Please welcome the fabulous S.A. Ozment who’s been kind enough to answer a few questions. She’s also sharing an excerpt from her upcoming release, Illusions! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
What was the most challenging part of writing this story?
Illusions is my first book, so everything seemed a bit challenging in the beginning. Probably the most difficult thing in this story was finding exactly the right way to end it. I ran through several scenarios in my head before finally deciding on one that I liked. I hope it was the right choice.
What are you working on now?
My second book Demons was very emotional for me therefore, I want my next novel to be all about fun and fluff with a bit of romance. I have several ideas, I just need to pick one and run with it.
Why did you decide to write M/M Romance?
I discovered m/m romance when I started watching Queer as Folk about 10 years ago. I fell in love with Brian and Michael and wanted the two of them to have a happily ever after together. However, it wasn’t until I discovered “Chrolli” that I wanted to actually write a love story. “Chrolli” is the story of Christian and Oliver in the German soap opera, “Verbotene Liebe”, which means “Forbidden Love”. I found them one day on You Tube in 2008 and fell in love. When I say that is a beautiful love story, I mean it’s a BEAUTIFUL love story. The entire storyline in on YouTube and it’s subtitled in several languages. It was very popular for a long time. I became friends with Jo Weil (Oliver) as well as the wonderful man who wrote the story, Tom Chroust. After watching that amazing story, all I wanted to do was write my own beautiful love story.
What did you enjoy most about writing this story?
I’m a big fan of anything Hollywood and I enjoyed sharing some things that I had seen and heard from various people through the years. When I wrote about the studios, I recalled going to Paramount Studios and visiting some of the Roswell cast. A lot of what Skylar has to say is from things I have heard my actor friends say in the past or some of the behind the scenes stories that they have shared. It was a lot of fun for me to write.
What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter, a pantser, or both?
I don’t usually plan anything. For example, when I started Illusions, I had no idea that there would be an arsonist involved. That just happened. I started writing the book because I wanted to tell a story about an actor falling in love with non-celebrity person. After a while, the book started to write itself. Honestly, there would be times when I didn’t know, until my fingers started typing, what would happen next. It was all very strange to me, the entire process of Illusions.
How did it feel to sign that first contract?
It was the most surreal feeling. When I started writing “Illusions”, I had just been laid off from my job of twenty-two years and I was frustrated at the job hunting process. Once I started writing, I quickly realized that it very therapeutic. While it felt great to write and be able to say anything I wanted on paper, I never once thought about the story being published. An author friend of mine suggested that I send it to Dreamspinner. When they accepted the manuscript, I jumped up and down. It was a fantastic feeling.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author looking to get published?
Being so new, I’m not sure I can give good advice but I can offer the steps that I took. Once you write your book, have it reviewed by several of your friends for grammar, pacing and anything that may need to be added or removed. Once it’s cleaned up, it’s time to pick a publisher. Make sure you submit the manuscript exactly as they asked and then move on to your next book while you wait. That makes the time go a little faster and hopefully, once you hear they want your book, you’ll be well into your second.
What are your plans for the future? What more can we look forward to from you?
I’ve just submitted my second novel “Demons” to Dreamspinner Press and I’m waiting to hear back if they will publish it or not. Other than that, I’ve been promoting “Illusions” and haven’t had time to start another book but I hope to very soon.
What are your five favorite songs and why?
1) Right now, my number one favorite song is Demons by Imagine Dragons. It was my inspiration for the book that I just completed. I feel like everyone has demons that they battle everyday and sometimes it’s easier to just avoid love rather than face down these demons.
2) My second favorite song is The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars. This fan video of Sebastian Stan (who I love) in Kings was my sole inspiration for Skylar in Illusions.
3) I recently found my third favorite. It’s Take Me to Church by Hozier. I have to say that I don’t completely agree with the song. I believe in Church and God, but I know that there are many so called Christians who use the Church to hide behind their own bigotry. I chose to believe the song is about those particular people.
