Into the Gray
The Color of Love Book 1
by F.E. Feeley Jr. Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Life after college is not what Aaron expected. Isn’t he supposed to have what he wants to do figured out by now? David never expected his marriage to be rocky, let alone about to end. How is he supposed to move on from this? December in Detroit is normally unforgiving, but an unexpected blizzard puts David and Aaron on a course toward each other. Despite the frozen ground and battleship gray sky, these men find heat together. It’s intimate and illicit, stretching what was supposed to be a one night stand into something more. Sometimes the touch of a stranger, however forbidden, is just what we need when we enter the gray.
The winter storm has passed, and David and Aaron emerge from their weekend of passionate humanity to take stock and face the rest of their lives with hope. Their bond continues to grow, but they both carry heavy burdens from pasts that return to haunt them. Each faces the specter of former lovers who bring devastation in their wake. Will Aaron and David’s fledgling love withstand the barrage, or will the force of separate maelstroms tear them apart?
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I am a married man of 6 years, my husband John and I have been together 876 years (kidding…it’s more like 300) and I came to the world of writing when I was in high school. I used to enter these short story contests every year at Halloween and took it (like a bag of candy or something like that for a prize) every year.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
How long do you have? I cannot write without noise. So, there’s either music playing on my headphones, someone in the house walking about or talking to someone else, I have to be outside where I can hear ambient noise, dead silence stifles me. Imagine me, three a.m, sitting in bed next to my spouse, laptop open, and Tina Turner screaming in my ears while I tap, tap, tap away. Oh, yeah. My writing hours start at nine pm and end at threeish.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
I was once mauled by a dog. I was in the military. I’ve swam in the Persian Gulf. LOL – that’s the safe stuff.
What are some of your pet peeves?
Asshole people. I don’t people who are mean for no reason. I hate bullies.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born and raised in Detroit. There’s another interesting thing that happened to me. Stayed there for twenty years before moving on.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
I have terrible anxiety so I would probably off myself to get it over with.
Who is your hero and why?
My husband is my hero. He’s changed my life in so many ways, in so many positive ways that I can’t even begin to express. He’s my best friend. He’s my sugar daddy. He’s my teacher, preacher, lover…he’s awesome.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
I want to say fair, I hope I would be fair, but there would be some shit I’d be tyrannical about. For one, no children without a license from the state. Just because you can fuck doesn’t mean you should be able to raise kids.
What are you passionate about these days?
Writing, politics, friends, my people (gay), I’m really finding all of this intersectionality with these topics and have become sort of a dragon in regards to hoarding them and protecting them. We’re living in strange times and passionate times.
What do you do to unwind and relax? To relax, I work out, play Dungeons and Dragons with my friends on Thursdays, cook, eat HAHA, listen to music. There’s a lot of music in my life.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Aries Sun, Leo Moon, Sweet
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My philosophy is, the first time you get paid for something, you’re whatever you’re doing. That could be a writer, a singer, a visual artists, a hooker, whatever LOL
Do you have a favorite movie?
Star Trek 4: the voyage home will always be my favorite. Always.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I’d like to see them all made into movies to be honest with you. However, Closer, I think would be the most fun.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My personal spirit animal is a dragon for many, many, many reasons.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write erotica. I failed miserably. So, this foray into erotic romance didn't quite turn out the way it was meant to.
I wanted to do Erotic.
I wanted to strip these characters down (literally).
Yet, in the process of doing so, I put them in a situation where two people, two strangers, strip down and open up to each other in all ways.
These books are sexual - there's no doubt about that - but there's a rawness in them that was surprising.
I think it was because of the circumstances of two people in some pretty heavy transition points in their lives, finding the comfort of confession to a complete stranger.
It's a place I think we've all been. This gray place when something happens in our lives that throws us in a downward spiral or we find ourselves thrown out of a circumstance on our asses - in shock wondering what just happened.
I imagine a shipwreck where two survivors who'd never interacted before the accident, suddenly find themselves clinging to life together as they try to navigate "what now?".
I stripped these characters down in all ways and allowed them to explore their vulnerability as human beings.
Sometimes love doesn't make things better, sometimes love simply makes the hard shit easier.
I also intended for this to be a one and done kind of thing.
That also didn't work out.
This has turned into a serial novel because I really like these guys out of all of the characters that I've written.
Into the Gray, Aaron, and David, to me, are the most realistic portrayals of gay men's lives that I've been able to display so raw on paper. Without judgment.
I wanted to deal with the baggage that comes with new relationships, especially relationships where one of the main characters is older and one, while younger, has some serious issues and both those issues make themselves known.
I know there will be a part 3 to the book, that much is certain, but as endings go, I have no idea if 3 will be the ending or it will continue on till four.
This has been a great experience and I hope you like David and Aaron as much as I do.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I have a novel I worked on with my pal and fellow writer Jamie Fessenden that’ll come out this year entitled “Borderland”. It’s back to my paranormal writing that I absolutely love and Jamie is brilliant so – it’s a lot of spooky, ghostly, fun.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in the series?
Aaron is a Harvard graduate who returns home after graduation and works as a janitor in an office building in downtown Detroit. David is a lawyer working in the same building and is divorcing his wife. Both men are in really grey areas in their lives (hence the name of the book) and come together at just the right time.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Honest to God, I use name generators. That’s the hardest part about writing is finding names for all your characters.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I usually write paranormal/ghost stories. So, this for me was a nice break and a way to talk about real shit that gay people deal with in life and it’s sort of an unapologetic look at life.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
Into the Gray, for me, is what I use to describe a state of being. After something disastrous happens in life, or something that throws you for a loop, and your suddenly shocked and trying to deal with it. A lighter shade of blue, keeping up with the color theme, as a means to talk about living life as best you can.
Who designed your book covers?
Kate Aaron, another author, and I came up with these covers. She’s amazing.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?Absolutely not. I like these guys and I think I’ve been honest with them.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That’s the fantastic thing about writing, for me, is when author allows himself or herself to be present in their work, the thoughts they’ve carried around with them, their feelings about a certain event, or something that happened to them manifests itself in ways that is surprising. They say that writing is cathartic. It’s true. It does help you process but it can also be fascinating to figure out what you believe as a human being.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
“Fiction is a lie. Good fiction is the truth underneath the lie.” Stephen King. I always try to tell the truth. I dig into my history. My experience. My life and dredge up things that happened or feelings I had about this thing or another and try to depict it in somewhat accurate way. History belongs to those who’ve lived it. It’s nothing something that exists in the past. Like Viola Davis said recently in a commencement speech, “Own it.” Use it. Live with it and do something with it.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I’m a pantser. That’s someone who writes off the top of their head but I usually have a general idea where I want the story to go, so, I think it’s a road we travelled together.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
I am not for everyone. I am a militant gay man in love with his brethren. I can be funny, I can write sweet stuff but I’m neck deep in being a queer author who wants to talk about the world as I see it or as I’ve lived it. I tried fluff. This was supposed to be fluff. It deflated like a flan in a cupboard and shit got real. But that’s okay. I think it was a good exercise in what I can and cannot do.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
These books would be Ocean by Pier 1 Imports My favorite candle. I accept donations of these btw.
What did you edit out of this book?
A lot of grammar and spelling errors LOL !
Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Stephen King because I LOVE HIM.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.
Wyandotte is a real place and I used to hang out there quite often in my early/ mid 20’s.
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