Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Louise Lyons for stopping by today.
Title: Beyond the Scars
Author: Louise Lyons
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
After years of physical and mental abuse, Tommy Chadwick finally finds the strength to leave Colin, his tormentor. But Tommy soon finds that escaping his violent boyfriend was only the first step on his path to recovery.
Now he must overcome feelings of worthlessness in order to rebuild his battered self-esteem.
Tommy’s lack of self-confidence prevents him from going out… at first, but then has him ricocheting from one man to another, desperately trying to please them in his search for love and acceptance.
After being rejected on New Year’s Eve, and then beaten after leaving the gay bar, he agrees to accompany his best friend, Sarah, to a martial arts club. There Tommy meets Marcus, a strong older man, who at first becomes his friend, introducing Tommy to new interests, and later, tentatively asks him on a date.
Will Marcus be the man to help Tommy put his past behind him and fall in love for real?
- We are here today to talk about Beyond the Scars. What can you tell us about it?The story starts on the day Tommy decides he has to leave his abusive boyfriend Colin before he ends up much more seriously injured, or even dead. The first chapter follows his escape from Colin, but the rest of the book is about Tommy’s experiences after he leaves and how he begins his recovery. Walking away and closing the door on an abusive relationship isn’t the end of it for many people and it’s only the beginning for Tommy. He craves the love he didn’t get from Colin, but he goes about finding it in completely the wrong way during the first few months of his freedom.
- Tell us more about Tommy and Marcus?Tommy is a much stronger character than he might first appear. He walks away from his torment despite being scared, and he does the best he can to build a new life for himself, even though he goes about it the wrong way in the beginning. He gradually begins to discover himself and do things that help him move on, such as learning martial arts. He doesn’t spend his time wallowing in self-pity, although he does keep looking over his shoulder for some time. He doesn’t let what happened to him hold him back from trying new relationships, even though there are plenty of those which aren’t good for him either.Marcus is 12 years older than Marcus, strong, gentle, and caring. Despite his appearance he knows exactly what Tommy’s been through, at least regarding the mental abuse. His character shows that it doesn’t matter how big and touch you might be, you can still be abused in one way or another and you can still struggle with confidence issues and self-worth because of it.
- What about Beyond the Scars makes you the proudest?I would say the fact that I wrote it at all. A long time ago – more than 20 years – I was Tommy. I walked away after 2 years 10 months, with little more than my much-loved car (like Tommy does) and my clothes. I left town for a few days and when I came back, I concentrated on my job, and plunged into one unsuccessful relationship after another, thinking I would love by doing that. Of course, I failed miserably. I thought I’d moved on and that I was amazing, confident and desirable, but I was just hiding behind a character I put on every time I walked out the door. It took meeting my “Marcus” who’d had similar issues in his past before I was able to move on properly.Writing Tommy’s story was in part like writing my own, so it was cathartic in some ways to put it down on paper.
- Anything else you want to tell us about Beyond the Scars?It portrays how Tommy and in effect, I, dealt with the aftermath of abuse. That doesn’t mean everyone is affected the same way. Everybody is different, and everyone deals with things differently. I’m sure each person who has suffered at the hands of a violent or mentally-abusive person has a different story to tell.
- If you could be one of your characters who would you be and why?I’ve already been Tommy and I certainly wouldn’t be in his shoes again. I’d be Sarah, Tommy’s best friend. She’s strong and supportive, has a wonderful mother and a lovely boyfriend, and looks forward to a happy future.
- If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?I’d fly like Superman. Then I could visit all the places in the world I want to see much easier.
- If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?This is something I’ve been told myself, and it does help. Read A LOT. The more you read, the more you learn about different writing styles, developments of characters, world-building etc, and it helps hone your own writing skills.
- What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?I’ve just started “Afflicted” by Brandon Shire, and next on my list is “Rock” by Anyta Sunday.
- Rapid Fire TimeTardis or DeLorean? DeLorean
- Hawaii or Colorado? Colorado
- Country or City? Country
- Flowers or Candy? Flowers
- Go Fish or Old Maid? Go Fish
- Underwear and socks: folded in the drawer or tossed? Underwear are tossed, socks are rolled up in pairs.
- Pastel or neon (bright?)? Pastel
- Ketchup or Mustard? Yuk! Chili sauce
- Fire or Ice? Ice
- Jock or Thong? Jock
- What are you working on? What is next?I have a few things in the pipeline. My next novel, Beautiful Thunder is due for release on August 31 with Dreamspinner Press. It’s set in the early 1990s and follows hopeful singer Alex, as he joins a local (Nottingham, UK) rock band. All he’s looking for is the chance to be on stage and maybe make a record, but he finds much more when he falls for guitarist Richard “Lindsey” Lindstrum.I’ve just finished a novella set in the same time period as the above, tentatively titled Finding Beck, which I plan to self-publish in the autumn. That’s out with beta readers at the moment. It’s basically a young guy, Martin, who has spent a few years going through the motions with girls and knowing something’s wrong but unable to work out what. Then he meets gorgeous blond androgynous-looking Beck in a nightclub, tries to convince himself he’s met a girl although inside he knows Beck is male. He works out very quickly that he’s gay and the rest of the story is his exploration of his feelings (and Beck) and the realisation that he’s in love for the first time.