4) Stay with Me by Sam Smith. I absolutely love everything about this song. Besides the fact Sam’s voice is so beautiful, the words break my heart. “Oh won’t you stay with me, ‘cause you’re all that I need.” I believe he wrote this song for his straight best friend, whom he was in love with. Such a sad, yet beautiful song.
5) I’m Not the Only One – Another Sam Smith song that I’m obsessed with. “You say I’m crazy, ‘cause you don’t think I know what you’ve done.” Another song that is so incredibly sad, because his lover is cheating on him and I can feel Sam’s feelings in all of his songs. That is a gift of a true songwriter.
I could go on and on as l love music. I really enjoy the 80’s music, BonJovi, REO Speedwagon, “LoverBoy”, all of those hair bands. They were my favorites.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
I believe in lust at first sight. I can’t imagine loving someone until I knew more about them. I do think that you can see someone and be very overwhelmed with feelings but again, I think it’s more physical at that point.
Name 5 favorite movies. Why?
For someone who isn’t really a “fall in love” type of girl, the majority of my five favorite movies are all romantic. Go figure.
Notting Hill – This is probably my all time favorite movie. I love the premise; I adore Hugh Grant’s acting and Spike! Who could not love “Spike”. The soundtrack was beautiful…so many things to love about that movie.
Latter Days – I adored this movie!! I felt so sorry for Aaron when he was thrown out of the Mormon Church for being gay. This movie touched me in so many ways. I still find myself watching it at least once a year.
Love Actually – I’m a huge Colin Firth and Hugh Grant fan so it’s no surprise that this movie is high on my list. I watch it every year, sometimes more than once and it never gets old. Just the love stories, especially the little boy who loves the girl in his class, it’s just so sweet.
Life as a House – I love this movie because the story of the man building the house at the same time he was building his relationship with his son was so beautiful to me. Of course, I cried like a baby at the end. Lovely movie.
Legends of the Fall – This movie introduced me to Brad Pitt and while I could stop there, I did really enjoy the drama of the three brothers and their father in the wilderness.
Thank you again so much for having me here as a guest. I really appreciate it.:)))
Genre: M/M Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Release Date: February 13, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Christy Caughie
Ever since arriving in Hollywood, Skylar Murphy has been loving life. He’s starring in a hit television show and on the verge of grabbing the lead role in the most anticipated movie of the decade. Poised on the edge of superstardom, he doesn’t want or need any complications to distract him from that goal. Whether he’s sleeping with a woman or a man, his noncommittal, no-strings-attached love life suits him perfectly, and despite his rep for playing gay roles, the world still thinks he’s straight.
At the launch party for his new show, Skylar meets Aiden Moore, an openly gay firefighter by day and cater waiter to the stars by night. Skylar is immediately attracted to him, but Aiden rejects him. When an arsonist appears to have targeted Skylar, their paths keep crossing. Always up for a challenge, Skylar works to win Aiden over, and he agrees to a date. Soon enough they can’t stay away from each other. Despite hiding their relationship away from the ever-present paparazzi, they’re happy together until a jilted fan joins forces with the arsonist to sabotage their future.
(Lead in– Skylar ran into Aiden, who was serving champagne, at the premier party for The Executives. When there’s a fire at the sound stage near Skylar’s, he spots Aiden again. Not having been introduced, he refers to him as “Mr. Champagne”.)
“…” refers to edited dialogue for length
It couldn’t be… could it? Skylar looked again to make sure he was not mistaken. This time Skylar saw the flicker of recognition in Mr. Champagne’s eyes before he turned back to continue talking to his chief. As Skylar stood there, trying to decide his next move, he watched Mr. Champagne grab an ax from the side of the truck, put on his helmet, and disappear into the building. That was it. Maybe it was the sheer hotness of that guy just grabbing his ax and walking into a smoke-filled building, or maybe it was the memory of that rock-hard body, but Skylar knew he had to know more about him, fan or not.
