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INTERVIEW: Suki Fleet

Today we are joined by Suki Fleet. We’ve used the opportunity of the release of Suki’s latest book, Innocence, to ask her some questions. And guess what? She answered! 🙂

Innocence_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb

At eighteen Christopher is restless and longs for something he cannot name. His mother vanished when he was very small and after spending more than ten years travelling on the rivers and canals, drifting between towns and schools, with mostly only his dad and brother, Jay, for company, he is desperate to escape that claustrophobic existence. When they return to settle in Arlow, a town they haven’t been back to in over a decade, everything changes.

Malachi has given up on love. He lost his heart when he lost his innocence. Now at twenty nine he just exists–getting drunk, fixing cars and playing the music he loves.

When their paths cross one night at a gypsy camp, Christopher thinks he’s found what he’s been looking for, but Malachi is afraid. He is afraid their love will destroy everything Christopher has ever known. They are both ghosts from one another’s past, and if Malachi’s secrets are revealed more than just innocence will be lost in their wake.

Interview

Thanks for joining us today, Suki. It’s great to have you visit again and congratulations on the release of Innocence.

Firstly, I want to say a HUGE congratulations on having your book, This Is Not A Love Story, as a finalist in the Lambda Literary Awards. Such a fabulous and well-deserved achievement!

I haven’t had a chance to read Innocence yet but I’m very much looking forward to it. From the sound of the blurb, I’m in for an emotional journey. Can you tell us a little about the process of bringing this story to life?

Suki: Thank you so much for having me here today, Nic 🙂 And thank you for your congratulations. I do write very emotionally. This is Not a Love Story is, and will perhaps always remain, the most emotional and heart wrenching story I have ever written.

Innocence was conceived probably two years ago now. It was originally going to be called Beg, Borrow, Steal, but when I started writing, the title Innocence seemed to suit the story much better. All my stories start with a little spark that needs a little time to burn brightly.

The spark that started Innocence was walking down by the river near where I live and seeing these dilapidated river boats, moored and obviously travelling together and I just wondered what their story was. I used to head down to the river regularly, feeling the story grow but not yet being ready to write it down.

Malachi has secrets. Can you share any of those secrets with us? Anything you’d like to tease your readers with or do we need to wait to read the book? 🙂

Suki: Haha, no, actually I can’t! You’ll have to read to find out. But to me it’s Malachi the title refers to. The whole story deals a lot with the guilt and innocence of all the main characters, but Malachi’s story is perhaps the saddest.

The life a gypsy sounds like a fairytale to those of us who haven’t had much exposure to that type of life. What inspired you to use this in your story?

Suki: Growing up on a boat. I loved moving round.

I do think there is a fairytale aspect to the gypsy lifestyle, but also there is a lot of prejudice in this country (England) and in lots of other places towards travelers and gypsies. I think people forget we’re all humans, we all feel and fear and love.

Christopher or Malachi? What character is closest to your heart?

Suki: Hmmm… I understand Christopher the most, but Malachi needs the most love.

What book is currently on your bedside table (or your eReader)?

Suki:

Ah, I’m beta reading at the moment so it’s a secret 😉

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press

ARe

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

About the author

Suki Fleet grew up on a boat and as a small child spent a lot of time travelling at sea with her family. She has always wanted to be a writer. As a kid she told ghost stories to scare people, but stories about romance were the ones that inspired her to sit down and write. She doesn’t think she’ll ever stop writing them.

Her novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014 Rainbow Awards

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Wild Summer by Suki Fleet

WildSummer_postcard_front_HARMONY

 

Blurb

At fifteen, Christopher falls in love with a boy whose life he saves. But things go wrong and four years later, he wishes he’d acted differently. His conscience begins to haunt him and he knows he must find Summer again.

At seventeen, Summer pushes away the boy who saved him. Four years later, he is stuck in an abusive, damaging relationship. When he sees Christopher again, it’s a sign he can’t go on living like he is, but he can’t begin to see a way out.

For either boy to stand a chance at happiness, they must find each other and obliterate the wrongs of their shared past.

Excerpt

WARMED BY the sunshine, the surf washed around their ankles as they stepped onto the sandy beach of the cove. Cliffs rose up sheer and solid to hide the town beyond them from view, and it was easy to imagine they were out here alone, miles from anywhere, beneath the painfully bright blue sky.

“Hey.” Summer laid his hand on Christopher’s bare arm, the light touch making his heartbeat quicken. “Want to come swimming?” Summer asked, and proceeded to pull his T-shirt off, ball it up, and throw it onto the damp sand with his shoes.

