Today, it is my great pleasure to welcome the author of Crash Pad, Whitley Gray to the blog. Whitley has kindly agreed to an interview. Read on to find out, amongst other things, what makes this writer write!
Let’s start with the basics. Why write?
I’m a voracious reader. I read so many books I decided I wanted to give it a try. Technical writing is part of my job, but I wanted to get back to fiction, like I’d written as a kid.
And why did you write this book? Why now?
In Denver, Washington Park is full of people pursuing various physical activities, like biking and running. I wanted to write a story where two guys met in an unconventional way: not on a blind date or at a bar or through friends. Crash Pad is the story of an accidental meeting—literally. A runner and a rollerblader “crash” into each other.
Summer inspired me to write this story, although I had originally begun it in January when the weather was cold. I put it aside until summer hit, and then finished it up.
Are you ever conscious of wanting to share a message through your work? If so, what is it?
No, no message. I write because I enjoy it. Interpersonal relationships are fascinating.
If I gave you permission to rewrite the first book you ever had published, would you?
The first was a serial story called Meredith Medical Center. Yes, I probably would rewrite that, as it was erotica. I’d like to pull out a couple of the characters and flesh out their backstories and evolving relationship beyond the sex.
Are you the same author now as you were when you started? Definitely not. I’ve evolved into an M/M only writer at this point. And I like to think I’m getting better with every book.
It’s Friday night and I’m going to give you two hundred quid to spend getting up to whatever mischief you want. Which of your characters are you going to take with you and what are you going to do?
Hmm…I’d say Errol from Midwinter Night’s Dream. I’d like to see the stage play he wrote.
And finally. In a world where you and your characters co-exist, who would be your best friend, and whose invitation to dinner keeps getting lost in the mail?
My best friend would be Ash from Rabbit Wars; he’s a chocolatier and a fabulous dessert maker. The one who I’d never accept would be Xav-D, the Valentine killer from High Concept. Of course, he’s in prison, so dinner might be tough.
Thanks so much for stopping by Whitley, and thanks for sharing an excerpt from Crash Pad with us!
Physician Remy Marshall has two loves: Emergency Medicine and running. Work doesn’t leave much time to meet guys, and most seem more interested in his bank account than him. With a week off to train for a marathon, Remy plans to make the most of his precious vacation. The last thing he needs is a distraction.
Jamie Sutton is new to the area. He hopes to make a fresh start after leaving an abusive relationship with an orthopedic surgeon. He’s got a new job as a massage therapist and wants to meet some nice guys. Against his better judgment, Jamie decides the best way to meet a cute rollerblader he’s seen in the park is on wheels.
With attention on his watch and not where he’s going, Remy crashes into Jamie and fractures the first-time rollerblader’s ankle. Jamie has no one to help him after the injury; Remy proposes Jamie stay with him. Jamie is reluctant, but it’s a better option than staying with the odd guy in the neighboring motel room. As the two get acquainted, Jamie’s past comes calling. Remy discovers the prize he really wants isn’t a medal in a marathon, but the man right in front of him.
Excerpt for Crash Pad
What the hell had he been thinking?
Jamie tottered along on the rollerblades, arms windmilling, wobbling like a man on a three-day drinking spree. A beautiful morning: sky a serene blue, sunlight dappling the lawns with green and gold, the fresh scent of newly mowed grass. All the things he loved about the park on his daily forays. Now all his attention was focused on surviving this excursion into bad judgment.
The hot-as-Hades helmet and safety gear looked ridiculous.
Cute Rollerblade Guy didn’t wear all this crap. On the other hand, Cute Rollerblade Guy could skate. That coppery ponytail and beard… Mmm, mmm. Too bad the guy wasn’t a runner like Jamie. It would have been easier to meet him—safer, for sure. A shirtless runner, in shorts. Yeah…
A girl yelled, “Look out, Mister,” and whizzed by on his right.
Jamie stuttered on his skates and then got his equilibrium.
The broad path stretched before him like a concrete snake, a thousand times as long and just as dangerous. Kids half his size zoomed past on their wheels, perfect balance, full of confidence and laughter. He wiped a hand across his sweaty forehead. God, he felt like an inept giant. Might as well be ten and at the roller rink with his sister. Why did adults think this was fun? And why did he feel the need to risk his neck at age twenty-eight?
Because you want to meet Cute Rollerblade Guy.
He coasted forward a few feet—too fast, too fast—and grabbed on to a light pole. Yeah, this would impress the man. Two miles an hour, gyrating like a weathervane in a wind storm. Can anyone say idiot? There had to be a better way.
His truck was at least half a mile away in the east lot. Okay, he had a choice: take off the blades and walk in his stocking feet to the parking area or suck it up and blade there. Wouldn’t take that long, just a few minutes. Or hours. Or days. He blew out a breath. Cute Rollerblade Guy hadn’t showed yet. Maybe he’d skate past before Jamie either reached the parking lot or sustained a grievous injury. A glance to the right, and he cautiously re-entered the foot, bike, and blade traffic.
* * * *
Two miles to go.
Remy’s running shoes slapped on the asphalt path through the park. As he passed the mile marker, he glanced at his watch. Seven minutes for the last mile. To be competitive in next month’s marathon, he’d need to get it down to six and a half. He hit the Reset button and picked up the pace. A little crowded on the path, but otherwise a perfect day to add a couple of miles onto his usual six. They’d had snow last year at this time. Old Man Winter had blessed them with one last blizzard on Memorial Day before going into hibernation.
This afternoon, people packed the recreation areas around the lake. Screeches and laughter came from the playground. The fragrance of grilled steak wafted over from the picnic area, and his stomach growled. Remy shook out his hands. On pace for six and a half minutes. Good.
By the time he got home, he’d need to rush through his shower to get ready for tonight. The guy Brett planned to introduce him to better be worth the trouble. A double date/blind date for dinner wasn’t Remy’s idea of a good time. Of course, alone at home wasn’t any better. If the guy turned out to be a dud, Remy could claim a headache and leave early. As he turned the corner, the sun flashed in his eyes. He ducked his head, squinted at his watch, and kept running.
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