Author Name: Pene Henson
Book Name: Into the Blue
Release Date: July 7, 2016
Tai Talagi and Ollie Birkstrom have been inseparable since they met as kids surfing the North Shore. Now they live with their best friends in a pulled-together family, sharing life and the saltwater in their veins. Tai’s spent years setting aside his feelings for Ollie, but when Ollie’s pro surfing aspirations come to fruition, their steady world shifts. Is the relationship worth risking everything for a chance at something terrifying and beautiful and altogether new?
Pages or Words: 236 pages, 72,600 words
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance
Across from them, one of the Brazilians plays guitar. Ollie doesn’t recognize the song even when a couple of others sing along. The beach is wider and the sand finer than on the North Shore, but every beach is a little like home. Ollie misses the Blue House; he misses the surf and the palms and the shoreline he knows so well. He misses Jaime and Sunny and Hannah. Still, though he’s as far from home as he’s ever been, Ollie’s comfortable. These are his people, too. He leans back on his arms and looks up into the dark.
He’s watched the night sky since he was a little kid, but down here in the Southern Hemisphere he doesn’t recognize the hundreds upon hundreds of stars. The Southern Cross is up there. Ollie tries to orient himself.
Tai shifts toward him, then looks up and follows Ollie’s gaze. The warmth of Tai’s body settles into Ollie’s heart, grounds him. Ollie leans into him a little, and their arms brush to the elbow. The contact simmers in the air between them.
Unexpectedly, Ollie knows what he wants. “Come back to the hotel,” he says quietly to Tai. He pitches his voice low. It hums across the tiny space between them. No one else can hear him over the pounding surf and the sound of the music. It’s easy to be bold in the dark of a beach where Ollie’s never been before. He’s shocked by that same boldness.
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Hi Pene, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Q: What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about your writing?
A: Someone I respect greatly told me my writing was insightful and full of scattered pieces of wisdom. I write romance and it’s light-hearted but I so long for people to see pieces of themselves and the way humans work in them.
Q: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that impact your writing?
A: Part time. My part time is mostly 4:30 in the morning and a couple of hours on the weekend. It’s tough to squeeze it in but it does mean there’s a lot of input into my brain before I have time to output anything. I find this helps me avoid feeling blocked.
Q: What interested you about the theme of this book?
A: The themes of the book are mostly how being in a new place can change you and how things that are beautiful can still be better and re-built. These are aspect of humanity and life that have interested me forever. I love the way that happy, comfortable people can be forced to change things and to fight for something even better than the happy they have. I love working out what would make a person take a huge risk.
Another theme is building a family with people you’re not related to by blood. As a queer woman with a family and community who are rarely blood related, this is a theme that’s critical to my life.
Q: What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
A: It is hard to force my characters into conflict. So often I just want them to be happy and kind to one another, but conflict is critical to making people change and is a natural outcome of character and pre-requisite for risk so I work hard to open my characters up to conflict.
I also sometimes find scenes in which I need to move people from one place to another or just resolve a practical problem are difficult to write. An author wrote that the hardest part is getting people into and out of cars and I know what she meant. If only I could remember her name…
Q: Name your four most important food groups.
A: I live in the Inner West of Sydney where we have a lot of excellent Thai food and I can never resist a good stir fried tofu with ginger and garlic, or a nice green curry.
It’s much harder to find good Mexican food here.
I have a sweet tooth for jellybeans and cupcakes mostly. 🙂
I eat a surprising amount of soup, mostly tomato and lentil, for someone from a warm climate.
Meet the Author:
Pene Henson has gone from British boarding schools to New York City law firms. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, where she is an intellectual property lawyer and published poet who is deeply immersed in the city’s LGBTQIA community. She spends her spare time enjoying the outdoors and gazing at the ocean with her gorgeous wife and two unexpectedly exceptional sons. Into the Blue is her first novel.
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/penewrites/?fref=ts
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28764284-into-the-blue
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Colleen M. Good
Rafflecopter Prize: Grand Prize: $25 Interlude Press Gift Card, Five first prizes of an e-copy of ‘Into the Blue’ by Pene Henson