Title: The World As He Sees It (Perspectives #2) – Standalone
Author Name & Publisher: A.M. Arthur (Samhain Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: October 20, 2015 – 283 pgs
Love knows no limits…but fear could keep them from seeing it.
Gabe lives a double life. As Gabriel Henson, he works multiple jobs to support his remorseless, alcoholic mother. As Tony Ryder, he does internet porn for extra cash and regular safe sex without complications.
Yet when he encounters a scared young man freaking out in a night club, he’s compelled to reach out. Ever since then, the memory of that young man has haunted him.
Tristan Lavelle lives his life thirty minutes at a time. After a traumatic brain injury three years ago, he gets through his day recording his life in spiral notebooks and sticky note reminders.
A month after Tristan’s embarrassingly public meltdown, another chance meeting with Gabe sparks a warm, emotionally fulfilling email relationship. Both men crave more, but fear of the next step stands between them.
Until Tristan gets the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial that could improve his memory—if the side effects don’t kill him. But for Tristan, the possibility of a real life with Gabe is worth any risk…
First, the good. The author is really skilled with some complex themes, particularly about family interactions. As a romance and a story about friendship and family, this worked very well. The pacing of the relationship between Tristan and Gabe was great–not instant love, but it didn’t take the whole book for them to fall for each other, either.
As for what I wasn’t fond of, this didn’t work for me as a story about disability. It was clearly well-researched, but the things that stuck out to me were that Gabe’s initial interest in Tristan was a sort of fascination with his disability–not his looks or his personality. While I got Gabe’s fixation on “rescuing,” I was put off by that aspect and how it continued in various ways in their relationship. I was also underwhelmed by the almost-miracle-cure Tristan found in the trial drug.
There was a bit of a preachy tone (possibly unintentional?) about Gabe and Shane’s work in the sex industry–implying they were supposed to get out once they had “real” relationships. Gabe admitted to it, but I was bothered by his double standard that his potential boyfriends had to accept it but he would never date a porn star himself.
I did end up skipping or skimming over the extremely long and descriptive sex scenes. They didn’t really add much, and I didn’t particularly care. Event though the writing was good, I felt like the same could be said about a lot of scenes–they simply didn’t do anything to move the plot; they were just more back and forth about what things everyone felt they were entitled to hide from Tristan because he wouldn’t remember and they didn’t trust him not to continually get upset by every reminder of everything ever. It got a bit tedious.
Overall, this wasn’t bad, and it was definitely different from the usual romance. I think the problem may have been a story which tried to do too much with too many different angles and tried to explain too many of the details rather than letting them unfold through the story.
The late hour didn’t diminish the sweltering August heat, and Tristan worked up a good sweat walking. Shane and Noel both looked crazy sexy in their club clothes, and even sexier walking side by side. He was happy for Noel. Happy his best friend was in love and enjoying himself.
He was also stupidly, insanely jealous.
He stuck close with his stupid, insane jealousy because the streets were teeming with people of all ages, heading into and out of the different restaurants and clubs. They turned down a quieter side street that was more like an alley. Halfway down the block a few guys hung out against a stone wall, most of them smoking cigarettes. An industrial door with no sign or markings was being guarded by a big, burly bear of a man in a black leather vest.
“Hey, Officer Carlson,” the bouncer said. He had a deep voice to match his broad body. “Nice to see you again.”
“Hi, Mr. Henson,” Noel said.
“Bear, son. Everyone calls me Bear.”
“Right. This is my friend Tristan Lavelle.”
“A right pleasure.”
Tristan shook Bear’s hand, surprised by the gentle grip. “Hi.” He glanced at Shane, who didn’t seem at all annoyed at being left out. “Um, that’s Shane. Noel’s boyfriend.”
Bear grinned. “Yeah, I know that one all right.”
“You do?” He reached for a notebook he didn’t have, then looked at Noel for answers.
“Shane dances here once a week,” Noel said. “He got the job through Bear’s son Gabe.”
