Jackson Marsh has a new gay YA mystery-thriller book out. Please join me in welcoming Jackson to my blog. Jackson has kindly sent his character, Dexter Mitchell, to answer a few questions!
Author Name: Jackson Marsh
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: Saturday, June 23 2018
Format: Paperback, eBook
ISBN 13: 978-1720371311
ISBN 10: 1720371318
Price: $2.99 Kindle, $9.99 paperback
Length: Novel / 95,000 words
Cover Artist: Andjela K
Pairing/Genres/Tropes/Keywords: M/M, gay/gay, gay/straight best friends, Mystery, Romance, Teen (coming out), Thriller, Treasure Hunt, Bram Stoker, Historical Mystery, Treasure Hunt, Action, Comedic, Teenage Diaries, Gay/Family Acceptance
The romance is two 18-year-old boys; meeting, coming out, falling in love; HEA ending
What if you could prove that the greatest Gothic horror novel of all time was a true story?
Dexter and Morgan meet on their eighteenth birthday. The attraction is instant but confusing. As they deal with coming out, they are bound together by more than first love.
Both keep diaries, and each has the same goal – to prove that Stoker didn’t write ‘Dracula’. They are convinced that Harker, Van Helsing and the others existed and wrote the novel’s journals themselves. If Dex and Morgan can prove it, they will blow the lid off the vampire myth: Dracula existed.
As the two teenagers fall in love, so they fall into an adventure as thrilling as it is dangerous. They are being watched, and someone is willing to kill to stop them from making ‘The Stoker Connection.’
The Stoker Connection is an MM Romance treasure hunt thriller. It draws on the original text of ‘Dracula’, but it is not a story about vampires. It is a story of first love and the power of friendship. Sometimes funny, it is an intriguing and honest account compiled from Dex and Morgan’s original diaries.
Dexter Mitchel’s Diary
8 November (written on 9th). — Continued. And then there was his face, and his build, his clothes and something else that started to nag at my lust-muscles, whatever they are.
I knew I had to say something. He was looking expectantly at me, and to ignore him would be rude. I stuck out my hand on impulse.
‘Great questions,’ I said, my throat dry.
He took my hand, damp with sweat, and shook it.
‘What a let-down,’ he said, jerking his head towards the stage.
‘Hell, yes. Not what I wanted to hear.’
‘I know the play wasn’t about Arnold’s theory, but she must have looked into it.’
We were still shaking hands.
‘You’ve read the book?’ he asked.
‘Loads of times. You?’
He nodded. ‘You’re the only person I’ve met who’s even heard of it.’
‘Ditto. You believe it? His theory?’
Hands still being shaken, voices enthusiastic, my lust-muscles now in hopeful overdrive.
‘I do, but I have one of my own.’
I grinned. ‘Me too.’
I was aware that my palm was wet, and I glanced down. It was a bit embarrassing to still be holding hands now, so I opened my fingers to release him. He didn’t open his. OMG, was that a signal of some sort? He was gorgeous. A moment of social ‘What do I do?’ and I gripped his hand again, sending my own signal.
‘Sorry you didn’t get to ask anything,’ he said as if it was his fault.
‘I didn’t need to. You did it for me.’
He looked surprised and then impressed. We were the same height, more or less, so I was able to look right into his eyes. I saw something there. Something that I couldn’t quite grasp at first.
‘Would you…? No, forget it,’ he said, and let go of my hand.
‘What?’ I continued to grip his.
‘Just a thought.’ He pulled his hand away.
That was that, then.
‘Dexter, are you ready?’
Mum was at the door. I don’t know how long she’d been there, but she would have been there long enough to see us holding hands.
‘You have to go,’ he said, a matter of fact rather than a disappointed enquiry. ‘Yeah.’ He received a disappointed reply. ‘Birthday dinner with family.’ ‘Dexter?’ Mum insisted.
I told her I would be there in five minutes and she made it clear it had to be two, which made me feel ten years old, but at least she left us alone.
‘Look,’ he said, as soon as she had gone. ‘I’d like to talk more, about Arnold’s theory, and about my own. If you’re interested?’
