Hey, my lovelies! You know when you come across a new (to you) author and devour everything they’ve written, only to be bitterly disappointed that there isn’t more to read? I’ve discovered a few of those lately, and at the top of the list is this week’s guest, Roan Parrish.
A fellow Philadelphian (I may have to stalk her), Roan is here with her latest release, Where We Left Off, book three in her Middle of Somewhere series. To describe Roan’s writing as a gripping, emotional roller coaster ride would be an understatement. To say her heroes are sexy, vulnerable and so real you want to cuddle them and slap them all at once, would be as well. So, yes, I’m thrilled to have her here today. Before we dive into Will and Leo’s tale, let’s get to know a bit more about Roan.
Do you remember the very first thing you ever wrote? What was it?
Well, when I was around ten and eleven, S.E. Hinton was like my god. So, one of the first things I remember writing was this story that was basically about very thinly veiled characters from The Outsiders. Really, by today’s definitions it was fan fiction, I guess, but I didn’t know that term at the time. I just wanted that book to go on forever, so I wrote another version of it. In this one, Ponyboy and Sodapop had ended up in a boys’ home and Darry and a fourth brother were attempting to spring them and take them back home.
Holy crap, that is awesome. LOL! If you happen to have that laying around, please let me know. 😉 Your books are very emotional. What do you do to decompress after you’ve been writing?
Hmm. I don’t feel compressed after writing, I guess? I’m not the best at expressing my feelings in real life (understatement alert!) so writing about them feels a bit like a release. But in terms of what I do when I’m not writing: I love to cook and bake, I’m very into music and, well, reading, of course. I started doing kickboxing recently, which … is awesome because I really like to hit stuff.
Ha! I like to shoot things with arrows. 🙂 In the movie about your life, what’s the title?
Oh, jeez, hard question. The title would either be one of those horrifically long ones that includes multiple punctuation marks. … The Jacket Hung There (Alone) & All You Did Was Brush By It: The Roan Parrish Story. Or else it’d be called, like, Oatmeal.
Lol! Where would it be set?
Hmm, the setting depends on what genre we’re going with, I guess. If it was a coming-of-age story, it would be set in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I grew up, in the nineties. Or else it’d be one of those indie movies where nothing much happens but it has a really good soundtrack and about three quarters of the way through I’d meet someone and, instead of wandering aimlessly while staring at things and occasionally looking startled when someone interacted with me, I’d have one deep conversation with them and then the movie would end with a pan-out where you saw us through the coffee shop window and then it’d close-up on, like, a patch of moss on the side of a brick wall or something. That one would have to be set in Philadelphia, where I live now.
I swear, I want to lick your brain. Ha! I think mine would be a musical. Or a mockumentary about a band that never existed. Who do you have on your bookshelf at home?
You catch me at a moment when I just donated about 75% of my books to the New Orleans Public Library before moving back to Philadelphia, so my bookshelf at home is now highly curated.
Oh, wow. I just started going through my collection too, needing to de-clutter. It’s amazing how things can just…build up.
I live in a small apartment and I don’t really have the impulse to accumulate things. A few authors I kept are J.K. Rowling, S.E. Hinton, Tolkien, Donna Tartt, China Mièville, Andrew Smith, Maggie Stiefvater. Then I have all the classic gothic novels, some poetry, a number of graphic novels … honestly, so much of what I read now is romance, and I get all those as ebooks. Anything else I get from the library.
I’m so glad you said Donna Tartt. I often get blank stares when I mention her. What advice would you give to a new author?
To make sure that you’re writing what you want to write. It’s really easy for writing that starts out feeling urgent and fun to get scuttled by trying to think it through practically. Like, what will sell? What will other people like? etc. Which isn’t to say that those things aren’t important, if you’re trying to make writing into a career. But the longer you can hold onto what you’re really passionate about writing, the better.
So true. Would you like to see any of your books on the silver screen? Which actors do you see in the lead roles?
Hmm, in reality, I would probably hate it, because I’d be annoyed at the inevitable things I’d think they got wrong. But it’s super cool to think about, just in that I’ve always been a huge movie fan and I’m quite interested in the behind-the-scenes process of movie-making. So it might be worth it just to get to see how all that would work. Ooh, can David Cronenberg direct it? I’d have to write in a scene that would require some gory special effects, but I’m totally on board to do that 🙂
I don’t really have actors in mind while I’m writing or anything, but when my first book, In the Middle of Somewhere came out, I did a blog post where I did fantasy casting for it, and the closest I could come was seeing Daniel as a combination of Ben Whishaw and this model, Dawid Auguscik. Then for Rex, I pictured someone kind of like Joe Manganiello. Then for the second book in the series, Out of Nowhere, since I’d done that casting, I guess it was on my mind, because I ended up writing a scene where the teenagers that Colin and Rafe work with are trying to figure out which celebrities they look like, and the teenagers compare Colin to Jensen Ackles and Rafe to Jason Momoa.
I loved that scene. “Winchester” is a much better nickname than “Twilight.” 🙂 Okay, finish this sentence: The best heroes always…
I can’t think of a single thing that I’d think was applicable to all of them? Sorry! I’m terrible at following directions! I mean, the things that I find most interesting and attractive are always the things that are specific to each person. So, uh: The best heroes always … have something very specific and individual that makes them appealing. *wink*
That’s a great answer! It’s like the chipped tooth in the perfect smile, or the little personality quirk that puts someone on this side of the thin line between endearing and irritating. 🙂
What can readers expect from you next?