“Oh.” He didn’t bother asking if he’d already been told that. Probably. Every single piece of information that was mildly important to his life had been repeated to him at least, oh, eighteen times. Minimum.
“Enjoy yourselves, boys,” Bear said. “First drinks are on the house.”
“Thank you,” Tristan replied.
Noel pulled the door, and what had been a distant bass became an impressive thumpa-thumpa in Tristan’s chest. The interior of the club was wide and deep, with a high ceiling decorated in strands of red and blue lights. Strobes and other lighting flashed around the dance floor, which seemed to make up most of the floor space. A small U-shaped bar stood to the right. In the rear were what looked like raised platforms. Two hot guys in red short-shorts were gyrating together on one of them.
This is the kind of dancing Shane does? Shit.
He was probably twenty kinds of hot up there.
Someone jostled past them, reminding Tristan to keep moving forward. Noel was hustling them straight for the bar. Tristan couldn’t drink alcohol because of his antidepressants and anxiety medications, and Noel was driving so the only person able to drink much was Shane.
1) Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
It’s actually pretty basic. I have a desk with a shelf over it, and that shelf is covered with little toys and stuffed animals and trinkets. Speakers attached to my laptop in case I want to listen to music. I’m lucky that I have a room to use as an office, so there’s a bookcase with lots of writing books and my own stuff, too. My collection of Funko Pop Vinyl toys are on a shelf on the wall. Printed art on the other wall. It’s very cozy, but also bright and cheerful.
2) Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?
That’s a tough one. In some ways, I think I relate to Boxer the most (Finding Their Way). He’s a character who does for others, is always there with a favor or to be a shoulder to lean on, but at the end of the day, he doesn’t have anyone to do that for him (until he meets Riley, of course). I’m a bit like Boxer, in that I’m always being called upon by family to do for them, but it feels like when I need a favor back there’s no one around.
3) If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
This is what I’ve always wanted to do, so I have no idea. When I was in high school, I really wanted to work with hands-on visual effects and latex makeup. Practical, rather than computer, effects. So maybe that. On low budget horror movies. That would be fun.
4) Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?
I wish I’d learned more about marketing and promotion. It’s a hugely important part of getting your name out there and getting your books in front of readers. It was a steep learning curve for me from my first career to where I am now as A.M. Arthur.
5) Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?
No. Will everyone love The World As He Sees It? Nope. Will everyone like the choices that my characters (especially Gabe) make? Nope. But this was the story that I wrote and I’m very proud of it. Tristan gets the happy ending he deserves, and Gabe is the perfect man for him.
6) How do you come up with new ideas for your story?
Reading. Watching TV. Most of my “hey, cool!” ideas or moments come from the things I experience through other peoples’ art. If I’m stuck, I’ll gather input from other sources until something gels. Sometimes ideas come from the characters themselves, or other elements of the story, and it just works.
7) What’s next for you as a writer?
There is so much! It’s going to be a busy winter. Perspectives #3, The Heart As He Hears It, will release from Samhain in April 2016. Also on the horizon is a new NA series from SMP Swerve, centered around a funky music venue and the hot young men who are trying to be rock stars. And I have a new NA trilogy coming with Carina Press!
8) Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?
I love on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, which is equal distances from both the ocean and lots of farmland. It’s a mostly rural area, and yes, I do think it influences what I write. Not the m/m part, specifically, but the fact that most of my books are set in smaller towns. I like how small towns feel, versus the anonymity of big cities.
9) What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?
Gosh, um, before m/m I was fully immersed in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance genres. I grew up watching horror, SF, and fantasy films and it’s always been dear to my heart. When those genres exploded around 2008-9, it was a natural fit for me both as a reader and a writer. I still love it as a reader, but as a writer…well, it didn’t work out the way I’d hoped. But that’s okay, because it’s allowed me to fully focus on my m/m romance, and I couldn’t be happier about that.
10) Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?
Cheese. I love cheese. I probably eat too much cheese. And jewelry. I adore earrings and necklaces, and not the expensive stuff. Funky, unusual stuff, especially handmade.
A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with your cooking tips (or book comments).