Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Author Interview: Brandon Shire on Summer Symphony and Wicked Men





We are very happy to welcome the talented Brandon Shire to the Smoocher’s Voice blog today. Brandon’s most recent novel is Summer Symphony. Brandon has joined us quite a few times on our blog and we are always happy to have him return.

Brandon Shire is a writer of contemporary LGBT fiction. Some of his writing touches upon serious subjects, but most is seriously smexy.  Mr. Shire was chosen as a Top Read in 2011, Best in LGBTQ Fiction for 2011 & 2012, and garnered several Honorable Mentions and a Rainbow Award for Best Gay Contemporary Fiction.

Ten percent of the proceeds from the sale of any of Brandon’s books are donated to LGBT Youth charities combating homelessness.

Connect with Brandon:
·       Website
·       Twitter
·        Goodreads
·       Blog


Jodi:       Thank you, Brandon, for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. I am a big fan of your writing and books and was enthralled with Summer Symphony. The plot in this book examines the circle of life and love, and provides the reader with a whirlwind of emotions. Tell us a little about the process for developing the story. What prompted you to explore this topic for the novel?

Brandon:        This novel was prompted by a conversation I had with my mother. She was staring off into the distance one day and I asked what was on her mind. She told me about the two sisters I had who were lost to miscarriage. She had not forgotten about them some seventy-plus years on.  With children of my own, I wondered how I would feel as a man, and that led to what became Summer Symphony.

Jodi:       When readers meet Martin Zoric, he is at a low point in his life. He is depressed and grieving and unable to move on from the death of his unborn daughter. Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross defined the five stages of grief. At the beginning of the book, Martin seems resigned, but as the book continues, readers realize Martin seems stuck in the anger stage. Why is Martin unable to move through the stages at the same pace as his wife is?

Brandon:        I think it is because Martin has no ‘vehicle’ to help him move. His wife has gone. He feels his career is in tatters, and music, which was once the love of his life, has not offered him a way out of the pain.  In short, he feels rejected by all things he once held dear and becomes internally resentful which, of course, leads to anger.

Jodi:       On your website, you wrote that while you were doing research for this book, “found little to help men deal with the pain of losing an unborn child,” when you came across the Grieving Dads website. What is so different about the loss of a child for a man than for a woman?

Brandon:        I would have to say society’s perception of what it means to be male. There are large swaths of society which still believe that a man must be emotionless in the face of such a loss. He is to be the rock for his spouse and nothing more.  The physical connection of a woman to her child can’t be denied, however that shouldn’t be used to discount the emotional attachment a father has to his unborn child. And yet, often, it is.

Jodi:       Martin is so heartbreakingly lost, and Fillipa is a strong presence in this book. Although Martin is convinced Fillipa does not understand his devastating loss, she becomes an outlet for him to relieve some of his grief. Their connection is through the music. At one point in the story, the narrator tells us “Music hadn’t saved Martin, and for that he was angry.” Yet, ultimately, music provides a way for the characters to move on with their lives. Why did you choose music as the undercurrent theme in this book?

Brandon:        There are many well documented studies which show music as a very effective therapy for grief and depression. Music is something which speaks through emotional and language barriers and touches the soul.  It resonates in places where words can’t go. It seemed natural to me, and I was lucky enough to find the studies to back up what I found to be innately true in my own life.

Jodi:       The romance between Ren and Martin is underscored by the music. Was this a natural connection for you to make?

Brandon:        Absolutely. The two main characters are world class musicians. Music is where they let their soul free and find answers.

Jodi:       The relationship between Martin and Minerla is complex. What type of research did you do regarding the time period and the Romani people?

Brandon:        I spent several months researching Croatian history and the movement of the Romani through the country.  The Homeland War was a minor point within the book, but it had such factual impact that I spent quite a lot of time digging into it since it crossed so many cultures.

Jodi:       Ren is a complex character with great depth and amazing insight. He is conflicted by duty to his family and wanting to be true to himself.  Both his mother and Emi are putting pressure on him in different ways. Why is the conflict to be who he is such at odds with what his mother wants him to do?

Brandon:        Japanese culture is much different than what we experience in the West, and while it has changed quite a bit in the last decade, there is still a central triad ­– honor, duty, and family  – that pervades much of the Japanese society. To step outside of that is to risk loss of face and status.  Ren’s mother comes from an older generation, and she seeks what’s good for the family honor.  Ren, being younger and already accomplished in his field, bucks at the idea that he is beholden to his lineage.

Jodi:               Is there a message you want readers to ascertain from this book?

Brandon:        There are two themes in Summer Symphony – love & grief. The story is a tight intertwining of both of these emotions. But I think the main message must be that men grieve just as much as women over the loss of a child. Even in their lonely silence, a man’s heart is just as broken. As a society we sometimes forget that.

Jodi:       Your next book, which just came out, is The Love of Wicked Men. Tell us about the concept for this book and why you have chosen to write the book in installments.

Brandon:        Wicked Men is an erotic, legal thriller. As the title suggests, this book is about bad boys and hot sex. Early readers have already labeled it Grisham-esque with an erotic twist. I’m releasing this book in installments (episodes) to give M/M readers the opportunity to influence the outcome of the story before it is written. Several aspects of the plot have already changed with the input I’ve received from readers.

Jodi:               The book is available now?

Brandon:        Yes, the first episode just came out on Amazon. It’s free for Kindle Unlimited and Prime users.

Jodi:               What is next on the horizon?

Brandon:        I have several projects ahead, but for the moment fans want me to concentrate on the Wicked Men series. 








Summer Symphony
Martin Zoric had vivid dreams of fatherhood, of a small hand pressed to his, of pink dresses and girlish laughter. Then his wife had a stillbirth and his world fell apart.

He listened to the unwanted apologies, stood by his wife as was expected of him, and kept his fa├žade strong and firm for the entire world to see.

But does he have the strength let go and really grieve?

When Ren Wakahisa landed in Croatia he was hoping to escape the cultural pressures put on him to conform. His family wanted him to forsake love for duty. They viewed his happiness as secondary to familial prosperity.

Does he have the courage to be who he wants to be? Or, will he yield to their wishes?

Summer Symphony is the story of how two men find their answers and what they learn about strength, and grace, and the endurance of love.

Buy Links

The Love of Wicked Men (Part One)

Sid Rivers and Jack Brown are two sides of the same coin. One is a lawyer with his own firm and dreams of money and power; the other is a criminal with a lengthy record and a quest for vengeance. When they meet, sparks fly. But was their meeting an accident? Or, was it planned by the billionaires who want to control their destiny?
The Love of Wicked Men is an erotic journey into the underbelly of the legal profession, the corporate culture of profit-at-any-cost, and the secret world of industrial espionage.

IN THIS EPISODE:
Sid Rivers has been very successful at helping his smaller corporate clients silence their critics and retain their profits. His success has caught the attention of a trillion dollar industry, and now Sid thinks he is about to realize a dream he’s held since childhood –unlimited wealth and unlimited power.
Jack Brown stops in and robs the local Shop-n-Go and nicks Sid with his knife. He sets into motion a plan of revenge that has been smoldering within him for years. But his plan requires he get close to the same man who has become the representative of his enemies. 

Buy Link:





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