Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Forever Man by A.J. DeWall: Interview & Review

Forever Man
by A.J. DeWall

A bond forged in Catholic school, an unspoken attraction that outlasts years of separation and other relationships.

Ren and Cole never acted on that thing that always bubbled beneath the surface of their friendship, not until a chance encounter in a Santa Fe bar and a song that would tip the scales forced them to confront their feelings. Will the influence of a music superstar, a New York socialite and a mystical property manager finally bring them together, or will a history of missed opportunities, their own fears and an impending wedding keep them apart? Can they just have one night, and then walk away?

Forever Man is a story of the consequences of the choices we make, and how the courage to change can last a lifetime. Based on the fan fiction story, 'Someone Like You'.
A.J. DeWall is here to answer a few questions about her new release, Forever Man!

Carly: There are two things I really love in life; books and music. Classic rockers like J.J. Cale, Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler are some of my favorites. When it comes to books, the ones about music rock my world!  Tell us about the music that inspired Forever Man. What songs were on your playlist? 
A.J.: Cole is a singer-songwriter, so I took inspiration from Jason Mraz, Van Morrison, Dan Wilson, Tracey Chapman, the Indigo Girls and John Mayer. I played Adele's songs about longing and heartbreak over and over again, because that is so much about Cole and Ren's past. And I listened to "Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2 on repeat, because that song is what it feels like to drive in the high desert near Santa Fe, New Mexico. 
Carly: What artist's voice do you imagine when you hear your characters singing in your head? 
A.J.: For Cole's boss and friend Alegra, the superstar torch singer, I imagine she sounds a bit like Amy Winehouse, or Duffy--a big, old school voice. Cole is easy: Bryan Adams. Sexy, a bit raspy, but pure. Yup, that's him. And Ren, though he doesn't sing much, sounds like this singer-songwriter that is not well known, Jay Brannan. Check him out--he writes about boys in love. 
Carly: If you could attend a dream concert, what artist, alive or dead, would be performing? 
A.J.: I'm from Minnesota originally, and grew up on Prince and funk bands. In fact my first concert was a dream concert--Prince's Purple Rain concert on Christmas Eve in Minneapolis. I was eleven, and the tickets were a gift from my very patient, slightly scandalized parents! I've seen him twice in concert, but I'd love to see him in concert again. And if the Eurythmics showed to play with him, I would probably pass out.
"I was a coward, Ren. And I'm... I'm so very sorry.”

Ren touches Cole's cheek. "You were an idiot."

"I was an idiot."

"I was an idiot, too. I still am, I think."

"Why do you say that?" Cole asks, his heart in his throat.

"Because this idiot is hopelessly, madly, undeniably in love with you, and has been for a very, very long time... and, aside from admitting to a schoolboy's crush once upon a time, never did a damn thing about it."

Cole lets out a breath he didn't know he was holding. His head drops in relief, falling on to Ren's thigh, and he's kissing Ren's hand—fast kisses, a dozen or more, in gratitude.

"Oh Ren, Ren. Say it again. Say it one thousand times."

Ren lifts Cole's head, and just as he did not two hours before, holds his face in his hands. But this time is different. This time he looks down on Cole with shining eyes and says, "You are so in love with me."

Cole whispers, "Yes, yes, yes."

"And I am so in love with you."

"Oh God. Yes."

Their kiss is long and deep. Cole feels it in every cell in his body: this opening up, this rightness. When it's too much he pulls away, plasters his face into Ren's neck until he catches his breath and then dives back in again, taking hold, slipping every secret wish into Ren's mouth as his tongue lays claim over its contours. He feels like Ren is sucking the truth right out of him, pulling him down, down, down until they are both panting and dazed with the enormity of it all.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you want to talk about taking the rough road towards love then Ren and Cole will be able to tell you all about it! A series of poor choices, missed opportunities and lack of communication have kept them apart for years. The deep connection and essential attraction they felt for each other is ignited years later by chance, but each must face the commitments they have already made in other areas of their lives before a second chance at love is even possible.

Forever Man is an angsty story full of passionate emotions, dramatic crossroads, love and betrayal. Even though Ren and Cole are grown men now, I was left with the sense that they never grew up emotionally and their choices are still influenced by the impulsiveness and lack of courage that kept them from connecting in their youth. Though generally well written, I found myself distracted by the sporadic pacing, which was an up and down of intense emotional scenes and slower sections of lengthy dialogue.

I had a difficult time connecting with the main characters, and was a little disappointed by the immature and selfish choices they made along the way, but if you're looking for a dramatic story with star-crossed lovers, lots of angst and sexy bedroom scenes... then this one is for you!
A professional writer for more than 20 years, A.J. DeWall began her career as a playwright. She is the ghost writer behind dozens of nonfiction books, including several award-winning bestsellers. As a writer of fanfiction, her online titles have hundreds of thousands of reads. Forever Man is her first novel. She lives in New York with her wife and son.

My promise to readers:
You will get a happy ending. Not just because I’m a romantic optimist at heart, and not just because I know from experience that even when the outcome looks bleak, the dream of love fulfilled can still come true; I write love stories that end happily because we all deserve that.

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  1. Thanks for the excerpt! Can't wait to read this!

  2. new author for me so i enjoyed the excerpt

    1. This is A.J.'s first published book. I love promoting new authors!

    2. Glad you liked the excerpt, Jodi!

  3. New author for me. Music + boy love, and John Mayer all my favorite things!!! I'm from MN too and grew up listening to Prince, Funk and roller skating. I can't wait to read this book!!

    1. Hi Angela, thanks for stopping by! I'm a MN girl myself. We're having a home state reunion here today. :D

    2. Sounds like we're kindred spirits, Angela!

  4. My pleasure, thank you for the awesome feedback. It's always wonderful to have good communication between bloggers and hosts. You guys are a great tour company to work with!

  5. First off, I was a fan of 'Someone Like You'. I just know I'll love this. I'm really looking forward to reading it. Thanks for a chance in the giveaway.

    1. Thanks, Carol! I love to see a fan of "Someone Like You." Hope you like "Forever Man!"

  6. Carly--thank you so much for hosting! I was traveling yesterday and unable to hop on to thank you. I love your blog. :)