- Ai Press
- Release Date
- November 2010
Erotic Romance, LGBTQ
Sometimes your first love is the one that was meant to be.
Craig Harper and Jeremy Finn were best friends growing up. They attended the same school, spent all of their time together, and hung out with the same group of people. It wasn't until the day before Jeremy and his family moved across the country that they discovered their attraction to one another.
Fifteen years later, they reunite by chance in New York City. Both are in relationships and have established a routine in their lives. But routines and relationships are shaken as they begin to spend time together once again. Old feelings and connections are still strong.
As each deals with the issues in their own relationships, they begin to question whether the comfort of what they know is more powerful than the pull of what they could have been...and what they might become. Struggling to find the answer, only their hearts can reveal if they are meant for each other.
Book Review by Debbie (reviewer)
Dec 04, 2010 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
219 people found the following review helpful
Sometimes your first love is the one you are destined to be with. That was the case with Craig Harper and Jeremy Finn. Watching and reading about their relationship advancing from best friends to lovers was amazing. Their reunion after 15 years was emotional and scorching hot!! WOW!!
Craig and Jeremy were best friends growing up. They met in day care and were inseparable from that day forward. When the boys were fifteen, Jeremy had to move across the country with his family. This nearly tore both boys apart. The last day they were together, they shared their first and only kiss, high up in their "love tree" away from prying eyes. They vow to keep in touch, but as time goes by they pull away from each other.
Even though they haven't seen each other for fifteen years, their lives have run parallel courses. They are both living in New York. They have both been in committed relationships for eight years. But neither of the men is happy. They continue to think of each other and neither can forget that first kiss. They both wonder what could have been had they not been separated.
It was a chance meeting that brought the two men together again. You could feel the love between them immediately. Their love for each other actually brought me to tears a few times. Frustrated tears and happy tears. I was so happy when they found each other. I wanted things to move faster than they did, but the book wouldn't have been nearly as good had it been written that way.
What a great reunion story this turned out to be. D.H. Starr is such a great author. He immediately pulls you right into the story. You feel like you are right there. You become emotionally connected to Jeremy and Craig and I was rooting for them the entire way. And oh my gosh, the first time they are together after their relationships dissolved, was so erotic and so well-written it actually had my heart rate speeding up. I had to read that part a couple of times it was so great!! While I don't necessarily like the breaking apart of committed relationships, in this case it needed to happen. No one was happy and there could never have been a HEA ending if it hadn't occurred.
This is the second book by D.H. Starr that I've read. He is truly wonderful. At no time do you ever feel that a story is incomplete. At no time do you ever feel the story is rushed. It truly is a great story that can get me as emotionally involved with the characters as I do when I'm reading his books.
D.H. Starr is quickly becoming an auto buy author for me. His books are just so well-written and real. I can never put them down. Once I pick up the book I just have to keep reading.
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BOOK INTERVIEW on January 2011
DH, thanks a lot for taking the time out to answer our questions on MEANT FOR EACH OTHER!
Q: Please tell us what inspired you to write MEANT FOR EACH OTHER?
Hmm. You know. I'm not really sure. I grew up in Newton, Massachusetts and have lived in NYC for a quarter of my life. I've been openly gay for over half my life and have been in a few relationships, some of which ended like Jeremy and Andrew and others which ended like Craig and Robert. While writing WRESTLING WITH DESIRE, restricted in the sex scenes I could write since it is a young adult novel, I began playing out different stories in my mind that I could write for an adult audience in the erotic romance genre. Craig and Jeremy kept surfacing in my mind. The idea of kids figuring out they loved each other, then separating and reconnecting years later was appealing to me. So when I began writing MEANT FOR EACH OTHER, I had already been thinking about what their lives were like and what issues they would face.
Q: What insight can you share about Craig and Jeremy so that we could understand them better and sympathize with them?
Craig and Jeremy are both artistic and humane. That's what makes each of them tick. Craig's work is to design images that represent the visions of his clients. It's not about making money for him. He loves the work and his reward comes from the satisfaction of his clients. He's about love and connection, and the further Robert drifts from the man he first met to the man we meet in this story, the unhappier Craig has become, forcing him to rely on his friends and work to provide happiness and a sense of worth.
Jeremy is a teacher in a private school, a job which pays very little financially, but which pays in spades emotionally. He has no interest in seeking a different kind of job that pays more. Being in the classroom, shaping and building the lives of children, gives him the exact kind of happiness and fulfillment he needs.