Mr. Champagne walked out of the building, which was now almost smoke free, and headed toward the fire engine. As he removed his helmet to wipe the sweat off his face, Sophie knew immediately why Skylar was so interested. It was the hot serving guy she had seen him flirting with at the party.
“Is that the guy?” asked Sophie, motioning toward the firefighter.
Skylar moved to block her from Mr. Champagne’s view. “Yes, that’s him, and would you please stop being so obvious?”
“Are you going to talk to him?” she asked.
Getting annoyed at the constant string of questions, Skylar just glared at Sophie and said, “I might. I haven’t decided yet.” Then, motioning toward the soundstage, he said, “But will you please meet me on set? I’ll be there in a second.”
“Okay, fine, but I really think you should talk to him.” At Skylar’s second glare she said, “I’m leaving, I’m leaving. See you in a few.” Sophie walked off down to Soundstage 5.
Turning back to Mr. Champagne, who looked slightly busy trying to get the hose latched onto the truck, Skylar tried to be patient. But after a few more minutes, Skylar felt he had waited long enough. It’s now or never, he thought as he started toward the fire truck and the sexy fireman.
“Hey,” said Skylar as he walked up behind Mr. Champagne.
Mr. Champagne turned around. Upon seeing it was Skylar, he said, “Hey,” and then he immediately turned back to his truck to finish tying in the hose. He had no time for the disappearing actor.
Okay, what the fuck? Not sure exactly how to take that reaction, but not wanting to back down, Skylar continued, “I saw you a few minutes ago, talking to your fire chief, and I thought that I recognized you. Didn’t you work The Executives premiere party the other night?”
Aiden paused for a second, then turned back and replied, “Yeah, that was me.” And then, unable to stop himself, Aiden said, “Although, I must say, I’m surprised you remembered me. If I’m not mistaken, you were more than wasted that night.”
“You can say that again,” Skylar agreed. “….” “Yet, I do remember you, so I believe that proves that I did have some clarity that night. But I have to admit, if you introduced yourself to me, your name was lost someplace between six and eight gin and tonics.”
Aiden looked at him for a second before responding, “Actually, I didn’t find it necessary to introduce myself. I was just serving champagne to the party guests.”
Well, damn! Skylar, a bit taken back by the chill in the fireman’s voice, said, “Okay. I only thought that you might have because in my experience, most fans introduce themselves right away. Forgive me, I didn’t mean to assume something so simple.”
Aiden turned all the way around, looked Skylar straight in the eye, and said, “Actually you’re still assuming, if you think I’m a fan. Truth is, until that night, I didn’t know who you were.” He paused before finishing with, “Sorry about that.”
Skylar, a bit insulted yet somehow intrigued, stood there for a moment, taking all this new information in. Then he smiled, held out his hand, and quietly said, “No apology needed. Let me introduce myself. My name is Skylar Murphy.” And you are certainly going to know me now.
S.A. Ozment was born and raised in North Carolina. From day one, she had stars in her eyes and by the time she hit high school she wanted to move to NYC and sing on Broadway. The fates (her parents) had other ideas, so she was hustled off to college and four years later, she was an accountant and had pushed those dreams aside.
For many years, on her time off, S.A. worked with different actors as a forum manager/social media promoter. Today, she is again an accountant by day but still finds time to promote a few actors (some officially, some not so officially) at night.
In 2013, she was laid off from her accounting job of twenty years. While looking for another job, she had free time to do other things. She had always loved to tell stories and therefore, she decided to use some of her experiences and write a book. Once the writing bug hit her, there was no stopping it. She has just finished her second book and is beginning a third.
Most nights, you can find her curled up in the recliner with her laptop either writing or working on some type of promotion. unless “The Walking Dead” is on, then she will be found in front of the television.
You can reach S.A. Ozment at firstname.lastname@example.org