Dustin likes the closet. It’s warm, comfy, and dark. Who needs to be out when you can get all the anonymous sex you want via the internet? And, besides, coming out is messy and gets you nowhere—certainly not a relationship. Real gay love is fiction.
When Dustin meets CollegeJock22 for a quick blow-and-go in the university library men’s room, everything he thought he knew crumbles. He can’t get that man out of his head and will do almost anything to have him. The only problem? CollegeJock22 is even more in the closet than Dustin. He’s in so deep he can’t even see the crack of light under the door.
Damn. I was all set to read some nice boy-boy porn-without-plot when THIS came along. There's an actual story in here? Huh.
And oh, what a story. This is a short book—coming* in at under 150 pages—but the characters were well-
I did raise my eyebrows at the speed with which everything took place. It's something that I see consistently in Young Adult and New Adult fiction: the timelines are short and it's all over prematurely***.
* see what I did there?
** and there?
*** I crack myself up
Let's Meet the Author!
Thank you so much for joining us here today! Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about Autumn Fire?
First of all, thanks for having me here! I appreciate the opportunity to come by and talk about my work. My name, as I guess is apparently already, is Cameron D. James, and I live in Canada. I currently work at a GLBT community resource centre by day and I’m pursuing my masters through online studies at night. Somewhere in the midst of all of that I manage to fit in some time to write.
Autumn Fire is my first publication. It’s a New Adult m/m erotic romance, released by Carnal Passions this past July 2nd. It’s a love story between Dustin and Kyle, two young men at a Toronto university. The only problem? Both are in the closet and don’t want to come out, and thus can’t have a relationship. Dustin tries to get over it by escaping into the world of anonymous hookup sex, in an effort to forget about Kyle’s loving touches, but no matter what he tries, he can’t get over the man.
Who does your book appeal to? Who is your target audience?
It’s been classified by some people as a New Adult book, which means that it features characters in the 18-26 age range, which tends to be a crucial transitional period in life—and Dustin and Kyle are certainly in that stage. As a New Adult book, part of its target audience is those in the new adult age range, 18-26. But that’s like saying adults can’t read Harry Potter because it’s a children’s book, or adults can’t read Twilight because it’s a YA book. I firmly believe that Autumn Fire can be enjoyed by all age ranges. So far, the wonderful reviews I’ve received have been from people not in that age range (I’m trying my hardest not to call people old!).
And for gender? Well, the biggest readership of m/m erotic romance titles are women, so definitely women would be my target audience. Since this is a New Adult title, then another target audience would be young gay men, who might be going through some of the same experiences.
::nodding:: I can verify that straight women are big fans of m/m smexy times. Tell us about the experience of writing this book. What were the challenges?
My biggest challenge was figuring out what makes a plot. Prior to this, I was writing Science Fiction, and in there, I have whole worlds at stake, massive political upheaval, and secret conspiracies. Autumn Fire is about two young men at university who fall in love... I can’t blow things up to create dramatic tension.
So I took a step back. When I write, no matter the genre, I start with developing solid characters and I find the story flows from there. Once I followed my own advice, Autumn Fire began to piece together. There was definitely a learning process in there, but in the end, I’m proud of what I created. I really like Autumn Fire and I hope my readers do, too.
Tell us about your main character, Dustin, and some of the challenges he faces.
Dustin is a character that thinks he knows what he wants, but then finds out he’s completely wrong. He’s built walls around himself: he’s closeted; he gets anonymous sex through online hookups when he needs it; and he doesn’t want a relationship. He’s grown up believing that gay romance—true gay love—does not exist; that a gay couple is really nothing more than two roommates that sometimes have sex.
But when Dustin meets Kyle, everything Dustin thinks he knows shatters. Suddenly, he’s confronted with deep feelings for another man and the way he used to live his life holds absolutely no appeal for him anymore. He’s in major crisis mode where he doesn’t know what’s true or what’s real; he has to figure himself out all over again.
I love how Dustin and Kyle grow into themselves throughout the book. How do your characters relate to your plot? Are they separate from it or integral?
For my plot in Autumn Fire—and in anything I write—characters are everything. If I didn’t have these characters, then my story would collapse like a house of cards. The characters, their interactions, their issues, their feelings, their desires... everything about them is absolutely integral to the plot. I love reading books like this, where the characters drive everything, so it’s no surprise I end up writing such books.
Do you want to leave your readers with any final thoughts or comments?
I think my only final comment would be that I truly appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to write and publish this book through Carnal Passions. And so that means my number one job—above anything else—is to please my readers. I want to make them happy they’ve picked up Autumn Fire. I want to make them feel a range of emotions as they go through the story, to get involved with the characters and their lives, and to blush when it gets to the good parts. I tried to make it steamy hot, and from what people have told me so far, it’s super steamy.
And, once again, thank you for hosting me here on your blog. I’m very grateful for the
Ahem...yes...well...the steamy parts were more than sufficient. Thank you again for stopping by, Cameron D. James. It was great speaking with you today.