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Series Spotlight Interview & Giveaway (US/Int): Meet L.A. Witt and Marie Sexton, the masterminds behind the addicting LGBT Tucker Springs story universe

Series Spotlight Interview & Giveaway (US/Int): Meet L.A. Witt and Marie Sexton, the masterminds behind the addicting LGBT Tucker Springs story universe

by davincikittieSeptember 4, 2013

DaVinciKittie (DVK): Please help us welcome L.A. Witt and Marie Sexton, two of Riptide Publishing’s authors in the Tucker Springs universe, a contemporary series of LGBT romance stories set in Tucker Springs. Thanks so much for joining us today, ladies!

Read our review of Never A Hero here!Never a Hero

L.A. Witt (LW): Thanks for having us!

Marie Sexton (MS): Happy to be here!

DVK: Many of the Tucker Springs stories take on heavy subjects like AIDS, imperfect bodies, and extreme religious conflicts. What inspired you to tackle these subjects and what were your biggest writing challenges?

LW: I like tackling the tougher subjects because it means really putting the characters through the wringer. Which is fun. Of course. But the stories tend to just…happen. I put two characters together, and the issues (i.e., religious differences) make themselves known.

MS: Right. My answer is much the same as Lori’s. I don’t know that I ever made a decision to tackle tough issues. I simply went where the story led. The one exception was Owen and his congenital amputation. I have a good friend whose youngest daughter was born with the same amputation, and I’d been toying with the idea of writing about it for several years. The hardest part, in that particular case, was not having Owen’s missing hand suddenly pop into existence. Especially during sex scenes. 😉

DVK: LGBT fiction has become more popular, and seemingly more accepted, over the past few years. As an author, what draws you to it? Do you bring any personal factors or experiences into your writing?

LW: I write every gender and orientation. I just like writing about people, and some of those people happen to be gay, some happen to be straight, etc.

MS: Before I was ever writing at all, I was an avid fantasy reader, and I found myself gravitating to stories featuring GLBT characters. When I finally started writing, back in 2009, the story was about two men who fell in love. I didn’t bother questioning it.

DVK: As women writing male/male romance, what kind of research do you have to do? Do you ever have those moments of “uh, is that really possible?” or “does it ACTUALLY work/feel like that?”

LW: If I don’t know something, I’ll ask someone who does. This goes for anything from subject matter outside my areas of expertise (police details, for example) to anatomical differences.

MS: Yep. What Lori said. Honestly, it doesn’t come up as often as you might think and when it does, I ask the gay men in my life. They’re usually quite willing to share their experience.

DVK: Tell us a little about your muses. For some of your stories that feature characters with special circumstances or disabilities, how do you get into their headspaces? Do you ever base them on real people you know or come across?

LW: I’m forever writing about people with different circumstances, and it’s easier than you might think to slip into their headspace. By the time I’m writing the story, I know the character pretty well, and when they encounter an issue, I just ask myself how that person would react to that situation. In some cases, I can relate. Jason’s shoulder injury and acupuncture treatment were based on my own, so I know how they feel and how frustrating it is to deal with a chronic injury. I’ve been a Christian and am now an atheist, so I can easily see the spiritual world through Darren’s eyes or Seth’s.

MS: Well, once again, I’m just going to parrot Lori. (Maybe I should make her answer after me from now on! LOL.) Once you open yourself up to a character, it’s pretty easy to let them inhabit your headspace and to fall into their world view. Owen is probably the only character I have who was inspired by a real person. But even then, it’s a very loose similarity. (He was inspired by an 8-year old girl. That same little girl also served as the inspiration for Nick’s sister, June.) But mostly, these people just appear in my head.

DVK: Riptide Publishing’s Tucker Springs story universe is authored by various writers. How exactly does that work? Did you request to be part of the lineup? How do you deal with writing in appearances for other people’s characters?

MS: For the record, Tucker Springs is not Riptide’s series. The series belongs to the authors. Lori and I came up with the idea one day while brainstorming. We pitched it to one of our publishers, and they accepted it. That publisher was Amber Allure. That’s why the first book in the series (Lori’s Where Nerves End) is published with Amber. But later, the decision was made to move the series to Riptide, and to bring in another author (Heidi Cullinan).

DVK: Gotcha! Thanks for clearing that up! You guys have a dynamite series here.

Second Hand

MS: To answer the second part of your question though, writing each other’s characters is honestly half the fun. While writing Never a Hero, I took Lori’s character of Nathan and ran rampant with him.

