Love Bytes says hello and welcome to author Lila Leigh Hunter who is joining us today to talk about new release “Dating in Retrospect”, part of the States of Love series by Dreamspinner Press.
Lilah answers some questions, shares an excerpt and their is a giveaway to participate in!
Welcome Lila Leigh 🙂
Finding the Right Names
Happy Monday! I’m Lila and I’m happy to stop by Love Bytes Reviews to talk about my States of Love novella set in Iowa, Dating in Retrospect. Thank you for having me. <3
Each author has a different process to come up with the title and the names of their characters. In my case, most of my stories start with a title. I can’t write a word if I don’t know what the title is going to be, and ninety-nine percent of the time it stays the same when the book is published.
I try to get my titles to encompass the main idea behind the story, to have them represent what the story is all about. In this case, it’s fairly obvious since my main characters are dating for a year and they looked back into the years when they were a couple. I used this as some sort of outline. As soon as I knew they were going to be dating again, I started figuring out the places they would visit and the original dates they had.
Sometimes, the main characters’ names show up first. I love names and the whole naming process. I guess I’m used to it after having four kids, but it’s fun to take the time to give meaning to their names, just like if they were real. Getting the names for Clay and Aaron was easy. Clay is named after two guys I know and there’s an instance in the story in which Aaron references Clay’s name. As for Aaron, I wanted his last name to be part of the farm’s name. Therefore, I needed a combination of names that work, not only for him but for the family acres.
The names for the rest of my characters always come as I’m writing. They introduce themselves as they tell me who they are and what role they’re going to have in the story. But the main characters, just like the titles are always the stepping stone for each of my stories. And yes, my pseudonym has a story behind it, but that’s a conversation for another time.
Title: Dating in Retrospect (States of Love)
Author: Lila Leigh Hunter
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 15, 2017
Giving the commencement speech at his alma mater doesn’t fit Clay Keller’s meticulous schedule. As Chief Executive Officer of Travel Mogul—the largest travel connoisseur company on the West Coast—he has no time to get back in touch with his country roots. He left fifteen years ago without a second look, but a medical scare makes him change his mind about the speech and brings him face-to-face with his only regret.
Time always moves slower in Southeastern Iowa, and Aaron Grant loves it. He’s added solar farms to the Grant Lanes portfolio and has been teaching at the local university for a decade. The last thing he needs is to have his tenure application compromised by the return of his ex-boyfriend. If he had known who the commencement speaker would be, he would never have volunteered to be the administration liaison.
A proposal—to date for a year—will help them discover that time changes a person, even when everything else stays the same.
(February 9th to February 28th – Winner to be contacted March 1st)
©2017 Lila Leigh Hunter
All Rights Reserved
Back to the future and all of that were Clay’s first thoughts as he stepped out of the car. The campus looked the same—Midwest Americana at its best. Redbrick buildings and perfectly pruned trees surrounded him, but as if the last fifteen years hadn’t happened, Clay’s world narrowed to the man waiting at the top of the portico stairs. The only thing time had changed? Them.
“Here’s your receipt, Mr. Keller,” the valet said, interrupting Clay’s musings. He didn’t remember being as young as the valet. Mr. Keller was his father, but Clay didn’t feel like correcting the man’s error.
“Not a problem. The man in the light gray suit is Professor Grant. He will be your escort today.”
“Perfect,” Clay responded, smiling at the mention of having an escort at his service, especially one whose body he knew well. With a nod and a tip, Clay left the valet behind, turning his attention back to Professor Grant. Professor. Aaron had done it after all. Clay had never doubted it, even after Aaron decided to stay and work at his family’s farm instead of moving with him to LA. Now he needed to find out if he had a chance with Aaron. At least having him there, waiting for him, had to be a good sign. Today was his lucky day indeed. True, he hadn’t expected to see Aaron so soon. He had planned to stop by the farm after the commencement, but he was ready either way. Life had been rough lately, but having the opportunity to see Aaron again was worth coming back to the middle of Nowhere, Iowa.
He walked casually toward the man he’d left behind many summers ago—a man standing like a prizefighter, waiting for Clay to reach him. With only a couple of feet between them, Clay’s step faltered. Aaron didn’t seem happy to see him, more like he was ready to bolt before Clay got to him. Shaking his head and keeping his eyes on his prey, he closed the distance and extended his hand in greeting.
“Professor Grant, I believe you’re expecting me?” He hoped his smile would ease Aaron’s frown.
“That I am, Mr. Keller. As the university liaison, it is my pleasure to welcome you back to your alma mater and to convey the president’s and the board of trustees’ deepest regards.”
“How long did it take you to memorize that spiel? As far as I remember, you weren’t fond of formalities.” Neither of them let go of the other’s hand. Aaron’s touch, familiar and foreign, branded him in seconds.
Aaron didn’t expect the hug that followed. As soon as their bodies touched, Aaron tensed, but Clay held him tighter.
“Relax, sunshine. It’s been a while.” Clay let Aaron go, but not before he rubbed his trimmed beard against Aaron’s clean-shaven face as he moved back.
Lila Leigh Hunter is the pen name of a Puerto Rican author with a hyphenated surname. Born and raised on the island, Lila grew up making up stories her siblings pretended to like. But no matter what they say, as the youngest of six, she’s still their mom’s favorite. According to the dusty diplomas on her wall, she’s an architectural designer living in Southern Texas with her husband and four military brats.
She spends most of her free time writing homoerotic romances about middle-aged men finding happiness and the rest hiding from pesky house chores. When outside of her cave, she likes to observe people and try to guess their stories. Sometimes she wishes the voices in her head were real; going out with the boys in her books sounds like a plan made in heaven.
Author’s Page: http://www.facebook.com/HunterRomances
Lila’s Cabana on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/LilasBooks/
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/LilaLeighHunter