Friday, July 25, 2014

Friend Friday - Jeff Adams

Hello all, I hope you've had a great week. We are back for our second installment of FRIEND FRIDAYS. Is this exciting? Are yo unlocking forward to featured guests? I hope so.

Today's guess is JEFF ADAMS. I met Jeff and his husband Will at GRL last year. They were in line behind me and I couldn't remember right away why the name "Jeff Adams" rang a bell. I will tell you, meeting people in person when you've only interacted online, can be disorienting. It was hard to connect the two points in my brain. JEFF AND I HAD INTERACTED ONLINE, but my mind wasn't getting it. Then it clicked, but I don't even think I talked to Jeff and Will much until after I left Atlanta. Sadly. But we then reconnected in New York and went for drinks with our friend Lynn. GOOD TIMES. And in Tampa there was much more time to get to know each other.



This is a picture from Rainbow Con :) I love the two of them to death and I can't wait to see them in October!

Jeff is here today to talk about his new book: HAT TRICK 2: PLAYING THE REBOUND




Like before with Sue Brown… I asked Jeff some interview questions to get our audience familiar with a talented writer and my wonderful friend. Here is what JEFF ADAMS had to say…..

JEFF: I’m thrilled to be here as part of Wade’s new series of “Friend Fridays.” She asked me a lot of great questions, and hopefully my answers are good. If you have any questions, please ask in the comments. I’ll stop back and answer those too. And, for the commenters, Wade will randomly pick one commenter to receive an e-book of either Hat Trick or Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound (winner’s choice).

(* Did you notice that, fans? JEFF is giving away an eBook. Don't miss out. COMMENT TO WIN!)

ME: What inspires your writing?

JEFF: This isn’t an easy question to answer because inspiration for my stories come from any number of places. The initial idea for the Hat Trick series came because of three teens I met at hockey practice. Another idea cropped up because of a charity bike ride I do each year from Boston to New York. Still another came because I’m a major fan of So You Think You Can Dance

I make a lot of notes in my phone or a notebook, whichever is more accessible, any time as I get inspirational ideas.

ME: When did you start writing m/m romance?

JEFF: I started in mid-2009. I wrote a short for Dreamspinner based on a call for their holiday anthology. I didn’t get into the anthology, but they did take the story as a standalone short (Rivals has since gone out of print, but may resurface one day). As time’s gone on I’ve shifted more to writing young adult/new adult because stories about young people finding themselves and their first loves/early loves are ones I quite enjoy.

ME: WOW, I DIDN'T REALIZE WE BASICALLY STARTED OUR CAREERS (WRITING) AT THE SAME TIME! LOL. I was IN that anthology and mine is out of print now, but we were both contracted at the same time. HAHAH. Learn something new every day! :)

Another question… ME: Are you a full time author?


JEFF: No. It’s certainly the end goal to write full time. I work a full-time job as an internet project manager, and I typically write in the early mornings, during lunch or any other time I can squeeze it in. Someday, if I’m lucky, it will all be about writing.

ME: Who is your favorite author?

JEFF: This is such a tough question. I’m going to have to give you more than one. Geoffrey Knight tells a great story and I’m a huge fan of his Fathom's Five series, which are sexy Indiana Jones/James Bond style stories. Z.A. Maxfield can melt my heart, especially with the St. Nacho’s books. My host, Wade Kelly, bowled me over with her forthcoming  Names Can Never Hurt Me. Clare London is always divine. Stephani Hecht and the duo of T.A. Chase & Devon Rhodes are near and dear to me because they work hockey players into some of their stories. 

I have a special place in my heart for the young adult/new adult genre these days and I have to shout out some of my favorites there too: Jeff Erno, Bill Konigsberg, David Levithan. Great stories all around.

And I know there’re authors that I’m not calling out that I should, so hopefully that won’t get me in trouble.

ME: I'm flattered to even be in the same sentence with ZA! Not to mention Geoff, Clare, Stephani, T.A. & Devon, Jeff Erno, Bill Konigsberg, David Levithan. :)

ME again: How many books have you written so far?

JEFF: I’ve got two novels and a short story in the Hat Trick series from JMS Books. 
I’ve also got two short stories The Adventures of Jake #1 from JMS books 
and The Dancer and Sexy Big Man from Dreamspinner as well as my novella Bicycle Built for Two. from Dreamspinner.

