Today, I have author Rebecca Raine in the interview chair. We’re discussing her latest release The Harder We Fall, a m/m contemporary romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
1. Hi, Rebecca. First off, readers have an idea of the writer you, but what about the everyday you? Can you share about your personal life?
Rebecca: I live in Brisbane, Australia, which is where my recent books have all been set. The non-writing part of my life is mostly taken up with living out my own happily ever after with my husband and two quirky kids who both fascinate and surprise me daily. When I’m not working, I love reading, listening to music, and visiting with family and friends. More recently, I’ve become curious about gardening. I’ve even managed to keep a few things alive.
2. I’ve been perusing your Goodreads page. I see you are drawn to m/m and m/f romance. Why write both?
Rebecca: When I first started writing romance novels it never occurred to me I would write anything other than m/f stories. As a teenager, I’d discovered romance via my mother’s bookshelf and I’d never even read an m/m romance before. But, once I picked up that first m/m novel (It was Shifting Gears by Riley Hart, which I was drawn to by the beautiful cover) I fell completely in love. For a few years I bounced back and forth between m/f and m/m/f before I finally worked up the courage to try writing my own m/m romance (All the Broken Pieces). I haven’t written an m/f novel since then. But I wouldn’t be at all surprise if I come full circle one day.
3. You also write menage. Can you tell me what draws you to these relationships?
Rebecca: There’s so much love to go around in menage relationships! I wrote my first m/m/f based on a call for submissions from a publishing company. It sparked an idea that wouldn’t leave me alone and, while I never ended up submitting, I did write the story (Our Little Secret). I really enjoyed the dynamics of the relationship. The way the three characters supported each other, and the total lack of jealousy involved. Plus, it was my first foray into writing an m/m relationship. That first menage was like a gateway drug leading me down the path to m/m romance. Now, I come back to menage stories when my muse tugs me in that direction.
4. Your latest release is The Harder We Fall. Can you tell me what inspired you to delve into insomnia?
Rebecca: The first spark for The Harder We Fall came to me when I started using a local meditation app. The instructor on the app was a man and I was struck by how pleasant and soothing his voice was. Suddenly, I had an image of another man who was listening to the app because he suffered from chronic insomnia and he was desperate to get some sleep. When he heard the voice, his reaction was much stronger than mine. He became enthralled by the voice, seduced by it. Most importantly, it gave him the one thing he needed so badly: sleep.
I knew the man’s insomnia was caused by guilt he carried about a past mistake. To cure it, he would have to deal with that underlying guilt. He really didn’t want to deal with his guilt. But sleep is a basic human need. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture and he hadn’t slept well in a long time. That’s the kind of motivation you want for a character.
5. Can you share your writing process through The Harder We Fall?
Rebecca: I became an outlining queen when I was planning this book. My last book, The Experiment, seemed to plot itself. The Harder We Fall was the complete opposite. I sat down with very little idea of what the story would be about (other than the previously mentioned spark) and started brainstorming. Ideas were tossed around. Potential characters came and went. I changed my mind about the opening chapter about five times. By the time I started the serious writing, I knew what would happen throughout the book.
Of course, I didn’t stick to the outline completely. Stories evolve as they are written. But that outline really helped stop me from getting lost or running into any creative blocks.
6. Let’s talk about the main characters for The Harder We Fall. Since I have not read the book, can you tell me what you love most about the narrator and what makes you want to shake him?
Rebecca: When talking about Tristan, I always joke that I asked my muse to bring me a new character and she brought me the saddest person she could find and said, “Here you go. Hang out in this guy’s head for a while.” Even his name was chosen because it means ‘full of sorrow’.
Tristan lives his entire life trapped inside this one event that changed everything. While I love his sense of loyalty and devotion, his inability to move on with his life was always going to lead to some frustration. What he needed was someone who would challenge his thinking. That person was destined to be Sam.
7. How about Sam? What do you love most about him and what makes you want to shake him?
Rebecca: Sam has suffered from anxiety issues his whole life and that anxiety colours almost every interaction he has. He learned meditation as a way to stay calm and went on to teach as a way of helping others do the same. Meditation he’s good at. People? Not so much.
I love the way Sam fights for what he wants, even when it’s hard. But when his internal voice starts to show its claws and he doesn’t tell it to go away, that’s when I want to shake him.
