Today we’re so pleased to have Maggie Kavanagh with us to introduce her new novel, Inner Sanctum, the sequel to Double Indemnity and book two of the Stonebridge Mysteries. Enjoy Maggie’s guest post and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an e-copy of Double Indemnity or Inner Sanctum, winner’s choice.
On Writing Sequels and Romance
(This post includes minor spoilers for the first book in the series, Double Indemnity.)
As a new author, especially in the romance genre, writing a series is not always advisable. People read romance mostly for the completion of the romance arc. Once a couple is together, whether it is HFN or HEA, there needs to be investment to keep the reader interested. When I finished writing Double Indemnity, however, I knew I wanted to continue with Sam and Nathan’s story. I knew this mainly because the characters kept talking to me. As every writer knows, you need to listen when this happens: otherwise they never shut up.
We leave Sam and Nathan at the end of Double Indemnity in a happy for now situation, and I wanted to continue to develop their relationship, which is very complex. There is of course the element of power dynamics both inside and outside of the bedroom. While Nathan might be read as the more dominant character, he is also an incredibly caring and attentive partner; Sam is independent and headstrong as well as submissive. I wanted to see how they would continue to negotiate their relationship as it deepened from attraction to love: how do these two men build trust and intimacy when they have both had difficulty with these things in the past?
Another thing I wanted to continue exploring was Sam’s personal development. In many ways, this series is Sam’s story first, since it is told through his point of view. Though he has come a long way by the start of Inner Sanctum from where he began in Double Indemnity, he still has many hurdles to face. In the first book, he is learning to be an investigative journalist while battling with some pretty heavy personal demons; in this book, he takes a much more proactive role as he becomes more serious about his political blog. The mystery (and his handling of it) forces him to confront some things about himself he doesn’t particularly want to admit, but the crisis is itself an opportunity for growth. He becomes a better person, writer, and partner.
Still, we’re not quite done yet! There will be one last installation in Sam and Nathan’s story, Blind Spot, which will be out this winter. I hope you enjoy Inner Sanctum and stay tuned for the final chapter in their story.
Author: Maggie Kavanagh
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pub date: September 14, 2015
Blurb: Six months into a relationship, things have heated up between political blogger Sam Flynn and FBI special agent Nathan Walker. Though Sam is happy with Nathan and proud of his own sobriety, he’s anxious about what their future holds. Things are also heating up in Stonebridge, Connecticut, as a series of deadly fires puts the community on edge and eventually threatens Sam’s comatose brother. As Halloween approaches, fears rise that the arsonist will strike again.
When Sam encounters the main suspect, seventeen-year-old orphan Damon Blake, Sam’s not sure what to do. He knows obstruction might land him in jail, but he finds himself increasingly skeptical of Damon’s guilt. He takes matters into his own hands and investigates, but doing so means keeping Damon’s whereabouts a secret from Nathan and the police. Meanwhile, Nathan wonders what Sam is hiding and grapples with insecurities of his own. Sam wants to confide in Nathan, and Nathan wants to trust Sam, but they discover negotiating new love can be as dangerous as solving crime.
Excerpt: Nathan rested his head in Sam’s lap, and Sam dragged his hands through Nathan’s soft, almost black hair, which was subtly peppered with premature gray. Nathan closed his eyes and nearly purred when Sam rubbed his scalp. Sam chuckled.
“What’s so funny?” Nathan murmured.
“I was thinking. It’s no wonder you like cats so much. You practically are one.”
Nathan opened one eye. “Then I hope you like cats more than you pretend to.”
“I like this one.” He scritched again, and Nathan sighed and nestled closer. His long body took up the entire sofa.
After a few minutes, Nathan said, “My mother used to massage my scalp when I was sick.” The show they’d been half watching ended, and Sam flicked off the TV. It was nice being alone and quiet with Nathan. He could smell Nathan’s aftershave and his sandalwood-scented shampoo as he scratched.
“Were you sick a lot?”
“Not really. But some of my favorite memories are of being sick. Like the time I had chicken pox, and I had to stay home from school for a week. I don’t remember how awful it felt, but I do remember my mother singing to me in Italian and stroking my hair. Isn’t that strange?”
Sam held his breath. Nathan rarely spoke about his childhood. “No. I don’t think it’s strange. You never told me you were Italian.” He had often suspected it, though, in spite of Nathan’s English-sounding last name.
Nathan nodded. “My mother is Italian and Lebanese. She lived in Rome until she was fifteen.”
“That’s awesome. Have you ever been?”
“A few times. My grandmother lives in Switzerland, but she has a house in Rome.” Nathan wrinkled his nose like he expected Sam to chastise him for coming from a wealthy family. Sam’s family hadn’t exactly been poor, but there was no denying the difference in their backgrounds. And Nathan wasn’t one to flaunt his money—much.
“Any time you want to whisk me away to a sunny Roman villa, I’m A-OK with it,” Sam joked.
Nathan turned to look up at him. His content expression softened his patrician features, making him seem vulnerable. Sam’s heart swelled again, thinking how lucky he was that Nathan trusted him. He figured he might as well ask another question while he had the chance.
“What was it like growing up in California? I’ve never been.”
Nathan seemed to weigh his answer. A line formed between his dark eyebrows. “It was always perfect. The weather, the people. At least on the outside. I grew up thinking everyone had a comfortable life.”
Sam remembered the boy with the sad eyes in the few photographs Nathan kept from the country house he shared with Emma. There was definitely more to his story than he’d admitted.
Author Bio: Maggie Kavanagh writes gay romances that explore flawed, human characters finding love. She went to graduate school for English literature and reads and writes voraciously, whenever she can get a moment alone. You can find her in the wee morning hours typing away with coffee at hand and cat in lap, happily embodying the romance writer cliché.
While she focuses mainly on contemporary romance, don’t be surprised if a historical or supernatural tale slips into the mix, as she’s always eager to discover different genres. More fiction is forthcoming soon, so stay tuned!
Join Maggie during her Inner Sanctum Blog Tour at the following stops:
Carly’s Book Reviews—Monday, September 14
The Novel Approach—Wednesday, September 16
Diverse Reader—Friday, September 18
Prism Book Alliance—Monday, September 21
MM Good Book Reviews—Tuesday, September 22
Keysmash Blog—Wednesday, September 23
Joyfully Jay—Thursday, September 24
Sinfully Sexy—Friday, September 25