Grace Kilian Delaney Guest Post: Stuntmen

Hi everyone! I’m Grace Kilian Delaney. Thanks to Gay Book Reviews for having me here today, and thanks to all those following along on the Living on a Dare blog tour!

I set out to write a fake relationship story involving friends to lovers, and it all started with a picture of a Norwegian fireman on Instagram. This longhaired, bulky muscled, bearded man was my inspiration for Draven. When I began writing his background, he said, “I’m a stuntman.” Well, that’s about as far from my personality as it could get. I’m not adventurous. I like terra firma. I drive like a grandma. And really don’t like the idea of getting injured. Never in my life would I have chosen to be a stunt performer. But here’s Draven and his friend Tate, who turns out is even crazier than Draven and likes fire gags, ready to leap off buildings without a harness or parachute. Did I mention I get vertigo, too? Yet, after writing this story, I have the urge to try skydiving. We’ll see if I actually do it. Anyway, for the blog today, I thought I’d share some of the fun tidbits I learned while researching my Viking daredevil.

Stunts are called “gags,” a term that goes as far back as the Keystone Kops. Sound effects—the kind we used as little kids to make cars go vroom, zhoom, and RRRR!—are used in the professional world while figuring out specifics in a car chase. However, there’s nothing childish about stunt performance. It takes weeks, sometimes months, of intricate planning to ensure a stunt goes well. Even with the proper plan, machinery malfunctions, like breaks not firing the way they did in rehearsal, occur, and it takes a skilled stunt performer to make life-saving split-second adjustments. (This happened on the set of The Matrix during that hair-raising motorcycle scene).

Stunt performers come from many different backgrounds including gymnastics (like Draven), extreme sports, motorcycle, and car racing. Most are born into it or get into it through their friends, making this an extremely difficult industry to break into, and one that women and people of color have had to challenge to find equality. In 2018, Deven MacNair filed a federal complaint against wigging—when a man dresses as a woman to perform a stunt—and has received threats that she will not be hired again (she has been blacklisted for calling this behavior out). In 2014, the cast of Gotham protested painting down, which is essentially blackface in the stunt world, and due to protesting, Warner Bros. finally hired a black stuntwoman to perform the stunt. These practices initially started when there were few trained women and people of color to perform the stunts but that is not the case now, and thankfully changes are being made to industry practices.

If you are interested in learning more about stuntmen, The Full Burn: On the Set, at the Bar, Behind the Wheel, and Over the Edge with Hollywood Stuntmen by Kevin Conley is a great place to start. See the links for more about McNair and the fight for equality. And be sure to check out Living on a Dare to read about Draven kicking ass and jumping off buildings, and how mild-mannered Julien, the man Draven’s pinned over for years, feels when he sees his friend dodging explosions for the first time. How Wigging Is Plaguing Hollywood Stunt Work & Erasing Minorities From The Industry and What it’s like to be a black female stunt performer


Title: Living on a Dare (A Shore Thing #1)
Author: Grace Kilian Delaney
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Art: Angsty G
Release Date: April 19, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 235
Blurb:

Stuntman Draven O’Connor never turns down a dare—even if it means getting down on one knee to propose to his former college roommate and friend. The same man he’s been crushing on since the first day they met. The same man that has grown distant over the past year. And the same man who just agreed to be his fiancé.

Julien Bouchard is tired of living a lie. He spent the past year exploring his sexuality in secret, enduring countless dates with women to appease his mother, and dodging his best friend, Draven, who knows everything there is to know about him, except the one thing that could change their friendship. Ready to face his friend, he meets him at a bar and is greeted by an unexpected marriage proposal. The dare isn’t surprising; it’s the scorching hot kiss that sends Julien’s head and heart in a tailspin—and gives him an idea for the perfect plan.

But perfect plans are never go according to plan, and news of their fake engagement spreads to their families as fast as a wildfire, forcing them to confront their true feelings about each other and hope they don’t get burned.

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About Grace

Grace Kilian Delaney is a LGBT writer, musician, animal lover, and author of the sweet and sexy bisexual romance Living on a Dare: A Shore Thing Novel. She spends her free time performing kitchen concerts to an audience of her two cats and a dog and loves long beach runs. Her previous books include Seven Minutes (Dreamspinner Press) and Waking Oisin (NineStar Press).

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