BLOG TOUR – He Is Mine by Mel Gough – #Interview #AuthorInterview #CharacterInterview #Excerpt #Giveaway

Please join me in welcoming author Mel Gough to my blog. Mel has kindly stopped by to answer a few questions about her new release and to tell us a bit about her writing process. She’s also most graciously brought along one of story characters, Vivienne Aubert, to answer a few questions about herself, too!

He Is Mine by Mel Gough

Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh, Black Jazz Design

Genre/s: M/M psychological romance (with M/F elements)

Release Date: September 7, 2018


Blurb

For you, it was just a fling. For me, so much more…

NYPD detective Brad Moretti’s life is in tatters. A relationship destroyed by his boyfriend’s bipolar disorder has left him feeling guilty, inadequate and emotionally scarred.

Vivienne Aubert seems to have it all – a Hollywood career, supermodel looks, and a director husband about to make it big. And yet, a one-night-stand with rising superstar Damien Thomas makes Viv wonder if she hasn’t settled for second-best. Used to getting her way, she embarks on a ruthless quest to make Damien hers.

Unaware of Viv’s fatal attraction, Damien returns to New York, where a chance encounter with Brad sparks a prompt and rapidly growing affinity between the two men – which Viv is determined to terminate.

Can Brad head off her delusional desires before she destroys his newfound happiness, or will he fail to protect yet another lover?


Excerpt

Chapter 1 is on Mel Gough’s website, or read it here:

Chapter 1

Brad stretches and rubs his eyes. He squints up at the ceiling; the first rays of morning light just start to creep along the plaster above his head. He sighs. This is his weekend off; his next shift isn’t until Monday. But he’s an early riser by design more than by desire. As if the day can’t start without you, Aiden used to mock him.

Aiden. Like every morning these last two weeks, Brad stretches his arm across the mattress, finding the sheets cold and undisturbed. He can see the empty pillow from the corner of his eye without moving his head. An equally empty spot in his heart aches in response.

Nothing has changed in the last eight hours. It still hurts. That fact established, Brad rolls out of bed. As he pads into the bathroom, he thinks about his very short To Do list for the day. A couple of phone calls to return, gym, then lunch. He promised to meet Maria, his friend since his high school days in Baltimore, at their favorite sushi place. While he pees, Brad contemplates whether to cancel that date. But he’s made excuses to Maria for two weeks; unless he meets her soon of his own free will she’ll send a search party. Going to Hibino will be less painful than another week of ignoring her texts and calls.

Brad steps over to the sink to brush his teeth. He hates to drink coffee before his mouth is clean, so he always makes time for two rounds with the electric toothbrush. Aiden used to roll his eyes at what he considers a waste of toothpaste.

As he moves the oscillating bristles from one side to the other, Brad studies his face in the mirror. His spirits plummet. Even after a good night’s sleep there are dark circles under his chronic fatigue-dulled brown eyes, and his skin is sallow. Ever since Aiden walked out on him, each good night’s sleep is followed by two or three with hardly any. And it’s no use kidding himself. The last few weeks, he feels much older than thirty-seven, and the lack of sleep shows.

Not that his face would ever have won a beauty contest. His jaw is too square, and his brows are too full. Combined with the crooked nose, broken in a bar brawl during his first year on the beat in Baltimore and never properly set, he looks like the worst cliché of an Italian gangster. On better days, he tries to cultivate the image of sophisticated athlete, but lately that doesn’t even convince him.

Grimacing at his reflection, Brad spits out the toothpaste and rinses his mouth. With wet hands, he brushes over his short dark hair to flatten it into a semblance of order. On his way back into the bedroom he grimaces again.

What he sees hanging over the bed is another reminder of Aiden, the biggest and most obnoxious of them all. The huge canvas was a sore spot between them from the moment Aiden bought it from his friend three years ago. “Kyle’s the next Jackson Pollock,” he’d enthused, his eyes bright with what Brad hadn’t yet clocked as maniacal exuberance. “In five years, this will be worth a fortune!”

All Brad has ever seen there on his wall is ten feet by five feet of blotches and untidy scrawls. He just doesn’t get it. As he leaves the bedroom and descends the stairs, he makes up his mind. That wannabe Picasso needs to go.