Lithe and beautiful, his skin dark gold as the sand, Summer could not be unaware of the effect he was having. With his jeans slung low on his hips, nipple rings that glinted as they caught the sun, he was every manner of perfect in Christopher’s mind—he couldn’t have imagined a boy more so—and longing seemed to pull at his core with the force the moon exerts on the sea.

But self-consciousness made him awkward. He didn’t know where to look and forced his gaze down to stare at the paleness of his large feet in the water.

Although nearly sixteen, he had no framework for this sort of experience, for what he was supposed to do when someone he was incredibly attracted to stripped off in front of him.

When he looked up again, Summer’s hands were working at unbuttoning his jeans. Without pausing he shoved them down—he was wearing no underwear—stepped out of them, and carelessly threw them onto the beach somewhere near his T-shirt and shoes, his cock bouncing against his thigh with the movement.

All the things Christopher was certain he shouldn’t notice he noticed—Summer’s pubic hair was the same dark gold color as his skin, his cock hooded, the just-visible tip pierced, the weight and length of him perfectly proportioned, his stomach and thighs lean but nicely defined.

With no small jolt of desire, Christopher realized he wanted more than anything to swim with Summer—to tumble him into the water, to be naked with him—yet at the same time he knew he couldn’t. If he took off his clothes, Summer would see the way he had stiffened like a randy bull, it was not something he could control, and Summer obviously didn’t feel the same way.

“Come on.” Summer beckoned him with a crooked finger, a cocked eyebrow, and a smile. “Don’t be shy.”

Christopher didn’t want to think he was imagining the heat in Summer’s gaze, but flirting was not something he’d had much experience with either, so he just didn’t know.

A massive gust of wind came in from the sea, rocketing around the cove, blasting up sea spray and sand in painful gusts. Christopher covered his eyes until it whirled off. When he opened them again, Summer was meters away, submerged shoulder-deep in the water. He covered his eyes and pointed at Christopher, the gesture implying he wouldn’t look.

Fuck it, Christopher thought, depositing all his worldly belongings down on the beach and divesting himself of his clothes. Facing the cliff, he looked down at his naked, traitorous body, giving away far too much truth about how he felt. He couldn’t lose his hard-on, however much boring, ridiculous stuff he thought about, because his hormones were switched on by Summer’s presence, and he had no idea how to turn them off again. Girls had it so much easier.

Both hands covering his genitals, he turned around and waded into the cooling sea, every footstep taking him into colder, deeper waters. Despite his gesture promising to cover his eyes, Summer watched him every step of the way, an unreadable look on his elfin face.

About the author

Suki Fleet currently lives in the heart of England. Her childhood was quite unconventional and she spent some time living on a boat and travelling at sea with her family. Since she was very small she has always dreamed of writing for a living, but though she has written original fiction online for years and encouraged many new writers to keep going and follow their author dreams, it is only recently she got the courage to make her own dream a reality and actually send something off to a publisher.

By day she runs her own business selling fabric (her second love) and juggling family commitments, by night she weaves the stories that the characters in her head dictate. These stories often start with pain or longing but always end with love.

Connect with Suki

https://www.facebook.com/suki.fleet.3

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7919609.Suki_Fleet

http://sukifleet.tumblr.com/

http://sukifleet.wordpress.com/

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon Logo

 

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Skeleton by Suki Fleet

This story is highly recommended!

Skeleton_postcard_front_DSP

 

The Blurb…

Jan has given up on love, at least the romantic kind. He loves his five-year-old son Henry more than anything.

But when Henry starts school, Jan is introduced to Matthew, a very sweet but shy young man who helps out in Henry’s class. Although he tries desperately to ignore his attraction, Jan finds himself falling for Matthew–he’s everything Jan needs.

But amid creepy silent phone calls and possible break-ins, things start to fall slowly apart for Jan. Matthew wants to trust Jan, but the skeleton Jan has been trying to keep buried in his closet and the guilt he feels threatens to destroy everything good in his life.

An Excerpt…

Beyond the distant trees, the sun is sinking, leaving fire-shot ribbons of blue, clouds like the tail ends of meteors.

Jan opens the gate and stops in front of the front door, pulling Matthew with him under the shelter of the overhanging roof.

“I want to know everything about you,” Jan admits, bringing his hand up to gently brush away the raindrops from Matthew’s cheek, while trying desperately to hold his gaze.