Well, I’m really excited about my next project. It’s a new series that’s a spin-off of the Middle of Somewhere series. The first book is the story of Ginger, who I introduced in In the Middle of Somewhere, as Daniel’s best friend. Ginger has a tattoo shop in Philadelphia and the series will be about the lives and loves that center on the tattoo shop. So Ginger’s romance with Christopher, which begins in In the Middle of Somewhere, is going to be the first book in that series, and it will be out this winter.
I’m excited about that myself, I love Ginger. And just that little glimpse of her relationship with Christopher in Out of Nowhere was enough to make me want their story.
Then I’m having my first co-writing experience right now, which is an absolute delight! I’m writing a serial with the wonderful Avon Gale. It’s about an Art Crimes FBI agent who falls in love with an art thief. It’s a kind of romantic caper and it’s loads of fun to write. We’ll be putting out the first episode in the series in a few months.
That does sound like a lot of fun. Can’t wait!
Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova … and then was gone just as quickly.
For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny … though Will certainly tries.
But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairytale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.
Roan brought us an excerpt from Where We Left Off. I haven’t read it yet, saving it as a treat for when I finish this round of edits, so I am SUPER stoked to have this juicy morsel. Enjoy!
I could feel it again. That heat. That pull between us like it was taking more energy to keep our bodies apart than it would to allow their collision. How did that fit with your first law, Newton? We might’ve been at rest, but everything in us was straining together, like only this skin was keeping us from getting all messed up in each other.
Will’s breath came a little short as I stared at him. Somehow, looking at him this close up, his perfect beauty fell apart and reformed into something different. No longer was it about proportion and line and angle. Up close, Will was texture and shadow and something far more human. I could smell him. The familiar, slightly milky smell of the coffee shop. Beneath that, some subtle cologne that smelled like expensive suits and garden parties and maybe just a hint of leather. The slight sour bite of fresh sweat. And then his skin, like dust warmed in a beam of sunlight.
His eyes locked on my mouth and his hands came up like he wanted to put them on my hips but was stopping himself, so they just hovered there.
“See,” I said, and it came out as a whisper.
Will shook his head but his eyes didn’t leave my mouth. I tugged my bottom lip between my teeth and watched his Adam’s apple slide and catch in an audible swallow.
I wanted to press him against the dressing room door and kiss him until he actually talked to me, the way he’d started to do in Holiday. But it was like he’d gotten enough time apart from me for whatever spell Holiday wove to have fallen away. Or maybe it was as simple as he had needed someone to talk to in Holiday and Rex was occupied so it became me by default, and now that he was back in New York I was just… I don’t know.
But I could feel this—whatever it was—between us.
He was almost glaring at me, like a super turned-up version of The Look. And for some reason it made me ridiculously happy because with Will, any response other than haughty neutrality was a step in the right direction.
“Hey, kiss me,” I said, nudging him, and watched his battle with himself play out over his face.
He stared at me, breathing through his nose, having come, apparently, to no decision whatsoever.
“Okay, I’m going to kiss you now if you don’t stop me,” I said, which actually sounded a little creepy of me.
But he didn’t stop me. And he didn’t seem creeped. He just closed his eyes and sighed a little and I didn’t know what he was thinking. Now that we were the same height I just stepped into him and pressed our mouths together.
The second I kissed him he came alive, a sparkler touched by a match. He made a sound in the back of his throat and pulled me against him with a palm at the small of my back, just above those damn pants. His mouth was hot, and I could taste his coffee from earlier, a bitter note that gave way almost immediately to the sweetness of his taste.
I remembered it, even all these months later, and it tasted like home.
Will had his arms around me now, wrapping me up so tight I almost couldn’t move. He pushed one hand through my hair to hold my face to his while he—holy shit—while he kissed the hell out of me. One second I was kissing him, and the next he’d flipped me, slammed me against the dressing room door, and was basically eating my face. Only, you know, in a good way. An awesome way.
It felt nothing like my make-out session with Milton. Even when Milton had touched my cock I hadn’t felt as electrified as I did from Will’s kiss. I scrabbled at his back, trying to… something—to touch skin or trace muscle, but it was really all I could do to keep my feet under me with Will’s mouth on mine. Finally, he tickled the roof of my mouth with his tongue, just gently stroked it, and I found myself so close to coming that it shocked me. I let out a groan and tried to grab for his hips, desperate to get some friction.
Then I realized that I was wearing these stupid white pants that I’d probably have to pay like five hundred dollars for if I came in them, and I pulled my hips away, groaning at the loss of his heat.
From outside the door came a very haughty stage cough followed by some heavy-duty throat clearing.
“Fuck,” Will snapped, and dropped his forehead to my collarbone. “Fuck, Leo. Shit.” I could feel the warmth of his skin. He was sweating at his hairline and his back rose and fell with rapid breaths. He stayed like that for a long moment, clutching my hips, each finger palpable even through the pants, before he cleared his throat and told me he’d meet me outside.
And, hell. The idea of Will imprinting himself on the fabric was almost enough to make me want to buy the ridiculous things.
Hmm. Maybe I could take a break from my edits to read this book, like, NOW. 🙂 Grab your copy of Where We Left Off at Amazon, Dreamspinner Press, AllRomance, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, or Google Play. Mine is on my Kindle. Teasing me.
I love this series so much, I’m doing a giveaway. Comment below for a chance to win a digital copy of the first book, In the Middle of Somewhere. By the way, the audio books are amazing. If audio is your crack, you’ll want to grab those. And I think the third book is in the works.
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.