Title: Bernie (Barista Boys #4)
Author: A.E. Ryecart
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 60,600
“You fix the lives of others. The waifs and strays, the lost and broken, you fix them all, Bernie. But the life that needs fixing most of all is your own.”
Bernie Porter is a haunted man. He holds tight to the guilt that he was responsible for the death of the only one he’s ever loved, a man he vowed to protect and keep safe.
Every frightened and damaged kid who washes up at Barista Boys door, Bernie rescues each and every one – all because of the man he failed to save so many years before.
Emotionally and physically scarred, Jared Hastings survived a night of violence and madness that almost left him dead. As he emerges from the nightmare that threatened to destroy him, Jared’s determined to plunge head-first into a future that’s free from the horrors of his past.
A night-time street robbery, and Bernie and Jared are thrown into each other’s worlds. But as fast as Jared comes into Bernie’s life, he’s gone, leaving Bernie with the gnawing conviction he’s let something precious slip through his fingers.
Their paths cross again in a way neither could have foreseen. From their first tentative steps, the slow burn of their relationship gathers pace. But as dark histories are revealed, and souls and hearts bared, each man finally comes to understand they can fix not just themselves, but each other.
#4 in the Barista Boys series, but it can be read as a standalone
About the Author
A E Ryecart writes mm romance/gay fiction. Filled with angst, high drama and emotional tension, she writes the books she likes to read. An avid people watcher, most of her writing takes place in a local café amidst the background hum of hissing coffee machines, where she can check out the other customers for character and story inspiration!
A born and bred Londoner, she may have moved to someplace more leafy but the city is still very much part of her DNA, which is why her books are set in and around present-day London, providing a thrilling, metropolitan backdrop to the main action.
INTERVIEW WITH A.E. RYECART
Introduce yourself and your writing.
My name’s A E Ryecart (A is for Ali) and I write contemporary London-based MM romance.
If you’ve a yearning for complex, often difficult men who make bad choices and wrong decisions, then I’m your woman. Readers often want to shout at my men, and shake some sense into them, before giving them a hug and a good talking to. I’m responsible for more than one repair bill to an ereader or smartphone that’s been thrown against a wall! But who said the road to a HEA was an easy one? Not me, that’s for sure. I make my men suffer, I put them through the wringer, I cause them to trip up… but in the end they come through despite all my best, and worst, efforts. That’s a promise.
How long have you been writing for, and what inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing for almost two and a half years. My first book, Imperfect, was released in May 2015, and that took me several months to write as I was unemployed at the time and needed to concentrate on finding a job (although I’d have much preferred to have spent the time writing!). I’d always wanted to write but work, setting up a home etc took up all my time, so that desire was pushed aside. When I discovered MM romance the fire was well and truly lit and the more I read, the more I thought go on, have a go, you can do this, you know you can… A couple of days after finishing the first draft of Imperfect, I started a new job but my heart wasn’t in it because I knew what I really wanted, and that was to write. I was fortunate because there had been some changes take place that made it viable for me to chuck in the day job, but just importantly was the encouragement and support from my husband. He’s always been my greatest fan, I’ve been very lucky in Mr R!
Tell us about your new release. What inspired you to write it?
My next release will be on 27 October. It’s the final instalment in my Barista Boys series. The book’s called Bernie, and it’s the story of how the owner of the Barista Boys café finds the happiness that’s eluded him for so many years. Bernie’s been a great hit with readers of the series. He’s a strong, and tough guy who’d do anything to protect those whom he considers part of his Barista Boys ‘family’ – but you really wouldn’t want to cross him, or get on his wrong side. I’ve given hints of Bernie’s backstory in the three previous books in the series, and he’s not always been a good man… He finds redemption in fixing the lives of others when the life he really needs to fix is his own.
What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
As Bernie is about to hit the electronic bookshelves, I’ll give you a snippet here:
Bernie stood and blinked as he looked into the dark blue eyes of the man he’d not stopped thinking about and thought never to see again. The likeness between brother and sister was remarkable, and now Bernie realised why he’d felt disconcerted when he’d seen Lindy, when he never had before.
“Hello, Bernie. Pleased to meet you.” Jared held out his hand, at the same time giving the smallest shake of his head as he threw a quick glance at his sister.
Bernie understood instantly. The phone call Jared had made from the flat. . . don’t tell her. . . The her was Lindy, and she still didn’t know about the mugging.
“Oh my God, Tessa and Dimitris are here, with the new baby. Sorry boys, I have to leave you to your own devices.” A moment later, she was gone.
“Can you let go of my hand, please? I’m in danger of having my blood supply cut off.”
“Oh, yes of course. Sorry. How are you?”
“I’m fine. Mikey knows what happened, but nobody else does. Except for you of course, so don’t say anything in front of Lindy. She’d have kittens.”
“How did you explain that?” Bernie nodded towards the mottled, dark bruise staining one of Jared’s cheekbones.
