Character Interview: Luke from Caught Inside

I’m on a private beach on the Cornish coast, catching up with Luke, the novel’s seventeen-year-old hero, to find out how his holiday’s going so far. He’s huddled on the sand, knees drawn up to his chest, head in his hands. I drop down to sit beside him.

ME: You don’t look much like someone’s who’s supposed to be having the perfect summer.

LUKE: (lifting his shoulder in a shrug)

ME: Cornwall…a private beach…all the surfing you could want. It’s everything a wave junkie like you could ask for. Plus you get to spend some quality time with your gorgeous girlfriend. You should be having the time of your life.

LUKE: (bitterly) Right, yeah.

ME: (waiting for him to elaborate)

LUKE: I mean, everything was great. The surfing was amazing, Zara’s been totally cool, and me and Theo—that’s Zara’s cousin—we just sort of…clicked. It was weird. He’s this rich kid who grew up on some grand estate, while I live in a poky flat on the wrong side of town, but we had something: a spark, a connection, whatever. A couple of nights ago, the two of us stayed up after Zara went to bed, just talking. I told Theo about being brought up without a dad, and he confided in me about how his own dad’s refusing to accept him for being gay. At one point, our eyes kind of locked, and I was sure Theo was going to… I dunno. (fiddling with a hole in his shorts) Doesn’t matter.

ME: You’re talking in the past tense. What happened?

LUKE: Theo’s poncy uni friends turned up, that’s what. One day Theo and me are inseparable, and the next, he completely blanks me, obviously doesn’t want his arsehole of a best mate to see him hanging out with riff-raff. Now he has Giles, he doesn’t need me anymore. Theo just follows him around like the pathetic lapdog he is and pretends our friendship never existed. Accept…

ME: (rasing an eyebrow)

LUKE: Forget it.

ME: No, go on.

LUKE: We were arguing just now. I accused him of being a two-faced prick, and I grabbed him by the shoulders, forcing him to look me in the eyes. Then—I can’t believe I’m saying this—he kissed me.

ME: Wow. What did you do?

LUKE: (burying his face in his hands) I kissed him back. I couldn’t help it. I… It was… I’ve never felt anything like it before, never wanted anyone the way I wanted him. It was incredible, and then it was over. Theo backed off, apologised, closed himself off again, shutting me out. He turned and went inside, and I escaped down here.

ME: So what happens now?

LUKE: Christ knows. My head’s all over the place. I’ve never kissed a guy before, never knew it could be like that. Does that make me gay? Bi? I dunno. All I know is that I want to kiss Theo again more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life. The trouble is, the way he’s been acting these past few days, he clearly wants nothing to do with me.

Double 2017 Rainbow Award Win for Caught Inside!

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I’m thrilled and extremely humbled to announce that Caught Inside has been named as the winner of a 2017 Rainbow Award, both for Best Gay YA Novel and in the Best Gay Debut category. It’s an honour to join the ranks of so many talented authors, and to have been a part of such a wonderful showcase for LGBT+ literature. I was particularly touched by some of the comments from the judges and wanted to share them with you.

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The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle: Release Blitz and Giveaway

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I’m excited today to be hosting the release blitz for the latest novel by Molly Ringle, a good author friend and critique partner of mine. The Goblins of Bellwater is a new adult paranormal romance inspired by Goblin Market, a wonderful piece by Christina Rossetti and one of my all-time favourite poems. The Book was released by Central Avenue Publishing on October 1, and if you enjoy your romance with a touch of mystery and magic, I urge you to check it out!

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These Are My Guilty Pleasures… Let’s Here Yours!

As anyone who has read Caught Inside will know, guilt and pleasure go hand-in-hand . My heroes, seventeen-year-old Luke, and Theo who is two years older, know what they’re doing is wrong, seeing each other in secret. Luke has a girlfriend, Zara, who also happens to be Theo’s cousin. Their relationship, when discovered, has the power to hurt people and destroy friendships. But they’re young and in love, and the attraction they feel for one another is too strong. They simply can’t help themselves.

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Caught Inside: Luke’s Summer in Songs

One of the things that made Luke, the hero of Caught Inside, such a fun character to write was his refusal to conform to any stereotype. First and foremost, he’s a surfing fanatic, and is every bit as cool and laidback as you might expect the stereotypical surfer to be. Yet, beyond the shaggy hair, he doesn’t exactly look the part. As well as being a wave junkie, he’s massively into heavy metal music, so instead of the typical board shorts and tank tops you might imagine him to wear, can usually be seen sporting ripped jeans and band T-shirts.

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