Today Moonbeams over Atlanta is very lucky to be interviewing Lilah Suzanne author of Broken Records. In addition, there is a review of the book and a contest at the end of the post.
Hi Lilah, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Write something from your character’s point of view as a child. (Holiday, first kiss, anything.)
On Sunday mornings the barbershop opens later, that way Nico’s dad can check the equipment and order more shampoo and pomade and talc and THOSE little paper cups for coffee, the sandalwood scented shave cream that lingers on his hands, and the barbicide that spills on Nico’s shirt when he drops the scissors and combs into the jars of disinfectant too hard sometimes.
So Sunday mornings mean shopping with Mom. And Lucas.
Who stands in front of the automatic doors with his hand held up flat, as if he’s using The Force to open them. But Nico knows they’re motion sensitive and it has nothing to do with Star Wars. And yet somehow Lucas is the one who gets straight A’s.
Mom hands them each a list of produce items. His has:
Sugar Snap Peas
Red Bell Pepper (two)
Lucas darts off right away, shoving past Nico to get a head start. Lucas’ left shoe is untied and his pants are three inches too short, his T-shirt has a hole in the seam of one sleeve and is for a TV show called Earthworm Jim that isn’t even on TV anymore. Nico glares at him, then moves on to his list.
Sugar Snap Peas is easy. Nico picks crunchy pea pods without any brown spots or broken tops. Makes sure they’re firm and bright green. He gets a plastic bag and uses the tongs to carefully scoop in just enough for four servings.
The Red Bell Pepper (two) is next in the produce section, stuck in with the vegetables even though Nico learned ages ago that bell peppers aren’t vegetables because they have seeds. Like kindergarten ages ago. He finds two bright crisp no mushy-spot peppers. He notices they match his shirt: long-sleeve button down, red. Suspenders, red and black striped. Black pants. He’s also wearing the black and white saddle shoes he requested for his tenth birthday that are still in tiptop shape four months later, even though Mom thought they were too fancy for a boy who plays baseball in the mud sometimes.
As if he would wear saddle shoes to play baseball.
Lucas finishes first, because he picks the very first fruits and vegetables he can get his hands on. Lucas’ list:
Apples (he gets baking apples even though the apples are to be packed for school lunches and not baked into pies. Three of them. Why three? Who knows.)
Spinach (loose) (he gets mixed greens with spinach. Prewashed. Not the same thing. Sigh.)
Bananas (some of them have spots already. They’ll go bad too fast and his mom will make banana bread with walnuts with them. Yuck.)
Sunday morning grocery store visits with Mom means Lucas will brag about winning the grocery-treasure-hunt contest and mom will say, boys! Enough. It doesn’t matter who wins.
But it’s fine, because Nico knows who really won. And it’s the guy who would never choose a mushy brown spotted honey dew melon which is not “basically a cantaloupe,” Lucas, because some people have taste and standards.
It’s him. The real winner. Nico. Just to be clear. Lucas does The Force again on the way out. Nico rolls his eyes. Sigh.
First, I have to say that I like it. I liked it a lot. I’m always a sucker for music stars and Grady Dawson is no exception, even though he’s into country music. Not a large fan of country music, but I do enjoy some artists so it was somewhat believable to me. We meet Nico Takahashi after having a very trying day with a diva starlet and all he wants to do is get away from it all. He “meets” Grady with a magazine photo shoot that provides some eye candy but he doesn’t read the article that goes along with it. He immediately meets Grady not too long after and commences the journey of Nico fighting his attraction to Grady because he thinks he’s a player, while Grady pursues because he thinks Nico is the one he’s looking for. A series of mis-information ensues, hot sex, and journeys from California to Tennessee and back again.
It has a great flow of words. I’m only a little leary of Nico’s almost whining in the beginning about his lot in life, but for the most part it wasn’t terrible. He did grow on you and does realize his love for Grady. Grady stayed mostly constant as his personality and desires were revealed throughout the story. Both have great depth and made them seem real. It does have a happy ending, and I enjoyed it.
With this, I give Broken Records 4 out of 5 stars.
