Author Name: Zane Riley
Book Name: With or Without You
Sequel to ‘Go Your Own Way’
Should be read in order to appreciate the books
Release Date: July 21, 2016
In the much-anticipated sequel to Go Your Own Way, high school seniors Lennox McAvoy and Will Osborne pick up right where they left off—navigating the tumultuous waters of a new relationship and dealing with Will’s disapproving father.
When a violent incident forces Lennox to give up his independent ways, he must come to terms with his past just as Will is grappling with his future. As Will’s college plans become reality, will Lennox have the courage to go after the opportunities he doesn’t think he deserves?
Pages or Words: 348 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult
The band room was empty when he pushed the door open, but the piano was set up like it was almost every afternoon these days. Only Mr. Robinette and a music stand littered with sheet music was absent.
The silence struck Lennox as odd, but as he sat down he also realized how strange it was to announce himself. So much had changed since the first time he’d snuck in here to play on his own. Now he was auditioning for some college he still couldn’t fathom.
To make Will happy. And maybe a little bit for himself.
“Ah, I wondered if you were going to show up.”
Mr. Robinette was behind him, the door to his office now wide open. He’d taken off his tie and undone a few buttons on his shirt like he did most afternoons when they practiced.
“You just want to play it through a few times or mess around with something else?”
Lennox took a seat at the piano, but didn’t both opening his bag. He’d memorized the piece he was playing by Valentine’s Day and now, almost two weeks later, he could write it out measure for measure on blank sheet music. But playing it was becoming repetitive. For two hours, three times a week, almost nonstop with the same four pages and nothing else.
“I’d rather try something new. That piece is getting a little old.”
Mr. Robinette smiled and pulled a chair up beside him. “I had a nightmare the other night and it was the theme song while I ran around a haunted house Scooby Doo style.”
“You didn’t catch a ride in the Mystery Machine, did you? I’ve always wanted that van.”
“I’ve got a lunch box version of it. It doesn’t fit much though because it’s too narrow. Anyway, play what you want. I’ll be here until about four-thirty, so it’s all yours.”
As Mr. Robinette returned to his office, Lennox pulled what had become his music notebook out of his bag and opened it to the latest page. He’d taken to composing during class when he should have been taking notes, especially calculus where he had no reason to pay attention anyway.
The latest page was a tune he’d come up with while the other kids had been tapping their pencils and erasing answers. Every moment of his life carried a rhythm, a melody, and an emotion he could create with, and his notebook was becoming a testament to that. He played through everything he’d jotted down over the past few days, but after several rounds he kept coming back to one. It was a piano version he’d tried—and mostly failed—to create of one of the songs Will had played on a loop a few weeks ago.
“I’m getting ready to lock up!”
Mr. Robinette’s voice carried out of the office and into the band room. A few minutes and several jingles of Mr. Robinette’s keys later, the office door was shut and Lennox was closing the cover on the keys.
“That last piece you were playing, was it a cover?”
Lennox shrugged as they headed for the door.
“It was supposed to be. Didn’t sound much like the song.”
“Well, the others did. They were all really good, even the ones that weren’t covers.”
Lennox watched him at the door to the parking lot for a moment. He’d been a great help over the last month—all year if Lennox was honest. Mr. Robinette had believed in him in his own way since school had begun, and thanks to him he had a decent shot at this audition.
“Thanks for… all of this. I actually feel like—just thanks.”
Mr. Robinette gave him a genuine smile and patted him on the shoulder.
“You’re very welcome. Let me know how it goes when you get back, okay? I’m rooting for you. Got all of my fingers and limbs crossed. You deserve the chance. Don’t doubt that or yourself.”
It was funny to have so many people believing in him after so long. Happiness was a strange feeling as well. Until he’d let Will into his life he couldn’t remember how to capture such a feeling in his chest and keep it there.