Over coffee, Brad’s mood improves. Out of the kitchen window it looks to be a brilliant, warm day, much nicer than they have any right to expect in mid-March. Sipping his strong, black coffee, Brad decides he will meet Maria. She’s his closest friend, and she deserves to hear his sorry tale, as much as he can bring himself to share. She’s a good listener, even if she has a way of twisting his arm into revealing much more than he intends.

He also decides not to skip breakfast, which has become another bad habit. If he doesn’t eat something now he’ll be ravenous and irritable long before lunchtime. His mood swings are bad enough.

After a bowl of fruit, cereal, and yogurt, Brad gets dressed in his workout clothes. The gym is a five-minute walk from his brownstone on Garfield Place he’d never be able to afford on his salary. When his batty Aunt Hedda died six years ago, Brad inherited her house and a small life insurance settlement, enough to foot the renovations and ensure he’ll get a more comfortable retirement than a career with the NYPD can provide.

After a strenuous workout at the gym, he would usually exchange a few words with the other regulars in the locker room while getting dressed, but ever since Aiden left, words don’t come so easily. And Brad needs to conserve the ones he does have for Maria, who won’t let him off the hook until she has as much detail about the breakup as possible.

Back home, Brad sends a few texts to friends who have left frantic and worried messages these last two weeks, apologizing and promising to call soon. He returns a call to his dentist, who wants to reschedule an appointment, puts in a load of laundry, and straightens up a bit before acknowledging that he’s all out of excuses for putting off one more call. Standing in the kitchen, he dials Aiden’s number from memory.

Brad expects the call to go to voicemail, but to his surprise Aiden picks up on the fourth ring.

“Brad.” Even on the one word, Brad can hear the coldness.

A flustered silence follows. Brad hasn’t prepared for anything other than leaving a brief voicemail message. He casts around for some niceties. “Hey, uh… hi, Aiden. You okay?”

“Since when do you care?”

“’Course I do…” Brad’s legs feel shaky. He hadn’t expected Aiden to be so hostile. He pushes himself away from the kitchen counter and goes into the living room, where he drops onto the sofa.

“What do you want?” Aiden asks. The man Brad met five years ago, who could easily fill their whole day with chitchat, is gone. Brad should’ve realized it, but it still hurts. And he deserves Aiden’s hatred.

“I, err…” Brad clears his throat. “That painting in the bedroom… I was wondering…”

“You want to be rid of it.” Aiden knows him well. Brad can hear his breathing get heavy and fast, and his heart aches. He’s hurt Aiden yet again.

Maybe he can take it back. But before Brad can backpedal, Aiden speaks again. “No problem. You home tonight?”

“Yeah.” The thought of seeing Aiden gives Brad a knot of dread in the pit of his stomach.

“I’ll have someone pick it up then. Six okay?”

Aiden’s voice is emotionless. Brad’s stomach drops. Aiden won’t come himself. He can’t decide if that’s worse than seeing him.

Being excluded from Aiden’s hurt is new, and it stings. They know each other’s emotional life intimately, and Aiden’s refusal to show his anger and pain shakes Brad. It hits home: There’s really no way back.

“Sure…”

“Was there something else?” Aiden sounds impatient. He wants this conversation to end. Brad rubs his face.

“No, I… no, there wasn’t.”

“Good.” Aiden’s relief is palpable.

“Bye,” Brad says, but the line is dead before he gets the word out. He drops the phone into his lap. What did he expect? Aiden never wants to see him again, and Brad can’t blame him. But it hurts. Unbidden, the last words he said to Aiden’s face return for him to dwell on once again. You destroyed us, and I don’t have the energy to put us back together again. Not anymore.

He rubs his face and gives himself a shake. Then he looks around the room. It’s not just the painting; Aiden is still everywhere in the house. The green wall paint, the strange, antique-shop floor lamps, the sofa cushions — all were chosen by Aiden and paid for by Brad. He’ll have to at least get rid of the lamps and the cushions.

With a sigh, Brad gets up to change for his lunch date. Maybe Maria will agree to help him redecorate the house.

~


☆ Author/Character Interview ☆

Author Questions

Welcome, and thank you for stopping by! Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.

Thank you so much for having me! I write primarily in the M/M romance genre, though I’ve also had one M/F love story published in an anthology (I say love story, because it wasn’t a Happily Ever After, which is a prerequisite to qualify as romance). My goal at the moment is to increase my readership. Aside from He is Mine I have one book coming out in October with Nine Star Press. It’s the second in a series, and I’m working on a historical M/M romance. For next year, I have three potential projects planned.

Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?

He is Mine is a psychological romance novel. It has some suspense elements, and it’s quite dark in places. The story revolves around Vivienne Aubert, who is a Hollywood actress who falls in love with her colleague Damien. Damien doesn’t return her feelings, though. It’s also the story of Brad Moretti, a detective with the NYPD, who’s just coming out of a very bad breakup. He and Damien meet, which makes the who situation messy and painful, and pushes Vivienne down a dark path.

This book is a bit of a departure from what I’ve written before. Vivienne is a central figure, and I’d never written a full novel with a female main character. She’s not a heroine, she’s really quite nasty. But while writing the book she became dear to my heart, with all her flaws and neuroses. I can’t hate her, though I think a lot of readers will.

He is Mine is a story of fatal attraction. There’s betrayal, emotional blackmail, stalking, delusion, the works. But another strong theme is mental health, and the struggle those of us face who are caring for someone suffering from mental health issues. It wasn’t an easy book to write because those themes are close to my heart.

I think it’s going to be quite a controversial book because of the portrayal of the female MC and because the things I address aren’t often handled in that way.

How do you develop a story idea? Do you always use the same method? Specifically, which do you develop first in your story building, the characters or the plot?

It usually starts with a scene. I see something in my mind’s eye, a strong visual prompt that makes me curious about the people in it (my plots so far have all been character-driven). With this story, I first knew about the female character, that she was an actress and that she wasn’t terribly nice. There’s a scene in the book on a roof terrace in Las Vegas, that was the first image I had. It’s a sweet scene, actually, and I think it shows some interesting things about Vivienne and who she is. It also introduces the person she becomes enamored with, and it doesn’t show him in the best light, which I found interesting. Vivienne was quite a challenge to write because she’s not a very reliable narrator and she’s sometimes pretty nasty. I wanted to balance that with her good qualities, but it was tricky.

What do you find to be the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

That question made me grin, because one of the things I hear most frequently is the sentence, “Men don’t talk like that!”. My partner reads the majority of what I write, and he’s a great balance in that respect. I think women are often much more vocal about all the things they’re feeling. I myself don’t tend to ruminate about feelings so much, so sometimes I also need to make sure I put enough internal dialogue for characters’ motivations and emotions to become clear.

I know I write in a genre that’s sometimes derided for being unrealistic because the characters are usually male and the authors tend to be female (though that’s a generalization; there are many exceptions and a lot is changing right now). But I don’t think of my characters in that way. They’re all people first (I haven’t yet written about aliens though I’d totally love to) and humans are much more similar to each other than we’re sometimes led to believe.

How do you select the names of your characters?

That’s honestly my favorite part of the process! Some things about a story come to me when I’m in the shower, or when I’m out walking, and names are the most likely to come that way. I rarely consciously plan the names for the MCs. It’s like I can get my brain to run through options on auto-pilot, and stop on the perfect one. For the next book I’m working on, which is set in the 1950s, I spent a little bit of time researching names to make sure I wouldn’t pick something that’s completely unlikely. But out of those, I took the ones that felt right, rather than research their meaning.

Sometimes for minor characters I’ll do research to make sure the names have a specific meaning (like a cypher for the function they have in the story), but my main character names have all happened organically so far. I’ll have an aha! moment when the right name comes along. Then I’ll think about who they are and will find a suitable surname that reflects that. For example, in He is Mine I have a character called Brad Moretti. His Italian heritage isn’t hugely important, but I made sure it was fleshed out a little: his best friend is called Maria, and he has dark hair. In my mind’s eye, he looks Sicilian.

Who would play the main characters in a movie about your book?

I won’t make any suggestions for Vivienne because she’s not very nice and feelings might get hurt. But have a look at the Ocean’s 8 cast; I thought a few of those actresses would work really well. Not because they’re nasty people but because they can play very interesting, multi-layered characters.

The one character that’s really easy to cast is Damien Thomas. He’s Kit Harrington to a T! I hope Kit will forgive me, but visually, he was who modelled for me to create Damien in my head. The hair makes me swoon!

The best person to play Brad would be Jon Bernthal, I think.

What’s your most useless talent?

