We’re pleased to welcome author CJane Elliott to The Novel Approach today, to celebrate the release of her latest novel, Sex, Love, and Videogames. Enjoy CJane’s guest post, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an e-copy of a book in the Serpentine series.
Hi there. Thanks so much for having me on your blog today to talk about my newest book, Sex, Love, and Videogames, the third novel in the Serpentine Series. Each book is a standalone but the series has recurring characters. Sex, Love, and Videogames is the story of Jed Carter, who we first met in Serpentine Walls, and Charlie Ambrose, a new character to the series.
The Serpentine Series is set in and around the University of Virginia. That fact is already known but what you might not know is that some of the events of Serpentine Walls came straight out of my life when I was in college, specifically Pete’s meeting with Professor R on the steps of the old amphitheatre, and the family divorce saga.
In Sex, Love, and Videogames, I made up the coffee shop, Higher Grounds, and the artist collective and C’Ville Queer Alliance. I created the kind of community groups and spaces that I would like to see. I have no idea if something like them exists in Charlottesville today, but it would be great if they did.
The Serpentine Series comes from the title of the first novel, Serpentine Walls. The University of Virginia campus was designed by Thomas Jefferson and he included these wavy brick walls called serpentine walls that enclose the formal gardens behind the stately faculty houses. I liked the allusion to those actual walls. But the title also alludes to the walls we build around our hearts and the fact that there’s no straight path to figuring ourselves out and letting love in.
Sex, Love, and Videogames was a brainstorm I had as I was trying to figure out a title for Jed and Charlie’s story. It’s loosely based on the title of a Steven Soderbergh movie, Sex, Lies, and Videotapes. I was thinking about how Jed wants something more than sex and videogames (which is what he had with Pete, the guy he’s with before Charlie). What Jed wants is love. The title popped into my head and I went with it
Q:) Your main character wants to cook something for his love interest. What does he make?
A:) I’m laughing because neither Jed nor Charlie are much of a cook. Charlie hasn’t had to be because his grandmother, Granny Myrt, is a wonderful cook. But since Jed and Charlie move in together in Richmond to attend Virginia Commonwealth University at the end of the story, they now have to fend for themselves. I can see a cute scene in which Jed asks Granny Myrt for her macaroni and cheese recipe so he can surprise Charlie with it
Q.) What do you think makes a good story?
A.) In romance, one in which the characters are believable, which includes their internal struggles and motivations. An interesting plot is great but I don’t need a lot of plot, as long as the characters are taking an emotional journey that feels true and the resolution is satisfying. That usually means they have learned something or overcome something in order to get to the happy ending.
Q.) What does your family think of your writing?
A.) It took me a long while to “come out” to my family about my writing. I told my husband first and he was fine about it. One of my older sisters was next. I remember going on a long car ride with her and telling her the plot of my first novella – like almost acting out the scenes – and her being enthralled. My younger sister belongs to a “born again” Christian church so it took me longer to tell her, but she didn’t bat an eyelash, nor did my mother. The major hurdle for me was my father. I had no intentions of sharing my writing with him. But Dad insisted and persisted until I finally sent him a story. Thus began the oddest and most wonderful email exchange in which my 85-year old father would ask me questions like “What is a twink?” When my first novel was published, I sent him a paperback copy with no qualms. He passed away about a year ago and I’m so glad I was able to share my writing with him while he was alive.
Blurb: Shy guy Jed Carter has always felt invisible next to his charismatic older brother, Kent. Kent’s master plan for Jed is simple: University of Virginia, business, sports, and ladies’ man. None of it is Jed, except for playing on the rugby team, which he joins in defiance of soccer-loving Kent. Jed comes out in his sophomore year and starts seeing Pete, an attractive junior, who uses him for sex and videogames. Jed wants more—in life and in love—and starts making his own plans. First on the list: getting to know Charlie, the handsome guy working at the local videogame arcade.
Charlie Ambrose has always felt like an oddball, and not just for his tendency to stutter. Being gay sets him apart from his African-American community, and as a “townie,” he doesn’t fit in with the college crowd. Charlie’s inspiration is his cousin, Morocco, who’s transgender and doesn’t give a fig about fitting in. Art is Charlie’s passion, and when a local videogame designer discovers him, Charlie’s living a dream. The only thing he’s missing is love. But the last person Charlie expects to find it with is a cute, white U.Va. rugby player named Jed.
About the Author: After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.
In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.
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