Author Name: Lilah Suzanne
Book Name: Broken Records
Series: Spotlight, Book One
Release Date: December 17, 2015
Pages or Words: 280 pages
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Victoria S. with CB Messer
Los Angeles-based stylist Nico Takahashi loves his job—or at least, he used to. Feeling fed up and exhausted from the cutthroat, gossip-fueled business of Hollywood, Nico daydreams about packing it all in and leaving for good. So when Grady Dawson—sexy country music star and rumored playboy—asks Nico to style him, Nico is reluctant. But after styling a career-changing photo-shoot, Nico follows Grady to Nashville where he finds it increasingly difficult to resist Grady’s charms. Can Nico make peace with show business and all its trappings, or will Grady’s public persona get in the way of their private attraction to each other?
Grady presses his lips flat, looks up at the ceiling again to gather himself, sniffs and nods, then tugs Nico’s foot closer by his ankle. “Do you think… If we’d met at a bar. Or through a friend of a friend. Or the gym.” Grady’s thumb strokes the tender skin of Nico’s calf beneath the hem of his pants. “If we had just been two regular guys? We really could have been something.”
There’s a question in his voice, a hesitancy that maybe Nico would have rejected him eventually anyway. Nico scoots across the cramped bunk, crowds against Grady, shoulder to shoulder. “Well, we never would have met at the gym because I would have taken one look at you and gone home to mourn the body I’ll never have by consuming gallons of ice cream.”
Grady bumps his shoulder. “Shut up, you’re gorgeous.” He tips his head against the wall and grins. “If I’d first seen you at a bar I probably would have humiliated myself by trying to win you over with bad karaoke and shameless flirting.”
Nico’s eyebrows raise. “You mean to tell me you’ve been holding back on me? You have a level of flirting that’s even more shameless?”
“Oh yeah. You ain’t seen nothin’, sweetheart.”
“That is truly terrifying.”
Grady laughs, bright and uninhibited. Nico is so relieved to hear it, a moment of light in the darkness. Grady’s hand rests on Nico’s knee, Nico watches his own hand brush his fingers there, but he doesn’t linger.
“We aren’t, though. Just two random guys.”
Grady’s fingers flex, curving over his kneecap. “No.”
Nico exhales harshly. “I have never wanted to be a groupie so badly.”
Grady shoves at his leg. “Come on, you didn’t really think that I would do that to you—”
“In my weaker, more insecure moments?” Nico scrunches his face, embarrassed. “Yeah, I did.”
“You think that little of me, huh?” He says it with a teasing grin, but Nico’s heart sinks.
“No, Grady. I think you’re…” A million adjectives flash through his head: beautiful, amazing, stunning, compassionate, kind, generous. A supernova. He settles on, “Really special.”
Grady gives a skeptical lift of his eyebrows. “Uh oh. I’m really special, huh?”
“I’m so, so into you and it’s…” He cringes at the words but it’s true, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
“Oh lord.” Grady laments with a laugh. “Not that, please.”
“I’m the guy on the sidelines. I’m the one who makes everyone else shine. I don’t belong there, in the spotlight. I like that at the end of the day I can go home and just walk away from the cameras and the red carpets and the scrutiny. And you—you’re a star. And you can have anyone.”
Grady turns, the cramped space of the bunk making his limbs bump and nudge and curl around Nico’s body. During Grady’s shows, in the moment just before he starts singing the opening line of “Broken Records,” there’s this pause, this moment suspended in the air when the audience is silent and waiting and doesn’t even dare to inhale because in that moment, Grady’s soul is laid bare. He looks at Nico just like that and Nico can’t breathe around it.
“I don’t want anyone,” he says, voice low and serious. “I want you. How do you not get that?”
Buy the book:
Meet the author:
Lilah Suzanne has been writing actively since the sixth grade, when a literary magazine published her essay about an uncle who lost his life to AIDS. A freelance writer, she has also authored a children’s book and has a devoted following in the fan fiction community. She is also the author of Interlude Press books Spice and Pivot and Slip. Broken Records is Book One in Lilah’s Spotlight Series.
Where to find the author:
Tour Dates & Stops:
$25 Interlude Press Web Store Gift card plus five multi-format eBooks to runners-up