Friday, February 23, 2018

Spotlight: Chase Taylor Hackett

Today we shine the spotlight on 

Chase Taylor Hackett

So far, Chase has delighted us with two books, both in the same series. He's also provided some interesting tidbits about his working partner (Watson) and why there's no sex in his books.

Where Do I Start (Why You? #1)

The ex best thing . . .

Fletcher Andrews never believed in promises. Or monogamy. Or love. When you’re tall and gorgeous, New York City is one big all-you-can-eat buffet of hot young actors, models, and baristas. Even when living happily with Roger, his sweet, sexy violinist boyfriend, Fletch can’t resist an occasional taste. Too bad you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s thrown you out for cheating with half the cast of Disney on Ice.

Two years and a chance meeting later, Fletch desperately wants Roger back. Roger’s new boyfriend, Jeff, will do anything to stop that from happening. But Fletch has a plan to make amends. And with a little help from friends, colleagues—even Roger’s Scottish terrier, Haggis—they might find that the love you don’t believe in can sweep you right off your feet . . .

Review samples:

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Before I was even thinking of writing a book, I had these guys in my head, and they started talking. From the beginning everybody was eager to tell me his side of the story. It was clear to me that, if I wanted to turn this stuff into a novel, it would have to have two first-person narrators, trading off. Whether I liked it or not.
And then came Tommy, and this is when things started to get seriously weird.
You know that scene in the movies where there’s a séance and everybody sits around in a circle holding hands until the medium starts speaking in a new voice? Or that Twilight Zone episode where the ventriloquist’s dummy takes over the act?
This was exactly like that.
I had planned that the Tommy, the best friend, would narrate a chapter. I typed the chapter number and I hit return. I typed Tommy and I hit return. That was the end of my contribution.
Cue: Twilight Zone music.
He started by complaining about some pet peeves of his, then he made a few bitchy observations on events thus far. He wandered off the subject and he brought himself back. He was totally out of control, or in control, I’m not sure which.
I knew that at one point Tommy would meet his best friend Roger’s new boyfriend. I started to write it, and I was about halfway through when Tommy launched into this big long story about Roger’s old boyfriend back in college—about whom I knew not a thing. Tommy knew the guy’s name, where he was from, what had gone wrong—all news to me. I just kept typing as fast as I could. I’m telling you, it was spooky.
At one point Tommy got to the end of a chapter, and he started down the steps into the subway—which he compared to Orpheus descending into the Underworld.
I looked at the words on the screen, and I thought “What the—?” I mean, seriously, how did Orpheus get into my book???!!!
But I didn’t dare cut it.
One of these days I have let to Tommy write his own book. [yes, please!!!!]