And I’m in the middle of another full length novel, Cervena (which is Czech for red). It’s the name of a nightclub my main character, Joel Jones, joint owns in Prague. Although it’s a romance, with Joel falling for Russian dancer Sasha, it’s also part thriller. Joel discovers his Czech business partner has gambled away the club’s profits and got himself into a very dangerous situation with the group of men he owes money to. Joel and Sasha are drawn into the drama and Joel fears he may lose everything. I’ve never written anything like this before, so I’m enjoying exploring something new.
As if that’s not enough, I have a sci-fi romance which I need to rework some sections of being submitting it. This one is called Regeneration and features a species of enhanced humans called regenerates. Kim Fortune, my main character, was the only surviving member of the first batch created, but most of the attributes intended for the species aren’t present in him so he was always deemed a failure and has viewed himself in the same way. When he meets successful regenerate Christian Novak, sparks fly and Kim experiences feelings he’s never had before. But he’s convinced there can be no hope for them as he has little to offer and Christian, as a whole regenerate, has no real human emotions – or so Kim thinks.
Two years, ten months, nineteen days. That was how long I’d been here. But today was different. Today I was leaving. My life was no longer worth living, and if I didn’t change it, I thought I might die, whether by his hand or my own.
I’d met Colin Woods in June 2004 on MySpace. I’d been nineteen then and reasonably happy in my own skin. But the fishing port of Grimsby wasn’t the best place in the world to try meeting other men. It didn’t have much to offer the GLBT community, and most people either went out of town or used online dating and chatrooms. I’d opened an account on MySpace, and within a few weeks I’d connected with Colin. He lived close to Grimsby, too, in one of the villages not far from the outskirts, and we met just days after our online introduction. He’d seemed so different then.
I jumped and glanced over my shoulder as I heard a sound outside. Our neighbor, slamming his car door. I let out a shaky sigh of relief and continued stuffing my clothes into a bag. My hands trembled, and I tried talking to myself in my head. You’ve got time. He won’t be back for hours. Calm down. Don’t forget anything important.
I fastened the bag and grabbed another smaller one which I took into the bathroom to collect my meager amount of toiletries. Then back to the bedroom for my CDs. Half an hour at the most and I’d be out of here. Free. Safe.
A few more minutes passed. I thought I had everything, but I took another look around to make sure. If I left my wallet or car keys, I’d be in trouble. I patted my pockets and found the keys in my right, front, jeans pocket and my wallet in the back pocket on the same side.
I picked up the smaller bag again and shoved in a few odd socks which were on the floor next to the bed. Every moment that passed was a moment too long, and I tried to hurry up. The silence in the flat was so loud my head pounded with it. Then in an instant it was shattered by the front door flying open and crashing against the wall. The bag I was holding fell from my hands, and items scattered across the floor. I took a step back as Colin appeared in the doorway, eyebrows raised.
“I… um… I thought you were g-going fishing,” I stammered.
“I was, but you have to ruin everything as usual,” he growled. “I rang you at work. You know, your place of work where you went two hours ago. Only you didn’t go there, did you? They said you booked time off!” He bellowed out the last sentence, and I flinched. “So tell me, Tommy. Why would you take time off work and not tell me? Why are you here, packing stuff into a bag, ruining my day, when I should be out fishing with my mate?”
“I’m leaving,” I said in a small voice. Maybe he’d let me go. Just maybe he’d be mad enough to think it wasn’t worth it anymore. I’d ruined his day, after all. I could imagine the words coming out of his mouth, and I prayed silently he’d say them. Go then, Tommy. I’ve had enough. Get out of my sight, and take all your shit with you.
“The hell you are. Get that stuff unpacked right now.” He clenched his fists at his sides, and his jaw twitched. I was impressed he hadn’t hit me yet. “Actually, I changed my mind. Leave that. First you can tell me exactly what you thought you were doing. Haven’t I said a hundred times you’ll never leave me? I won’t let you leave. You have nothing without me, anyway. No one else would want you, useless waste of space that you are.”
“I… I’m sorry. I thought I’d….” I racked my brains desperately for the right words—words which might not result in me being forced to take more time off until the bruises faded. Usually he avoided my face, but if he was really mad he seemed to want to pummel the features he repeatedly told me were a turn off to everyone except him.
“You thought what? I’d let you go, just like that? You thought you’d sneak off like the little coward you are while I’m not here?” He stepped closer, and I gulped, my mouth dry with fear. I knew it was going to be a lot worse than it had been before. I’d never really done anything before to deserve it. Tiny little mistakes—an item put away in the wrong place, his dinner later than he demanded, something not done quickly enough or the way he wanted. Here I was packing, intending to leave and daring to make my own decision. He’d beat the shit out of me.
I took a step back and came up short when I bumped against the wall. Colin lifted his hand, and in a second he had fastened it around my throat.
“You’ll never leave me, Tommy. Do you hear me? I’ll make sure of it.”
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About the Author
Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy. Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of 8, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late 20s.
Posting stories based on some of her favorite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.
Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad Dobermann, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races into the house afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.
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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