We are very happy to welcome Rhys Ford to the Smoocher’s Voice blog today. Ford’s most recent novel Tequila Mockingbird is available on Dreamspinner Press. Tequila Mockingbird is the third novel in the Sinners series: Sinner’s Gin, Whiskey and Wry.
Jodi: Thank you, Rhys for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. As you know, I am a fan of your writing style and all of your books. It was a pleasure getting to meet you at RainbowCon in Tampa this year. On one of the panel discussions, you mentioned that a good way to move along the plot of a story is by dropping dead bodies.
Rhys: Thank you for having me!
Jodi: What draws you to writing mysteries?
Rhys: Um, I like killing people? No.. I’d say it’s the puzzle. So interesting to write! Really. And fun.
Jodi: Is it a challenge to incorporate the mystery, violence and romance together?
Rhys: No, not really. No, I lie. It’s a bitch sometimes. You have to make sure there are no loose ends. Hell, you always want to make sure to account for all the dead bodies.
Jodi: Have you always been drawn to the romance genre? When and why did you decide to write exclusively in the m/m genre?
Rhys: I read pretty much everything. It’s odd how M/M gets stamped romance with a single label when really it’s so varied. I write M/M because it’s interesting. I like the challenge of it. When? I never really distinguished a difference. I’ve always just viewed it as relationships.
Jodi: Most of your books are written in third person point of view, but readers are still able to delve into the minds of each character through the description and dialogue. Do you prefer writing in third person point of view?
Rhys: Heh, funnily enough the Dirty Books are first person and those came out first but I’ve done a lot of third person afterwards. I like both equally. It’s all a matter of how much you want to show and how you want to tell the story. Harder to do it in first person if you want to show anything other than what the main character sees.
Jodi: I know you must love all of your characters, but is there a character or characters you relate to the most?
Rhys: I’d say Dude but a lot of people would say Miki. And probably Quinn. I’ve got a new character Rook that I adore. He’s coming up in the new series.
Jodi: Tell us a bit about your inspiration for the Sinner’s Gin series.
Rhys: Lots of music and drinking. No really. I’ve known a lot of musicians and I’ve read a lot of books about rock stars being ROCK STARS but I wanted to write one about them being people. So there you go. *grins*
Jodi: The snippets of studio session conversations and lyrics help move along the plot and engage the reader in the lives of the band. Why did you choose to use this method for elaborating on flashbacks and foreshadowing?
Rhys: Because I’m an idiot and didn’t think about how much I was going to have to write them over a five book series. And short stories. Really.
I felt like the first book needed it because it showed Miki’s relationship with Damie—which was necessary for the reader to see—but in such a way it wasn’t in their face. So it became a thing. Lyric writing is a bitch. I am NEVER ever doing it again. *grins* And now I’m stuck so wish me luck. It’s hard to convey the scenes without getting too maudlin.
Jodi: In Whiskey and Wry, Connor Morgan is very nervous about telling his father that he has met and subsequently fallen in love with a man. That scene is expanded in Tequila Mockingbird, and readers find out why Connor is so freaked out. Why did you choose the seemingly straight Morgan brother for this relationship?
Rhys: Because Lisa Horan wanted Connor to have butt sex.
No, the real reason is because I did want to write about a man who was challenged a bit and Con seemed like the one to do it. He’s got himself into a box of who he should be and that isn’t really all him. It was good to write that exploration.
Jodi: Tell us a little about Forest Ackerman.
Rhys: He’s a street kid—like Miki—but totally different personality. He’s also had a good anchor where Miki drifted. Forest is a little lost when Con meets him so that’s why they mesh. They both encounter things they need in one another so it’s a good match.
Jodi: Forest seems to have a lot in common with Miki St. James, and they have a somewhat instant connection despite Miki’s reservations. What is it that draws Miki to Forest?
