September 12, 2014

Interview: Authors Erin McRae / Racheline Maltese @erinmcrae @racheline_m #RLFblog #LGBT

Title Starling
Genre Contemporary Gay romance
Authors Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R

Interview with Erin and Racheline

What were you like when you were in school?
Erin: When I was a junior in high school, I was bored out of my mind in English class and one day I guess my teacher got tired of me just sitting on the windowsill at the back of the room, doing my own thing, and took me down to the school book room. Like, this massive room, with these weird concrete walls because it was adjacent to the room under the pool, which was also a nuclear fallout shelter -- my school was built in the 60s -- full of shelves crammed with all the non-textbooks the school owned. And she just walked me through the whole room, and pulled off a copy of every book she thought I should read that the curriculum didn't cover anymore. I still have them all.
Racheline: Most of my pre-university education was at a private school that had been known as Miss Hewitt's Classes for Young Ladies at one time. I got a fantastic literature and Latin education there, and I am grateful for it. But I was extremely awkward, and didn't fit in in terms of class and background. I spent a lot of time hanging around with adult artists outside of school because my parents are painters. No one knew what to do with me, and I got bullied a lot, but I also learned tons of trivia about forks and courtesies.
Would you rather stay inside and watch snow falling, or get out in it and build a snowman?
Erin: Snowman. We don't get a lot of snow in DC -- and when it does, it tends to be a disaster -- so most of the snow I know is in my hometown in upstate New York. There's an incredible silence when snow is falling, that's not quite like silence anywhere else. I love all the cities I've lived in, but I miss that silence.
Racheline: I am deeply superstitious about the first snow each year. I've had a lot of really magical (and usually romantic and/or sexual) luck happen around those first snowstorms. But I also hate the cold. I'll stay outside for the first one, then I am over it.
What is your favorite quote?
Erin: "The work is the prayer." For which even Google isn't giving me a proper attribution. But it's one of those things you hear everywhere.. And when a lot of people say it, it's this sort of zen thing about not being preoccupied with results and just letting the effort be what counts. And there's definitely value in that. But where I first encountered the quote was from Baz Lurhmann, who says it all the time and it's always like a curse. From him, it's about putting everything you have into the work and kind of just fucking the obstacles that get in your way. On the hard days, it's a reminder to me to just put my head down and keep going.
Racheline: "Tomorrow is the first lie of the Devil." -- Robert Fripp. I don't really believe in the devil, but I think it's a useful quote, not just about procrastination, but about how seductive time is. You never know when you're going to be hit by a bus. If you want to do a thing, do it now.
What was your favorite book as a child?
Erin: I read Little House in the Big Woods so many times the cover fell off, and I still come back to that book and everything else written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. History was my first love, because for me it's always just about people, living their lives in so many different circumstances and situations. Which is just what all stories are, really.
Racheline: When I was twelve, Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat came out. For some inexplicable reason, it was available to buy at my school book fair and a friend who knew I was afraid of vampires dared me to read it. I read it again and again and again, because it was the first thing I had ever read that said big emotions were truthful and okay and necessary. It was also the first time I encountered any sort of queerness in text. It really saved me, I think, from being more miserable than I already was at that age.
What was the last movie you watched (home or theater)?
Erin: Marie Antoinette, for research purposes.
Racheline: Guardians of the Galaxy. That entire movie succeeds on its soundtrack,which may tell you my age. But that film is all in the hips.

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About the Book

When J. Alex Cook, a production assistant on The Fourth Estate (one of network TV's hottest shows), is accidentally catapulted to stardom, he finds himself struggling to navigate both fame and a relationship with Paul, one of Fourth's key writers. Despite their incendiary chemistry, Alex's inexperience and the baggage they're both carrying quickly lead to an ugly break-up.
Reeling from their broken hearts, Alex has an affair with a polyamorous co-star and Paul has an ill-advised reunion with an old flame. Meanwhile, the meddling of their colleagues, friends -- and even the paparazzi! -- quickly make Alex and Paul's real life romance troubles the soap opera of the television season.
But while the entertainment value may be high, no one knows better than Alex and Paul that there are no guarantees when it comes to love in Los Angeles.


Paul keeps a hand at Alex's waist until they're at the side of the room, and then grins and tugs him a little closer and starts moving his hips to the beat.
"Really?" Alex raises an eyebrow, though he doesn't step away.
"C'mon, I know you can," Paul tells him, and puts his other hand on Alex's waist too. No one who can control their face and body like Alex can't dance.
Alex smiles that small, dangerous smile of his and puts his hands on Paul's shoulders. "Okay."
Paul knows it's game on. Alex moves beautifully, easy and strong to the beat, and Paul can feel the power of him under his hands, the physicality of his magnetism. It's extraordinary. This is why Alex doesn't like to speak, Paul realizes; he simply doesn't need to, his body is a more faithful storyteller.
When Paul had invited Alex to this party, he'd entertained vague fantasies of getting to talk with him meaningfully and maybe making out with him in a corner. But Paul has been thinking about Alex as desirable and intriguing for so long that with him in his arms now Paul wants nothing more than to go big with that desire. He can't imagine a few kisses being enough.
Songs pass and they keep moving closer to each other until they're way too close. Paul hopes Alex knows he can do what he wants here; sure they're still being watched but it doesn't matter. This feels way too good, and Paul pulls them together until their thighs are brushing and his arms are snug around Alex's waist.
Their eyes keep catching in the dark, and more than once Paul's gaze drops to Alex's mouth. Alex tightens his fingers on his side when it does, his eyes flickering between Paul's lips and his eyes. When the song shifts again to something heavy and slow their foreheads brush together, and Alex's nose touches Paul's cheek.
They both hesitate, just for a moment, and Paul sways in a little before he steps back and asks, "Do you want another drink?"
"Sure," Alex says, breathless like the movies.
"I'll be right back." Paul finds his hand and squeezes it, and then threads his way back through the room.

Author bios

Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese's gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry, is published by Torquere Press. The first novel, Starling, was released September 2014; its sequel, Doves, is scheduled for January 2015. Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller focused on themes of sex, gender, desire and mourning. Erin McRae is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. You can find them on the web at

Previous Books

Starling, from Torquere Press
"Lake Effect," in the They Do anthology from Torquere Press

Books Coming Soon

Doves, coming January 2015 from Torquere Press
Room 1024, coming April 2015 from Torquere Press

Author Social Media

Joint Blog:
Racheline's Twitter:

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