4 Stars for The Next Call by Sue Brown (Author Interview) – #Sports #MM #Romance @suebrownstories

NextCall[The]FS

Title: The Next Call
Author Name: Sue Brown
Publication Date & Length: February 4, 2015 – 169 pgs

Synopsis

Mark Grayson volunteers for an LGBT helpline, the same one that helped him through his teenage years. One day he takes a call from “Ricky,” a suicidal man being forced into a marriage he doesn’t want. For weeks Mark talks to Ricky and provides support, but he’s frustrated by the lack of information Ricky provides and the decisions he’s making. In the meantime, Mark starts a relationship with another volunteer. Then tragedy strikes and Mark takes time away from the helpline, but when he comes back, Ricky is waiting. Mark realizes Ricky is stronger than before and their relationship changes, but Mark isn’t sure what their future holds if their relationship is destined to be at the end of the phone.

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Review

FourStars

This was an engaging novel that held my interest throughout. For the most part, I liked the main characters and it was easy to root for them.
The one very, very big thing that I disliked was the “bi until gay” trope. Ricky makes it clear in the prologue that he still likes girls, even though he also likes boys. I was excited to see the potential for a bisexual character. But Mark constantly pressures him, refers to him as gay, and refuses to accept any alternative. This is horrible, especially when he does it in the context of the lgbt helpline. I was very frustrated when Ricky finally gave in and said he was gay. This plays into some really awful stereotypes about bisexual people: That it’s a waystation to gay, that they don’t exist, and that bisexual men would not face the issues “real” gay men do. The novel could have been told without any of that (Ricky could still have been closeted and gotten married) or it could have been told as a bisexual story (he could simply not have been in love with the woman picked for him). I wish all of that had been left out.
On the positive side, the story was very well-written, and the pressures of being famous and closeted were handled well. I also liked the sensitivity of the part dealing with Mark’s grief and loss. It was done with nuance and compassion. Readers should be aware that this takes up a large part of the middle of the book, and the thread continues to a small degree for the rest of the story.
There was plenty of humor and lots of nicely steamy moments all through. Despite my frustration over the poor treatment of bisexuality, I otherwise really enjoyed this.
4 stars
Amy

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AuthorInterview

  • Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like? The messy house, I am too embarrassed to describe that. I’m sitting on the sofa with my two dogs snoring next to me. Also Starbucks, the library, the member’s bar of the Royal Festival Hall, Clare London’s back garden, and anywhere that serves coffee really.
  • Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why? Nathan from Nothing Ever Happens. At the time I wrote the story my life was in chaos. I guess the book reflected the emotional turmoil I was feeling. He’s probably one of the least likeable of my characters, but he’s got a lot to deal with.
  • If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead? Hmmm, I’d like to get more involved in the publishing side of things. I love the process of bring a book together.
  • Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand? Promote, promote, promote. I screwed up my first year as an author by not realizing that. I think now, four years on, there are more blogs open to new authors than before. It’s not easy to take that first step to put yourself out there but taking the plunge is amazing. Writing the book is the easy part.
  • Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out? No point wishing that. It’s a recipe for feeling bad about it. The Next Call is an unconventional book and I love it all the more for that.
  • How do you come up with new ideas for your story? People always ask me that and the answer is a combination of life and my crazy brain.
  • What’s next for you as a writer? I want to get a Regency series, a cowboy series and a crime series written, as well as complete my shifter series.
  • Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write? I live on the outskirts of Greater London. I’ve taken to setting more books in the UK, and recently around where I live. It’s very sedate and quiet here, which I guess does influence me. I don’t tend to write with a city buzz.
  • What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why? I haven’t read outside the genre for years because there are so many sub-genres to choose from. Romance is a bit of misnomer really. Currently I’m on an MM crime/thriller/murder-mystery fest, which is really what I read before MM. That and fantasy.
  • Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc? Chocolate, coffee and books. Keep me well supplied with those three things and I’m a very happy Sue. Not shopping could be considered a vice of mine. Amazon is my friend.

AuthorBio

Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot and has gotten expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

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