Robert and Andrew are about material needs, although that is the only way they are alike. The pressure they place on Craig and Jeremy is different and comes from different motivations. However, both Craig and Jeremy experience pressure to change in their relationships so when they find one another once again after 15 years, the sense of acceptance and ease overwhelms them and sets in motion the process that should have happened long before…breaking out of their restrictive relationships so they are free to accept true happiness.
Q: Craig, one of the main characters, has been in a relationship with Robert for 9 years. How/Why did you decide to have Robert be so cold and uncaring in their relationship?
It's funny, but Robert was the easiest character for me to portray in this book and needed the least amount of revision as I went through various rounds with my editor. I needed Robert to epitomize a specific extreme of a person; the kind who is all about money and power. Craig is about love and happiness. When Craig reconnects with Jeremy, the stark absence of love and affection in his life becomes unmistakably obvious in comparison to the cold, calculating insensitivity of Robert's character.
It was much more difficult to present a believable reason for Jeremy and Andrew to break since Andrew is a genuinely nice guy. The reasons for their split are far more subtle than the dynamic between Craig and Robert. Ultimately, neither Jeremy nor Andrew could provide what the other needed. This will be further explored in a sequel I plan on writing later in 2011 which follows Andrew as he seeks to find love.
Q: Jeremy, the other main character, was also in a long-term relationship with another man. What made Craig, and not Andrew, perfect for him? In the same manner, what made Jeremy perfect for Craig?
As I alluded to above, Jeremy and Andrew were more difficult to portray as a failing relationship since they are both such nice guys. It was important for me to maintain Andrew as a good guy for a couple of reasons. First, not all relationships end because something bad has happened. Sometimes people simply grow apart.
Second, I intend on having Andrew star in a sequel where he will ultimately find the right person for him. Part of it has to do with the fact that Andrew is in such a powerful position where he has to be on all the time. Having to be on with Jeremy too didn't give him the down time he needed. Peter, the bartender at Phoenix, will be his love interest in the next book and Andrew is going to have to struggle with the way he feels allowing another man to dominate him, not in a BDSM sort of way, but in a take-charge in bed sort of way. The ability to release control in the sexual act of submission touches something deep inside Andrew. However, Peter doesn't have the drive for financial ambition, which is what Andrew had originally thought was the problem with Jeremy. Anyhow, I give too much away here.
For Jeremy, it was that Andrew couldn't be satisfied with the life that Jeremy wanted. No matter how wonderful Andrew was as a person, he couldn't stop judging Jeremy and putting pressure on him to change. Craig accepted him exactly as he was and didn't expect or even want Jeremy to change.
The reason Jeremy and Craig were meant for each other was because they accepted each other just as they are and loved each other unconditionally. With Jeremy and Andrew, there were conditions.
Q: Which character was easiest to write—Jeremy or Craig?
Craig. As I wrote the book, right from the very beginning scene in the Love Tree, I associated with Craig. The Love Tree was real and I also grew up in Newton. While I didn't have a friend who brought me up the tree and kissed me before moving across the country, I spent my teenage years wishing that I could have found a guy to love. Rather than finding an actual guy, I ended up falling in love with Chachi from Joni Loves Chachi.
Anyhow, I've never been in a relationship with someone as awful as Robert, but I have been in several relationships where it was much better for me when I got out of them. I was able to empathize with Craig more than with Jeremy because there was nothing specifically wrong with Andrew, whereas Robert was a real jerk.
Q: What do you do to be able to get into the heads of your characters so well?
Actually, this is one thing that comes quite naturally to me. As I write, my characters become more and more alive, behaving as they do and teaching me more and more about themselves. When I write, I map out the entire story because I need to know what is going to happen from beginning to end, but my stories NEVER end up as I planned them. The reason is because my characters develop into their own people and then I'm writing their lives as they live them rather than as I planned them.
Editors have told me that I have a natural style that makes reading my prose easy to follow. Don't get me wrong, plot wise and structurally, I need to do a lot of revising and reworking of my original drafts, but in terms of the flow of my language, character dialogue, and basic behavior patterns, getting into the head of my characters is what makes writing so fun.
Q: What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Easily, the hardest part of this book was tackling the difference between my personal belief system and what plays out in the story. I have a real problem with the concept of cheating, the idea being "once a cheater always a cheater". It was a very black and white view. However, that isn't a realistic or fair view. People are fallible and they make mistakes. It was hard for me to portray the cheating in the story and still keep the characters believable and likable. In order to keep perspective, Sedonia Guillone, my editor, mentor, and the owner of the publishing house that has published the book, had long discussions with me to help me get inside Craig and Jeremy's heads. We discussed them like they were our own kids, and in the end I think I managed to adjust my personal beliefs about what it means to be in a relationship and a fallible human.