Jared lifted his hand to his face, and winced. “This little beauty didn’t show up until the day after. I said I’d tripped up coming out of the Tube station. I think she believed me.”
Jared turned towards the ice bucket and pulled out a beer. He flipped the top and wrapped his lips around the neck, upended the bottled and glugged.
Bernie picked up his wine, but he had trouble swallowing it over the lump in his throat that was starting to make it difficult for him to breathe. Bernie couldn’t drag his eyes from the sight of Jared’s plump, fleshy lips wrapped around the long neck of the bottle. Jared drank deep, and his Adam’s apple bobbed with each chug of beer. Bernie couldn’t hold off the image that burst in his brain that it was him Jared had wrapped himself around, him he was drinking down until he had no more left to give up.
Jared threw the bottle in a large bin reserved for empties, and Bernie looked out over the garden, attempting nonchalance as he sipped his drink. They stood in silence, not meeting each other’s eye. Bernie shifted his weight from one foot to the other. He felt awkward, almost shy. He was used to being in charge and knowing what to do, but standing with Jared, just the two of them, Bernie was floundering without a life raft to hold on to.
I’m also working on Christmas story, which’ll be released in late November. No title as yet, but it’s a story about how a good deed on a freezing, snowy night leads to a proposition that’ll change the lives of the main characters forever. There’re Christmas trees and twinkly lights! There’s mulled wine! There’re lots of longing looks and secret kisses! It’s a bit of a departure, for me, as it’s very snuggly – but hey, it’s a Christmas story after all!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Always carry a notebook, and have one by your bedside, because inspiration or the way through a plot maze can come to you at the most unexpected and inconvenient time. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a great idea or a lightbulb moment and thinking you’ll make a note when you get home, or back to your desk, only to have forgotten – because you will forget.
Exercise. It’s really, really important. It’s so easy to spend hours sitting in front of the computer screen and hardly move a muscle beyond the tapping of fingers on a keyboard. It’s not good for our physical or mental/emotional health. I do quite a lot of swimming, and I can’t remember how many times I’ve unravelled a tricky piece of plot, or seen the light (hallelujah!) when swimming up and down the lane. Exercise clears the head of all the rubbish that accumulates there, so find something you like and build it into your life.
Are any of your characters based on you or people you know?
Not directly, but I’ve certainly been influenced by people I’ve met over time, whether it’s a mannerism or way of speaking, but nothing too specific. I think an author basing a character too closely on somebody known to them is risky. What if that person recognises themselves? What if they recognise themselves and don’t like how they’ve been portrayed? I once described the physical appearance of a minor character in a book and then realised they were very clearly recognisable as somebody I knew – the problem was, the character wasn’t very likeable but in ‘real life’ the person was. I made several changes to the description…
Do characters and stories just pop into your head, or do you take your time thinking about and planning them?
Yes, they do just tend to pop into my head! Often, I’ll get a line of dialogue and envision a scene, which nine times out of ten will never make it to the finished book. That’s why I always carry a notebook with me, so I can jot all these random thoughts down. I’ll then start thinking about the story more widely and that’s when I begin planning. I use Scrivener to plan and write the first draft. By ‘plan’ I mean a rough outline of each chapter.
I refer to myself as a relaxed plotter because I like to know where the story’s going without knowing every step of the way to the nth degree. I also write out of order, which I know gives some authors palpitations just thinking about it. I’ll generally write five or six chapters chronologically, but then start leaping about all over the place. It works for me, as starting at chapter one through to chapter twenty, say, feels like a straight-jacket.
Do you write often? Do you have a schedule?
I write every day, except Saturday which is when I tend to catch up on admin. I love writing but I treat it like a job, not a hobby, so I put in my hours. In fact, I work more hours at my writing than I did in my old day job.
I split my time between writing at the café in the gym, after an early morning swim (sneaky mention of exercise!). I like the noise and bustle going on around me, and don’t find it a distraction. I also have an office at home where I lock myself away.
What are your writing and personal goals for 2017 and beyond?
More series books, but I also some stand alones. I’m also thinking of branching out to setting stories in other locations. Other than a few odd chapters, all my books have so far been set in London. That’s great for me, because I know London so well it’s the natural choice of location, but I feel the need to travel in my scribblings. I have a story roughly mapped out set on a Greek island I’ve been to several times (love, love, love Greece) and that’ll be written to be released next summer.
My personal goals are very much tied up with writing, and one of those is to make my own covers. This is something I’ve wanted to do from the word go, but I have to build in time to learn and experiment before I do so. That was a goal for this year, but something called LIFE got in the way, and threw me badly off track.
If you could go anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go, who would you take with you, if anyone, and why?
I’ve always wanted to visit the Arctic. Ice burgs fascinate me, they’re scary and beautiful at the same time. I’d also want to see the Northern Lights at the same time. I know it’s not a tropical beach in paradise but, hey, that’s so yesterday! Just in case my husband sees this, I’d best say I’d take him.
Thank you for sharing with us.
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