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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Author Spotlight Tuesday - Brynn Stein

Today I've got Brynn Stein in the author spotlight!

This is the eighth stop on my blog tour. I’m having such fun, as I always do on these tours, talking about various aspects of writing, and getting to know all of you. Thanks so much for following the tour. If this is your first stop, feel free to go back and comment on previous stops to be entered to win one of five prizes. More about that later.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Sean. Your interview questions were such fun.

You write a variety of genres, from YA to M/M, do you have a favorite?

M/M usually, but this story just came to me. There’s no sex, but there is tenderness, and watching the boys learn who they are with each other was rewarding. Russ grew from a self-centered delinquent to a young man who would do anything for CJ. And CJ felt safe enough with Russ to let his insecure side show. Around everyone else, he was always bright-eyed and bubbly. With Russ, he could show every side of himself. He didn’t have to put on a brave front, and he could let Russ help.

How is writing YA different than a book aimed at an adult audience?

Actually not that much. I didn’t write down to the reader or anything. This book still explores all the same themes as my other ones do: religion vs faith, homophobic reactions and reactions to homophobes, love and personal growth through both good times and bad. In fact this book deals with very young people dealing with death. The only thing different about this from my other books is that the characters are so young. Usually my characters are at least in their twenties, more often in their thirties (or beyond, in the case of Through the Years). And of course, the obvious difference, there’s no sex in this one. I don’t do hard core sex scenes in my other books either, though. Sexy scenes but not detailed descriptions. So yeah, this is even less sex than I normally do, but I hope I make up for it in love.

Sunrise or sunset?

It used to be sunset all the way. I was definitely not a sunrise person, with a few exceptions. But I’m sort of turning around in recent years and getting up earlier and earlier. I still don’t plan to get up for sunsets, but with the way my bedroom windows are aimed right into the rising sun, it’s kind of hard not to.

Black and white or all the colors of the rainbow?

The more color the better.

What is your favorite thing about Ray of Sunlight?

It came so easily. It practically wrote itself. I was driving an hour to visit a friend and just about thought the whole thing out. The problem was that I was in the middle of another book at the time. But I dropped everything and wrote this one. It hardly took any time at all. That is rare.

Do you write a lot of 1st person POV books and is it harder or easier for you to write than 3rd person POV?

So far, I’m split half and half. Haunted and Living Again are in third person. Through the Years and Ray of Sunlight are in first. Even the two under contract split down the middle. For Mac is in third person and What No One Else Can Hear is in first.

I’ve never really thought of one being easier than the other, unless I try to force it. I never consciously choose the POV, it just comes to me in one or the other. I’ve tried to force a third person into first and vice versa and that doesn’t work at all. As long as I don’t do that, I find them equally easy or equally difficult…depending on which day you ask.

What is your favorite time waster?

Reading… or Facebook, but I’m reading on Facebook, so that sort of counts, right?

Winter or summer?

Summer, all the way.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

For this particular one, I didn’t have to. Russ is very similar to a lot of my current students. I work at a special education school for kids who have severe behavior problems. They’ve often been in and out of juvenile detention, so I’m often in court for them and know their legal background even if I didn’t actually attend that particular hearing. They tend to blame everyone else but themselves, like Russ does at the beginning, and I’ve even seen some of them grow as much as Russ does over the course of the story.

Back when my own kids were younger, I was a homebound teacher so I could have a more flexible schedule. One of my students back then had the same kind of cancer that CJ has. She was in and out of the Children’s Hospital and I had close contact with the educator at the hospital and witnessed firsthand how badly the treatments could affect her. I’ve also had numerous other people in my life affected by cancer.

I did still research, just because I love to research. And for other books I’ve hit Google a LOT. But a lot of this one came from life experiences.

Who was harder to write, Russ or CJ?

Neither were particularly hard, but Russ probably came a little more easily. I have a lot of living models for his personality for the first part of the book.

Do you procrastinate at the beginning, middle, end of the story or not at all?

It depends on the book. For this one, I didn’t procrastinate at all. Haunted wrote itself so I didn’t procrastinate with that one. For Through the Years come rapidly until the middle then I procrastinated a little. Living Again, I procrastinated at the end a little bit. For For Mac, I procrastinated just about everywhere. What No One else Can Hear, at the end again, and the one I’m writing now, I’m procrastinating at the beginning.

What's the most interesting food to share on a first date?

Depends on what you mean by interesting. There are foods I avoid for a first date. Things like spaghetti, fried chicken, sloppy joes. I’m not comfortable enough with a first date to make a mess in front of them. I also avoid crab legs on a first date. Those things can be damned seductive if you want them to be, and sometimes even if you’re not trying. ‘Dangerous’ on a first date. <G>

Can you share some tender lines from Ray of Sunlight?

This is a part of a scene after CJ collapses on a rare outing outside the hospital:
WHEN WE got to the hospital, CJ was already back in a room in the emergency ward.  He was awake and beautiful, and Pete had been right. CJ’s blood sugar had just bottomed out. Once they had treated that, he woke up and was doing okay, though he was still very weak. He smiled feebly when I walked in. It almost reached his eyes… but not quite. “Don’t you ever scare me like that again,” I scolded but immediately regretted it when the smile fell off his face. “I can’t promise that, Russ.” His eyes looked sad. I gathered him up in my arms, as best I could with the IV and such attached to him as he lay in that darned hospital bed. “I know,” I cooed against his bald head. “I know… just….” I didn’t know what else to say. I didn’t even know how I had meant to finish that sentence, but all thoughts I may have had just left as I simply enjoyed having him in my arms again. “I love you, CJ.” That seemed to have been the right thing to say as he returned the sentiment and just snuggled in even closer to me.