Q: What is your favorite line or scene in the entire book?
The following quote needs some context in order for it to make sense and not sound creepy. Jeremy is on recess duty at his school and is lost deep in thought on a bench. One of his students comes up to him to ask him why he looks so sad and he thinks this before coming up with an appropriate verbal response.
How do you tell a child you've ruined your eight-year relationship with your boyfriend by fantasizing about your long-lost best friend while being fucked through a mattress?
Q: Will there be a sequel to this story?
Yes, I will be writing a story which follows Andrew as he tries to figure out what is preventing him from gaining satisfaction from relationships. The bartender, Peter, is going to be his love interest. Although he is not financially equal to Andrew, the issue which Andrew thought drove the initial wedge between him and Jeremy, Peter has things he can offer which Jeremy could not.
Q: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?
No, if I were to do this all over again, I would do everything the same. I loved this book from the first word I wrote. It got rejected by a few places that wanted more of an action plot than a character driven plot. I truly enjoy the character driven plot and it would have significantly changed the story if I had added an action theme as opposed to allowing the central theme to be about relationships and how to deal with the emotions associated with them.
Also, working with Sedonia Guillone was a fantastic learning experience. She's not only a great author, but a stellar editor and mentor as well.
Q: Please share with us a unique or fun behind the scenes experience in writing MEANT FOR EACH OTHER.
MEANT FOR EACH OTHER was a juggling act of four characters. Although it centered primarily on Craig and Jeremy, Andrew (Jeremy's partner) and Robert (Craig's partner) play important roles as well. I needed for them to be real and believable as well so that as you read the story, you would be able to understand why Craig and Jeremy made the choices they did.
In discussing the characters with Sedonia during revisions, we spent a lot of time talking about Robert. Of the four, he is the least important, but initially he was the one I depicted most successfully in terms of making him three-dimensional. He was SO evil and bad that he became larger than life, a trait in writing that is needed in order for readers to really identify with and understand characters. This discussion around Robert really helped me to make my other characters larger than life as well…not only in this book, but in other books too.
Q: What's up for you in 2011?
In terms of contracted work, I have two books that are definitely going to be published. One is called PREMONITION and is about two Boston police officers, Martin Proctor and Justin Franklin, and will be available through MLR Press. Martin has the ability to have premonitions and has a vision of Justin's death. The story centers on their joint investigation to uncover the murder of Justin's brother which occurs in the first chapter. Along the way they must also figure out how to prevent Justin's murder. The two are not only partners on the force, but partners in their personal lives as well, so the story is not only action driven, but character driven as well. This was my first book that had an action plot instead of a character driven plot and I have to say I really enjoyed writing it.
The next book that is coming out is called REWARD OF COURAGE which will be available through Ai Press. It is the sequel to WRESTLING WITH DESIRE, but it's an adult erotic romance, whereas WRESTLING WITH DESIRE was a young adult m/m romance. This book examines finding the right balance between living out and proud versus living life privately. Derek begins wanting to live life screaming out loud and Scott wants to remain private (almost closeted). As various events take place, Derek and Scott both learn that their extremes have created the problems they encounter and, in the end, they find the appropriate balance that works for them.
I have a fully drafted book called A VAMPIRE'S MIND which will be the first in a series. I plan on submitting this to Ai Press along with all subsequent books in the series. I've put it on the back shelf while revising REWARD OF COURAGE, but once I finish that one, A VAMPIRE'S MIND will be my next submission.
Finally, I have mapped out my first science fiction m/m erotic romance novel and written the first two chapters. This one is about MAPs (Molecularly Advanced People) who have powers of various kinds. Still a relatively underground group of people, they live in secret, generally persecuted and shunned if they are discovered. It's kind of a hybrid of X-Men and Highlander right now, but I've only drafted the first two chapters. As I said earlier, this is the starting point. I can't wait to see where the story ends up because my stories always move along a different path than I initially intended. Once I finish REWARD OF COURAGE and A VAMPIRE'S MIND and they are through revision, I'll begin to draft this new book called VARIANT BREED. I'm planning on submitting it to Justin James in Australia at his publishing house, Dare Empire.
Thank you, DH, for sharing with us these insights into these four characters in MEANT FOR EACH OTHER.
DH is giving away 3 copies each of MEANT FOR EACH OTHER and WRESTLING WITH DESIRE!
Mechanics of the contest:
You can do either or both of the following to enter the drawing:
1. Write a comment or question to DH below in the comment box (3 chances to win) from now to January 31;
2. Check out our contest page for the contest of the above books from January 14 onwards to enter your email address (1 chance to win).
The winner will be announced in the comment box on February 3.