‘Yes please,’ I blurted, sounding lame. I recovered. ‘Dexter Mitchel.’ Except I tapped my chest like I was Tarzan when I said it.
‘Me Morgan Davis.’ He did the same, with a Tarzan voice, and I knew then that we were going to hit it off.
The question was, to what extent?
Actually, the pressing question was when? I fumbled for my notebook and tore out a page. ‘My email,’ I said, trying to write neatly (a gift I have yet to receive). I must have looked like a flustered waiter who’s just been torn off a strip. I handed it to him so hurriedly I dropped my notebook.
‘My card,’ he said, coolly offering a white business card and taking my scrap of paper.
His name and email were all that were on it.
‘I’ll message you,’ I said, picking up my book and noticing mum back at the door.
Upright again, I added, ‘I’d invite you, but it’s on the uncle and aunt.’
‘You would invite me?’ he said, eyebrows raised. ‘How kind.’
Who says ‘How kind’ like that? Morgan, obviously. Perhaps he was much older than he looked.
‘Yes, I would, but I can’t. Let’s talk, yeah?’ I had to move away from him, I had to go. I was desperate to stay and learn more. I mean, who else out there has even read this book, let alone had a theory about it?
‘I’ll write,’ he said. ‘Email me.’
A sudden thought attacked out of left field, and I don’t know why I did it, but I took back the scrap of paper and wrote, ‘I’m gay,’ before handing it back and saying, ‘Don’t let that put you off. It’s not why I want to write to you.’
‘Dexter.’ The last warning from mum.
‘Tomorrow,’ I said, suddenly sick inside. What the fuck had I just done? And why? Too late to worry now, I’d done it. ‘I’ll email you tomorrow…’ I was heading for the gents so I could change, bright red and trembling.
‘I won’t, Dexter,’ he called after me. ‘And have a birthday drink for me too.’
It stopped me in my tracks. Sod the Adams family currently gathering at the Metropole. They could fester for another minute. I spun around to find him facing me. We were both grinning.
‘For you?’ Did he mean it was also his birthday?
‘Today.’ He made a small bow.
‘Mum?’ I pleaded towards the exit. She shook her head. Even randomly meeting a stranger who shares the same obscure interest and birthday was not enough to get him an invite.
‘How old?’ Morgan asked, and I didn’t find it intrusive.
‘Eighteen. You?’ It was easy to ask.
He did that friendly wink again. ‘Would you believe eighteen?’
No fucking way. ‘Today?’ I glared at mum again. We had to invite him.
‘We would invite you,’ she told him. ‘But it’s not up to me.’
‘No, no, of course not, don’t worry,’ he said, all smiles and thanks. ‘I have a journal to write up in any case.’
‘Fuck off!’ That was out of my mouth before I knew it. ‘I do that too.’
We stared at each other until he said, ‘These coincidences are a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner.’ An altered quote from the end of chapter two (‘Dracula’ obviously). He nodded to me. ‘I’m away from my email until tomorrow night, but I’ll be waiting to hear from you.’
‘I’ll write,’ I stammered back.
He waved my piece of paper at me as he left. ‘I do hope so.’
☆ Character Interview ☆
Interview with Dexter Mitchell
Dexter is now 25, but the story he and Morgan relate in ‘The Stoker Connection’ happened when they were eighteen. I interviewed him recently, andwe agreed not to let slip any spoiler alerts in his replies.
Dexter, I have to start with, do you still keep a diary every day?
Dex: Not every day, no, but I’ve been keeping a diary since I was ten. I’ve still got every one of them. You can’t read the early ones easily because my handwriting was so crap, still is. When I was fifteen,I started typing them into my PC, later my laptop and printing them out. After what happened in 2017, I mean, after the events in what is now ‘The Stoker Connection’ where I used a recording app for the first time, I have voice recognition software. So, all I have to do is sit and talk to myself, like I’m doing now and it’s a hell of a lot easier.
What were your thoughts when you saw Morgan for the first time?
