Bethany reviews ‘Beneath The Stain’ pt.7. by Amy Lane (Published by Dreamspinner Press on October 10th, 2014)
We were provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I thought it would be fun to have my heart ripped from chest, shredded and given an itty bitty band-aide to try to patch it back together??????
I was so flippin lucky to be able to interview our queen of angst and pain, Ms. Amy Lane in anticipation of the final part of this series. Here is what she has to say about ‘Beneath The Stain’, future books, and a possibility of seeing Mackey and Trav in the future. Thank you again Amy for taking time out of your chaotic schedule to answer a few questions that have been on my mind.
1. What inspired this book?
Well, lots of things, actually. Music has marked so many moments of my life it’s hard to choose a defining one. I used to tell my students–and my own children– to pay attention to the songs that were big when they were in school, because that song was the closest thing to time travel humans could devise. Four bars into any Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd song and Mate and I are twenty-one and working at T.G.I.Fridays together, listening as Eric the head guy in the kitchen plays the one ninety minute tape he has, back to back. By the time that tape was over, we were done closing and ready to go out back and have a drink. Four bars into “Turn Up the Radio” or “Paradise City”, and Mate and I are driving the backroads of the foothills in his 302 Mustang Fastback, and we are nineteen and full of hope and excitement and hormones. Four bars into “Don’t You Forget About Me” and I’m seventeen, and haven’t met Mate yet– but I have hope. Four bars into any Grateful Dead or Woody Guthrie song, and I’m stuck in Brother Bus on a family vacation as a child, and the only thing standing between me and my step-siblings is an 8-track player, and the sixteen 8-track tapes that my dad played until they disintegrated.
Music matters. Music moves our hearts. It takes us back in time, and it gives us hope to the future. Music saves us. I wanted to write the story where music saved someone pissed off and heartbroken, because I knew what it was like to be that person.
About two years ago, Mate took me to a Muse concert, and I sat in the audience and let the music wash over me, and I swear, this story unspooled in my head, from Grant and Mackey’s first kiss to their last, and Trav’s steady presence at the end. Even the bonus scenes and the brothers– all of it. I think I was just ready for this story to take me over, that’s all.
2. How long did you work on it?
It took me about three and a half months, which is a long time when you usually put out about six books a year. And that doesn’t include the extra time editing or the extra two weeks it took to write the bonus scenes.
3. How close is this book to you?
These boys have lived in my head for the longest time. I know that I have a reputation for being nice, but that’s because I’ve had 47 years to tame my inner Mackey. He’s the part of me that got me into serious trouble when I was younger, and damn if he’s not right under my skin now.
4. How hard was it to write their story?
What was it Joan Didion said? Writing is easy– just sit down at your keyboard and open a vein? Yeah. That.
5. Was every character a representation of someone you have known in your life?
No. With the exception of Mackey (who channels my own obnoxious little shit plus a healthy dose of Matty Shultz from Cage the Elephant), Kell (who was inspired by Matt Shultz’s brother, playing lead guitar) and Briony (who is based on my beautiful daughter, Chicken), most of these characters were sort of pulled from bits and pieces of every person I’ve met or character I’ve read or seen on TV.
6. Did the characters ever take over the story and take I somewhere you didn’t originally have in mind? If so which ones?
Stevie and Jefferson. God– they were just like themselves. I sort of meant them as Sam&Eric from Lord of the Flies– just a Greek Chorus of other voices, but I gave them that “core of crazy” that comes out in the first bonus scene, and suddenly Jefferson was teasing Trav and Stevie was doing that “holy crap!” thing he did at the end, and damn. They surprised me. So did Blake. I worked really hard at making him a mixed bag of fish– both irritating as fuck and really sympathetic. When he broke down and cried on Mackey in rehab, I felt as bad as Mackey. This guy had some promise I hadn’t seen. And Kell–God. Kell was glorious. I wish all my secondary characters were as faceted as Kell Sanders. So yeah. The whole damned band sort of sat up and spoke for themselves. I guess that’s only appropriate.
7. Any plans for Blake’s story, and if so will we see more of Mackey and Trav? PLEASE
Heh heh heh… Blake’s story. Hell yeah. And we’ve already met his perfect mate, too. And yes–Mackey and Trav will DEFINITELY be involved.
