Today I would like to extend a warm welcome to author A.L. Awtrey, who happens to be a male writing romance. Here he talks a bit about what it was like to write this book.
A guy writing romance?
I usually get that response whenever I tell people what I write. I’m not the first guy to write romantic suspense, but it’s interesting to see the different reactions. Some of my buddies gave me a hard time when I announced Letting Go was coming out, but then a few of them read it. One good friend insists it’s just a thriller because he doesn’t like romances.
When I started writing fiction again a few years ago, I tried to write a story that had been simmering in my mind for a decade. My personal reading tastes go toward suspense and speculative fiction, and this story was set in a fantasy world where an empire was on the verge of collapse. I started writing it out, but it just didn’t work very well and I didn’t know why.
I asked for help from some online forums, but getting critiqued was brutal. I was paralyzed between my vision of the story and the advice from more experienced authors. In the end, I wasn’t willing to change the story enough to save it. One forum member suggested I change genres and practice storytelling with other stories I’d be more willing to change.
No one would read my bad fantasy novel, but I quickly discovered that many people would take a chance on stories in the romance and thriller genres. So I began to write scenes and vignettes to practice my storytelling skills in response to writing prompts. Before long, I had a novel length story drafted. Then I started another. Each story helped me focus on different aspects of storytelling.
While I worked on my skills, I began putting together my personal list of storytelling rules. Start with a good hook. Conflict is essential. Characters must feel real. Traditional story structures work. Writing is editing. When I started Letting Go, I knew I wanted to publish it and wrote it for that purpose.
To me, it’s not a romance or even a thriller. Those are artificial categories we invented to market books. Letting Go is a glimpse into the lives of people forming a new family. I wanted the characters to feel like they could live next door, with concerns that connected to our own. When the story was finished and edited, I considered it the best thing I’ve ever written.
So before anyone knocks a guy for writing romance, give the story a chance. The language might be a bit salty in places, because we all let it rip at times. The romantic tension is realistic and while it’s not overly explicit, there is a moment of physical intimacy that is necessary for the characters’ journey. In the end, my hope is that you’ll feel a strong connection to the characters of Alex and Molly. And if you like the story, I’ve got a sequel plotted out for a spring 2017 release.
Molly McDill is a struggling single mom who lives next door to Alex and his twins. When she helps them adjust to their new life in the country, she exposes herself and her son to the same threat that followed Alex.
An attempt on his life throws their lives into chaos, inviting more threats, public scrutiny, and Molly's ex-husband back into her life. The tension tests the attraction they feel toward each other as they struggle to keep life normal for their kids.
Alex still doesn't know who wants him dead but suspects his former in-laws. As the threats become a visceral danger, Alex and Molly race to uncover the secret that died with his wife before it costs them everything.
About A.L. Awtrey
After working more than twenty years as a technologist and scientist, Anthony started writing fiction again for the first time since college. Developing white paper studies and proposals for years provided a foundation in technical writing, but telling a compelling story was much harder than it appeared.
Four years of practice where he wrote eight novels and dozens of short stories improved his dialog, description, tension, and pacing. With his latest novel, Letting Go, Anthony is ready to release it under his own name. He’s a member of the Central Florida Chapter of the Romance Writers of America and Florida Writers Association.
When he’s not writing, Anthony is the CTO of a technology consultancy and a professional singer.
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