A sample of Tommy’s work, from Where Do I Start:
Roger and I were standing on line at the Starbucks across the street from work on Sixth Ave., the same as every other weekday morning.
Like so many things in New York, the morning ritual at Starbucks was, for me, a love/hate thing.
I hated it because the place was tiny and mad crowded, and everyone was so effing rude.
I also loved this little trip through what was otherwise Starbucks-hell because of—drum roll, if you please—the barista boy! I was seriously crushing on the new kid behind the coffee counter. I didn’t know anything about him, not his name, nada. As in nada damn thing. For all I knew, he was straight, but I didn’t think so. What I did know was that he had wavy dark brown hair and bright blue eyes. And really, who needs to know more than that, I ask you?
“Hey look!” I said when I saw the menu. “They have those awesome pumpkin-spice things again! I love pumpkin.”
“You know there’s no actual pumpkin in there, just nutmeg,” Roger said. “And it’s probably artificial anyway.”
Man, he was in a mood. It’s not as though we had stayed at the Met Gala until the wee smalls, because we hadn’t.
“I totally don’t care” was my devastating retort. Of course I had a pretty good idea what was bothering him.
“Some gala last night, huh?” I prompted, giving him a chance to vent—not that Roger was exactly the venting type.
“It was all right,” he said.
“Yeah. At least until he-who-must-not-be-named showed up.” I watched for his response. He looked down at his phone. I wasn’t sure how he was taking seeing his ex, not to mention seeing his ex with somebody else. All I knew was that two minutes after seeing his ex, we were walking down Broadway to the Columbus Circle subway station so fast, it’s a miracle no one was killed.
The line inched forward, and I tried again.
“He looked amazing in that white tux though, didn’t you think?” Roger made a noise, but God only knows what it meant. “Of course Fletch would look hot in a burka, so we have to hate him.”
“Why was he even there?” Roger said, annoyed.
We took another a step forward and were even with the marble loaf. Almost to the cashier.
“I’ll get my own today.” Normally Roger bought because he was an atty. making piles and piles of the cold hard, and I was a measly admin. asst., and didn’t.
“O-kay,” he said slowly with a quizzical look.
Fine, he could look quizzical all he wanted. I had this idea—all right, I’d stolen it from somebody’s Facebook page—but it was genius, and I wanted to try it. I was just sure this trick would finally get my barista’s attention.
All right, so I’m an optimist. My mother says I’m cockeyed, but I don’t think she means it like it sounds.
“Grande pumpkin-spice extra-foam cappuccino, please,” I said. “Extra extra foam.”
“Name?” asked Miss Maybelline.
Are you ready for it?
“My darling,” I said.
“My darling?” She looked up at me. Each of her freakishly long fingernails had a little teeny-tiny jack-o-lantern on it.
“That’s right. Just put ‘my darling’ on there.” I waggled an index finger at the cardboard cup in her hand.
She looked at me, then at the hot barista, figured out that this little message wasn’t aimed at her, and she actually started scribbling on the cup. But only after making an oh-so-subtle face and rolling her eyes up into the violet eye shadow. I hope your face sticks that way someday, you great effing muppet, I thought. I smiled at her sweetly and paid.
“Love your nails,” I lied.
“Thanks,” she said and gave me my change. I bet she could gut a bear with those things. I crabbed sideways through the bodies over to Roger.
“I guess he was there with Darwin Stewart Harrison,” I said, answering his last question.
“Why Fletch was at the party. He was there with Darwin Stewart Harrison.”
“Oh, yeah. That guy must be like fifty.”
“He’s also rich.”
“And he’s fat. And all those rings on those fat fingers?”
“You’re not jealous.”
“Of course not, not at this point. I’m just—it’s just that—I never thought of Fletch doing that. I mean really, a sugar daddy?”
“Grande café latte skinny for—Roger,” yelled the cutest barista in all of Manhattan.
Ohmygod, I was next. Would he say it? Would he laugh? Would he say how incredibly hot I looked today in this green silk sweater that really set off my eyes?
Probably not.
But just to hear him refer to me as “my darling,” that would be worth it.
And maybe it would distract Roger from his whole Fletch funk.
“Grande pumpkin-spice cappuccino for—for my darling,” said my sloe-eyed beauty. From clear across the shop he was looking right at me. How’d he know it was me? He could maybe smile a little.
I pushed my way through the sea of shoulders.
“Thanks,” I said. I reached for the cup, but he was still holding it, not letting go—which meant ohmygodohmygodohmygod our fingers touched. He looked at me blankly. Those eyes. Pitter-pat, pitter-pat. Be still, mi corazón.
“Nice try,” he said. With that he let go of the cup and went right back to work.
Well, da-yam. What did that mean? Nice try, keep trying? Or nice try, douchebag? Did that mean he liked it, that he thought it was funny? Or was that like straight-boy talk for go fuck yourself?

The second book, And The Next Thing You Know... 

Not the one you’re waiting for . . .

Jeffrey Bornic is getting over his ex. Really. So what if the rising-star attorney is angrily sleeping his way through most of Manhattan’s male population? When the time is right, the perfect partner will show up. And Jeffrey knows exactly what he’ll be like: an ambitious, polished professional who’ll make the ideal other half of a fabulous power couple.

Theo McPherson is definitely not that guy. He’s a short, fiery red-head who works in the arts and wears sneakers held together with duct tape. If it weren’t for the fact that Theo is his best friend’s little (literally) brother, Jeff would be crossing the street to avoid him. Theo, meanwhile, has nothing but contempt for guys in suits, and seems to have deliberately set out to make Jeff’s life miserable, all while grinning at him in that exasperating way that he has.

At least it’s hard for Jeff to keep moping over his ex when he’s butting heads with Theo—and suddenly wondering if the last guy he’d ever fall for might be exactly that . . .

Review Samples:

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Excerpt from And the Next Thing You Know…
A passage I’m particularly proud of. Jeff and Theo have been invited sailing—and Dave, one of the hosts, clearly has plans for Theo. Jeff doesn’t even know why this pisses him off, but it does, and he takes Dave aside.