Dex: Well, Jack, the important ones are in the book, of course, but there are a few things which occurred to me afterwards. The first sight of him, under the lamppost in a mist with a fag… Well, I thought of Bogart straight away, but when he came down those stairs towards me… I was thinkinga hundred and one other things. You have to remember that I knew I was gay, and I had had this big crush on Tim that was going nowhere as fast as a south-east train. So, when I saw this gorgeous boy I’d never seen before, turning up to the theatre in a leather trench coat, my legs went weak andmy dick started misbehaving. I knew what I wanted for Christmas. Him. It wasn’t exactly loveat first sight, as I said back then, it was more like knowing, ‘This was meant to happen. This man was supposed to walk into my life on my eighteenth birthday and change it.’ The weird thing was, as soon as I saw him, I wasn’t surprised; like I’d always known the meeting was going to happen. Hard to describe really. His mum called it fate. I called it ‘about bloody time.’
In your diaries that make up half of the book, you and your friends are almost obsessed with sex and each other’s dicks. Was it really like that?
Dex (laughing): We were seventeen/eighteen, we were a close group of mates and, yes, we really did talk like that. Most of us are still mates now, and we sometimes talk about how it was. I mean, hormones raging and all that. But it was different for me. They could talk to each other about girls, I had to keep my thoughts about boys to myself. The diary was my way of getting it out of my system. Yeah, I’d not only seen Tim and Pete and the others naked, I’deven had a grope or two. We all had, and we were close – and ‘straight’ enough – to laugh about it.
And so, I have to ask, did you and Tim ever do anything sexual together?
Dex: I have to be careful here, he might read this. What the hell. No, we didn’t. I mean, yes we did, but only in the way that probably all teenage boys do when they’re that age, you know? I was always staying over at his house. We shared everything, even the occasional mutual wank, but that was before what happens in the book, and though I always wanted to take it further, he never did. Certainlynot after I’d met Morgan.
What did you learn from what happened? What did you take away with you?
Dex: Let me start when I was eleven. I first read ‘Dracula’ then and, atthe end, I cried. I couldn’t explain why, then, and it wasn’t until after that night on the cliffs at the end of my own story, that I realised what had made me cry. The thing I took away from our experience, was the value of friendship.
As you see in my diaries, we talked a lot about love, not just me and Morgan but me and Tim. I realised that I experienced two kinds of love. There was the one that came with the expectation of sex, and the one that didn’t. I was able to love Morgan, andthat made the sex even more incredible. I was able to have sex with Morgan, andthat made the loveten times more wonderful. With Tim, I’d wanted that sex-love version and lived in hope ofhaving my feelings reciprocated in the same way. It wasn’t until after everything that Tim (and Simon) did for us that I realised you can have just as strong a feeling of love without the sex. I loved Tim more after that night, andyet I didn’t need it to have anything to do with sex.
So, what I came away with was a stronger bond between all four of us, an understanding of what platonic love means, and a right ear-bashing from my mum when she found out how reckless I’d been. But that’s just showing love in a different way.
I know you’ve been asked this before, but really, is what we read in ‘The Stoker Connection’ true?
Dex: It’s as it happened, Jack. You know I’ve always been honest, andthat’s got me into all kinds of trouble in the past, but I was as honestthen as I am now. Probably more so. Yes. Wordfor word, with a few spelling corrections, what you read is what we wrote and said at the time it all happened.
And finally, what’s your situation now? It’s been seven years since the events.
Dex: The thing is, Jack, I can’t tell you that. We wouldn’t want to spoil a true story, would we?
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Hi. Jackson was born in 2017 as the penname for me (James) so that I could publish my new gay fiction independently from my other writing work. I was born on the south coast of England during a blizzard, but now like to warm thing up with MM romance novels, gay mysteries and some occasional erotica. In 2007 I was awarded and EGPA award for my erotic short stories, and in 2018 I won a Best Screenplay award for one of my films. I am a diverse writer with thrillers, comedies and horror stories under my James belt, and now romance and mystery under my Jackson belt.
At the moment I am concentrating on two genres: older/younger MM romance, and youth mysteries with early 20s main characters and a love story included.
I live on a Greek island with my husband. My interests outside of writing and reading are outdoor pursuits, traveling, piano and genealogy. That’s probably why my books tend to involve characters who are musicians, writers, mystery-solvers and rock climbers; there’s a bit of me in every one.
Author Website: http://www.jacksonmarsh.com
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