A big welcome to Julia McBryant. She was kind enough to answer a few questions.
What question do you wish someone would ask about this book?
I wish someone would ask/wonder why Calhoun really did lie about being a virgin. Audie obviously keeps secrets all the time, but Calhoun’s an open book. Everyone just seems to accept that Calhoun wanted to have sex, but doesn’t that seem out of character to what you get to know about him later? Answer: he had it really, really, really bad for Audie from the very beginning, and he knew what he wanted.
What secondary character would you like to explore more?
Quinn, no question. Quinn is my twink baby. He has a kink daddy novel started; he has a short story started for an anthology. But nothing’s finalized, and I haven’t really gotten very far into his head yet. I know he was raised by staff, mostly; that he was an oops baby after three other kids; that he came out when he was sixteen and got a lot of hell for it in school, and that he hooked up with Calhoun in secret all through their senior year. But I want more than that, and I can’t wait to find it out.
Who has been your favorite character to write and why?
Audie, Audie, and Audie. He brings out that just hands me the best prose I can manage. I don’t know why. I also feel like I know him better than any character I’ve ever written. He’s my favorite baby.
What’s your core motivation with this book?
I wanted to give Audie a boyfriend to help him on the path to getting mentally healthy — he’s the only surviving character from a bad MMF novel I trashed, and he deserved to be happy. But mostly, I wanted to explore the effects of complex trauma on someone and the way in which it affects their ability to maintain healthy relationships.
Are you happy with where you left us at the end?
Yes yes yes. Calhoun doesn’t fix everything but he helps. I think that’s important: he’s not riding in and offering some easy solution to a complex trauma. But he starts Audie on a road to getting there, something that Audie desperately needed. Audie gets a HFN. But I promise I love him too much not to give him a HEA.
Julia McBryant has a new MM contemporary book out: "Hurricane Dreams."
Audie Currell, the only son of one of the richest families in Charleston, runs off from his parent's wine tasting with his father's business associate's son, Calhoun Chatterton, another well-off teenager from Savannah. They start dating in secret. But Audie's abusive childhood stands in the way of an authentic relationship — as does their family's homophobia. They have to hide their relationship while coping with Audie's trauma. Can two naive teenagers manage such a difficult task?
The Southern Seduction series chronicles the interconnected lives of a group of well-off, high society young adults in Savannah, Georgia, most of whom have known each other since kindergarten. Their complicated relationships (and unconventional sexcapades) form the meat of the series, along with a careful attention to chronology, character, and prose. More than romantic erotica, the Southern Seduction series details a fully realized world of drama, theme, and most of all, memorable characters.
Julia is giving away a $20 Amazon gift certificate with this tour, as well as eBook copies of It’s Enough, Like Sunshine, and Slow Dance. Enter via Rafflecopter:
“God, I fucking love your car. You’re super hot and you come with a Porsche Carrerra. Jesus, Audie. Are you seriously real?”
“Are you?” Audie laughs and tucks Calhoun’s hair behind his ears. He still can’t believe the things he says to Calhoun every goddamn day. Audie never imagined using words like these with another person. You don’t hand your heart to someone else. As soon as you do, you know it’s going to shatter one day. It reminds him of a hurricane slamming down the Carolina low country, Hugo or another big one: you can’t stop the storm from coming. You can only close the shutters and pray the seawall holds.
Audie tries to catch Calhoun’s hand when they get to the restaurant, but his boyfriend shakes his head. “We can’t.”
“Not at all?” Audie asks.
“No. But we can go out to Tybee.”
Calhoun seems to relax with the change of scenery. Audie thinks some alcohol helps too. It helps Audie. Always has, since he was fifteen years old. He doesn’t share that with Calhoun. Some things you just don’t tell anyone. Like, my daddy belted me bloody. Or, his business partner’s daughter Easter stood there terrified while it happened. And that’s why I bought bourbon the first time.
You don’t say it. The same way you don’t talk about high school.
The Savannah heat slams them when they come out of the restaurant. “Been hitting like, a hundred this week,” Calhoun says. “At least Tybee has the sea breeze. You really don’t swim at all?”
