Join me in welcoming Wade Kelly to my blog. Her recently released novel, The Cost of Loving, is a heartrending and inspiring story. And I tease Wade. She's one seriously cool dude, to me. :D
Aisling: What inspires your writing?
Wade: Crap in the world. Haha. And my deep desire to spread a little hope along the way. I get e-mails from people all the time about how touched they are by what I write, so I must be doing something right. It is my goal to touch people. (And to make them think.)
Aisling: When did you start writing m/m romance? And why this genre?
Wade: It started by telling a male friend (gay male friend) that I’d write him a romance. I wanted to make it like a fairytale where he met his prince charming. It remained M/M because I had found a niche and I wasn’t afraid to tackle taboo subject matter. I’ve said online before that I had been persecuted by the church for what I wrote, and THAT was what kept me hiding away for 3 years. I feared PEOPLE hating me again. Now, 3 years later, I have people in my life who are supportive and excited for me. They understand my desire to share hope and give a little light into a world of rejections based on sexuality. It is a harsh world, and no one should feel alone in their pain.
Aisling: Are you a full time author?
Wade: Yes, in that writing is all I do that I get paid for. And No, because I could not live on what I make at the moment. Fortune and fame is not in my grasp yet. Haha.
Aisling: Who is your favorite author?
Wade: Love Amy Lane and Ashlyn Kane
Aisling: How many books have you written so far?
Wade: Technically 4 novels and 2 short stories. I was previously published under a different name. (There is a link on my website)
Aisling: Tell us a little about your novel, The Cost of Loving. The blurb says: Matt Dixon, a young firefighter, is the golden child of his family, and he never dreamed that coming out would challenge more than the way his church sees him.
Wade: For years, Matt has led a double life hoping to avoid ridicule. When a self-righteous pastor’s statements provoke him to defend his recently deceased best friend’s honor and subsequently out himself, he suffers the brutal aftermath of his revelation. Everyone in his life, including his family and his new lover, Darian, must deal with the ramifications as Matt struggles to come to terms with guilt, shame, and his very belief in God.
Darian Weston lost his fiancé when Jamie took his life, and his feelings for Matt added guilt to his burden of grief. Confused and lonely, Darian clings to Matt despite his inner strife. But small-town realities keep intruding, and if Matt and Darian hope to make a life together, they must first take a stand for what they believe in, even if they fear the cost.
This novel delves deeper into the relationship of Matt and Darian, while also tackling the aspects of prejudice and persecution over sexuality, and the deep sense of guilt and despair associated with loss.
Aisling: How long did it take you to complete The Cost of Loving?
Wade: 9 months to write, 2 years to edit.
Aisling: Did you write it freely or plan everything in advance?
Wade: I write freely. Although some of it had to be planned because I have book 3 partially written already.
Aisling: Did you write it freely or plan everything in advance?
Wade: I write freely. Although some of it had to be planned because I have book 3 partially written already.
Aisling: What inspired you to write The Cost of Loving?
Wade: It is the continuation of the love story in When Love Is Not Enough (WLINE). Although I did strive for a stand-alone, The Cost of Loving is ultimately the sequel to WLINE. I took from my own life experiences and mapped out a (hopefully) believable character. For example: Matt’s truck scene happened to me.
Darian’s prescription drug addiction is what I think I COULD BE if I was not responsible with my children and life. I have painkillers and I know how they make me feel, but I don’t take them because I can’t function. So I restrain myself for the good of my family. But if pushed into despair again, I could easily succumb to the numbness of drugs.
The scene with the pastor at the house, that is what happened to me. I took my life and altered it into a story about 3 gay young men trying to work out their lives. The picture is altered, but the feeling was the same.
Aisling: Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?
Wade: Darian Weston, because he is the broken part of me.
Aisling: How much of yourself did you manifest into your favorite character?
Wade: I invest my emotions. I didn’t grow up like him. I’m an imaginative writer and so I project myself often into visions of what I want to write. Darian being poor and from a broken home made sense to me for his character, so his life doesn’t reflect mine. But he is my sensitivity. He is my need for a protector. He is my longing for acceptance and love based on who I am without pretense.
Aisling: When someone reads The Cost Of Loving, what do you hope they gain from reading it?