What about all of you? Writers, do you write a mixture of young adult and m/m or just one or the other? Readers, do you read a combination of both or do you have to have a certain heat level to your books? Comment below for a chance to win.
So here’s how the giveaway will work. Visit as many sites as you want, as often as you want. Each comment will enter you to win one of the following prizes: 1st) An autographed paperback copy of Ray of Sunlight, 2nd) An electronic copy of Ray of Sunlight, 3rd) Your choice of audio or electronic copy of Living Again, 4th) An electronic copy of Through the Years, and 5th) an electronic copy of Haunted. The takeovers for Harmony Ink’s blog and Facebook page will be part of the tour, so comments on there will count. I will draw the winners during the FB takeover and will announce them then, but will come back and announce it to all the sites too. So, you don’t have to leave your email if you don’t want to, just remember to check back. You’re also welcome to leave your email in the comments if you’d rather or email me at with the subject heading of “just in case”, so I can contact you if you win, if you don’t want to have to stop back by the blog sites. You don’t have to be present at the FB takeover to win.
Thanks for playing.

Blog Tour Stops
Bike Books Review
Grace Duncan
Susan Laine
Jo Ramsey
Alicia Nordwell
Jana Denardo
Lex Chase
Sean Michael
Charley Descoteaux
Anne Barwell
Karenna Colcroft
Anna Butler
Nic Starr
Shae Conner
Jessica Davies
Aidee Ladnier
Emma Tett
Harmony Ink Blog
Harmony Ink Facebook Page

Ray of Sunlight

Russ Michaels has his whole life ahead of him but no plans beyond dropping out of school as soon as he turns eighteen. He’s been in and out of juvenile detention for the last four years and thoroughly expects to end up in an adult penitentiary at some point. He hates life and everyone in it, especially this latest community service that he earned in lieu of juvie yet again.

CJ Calhoun has big plans. He wants to bring joy and happiness to sick and injured children for as long as he can by performing as a clown. The problem is, he has stage-four cancer and a horrible prognosis.

When circumstances throw these two polar opposites together, they find they have more in common than they imagined. CJ discovers Russ’s talent for art and arranges for Russ to create a mural in the hospital foyer, which leads to a tentative scholarship to the Art Institute. As life changes in ways neither of them could have expected, Russ must work harder than ever to better himself as CJ struggles with his deteriorating health.

buy links:    

Brynn Stein
Brynn Stein has always loved to write. Fan fiction, original fiction, whatever. While Brynn wrote in numerous genres—everything from mystery, to contemporary, to supernatural—she had always tended toward strong male characters. And then she discovered “slash,” male/male romance, and all those strong male characters were finally allowed to express their love for one another. It seems that there are always at least two characters clamoring to tell Brynn their story.

Brynn lives in Virginia near her two grown daughters who encourage her writing and provide a sounding board for fledgling stories. When she isn’t writing, Brynn teaches children with special needs. In free time, when such a thing exists, she reads anything she can get her hands on, and haunts bookstores. She draws and paints, and enjoys the outdoors—especially if she can get to the beach—and is always thinking about her next story.

Please feel free to contact Brynn at any of the following:


  1. Ooh what a great interview! And the book sounds really awesome.

    And Sean, you've changed your background!! Me likey :D

    1. I have -- as Guarding January is now out - time for the next one! *grins*

    2. I just bought my copy of Guarding January today. :-)

    3. Thanks for you comment Katherine. And I love your background too Sean.

  2. It really depends on my mood. Sometimes I want a sweet story without much (or any) sex; other times I want the hottest thing I can find. I love sweet stories when I need that kind of comfort myself.

    Thanks for another great post.

  3. Thanks Jen. Yes, I can certainly see that different moods would need different stories.

  4. I guess it depends on what I'm in the mood for. There have been moments when I actively look for a YA book to read.

    1. Hey, you won third prize. Could you email me at brynnstein2@gmail and let me know if you'd like the audio or the electronic version of Living Again?


  5. I enjoyed reading this interview, thank you Sean & Brynn :) Its seems you have another mood reader making a comment, as I sometimes feel like reading a book with lots of smut and then the next day a comfort read that is more sentimental than smutty. Although some of my comfort reads are short, sweet and smutty ;)

    I have a question for Brynn, I also teach and I have found that quite a lot of my students (those in the 16+ groups) are more sexually aware than I was at their age and wonder what heat level should apply to YA LGBT genre of books? As I know that some do want to read a bit more heated stories, maybe with some sentiment and sometimes a bit more guidance as well.

    Thank you for this blog tour and the giveaway

    1. I can't answer for everyone, but I still believe that YA books shouldn't include too much heat. I know some of the older students at my school like to read smuttier books, we don't provide them with that. I know kids today have a lot more experience and knowledge at an earlier age than my generation did at their age, but still...

  6. Thank you for a great interview! It is always amazing to hear about the creative process of writers!