Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Ann Gallagher blog tour for Lead Me Not!
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (including books written as L.A. Witt and Lauren Gallagher, excluding Lead Me Not) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 29. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Don’t forget to leave your email so we can contact you if you win!
Why Christian Romance?
When anyone who’s known me for more than fifteen nanoseconds finds out that I wrote a Christian romance, the question is pretty much inevitable: Why?
Because let’s face it—a sweet Christian romance is a pretty significant departure from my usual wheelhouse, which is nearly always erotic. My only other books with religion as a central focus were Covet Thy Neighbor, which featured an atheist falling in love with a minister who enjoys the occasional one night stand (and smokes pot), and No Distance Left to Run, which I wrote with Aleksandr Voinov about two gay ex-Mormons struggling to reconcile with their families. While religion played prominent roles in those books, they were definitely not what would be classified as a Christian romance.
Sooooo yeah. I can see where the confusion comes from.
Here’s how it happened.
Lead Me Not has been bouncing around in my head for a couple of years now. I kept hearing people say homosexuality was a choice, and whenever anyone has said “fine, prove it,” they just scoffed and moved on. To my knowledge, nobody has ever said, “Yeah, I’ll prove it!” and chosen to be gay.
So I had the idea of Isaac, a homophobic preacher, choosing to be gay for the purpose of filming a documentary. Colton was a pretty clear character too, and a lot of the scenes were crystallizing, but something was missing. I really wanted to write it, but I was both intimidated by the idea and certain that I needed one more piece to make the whole puzzle work. Of course that second bit was probably just a form of procrastination. That’s usually my brain telling me I can’t POSSIBLY write it now even though I know I can, but it’s a convenient enough excuse to put off a book that is, to put it bluntly, scaring the hell out of me.
Summer 2014 came around, and I found myself at a Gay Pride event in the Midwest.
And that event had protesters.
This was something I had never experienced before, and as luck would have it, they decided to do their little demonstration right in front of my booth. I don’t really remember what was said, only that I couldn’t stop watching the preacher. After maybe five minutes of watching him try to preach over the crowd, I knew I’d found my Isaac.
It’s difficult to explain, but he was uncomfortable in a way I didn’t expect. Whenever he paused—and later, when he was sort of taking in his surroundings by himself—there was this look in his eyes like he wasn’t just repulsed and disgusted, but…nervous. Nervous like someone who was about to have an epiphany he really didn’t want to have.
It’s hard for me to have sympathy for someone who preaches antigay fire and brimstone, but part of me felt for the guy. I was a Christian at one time in my life, and even if I now vehemently disagree with what he was preaching, I couldn’t help thinking he meant well—that he genuinely wanted the people around him to be saved.
And that, I realized, was Isaac’s missing piece. He wasn’t the hateful preacher who protests funerals or gloats over gay people being condemned to hell. He truly does want to help people.
Which then leads to the challenge of writing the book from the perspective of someone who believes homosexuality is a sin, and who believes the Bible says so. And, for that matter, who believes the Bible to be the Word of God. There was a time when I believed all those things, but not anymore.
That part wasn’t actually as difficult, though. I’ve written from the perspective of all kinds of people who believe differently than I do. As with any character, it’s his voice, not mine. Once I’d figured out that last piece of his character, the story flowed.
So after that Pride event, there was no procrastinating anymore—the book would not shut up.
And 110,000 words later, despite years of saying I’d never write one, I’d written my first Christian romance… Lead Me Not.
Isaac Morris has devoted his life to preaching against the sin of homosexuality. But when his sister proposes a documentary to demonstrate once and for all that it’s a choice—with Isaac choosing to be gay as proof—he balks. Until he learns his nephew is headed down that perverted path. Isaac will do anything to convince the teenager he can choose to be straight . . . including his sister’s film.
When Isaac’s first foray into the gay lifestyle ends with a homophobic beating, he’s saved and cared for by Colton Roberts, a gentle, compassionate bartender with a cross around his neck. Colton challenges every one of Isaac’s deeply held beliefs about gay men. He was kicked out by homophobic parents, saved from the streets by a kind pastor, and is now a devout Christian. Colton’s sexuality has cost him dearly, but it also brought him to God.
As the two grow closer, everything Isaac knows about homosexuality, his faith, and himself is called into question. And if he’s been wrong all along, what does that mean for his ministry, his soul, his struggling nephew—and the man he never meant to love?
Lead Me Not is available August 24th from Riptide Publishing.
Ann Gallagher is the slightly more civilized alter ego of L.A. Witt, Lauren Gallagher, and Lori A. Witt. So she tells herself, anyway. When she isn’t wreaking havoc on Spain with her husband and trusty two-headed Brahma bull, she writes romances just like her wilder counterparts, but without all the heat. She is also far too mature to get involved in the petty battle between L.A. and Lauren, but she’s seriously going to get even with Lori for a certain incident that shall not be discussed publicly.
Connect with Ann:
Website: http://loriawitt.com Author Blog: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com Personal Blog: http://navywifeadventures.blogspot. Twitter: @GallagherWitt Facebook: http://facebook.com//L-A-Witt-MM-Fiction
I would like to give a big Thank You to Ann Gallagher and Riptide for letting us take place in this Blog Tour.