Wade: An understanding of how people can struggle with sexuality & the Bible. This is real. The persecution around that struggle is real. And the resolution Matt has can be real too. People go through these types of soul-searching all the time. They (you) are not alone. Also, the after affects of losing someone to suicide is also real and damaging. Guilt always looms over us trying to make us think that the suicide of (fill in the blank) was somehow our fault. Often times that is a falsehood conjured by our own inability to cope with the loss.
Aisling: Can you share four things you’ve learned about the business?
Wade: 1.Keep it short 110k max is probably safe. When the story is too long, and the author is little known, the book cost too much for the publisher to produce and so more times than not it will be rejected over the length.
2. Readers want a happy ending. Until you are established, you have to play the game. Eventually, the goal is to be able to write whatever the heck I want and get it published, but right now I am not that fortunate. I have to play the game.
3. Be kind to other writers. We are all in this together. It is not a competition because no writer can ever write fast enough to keep up with a reader. Readers read FAST!
4. Don’t take cuts or bad reviews personal. People like what they like, and don’t what they don’t. Unless every stinking review says the same thing—“this writer sucks!”—then fear not. The bad review will not harm you if people generally like the book. And obsessing over it just gives you an ulcer.
Aisling: What is the most frequently asked question by the fans?
Wade: Will there be a sequel to My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap! The answer is yes, but I don’t know when. I have several other projects in the works first. I hope to write it next year.
Aisling: What are you working on now?
Wade: Names Can Never Hurt Me. The blurb currently says: Dubbed a “player” early on in life, constant sex has never been a problem for Nick—until now.
Nick Jenkins couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t popular, when he wasn’t the best looking guy in the room, nor could he recall ever having to coax a woman into bed with him. And recently, Nick even added guys to the list of “been there—done that” when kissing Corey on a dare led to much more and on several occasions. His reputation to “screw anything” was well known, and he didn’t care. So why was the attention of someone new causing such consternation?
RC was a mystery from the moment they met. A frequent customer where Nick worked, getting to know RC was interesting, yet incremental due to the fact that he wasn’t in the “in crowd.” RC was overweight, always sweaty, and lived up to the nickname “scruffy dude.” Still, Nick could not let go of his deep longing for friendship, even if that friendship was with a loser.
Then, Nick finds out his new friend is gay. Will Nick look past the superficial and take hold of a connection deeper than he’s ever known before? Or will external pressures of social conformity win out—snuffing the fire before it ignites his soul.
Currently at 59k words. It deals with stereotypes and bullying.
Aisling: How do you keep your creative "spark" alive?
Wade: IDK. I have a hard time. That spark comes and goes too randomly for me!
Aisling: What is your suggestion or piece of advice to new and upcoming writers?
Wade: Never give up your dream. You have to hang in there. If you get rejected over and over, then hire a professional editor. They might give you some insight as to WHY you were rejected while they clean up your manuscript.
Find Wade on her web site here Writer Wade Kelly
On her blog here WriterWadeKelly.blogspot.com
And on twitter here Twitter.com/WriterWade Kelly
Aisling: Will you please share your favorite excerpt from The Cost of Loving with us?
Wade: Yes :) Favorite scene? Hmm… This should have some set-up, but it might spoil it. Let’s just say Matt goes over to visit Darian and he should not have been there. But this, to me, is a picture of Darian’s sweet, gentle, and fragile heart. Gosh, I love him!
“Yes.” Matt nodded. Then he tilted his head and smirked. “Well, no… not completely. I need you in bad way. You think your dad’ll be gone long enough to give me one of those ‘nonsex’ hand jobs?”
“Absolutely!” Darian grabbed Matt’s hand and practically dragged him up the steps. “Dad and Ms. Cheryl should be gone for a couple hours. They said they would be. I only got home twenty minutes before you got here. I’m supposed to be doing laundry.” He pulled Matt down the hall and into his room.
Matt stopped short in the doorway. “This is Jamie’s room.” He whispered as if the space were sacred.
Darian watched him. “Yeah. It was Jamie’s and mine.”