Buy the book:
Wow…this book is just as amazing as the first book. The writing is great. The story is great. All the characters are strong and well developed; Will and Lennox are so complex. Not only do Will and Lennox grow more, we see some growth from Ben and Karen too. Will’s dad, Ben, is super protective of Will which I totally get but he went about it the wrong way and showed a side of himself that I didn’t like. He more than made up for it by the end of this book though.
Will has become more confident as his role in Lennox’s life and we start to see some of his insecurities in his own life. He is an amazing kid and a perfect influence on Lennox. He just loves and supports Lennox and wants what’s best for him. He finally starts to realize that what he thinks is best for Lennox might not be and that Lennox needs to discover what he wants himself. And Lennox still struggles quite a bit with realizing that he’s not the piece of trash everyone has always told him he is. His confidence does grow but he still struggles with believing that he deserves all the good stuff that comes his way. Their relationship gets stronger as each of them gets stronger individually.
I know this book just came out but I’d really like to have book 3 now please.
Also in the Series:
Will Osborne couldn’t wait to put the roller coaster ride of his public education behind him. Having suffered bullying and harassment since grade school, he planned a senior year that would be simple and quiet before going away to college and starting fresh. But when a reform school transfer student struts into his first class, Will realizes that the thrill ride has only just begun.
Lennox McAvoy is an avalanche. He’s crude, flirtatious, and the most insufferable, beautiful person Will’s ever met. From his ankle monitor to his dull smile, Lennox appears irredeemable. But when Will’s father falls seriously ill, Will discovers that there is more to Lennox than meets the eye.
This book has been sitting on my virtual and physical bookshelf for about a year. Not sure why I waited but now that I received book 2, I decided to dive in. Had I know how amazing this book is, I wouldn’t have waited. These days I am shying away from YA books because I have a hard time reading sex scenes between kids, especially as mine get old. And while there are some sex scenes in this book, this story is so strong that those scenes didn’t bother me as much. The writing is absolutely fantastic and I loved the dual points of view – I can’t imagine not being in either kid’s head. At the surface, there doesn’t appear to be much to this story but the depth of the characters and what they’re going through is staggering. This is a typical coming of age, bad boy and innocent boy story but so much more.
Lennox is the bad boy. His story is absolutely, heartbreakingly tragic. I hurt so much for him. He is an orphan that lashes out. He’s biracial and gay. And the grandparents that took him in when his father failed him, no longer want him. People treat him like trash because of his race, sexuality and criminal history. They don’t look further than his skin, ankle bracelet and crass comments (and they are REALLY bad). But underneath all that, he is a still small, very hurt boy. He is immensely talented. He is sweet, loving and has so much to offer. And Will sees that. As he spends more time with him, he sees past the brash comments and ankle bracelet (he never even sees the skin color difference) and gets to know the real Lennox; and falls in love with him; and finds out that love isn’t as easy as he thought it was. Will who is completely innocent when it comes to relationships – both emotional and sexual. Will who cannot comprehend how or why Lennox was thrown aside and is treated as badly as he is and lives as poorly as he does. Will who is a romantic and wants the hearts and flowers but Lennox knows nothing about that and wants no part of it. Will who wants to break through the tough exterior and live inside it with Lennox and wants to make things better for him and with him.
There is so much story here and it’s as wonderful as it is heartbreaking. And the author isn’t done yet, because book 2 should be just as emotional and wonderful as this book. And I’m diving in…
Hi Zane, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hi! I’m Zane, and I’m a queer transgender writer from northern Virginia. Currently, I’m in the process of packing up to move to Washington state, so I’m pretty busy at the moment, but also very excited. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, although I didn’t get truly serious about it until college when I switched my major to Creative Writing.
With or Without You is my second novel and a sequel to my first. It continues Will and Lennox’s story as they finish up their senior year of high school. As they begin to learn how to navigate their growing relationship, Will plans for his future in college while Lennox struggles to accept that his future is more than surviving until the next day. They each begin to forge their own paths only to realize that the futures they each want may lead them away from each other.
