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Monday, January 28, 2013

Featured Author & Giveaway: Jay Bell

Jay Bell
Jay Bell never gave much thought to Germany until he met a handsome foreign exchange student. At that moment, beer and pretzels became the most important thing in the world. After moving to Germany and getting married, Jay found himself desperate to communicate the feelings of alienation, adventure, and love that surrounded this decision, and has been putting pen to paper ever since.

Connect with Jay Bell on Twitter @JayBellBooks or visit his website:

Q&A with Author Jay Bell:

  1. If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?

    Tim Wyman, from Something Like Winter. As for what I would do, I would take my shirt off and stare at myself in the mirror all day. I’m not a superficial person when it comes to appearance. How I or anyone else looks matters less and less to me the older I get, but I always thought it would be fun to have muscles without the tedious effort of having to workout every day.

    But that’s not really my answer. I think I would rather be Tim’s dog Chinchilla. She’s a character in her own right, so I believe that counts. Anyway, I would love to hang out with Ben and Tim, spy on their new life together, witness the wonderfully mundane moments they share. I bet they have a very loving home, and I’d love to witness their relationship from the outside. Besides, being a dog for a day would be incredibly cool! If I got bored watching Ben and Tim, I could take a stroll down the street and pee on a bunch of stuff. Bonus!

  2. Kamikaze Boys is about two very brave high school students who never give up.  Please tell us what inspired you to write Connor and David? 

    With Kamikaze Boys, I wanted to capture a rough time I went through from about twelve to fifteen years old. I had just moved to Texas and didn’t fit in at all. Like David, I was bullied every day and dreaded going to school. I wish I had expressed that feeling more in the book, how just the thought of having to face another day of school made me almost physically ill with fear. I was terrified—every single day—for years. Eventually I hit bottom, or maybe I snapped, and I started lashing out. I became a very destructive person, and while I ended up causing a lot of terror and pain myself, I still believe it was the only way for me to survive.

    Later, when I was sixteen, I found balance. Love had a lot to do with that. I came out when I was sixteen and focused more on finding the right guy. My first boyfriend and I were together for nine months, which is a small eternity at that age. Basically I starting living the life that was best for me, no matter the consequences, and that helped to banish a lot of my anger and fear. In Kamikaze Boys, I sort of combined these two stages of my life. David learns to let go of fear and harness his anger, but luckily he has Connor to help temper this out before it becomes too self-destructive. I didn’t have the benefit of someone like that, but I wear my scars with pride.

  3. Can you tell us a little about Ben and Tim’s journey in the Seasons series and how first love changes over time?

    Just the thought of first love makes my chest swell with warm sparkly feelings. There’s nothing more optimistic in the world, nothing with more potential, than young love. And I don’t mean the age of the people involved, but rather the feeling when a new love is born. The power of such love shouldn’t be underestimated, but it also has its limits. We’ll get to that in a second. First, let’s talk about Ben and Tim.

    At the beginning of Something Like Summer, Ben as a character has very little room to grow. He’s loyal, brave, and has a good head on his shoulders. His only flaw might be his willingness to sacrifice almost anything for love, but personally, I consider that a virtue. The real conflict begins when Ben becomes divided, when he has two loves worth fighting for. Later in his life, Ben gets his first true taste of fear when he loses someone dear to him, and oddly enough, it’s the decades of unrelenting bravery that makes him unprepared for this.

    Tim, at the beginning of Something Like Winter, is Ben’s opposite. He’s absolutely riddled with fear. To Tim, love is a complete mystery, unlike Ben who wields the emotion like a sword. When two opposites such as Ben and Tim come into contact, it’s inevitable that they will have an influence on each other. Ben leads by example, showing Tim everything he could be, and even though it takes more than a decade of nurturing for that seed to sprout and bloom, Tim is forever a changed man.

    I don’t believe in karma in the metaphysical sense, but Ben and Tim’s journey is one of a good deed repaid.  All the times that Ben stepped into Tim’s life when he was weak and helped him—even at the expense to the stability of his own life—are finally repaid in the end. When Ben is weak, learns what it means to live with fear, that’s when Tim is able to play the shining knight and save him. And it was Ben that gave Tim this armor and polished it up.

    That brings us back to first love.  The tricky thing about meeting your first love again, is how all of those feelings come rushing back. The intoxication, the youth, the potential—they’re like a drug. The strength of these feelings have a limit, because eventually, reality catches up. We’re not who we were when first falling in love, and neither is the other person. Once the nostalgia dies down, we’re left to discover how much substance is left, so I don’t think Ben and Tim’s journey is over quite yet, but at least this time they will be on equal footing.

