Author Visit & Giveaway: An Interview with Jay Bell, April's Author of the Month!

Happy Earth Day!

As BMBR's author of the month, Jay Bell has been the talk of the clubhouse this month, beginning with our infamous April Happy Hour Chat about Kamikaze Boys in which we might have discussed more things than simply the book *coughs "weenies" coughs*. =)

We were lucky enough to have the lovely and fabulous Jay Bell visit recently. *cheers* He chatted with us about books, angst, romance, and wieners, so check out the interview below and then look for the details on how to enter the giveaway!

BMBR: How easy/difficult was it to write about the bullying in Kamikaze Boys? It was very difficult to read at times and we wondered if you ever experienced anything like David had to deal with?
JB: I’m afraid it was all too easy to write about bullying because I’ve experienced both sides of the coin. Around the time I was twelve years old, I was living in small town Missouri. For whatever reason, I was pretty full of myself, and I’m not proud to admit that I bullied other kids. Not many of them, and certainly not the entire time I was growing up, but those last few years in Missouri brought out an ugly side of me. Fortunately we soon moved to Texas where I got a healthy dose of my own medicine. A little too much of that medicine actually, because I felt like I was overdosing. I might have pushed a few kids around in my past, but at least those were one-on-one encounters. In Houston, an entire group of guys gave me shit on a daily basis. Every morning I woke up with dread in my stomach, knowing that even if I fought back, I was greatly outnumbered. A scrawny trembling lion can’t do much against the entire pride. As upsetting as these experiences were, I’m glad I didn’t make it through my youth unscathed. I hate to think of the person I would have become had I stayed in that small town. While I’ll never thank the bullies who made years of my life so difficult, I’m relieved that I suffered enough to never be one of them again.

BMBR: What was your favorite moment between David and Connor from Kamikaze Boys?
JB: Probably when they take a road trip down to Florida and end up dancing on the beach at night. The scene is relatively small and unimportant, but they’ve finally left all their problems behind, even if only temporarily. That’s a feeling I know well, and the reason I look forward to every vacation I take with my husband. Not that our lives are filled with so much drama, but it still feels good to get away, to find a little moment just for us alone.

BMBR: At the end of Spring you said you were going to write more in the "Something Like..." series but it wouldn't be what we expect. Can you give up any more clues as to what's coming next? And what does that mean for Caesar?
JB: The trouble with telling people that you’re doing the unexpected is that they start expecting all sorts of amazing things. Many have already speculated that I’m writing Emma’s story, which is more outside the box than what I’m aiming for at the moment. Mostly I just meant that the next couple of books wouldn’t focus on the major characters we met in Something Like Spring. Previously we met Benjamin Bentley, and then got a book for each of his love interests. If I was following that same formula, I would now do the same for Jason Grant, but I don’t intend to. So no book from William or Caesar’s point of view. That having been said, the next two books have quite a lot to do with William and Caesar, in a roundabout sort of way. We will see more of their stories, and if there are enough unanswered questions at the end, maybe they will get their own books eventually. Or maybe I really will write Emma’s story, just to see what happens. At the very least, that would allow us to spend more time with Ben and Tim.   

BMBR: Can we expect anything else from the Loka Legends series? In other words, will there be any more of Kio in the future?

JB: I’d love to complete the Loka Legends series with the third and final book. I already have the plot worked out in my mind. It’s just a matter of finding the time. Sadly, the market for gay fantasy is pretty flimsy. I get the impression that most fantasy fans are content to read mainstream authors. When those same readers crave a story with gay characters, they turn to a genre which focuses on the relationship itself, which is what romance is so good for. I try to do both in the Loka Legends series, since romance and relationships are still a major part of the plot. I won’t pretend it’s not a tough sell though. Regardless, the next time I need a break from writing contemporary romance, I’ll happily escape back into a world full of talking cats, lovesick boys, and rainbow powered magic.