8. Without giving away any spoilers, which scene was your favourite to write and why?
Rebecca: There’s a scene in the book in which Sam confesses his love for Tristan. Nothing unexpected. It is a romance, after all. But Tristan’s response was the big draw for me. Let’s just say… he’s not thrilled.
It was by far my favourite scene to write because there were so many emotions involved and a great many of them conflicted with each other in all sorts of ways. The scene that follows was also… ah… interesting. *wink*
9. If a reader asked you why they should read The Harder We Fall, what would you tell them?
Rebecca: The Harder We Fall is ultimately a book about rediscovering hope for the future. Tristan and Sam both enter the story feeling irrevocably bound by their circumstances. Tristan is stuck in a time. Sam is stuck in a place. It’s only with each other’s support that they begin to find a way forward in life. The Harder We Fall is a reminder that it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since we hit the ground. A single new idea, a new way of looking at the world, a new hand to hold, can give us the strength to get back up and try again.
10. What is your favourite theme from the many books you’ve written so far, and why?
Rebecca: I have noticed I tend to write books that often revolve around the idea of authenticity. The idea of people feeling empowered to live their truths openly and without fear resonates very deeply with me. Obviously, it’s not always possible in our current society, but I would like to think it one day will be.
11. You can only recommend one of your books to a reader. From all that you’ve written so far, which one would you choose, and why?
Rebecca: I would recommend The Experiment. Why? Because it’s so much fun! Patrick and Logan’s story is low on angst and high on humour. There’s plenty of steamy scenes, but also a lot of tenderness and love. If a reader enjoys The Experiment, they’ll probably enjoy the rest of my books as well.
12. What can we expect from you in the future?
Rebecca: I’ve actually just started work on my next book. It will feature a character readers of The Experiment may remember. He loves bright, blue cocktails and has dimples for days. ‘Toni with an I’ is getting his very own happily ever after! Argh! I can’t wait. This is going to be a blast!
13. What do you enjoy most about writing?
Rebecca: I love taking a rough draft of a scene I’ve already written and rewriting it until it says exactly what I want it to say. Working for hours on single paragraphs, searching for the perfect turn of phrase. The happy, but relieved, sigh when everything finally falls into place. Love it!
14. What do you enjoy least about writing?
Rebecca: Line edits. I do not want to examine each occurrence of the word ‘was’ and decide if it’s really necessary or can be reworded for a stronger phrase. I’ll do it. But I won’t enjoy it.
15. I enjoy doing random questions, so humour me:
- What’s your favourite movie?
This time I’m going to say… Chronicle. What really happens when three teenagers end up with superpowers? It starts out fun… and quickly goes downhill from there. Told mostly in ‘found footage’ style, it’s a movie I will never stop recommending. I didn’t expect much when we started watching, but that movie completely blew me away.
- What book is currently in your e-reader?
Depth of Field by Riley Hart. Love, love, love Riley’s books.
- Who’s your favourite musical group?
At the moment I’m listening to a lot of Jaymes Young.
- What song puts a smile on your face?
Lemon Boy by Cavetown. It’s weird and adorable and sweet.
16. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Rebecca: Thank you so much for having me. I’ve really enjoyed these questions. If anyone wants to keep in touch, the best way to catch up with me in through Instagram (profile: rebeccarainewriter). I post every day with book updates, quotes, teasers, hot guys, food, hot guys, wine, and anything else that catches my fancy. Did I mention the hot guys? 😊
Book Title: The Harder We Fall
Author: Rebecca Raine
Release Date: March 29, 2021
Genre: MM Romance
Themes: Grief, Penance, Personal Growth
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 70,000 words
For years, I’ve been bound by sleeplessness and sorrow. His voice threatens to set me free.
Blurb: Insomnia. It’s part of the penance I pay for my greatest mistake. But when an ill-timed doze behind the wheel of my car nearly introduces me to a pole, I know something has to change.
Sleep with Me, a locally-made meditation app, promises a cure. I don’t expect it to work. Nor do I expect to become enthralled by the voice of its creator, Sam Stephenson. His ability to coax forth my nightly surrender is unnerving. I have to meet this man and learn the secret behind his techniques, so I can evict him from my head—and still get a good night’s sleep.
In person, the quiet and reclusive Sam is his own kind of complicated. He needs my business skills as much as I need his meditation skills and we forge an unlikely partnership. But the attraction between us soon flares into passion and, as we grow closer, I start to long for more than my guilty conscience will allow.
