Sunday, July 8, 2012

Graceland By Ally Blue

Literary Nymphs Interview

Title: Graceland
Author: Ally Blue
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Gay Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 3rd 2012

What inspired the story?

It's kind of multi-faceted, actually. I'd been wanting to write a book with a Cherokee main character for a while. I'd also been wanting to write a BBM (Big Beautiful Man) book for quite a while. The idea of combining those two ideas seemed like a natural, actually, since diabetes is a big health problem for the Cherokee people -- I see this all the time at the hospital where I work -- and and adult diabetes diagnosis so often goes hand in hand with being overweight. So I already had that idea in my head, and I had the vague thought of hooking up my Big Beautiful Diabetic Cherokee guy with a medical professional of some sort. But for some reason those fabulous ideas never really settled into a coherent whole.

Then one day I was driving home from work, listening to my iPod as usual, and Paul Simon came on singing Graceland.

Bingo. That was my book-birthing moment.

It's hard to describe my exact thought process here. Partly, I was pondering the song itself. I've always liked the idea of being accepted no matter what that's at the heart of the song. That's really the heart of the book as well -- acceptance of self and others, and reaching a state of grace with yourself and the world around you. Even in those days before I'd started writing the book, that's what I wanted from it, and hearing that song at a time when I was mulling over how to make my book ideas work just kickstarted it for me.

Even more than that, though, my brain went "Graceland... Elvis... OMG CHEROKEE ELVIS IMPERSONATOR! SCORE!"

Yep, the Elvis impersonator angle is the part that somehow took the mess of ideas in my head and tied them together into an actual book. Don't ask me, I don't understand my mind either most of the time. I'm just glad it worked. LOL. And it definitely did. I love Kevin and Owen, and I love the way Graceland turned out.


Finally, gorgeous ages later, when Owen lay limp and spent on the bed, Kevin let Owen’s prick slip from his mouth, leaned over him and kissed him, the kind of sweet, slow, lazy kiss you give your lover on a rainy Sunday morning when you have nowhere to go and nothing to do but lie in bed together. Tears stung the backs of Owen’s eyes.
Kevin lifted his head and smiled. “I beg your pardon,” he screeched, too loud and completely unlike himself.
Owen jerked awake. The mouth-watering smell of bacon frying drifted through the air. For a second, the tone-deaf singing confused him. Hadn’t that been in his dream? Weird that he’d conjure Kevin singing off key in an otherwise sexy dream, though.
He was sucking me off. Oh my God.
In the kitchen, the caterwauling resolved itself into Jeff singing along with “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” on the radio.
Or maybe singing was too kind a word for it. Owen winced when his brother missed another note by a country mile. “Jesus Christ, Jeff, shut the fuck up!” he shouted.
“Make me, asshole,” Jeff replied, cheerful as no sane person ought to be at seven o’clock on Saturday morning. He resumed singing, louder and more tuneless than ever.
“Oh God. Kill me now.” Rolling over, Owen sat on the side of the bed with his head in his hands and forced himself to listen—without thinking of his dream—until his erection wilted. At least his brother’s inability to carry a tune was good for something.
He stood and shuffled out the door and down the hallway to the kitchen in nothing but the King of the Jungle Room boxers he’d worn to bed. “C’mon, my ears are bleeding here. Just ’cause you’re making bac—”
Owen stopped cold in the kitchen doorway. Jeff grinned from the stove. “Good morning, sunshine.”
For once, Owen didn’t have a comeback. He gulped. Good grief, how could he have forgotten that Kevin had slept over after dinner at his sister’s?
He sidestepped behind a chair, as if he could hide from the sudden flair of inexplicable heat in Kevin’s eyes. How the hell could Kevin possibly find the gut attractive? Or the bruises from the insulin shots Owen had not yet managed to master with any real skill?
Whether it made any sense or not, though, the way Kevin ogled Owen’s naked chest with a swift up-and-down look made his thoughts about Owen’s physique clear. Kevin licked his lips, his gaze locked with Owen’s. “Hi.”
“Uh. Hi.” His head buzzing with either lust or blood sugar out of whack—who the hell knew which—Owen pulled the chair out from the table and fell into it. “How’d you sleep?”
“Fine. Your sofa’s actually pretty comfortable.” Kevin forked up a heap of cut-up fried egg, plopped it onto a slice of toast and crammed the whole thing into his mouth. He moaned while he chewed. It sounded positively obscene. Owen pressed his thighs together under the table and wished for Kevin to develop boils on his ass for making porno noises at breakfast. Especially after that damn dream. “Mmm. Jeff.” Kevin swallowed and beamed at Jeffrey. “This is awesome. Thanks for making me breakfast.”
“No prob, man. I like cooking.” Jeff turned from the stove with another plate in his hand. Two fried eggs, dry toast, two slices of bacon. He set it in front of Owen. “Did you take your insulin yet?”
“You know I didn’t. It’s in here.” Owen stared at the food. His stomach gurgled in obvious appreciation. Shit. One of these days he’d learn to keep his temper in check. He faced his older brother’s smirk with as much humility as he could muster. “It was nice of you to make breakfast. Sorry I yelled.”
The smirk edged over the line from smug to gleeful. “Don’t worry. I’ll find a way to make you pay.”
Kevin coughed into his Harrah’s Casino mug. Owen sighed. “I’m sure you will.”
Across the table, Kevin laughed, drained the last of his coffee from the mug and pushed back from the table. “Owen, where’s your glucometer and your insulin? I’ll check your sugar for you and give you your insulin before I go.”
“Lantus, the meter and the other stuff are in the cabinet there.” Snatching a slice of bacon from his plate, Owen waved a hand toward the hutch on the far side of the room. “Humalog’s in the fridge.” He bit off half the bacon slice. “Mmm. I love bacon.”
“Food of the gods, man.” Jeff held up one fist. Owen bumped it with his.
Shaking his head, Kevin crossed to the hutch and took out the plastic pan with Owen’s supplies in it. “Have you been having to use very much of the Humalog lately?”
“Well…” Owen took the mug of black coffee Jeff gave him and sipped. “Mmm. Good. Thanks, bro.”
“Welcome.” Plopping into another chair with his own coffee mug and plate in hand, Jeff raised his eyebrows at Owen as if to say, why aren’t you answering your boyfriend’s question?
Apparently Kevin had the same thought in mind, because he elbowed Owen’s shoulder. “Hey. Earth to Obo.”
Jeffrey snickered. “The Sykes Tykes strike again.”
Owen winced when Kevin jabbed his finger for a drop of blood. God, he didn’t think he’d ever get used to that. “Fuck, Kev. You stab me in the finger and you call me stupid names? I don’t know where this relationship is headed.”
“Don’t forget I’m about to stab you in the arm too.” Grinning, Kevin took the glucose strip with Owen’s blood on it and stuck it in the glucometer. “C’mon, big guy. I warned you I was calling you that from now on.”
“Yeah, well, if you want to talk like a little girl, that’s your business.”
“I am immune to insults, so save your breath.” The glucometer beeped. Kevin checked it and frowned. “Two hundred and thirty-five. Is it that high every morning?”
“No.” Owen caught Jeff’s reproachful look and wrinkled his nose. “Well. Not every morning.”
“Huh.” Kevin cleaned the top of the insulin vials with alcohol swabs and began drawing the long-acting and short-acting insulins into two syringes. “You might get better control if you took the Lantus at bedtime.”
“Yeah, that’s what Dr. Rivers said too.” Owen shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve been taking it in the morning because I was afraid I’d forget to do it if I was up late being Elvis.”
“And how many times have you slept late and overshot your time in the morning?” Jeff pointed his fork at Owen. “You might walk in your sleep, but you don’t take insulin in your sleep.”
Kevin looked startled. “You sleepwalk?”
“No.” Glaring at his brother, Owen held out his arm so Kevin could give him his insulin. “But Jeff has a point, even if he is a filthy liar.”
“What? My brother admits my existence is worthwhile?” Jeffrey slumped backward in his seat, one hand plastered over his chest. “Heart…can’t…take it…”
Owen laughed in spite of himself. “Shut up, you idiot.”
Chuckling, Kevin injected the short-acting Humalog into Owen’s arm. “He does have a good point. You could set your alarm to make sure you’re up early enough to check your sugar and take your Lantus in the mornings, but if you’re out until two in the morning, it’s probably not a good idea to get up at seven.”
“And I’m gonna remind you here that you wouldn’t have woken up today if it weren’t for me.” Jeff raised his coffee cup to Owen. “You’re welcome.”
“Oh my God,” Owen groaned. “Fine. I’ll switch to bedtime and figure out a way to remind myself on nights I’m performing.” He sprinkled pepper on his eggs and started mashing them with his fork. “You’re helping me make the time switch, Kev. Just so you know.”
“Obo, I would even if I had to fight you to let me.” Kevin squeezed Owen’s shoulder. His hand lingered just long enough to make Owen feel distinctly warm inside.
Jeff grinned his most evil grin. “Too bad you can’t be here every morning. To make him behave, you know.”
Thoughts that shouldn’t be indulged except in private—with some lotion and a towel—sprang into Owen’s head. He glanced at Kevin because he couldn’t help it. Kevin looked as if he were trying not to imagine the same sorts of things as Owen.
Wonder if his mental picture involves his hand and my ass too?
Fucking hell.
Owen hunched over his plate and thought about eggs instead.

