Author Interviews

Interview with Anne Tenino on 21-April-2014

Author's Interview

Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Anne.
There should be dice for this question. Like, each face of the die would have a specific subject, such as “childhood,” or “romantic past,” and I’d roll the dice and it would tell me which little bit of my self to share, or at least point me in a direction.

So, let’s say I rolled the die, and up came “How your brain works.” I’m picking that because I think the previous paragraph is a reasonable demonstration of how it meanders. My brain follows some random tidbit to some completely off-track subject. Some people enjoy this aspect of my personality. Some people want to kill me—I can see it in their eyes.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I was a firefighter for the state Department of Forestry for seven years. People always look surprised when I tell them that.

When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
I’ve always written, but most of my professional life (if you can call it that) involved writing non-fiction, especially grants. Fiction was something I did on the side, until I came down with Lyme Disease and quit my job. I suddenly had hours on the couch to write and crochet, so I did.

Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
Pretty much it’s been everything I thought it would be, honestly. It’s a ton of work, which I expected, and it’s occasionally very frustrating. It’s also incredibly fulfilling, and often fun.

How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
Good overall, but like anything, full realization came in stages. First was the giddy stage, when I ran into the kitchen, skidding on my socks, to shout, "They're going to publish my book," at my husband. Then came the "What the hell does this contract really say?" stage, which heightened my anxiety, although it didn't dim my happiness much. Then came edits, and wondering if anyone would like it . . . until finally I got to acceptance: I accepted I had to repeat the process.

What's your favorite part of writing a book?
Finishing. Not simply because I’m done, but because I can look at it and think, “Hey, I did that.” Then, the next time I’m in the vast uncharted ocean of the middle of a story, going under for the third time, I can look at the other ones I’ve completed and rest assured that I’ve finished books before, so chances are I’ll finish this one.

Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
I haven’t had a chance to read for pleasure in months. The last book I read for fun was EJ Russell’s Northern Light, which I loved.

Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
I’m a romance girl. I could see, possibly, writing M/F someday, but nothing like pure sci-fi. The romance has to be central to the plot for me to be interested in finishing it.

Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
My most recent release was Good Boy, the fourth in the 'Theta Alpha Gamma' series. Good Boy is a short story that give Brad and Sebastian—the heroes of the first book in the TAG series, Frat Boy and Toppy—a Happy Ever After ending.

What can we look forward to in the future from you?
My next release will be in April, and it’s the fifth in the 'Theta Alpha Gamma' series, titled Poster Boy (there are a lot of titles with “boy” in it in that series—that wasn’t intentional, but it’s interesting).

Poster Boy is the story of two previously introduced characters from TAG, Toby (grad student and friend of Sebastian’s) and Jock (little brother of a TAG frat brother who’s been around since the beginning, Tank). The second half of the story is set in Provence, which was hilarious for me—I moved a small group of the most mentally-challanged frat boys to “EuroTAG” and set them loose, with Toby as their nominal leader. Toby, however, is a little preoccupied with the Sexiest Frat Boy on Earth, Jock. It could be claimed he doesn’t keep an eye on things as well as he should have, but really, what can you expect from those guys?

Anything you want to say to your readers?
Readers, I know everyone says it, but that's because it's true: I couldn't have done it without you. You motivate me to keep going, and I'm grateful.

Anne Tenino's recent releases:
Poster Boy

It’s all fun and games until someone puts his heart out.

When Jock meets sexy grad student Toby at a frat party, things finally start looking up. After having been outed to his hockey team and then changing schools, he figures he’s due something good—like the sex he missed out on in the closet. Toby seems like a great place to start, and their night together is an awesome introduction to the fine art of hooking up.

Toby’s heart takes a bruising after the near-perfect experience with Jock leads to . . . nothing. He’s been left on the outside as his friends pair up into blissful coupledom, and he’s in danger of never completing (or starting) his thesis. Can’t something go right?