Matt stepped into the room and looked around. He’d never been in this room, but it felt familiar all the same. So many things he recognized as Jamie’s: pictures, posters, and a calendar from 2008. He even remembered being with Jamie when he picked out the comforter at Walmart. He walked around the room, and a chill went down his spine. Should I even be in here?
“Are you sure you want to do it in here?” Matt asked skeptically.
Darian walked up and laced his fingers through Matt’s. “Yes.” And then he reconsidered. “Maybe. I’m not sure. Can we sit on the bed and talk for a while? Seeing you weirded out is making me feel weirded out, and I don’t think I can get hard right now.”
Matt grinned. “Okay.” He lifted their joined hands and kissed Darian’s knuckles. “To tell you the truth, I’m fine if we do nothing but hold hands. I’ve missed you so much just being with you is all I really need.”
Darian’s pleasant smile lit up the room more than the overhead light, and he squeezed Matt’s hand.
Matt kept hold of Darian’s hand and looked at the pictures on the walls. He spied two chalk drawings similar to the one Darian did of him in September. One was of Jamie from what looked like 2005, judging from the shirt he wore, and the other was a self-portrait of Darian. Some others were Darian’s sketches, but most of the pictures on the wall were photos of Matt. Some of Jamie and one or two of Darian, but the majority were of Matt from when he was fifteen all the way to the present. “No wonder Dan thinks you’re obsessed with me.”
“But they’re not mine. They were all in Jamie’s things. Tucked in books and under the bed. I found a whole shoebox full in the closet. I started sticking them on the corkboard as I found them. Dan just doesn’t understand that Jamie was obsessed. He loved you.”
Matt noticed the drop in his voice and looked at Darian instead of the wall of photos. Darian was staring at the floor. Matt hooked a finger under his chin. “He loved you too.”
Darian released Matt’s hand and strolled over to the bed and sat down. Matt thought he was going to say something, but he didn’t. Darian was disturbingly quiet. He needed to think of something to cheer him up. But what?
Matt glanced around and spotted his iPod. It was hooked up to a set of speakers on his dresser. “Mind if I put on some music?”
Darian shook his head.
Matt went over and scrolled through his music library. He was astounded at the vast selection Darian had. “You have over nine thousand songs. Dude! This is incredible.” He caught Darian’s grin out of the corner of his eye. “All Time Low, Anberlin, Barenaked Ladies, Breaking Benjamin, Cars, Charlie Musselwhite, wow!” He kept scrolling. “Eagles, ELO, Evanescence, Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte, Hawk Nelson…. This is amazing. I have almost everything you have. All right, I don’t have Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers, but REO Speedwagon, Rush, Secondhand Serenade, Skillet, Shinedown, Staind! Oh my gosh, Dare, we practically have the same taste in music.”
Darian shrugged. “I like a wide variety. I tend to listen based on my mood.”
He said it like it was no big deal, but it was a huge deal to Matt. He loved music! Lived for it. With the amount of running he did all the time, he needed music to survive. “Panic! At The Disco, Stone Sour, and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Holy crap, Dare.” He put the iPod down and bounced over to Darian’s edge of the bed.
Darian’s eyebrow shot up. “What?”
“You don’t get it, I know, but every time I’m with you I find one more reason to love you. We’re going to be perfect together. Seriously. When you’re ready.” He kissed Darian and went back to the iPod. “The Used? I love The Used.” He hit play and “Paralyzed” came on, bass chords thumping against the walls.
“Me too,” Darian said. “I can play the opening riff to ‘With Me Tonight.’”
Matt's eyes bulged. “You play guitar? I play guitar!” Matt clapped his palm against his chest. He didn’t remember Jamie mentioning that detail in his journals.
Darian answered nonchalantly. “A little. My mom couldn’t afford guitar lessons, so I had to teach myself. I’m a better drummer than guitarist. My friend Ben has drums. He lets me play sometimes.”
“You play drums?” Matt plopped back down, causing the bed to bounce.
“Yeah. Not like Neil Peart, but I’m okay.”
Matt’s heart swelled. He ran his fingers through Darian’s hair marveling over every little thing that spelled out love. “You’re perfect.”
Darian blushed. “No, I’m not.”
