Title: The Couple Next Door
Author Name & Publisher: Rick R. Reed (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: December 7, 2015 – 200 pgs
With the couple next door, nothing is as it seems.
Jeremy Booth leads a simple life, scraping by in the gay neighborhood of Seattle, never letting his lack of material things get him down. But the one thing he really wants—someone to love—seems elusive. Until the couple next door moves in and Jeremy sees the man of his dreams, Shane McCallister, pushed down the stairs by a brute named Cole.
Jeremy would never go after another man’s boyfriend, so he reaches out to Shane in friendship while suppressing his feelings of attraction. But the feeling of something being off only begins with Cole being a hard-fisted bully—it ends with him seeming to be different people at different times. Some days, Cole is the mild-mannered John and then, one night in a bar, he’s the sassy and vivacious drag queen Vera.
So how can Jeremy rescue the man of his dreams from a situation that seems to get crazier and more dangerous by the day? By getting close to the couple next door, Jeremy not only puts a potential love in jeopardy, but eventually his very life.
This was an absolutely great book. Rick Reed is not a new author for me and it was amazing what he did with these two characters. He was able to bring these two characters to life. I loved both Jeremy and Shane and I hated John/Cole/Vera. I loved the hot sex between Jeremy and Shane.
The author was able make me believe everything he was writing. I was completely engrossed in this book and I didn’t want to put it down. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves reading a excellent m/m romance with mystery/suspense.
HOW MANY disappointing dates will I endure before I just give up?
I mean, here I am, a perfectly attractive, fit, self-sufficient thirty-year-old, and I’m still waiting to meet the man of my dreams. Mr. Right. Hell, tonight I’d even settle for that character who seems to come along on dates for most of us, the all-too-common Mr. Right Now. But even he isn’t on the seat beside me. In fact, I strongly doubt he’s anywhere in the vicinity of the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle where I live.
Believe me, I’ve looked.
Mr. First Date pulls his Ford Fusion up to the curb in front of my apartment building on Aloha Avenue. We sit in awkward silence for several long moments, listening as the engine ticks down as it cools. I can feel him looking at me. As he’s done most of the evening, he waits for me to speak. I turn my head and, in the dark, give him a weak smile. The date, dinner at a little sushi place on Broadway, had not gone well, full of uncomfortable silences, awkward pauses, and desperate looks around for avenues of escape—on both our parts.
Do I need to say we just didn’t click?
I didn’t think so.
First off, I’d like to say thank you for taking the time to answer these questions so me and my readers can get to know a little bit more about you!
Thanks for having me! Writers can be such solitary creatures, so it’s nice to have this forum to let you inside my head (c’mon, it’s not such a scary place. Much.). And I’m also so grateful to have the opportunity to tell you a bit more about my latest release, The Couple Next Door.
Now for the hard part:
Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So, here’s a picture of me with my faithful assistant and muse, Lily, who “works” with me every day. As you can see, I’m pretty organized and neat (it’s a feng shui kind of thing—I need to have my space clear in order for my mind to follow suit). You can’t see it, because it’s too early in the morning for the sun to be up, but when I need inspiration, I need only turn my head to see the gorgeous view of Seattle’s Lake Union outside my office window.
Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?
Actually, I think there’s a part of me in every character I create (even the twisted ones!). But the answer that first sprang to mind was Andy from my novel, Blink. The first part takes place in the 1980s when Andy is a closeted young man about to be married in a couple of months when he has a connection with a gorgeous Cuban man on the Chicago L. It’s a bittersweet “missed opportunity” that actually happened in my life.
In my latest, The Couple Next Door, I am a lot like my main character, Jeremy, who longs to have his writing recognized by a publisher (he’s younger than I am; I was there once too). He’s also a lot like me in his sensitivity and his need to provide solace to damaged people (which is why he falls so hard for Shane, his new neighbor, who appears to be in domestic violence situation).
If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
There isn’t much else I’m good for, honestly! Storytelling is in my blood. I’ve always had this need to escape into my imagination, whether it’s creating my own characters and worlds, or to read and see how others have done it.
But to answer your question, the other thing I can do pretty well is cook. If I weren’t a writer (and I’ll always be a writer because it’s not something you choose—kind of like being gay), I’d cook. And I don’t think I’d want to be a chef in a fancy restaurant, either. I think I’d like to cook in a place where I could make a difference, like a homeless shelter.
Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?
I hope it doesn’t sound conceited to say that the honest answer is no. With The Couple Next Door, I worked hard to build a story that’s not only filled with suspense and some shocking twists, but one that shows you a great romance can emerge out of the most horrible adversity. I like to think I succeeded in that.
How do you come up with new ideas for your story?
Honestly, the characters come to me first and can often be quite insistent about having their stories told. With The Couple Next Door, it was my main character, Jeremy, who, when the book opens, is coming home from yet another bad date, when he witnesses a new neighbor being flung down the apartment stairs. It’s a shocking reversal from what looked like rom/com territory and when I got that scene in my head, I needed to know who these people were and how they all fit together.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I just finished my first novel collaboration with the very gifted and very easy-to-work with Vivien Dean. Our book, Stranded with Desire, will be in Dreamspinner’s new line called Dreamspun Desires. Our story combines a closeted CEO, his faithful assistant who’s secretly in love with him (and thinks it’s hopeless because he assumes his boss is straight), and a plane crash in the Cascade Mountains that teach both men about what’s really important in life—and love.
Look for it in August of 2016.
Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?
I’m in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, in Seattle. I live with my husband and our Boston terrier in a condo overlooking Lake Union, which is smack dab in the heart of the city. From all of our windows, you can see the lake, and on clear days, the Cascade mountain range to the east and Mt. Rainier to the south. Having this kind of natural beauty around me does inspire me, which is why I’ve been lately setting most of my stories here in Seattle.
Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?
I plead the fifth. No, seriously, you don’t put stuff like that online. LOL.
Thank you so much for taking your time to answer my questions. I wish you much success as a writer!!
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). His novel, Raining Men, won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary General Fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”