Then Toby’s coerced into chaperoning a Theta Alpha Gamma trip to France. Not that he’s complaining. What better place to finish his thesis and get over that frat boy? Except Jock’s outing is leaked to the press, making him an unwilling gay rights martyr, and he decides France is a great escape, too. It’s a break from reality for both guys, but they soon find their connection is as real as it gets.

Good Boy

Brad “Frat Boy” Feller and Sebastian “Toppy” DeWitt have been together for nine months, and their relationship is as hot as ever. The only cloud Brad sees on their horizon is Sebastian’s stress over his thesis. And their uncertain future together after graduation. And how Sebastian sometimes takes Brad for granted. And Sebastian’s unwillingness to introduce Brad to his father.

Other than that, everything’s awesome.

All of Sebastian’s energy is currently devoted to his thesis, and getting into a top-notch PhD program. Fortunately, his boyfriend takes care of all the domestic stuff and Sebastian’s needs. Any minor strain between them will disappear and they’ll return to the status quo after Sebastian graduates. As long as nothing upsets their delicate balance in the meantime.

Then a friend Brad once had a small fling with is forced to take refuge with them, and Frat Boy and Toppy’s delicate balance topples like an elephant on a waterski. Now Sebastian has to face some truths about how he’s been treating Brad, what he wants for their future, and what he has to do to get it.

Sweet Young Thang

When Plan A fails, turn to Man A.

Thanks to Collin Montes, Theta Alpha Gamma now welcomes gay and bisexual students. Persuading his Uncle Monty, president of the TAG Alumni Association, that the open approach won’t adversely affect TAG’s reputation is Collin’s own first step toward coming out. As long as there are no repercussions, he’ll escape the closet by graduation.

Enter repercussions, stage left: someone rigs the TAG House water heater to launch through the ceiling, then plants a bomb—thankfully unsuccessful—in the fraternity’s basement. Now Collin has his hands full not only trying to convince his uncle that this might not be the work of homophobes, but also dealing with a fratful of brothers worried about their kegger fridge.

Paramedic Eric Dixon can’t stop thinking about the kid he met during a call at his former college fraternity house. The age gap between them is trumped by sexy eyes, so when Eric sees Collin again at the bomb scene, he pursues him. Soon, Eric is dreaming of being a househusband, fighting to keep Collin safe from whoever’s trying to destroy the fraternity, and helping his sweet young thang realize that repercussions sometimes have silver linings.

Excerpt from Good Boy:
Chapter 1

Sebastian hadn’t taken a break for hours. He came out of his research-induced haze to find that his foot had fallen asleep, and when he moved his leg, his back made an alarming sound somewhere between a creak and a pop. Dammit, he’d sat hunched over the computer for too long again. Maybe later Brad would give him a massage to work out some of his aches.

Now though, right after he’d stretched out the worst of the kinks, he had to finish translating this fucking inane email from the museum curator in a tiny village outside of Anamur, Turkey. The problem with studying classical archaeology was that every backwater town in the eastern Mediterranean had a museum full of ancient Greek artifacts, and in order to do any original research—and produce a truly spectacular master’s thesis—one sometimes had to deal with locals who, though dedicated and careful, were essentially amateurs. Normally Sebastian cut them some slack, but he’d spent yesterday and today trying to translate Modern Greek and working himself into blurry-eyed exhaustion. It was a language he’d learned only by necessity and could barely decipher it. If only it were the language of twenty-five hundred years ago, it would have taken an hour or two. As he worked through Google translate, a dictionary, and his rudimentary understanding of their grammar, he began to suspect that the man who wrote the email knew the tongue as well as Sebastian himself did.

After this, he’d need more than a back rub. Brad would have to suck him off, too.

Speak of the devil, Sebastian’s boyfriend walked into his office at that moment, carrying a duffle bag and smelling of smoke. That seemed odd, not to mention annoying. He knew why he had to share an office with the laundry room—it was a space issue—but he didn’t know why the facilities always had to be in use. He wouldn’t have thought Brad would need to be in here so many times during an average day.

