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Eddie Russell is many things: A wealthy pillar of the community. An outrageous flirt. A doting best friend. A masochist with a kink for brawling with his bedmates. But he is definitely not a man who invites intimacy. His friends are close but few, his lovers rarer still.
When Eddie runs his Mercedes off the road on a hot July afternoon, Wish Carver comes to his aid—and leaves his number in Eddie’s phone. Wish, a road crew worker half Eddie’s age and sexy as sin, seems fascinated by Eddie’s different sides. Mutual attraction and compatible kinks ignite the sheets, but it’s their connection outside the bedroom that Eddie begins to crave.
When the two come down on opposite sides of a local issue, Eddie finds his growing feelings for Wish at odds with his business interests and his devotion to his best friend, local wakeboarding legend Ben Warren. Torn between old loyalties and his new love, Eddie is reluctant to make a choice. But he knows he can’t make Wish wait too long to make up his mind.
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Hi, Welcome to the Rough Road Blog Tour!
I’m Vanessa North, and I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts throughout the week on writing the second book in the Lake Lovelace series, Rough Road. Join the conversation by commenting on the posts and you’ll be entered in the drawing for a $25 Riptide Publishing gift certificate. Thanks for reading!
Politics and Romance Don’t Mix! (Or do they?)
Many, many years ago, I read one of my favorite romance novels for the first time--Lavyrle Spencer’s The Gamble. The story, an American Historical, is set in a small town during the Temperance movement. The heroine and the hero are on opposite sides of the major political issue du jour, and it made for some blistering-hot tension of the non-sexual kind between them, which is one of the reasons the story has stuck with me all these years, and stands out even among Spencer’s other amazing works.
When I began writing Rough Road, I knew the roads project mentioned in Double Up would come into play somehow, but I didn’t quite know how. It wasn’t until I had written the car-accident meet-cute that it occurred to me I could make it a point of conflict between Eddie and Wish, who both have personal and professional stakes in the conflict. You know those movie sequences where someone gets an idea and paper starts flying as they scramble to write it down? That was me.
But UGH. Politics. How the hell was I supposed to write politics into a story and not piss off my readers or succumb to stereotypes?
I pulled out my dusty old falling-apart paperback of The Gamble, and I let Lavyrle Spencer take me to school.
- Raise the stakes.
- Make it personal.
- Humanize the conflict without demonizing your characters.
- Give them space to grow and be changed by their love for each other.
- Don’t take sides, but one of them has to lose.
That refrain came back to me again and again as I was writing. It was the guiding thought as I wrote every argument the guys had, and it was the bitter in the sweet every time they kissed and made up.
One of them has to lose—but the ending can still be happy.
There is a place for politics in romance—and it’s a very personal one, a very human one, and one that can bring characters together as much as it tears them apart. One of the themes Rough Road explores—along with a 20-year age gap and some really kinky sex—is that territory where politics have personal stakes, and lovers find themselves weighing what they really have to lose.
More about Vanessa North:
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.
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for $25 in Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 3rd. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to leave your email so we can contact you if you win!
Promotional post. Materials provided by the publisher.