8. Could you let us know what you are working on now?
Right now I’m working on my story from the Bluewater Bay series being put out by Riptide. It involves a fisherman and a fan-fic author, who both yearn to be free.
9. eBooks or print?
Depends on what I find first when I’m in the mood to read.
10. Favorite place to read & write?
Writing– my kitchen table. Reading? God– an empty hotel room, population: me
11. Admit it, you enjoy torturing us readers and love your title of “Lady of Angst and Pain?”
I played this so innocent for so long. “Who, me? Moi?” But the fact is that laughter, tears, even anger– all of it is good. I have a lot of graduate and post-grad units in English literature, and my school of thought is definitely Romantic. Not in terms of “love stories are the greatest” but in terms of “emotions, both the high and the low of them are important to us as human beings.” We all hear applause in different ways. My favorite applause is someone snorking a real laugh through a head full of tear-snot. That means I’ve done my job– and done it well 🙂
The one lesson that Trav’s learned with the band’s return to Tyson is that it should be hard to say good-bye. Mackey, Kell, Jefferson, and Stevie have to say good-bye to the person who helped make them and break them. They have to say good-bye to their bitterness and anger, and they have to say good-bye to lingering hope that one of the best parts of their childhood can be with them always.
But in the last two years they’ve grown a lot—and maybe they’ve grown enough to say good-bye to the past without forgetting it, and to embrace a future that they won’t regret.
I am sitting here staring at my screen wondering just how I am going to write this damn review. When I first got parts 1 & 2, I was so flippin excited and I just couldn’t wait to get the next one so I could see what happens and write how wonderful it was. Yet with each passing part I read I started to realize just much I was dreading part 7. It became torture, getting the next installment, cause I feared what was around the corner and where Amy would take our dear boys.
But you know what, when I finished I felt like I just went through the 7 stages of grief. And if you have read any of my previous review then you know yes I was in shock and denial, yes I was in pain, oh I was angry so very angry, so depressed I needed that second glass of wine. But then I also did feel like it would all work out, I can get through this with my friends (and maybe wine and tissues) and after I finished part 7 I felt acceptance and hope. Good gosh for a book to do that, to make you feel all those crazy emotions, you know it is EPIC!!!!!
Jesus, wash away my sins, wash away my past, ’cause I wouldn’t trade a thing, but it wasn’t meant to last.
What I did finally realize in the end is that it was NEVER about Mackey having to choose between two men that he loves in very different ways. It was about Mackey’s self discovery, about his journey to me the man he is suppose to be, it is him coming full circle. That is not to say that Grant and Trav don’t play a huge role in his life, because they do. Each of their roles are vital to making the man that Mackey becomes. And I would love to go into further detail, but that will probably start to turn in to spoilers and I don’t want to do that to those who have yet read the book. What I will say is that this book is one that has effected me so greatly, it hit home and made me feel and hurt and sob violently. But damn if it didn’t make me feel hope and joy and pure unadulterated love for these characters. And not just Mackey and Grant and Trav. By the end I was so very in love with each and every one.
Look I could go on and on about how much I adored this book, but I don’t think it will matter much what I have to say about this book. Because I am fairly certain if you are reading this, you are already an Amy fan, and you have either already read it or about to read it. And if you are new to Ms. Lane and this is your first book of hers you read, I can guarantee it won’t be your last.
So I want to give a big THANK YOU to Amy for allowing me to take this journey not only as a reviewer who got each part 3 days early (though that WAS fun) but as a fan. You have made me fall in love with these boys and they will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Where to buy: Dreamspinner
Amy Lane has four children, two cats, a love starved Chi-who-what, a crumbling mortgage and an indulgent spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you give her enough diet coke and chocolate, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.
Because I believe EVERYONE needs to read this book (or any Amy Lane book), or books in general I am giving away a $10 Amazon gift card. All you have to do is comment below and tell me your favorite Amy Lane book. If you have not read any by Amy tell me your favorite couple. I will pick a random winner on October 18th, 2014 at 12:00 CDT. Good luck to all!!!!
Oh you gotta be 18 to enter and Void where prohibited. Etc.