TNA: Hi, RJ, I’m so glad to have you back with us today at The Novel Approach. For those who may be newer to the gay romance genre and don’t know you quite as well as others of us, why don’t we start by having you tell us a bit about yourself?
RJ: Hi, guys, thank you for having me. My name is RJ Scott and I am the author of over seventy-five published stories of MM gay romance. I am a full time writer and have been writing five years. I’m probably best known for the Texas series, Sanctuary, Ellery Mountain, and probably The Christmas Throwaway.
TNA: I remember the very first of your books I ever read and reviewed way back in 2010, Oracle. Was that your first published novel? I know you’ve since re-released it in 2013 via Love Lane Books. What was it like for you to revisit the book? Did you find yourself doing some revisions to it, using the experience you’ve gained over the years to polish it up a bit?
RJ: I remember you reviewing Oracle. It was singularly the most wonderful and terrifying thing that has ever happened to me. I recall you liked it and I was blown away! I did rewrite the book when I got it back, just to extend the romance more, and up the action scenes. I also had it re-edited which was a good thing. It was an amazing experience to revisit the book, then to write the sequel, Book Of Secrets. I adore Alex and Luke, in fact Alex is one of my all time favorite characters I have written.
TNA: I’ve been ordered to ask you this, so I’m going to do it for Lana before I forget. It seems some readers aren’t quite ready to be done with Zach and Ben. Will there ever be a sequel to The Christmas Throwaway, or is their story pretty well all said and done?
RJ: I get three questions all the time. Will there be a Sanctuary 8 (yes, later this year), will there be any more Texas (yes, Texas Wedding will happen when Texas recognizes gay marriage), and last but by no means least, will there be a sequel to The Christmas Throwaway.
Alongside The Heart Of Texas, Throwaway is my best selling book. I could write a sequel but it wouldn’t be right. I know, stop shouting at me, I said I would try and I even have a story for them… but… it just isn’t happening. Every time I start considering a sequel it just doesn’t seem right. So, my answer is maybe, one day, possibly, I might do… maybe.
TNA: Let’s talk a bit about your newest release, Max and the Prince. This is the third book in your Bodyguards Inc., series. What is it you find particularly romantic, sexy, appealing in general, about the relationships in these novels?
RJ: Oh, where do I start, sexy muscly bodyguards, all clever and tough and sighs… do you need me to go on… willing to take a bullet (or a knife!) for the men they are guarding. *Goes weak at the knees*. In the Ex-Factor I wrote an incredibly vulnerable character who needed a special kind of bodyguard, someone who would guard his body, but look after his heart as well. I’m sorry, but that is a win/win to me. :)
TNA: Tell us about Max and Prince Lucien. By virtue of Lucien’s royal status, would you call this an opposites attract story, or is it more the fairy tale of the royal falling for a commoner? What makes them work so well together as a couple?
RJ: Max is a down to earth guy, ex military, and often mistaken for being younger than he is, which means he’s ideal for the kind of *Jump Street* type assignment for younger charges. Lucien is only twenty two and he’s scared. He wanted the freedom of being at University without anyone knowing who he was, without an entourage, and for two years it’s been fine. Then the threats arrive. I suppose this is an opposites attract story, but yes, there is an element of a royal and a commoner… Lucien isn’t like a real royal, he doesn’t want the trappings, or the weight of responsibility, he just wants to be happy. We’ll have to see if Max can help out.
TNA: Would you like to share an excerpt from the book with us?
“Okay, let me understand this. You’re a Prince, royalty, but you imagined you could hide away and no one in the age of twitter and Facebook would put two and two together.”
“Prince is a title that’s all. My family doesn’t have the money one would think was attached to that. I’m maybe eightieth in line to the throne in the UK through my father’s side, but we’re not rich, in fact you could say we’re property rich, but cash poor.”
Max couldn’t get any of that to make sense. Why was someone blackmailing a family with no money, and wait, none of that answered his original question. “So why do you need a bodyguard.”
Lucien bit his lip. “I don’t think I do.” He held up a hand to stop Max talking at the very much to the point statement. “The threats,” he said. He passed over another envelope and this time Max pulled out everything. Eight separate letters in individual plastic wrappers with the stamp of Cardiff police on three of them and a familiar country name on the other. So that is where Prince Lucien comes from. “They’re in order,” he said. “The first five sent to my home before I moved here.”
Max read the first one, a love letter, albeit a short one. Nothing much that would ping his radar. The second was a little more insistent, suggesting Lucien maybe hadn’t received the first. The third was angry, the fourth was where it got interesting. Abruptly the writer was threatening to release photos if Lucien didn’t respond to the letters.
