#NewRelease •Too Close • Author R. Phoenix incl. Guest Post & Giveaway . . .Welcome!
MM Book Escape
is honored to have Author R. Phoenix here with her new release, TOO CLOSE, available exclusively at Amazon and for Kindle Unlimited members.
She brought along a guest post that will give you some insight into the story and she does emphasize the trigger warnings of domestic abuse and violence. Please make her feel welcome and enjoy the post.
Skylar Orion's life has been complicated ever since his mother abandoned him and his sister Evie. Making ends meet seemed impossible until Tate Chandler took them in -- his knight in shining armor who promised to make life about more than just surviving. But Tate is not the man he seemed to be, and even his whispered I love yous and generous gifts do little to soothe the pain he causes. Knowing he can't give his sister all that she deserves without Tate, Skylar stays with him, relying on bad puns and a worse sense of humor to keep up the charade.
He will do anything for his sister, even if that means acting the responsible adult and going back to his old high school to meet Dexter Weston, the hot math teacher who can make even algebra interesting. Sparks fly between the two of them, but with his dependence on Tate, Skylar isn't free to follow his heart. He wants what is best for Evie, but can he pass up the chance to find love that heals instead of harms?
Warning: This book contains scenes of domestic abuse and violence that some may find triggering to read.
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First of all, thank you for hosting me! I really appreciate it.
Today, I’m rambling about my new release, Too Close, which is my first ever contemporary romance. Please mind the warnings for domestic violence.
When I first started writing Too Close, I didn’t know what it was going to turn into. All I knew was that I’d been promising I’d try to write a contemporary for a year and hadn’t done it yet, and damn it, I was going to do it. (Me? Stubborn? Never!) I was resigned to the fact that it was probably going to join the many, many failed starts I’d written over the past year. But somewhere along the way, I figured out what I was doing wrong: I was trying to be someone I wasn’t.
I was trying to write the story I thought I should write -- not the story I wanted to tell.
Several things about writing this book scared the hell out of me. The subject matter is complicated and misunderstood. Abuse victims are often seen as weak or stupid. Abusers tend to be portrayed as soulless monsters. (Thankfully, I didn’t realize until I was finished writing it that people were going to be so interested in why I wrote it; it’s daunting, to say the least.)
I didn’t know what to expect. What would people think of humor in a book about abuse? Was it acceptable to try to make your readers laugh before trying to break their hearts? Would it make people think I was making light of a serious situation?
It took me some time to come to terms with these things. In a lot of ways, I was telling my own story, and that made it both easier and considerably more difficult. I knew what I was writing was accurate to my experiences, but experiences vary. Before I was done writing the first chapter, I wrote part of the most intense scene of the book. Those two scenes set the stage for me.
Skylar, my main character, is trapped in a bad situation by his expectations of himself and his love of his sister. It was very important to me that I show the nuances of why he stayed and give him a personality that went beyond the abuse. He was being abused, but he was more than a victim. Evie, Skylar’s sister, is the catalyst for a lot of what happens. Family means a lot to the characters, and they stick together -- for better or for worse. Dexter, the hot math teacher who could be the reason Skylar leaves or the biggest regret he ever has, is the other main character. With him, I wanted to explore the helplessness of being on the outside in a situation like this.
And then there’s Tate. I didn’t delve too deeply into the abuser; it isn’t his story, and I didn’t want to detract from Skylar. At the same time, I wanted to do it justice. When I started writing, I was trying to turn him into that soulless villain without realizing what I was doing at first. Once I understood that, I knew it wasn’t going to work, because, again, it’s not that simple. Let me be perfectly clear, and I’m going to repeat this over and over in the coming weeks: Understanding is not condonement. Sympathy is not acceptance. But at the same time, abusers are people.
Too Close is a story of love (and the lack thereof) in its different forms: self, family, friends, partners. I hope it touches you, even for a few minutes. It’s certainly touched my heart.
Thanks for reading. ♡