Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Heidi Cullinan for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: Carry the Ocean
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance, New Adult
The Roosevelt, Book 1
Normal is just a setting on the dryer.
High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.
But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.
As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.
Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.
Prism Book Alliance® recently reviewed Carry the Ocean. You can find the review here.
We are here today to talk about Carry the Ocean. What can you tell us about it?
Carry the Ocean is a gay contemporary new adult romance featuring a protagonist with autism and another with severe depression & anxiety. It’s the first in the Roosevelt series, which will be three novels set in an assisted-living facility based on a real life former elementary school in my neighborhood. The story is told in close, alternating first person. It’s definitely angsty at times, and there are several dark moments, but I promise you absolutely everything works out beautifully in the end.
Tell us more about Jeremey and Emmet?
I got the germ of the idea for Emmet while watching Alphas, and then Emmet walked into my head and wouldn’t leave until I wrote his story. He was slightly more polite than that sounds, but he’s definitely one of the most intense characters I’ve had appear to me. He’s based on several young men with autism I’ve known, but mostly he’s his own man.
I thought long and hard about who Emmet would fall for and who would best serve the story, which is how Jeremey came into being. I loved the invisibility of his disability, how he seemed “normal” to the world but in most ways is far more fragile than Emmet, whose differences are far more materially apparent when engaging with him. Also, depression and anxiety are near and dear to my heart, as both my husband and my daughter struggle with the conditions.
What about Carry the Ocean make you the proudest?
When my agent, who has an autistic son, and my former therapist who specializes in anxiety issues, read the draft and told me I’d hit it out of the park. I wanted very much to get both elements right, and hearing them say I’d done that made me feel all glowy and good.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Read a lot. Write a lot. Lurk everywhere and take notes. Also, social media is important, but your writing is much, much more important. If building a network comes at the expense of writing time/your sanity, back off and go to the writing cave.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever had someone say about one of your books in an email or review?
I get a lot of stuff that makes me cry, but the best hands-down is the woman from Canada who wrote thanking me for writing about chronic pain in Dance With Me, and when I confessed it was from experience, we began corresponding regularly. She eventually told me our exchanges gave her the courage to try some things she’d been scared of, which moved me a great deal. Of course, her emails have motivated me when I get downtrodden and tired and unsure of myself. But she’s hands-down the best.
What one story made you lose sleep as a kid?
The Shining. I still creep out in hotels. Though honestly everything scared me, and still do. Stories linger in my head and haunt my dreams. I can think I’m fine and then not sleep for a week. After watching Titanic for the first time I stayed up all night sobbing for the dead.
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
I’m reading Curious by RG Alexander. Next I want to read Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson.
Rapid Fire Time
- Love or Lust? Love.
- Apple or Android? Apple, all the way. Even when they make me crazy.
- Salt or Pepper? Both.
- UK Football (soccer) or American Football? They can both go to the moon.
- Kanye or Beck? Ditto this
- Favorite alcoholic beverage? Whiskey, which I can’t drink anymore.
- Fisting or Watersports? Fisting, totally.
- soda or pop? My brain is broken on this one.
- Hunger Games or Divergent? Hunger Games
- Pastel or neon? pastel
What are you working on? What is next?
I’m working on a zillion things. IMMEDIATELY I’m finishing up Clockwork Heart, a steampunk gay romance. Then I have to write the partial for Unleash the Earth, the sequel to Carry the Ocean. That one is straight with a quadriplegic hero. Next up is One of the Girls, fourth book in the Love Lessons series. There are a ton of things after that, but my brain is actively blocking the list as to preserve my sanity.
There’s actually another WIP on the immediate deck, but since I’m giving it to my agent to sell wherever and however she can, it might literally be years before anyone sees it, so we’ll pretend it doesn’t exist so as not to tease people. But it will be a gay new adult contemporary romance.
About the Author:
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and teenaged daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality.
Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.
Heidi Cullinan has kindly offered 1 lucky commenter an eCopy of Carry the Ocean.
Locally held contests will end 7 days from original posting date at 8pm CST. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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