  4. What do you have coming up next?

    Well, I’m very excited to announce that the “Something Like…” books are becoming a proper series. I’m in the middle of writing Something Like Autumn right now, which is Jace’s life story. There’s a theme to that book that I’ve felt the need to tackle for some time, but readers will have to discover what it is for themselves. Something Like Spring will follow, and it will give us that outsider look at Ben and Tim’s relationship, although it won’t be told from Chinchilla’s perspective. Ha! Instead, we’ll be introduced to a new character while revisiting those from the previous three books. It’s important that Autumn come first though, since there are events in that story of importance to Spring. Once I’m done with the Seasons Series, well… who knows!

  5. What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?

    To be brave. Fear is the greatest opponent we face in life. Whether it’s our own, or the fear others have for us, we must learn to be brave. Fear can ruin your chances of falling in love, of working your dream job, and of being whoever you were meant to be. Remain true to yourself, live the life that makes you happy, and you’ll find all those people you worry about now will be happy for you too. At least if they love you they will be, and if not, you shouldn’t let them hold you back. Of course there’s a time and a place for all emotions, so if you’re standing in the road and a bus is hurtling your way, then please do feel fear and get out of the way! But when it comes to matters of the heart, be brave. Be braver than you ever have before, and you will find happiness.

Now Available from Jay Bell:

There are two sides to every story. When you’re Tim Wyman, sometimes there are three. Tim hoped moving to Texas would mean a new beginning, a chance to spread his wings, but he soon finds himself falling into the same tired patterns. Until he meets recklessly brave Benjamin Bentley. Suddenly a whole new world opens up to Tim—love, sex, warmth… home. Certain that society won’t understand what he and Ben have together, Tim struggles to protect their relationship, even if it means twisting the truth. As his lies slowly push Ben away, Tim learns that the greatest enemy can come from within. Buried beneath a decade of deceptions, Tim must claw his way to the surface in the hopes of learning to fly.

Something Like Winter, the companion novel to Something Like Summer, tells the story from Tim Wyman’s perspective, revealing new private moments and personal journeys.

Love, like everything in the universe, cannot be destroyed. But over time it can change. The hot Texas nights were lonely for Ben before his heart began beating to the rhythm of two words; Tim Wyman. By all appearances, Tim had the perfect body and ideal life, but when a not-so-accidental collision brings them together, Ben discovers that the truth is rarely so simple. If winning Tim’s heart was an impossible quest, keeping it would prove even harder as family, society, and emotion threaten to tear them apart. Something Like Summer is a love story spanning a decade and beyond as two boys discover what it means to be friends, lovers, and sometimes even enemies.

If the world is against you, don’t give up. Find yourself a kindred spirit. Then you can start fighting back. They say Connor, the one with the crazy eyes and creepy scar, tried to kill his old man. Lately he’s been seen hanging out with David, the gay guy who always eats lunch alone. They make an odd pair, the loser and the psychopath, and bad things happen to people who mess with them. Not that Connor and David are looking for trouble. Even when taking on the world, they seem more interested in each other than fighting. Kamikaze Boys is a story about breaking the chains that bind you and using them to beat down anyone that gets in your way. Better yet, it’s about holding hands with the guy you love while doing so.

Dueling with mad magicians, battling possessed beasts, and surviving endless hostile landscapes? Easy. Loving someone you weren't supposed to? That was hard. A faceless killer terrorizes the five lands, extinguishing from great distances the lives of even the most powerful men. It is from this murderer that Dylan is forced to flee. Only Tyjinn, a brash and unpredictable bodyguard, stands between Dylan and certain death. Rather than play it safe, Tyjinn makes an unusual proposal; to hunt the hunter. This isn't the only unorthodox idea he puts forth as an attraction blooms between the two young men. In the midst of uncountable obstacles and unforgiving odds, can Dylan really afford to recognize his own feelings?

From the cradle to the grave…

The Black Oligarch is dead. Some call his replacement a boy, others call him a threat. Cole lost everything the night he became Oligarch: his family, his home… even Jonah. Now he’s alone, left only with painful memories and the power to destroy the Five Lands.

When Dylan is sent to help Cole, he finds they have more in common than expected. They hope to build a new life together, but dark forces have other plans for them. The dead are rising, bringing secrets from the past that threaten to change their lives forever. Can Dylan guide a young man through the darkness and protect those he loves without making the ultimate sacrifice?

Something Like Winter Giveaway!

Jay Bell has generously donated a free copy of Something Like Winter for one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below along with your email address. A winner will be chosen February 3rd.

Are you familiar with Jay's books? If so, tell us which character YOU would like to be. If not, tell us what you would do if you were a dog for a day!