“The same photos I assume,” Max summarised as he turned to the next letter and answered his own question. Crudely stapled to the missive was a black and white print of the blurred image Max had just looked at. With the words, ‘you think I didn’t know, whore?’ written in block capitals.
Lucien pointed at the writing. “We had checks done on handwriting as soon as this one came in and the threat was more real. All of the letters are a match for the sloping t’s or r’s or something.”
The fifth and sixth letters were more of the same, and from the Cardiff stamp Max assumed Lucien had received the letter at University and not home. So, the threat had followed the Prince to his school in a completely different country. Not good.
Letter seven rambled on for two pages, all in capitals, talking of betrayal and forever and love and desire. Max put it to one side to examine it later in more detail. Maybe he could garner something useful from the seemingly incoherent rambling. And he knew he would look. Something about this whole job put him on edge and he would be telling Kyle that he’d take the job. The last letter was on different paper, a cheap stock from the weight of it, a threat and a demand.
Love me or die.
Just that. A simple sentence, four words that were stone cold in their finality and intent.
“So?” Lucien began. “My parents want me home, I’m in my last year, I want to stay and the deal is that I have security. They sent Teddy over—he’s the head of security at home. But, you’ve seen him with his best impression of a hairless Hagrid and if he’s with me, nothing will be the same. I need someone who will just be with me. Can you help me? Will you?”
Max glanced up from the letters to see the resignation on Lucien’s face. It was like he was expecting Max to say no. Vulnerability shadowed his eyes and he grasped his hands together so tight the skin was white. Max’s heart won out over his head. Lucien wasn’t arrogant or expecting Max to say yes, he was defenceless and scared.
“I’ll help you.”
TNA: If you were casting the roles of Max and Lucien for the movie version of Max and the Prince, whom would you choose to play them in the film?
RJ: Oh wow, that is a hard one… I don’t think I can even think of that one today as this is still a WIP as I write the answers here. Max is five nine with blond hair and blue eyes. Lucien is six foot with dark hair and really dark brown eyes… They both look around 22… so… maybe anyone reading this can suggest some names!
TNA: I mentioned Love Lane Books earlier. What was it that drew you into the publishing side of the business? How long has Love Lane existed, and how many authors do you currently publish?
RJ: Love Lane was created when I wrote my YA self published stories. Love Lane was the name of the road my first school was in, and it made sense as I write love stories. When *^&%”^% Publishing went tits up (English’ism) I decided to self publish all of my books from them (apart from Moments and Back Home which went to TB). Then, I had a few other authors who I loved and wanted to publish. Love Lane isn’t taking on authors, but we are slowly expanding with my writing and with existing authors. It’s been an exciting and daunting ride!
TNA: Would you like to share some information on what’s upcoming from both you and Love Lane in the near future?
RJ: I have SO MANY things happening this year. I have Undercover Lovers (Bodyguards 4, Ross and Kyle’s story), Deacons Law (Heroes 3), The Summer House which is the first in a new series of books set in the beautiful Cotswolds in England, Sanctuary 8, Sapphire Cay 6… see… a HUGE LIST… I’m also a featured speaker at the Euro Pride Con in Munich (meep), and am also attending GRL in San Diego and UK meet in Bristol. I have books coming out in Audio (April, Guarding Morgan) and translations (April, Guarding Morgan, French and Italian). See, a very busy year!
TNA: Many thanks for taking the time to be here with us today, RJ. Will you tell us where we can find you on the internet?
And Lisa, I have just one thing to say to you. Cheese.
TNA: LOL! Okay, full disclosure, guys. RJ threatened at one point to answer all my questions with the word Cheese. Now I can’t stop thinking about which cheeses she’d cast as Max and Lucien in the movie version of the book. ;-)
Book 1 – Bodyguard To A Sex God
Book 2 – The Ex Factor
Bodyguard Max Connery is used to being mistaken for being younger than he is.
Being carded every time he buys a beer is usual. Even though he’s just turned twenty eight and has two tours in Afghanistan as a pilot under his belt.
When a threat is made on the life of a prince attending University in the UK, Max is the perfect choice to blend in with students and to keep Prince Lucien safe. Even if it means joining the swim team to be by his side.
But, when death visits the University, abruptly this job is a long way past keeping the prince happy and safe. Instead Max has to keep Lucien alive.
Buy Links HERE
THE GIVEAWAY: A $15 Amazon or ARe Gift Card, Readers Choice!