“You are.” Matt kissed him softly. He eased him back on the bed and caressed his chest through the fabric of his shirt. He moved his mouth to explore the soft spot behind Darian’s ear while he reached down and slid his fingers along the waistband of his underwear where it stuck out above his jeans. Matt licked and nibbled Darian’s neck, mapping out a path with his tongue over to the ridge of his ear, sucking on his earlobe. He slipped his fingers under the hem of Darian’s shirt, but as soon as Matt felt the flat of Darian’s stomach and his bellybutton piercing, Darian stopped his hand from moving any higher. Matt pulled back. “What’s wrong?”
“I just…. It feels weird. I’m afraid Dan will come in any second. I’m still not sure I want to have ‘nonsex’ with you in Jamie’s old bed.”
Matt leaned back, one arm supporting his weight on his elbow. “It’s okay. I understand.” Matt caressed Darian’s lower belly as he looked down into his face. He remained right up next to his body with one leg looped over Darian’s thigh. “We don’t have to do anything. I just wanted to be with you. I’ve been having a horrible time lately, and you are the one good thing I got going on. I need you.”
Darian’s eyes shifted away from Matt’s. He looked troubled. Matt glided his fingers over to Darian’s hip and back along his belly. Darian had always responded well to that action before, so Matt was attempting it now to soothe whatever was on his mind. In fact, it seemed no matter where Matt rubbed him (not speaking sexually, of course), Darian always calmed down. Matt said, “I hope you know you can talk to me. Whatever’s bothering you. I may not have the answers, but I’ll listen. My mom always tells me I’m a great listener.”
Darian’s eyes darted to different objects in the room, everything but Matt’s face. “I’m worried you’ll get to know me and find out I’m a complete basket case.” Darian sounded so desperately troubled.
“Dare, baby, I won’t. I love you.”
Darian finally brought his attention back to Matt. “Why? I’m not that special. I can’t make complete sentences most of the time because my brain doesn’t function clearly. I don’t have any condoms in here even if we wanted to have sex. I have a bee phobia, but I like spiders. My mother moved to Seattle in October and didn’t even say good-bye. I think Jamie’s haunting me. I want to learn French before I die. I’m allergic to coconut. I don’t like mint chocolate chip ice cream. The only time I feel safe is when I’m with you. And sometimes I wish I had wings, like that guy on X-Men.”
Matt gazed into Darian’s eyes, waiting to make sure the list was done before he burst out laughing. He knew it was inappropriate, given Darian’s serious expression, but he couldn’t help it. “Oh Darian.” Matt flopped over onto his back. “That was the longest list of random thoughts I’ve ever heard.”
Darian sat up on one elbow and leaned over him—still quite melancholy. “If you think I’m perfect, you’ll only be disappointed.”
Matt knew he should ask about Darian’s mom moving, or his disturbing comment about Jamie haunting him, but those topics seemed so serious. Matt didn’t do serious. He avoided serious. He’d had enough serious for a while. He shoved “serious” deep inside and kept it there, like he did with his “incident.” Plus, what if talking opened up more problems? Darian needed a professional for this stuff. Darian needed his therapist.
Matt took his proven safe route of avoidance. “Dare, it’s meant figuratively. No one is perfect perfect. I think you’re perfect for me. That’s all I meant. The only questions I have left are about hunting, jogging, and dancing. Do you like to hunt?”
Darian shrugged. “No. I don’t think I could shoot Bambi. But I’m not opposed to eating him.”
Matt grinned. “Okay.” Not only did he like Darian’s simple answer, he also liked how his shoulders relaxed. This conversation was becoming less complicated. “I can live with that. How about running?”
Darian furrowed his forehead and cocked an eyebrow.
Matt laughed. “I take that as a ‘no.’ So how about dancing?”
“Yeah, I like to dance. Lori said I’m pretty good.”
Matt felt his heart swelling again. Everything inside told him Darian was the one. If only Darian could see it that way and let go of his doubts. Matt stood up when the songs shuffled and Staind came on. He held out his hand to Darian. “Dance with me?” Darian placed his hand in Matt’s, and Matt pulled Darian off the bed and into his arms. The two of them swayed to the music. With their bodies moving together, Matt sang the first line of lyrics to “Tangled Up In You” into Darian’s ear. He moved in time with the slow beat, and Darian stepped with him in perfect harmony.
