”
“And he can’t force you.”
“Technically he could, at least until I’m twenty-one. You’re forgetting,” Seb rushed on when Gray pulled a disbelieving face, “the laws for enhanced are different. My dad is my guardian—as opposed to the state—and he could enforce whatever he sees fit.”
“He wouldn’t do that, surely?”
Seb sighed. “He thinks it’s in my best interests. He’s spent over sixteen years researching this after I went deaf. He loves me and has gone to a lot of time and effort. I thought I had persuaded him to give up after the last time, but Dr. McKay brought on even more doctors and scientists who have been working with him for—” Seb paused. “—gotta be nearly three years now. Eleven of my fourteen operations have been in the last three years. They’re quite eager.”
Gray would just bet they were. His earlier thought of Seb being a human guinea pig wasn’t far off. Gray just wasn’t sure how to communicate that to Seb or if he should be doing that at all. The risk of alienating Seb was still the same.
And he didn’t want to give Seb any reason to mistrust him or think he was trying to drive a wedge between Seb and his father when Gray had no actual proof.
“It’s just if he knew… if he knew all his theories had actually quite a large basis of truth, certainly linked to my ability… there would be no stopping him.” Seb ducked his head and surreptitiously wiped at his eyes. “I bet you think I’m a selfish prick.”
“No,” Gray blurted out angrily, quickly processing what Seb had told him. “Wanting control over your own body is in no way selfish, and you don’t owe anyone anything.”
“But Dad’s spent—”
“Stop,” Gray said, trying to understand and not want to rip Armitage a new one for putting Seb through what—in his eyes—amounted to abuse.
A standalone in the Enhanced World
Deaf since childhood, Sebastian Armitage had a promising musical future until his dreams were shattered when he transformed at twelve years old. In a world where enhanced humans are terrorized and imprisoned, his life shrinks around him even more as he suffers the torment of his father’s experimental research to enable him to hear.
Gray Darling—struggling with the scars left by his experience in Afghanistan—agrees to provide short-term personal protection when anonymous threats escalate into assault on those closest to Seb.
As the lines between protection and attraction blur, Gray and Seb can’t ignore the intense feelings drawing them together. But secrets and betrayals might prove deadly, unless Gray is willing to risk it all. And Seb must find the strength to make his own future and sing his own song.
Victoria Sue fell in love with love stories as a child when she would hide away with her mom’s library books and dream of the dashing hero coming to rescue her from math homework. She never mastered math but never stopped loving her heroes and decided to give them the happy ever afters they fight so hard for.
She loves reading and writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best—and creating a family for them to adore. Thrilled to hear from her readers, she can be found most days lurking on Facebook where she doesn’t need factor 1000 sun-cream to hide her freckles.
Victoria Sue has brought a great giveaway for a reader on her tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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