  1. Wow! I already love you & your books but this post is A-mazing oh wise one! Great interview Madison! Not entering but the dog thing - I'd only want the loving. I don't want the ability to sniff myself everywhere, especially with a dog's sense of smell lol.

    1. LOL, Mary! That sniffer would be a curse at times, wouldn't it? Although they seem perfectly happy with it. Actually, it's probably the acute sense of hearing that would be more bothersome. But yeah, cuddles and head-scratches would be nice. :-)

      Isn't Jay AMAZING! <3 I'm so happy to hear he's continuing the Seasons series!!

    2. Jay is awesome! And those bullies were just jealous of his adorableness and his amazing eyes & teeth lol!

  2. Thanks, Jay, for such an insightful interview! I loved hearing more about your characters and the inspiration behind them. Your characters are so wonderfully flawed, it makes me love them all the more.

    And I was very touched by your message about finding the courage to be true to one's self--that love is out there for all of us. That message comes across in your books. It's not easy, but it's worth fighting for. Thanks for sharing such wonderful stories with us!

  3. Great interview! Loved the blurbs on ALL the books!!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Gigi! Please leave your email addy if you'd like to enter the giveaway. :-)

  4. Hmm, I think I'd like to be Kio (from The Cat in the Cradle) least for a little while :)

    alex d whitehall at gmail dot com

  5. I love the idea of a series. You are a darling, thank you!

    brendurbanist at gmail dot com

  6. Love your books, Jay. Great interview.

  7. Well, I am really glad that "Something like..." is becoming a proper serie, especially as - if to answer to the question - Jace's calmness and... okay, let's say generosity have always fascinated me. He's the one, I would have loved to be, no matter what. Knowing the story, well, that makes me probably silly enough.

    Or, on the other hand, Tyjinn is extremely fascinating guy as well. His perfect physical appearance (I'm afraid, I'm in the same boat with mr. Bell here when he describes, why he might wish to be Tim), slightly conflicted mind, wandering between good and bad and most importantly, his power (here we go... to the land of fantasies) to deal with fire. Fire is magical, it's absolute necessity and same time unpredictable and extremely dangerous but we already know that, isn't it... :)

    And yes, I would love to have also an autographed copy of "Tim Wyman's story" to my bookshelf. :P

  8. I just purchased Something Like Summer on my kindle and I can't put it down. I would love to win a copy of SLW :D

  9. Great interview...Thank you.
    I would love to be a dog for a day. I think the dog park might be fun...or maybe just sniff everything in sight all day long. That looks pretty intense for some dogs :)


  10. I recently found Jay and Andreas on you tube and have watched all the videos. I enjoy Jay's point of view on everything. They are a great couple. I just finished Summer and I am looking forward to Winter. Such a well written story. I would love to win a copy...I hope Jay and Andreas signed it!!!! I think it would be awesome to be Allison, so fun to have a great friend like Ben, and to know Tim and Jace also. She is also feisty and cute!

  11. I think it would be fun to spend some time as Marcello but I would like to be Benjamin Bentley so I could fall in love with Jace :). As for being a dog for a day I think I'd like to hang out with my dog 'Pop' and get do all the fun things he gets to do!

  12. I'm sorry to say that I am not familiar with Jay's books :( but the blurbs from the Seasons Series sounds super fantastic and I'd love to read them! Thanks for sharing your great interview!

    taina1959 at yahoo dot com

  13. Hey All! I just wanted to announce the winner for the giveaway. The winner us: Adam. Congrats Adam and Jay will be in touch with you shortly. Thanks everyone for coming on over and we have another giveaway next week with our next author, Annameekee. Hugs all and I loved your answers.

  14. I love this series! Something Like Winter made gain a lot of respect for Tim, especially since I was somewhat angry with because of how treated Ben, but getting to read from his perspective was so enlightening and really made love his charater a lot more!

    If I could be anyone from Tim's book it would def be a toss up between the Kio and Jace. Kio because I love his saracasm and hey, he is a talking cat!! And Jace because I love how sure of a character he was and how his love Ben never faltered. That is one strong human being.

    areadersheartstring @ yahoo . com


  15. Wow just came here from Jay's webpage as I am finally reading Somting like Summer. As I live in the UK it's taken a bit longer to get hold of it but I started reading it this evening and am on page 147. I cannot put it down. I love the story of Ben and Tim's developing friendship and relationship, it is told with candor and affection. I love both the characters and Allison too.
    If I could be one character it would be Ben because he is brave, strong and self-assured, things which even at my advanced age I struggle with daily.
    Good luck to everyone
    Jo xxx