“You almost done, babe?” Brad asked, heading toward the washing machine.

Sebastian nodded and stood up, trying to shake some blood back into his legs. “Is dinner going to be ready soon?”

Brad dropped the bag on the floor and unzipped it, pulling clothes out. “Uh-huh. We can eat as—”

“Didn’t you already do laundry today?”

“Yeah.” Brad looked at him, holding a shirt over the open washer. “These are Collin’s.” He shrugged, then dropped it in, bending over for the rest of them.

Collin. His least favorite frat boy. “Why are you washing Collin’s clothes?”

“He was wiped.” Brad dumped some soap into the machine. “I’m just helping him out.”

Tell him to get his own boyfriend. “Helping him out with what? His domestic duties?”

Brad slammed the lid shut and punched at the buttons. “You didn’t hear what I said before.”

“What you said when?” He remembered Brad speaking earlier about something. Possibly.

“After I came back from the frat.”

Irritation blazed up his chest, leaking out into his tone. “You went to the frat today?”

Brad snapped. Not verbally, but in that way he had of getting physical, stepping toward Sebastian, eyes going hard and flat. “Someone set Theta Alpha Gamma house on fire this morning.”

“Oh, I forgot,” Sebastian responded, shocked. Could he really have missed that? He had a vague memory of Brad being in a huge hurry, and there being a tragedy of some kind—one Sebastian had listened to the details of, then determined he didn’t need to worry about. Brad would take care of it.

“You forgot? How could you forget that?”

Oh he was all worked up, yeah? “I’m sorry, hon, I’ve just been so wrapped up in translations today.” He stroked across Brad’s cheekbone with his thumb, feeling the emotions buzzing under Brad’s skin. Raw fuel for sex. Under Sebastian’s hand, Brad’s annoyance changed into something else. Some kind of compliance to Sebastian’s touch. “I knew you had it handled.”

“I told you all about it when I came home.” Brad’s nostrils flared.

“I know, honey.” It was true, he did recall some of what Brad had said, but he didn’t try to remember the specifics because—the same as every other time Brad let any aggression show—Sebastian was focusing on what it would take to tame his favorite frat boy. Harness all that energy and funnel it into fucking. It was the quickest and most gratifying way to settle Brad down, with the added benefit of making up for Sebastian’s earlier inattention as well. Fucking for forgiveness. They could skip dinner and go straight to bed—

“It’s okay.” Brad tilted his head, turning into Sebastian’s palm. “I know you’re busy.”

Sebastian stepped forward to wrap his arm around Brad’s waist and straddle his feet. Just as he was cupping the back of Brad’s head to pull him down for a kiss, Brad said, “So I guess you missed it when I said Collin’s staying here tonight, huh?”

Sebastian’s fingers dug into his boyfriend’s scalp. “He is?” Shit. “When will he be here?” Did they have time for a qui—

“He’s sitting on the couch.”

“Ah.” Sebastian nodded. Fucking beautiful. He let go of Brad’s head and stepped back. “All right then. I’ll be out in about fifteen minutes to eat.”

Brad frowned at him, not moving away. “He doesn’t have anyplace else to stay. You’re not hacked off, are you? I asked you before if you cared.”

He had. Sebastian knew that. Not because he remembered it, but because Brad would never do something like that without running it by him first. “It’s all right, hon.”

Brad didn’t move.

Sebastian forced a smile, but he had to clench his teeth behind his lips to do it. Then unpry them to say, “I’m not mad. I wouldn’t want your friend to be homeless.”

Brad’s eyes drifted to the floor. “’Kay.” But still he stood there.

Sebastian turned back to his computer. “I’ll be done with this pretty quick.” It wasn’t until after he sat down and woke up the screen that he heard Brad walk out of the room.


The fucking laundry. First the water hissed into the drum forever, distracting the hell out of Sebastian. Whoever thought the sound of running water was soothing had never shared an office with a washing machine. He bore it, though, unscrambling another few painful sentences.

