Author Name: Lynn Charles
Book Name: Black Dust
Release Date: April 7, 2016
Fifteen years after a tragic car crash claimed a friend’s life and permanently injures his then-boyfriend, Broadway musician Tobias Spence reconnects with his former love. As Emmett and Tobias explore their renewed relationship, the two men face old hurts and the new challenges of a long-distance romance. Will Tobias lose his second chance at love to the ghosts he can’t seem to put to rest?
Pages or Words: 312 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
“I can’t, Emmett. I—can’t go back.”
“Then we are clearly not ready for any sort of commitment.”
“Wait. You won’t agree to—to us—unless I come to Indiana?”
“I won’t,” Emmett said. “It’s all feeling a little one-sided to me, and I’m not okay with that.”
“You don’t understand.”
“I do understand, Toby. I was there for everything that makes you afraid of that place.”
“Yes. You were,” Toby said, taking Emmett’s hand in his. “But my concerns about going back have nothing to do with you.”
“Maybe they should have something to do with me.”
“That’s—” Toby pulled his hand away. “That’s not fair.”
“It really is,” Emmett said. He reached across the table for Toby’s hand again. “Please?” Toby took his hand and Emmett squeezed, holding on as if he might never let go. “We experienced a great tragedy together. And while Scotty’s parents lost their son, no one felt the things we felt. No one else woke up screaming and sweating when we heard the sounds of the crash in our sleep.”
“No one else knew the fear of maybe never walking again. No one else lost weight and a semester of school because he might get thrown in jail. No one else felt the things we felt together. That’s all ours. As much as you want to, you cannot take me out of the equation.”
“But, that’s just it, Em. I don’t want to feel those things again. I cannot walk back into that—that darkness.”
Emmett pulled their joined hands to his lips and kissed Toby’s knuckles. “You already have. You have been so enamored—you’ve practically spent this entire week making love to my scars. You’re there. And it’s not so dark anymore.”
“No, because you’re whole again. You’re not broken anymore.”
Emmett saw it, then. He saw in the way Toby had almost obsessed over the ridiculous tattoo and Emmett’s scars, as if begging for them to also bring him the powers that Derek had wished upon Emmett’s body those years ago. He saw it in Toby’s insistence that they start all over as if the accident never happened, as if the years of silence weren’t strung between them like a rope and plank bridge connecting two separate lands.
So he said it. To give it power. To make it a truth they shared—like their shared tragedy. “And you still are. Broken.”
Toby nodded, grasping at Emmett’s fingers like a lifeline. “I’m so—” He took a deep, shuddering breath. “I’m so exhausted making sure no one knows.”
“Oh, Toby.” All the more reason “trying again” was a bad idea. Unready to let go, Emmett kissed Toby’s fingers again. “Then come to my home,” Emmett offered, trite as it sounded in his own ears. “I’ve remodeled the master and made a party room in my basement for the kids.”
“You’ve never told me—”
“It’s beautiful, really. It’s on a couple of acres, and the back of the property is lined with a stream you can hear from the kitchen when the windows are open. It’s very peaceful. It sounds like you need some peace.”
“You deserve a beautiful life.”
“So let me share it with you. At least think about it?”
Toby nodded and began to clean up. “Will you still come see me in San Francisco after school’s out?”
“I don’t know. I’d really like an answer before I agree to see you again.”
“Okay. I’m sorry it’s not as easy as it should be.”
“I am too, Toby. Being with you was always so easy.”
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Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Lynn Charles author of Black Dust.
Hi Lynn, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
I’m happy to be here! I’m an author, wife and mother living in Central Ohio. I’ve been writing—from lavish journal entries to fictional stories—most of my life. My first novel, Chef’s Table, was published in December 2014 with Interlude Press. Black Dust is about a couple who, fifteen years after a tragic car accident tore them apart, are given a second chance to heal and to love.
Q: What is the biggest thing people think they know about your subject/genre that isn’t so?
A: That romance novels are vapid and formulaic. That LGBT novels are simply huge smut fests. Do we promise a happy ending? Sure. It’s an unwritten contract with your reader. But there are many paths to that happy ending, and it’s that individual journey that is so fun to read and to write. And, do our characters engage in sexual activity? Well, mine do, yes. But I write love stories first. Love stories that slot into contemporary life. People do enjoy reading a good sex scene; I enjoy writing them. But there is so much more to a good love story, that’s a good story.
Q: What are some references you used while writing this book?
A: Quite a bit of the music came from my own memory and experiences, and then a little tickle online to make sure my accuracy hadn’t fuzzed out over the years. For the physical fall out from the car accident, I found a few online forums of patients who had needed external fixators after various accidents. They shared video and long, detailed stories of their emotional struggles and of course, the physical hurdles necessary while living with a fixator and then learning how to function properly once it was removed.
Q: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
A: Not clearly, honestly, but I think it came from positive feedback when I’d need to write stories in school. What I do remember is once I got far enough along in school, I was always looking for creative writing classes and never found them. I thought I had it when opting out of a college prep English course required me to find something else. It was called “Creative Writing,” so you know—score! Except it was the class that wrote articles for the school paper. Once I got to college, I focused on music but always had that itch. I’d been told again and again that I expressed myself well in writing. I just needed to find a venue.
Q: What do your plans for future projects include?
A: I’m working on my third book now, as yet untitled. It explores themes of death, and how we live a life after losing someone who is our everything. It also explores parenthood and how we maintain romantic love in its midst. With the theme of death and the interests of the characters, there is a spiritual vibe I’ve not played with much in my writing that is pretty exciting.
Q: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A: I’m very proud of Black Dust. It was a difficult one to write for reasons I’m still unraveling. I am so thrilled it’s available and out in the world because there were many times I thought that might never happen. I want everyone to enjoy Toby and Emmett’s journey back to the dreams they dreamt as young men.
Meet the author:
Lynn Charles earned her degree in music education and for many years performed and directed choral music. When she’s not writing, she can be found strolling through local farmers markets near her home in Central Ohio in search of ingredients for new recipes. Her novel Chef’s Table was published in 2014 by Interlude Press.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27830185-black-dust
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Cover Art and Design by C.B. Messer
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