“No,” Audie says. “But I’ll wade.” Another thing you don’t say: why you don’t swim. My daddy marooned me in a pontoon boat when I was eleven because he said I had to get over my fear of bull sharks. Told me to swim over to his boat and we could go home. It took me four goddamn hours to get the courage to do it and it was the worst thing in the world and I will never get in the ocean again ever. You say: I have this shark phobia. Can’t shake it, sorry. You can tell the truth without telling it. You can come close to a thing without touching it at all.
Calhoun directs him down East Bay Street onto the highway. They leave the windows down and let the wind whip their hair, Audie’s into a curly froth, Calhoun’s into mermaid tangles. Audie blasts the Charleston band Jump, Little Children, who Calhoun’s never heard and Audie’s seen a million times. “They’re really good,” Calhoun yells over the wind and the music, between bites of the black licorice he dug out of his bag. Audie had laughed when he unearthed it. “We should go see them sometime.”
Audie snorts. “Maybe if they play Columbia,” he shouts. “Not seeing you in Charleston again. Stupid. Just have to act like friends.”
“Same in Savannah.”
“Should say we chartered a boat in Pauley’s Island or Georgetown next time with some friends. Maybe the Outer Banks. I could even summon up some friends if we needed.”
“Say we went fishing and picked up girls. Send pictures of fish and girls to our daddies.” Audie laughs even though it’s not funny and he’s not joking and Calhoun nods.
Calhoun’s Tybee house sits on the water, huge and modern, all sleek lines. “I love this house,” Calhoun says as they park underneath it.
“Hate that hurricanes’ll always take a beach house,” Audie says. “Hate it for our Folly house.”
Calhoun looks at him kind of strange. “I guess.”
They walk hand-in-hand, bags slung over their shoulders, up the stairs. Calhoun shuts the door behind them and Audie has him against the wall. “This okay now that we’re at the beach?” he says, intentionally talking right into Calhoun’s ear.
“Yeah,” Calhoun breathes. “Doesn’t matter in this house.”
Audie moves his leg between his boyfriend’s thighs. “Because I want you real bad.” He knows Calhoun likes it when he talks to him.
“Want you too.” Audie feels him stiffening.
Audie kisses him hard, like before, but his time braces himself against the wall and pins Calhoun against it completely. His boyfriend thrusts against him. God, Audie loves this. He loves that Calhoun loves this. He moves slightly so their cocks rub against each other through their thin shorts. Their belts clink and it’s somehow one of the hottest sounds Audie’s ever heard. He breaks off the kiss and moves to Calhoun’s ear again. “Go into the bedroom,” he says, “And get your fucking clothes off. I missed you and I want you.” Audie’s pretty sure Calhoun wants him to talk like this, and he wants to talk to Calhoun like this, and he thinks he can get away with it.
He knows he can when Calhoun sort of sucks in a breath and moves on him. “Okay,” he says. “Okay, Audie.”
Calhoun leads him into a big room with a king-sized bed. He strips. Audie rummages in his bag and takes out what they need, then takes his own clothes off. Calhoun watches. Audie knows his boyfriend’s watching, but when he looks up, Calhoun drops his eyes. Audie hopes he doesn’t fuck this up. They’ve only done it twice, once the afternoon in his beach house and once the next morning, which makes a total of two times Audie’s ever had sex in his entire life. Calhoun doesn’t know that and Audie isn’t telling.
“Get on the bed,” Audie orders. God, he’s wanted to say things like this his whole life. Every time, he gets bossier and bossier and Calhoun loves it more and more. Obediently, his boyfriend pulls down the bedspread and sheets, climbs into bed and waits for Audie. Who takes his goddamn time getting over there. Calhoun looks too good lying on his side, watching Audie with those big eyes and a hard cock. He messes with it a little, which makes everything better.
Julia McBryant is, as the saying goes, Southern born, Southern bred, and when she dies, she’ll be Southern dead. When she’s not riding her horse or writing, Julia likes to play with her German Shepherds and rescued greyhounds, make all the crafts (especially those involving glitter), and hike, especially in the North Carolina mountains. She is grateful her husband tolerates both the dogs and the glitter.
However, she spends most of her time writing like tomorrow won't arrive, like she needs it to survive, every second she's alive, etc. (see Hamilton for details). She also lives to sing in the car, especially David Bowie.
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