I have no right to love, not after the damage I’ve done. How can I give Sam all he deserves, when our chance at a happy ending was ruined before we even met?
Note: Is a standalone story.
Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited
“We’re running out of time.”
“So, we are,” I say with a false show of surprise. “It’s my fault, of course.” I pause, trying to figure out how to word the next part without making it obvious this was part of my plan all along. “I could always email you the questions. Then you can take as long as you like to answer them. After you send them back, I’ll write up a plan and we can meet again to discuss it.”
He looks aghast at the idea. “That’s a lot of work. I don’t want to take up too much of your time.”
“Actually, Sam, I’m the one asking for more of your time.” I brandish my most charming smile. It’s worked on men in the past, though I’m not usually trying this hard for the win. Desperation may have knocked the polish off.
Sam’s mouth drops open and somehow he manages to look panicked and thrilled at the same time. “You want to see me again?” he asks. “For the quid pro quo, I mean.”
“If you don’t mind.” I try to look calm, but my pulse is roaring like an express train. If he says no, I’m screwed. “I know this is all a bit odd, me coming to you the way I have. I suppose I hoped, once we met, you might be willing to give this whole process some more time.”
He shifts in his chair again, his gaze dropping. There’s no sign of his earlier trepidation, though, only a subtle wariness. “This was never going to be one hour, was it?”
“Not really, no,” I say, surprised at my honesty. “Not if we’re both going to get what we want from this.”
I can feel his attention all over me, even with his gaze glued to the table. “What exactly do you want from me, Tristan?”
It’s the voice. Right there in front of me. Coming from his mouth. Holy fuck.
Hearing that voice say my name, after all the ways I’ve used and abused his—in curses and moans and whispered pleas—is a goddamned fantasy come to life. Lust surges through my veins and I want to growl in frustration. This infatuation has to end. “I need to stop sleeping with you.”
His head snaps upright and we both gasp.
My right hand slaps over my mouth. “Fuck, I didn’t mean it like that.”
Looking away again, he releases a shaky breath. “It’s all right.” He runs absent hands along his arms, soothing a severe case of goosebumps. Sam is responding to my voice, my words, the same way I inevitably respond to his.
How would we respond to each other’s touch? Stifling a groan, I shift clenched fists into my lap. That’s not what this is about. I’m obsessed enough without learning the texture of his skin and the taste of his—
Sam starts to laugh, really laugh. “That stupid name,” he manages to say between breaths. “Sleep with Me. It wasn’t even my idea, but it certainly does get a reaction.” There’s another peel of laughter, as if he’s releasing all the tension from his body, and I find myself joining in. Every time we look at each other it gets worse and before I know it my stomach is sore from laughing. It feels good to laugh at myself. Weird, but good.
“Let me rephrase,” I say as we start to regain our composure. “What I mean is, now you’ve succeeded in getting me to sleep, I want to figure out how to do it on my own.”
“Should be easy enough. It’s probably something in the phrasing.”
Reality seeps back in, killing off the last of my amusement. “No, it’s something else.” Sam isn’t the first person to tell me to let go of my guilt. My mother used to say it constantly. It wasn’t your fault, Tristan. You shouldn’t blame yourself.She didn’t believe her words any more than I did, but she tried. “I don’t know what it is about you that’s different. I don’t think it’s necessarily something you can teach me, but whatever it is, I need to figure it out.”
“So, what’s the plan?” he asks with a baffled expression. “Are you going to hang around me until you get your answer through osmosis or something?”
“Maybe? I don’t know.” I drop my head into my hands. “Honestly, I’m making this up as I go along.”
“You and me both,” he says with a snort. “I don’t know if I can give you the answer you’re looking for, Tristan. But I’ll try.”
Slumping back in my chair, I release a sigh. “Thank you, Sam.”
He smiles that tiny smile and I try not to drool when his cheeks turn pink. “It’s my pleasure.”
Rebecca is a long-time lover of all things romance. Whether it’s a book, movie, or real life, she will always have more fun if there’s a love interest thrown into the mix. She lives in Queensland, Australia with her very own hero husband, two quirky kids and one big, black dog. Other than reading and writing books, her favourite things include loud music, enjoying a glass of wine on the patio, organising everything in existence, and spending too much time on the Internet.
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