ME: Tell us a little about your new novel, Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound.

JEFF: Hat Trick 2 picks up about 18 months after the original novel. Simon and Alex are now sophomores at the University of Michigan (in the first book, they were seniors in high school). In addition to celebrating their two year anniversary, the couple have to deal with Simon’s father and brother. These two caused a lot of trouble in Hat Trick (without giving away spoilers for those who haven’t read) and now Simon’s father is ill and wants to talk.

We’ll also see Simon working in his new major, social work, as he interns at the Ann Arbor LGBT Center. I’m particularly pleased with this part of the book because it really points the way for the kind of man Simon will grow up to be. There’s also someone attacking gay and bi students on campus and that’s will have an impact on Simon and Alex.

ME: How long did it take you to complete it?

JEFF: Hat Trick 2 took about a year. The original idea for the book came to me during the original book’s six year writing time. At one point, I’d put Hat Trick’s manuscript aside, but I had the idea for a short story that would bring some additional closure to Simon’s (he’s the lead character) family that wasn’t going to be handled in the novel. I banged out a draft for a short and then went back to the novel. As the novel was getting ready to come out in summer 2013, I came up with the idea to take the short and expand it into a novel-sized sequel. Luckily, many readers said they wanted a sequel so I’m happy I already had a story in mind.

Me: I'm glad there are other authors that take a year to write a novel :) It makes me feel more normal.

ME: Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?

JEFF: I’ve got to go with two favorites. 

I love writing Simon, the lead character and narrator. He’s been a voice in my head for many years now and as he’s grown from being a senior in high school to a sophomore in college (and on to being a college senior in the work-in-progress of Hat Trick 3), I’m still finding new facets to him. 

Jakob, who is a new character in Hat Trick 2, became a favorite. Simon meets the fourteen year old at the LGBT Center. Simon is an intern there and Jakob is in the youth group. I enjoyed creating a younger character, someone who knows exactly who he is, but is figuring out how to safely come out. I wish I could’ve been as confident as Jakob is when I was his age.

ME: How much of yourself did you manifest into your favorite character?

JEFF: Not as much in this book.

With Simon, there are some aspects of me lurking in there and in this book there are some parts of him that match who I wish I was. His move to a major of social work in Hat Trick 2 is a path I wish I’d gone down in college. As I get older, I’ve realized the importance of being of service with professions like social work. I dabble in this area with some of my volunteer work, but I truly admire people who undertake these jobs full time and I’m honored to call some of them friends. They are underappreciated, similar to teachers, but they are crucial to so many in our society. I’m glad, at least in a fictional world, Simon is building future in that profession.

ME: When someone reads Hat Trick 2, what do you hope they gain from reading it?

JEFF: There are a few things I hope come through. With the entire series I want readers to see how good things can be when you show your true self to the world and the strength that can be found in good friends and teammates. Specifically in this book there are messages about finding closure and stepping up to help people that I hope resonate with the readers.

ME: Ironically, I am also writing about "closure" in my WIP. Great minds think alike :)

ME: Can you share four things you’ve learned about the business? 

JEFF: 1) Find out how authors you admire do what they do. I love conversations with authors about their process. I always learn something great. 2) Find good beta readers. They can’t be yes-men. They have to give you honest, constructive feedback and you have to not take it personally. It’s ultimately up to you what you do with the feedback, but the information is valuable. 3) Write more! The more you write, the more you’ll be able to publish, and the more chances people have to discover your work. 4) It should go without saying, but always be courteous, whether it’s with a publisher, fellow author, blogger, reader or whoever. It makes everything easier when everyone uses their manners.

ME: These are ALL extremely good points of advice. TAKE HEED aspiring authors, Jeff knows what he's talking about!! *I need to do more of #3! :p

ME: How do you keep your creative "spark" alive?

JEFF: By trying to use it every day. My preference is to write every day, whether it’s a little or a lot because it helps keep me going. I also carry something to write in no matter where I go, whether it’s my phone, tablet or a notebook, I’ve got something to write ideas in when they come up, or even to work on manuscripts (mobile technology is awesome for that).

ME: What is your suggestion or piece of advice to new and upcoming writers?