And then the wash cycle started, chugging away, swishing Collin’s clothes around. It was such a steady, plodding noise. Reminiscent of mule trains and chain gangs and generally laboring endlessly for little benefit and an uncertain outcome. Much like his work on this email.

The sound agitated him as much as the laundry.

Fuck this. He planted his finger on the power button, shut the computer down, and then headed into the kitchen for dinner. Girding his loins to be social, or at least polite. He could do it, he was an easygoing guy . . . when he wasn’t working on his thesis. He kissed Brad when he walked into the next room, greeted Collin, and even contributed to the conversation a little over dinner.


The laundry.

It was only one room away—sans door. He simply couldn’t stop hearing the washing machine. It was louder than Brad and Collin, overwhelming their conversation, even though they were less than two feet from him. The sound so consumed him that he couldn’t even taste whatever Brad had spent half the day making.

He knew it was unreasonable, but he felt very distinctly the injustice of it. Fucking Collin’s clothes in their washing machine, put there by Sebastian’s own boyfriend. Brad knew Sebastian was under a lot of pressure, and yet he’d allowed this intrusion into their lives. Sebastian didn’t believe for a second that Collin had no place else to go. Certainly, if nothing else, Calapooya College would have arranged emergency housing for the TAG fraternity brothers.

“Diana had to send a couple guys who had nowhere else to go to the Red Cross shelter,” Collin said just then.

I knew it! Collin could have gone there tonight rather than come here. How bad could a shelter be? Splendid, now they were on about what happened with some of their other frat brothers. So-and-so had gone to his brother’s, and that huge guy with all the hot muscles that they (very aptly) called Tank had waited for his girlfriend all day.

“Dude, it was pathetic,” Brad was saying. “He’s all quivering, standing stock-still and staring at her like a pointer that located a pheasant, but he can’t fucking go to her because it’s not manly or something.”

Brad was mocking this poor guy? Normally Sebastian’s hackles didn’t go up over how straight guys behaved in relationships, but on top of all the other injustices today it was too much. Was it so bad that the guy just wanted his girlfriend? Sometimes, during periods of high stress, one needed the comfort of their partner, but clearly Brad had no respect for that, did he? Look at how he’d been treating Sebastian all day. As a matter of fact, when Sebastian paused to think about it, Brad had been acting strangely for a few weeks. Since Sebastian had come home from spending Christmas with his father.

He tuned back in, feeling almost like an eavesdropper on their conversation. He’d missed Collin’s response, but Brad was now picking on poor Tank even more. “Yeah, but when she hugged him, he lost it. I mean, I guess he might have fooled some guys into thinking he was sniffing her hair or blowing his nose in it or something, but it looked like crying to me.”

“Straight guys have it so rough.”

Like gay guys had it so great? Case in point—Sebastian happened to be sitting across the table from his only rival for Brad’s affections, ever. He shook his head in disbelief. “It’s a tragedy,” he said. “Thank God that as gay men we don’t have to put up with all that posturing and posing. No, we all behave as men ought to, burping and farting our way through life and love without a thought to how we look or others perceive us.”

Brad nodded, and Collin stared at him. “Dude, haven’t you ever been to a gay bar? I mean, other than the Slaughterhouse? Even there half the guys can’t think of anything but how they look.”

Ah, yes, Sebastian could answer this one. He smiled at Collin. “Well, you know Brad was a virgin to all things gay when I rescued him from that straight frat hell. As a matter of fact, he’s only ever been with one other man. That I know of.” Time for his exit. He stood up, taking his plate to the sink. “I’m going to bed, hon. Don’t stay up too late talking.” Normally he might have kissed Brad before leaving, but he didn’t feel much like it tonight. He was almost certainly overreacting, but the thought of his boyfriend up all night with the only other guy who’d ever touched his dick killed the loving feelings in Sebastian’s heart.


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