BMBR: Your books can be pretty angsty (that might be an understatement :D). Do you enjoy reading angsty books yourself?
JB: Oh god yes! I’m an angst junky, especially when it comes to stories with younger characters. The entire time I was growing up, I had people telling me I was oversensitive. I never understood that really. Did they mean I feel too much? Is that even possible? If so, perhaps that’s why young characters work so well for me, because the teen years and early twenties are full of so many conflicting emotions and desires. The confusion of figuring out one’s identity, those first clumsy steps into the realm of love, the intensity of those early relationships… The tide isn’t just high—it’s a wave so huge that it’s blocking out the sun! So yeah, I dig that angsty energy. Older people still feel these things too, but our reactions are a lot less interesting. By the time someone is forty, we shouldn’t be throwing pebbles at someone’s window in the middle of the night, just because we feel desperate to see them. … Or should we?

BMBR: Your Seasons books like to steal all the Jay Bell spotlight. Are there any other books on your backlist that you especially love and think deserve some of the spotlight?
JB: Kamikaze Boys, since it could so easily be a part of the Something Like… series. Heck, maybe someday I’ll find a way of merging the two continuities. I also wish more people would give Hell’s Pawn a try, since it’s probably the most original story I’ve ever written. I worry the concept scares most people away, sounding like it’s about armies and Hell, when really it’s the story of a man trying to find his place in the world. It just happens to be the world after this one, but at heart, I feel it’s still a very relatable situation.

 BMBR: Frankfurters or Sausages?
JB: Soy wieners. I’ve had a not-so-successful flirtation with vegetarianism for years now. I never gave up fish completely, and there’s a Chinese buffet not far from us that has irresistible sweet and spicy chicken. I haven’t intentionally eaten beef or pork for well over a decade, but if I’m on a flight and they serve me something with pig or cow in it, I’ll happily consume it rather than let it go to waste. So I’m not sure what I am exactly, but I try to keep my meat consumption minimal. Sadly, this means living in a country famous for its sausages without ever having tried one. My husband Andreas is the same way, although I never asked him to be. Neither of us are preachy about what we or anyone chooses as their diet. We’re simply very fond of animals and thus try to eat them as little as possible, despite them being extremely delicious.

BMBR: What's your most romantic memory?
JB: That’s a tough one. In my experience, those events considered to be the most romantic—weddings, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day—usually aren’t. They can be nice and memorable, but rarely are they spontaneous enough to be romantic. Instead, Cupid’s magic seems to appear at random. Maybe Andreas and I will be sharing a bottle of wine or two while watching old music videos. Or we’ll head out to the city to shop but end up strolling leisurely through a park. There are times you simply connect with that other person, and the circumstances and surroundings don’t matter much. I’m kind of avoiding the real answer though, because two things instantly popped into mind. One is a little too private and naughty to share. As for the other… here goes:
For the past couple of years, whenever I fly home to the United States to see my family and friends, I cry. I’m not the kind of guy that gets weepy, especially when I’m sad. I’m more likely to do that weird happy-cry thing, but that’s pretty rare too. Even when I’m heartbroken with sorrow, it usually takes a drink or two to squeeze manly tears out of my eyes. But these days, when I know I’ll be saying goodbye to my husband for a few weeks, I usually cry when it comes time for us to part. Actually, I hold it in until he turns away, making sure he doesn’t see. Just the idea of being apart from him hurts me enough that I realize just how lucky I am. Andreas is one of the best people I’ve met in the world, if not the best, and sometimes it takes stepping away from him to remember that. So while it might not sound traditionally romantic, there’s a guy in my life so wonderful that being away from him brings me to my knees and well… that seems pretty amazing to me. And so I cry.

*brushes tear away*

That was simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing that memory with us, Jay. It's not hard to imagine where you get the inspiration for the romance and emotions found in your books. =)

The incomparable Jay Bell has brought with him a goodie that he's chosen just for you. Yay! He's toted along a copy of Hell's Pawn (winner's choice of ebook or paperback!) to give to one lucky reader.