JEFF: It connects to what I said above. Keep writing! If it’s what you want to do, you’ll find the time to do it. And no matter what, keep going. Find the publishers that publish what you write, or go the self publishing route. Keep writing, keep learning so you improve your writing, and get your words out there!

ME: Where we can find you on the Internet?

Hat Trick website: http://www.HatTrickNovel.com


ME: Could you please share your favorite excerpt from Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound with us?

JEFF: Sure. This snippet has a couple of my favorite moments in it. Simon and Alex, along with their friends Hillary and Mimi, are having dinner and the talk turns to Simon’s work at Ann Arbor’s LGBT Center.

“How’s things at the community center?” Hillary asked. “Still loving it?”
“Completely” I said with too much food in my mouth. I paused to swallow before I went on. “There’s so much interesting stuff going on there. This week I sat in on support sessions for adults with HIV and prevention sessions for youth. It’s the first time I’ve observed those groups and it’s been quite an education. Youth group is still what I love most though. When I was in my early teens, I wasn’t out to myself. But here’s a group of kids, almost a dozen of them, who are out. For some it’s only within the safety of the group, but they all seem to know exactly who they are.” 
I was starting to worry that I might monopolize the conversation, but everyone seemed interested so I took a swig of my drink and continued.
“And with National Coming Out Day this month, there’s a lot of discussion about what it means to be out. Even with the group being so young, they’re sharply divided. Some, especially the older ones, feel like everyone should just be out. But others say it’s not that easy and that coming out has to be on their own terms, and only when the circumstances are right. There’s one guy that’s out to his family, but they are worried about what might happen if he comes out to his friends or the rest of his school. It makes for some heated debates.”
“What? You lost me,” Hillary said. “This kid is out to his parents and goes to this group, but they don’t want him to be out to anyone else?”
“Exactly. His mom, in particular, is worried he’ll get beat up or worse, even though he very much wants to be out and done with it.” I paused to drink more soda. “You guys are making me talk way too much.”
“Sorry, but it’s interesting,” Hillary said. “Once I was out, that was it. I never considered making it a selective thing. It’d be too hard to keep track of who knows and who doesn’t.”
“I can say from experience that hiding sucks,” I said.
“I’ve done the selectivity thing a couple times, and he’s right, it sucks,” Alex said. “I’m glad that’s behind me…us…now.”
“I tried to keep my coming out just to some close friends,” Mimi said. “But, someone overheard, told their parents and they told my mom. Talk about a mess. She wasn’t mad I was a lesbian, she was mad because she’d heard it from someone else.”
“These young people have to make hard choices and ask us for guidance all the time, and the best answer we can give them is to do what feels right and safe. Sometimes, unfortunately, with the society we live in, silence is the right answer.”
I caught Alex staring and smiling. I raised an eyebrow at him.
“I love how you talk about this,” he said “You’re so passionate about what you’re doing, and learning. You never talked about poly sci like this.” He leaned over and kissed my cheek. “Every day he’s there, he comes home and talks about what he did and there’s so much excitement and energy. It’s awesome. I hope I’m like this when I start working in my field.”
He’d never used “home” in that context before. Usually our room was referred to as just that—“the room” or “our room.”
“Home” usually meant parent’s house. But just now “home” meant our place. Maybe I was making too much out of it. But this moment felt very important. Almost like the first time he said “I love you.”
“Working at the rec center is good and all, but…” He stopped and studied me. “What? Did I say something wrong?”
He looked concerned. Apparently my expression didn’t convey what I was thinking. I smiled as I searched for the right words.
“Home.” I paused, quickly sorting my thoughts. “I don’t think you’ve ever called our room that. Home sounds more…More than just a dorm.”
We stared at each other and he gave me his soft, sweet smile.
“Home is wherever you are. Wherever we are. Right now it’s a dorm room. Someday it’ll be an apartment or a house. Whatever it is, it’ll be home.”
“I love you so much.”
It was awkward sitting in the booth, but I managed to wrap him in a hug and kiss him. It was more kiss than we usually do in public, but it was necessary.
“Seriously guys? Public place,” Hillary said, sarcastically. 
We pulled back in time to see Mimi punch her in the shoulder.
“Way to wreck a moment, Hill.” She punched her again for emphasis.
“Ow!” Hillary rubbed her shoulder.
It was funny watching the smaller Mimi punch the bigger Hillary. I kept the laugh to myself though since I didn’t want Mimi coming after me next.
“That was so sweet,” Mimi said, causing Alex to have a rare blushing moment.
“It’s true though,” he said, focusing his attention on me. “I realized it coming back from summer break. Home is where we are, together. My parent’s house is their home, it’s not really mine anymore.”
“What’s the right way for me to say I agree with that?” I asked. “It’s not like ‘I love you,’ which has a clear response.”
“You’ve responded perfectly,” Alex said, followed by a quick kiss.
“We need to celebrate this revelation,” Mimi said 
“And your call back,” I said. “Coffee and cupcakes all around before we hit the books?”
We all nodded in agreement. The best place near campus for that was Big Blue Bean so we finished up the pizza and headed out for a sugar and caffeine fix.


THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR STOPPING BY JEFF!!!

This has been the second installment of FRIEND FRIDAYS. I hope you will continue to stop by and see what other authors have to say! Next up is another dear friend, Gregory Payne!

EXTRA: Here's a fun fact about Jeff... He and Will appear in Elisa Rolle's upcoming NON-Fiction book: Days of Love. I would have bought her novel just because she wrote it (and she is a lovely person inside and out), but added fun of my friends being included in the pages makes the book even more exciting! 


Together for 20 years! :)

…………..

Don't forget, comment below to have a chance at winning a copy of Hat Trick, or Hat Trick 2. And come back next week to see what Greg has to say.

NAMES CAN NEVER HURT ME comes out in 18 days. It is over at DREAMSPINNER PRESS for Pre-Order! Get your copy now. Dreamspinner gives a free ebook with the purchase of paperback and I signed vellum sheet inserts for the first 20 paperbacks sold. I begin my blog tour on August 4th over at Joyfully Jay. If you want excerpts, I will be listing excerpts of NAMES and talking about WHY I wrote certain things. Next week, probs Monday, I'll list my blog stops and let you know what might be happening there. If you have any questions, leave a comment or ask me directly. :)

Ciao for Now.

Wade

FYI, the comment contest to win the eBook closes at 11:59pm ET Monday… :)





26 comments:

  1. great interview!
    thanks for the chance

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  2. Enjoy the interview so much! Thank you!

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  3. Thank you for stopping by!! I'm sure when Jeff stops by (West coast being on a different zone than ME) he'll be thrilled ! :) Invite your friends … heehee

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  4. Nice interview and congratulations on the new release. Jeff certainly has a wide variety of inspirations.

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  5. Good morning everyone! Thanks for stopping by so early in the day. Lee, Iyana, Debra, good luck in the drawing. I'll stop in throughout the day to see if anyone has questions and such.
    Thanks again, Wade, for having me over. It's great to be here.

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  6. Jeff seems a lovely and funny friend of yours, Wade. I hope to win his book, thank you!

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    1. Jeff IS a fun guy. :) and so far you have 1 in 6 chance to win. :p

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Marisan. Good luck in the drawing!

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  7. that was really fun. thanks for sharing, it's always fun to read about how other author create a book, and seeing that it isn't that different from me.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Bronwyn. I agree, I love reading about other authors too. Very glad Wade is doing this series. Sue's last week was also great.

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  8. I'd love to know more things about Simon :) mevalem258ATgmailDOTcom

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    1. Great! Thanks for stopping by Loren. Good luck in the drawing!

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  9. Thank you all for commenting!! contest going on until monday

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  10. Friend Fridays great idea!
    Thanks Jeff for sharing with us! You're a new to me author...I'm excited to go check out what you have out there!

    Rissa

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    1. Great to meet you, Rissa. Hope you enjoy what you find as you check out my titles. Good luck in the drawing!

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  11. I love finding new authors :)

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    1. And I'm happy to be found, Debbie! :)

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  12. LOL thank you for the fan fact and advanced "spotlight", indeed Jeff and Will were among the first to answer my "call". Elisa

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    1. And we're honored to be included in such an amazing book!

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  13. Debra E!!!! Wade tells me you're the lucky winner of the drawing. Please let me know what format you want and where to send it and I'll get HT2 right over to you.

    Congrats!!!! Jeff

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    1. Thanks Jeff! Mobi format to debdeege (at) optonline (dot) net would be great. I'm looking forward to reading it. :)

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    2. Sorry for that delay. The book is on the way right now. Congrats again!

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