Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Sarah Madison for stopping by today.
Title: The Boys of Summer
Author: Sarah Madison
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance
David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film-company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches… and Rick Sutton, the hot, ex-Air Force pilot who is flying him around.
Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries and a lack of food and water mean David has to step up to the plate and play hero. While his days are spent fighting for survival, and his nights are filled with worrying about Rick, the two men grow closer. David’s research for his next movie becomes intertwined with his worst fears, and events on the island result in a vivid dream about the Battle of Britain. On waking, David realizes Rick is more than just a pilot to him. The obstacles that prevented a happy ending in 1940 aren’t present today, and David vows that if they survive this stranding, he will tell Rick how he feels.
A lot of people have asked me why I wrote The Boys of Summer the way I did—a weird hybrid of contemporary and historical fiction. It is weird, I fully admit that, but I also have to confess, I’m a bit attracted to the road less traveled. Most of the time you’re not going to get a straight-forward contemporary romance from me. There’s always going to be some little twist. In fact, the one time I tried my hand at a plain ol’ contemporary, my beta reader asked, “Where’s the twist? Where’s the thing that makes this story yours?”
I saw her point. That story currently languishes unfinished on the hard drive while I figure out what it’s going to be when it grows up. But I digress.
Most people who’ve asked this question wanted to know why I didn’t go with a straight historical. They felt the WW2 section of The Boys of Summer could have been a complete story in and of itself. That’s true, it could have. Especially if I’d expanded it. And I could have done that easily. I’d immersed myself in WW2 history for over a month before writing that section, reading journals, historical texts, watching documentaries and films of the day. It wouldn’t have been hard to flesh out the details of that part of the story and make it into a full-fledged novel… only I couldn’t see it having a happy ending. And I don’t know about you guys, but my day-to-day life is hard enough. I need that happy ending, both as an author, and as a reader too.
Had I eliminated the historical bit, I don’t think the story would have been nearly the same. It certainly wouldn’t have had the impact that readers tell me it does. It would have been just another M/M romance with an implausible premise to put two very opposite characters on the path of True Love. It might have been fun, but I doubt it would have been memorable.
So why not drastically shorten the WW2 bit and leave it as it was intended to be—a mere dream sequence? Well, that was the plan from the beginning. I just had this mental image of Rick Sutton dressed as a RAF pilot, leaning on the side of a Spitfire. I wanted to use it in the story, but it didn’t fit. Normally, I can let stuff like that go, but not this time. The brain kept demanding I use the image, so I went ‘Ah-ha! Dream Sequence!’ and thought my troubles were over.
That was all very fine and well until I began researching the little bit I’d need to know in order to get the details right. A few hours on Wikipedia later, and I was appalled at my lack of knowledge about a very important time in history. What I wanted to use as a sexy little image in my story was so much more than that. The more I learned, the more I needed to know, hence diving in head-first into the research. Flying in non-pressurized fighter planes was a young man’s game, as the G forces would knock out older men, so most of these pilots were mere schoolboys. I learned that many were sent into their first combat with less than eleven hours of flight time—eleven hours—and that the average lifespan of a pilot was six weeks. The stories I included, such as the pilot who began flying combat missions in his pajamas? Based on anecdotes shared by former flyboys. It became very important to me to share their stories too—not as a plot point or some filler for a lightweight M/M romance—but because I was ashamed of my ignorance and because I knew if I shared some of my knowledge in fictional form then the stories of these boys would live on just a little bit longer.
So yeah, I don’t really mind when people give me a hard time for putting the odd spin on things. I’m okay with that. That’s not to say you won’t ever get an uncomplicated love story from me—but I’d keep expecting that weird twist.
“I don’t think we’ve got much choice.” Sutton’s voice was grim. “We’re lucky to have that much. Hold on, these trees are coming up faster than I’d like.”
Still fighting to keep the nose of the plane up, Sutton guided the recalcitrant aircraft toward the so-called clearing, the ground rising up to meet them far faster than was comfortable. David found himself leaning back in his seat, bracing his hands on the console as the tops of trees scraped the underside of the plane. Branches swiped at the windshield, and David had the sudden impression of being in a car wash scene as written by Stephen King.
“Duck your head!” Sutton barked. “Wrap your arms around your legs!”
“And kiss my ass goodbye?” David shouted, raising his voice over the increasing noise as he obeyed Sutton’s orders.
Incredibly, Sutton laughed. It was an oddly comforting sound. Like everything was somehow going to be all right because Sutton was at the controls.
The moment of humor was gone in a flash. The plane screamed with the sound of tearing metal and the sharp, explosive crack of tree limbs and breaking glass. David kept his head down and his eyes closed, praying to a God he was pretty sure had more important things to do than to keep up with the well-being of one David McIntyre. Despite being strapped in his seat, his head and shoulder thumped painfully against the passenger side door as the plane thrashed wildly. There was a moment of eerie, blessed silence, and for an instant, the assault on the plane seemed as though it had lifted. Eye of the storm, David thought, just before the plane hit the ground.
Someone had left the window open and it was raining on him. How incredibly annoying. He shifted, intent on reaching for the offending window, when a jolt of pain ran through his shoulder and he gasped. When he opened his eyes, nothing made any sense at first. Then he remembered the crash, and realized that his side of the plane was pointing up at the sky. The rain was coming down in a steady stream through the broken windshield. The sound of the rain on the metal hull of the plane was nearly deafening.
He winced at the pain in his neck when he turned to look over at the pilot’s seat. Sutton was slumped to one side in his chair, unmoving. His sunglasses were hanging off one ear.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God,” David murmured, hastily undoing his seatbelt so he could reach across to Sutton. His skin was cold and damp where David touched it, and adrenaline pounded through David’s veins as though he could jumpstart Sutton’s heart by sending his own pulse beating through his fingertips. “Sutton! Rick!”
David fought to free himself of his seat, twisting for greater access to the other side of the cockpit. When the seatbelt came open, he fell half across Sutton. Sprawled practically in his lap, David could now see the nasty cut on the left side of Sutton’s temple. The pilot’s side of the plane had taken a lot of damage, and David yelped as he encountered a sliver of glass. Bits of the windshield and console were scattered like confetti over Sutton’s jacket. “Sutton!” The lack of response was unnerving. He tossed aside the sunglasses and worked a hand down into Sutton’s collar, feeling frantically for a pulse.
He could have kissed the man when Sutton suddenly groaned.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author
Sarah Madison is a veterinarian with a large dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she’s not out hiking with the dog or down at the stables, she’s at the laptop working on her next story. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.
Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and is the winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards.
If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.
January 5: Elisa – My reviews and Ramblings
January 6: Louise Lyons
January 7: Diverse Reader
January 9: Susan Mac Nicol
January 10: Loving Without Limits
January 12: Divine Magazine
January 13: BFD Book Blog
January 15: Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words
January 17: Bayou Book Junkie
January 18: Drops of Ink
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,
|This post may contain affiliate links.
|Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews. The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.|