How to enter: Please leave a comment on this BMBR post with a means of contacting you (e.g., email, Twitter name, Goodreads account, etc.). Also, if you feel like sharing, let us you enjoy angsty reads?

The contest closes at 10PM (Pacific time) on April 30, 2014, and a winner will be contacted shortly thereafter through the contact info provided in the comment. Please respond within 48 hours or else another winner will be selected.

Thanks for visiting us, Jay, and happy reading to all!

P.S. As Author of the Month, Jay Bell is an honorary unicorn here in the BMBR clubhouse. Please welcome his unicornian alter ego, Hemlock Fair Mister!

Hemlock is often very naughty and is always being told off.

He is handsome to look upon, and he makes wishes come true.


  1. I haven't read Hell's Pawn but I'd like to try it!

  2. Don't enter me in the giveaway because I already have Hell's Pawn, but I wanted to say what a great book it is, for those who haven't read it. Thanks for the interview!

  3. Jay is my "author of the year"!!! I can't say enough about how much I have enjoyed his "Something like" series. "Kamikaze Boys" was also a beautiful story that was hard to put down. Since I've read these book several time over and loved them I really want to give "Hells's Pawn" a look. I know I will be love it. I've just loved the others so much I just want to keep rereading them.

  4. I do love the Something Like series, and I think I've read everything else except for Hell's Pawn.

  5. It would be wonderful to win a book by you. I love your writing and characters especially the Something Like series.... and I'm looking forward to more from you. You can let me know if I win through Facebook. I'm a friend on there-- Andrew Jamison Marks. Or on Livejournal as beautfl_tragedy

  6. Thanks for having me! And for making me a unicorn. Hemlock and I have a lot in common. I am indeed very naughty, although I don’t get told off much. At least not by my husband. Why? Because I’m very naughty… and I make wishes come true. ;)

  7. Thank you for the wonderful interview. I LOVE angsty books. And have read and immensely enjoyed almost all of Jay Bell's books, but have not read Hell's Pawn. So, it would be great to win a copy.

    jen.f {at} mac {dot} com

  8. Awesome interview! Hi Jay: )

    kamikaze boys is one of my favs and I'm working my way thru something like....

    Angsty reads are great and even tho my tummy & heart hurt thru most of them, I always go back for more!!

  9. Haven't tried it. But it looks interesting.

  10. Thanks for the giveaway looks interesting.

  11. Great interview. Jay Bell is awesome. Love angsty books. What's love without some heartache thrown in? Thanks for the giveaway.

  12. Maybe Hell's Pawn will be less emotional truamatising then Kamikaze Boys =D So please enter me into the competition =)
    My email:

  13. I love sexy demons, silly interviews, books with drama, engaging characters and romance. Thanks for sharing! I also see some friendly faces among the commenters so I know this book has to be good. :D

  14. Personally fantasy is generally my favorite genre, so finding a good fantasy with a gay romantic subplot is epic awesomeness! I'm going to be checking out the Loka's Legends series for sure now. :)


  15. I want a copy of Hell’s Pawn!!! :D Love Jay Bell, great interview!

  16. I REALLY am in love with Something Like... (Winter, most of all. And Tim. *sigh*) --- I also loved Kamikaze Boys. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

    I haven't tried Hell's Pawn yet, but I really like to give it a go :)

    Oh I really really LOVE angsty reads when they come with a happy ending! Jay is a master at making me cry... ! and he does those real great happy endings. <3

    coigocoro[at]gmail[dot]com -- that's me :)

  17. Thank you for the post and the chance!!!! mevalem258ATgmailDOTcom

  18. Would love to read Hell's Pawn!

  19. Thanks for entering the giveaway, folks! The winner is Rodney Batterman (April 22, 2014 at 3:47 PM), whom we have contacted via email.

    We appreciate your visit to BMBR - happy reading!