On the second line of the song, Darian chimed in without missing a beat. “You’re the pills, that take away my pain.”
Matt smiled softly into Darian’s eyes as he sang the next line.
Matt waited and allowed Darian to fill in the next phrase of lyrics and he didn’t disappoint. And then, without missing a word, they sang the chorus together and Matt could have wept for how happy he felt dancing in Darian’s arms while harmonizing one of his favorite songs.
They danced more synchronously than Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Dancing with Darian made Matt acutely aware of how good their bodies felt together. He had intended to hold back when he came over, but being around Darian was intoxicating. He always felt giddy and drunk, and his groin behaved as if he was on Viagra. He knew a hand job would not suffice as soon as Staind came on. Hearing Darian sing was breathtaking.
Before the song faded, he lowered Darian onto the bed again. He was going to make love to him; there was no stopping it. A hand job would have been fine for satisfaction and release, but being with Darian was more than a physical need. Matt wanted the closeness, the intimacy, and what Jamie would call the complete connection: mind, body, and soul.
Darian was utterly relaxed this time as Matt licked his neck and massaged the hardness in his jeans. His eyes were closed as Matt kissed his chin and undid his belt, making his way into Darian’s boxers. Darian clutched the back of Matt’s head and groaned and tilted his hips up.
Avril Lavigne sounded in the room singing “Hey, hey, you, you, I don’t like your girlfriend” and jolted Matt out of his captivation with the most amazing man on the planet.
Matt muttered, “Sorry. I can’t make love to you with this on.” He got up and changed the song. “Classical okay?”
Matt pulled Darian’s jeans off. “No more shuffle. It will play down the list.” He reached up to Darian’s shirt. “Whoa, what happened?” Matt pointed to the angry red scratches by his ribs.
Darian blurted, “The dog. He jumped and scratched me.”
“Wow, wicked nails. They need to be trimmed, man. You should probably put some ointment on that.”
“Okay,” Darian said. “Listen, can we do this half-undressed? It might make it easier if Dan gets home early. Rushing to get decent and all.”
Matt didn’t understand his concern; Darian had said Dan would be out for hours, but he went along with it. “Sure. Whatever. But next time I want all your skin exposed. You know I love your body.” He winked.
Darian smiled and pulled Matt into his arms.
“Are you okay with this? I know we said no sex,” Matt asked, as he got comfortable between Darian’s legs.
“Yes,” he moaned, pushing onto Matt’s fingers. “Oh God, yes.”
“I know I promised Dan, I know I should hold back, but I can’t seem to do that when I’m with you,” Matt explained as he kissed Darian’s neck. Matt was a verbal processor, so more times than not, he felt the need to explain his actions while executing them.
“We… oh… we revised that rule. Remember?”
“Oh yeah,” Matt gladly recalled. “You’re not as tight as I thought you’d be.”
Darian smirked as Matt moved his mouth from his lips to assault his throat. “I told you I have a dildo. I use it. Often.”
“That is so hot.” Matt practically came thinking about it. “Let me watch next time?”
“Yeah.” Darian’s body jerked when Matt touched his prostate.
When the anticipation was just too great, he withdrew his fingers and placed a pillow under Darian’s hips. He lined up his cock after rolling a condom down its length. Darian may not have had condoms, but Matt did. He’d never show up unprepared for sex. That was just wrong.
“Do you want another position?” he asked. “Missionary is seriously ordinary.”
Darian reached out and Matt sank on top of him. “No. I want to feel you all over me—covering me. I want to wrap myself around you and feel every pulse your body makes.”
Sliding inside Darian was like coming home. It felt warm, comforting, and right. He never wanted to be anywhere else. They moved together as if continuing their dance on the mattress. Synchronous—of one accord. Their cries of passion added to the music and filled the room.
“I love you, Darian.” Matt held his beloved tight, affirming his joy by repeatedly saying Darian’s name while kissing him all over his face and neck, thrusting deeper and deeper into his body. Darian answered by squeezing Matt’s hips with his thighs and crying out Matt’s name. They were wrapped around each other, intent on becoming the embodiment of one flesh, both moaning in release when the door to the room opened and the dog barked.
“Holy shit!” Matt heard Dan Miller’s voice and froze.
