I’m Tyler Lindsey, and until recently, I had an okay apartment, an okay girlfriend, and an okay job as a bellboy at a respectable Boston hotel. Then rock star Chris Raiden died right before I brought his room service—stiffing me on the tip, by the way—and my life went to hell. My fifteen minutes of fame was more like five seconds, and my girlfriend left me in disgust.
But even worse—Chris is haunting me. Not the room where he died, like a normal ghost. No, somehow he’s stuck to me and is insisting on taking care of a bunch of unfinished business in California. So now I have to traipse across the country with the world’s most narcissistic ghost.
But . . . I keep having these weird thoughts. Thoughts about how much I like the way he makes me laugh. Thoughts where I kind of want to kiss the emo-narcissist, even though he’s a ghost and an asshole and I can’t touch him anyway. And even if I could, what will happen when he finishes his business and nothing’s keeping him here anymore?
I didn’t actually hear a chorus of angels singing when I saw the bag of grapes sitting on the refrigerated shelf of a tiny Asian food store at two in the morning, but I definitely heard it in the back of my mind. Here, sitting before me, was a miracle. Red grapes. In a store that was still open. The words on the bag were Korean so I had no idea if the grapes were seedless or not, but Chris Raiden had been waiting for his room service for over an hour now. Which meant we were quickly approaching the point where a famous rock star’s wrath over late food might trump his wrath over seeds in said food, so they’d have to do either way.
Still, it’s always best to know exactly why I’d be getting fired, so I reached into the bag and pulled out a grape, then popped it into my mouth.
And the angels sang again because there wasn’t a seed. This beautiful, perfect plastic bag in this beautiful, perfect Asian food mart contained red. Seedless. Grapes.
“Hey,” a voice called from the direction of the cash register. “You can’t eat those. You have to pay.”
“I know, I know.” I snatched the bag from the cooler and trotted up to the register, giving the cashier a big lopsided smile. “Man, you don’t even know how glad I am that you guys are open right now.”
The guy shrugged as he rang up my purchase but didn’t answer. Not that I blamed him. People who have grape-related emergencies at 2 a.m. aren’t generally the type of people you want to be having a conversation with during said emergency. So I just closed my mouth and handed over the corporate card my boss had given me to make the purchase.
Cashier Guy could have been nicer, though. It wasn’t like I’d asked to be out running around Beacon Hill in the middle of the fucking night looking for overly specific types of fruit to keep a drugged-out bass player from complaining to my boss, so I felt like I should get a pass on this one. Still, though, there wasn’t time to explain, and I’m not usually that big on small talk with strangers anyway.
After paying for the grapes, I muttered a “Thanks,” scooped up the bag, and started jogging back toward the hotel. I slipped my phone out of my pocket and hit Call on Richard’s number.
“Tell me you got them,” he answered.
“I got them,” I practically crowed.
Richard let out a heavy, relieved sigh. “Thank God. How long will it take you to get back here?”
“I don’t know. Fifteen minutes?”
“I’m in Beacon Hill, Richard. It’s gonna take me a bit.” I stopped and scanned the street for cabs. And, in a burst of luck, one rounded the corner just as I was looking. I lifted the hand with the grape bag in it and started flagging like a lunatic. “Hold on. There’s a cab. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” I paused for a moment, fumbling with the phone while I added my other hand to the flagging. “Is he bitching about it?”
“No, he hasn’t called again. But it’s only a matter of time. You know celebrities.”
“I can imagine.” The cab turned toward me and pulled up to the curb so I could get in. I slid in the backseat and gave the driver the hotel address, then went back to the phone. “I’m on my way.”
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
“Snarky.” Because that’s what Tyler and Chris both are.
2. What would you say inspired you to write it?
I’ve always wanted to write a novel about a rock star. There’s just something about the larger-than-life celebrity falling for someone non-famous that gets to me, probably because it makes it seem like our dreams can really come true. And plus, rock stars are sexy.
3. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist?
The protagonist and narrator, Tyler, was inspired by a guy working at the hotel I stayed at in Boston once. I never actually met him or even heard him speak, but he just seemed like the sort of guy who might be having a love affair with a sarcastic ghost. As for the antagonist, Rock N Soul doesn’t really have one—the characters are fighting against time, not against a physical enemy, which makes their love story all the more urgent.
4. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
I think writer’s block hits everyone at some point. Sometimes the only thing to do is to just write something. It might be terrible and you might need to throw it out in the future, but just getting some momentum back helps tremendously. I suggest the program Write or Die, which forces you to write for a certain amount of time or it starts eating the words you’ve already written. That’s quite the motivator!