Where can we find your website?


  1. Good interview. The book sounds like something I'll check out.

  2. Thank you Gayle! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview and excerpt. I hope you like the book :D And big thanks to Literary Nymphs & the lovely Chocolate Minx for inviting me here, y'all rock!

  3. I'm so glad that I bought this book. My great-grandmother was half Cherokee and I love reading books that have a MC who is Cherokee and I'm already half-obsessed with your books Ally. I look forward to reading this one.

  4. Hi Vicktor, thank you very much! I hope you like Graceland, and I really hope you will feel it does justice to your great-grandmother's memory. The Eastern Band has such a rich and fascinating history, and I love how the tribe works to keep their culture and traditions alive without losing any of their forward momentum in the modern world. My own great-grandmother was Creek. I often wish I'd known her and been able to learn about my Creek heritage directly from her.

    1. I'm sure you did a great job. I used to love to sit and listen to my Granny talk about her mother who left her tribe to be with my great-great grandfather. I'm thinking about writing their love story one day, it's amazing. The Cherokee are a proud nation of people, they love and embrace their history, culture and heritage but they have no problem with being progressive and moving forward. I wish you'd been able to learn about your Creek heritage from your great-grandmother, but researching it is fun too.

    2. This is very true. I did a lot of research on the pre-Spanish-arrival Creek civilization for a previous book, and it was absolutely fascinating. I learned a lot :)

      I hope you do write your great-great-grandparents' love story some day, that would be awesome! The fact that it's a true story would be a huge draw for all of us hopeless romantics *g* I know I'd love to read it!

    3. I love the Civil War period. The happiest day of my life came the day I got a book idea for two men, one white and one black, who fall in love during that time. Finally I could research to my heart's content and say that I was working! LOL.

      I think I will end up writing it sometime soon so that it will be in my Granny's honor.