Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, G.R. Lyons – While daylighting as office manager for the family auto repair business, G.R. Lyons can often be found working on one of multiple manuscripts or desperately trying to keep up with the TBR pile.
GIVEWAY: Direct-to-Kindle copy of any one book from my backlist (except the Matchmakers combined edition, which is three books in one). Comment on this post below for a chance to win.
Thanks so much, G.R. Lyons, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: What do you do when you get writer’s block?
G.R. Lyons: I usually find that, when I get writer’s block, it’s because I haven’t outlined the story properly and I’m running into a wall. At that point, I need to back up and reconsider the story outline, and usually wind up having to delete a chapter or even entirely start over so I can reset my overall view of the story.
JSC: Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.
GRL: I’m starting to write more trans MCs because they’re so hard to find (and, being trans myself, it allows me to delve into some very personal struggles). I also like to write about praxeological ideas and voluntaryist philosophy because it’s so rare, both in real life and in fiction.
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
GRL: Definitely a plotter. I can’t go anywhere without first knowing where I’m going (which is true for many parts of my life). I recently discovered Susan May Warren’s The Story Equation, and that has made a huge impact on my story outlines.
JSC: What are your favorite parts of publishing?
GRL: Definitely getting that final print copy in my hands. There’s no feeling quite like having something tangible that was once merely in my head.
JSC: How did you choose the topic for this book?
GRL: I had a reader ask if Niall was eventually going to get his own story. It had never been an intention of mine to do so, but when I got to thinking about her request, I realized the poor man needed an HEA of his own, and his backstory had already set up the perfect tension for a romance plot, so the story developed from there.
JSC: Who has been your favorite character to write and why?
GRL: I’m going to have to go with a combination of two. Colby from Illumined Shadowsand Hunter from the Transitivityseries. Both of them have histories of sexual abuse, but while Colby comes out of it with all the sweetness and light you could possibly imagine, Hunter goes fully to the dark side. It was fun to take two similar backstories and have the characters respond so differently.
JSC: Tell me about a unique or quirky habit of yours.
GRL: I can’t read a book without first opening it at the middle and inhaling the scent of the pages. One of the many reasons I read only paperbacks. I just love that smell.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
GRL: Currently, it’s a matter of taking the time to outline the story, starting with the beginning and end, then the major plot points, then filling in from there. I usually wind up with a few thousand words of outline notes. Then I try to make a target word count for each day so that I can hit certain points of the story on certain days. It makes it very mechanical and methodical, but my brain works best that way.
JSC: What other artistic pursuits (it any) do you indulge in apart from writing?
GRL: I’m really not artistic at all, though I was a certified henna artist at one time. I haven’t done that in years and I miss it. I was also a belly dancer for many years, and hope to get back into that someday as well.
JSC: What fictional speculative fiction character would you like to spend an evening with, and why?
GRL: Locke Lamora from Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora. Con men fascinate the hell out of me. Being able to adjust to things at the drop of a hat, to put on a new role, to plan so far ahead for any eventuality—the skill required just amazes the hell out of me. Plus there’s the dry wit, which I absolutely love.
JSC: What’s your drink of choice?
GRL: COFFEE. All the coffee.
JSC: What are you working on now?
GRL: I’m finishing up a companion novella to my Treble and the Lost Boys trilogy, and then getting a whole new series ready to launch. The first four books are written (there will be five total), and I want them all written and beta read before I release the first one. After that, there will be a spin-off series featuring seven young trans men who have to come to terms with their magical powers.
And now for G.R.’s new book: Second Act:
Niall Hayes is returning to his hometown, trying not to dwell on the fact that it’s where his husband died. For ten years, Niall has been trying to move past his grief, but the fact that Scot’s wedding ring was never found has always made the whole ordeal feel unfinished. But now, Niall hopes the prospect of landing a hot new account at work will prove sufficiently distracting.
Especially when he meets the client.
Blake Edwards is gorgeous, driven…and playing hard to get. Or so Niall thinks. While Niall works to set up a website for Blake’s new charity, the two men get closer despite Blake’s attempts to keep Niall at arm’s length. But Niall is determined to have the man, and Blake slowly caves to temptation.
Then Niall’s entire world is pulled out from under him when he learns that Blake was actually there the night Scot died…
(Note: This story takes place in a fictional world, the same as in the Shifting Isles Series. There are multiple gods, different names for the days of the week, etc. A glossary is included.)
He’d been in such a hurry to move that he hadn’t bothered labeling any of the boxes, so he had no idea where anything was. Niall opened a box at random, only to see his wedding picture right there on top of a pile of kitchen towels.
He picked up the frame and slumped back in the chair, contemplating whether or not to put the picture up on one of the shelves in the living room. Or maybe he should keep it on his nightstand.
Though a part of him was tempted to just leave it in the box.
Niall sighed again, got up, crossed the room, and set the frame on a shelf, the thing looking out of place and lonely with nothing else around it. He stuck his hand in his pocket and fingered his wedding ring, then pulled it out as well, staring at Scot’s name engraved on the inside of the band.
He reached out and almost set the ring down in front of the picture frame, then snatched it back again and shoved it right back into his pocket. He’d have to take it out again later when he got undressed to go take a shower, but the ring would most likely wind up right back in the pocket of whatever pants he wore tomorrow. He just couldn’t fully let it go yet. Couldn’t stop carrying it around. Scot had been dead for years, but there was still something that felt unfinished about it all.
Especially because of the fact that, after Scot died, his wedding ring had never been found.
BLAKE EDWARDS stared at the gold wedding ring that he always carried with him, the name Niall engraved on the inside of the band. Eleven years, he’d had that ring in his possession, and he still never went a day without looking at it and reminding himself of that awful night. The ring stayed on his nightstand when he slept, right there within reach when he shut off his alarm each morning at four o’clock. Easy to grab as he swung his legs out of bed. Then it stayed in his pocket all day until it went right back to its spot in front of the alarm clock, the gold band glaring at him in accusation as he switched off the bedside lamp, plunging his bedroom into darkness.
Only to get up and go through the routine all over again the next day. Blake glanced at the clock: 4:04 AM. He’d allow himself one more minute to sit there and dwell, to remind himself of his guilt. Then he’d get up and start going about his day.
The clock ticked over to 4:05. Blake shoved the ring into the pocket of his pajama bottoms and strode out of the room, heading for the kitchen. The coffee pot was already done brewing, so he quickly poured himself a cup as he reached for his tablet, going over his agenda for the day as well as the latest financial reports that came in overnight, giving him the current state of his company. It had taken him ten years, but S&N Medical Supply was finally in a position to finance his pet project, the only thing he could think of to make up for that awful night. He’d ultimately seek out donations to help fund the charity as well, but he had to make sure he was in a position to keep it running by himself if need be. Maybe then some of his guilt might be assuaged.
While daylighting as office manager for the family auto repair business, G.R. Lyons can often be found working on one of multiple manuscripts or desperately trying to keep up with the TBR pile. Anarcho-capitalist, quietly ‘out’ trans guy, former belly dancer, coffee guzzler, highly-sensitive introvert, CrossFit enthusiast, and lover of m/m romantic fiction.