LW: She totally did. She kept showing me snippets, and I was like, “Wow, okay, I didn’t know that about Nathan, but it absolutely works. Awesome.” Then when I was writing After the Fall, which is Nathan’s story, I was struggling with a particular scene, and Marie said, “BTW, remember Nathan and Owen are friends now.” Which completely resolved the issue I was having.

MS: She pinged me and said, “What would Owen say if Nathan called him up and asked for a hand?” That’s one of Owen’s least favorite expressions, so we had a good time figuring out where that would take her scene.

LW: And as we’re coming up with additional stories, we’ll usually ask each other “would this character do X?” or “Can I borrow so-and-so for a scene?” Which is a lot of fun. Bringing the guys into later stories, or having them show up before they’ve had their own story, is part of the fun of writing a series like this. They do cameos, walk-ons, sometimes even have fairly significant roles. Nathan shows up in three (maybe four? I think three) books before he finally gets his own story in After the Fall, which also introduces Brad, who will be getting his story in It’s Complicated. Definitely keeps things interesting.

MS: And helps keep us (and our editor!) on our toes.

Read our review of Covet Thy Neighbor here!
Covet Thy Neighbor

DVK: Tattoos. Ok, spill it! How many tattoos do you have and what/where are they?

LW: At the moment, I have seven. Japanese Kanji on each wrist, a horse on my right shoulder, a rose on my left shoulder, a Polynesian design on my right arm, a gryphon on my left leg, and a frog on my right. Currently designing a 30 Seconds to Mars-inspired tattoo for my left arm.

MS: I only have two. I have an elaborate swirly thing (technical term) around my belly button, and I have a tramp stamp. I like tattoos, but I’m very picky about where I put them.

DVK: Let’s talk about vices. Everybody has them and they can be oh so luscious. *grin* Tell us about some things you just CANNOT live without!

LW: As it happens, I am currently consuming what will be my last Dr Pepper. I just signed on with a personal trainer to finally lose this weight I’ve been meaning to lose, and part of the deal is no soda. So…that’s my big vice, and it’s going away. Today. Right now. Otherwise….I buy books. A lot of books. A ridiculous amount of books. I probably need an intervention.

MS: Mine is probably coffee. I’m supposed to be not drinking it at all, or only drinking it in moderation. But my idea of “moderation” keeps expanding to include ONE MORE CUP. And (again, like Lori), I buy lots and lots and lots of books.

DVK: *snicker* You’re in good company with this book-addict crowd! I’ll bet most of the GT readers probably need a book intervention of some kind, too!  *starts re-arranging out-of-control Kindle library*

LW: You just need a bigger coffee cup. Then “one cup” will last longer. /enabler

DVK: Thanks again for joining us today and for being such great sports! You’ve been a ton of fun!! Do you have any last words of encouragement or advice for our readers?

LW: Stay in school and stay off drugs? Okay, just kidding (though you probably should stay off drugs, even if my characters are pot-smokers and drinkers).

MS: Fear not the unmarked path.

LW: See? Marie gives better advice than I do. Just listen to her. I write smut. I’m a bad influence.

MS: I’m quite sure the unmarked path is littered with bad influences. 🙂

LW: Fair enough. But it’s still better advice than I can come up with.

MS: Thanks again to GraveTells is it for having us! We’re so glad you’ve enjoyed visiting Tucker Springs.

LW: Yep, what she said! Thanks for having us. 🙂

DVK: I’m looking forward to my next TS visit!

About the authors

Marie Sexton

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along.

Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Connect with Marie Sexton at her… Website | Facebook | Twitter

L.A. WittL.A. Witt is an author of gay erotic romances, and has been recently exiled from Okinawa, Japan, to Omaha, Nebraska. She resides there with her husband, a telekinetic goldfish, and two incredibly spoiled cats. It’s unclear if the exile was the result of the mostly classified “Aquarium Incident,” or if she’s actually being hidden, for her protection, from the Polynesian Mafia and her arch nemesis, erotic romance author Lauren Gallagher.

Connect with L.A. Witt at herWebsite | Twitter

Giveaway (US/Int)

Let’s give away some SWAG!! Ok and an ebook too, because I <3 the Tucker Springs story world and think you should all check it out too!  *grin*  To enter to win, leave a comment or question for Marie & L.A. (something fun, be creative and help keep up their awesome energy!) then fill out the Rafflecopter widget below.  No shipping restrictions.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Bleh, no.
About The Author
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2010 and has won several blogging awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.
  • Sophia Rose
    September 5, 2013 at 8:25 am

    I have enjoyed three books from this series. I love the characters, the chosen conflicts and romantic interests and even how the characters pop up in other stories. It was fun meeting the authors behind the stories.