5. Your all time favorite book?
I really love Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
6. What made you pick that one above all others?
I love the dreamy language and I’ve always been fascinated by unreliable narrators, which is why Tyler has a bit of that in him. He never lies, not really, but there’s an element of reading between the lines that Rock N Soul shares with Rebecca.
7. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
I’ve known since I was a little kid that I was going to be an author, so really this hasn’t changed me very much because I’ve spent years of my life just writing. It becomes your identity after a while. I have a “real” job that pays the bills, but that’s not what I am. What I am is a writer and author, and it feels good.
8. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
I was stuck for a really long time on one scene, because I kept writing it and re-writing it and never being satisfied, and I told my partner that I wanted to just print the whole thing out specifically so that I could line birdcages with it because that was all it was good for. She talked me out of that, which was good. Because if I’d given up on the story, it would still be inside me, begging to be let out. Also, the scene I was stuck on was the scene where Tyler meets Eric for the first time, and now I think that it’s my favorite part of the whole novel!
9. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
I have a desk job during the day that’s related to budgeting and financial things. When I get home, I write. Sometimes it’s my original work, sometimes it’s fanfiction (and I never mix the two), but at any given moment I’m usually either writing or thinking about writing. Or yelling at my disobedient cats, because I do a lot of that, too.
10. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
The important thing to remember is that one bad review doesn’t mean your work is bad. There are always going to be people who don’t like what you do, and a lot of times it has nothing to do with you. Maybe someone hated your main character because they reminded them of a toxic ex they had, or maybe your book is set in a bakery and the reader hates bread, and there’s nothing you can do about that sort of thing. Just keep writing.
11. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series?
This book is part of the Soul Seekers series. At the end of Rock N Soul, we don’t really get to see what happens to Crazy Cousin Chad (who turns out to be maybe not so crazy after all). The next book in the series is all about him.
12. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?
Right now I’m pretty focused on Soul Seekers, which branches away from the rock star element in future books. But don’t think I won’t be revisiting some of the rock star side characters from Rock N Soul later in a separate but related series!
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
Assuming I couldn’t wish for the big-ticket items like harsher punishments for parole violators and world peace, I’d wish for the resources to travel the world. There’s so much out there to see!
2. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s fun and endlessly re-readable, which is what you want on a desert island.
3. Name your favorite fruit.
Grapes. I share this with Chris, Rock N Soul’s other protagonist.
4. Coffee or tea?
Tea, definitely. I’ve never liked the taste of coffee. They say it’s an acquired taste, but I can’t seem to acquire it.
5. Favorite season?
I’ve always been a big fan of autumn. The first cool nights of the year feel like magic to me, with the falling leaves and the smell of bonfires.
6. Latest book you’ve bought and read?
I’ve actually made it my New Year’s Resolution to read more books this year! Right now I’m reading Jane Eyre because I’ve started to get embarrassed that I’ve never read it before, and I’m pretty sure they’ll take away my English degree if they ever find out.
7. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
Purple, specifically plum!
8. What song have you listened to most recently?
Oh man, I have listened to “Diamonds and Gasoline” by Turnpike Troubadours so many times in the last few weeks that I think my partner is ready to strangle me to make it stop.
9. What first came to mind after reading question no. 1 of the Fun Facts section? I mean that thing that you reconsidered after giving it more thought 😛
OK, if we’re being honest, I’d probably wish for one wild night with Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus (Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon, from The Walking Dead). And I do mean one wild night that involves both of them 😉 But that’s me and the rest of the male-attracted people in the world, I’m sure.
1. The one thing you’d do anything to avoid/get out of is…Talking on the phone. I hate it. I would much rather text or email—partly because I’m so much better at writing than I am at talking!
2. You are a hardcore fan of…The Walking Dead (the TV show… I haven’t read the comics). Seriously, I am embarrassingly obsessed with it. I write fanfiction and everything.
3. If you could have any one superpower, it would be…I would really enjoy being able to instantly teleport myself places!
4. The one thing that always brightens your day is…A text from my sister with a photo of my first niece, who was born just a couple of months ago!
To celebrate the release of Rock N Soul, Lauren is giving away $25 in Riptide credit! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 23, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!
About the Author & Links:
Lauren Sattersby works as a budget manager by day, but while she’s at her desk mindlessly crunching numbers, it’s a good bet that she’s also writing M/M romance in her head and counting the minutes until she can get home and write it all down. She is a grammar enthusiast, which is why she has a Master’s degree in technical writing, but that tends to scare friends away so she keeps that to herself.
Lauren lives in Wisconsin with her partner and their three terrible cats. She’s a recent transplant from a thousand miles further south, so she still gets crazy excited about snow. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found playing video games or scouring the countryside looking for interesting birds.