Q: Favorite thing about building your own world?
A: Creating the history is probably my favorite aspect. Not a history book sort of history, but the history of the landscape, the memories of places for different people, the names given to certain locations or things because of something in the past. I like building up these histories for each character and bringing it into the dialogue. I think it’s important for every character to have some sort of personal history that can be a conversation that gives other characters, and the reader, more insight to them while also telling their story.
Q: What inspired you to write your first book?
A: In truth, the first version of Go Your Own Way was an online story. I wrote it on a whim, and then was so thrilled to see other people enjoyed it and were invested in the story I was telling. When I sat down to rewrite it years later, I think my drive came from wanting to prove to myself that I could make it better. I was determined to show myself that I had improved as a writer since 2010, and that when I wrote this version, the story would be tighter. Determination to prove myself wrong or to see something through has always had a big impact on my life.
Q: Do you have a specific writing style?
A: I grew up in a family where my mother is one of six, and only my aunt graduated from high school. Nobody in my family went to college, let alone graduated, until I did. I’ve spent a lot of time learning to adapt my speech to those I’m around so that everyone in a room can have access to a conversation. So I try to do the same with my writing. Language can be a huge barrier for people whether because the language I’m writing in isn’t their native language or because they simply have a difficult time reading or haven’t had a lot of opportunity to learn college level vocabulary. I’d rather have my language be simpler, and let the story and plot and characters take the spotlight, than have a lot of impressive SAT words splattered on the page.
Q: Who are some of the authors that influenced you to write?
A: R.L. Stine, Jude Watson, and J.K. Rowling were probably the biggest influences I had growing up. I read a lot of short chapter books like Goosebumps and Star Wars chapter books about Obi-Wan Kenobi as a baby Jedi padawan.
My schooling introduced me to much more, particularly stories that had a greater impact than just being entertaining. Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank, Charlotte Bronte, Sherman Alexie… I could go on and on about so many authors and their books. It’s given me an interesting path to learn literature through. I was that kid who loved to read adventures with good stories, and then I started school and realized that some stories can be true, some stories can be exactly like real life. Even in recent years, reading stories like The Book Thief have really molded my perspective on writing and crafting stories. I enjoy reading fantasy beyond all else, but when I write, it’s almost always centered in a world almost exactly like our own.
Q: What are some jobs you’ve held? Have any of them impacted your writing? How?
A: Mostly retail, specifically with grocery stores. I’ve worked front end, carts, dairy, grocery. It can be a pretty good source for creating those annoying characters in a story. There were some days I’d come home and my mom and aunt would be flabbergasted at the stories I had of some customers. Some people are bonkers.
The setting has also created some ideas. I worked in the backroom of my last retail job for four years, and most of my shifts were in the evenings by myself in this gigantic backroom full of runners and skids of water and towering racks full of more skids. It could get a little spooky sometimes, with all the pipes making noises on the ceiling, especially during the summer when it stormed hard and knocked the main power out. I was back there a few times when the lights went out and it’s the darkest black I’ve ever seen. We had one spot back there we called the Bermuda Triangle because whenever you tried to put a skid up or take one down from that spot, something always broke. It’s given me quite a few ideas for haunted buildings and horror stories.
Meet the Author:
Zane Riley is a transgender writer who wrote his first work of fan fiction in the fourth grade. He is a recent transplant to Vancouver, Washington where he spends his time watching long distance baseball games, hiking, and exploring the musical depths of the internet. His first novel, Go Your Own Way, was published by Interlude Press in 2015.
I had the pleasure of meeting Zane at RT last year and picked up a copy of Go Your Own Way!
(Isn’t he adorbs?)
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: facebook.com/ZaneNebula
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28764212-with-or-without-you
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Colleen M. Good
Rafflecopter Prize: Grand Prize: $25 Interlude Press Gift Card, 5 first prizes: e-Copy of ‘With Or Without You’ by Zane Riley
a Rafflecopter giveaway