I can make very poignant, sarcastic comments at the drop of a hat. I always thought that was pretty useless, but actually, it’s great for kidding around with people on Twitter, especially if you want to be noticed by celebrities. I mostly follow famous and popular authors these days, and they seem to like a funny turn of phrase.

Ask permission or beg forgiveness?

Beg forgiveness, I’m afraid. I’m a very impatient person, and also pretty stubborn. Shooting first and asking questions later, as it were, is just so much easier!

Character Questions

Today, we have actress Vivienne Aubert with us, for our popular 12 Question feature! Vivienne will soon start filming for the female lead in Dark Core, director Victor Cahn’s new and ambitious SciFi opera. Of course, Victor is also Vivienne’s husband. Should make for interesting dynamics… Welcome Vivienne, and let’s get started right away!

What is your name? Do you have a nickname? If so, who calls you by it, and how did you get it?

My name is Vivienne Aubert. I got married last year [shows us her rose-gold wedding band studded with diamonds] but Victor said I should keep my maiden name. Because of my brand, you know? Everyone calls me Viv…except my mother…[frowns, then shakes back her long blond hair and smiles]

How old are you?

Not something you ask a lady, is it? [she winks] I’ll tell you anyway, because nobody believes it. I just turned thirty.

Do you ever lie? If so, when?

Oh, I don’t know what you mean with lie? I mean, what’s truth anyway? It’s just another story, right?

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Maybe I’d change my nose. I mean, people say it makes me look interesting, but I don’t know…I think it’s a bit too hawkish. What do you think? [turns her profile, grimacing a little]

What is your greatest weakness?

Hmm, difficult one. I think I’m sometimes impatient. But really, it’s just because I want everything perfect, you know? I’m impatient with myself too, and push myself really hard. People give up too easily. We should have higher standards.

How would you describe your childhood?

It was really hard work. [laughs] You know I was a dancer and a model before I became an actress. I started at the Paris Opera when I was eight. Sometimes I think that’s when my childhood ended. [is quiet for a moment] But I wouldn’t have wanted a different childhood. I guess…

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

I’m a pragmatist. [laughs] No, seriously, I’d say I’m pretty optimistic. When you’ve got your goals laid out clearly before you, you automatically strive and hope for the best.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I guess I do like clothes a lot, and shoes and bags. But most of the really expensive things in my closet were given to me by designers and labels to wear to events. It’s great promotion for them, and I get to keep the pretty shoes and bags!

Do you plan things out or are you spontaneous?

My husband would say I’m a daydreamer and let life carry me wherever it pleases. But that’s not true, he just likes to tell me what to do – and I like to ignore him.

What are your pet peeves?

Whiny people.

Give three words to describe yourself.

Pretty, hard-working, ambitious.

What is in your refrigerator?

Right now? A few bottles of champagne, in case someone drops by for a chat. Lots of fruit. I’m currently on a melon trip, don’t know why. And lots of Perrier sparkling water.

Thanks so much for your time Vivienne! If our readers are curious to find out more about the famous actress, maybe go with her behind the scenes on her next movie set, you can follow her Instagram now at instagram.com/vivienneaubert


Purchase

Coming Soon to Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Amazon Buy Link

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Meet the Author

Mel was born in Germany, where she spent the first twenty-six years of her life (with a one-year stint in Los Angeles). She has always been fascinated by cultures and human interaction, and got a Masters in Social Anthropology. After finishing university she moved to London, where she has now lived for ten years.

If you were to ask her parents what Mel enjoyed the most since the age of six, they would undoubtedly say “Reading!” She would take fifteen books on a three-week beach holiday, and then read all her mom’s books once she’d devoured her own midway through week two.

Back home in her mom’s attic there’s a box full of journals with stories Mel wrote when she was in her early teens. None of the stories are finished, or any good. She has told herself bedtime stories as far back as she can remember.

In her day job, Mel works as PA and office manager. No other city is quite like London, and Mel loves her city. The hustle and bustle still amaze and thrill her even after all these years. When not reading, writing or going to the theater, Mel spends her time with her long-time boyfriend, discussing science or poking fun at each other.

Blog/Website | Facebook | Twitter (melgough_writer) | Instagram


Giveaway

To stay up-to-date with Mel’s giveaways and for a free novella and a short storysign up to Mel Gough’s newsletter!

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win:

—1x He is Mine ebook
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