  • Susan
    September 5, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Having visited Ft. Collins many times, it helps ground the series for me. I enjoy the appearances of characters from previous books in the current work.

    • September 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      Shortly after we decided to start the series, Lori came to visit me here in FC. I took her to Old Town and Coopersmith’s. As a result, a lot of Fort Collins has indeed been transplanted to Tucker Springs. 🙂

  • Crystal Guidroz
    September 5, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I have not read any of the books above , but they do sound very good. Looking forward to reading and thanks for the giveaway!

  • Meg W
    September 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Yeah! More Tucker Springs books! Love this series and can’t wait for the next installment!!

  • Ely Ve
    September 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    I am a big fan of both of your works, and know that many of both of your novels are set in other countries (Paris, Asian, etc); I was wondering out of all the settings you both write in… which has been your favorite or would like to experience first hand?

    • September 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      There’s a tiny bit of Fear, Hope, and Bread Pudding where Cole talks about his visit to Lucca, Italy. I was there last year, and witnessed the scene he talks about, with the little girl and her grandfather. I love everything about that town. 🙂

    • September 9, 2013 at 6:46 am

      My favorite, hands down, would be Okinawa (Conduct Unbecoming, and the sequel/spinoff-in-progress, General Misconduct). Lived there for three years and would LOVE to go back.


  • Melissa C.
    September 5, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I have read some of the reviews for your books and they some promising. Which is your favorite of your own books?

    • September 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      I love when people ask this. :- D

      My very favorite of my own work is the Oestend series (Song of Oestend, and Saviours of Oestend). But FWIW, Never a Hero is my husband’s favorite of my work, followed closely by Between Sinners and Saints. 🙂

    • September 9, 2013 at 6:50 am

      Of my own books…*thinks*…my top five would probably be Static, Covet Thy Neighbor, Conduct Unbecoming, Damaged Goods (written as Lauren Gallagher), and Unhinge the Universe (written with Aleksandr Voinov).

  • September 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    I haven’t read any of the books yet but they sound very good.

  • Marie
    September 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    The Tucker Springs series is one of my favorites! I’m not sure if I’m allowed to ask, but are there characters from past books that you can say will have their own story sometime in the future (in addition to the ones you discussed in the interview)? Thanks to all three of you for a great interview!

    • September 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Other than the book Lori’s working on right now, I don’t think we have any firm plans for past characters. Is there somebody in particular you’re hoping for?

    • September 9, 2013 at 6:52 am

      What Marie said… aside from the secondary character in After the Fall who’s getting his story in It’s Complicated. Beyond that, we sort of play it by ear, one book at a time.

  • Mary Preston
    September 6, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Hi guys, great to meet you. Love the sound of your books, especially taking sensitive subjects head on.

  • Michelle (MiMi)
    September 6, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I just love the TS stories…I am very happy to hear that there will be 2 more coming out soon. Is there a planned number of books or are you guys gonna just keep going ’til you get tired? 😉 Thanks for the great interview. Michelle

  • Andrea M
    September 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Both of you are two of my favorite authors and together, I guess I’d have to say you make a 3rd one. Just wanted to say to the two of you that I’ve read almost all your books and have loved every one of them. My favorites that aren’t Tucker Springs would be the Tooth & Claw series and Sinners and Saints.

    I thank you for sharing the gift of your talent with us.

  • September 6, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    I’m a big fan of Dreamspinner Press too. 😉

  • September 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Thanks so much for being our guest! I loved the interview – you guys are fab! <3

  • Gigi
    September 7, 2013 at 6:22 am

    Love this series!

  • Jennifer
    September 8, 2013 at 9:13 am

    I recently read “Second Hand” and loved it! I have the rest of the series on my Want-to-Read list. Hope to read them soon.

  • Natalija
    September 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Wonderful interview, thanks for sharing! I have read all of the books in the series so far and I am very excited to see that there is more to come. “Never a Hero” was my favourite of the 5. For some reason it touched me deeply and I couldn’t put it down until I was finished.

  • Ashley E
    September 9, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I had to slap a hand over my mouth to keep from giggling out loud at the image of Owen’s hand “popping” into sex scenes. Oh my gosh. Why do I do this to myself at work?!

  • September 29, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks so much to Marie & LA for being our awesome guests! This event was a ton of fun. Thank you also to all of you who came out to chat with the authors about this exciting new story unvierse.

    Congratulations to Mary Preston and Marie on winning the prizes!

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