Rhys: Miki’s pretty easy going, really he is. With Forest he doesn’t have to explain a lot about who he is. They ease into one another’s space pretty easily. And Damie likes thinking he’s the boss but the other two know it’s an equal relationship.
Jodi: Kane Morgan is such a strong character in Sinner’s Gin. Although he does make an off-hand comment to Connor about him being with a man, he doesn’t seem surprised. Of course, Kane, as always, is still focused on Miki J. Why isn’t Kane more curious about his brother’s new relationship?
Rhys: Kane and Con are pretty close so chances are, they’ve spoken about stuff like this before. Kane’s had other things on his mind because so much of the book does bump up against Whiskey and Wry.
Jodi: Donal and Brigid are awesome characters. They are the personification of unconditional love for not only each other, but also their children. Tell us a little about what makes them tick.
Rhys: They really are suited for one another. Donal’s a bit more of a guider and leader where Brigid’s a warrior. She’s very fierce and Donal’s the rock. He benefits from her fiery personality, and she loves his strength. They have a good marriage and want to raise good people. I show a bit of their relationship in Tequila. That was a lot of fun.
Jodi: On the other end of the unconditional love spectrum, we have Forest’s mother. She and Brigid are perfect foils. In their own ways though, both women are fierce. Was it difficult to write these two characters?
Rhys: It was pretty easy. Sadly, I know more women like Forest’s mother than I do Brigid. But I wanted to show that contrast. Brigid is so happy to have Forest in her life. And he really needs to be loved.
Jodi: Quinn Morgan, the only Morgan child not involved in law enforcement and Rafe Andrade, Sionn’s best friend, will be the focus of the next book in the series. It seems both of these men are outcasts. Tell us a little about both men.
Rhys: Oh, Rafe’s the typical bad boy who has a talent but was self-destructive. He’s got a history with the Morgans…he’s also Sionn’s best friend. So this is about him falling really far after being successful and coming back up. Quinn is a bit of an oddity in the Morgans and is out of step with the rest of the world a lot of times. He’ll be working on a few things in Sloe Ride, including Rafe Andrade.
Jodi: What is your next project? Are you working on a new series?
Rhys: My next project is in the stewing stages right now.. it is a new series and I’m hammering out the particulars. I need to sit and brew it for a bit before forging in. So I don’t really have a lot to share. I’m also finishing up Down and Dirty, Bobby and Ichi’s story.
Jodi: For the record, yay for Bobby and Ichi J. Do you prefer writing standalone books or series?
Rhys: As soon as I write a standalone book that I won’t follow up with another book, I’ll let you know. I’m really sort of bad about that. But I’m going to try really hard. :D
Thank you again for having me! I really appreciate the time and blog space. Thank you again!
Sequel to Whiskey and Wry
Sinners Series: Book Three
Lieutenant Connor Morgan of SFPD’s SWAT division wasn’t looking for love. Especially not in a man. His life plan didn’t include one Forest Ackerman, a brown-eyed, blond drummer who’s as sexy as he is trouble. His family depends on him to be like his father, a solid pillar of strength who’ll one day lead the Morgan clan.
No, Connor has everything worked out—a career in law enforcement, a nice house, and a family. Instead, he finds a murdered man while on a drug raid and loses his heart comforting the man’s adopted son. It wasn’t like he’d never thought about men — it’s just loving one doesn’t fit into his plans.
Forest Ackerman certainly doesn’t need to be lusting after a straight cop, even if Connor Morgan is everywhere he looks, especially after Frank’s death. He’s just talked himself out of lusting for the brawny cop when his coffee shop becomes a war zone and Connor Morgan steps in to save him.
Whoever killed his father seems intent on Forest joining him in the afterlife. As the killer moves closer to achieving his goal, Forest tangles with Connor Morgan and is left wondering what he’ll lose first—his life or his heart.
Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i, then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.
Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep of a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a laptop, and a red Hamilton Beach coffeemaker.
Visit Rhys's blog at http://rhysford.wordpress.com.