There was nothing like getting caught in the act by your boyfriend’s father. Especially if it was in the buff, on top of the covers, with your dick well sunk into his ass. There were no excuses like “we were just kissing” or the ever popular, “we weren’t doing anything!” Matt was caught, red handed, balls-deep and with nowhere to run.
Mr. Miller turned his back and left the room, but Matt knew it would only be minutes before he returned. He yelled from the hallway, “Turn that fucking music down!”
Matt gazed into Darian’s terror-filled eyes. He held the base of the condom, pulled out, and turned off the music. The utter silence magnified the dread each of them felt. Matt reached for Darian, but Darian sat up and pulled his knees to his chest, further isolating himself. Matt knew this was not going to end well.
“Are you dressed yet?” Mr. Miller growled through the door.
Matt answered when it was obvious Darian couldn’t. “Um, almost.” Was he frozen in fear? Matt yanked on his jeans and went to Darian’s side. “Dare. Dare. You gotta get dressed. Dare. Snap out of it.” He snapped his fingers in front of Darian’s face.
“He’s never going to let me see you,” Darian mumbled.
“Dare. You’re twenty-two years old. You have every right to see whomever you want. If you want to see me—you can.”
Darian shook his head. “No. He’s going to tell me to leave. He’s going to hate me because I betrayed his son. He’s going to punish me for having you in Jamie’s bed.”
Matt sat back and watched tears stream from Darian’s eyes. The poor wretched soul was blankly staring past Matt’s shoulder at something in the room. He looked sick. Darian had to be in shock. “What the hell’s going on in this house? What did he do to you? Does he hurt you?”
Matt hoped for an answer, but Dan Miller stormed back in. He grabbed Matt’s arm and pulled.
“Mr. Miller, I—”
“I said, get out!” He shoved him into the hall and pushed him until he stumbled toward the stairs. “I told you my rules, and you just had to disregard every concern we discussed. Get out! You will not be seeing my son any more. You lost your privilege.”
Cheryl met them at the bottom of the steps. “Dan? What are you doing? Dan!” She jumped out of the way as Dan shoved Matt down the last two steps.
Dan threatened Matt all the way to the front door. “Get out. And if I see you around again, I’ll take out a restraining order.” He slammed the door.
Matt heard Cheryl question Dan. He could hear Dan yelling his way up the steps. He never remembered Mr. Miller acting so volatile. He was a passive aggressor. He kept silent in the face of conflict. At least that was the way he had been for the past seven or eight years. Early on, when Jamie’s parents argued, Matt remembered hearing Mr. Miller loud and clear. Then one day, his yelling ended. Maybe that was the point when he discovered yelling solved nothing? Then why was he back to yelling again? And at Darian? Why?
Matt quaked with anger and fear. He should do something. Did he have the right to do something? Darian wasn’t Dan’s son despite what he called him. He was his legal guardian, if Jamie’s journals were correct. Regardless, Darian wasn’t a minor. Maybe Matt could do something, but what? He walked to the side of the house where Darian’s window was. He couldn’t hear all the words and wished the window were open.
“… believe you had the gall to bring him into….” Matt strained to hear what was going on. “… defiled… grounded… trusted you, and you sneak around behind… with him! How could… Jamie’s best friend… like an animal….” The words got more garbled. Then the window opened and Matt flattened himself against the siding between the bushes. If he was caught listening there was no telling what would happen. Suddenly it was raining photographs. All the ones of Matt were floating down to the grass. Then Mr. Miller chucked Darian’s drawings out the window, even the framed ones. Everything that had any hint of Matt on it was thrown out.
Matt didn’t understand what he’d done so wrong. He didn’t know why Mr. Miller had turned into a psychopath. He was not himself. Something was way wrong, and it went beyond Matt breaking the rules tonight. He could kind of see why he’d get angry; walking in on Darian in bed with Matt was, of course, the worst activity he could witness. But still, something was wrong and Darian was feeling the force of it head-on.
When the computer came flying out the window, Matt figured he’d seen enough. It was painful to be this helpless. He wanted to go back in and shelter Darian, but that would only make matters worse. He had to talk to Lori and find out if she knew what was going on and if Darian was being abused.