“Did you invite us out on the orgy cruise or something? Because if I’d known that’s what you had in mind, I’d have said no.”
“Hey, it’s potluck. I thought you’d brought a dish to pass.” Dave looked back toward the stern. “And Theo is definitely a dish!”
“Shut the fuck up.”
No idea why, but I wanted to kill him for even thinking about Theo. I tried to remain calm.
“Let me put it this way, Dave. You will get your eyes off of Theo, or I will rip your dick off, just for the fun of watching the gulls fight over it. Is that clear enough?”
“Hey! Since when did you get so uptight? You never had a problem sharing before!”
“This is different!”
“What?” He was laughing. “Are you and the little redhead really a thing?”
“Yeah!” I said quite calmly, at the top of my lungs. “Yeah, we are!”
Until that second, I absolutely knew that we weren’t ‘a thing,’ as my articulate asshole friend had put it. Theo was just this guy. He was mostly a total pain in the backside who could, I’ll admit, sometimes be kinda fun to hang with. And then I had to ask myself, when was the last time I’d actually had fun—before Theo I mean.
But that didn’t necessarily mean anything, did it?
And you’re probably thinking: Well duh!
So, yeah, maybe I should have figured out that the ringing in my ears was the clue phone, and I should probably pick up. I hadn’t articulated any of this in my head, right up until that totally unexpected yeah-we-are had come bounding out of its hiding place like a great big mutt puppy with over-sized paws. And once it was out there…
Were we really—maybe—becoming something? I looked back to Theo. He had pushed his sunglasses up onto his head, his hair ruffling in the wind, the sun was shining for a bit and he was laughing at something Michael had said. He looked—I don’t know. Dazzling. Fabulous. Transformed somehow from the oh-so snotty little shit I’d met at lunch one day into this preposterously good-looking guy, this thing, this—Theo.
I had literally stopped breathing, looking at him.

My Partner and I – How We Work
I toss out ideas and ask a lot of questions, and we sort of work our way around to answers. After a while he gets comfortable and nods off—which I take as a sign that I’m on the right path and he trusts me to finish it on my own. (If you work on a couch, it facilitates napping.)
I:\Web page images\2-10-2018 Sonja\No author names\Watson 327 FX.jpg
Photo: Sonja Lashua Fagan
Another way Watson helps: when he thinks I’ve had enough and it’s time for me to take a break and maybe walk around outside for a bit, he makes sure to let me know.

A Working Relationship
I:\Web page images\10-1-2017\DSC07791 (2).JPG

I pushed the books over to my writing partner: “Here’s your stack,” I said. “Now get signing!”

If you’ve read any of my stuff, or any reviews of my stuff because they always bring it up, you will have figured out that I don’t write sex scenes. I’ve explained on the blog on my website that sex scenes bore me to read, let alone write.
Some of the reactions to this absence of the hot and sweaty, however, strike me as downright funny.
Pretty much every reviewer has mentioned it, nearly always in a cautionary I-feel-I-have-to-warn-you tone, lest anyone should unwittingly wander into this sex-free zone unawares, and then find themselves suddenly blindsided by all the cumshots there aren’t.
Maybe I should have a warning on the book cover, like the one on album covers.

Another funny observation is that these warnings are nearly always (not always, I concede) followed by a remark along the lines of, “I didn’t miss the sex, but you might.”
So why don’t I write sex scenes? Not because I’m a prude, or got religion or anything. I’ll explain.
My background is in the theatre, where it’s all about conflict and subtext. An example:
Coffee, darling?
That’s too stupid for words, unless Marjory is thinking

What’s he hiding?
I have to get him out of here before Dennis turns up.
I hope I used enough arsenic.
There has to be something beyond what you see/hear. If she’s really just giving him coffee, cut it.
In a typical gay-romance sex scene: BOY A wants sex. BOY B wants sex. Yahtzee! They get sex. No conflict, no subtext. So I’m not going to write it, and I don’t mind if you do miss it.
And if you do, virtually every other author working in the genre writes sex. Surely that’s enough.

More about the author:

Chase Taylor Hackett was raised on a farm in the Midwest – far from his current home in New York City. His first novel—WHERE DO I START?—was recently published by Kensington Books.

While working on that book, he realized he had a character who was a total jerk, and he wondered what would happen if the jerk met a guy who had zero tolerance for jerks.

AND THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW… he’d written another novel.

Chase lives in upper Manhattan with his partner Travis and a Scottish terrier named Watson.

Find him on his website or on Twitter. He's also on frequently found on Facebook, occasionally on Instagram, and puts almost all his researchy stuff on Pinterest.


Lyrical Press/Kensington is giving away one e-copy of either book (winner's choice)
to one lucky winner!

Thanks for joining us today. We're anxiously awaiting Tommy's book!

Until then, happy reading!

Promotional post. Materials provided by the author.

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