Over Your Dead Body by Roisin Black
Genre: Gay Romance
Release Date: September 2014
Ryan Kennedy is the definition of tall, dark and handsome and along with his success, he seems to have it all. However, Ryan is a man haunted by the past. The time has now come for him to face all that happened before and to finally try and put the past to rest.
After eleven long years he has returned home to the wild beauty of the West of Ireland coastline, to a place that formed him in so many unimaginable ways. He must reach out to those who hurt him the most and lay his heart on the line but these were the people who destroyed him before and will seeing them again prove his salvation or his ultimate undoing.
✩★✩★ 4 – Facing Your Demons – Stars ★✩★✩
“Look, I know I'm probably the last person you guys want to see here and I'm sorry if my being here offends you but I've got things I need to say, things I need to tell you. I don't expect you to understand but I need to tell you anyway.”
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I started this book, but I was pleasantly surprised none-the-less. I don't really know how to categorize this – it wasn't a romance, or a coming of age, or even a drama really – this was one man's journey to face his past and the people who hurt him, finding closure and moving past it after many, many years. It was heartbreaking yet full of hope, shocking yet inspiring. While he confronts his demons, we get glimpses of what made him the man he is today. Through flashbacks we watch a man deny his sexual urges in a time when being gay wasn't as widely accepted as it is today, we watch him figure out who he really is and learn acceptance, we struggle through his heartbreaks with him and witness his fall into darkness and despair then fight his way back to the light. And it's all done in a relatively short book. So while this was pretty far from what I thought it would be, I loved it all the same.
“I got through those horrible years without you and I came through them and met the mot wonderful human being. I'm one of the lucky ones.”
He remembered waking up in the hospital, the sweet-smelling disinfectant clogging his nose and Jennifer holding his hand, her blue eyes translucent with tears.
"Don't go killing yourself Ryan, please," she had implored, "it's bad enough I can't have you as my partner in this world but I need you as my friend. My life wouldn't be worth living without you in it. Whatever you need to face, I'll be there to face it with you."
That had been his breaking point and sharp, glass-like tears had sprung from his eyes as gut-wrenching sobs escaped from his mouth. He had wished with every fraction of his soul he could have gotten up from that hospital bed and walked out the door a heterosexual man and go on to live the life he had envisioned with Jennifer. He had wished he could mend her broken heart and be the man she deserved. He had wished he could just put himself back together in a way that made sense to him. He had wished he could like the new Ryan, just a little bit.
When or at what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I was always a storyteller and as I grew up I realised I could marry my ability with the English language to all the stories roaming around my head and get them down on paper. At about ten years of age I was producing little homemade "books" and at fourteen I even "launched" a local magazine! I didn't think of writing as a viable career until my mid-twenties when I became a journalist but that didn't provide enough of an outlet for my imagination, so I eventually decided to focus on writing books.
What is the earliest age you remember reading your first book?
My earliest memory is of reading Robin Hood. I remember the description of him being dressed in "lincoln green" and wondering what sort of green that was! I was most troubled by this. I'd say I was about seven at the time. The book was a present from Santa Claus and it was my first book with no pictures. I can't tell you how disgusted I was at Santa for bringing me a book with no pictures!
What genre of books do you enjoy reading?
Traditionally I love crime fiction and I always thought that would be what I would write so no-one is more surprised than me that the first three stories I have written have nothing to do with crime fiction! In recent years I have been reading a lot of romance and romantic suspense - which I really enjoy. I also love the classics - anything by Jane Austen, The Bronte sisters, Thomas Hardy etc. I adore beautifully written books so will often have a look at the writers listed for big international literary prizes and check out the books. This is how I came to read Atonement by Ian McEwan, one of my favourite books. I also love reading collections of poetry - Yeats, Kavanagh, Seamus Heaney.
What is your favourite book?
Book? Do I have to pick just one? Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The Hunger Games trilogy and The Twilight series. Some recent favourites are Archer's Voice by Mia Sheridan and Consolation & Conviction by Corinne Michaels.
You know I think we all have a favourite author. Who is your favourite author and why?
I love Ian McEwan for the richness of his prose and imagery. Kaylea Cross for her tight plots, thorough research and great sex scenes. Suzanne Collins for her brutal and unflinching subject matter. Thomas Hardy for his beautiful imagery, George R.R. Martin for his incredible world-building and Stieg Larsson for Lisbeth Salander. Mia Sheridan, Corinne Michaels, Kristen Ashley and Jasinda Wilder for their wonderful characters, great storylines and depth of character.
If you could travel back in time here on earth to any place or time. Where would you go and why?
I'd go back to London 1938 and tell, the then British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain just how Adolf Hitler and Nazism were going to pan out and that he needs to abandon appeasement and take action.
When writing a book do you find that writing comes easy for you or is it a difficult task?
Finding the time to write and being able to get into the right headspace is difficult - never the writing itself.
Do you have any little fuzzy friends? Like a dog or a cat? Or any pets?
Oh Yes! I'm a dog nut! I adore my dogs! At the moment I just have Miss Billie - a lab collie cross and a huge character - loved by all who meet her. I still miss my old girl Zara, an amazing German Shepherd who was in my life for over ten years. Dogs will feature heavily in my next two stories.
What is your "to die for", favorite food/foods to eat?
Oh this is easy! Fresh Atlantic lobster plucked from the pristine waters of the west of Ireland, served with lemon or garlic butter. New potatoes freshly dug from my dad's garden and his sweet carrots and my mother's scones and apple pies are unbeatable.
Do you have any advice for anyone that would like to be an author?
Not to be all "famous sport's brand" about this but just do it! I'd also say don't waste your precious time with traditional / legacy publishers. Indie publishing is the way to go - if you are a success then the legacy publishers will come looking for you and that's the way to have them.
Róisín Black comes from the West of Ireland, a place where storytelling is a way of life. She's a dreamer, a wanderer and a writer. In amongst extensive wandering and dreaming she has managed to carve out a successful career as a journalist, hold-down a marriage, produce two amazing children and spend her time with some pretty cool dogs. She currently lives in Queensland, Australia but probably not for long.....
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