There is a fire in his veins, burning through the tips of his fingers, and he wonders if Matthew can feel it. He wonders if that’s why Matthew’s breathing changes, if he needs his inhaler.

Reluctantly breaking the contact, Jan pulls out his keys to open the front door.

It occurs to him that this is the first time he has ever brought home anyone he wants to sleep with this badly. For Henry’s sake, he always told himself he needed to keep this part of his life separate. But now, looking at Matthew half-drowned, shivering, and otherworldly in the most beautiful way, Jan thinks maybe he just hadn’t found the right person to bring home before.

What did I think?

Such a lovely story and told in a way that captures the emotions beautifully. The characters are wonderful – from Jan and his tremendous sense of guilt, Henry with his quiet counting and Matthew with his own troubled background.

There is a real sense of tension running through the story as Jan battles with his feelings. This story is told in the present tense which enhanced the tension. The descriptions immersed me in the story and pulled me on the emotional journey. Plus there is an element of mystery.

This is a novella. I read it in one sitting. I would have enjoyed seeing more of the detail between Jan and Matthew falling in love, but I was drawn to the end for a very satisfying short read.

4 stars

About the Author

Suki Fleet currently lives in the heart of England. Her childhood was quite unconventional and she spent some time living on a boat and travelling at sea with her family. Since she was very small she has always dreamed of writing for a living, but though she has written original fiction online for years and encouraged many new writers to keep going and follow their author dreams, it is only recently she got the courage to make her own dream a reality and actually send something off to a publisher.

By day she runs her own business selling fabric (her second love) and spends time juggling family commitments, by night she weaves the stories that the characters in her head dictate. These stories often start with pain or longing but always end with love.

http://sukifleet.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/suki.fleet.3
http://sukifleet.wordpress.com/

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon Logo

 

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Guest Review: This Is Not A Love Story by Suki Fleet

Today we have a guest review provided by Renae Kaye, author of Loving Jay and the soon to be released, The Blinding Light.

ThisIsNotALoveStory

The blurb…

When fifteen-year-old Romeo’s mother leaves one day and doesn’t return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.

Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.

This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy)

So what did I think?

Well, Suki Fleet certainly knows how to tear someone’s heart out.

This Is Not A Love Story is certainly not a love story – it is a story of survival, with the two main characters so in love with each other, that they will fight with all they have to stay together. Two boys (I’d like to call them men, but they are not really), homeless and hopeless on the streets where being alone means you don’t survive long. The author has certainly explored the range of emotions a young boy feels when his survival depends on what happens to him hour to hour, and we, the reader, are along for the painful ride.

Told from Romeo’s (Remee) POV, the author is unapologetically honest about what goes on when you live on the street – prostitution, drug use, violence, police, hunger, it all. The story is dark and gut-wrenching, nothing hidden or glossed over. In fact, when I had to leave these two boys on the cold street at about 55% last night so that I could get to sleep, I was heartbroken. I didn’t want to leave them out there in the cold.

We follow Remee’s story and his struggle to stay alive, as well as stay with Julian. Julian, the older of the two, takes the bigger burden of them trying to find their way and make it through the night, selling himself and struggling with the pain afterwards. We meet a range of characters on the street too – those who are barely surviving, those who are about to succumb to its dank depths, and those who seem to enjoy the violence. Romeo and Julian find kindness along the way, but not enough to crawl out from where they are.

This is a story I enjoyed reading. I’m not saying I laughed or even smiled, but I couldn’t put the book down. I was taken on a rollercoaster of despair that was so vivid, I couldn’t find my way out.

I do however have a reserve about how it ended – and be assured there are no OMG moments at the end. This IS a love story, no matter what the title says, but (view spoiler)

But it is a story I recommend to you. I give this author 5 stars and applaud her for writing this novel. It is not a usual romance, and that is a good thing.

Renae

❅❅❅❅❅

About the Guest Reviewer

To find out more about Renae Kaye and her books, visit her website.

Renae’s latest book, The Blinding Light is available from Dreamspinner Press and will be released on 14th July.

Buy The Blinding Light

About the Author

To find out more about Suki Fleet and her books, visit her website.

Buy This Is Not A Love Story

Dreamspinner Press

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This Is Not A Love Story – Available for pre-order!

ThisIsNotALoveStory

THIS IS NOT A LOVE STORY

by Suki Fleet

Available for Pre-order Now – releases 22nd May

 

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When fifteen-year-old Romeo’s mother leaves one day and doesn’t return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.


Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.

This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy)

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Dreamspinner Press

Pre-order from Dreamspinner Press