Author Name: Lynn Charles
Book Name: Black Dust
Release Date: April 7, 2016
Fifteen years after a tragic car crash claimed a friend’s life and permanently injures his then-boyfriend, Broadway musician Tobias Spence reconnects with his former love. As Emmett and Tobias explore their renewed relationship, the two men face old hurts and the new challenges of a long-distance romance. Will Tobias lose his second chance at love to the ghosts he can’t seem to put to rest?
Pages or Words: 312 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
“I can’t, Emmett. I—can’t go back.”
“Then we are clearly not ready for any sort of commitment.”
“Wait. You won’t agree to—to us—unless I come to Indiana?”
“I won’t,” Emmett said. “It’s all feeling a little one-sided to me, and I’m not okay with that.”
“You don’t understand.”
“I do understand, Toby. I was there for everything that makes you afraid of that place.”
“Yes. You were,” Toby said, taking Emmett’s hand in his. “But my concerns about going back have nothing to do with you.”
“Maybe they should have something to do with me.”
“That’s—” Toby pulled his hand away. “That’s not fair.”
“It really is,” Emmett said. He reached across the table for Toby’s hand again. “Please?” Toby took his hand and Emmett squeezed, holding on as if he might never let go. “We experienced a great tragedy together. And while Scotty’s parents lost their son, no one felt the things we felt. No one else woke up screaming and sweating when we heard the sounds of the crash in our sleep.”
“No one else knew the fear of maybe never walking again. No one else lost weight and a semester of school because he might get thrown in jail. No one else felt the things we felt together. That’s all ours. As much as you want to, you cannot take me out of the equation.”
“But, that’s just it, Em. I don’t want to feel those things again. I cannot walk back into that—that darkness.”
Emmett pulled their joined hands to his lips and kissed Toby’s knuckles. “You already have. You have been so enamored—you’ve practically spent this entire week making love to my scars. You’re there. And it’s not so dark anymore.”
“No, because you’re whole again. You’re not broken anymore.”
Emmett saw it, then. He saw in the way Toby had almost obsessed over the ridiculous tattoo and Emmett’s scars, as if begging for them to also bring him the powers that Derek had wished upon Emmett’s body those years ago. He saw it in Toby’s insistence that they start all over as if the accident never happened, as if the years of silence weren’t strung between them like a rope and plank bridge connecting two separate lands.
So he said it. To give it power. To make it a truth they shared—like their shared tragedy. “And you still are. Broken.”
Toby nodded, grasping at Emmett’s fingers like a lifeline. “I’m so—” He took a deep, shuddering breath. “I’m so exhausted making sure no one knows.”
“Oh, Toby.” All the more reason “trying again” was a bad idea. Unready to let go, Emmett kissed Toby’s fingers again. “Then come to my home,” Emmett offered, trite as it sounded in his own ears. “I’ve remodeled the master and made a party room in my basement for the kids.”
“You’ve never told me—”
“It’s beautiful, really. It’s on a couple of acres, and the back of the property is lined with a stream you can hear from the kitchen when the windows are open. It’s very peaceful. It sounds like you need some peace.”
“You deserve a beautiful life.”
“So let me share it with you. At least think about it?”
Toby nodded and began to clean up. “Will you still come see me in San Francisco after school’s out?”
“I don’t know. I’d really like an answer before I agree to see you again.”
“Okay. I’m sorry it’s not as easy as it should be.”
“I am too, Toby. Being with you was always so easy.”
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Lynn Charles author of Black Dust.
I’m happy to be here! I’m an author, wife and mother living in Central Ohio. I’ve been writing—from lavish journal entries to fictional stories—most of my life. My first novel, Chef’s Table, was published in December 2014 with Interlude Press. Black Dust is about a couple who, fifteen years after a tragic car accident tore them apart, are given a second chance to heal and to love.
How do you feel about e-books vs print books?
I’m an owner and user of both, but no matter how hard I try to love e-books, they always pale in comparison to printed books. I do appreciate the lower cost, the portability, the added features like accessibility helps and linked tables, embedded dictionaries, etc. But, when you break it all down, as silly as this sounds—and I know it’s silly—I feel more like I’m reading when I have a printed book in my hand.
What process did you go through to get your first book published?
My first publishing experience was different than many—the new publishing company of Interlude Press came to me. Until their first open submissions call, it was how many of us at Interlude got started, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I honestly don’t think I would have ever found the courage to submit a manuscript in a more traditional manner. After their first contact, they asked what I was working on, I cleaned up the incomplete story and sent it in. Next thing I knew I had a contract in my hands and a deadline on my calendar. It was a crazy rush that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
How do you find or make time to write?
My issue now is not in finding time, but in using it wisely. I occasionally struggle with time management issues. When I’m on, I can tune in, block out all distractions and get cracking. When I’m not, it seems I somehow create new days to blow by me. It’s an exasperating thing I’m still working on. I like to have a long stretch of time in front of me, but the truth is, I work in one-to-two hour spurts, so really, I just need to use the time I have in a much more productive manner. Every time.
Name one person who you feel supported you outside of your family members.
Oh, I can’t name one! I’ll name one location. Until May of 2015, I worked at my county library. My friends there were the absolute best—are the absolute best. Not only did they ask how the writing was going, they wanted to know plot points. They listened and offered suggestions to help with my previously mentioned time management struggles. They ordered my book sight unseen, and when it came in, featured it prominently on our new books wall. (I just looked and it is still out; it’s been in constant circulation for well over a year.) They also bought it personally and were giddy with excitement for me to sign. And now that I’ve left, their support has been unwavering; Black Dust is on order already. That’s my kind of cheerleader.
Tell us about a book you’re reading now.
I’m sort of bumbling between a few books right now. One is the Pulizer Prize winning collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. I have a Hindu protagonist in my next book, so I’m reading books by Hindu authors. Her writing is lush and engaging. I have a few Interlude books opened in my iPad that once my writing settles, I’ll settle into more. And I just picked up What Belongs to You, a debut novel by Garth Greenwell. This was part of its summary: With lyric intensity and startling eroticism, Garth Greenwell has created an indelible story about the ways in which our pasts and cultures, our scars and shames can shape who we are and determine how we love. I am intrigued.
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Meet the author:
Lynn Charles earned her degree in music education and for many years performed and directed choral music. When she’s not writing, she can be found strolling through local farmers markets near her home in Central Ohio in search of ingredients for new recipes. Her novel Chef’s Table was published in 2014 by Interlude Press.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27830185-black-dust
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Cover Art and Design by C.B. Messer
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