ANOTHER LOVELY RELEASE FROM HEIDI CULLINAN
I’m delighted to host Heidi Cullinan on her blog tour for her latest release, ANTISOCIAL. I adore Heidi’s writing. She snares my emotions with characters who suffer and strive and succeed. I always learn from her thoroughly enjoyable novels. (And she lives in my home state.)
A TALE OF TWO EDITORS
Thanks for having me today! I’m here to talk about my newest release, Antisocial, a new adult gay and asexual romance set in a fictional college in upstate New York between a one-percenter fraternity boy and a highly antisocial artist. One encounter with Xander Fairchild’s artwork is enough to turn Skylar Stone’s carefully orchestrated life upside down, unlacing his secrets and inviting him into a secret anime-soaked world with a new set of friends. But will they be brave enough to embrace their fragile new relationship and let it last beyond the summer?
Antisocial has been in the works for a long time, but for a lot of reasons I kept putting it aside. It was one of those books I needed to noodle on, and I wanted to “get it right,” so I kept thinking I’d “do it later.” Well, this spring I was in a bit of a mess, with the book I planned to work on, Rebel Heart, tied to a series which was at the time too dangerous to continue, as I had no idea what was happening with the rest of the books and when I would be getting them back, or if I’d end up in some kind of prolonged legal issue. I needed a clean book, attached to nothing. I didn’t have the mental wherewithal to come up with something brand new, and that left the only book floating around: Antisocial.
It also left me with a narrow time window, trying to get a book out in time to keep my income stream stable as much as possible, and I had to get into my editor’s lineup—which I had been in, though it was now all messed up because of the closed publisher. Everything was messed up, really. And the bottom line was that I couldn’t get in when I needed to get in with my editor, not in time to finish the book. So my only choice was to go with another editor.
Normally I work with Sasha Knight, who has been my editor on almost every book since A Private Gentleman, but for Antisocial the lead editor was Christa Soule, who I’ve worked with in other ways but who had never formally edited a book of mine before. I was excited and a little nervous at the same time—it’s good to get a fresh shake on things sometimes, but always scary to shake up what works well too, especially on something this big.
When we finally got to editing, Christa was wonderful, as anticipated, and had so many amazing comments that made me think and pushed me in new ways. Even the best editors are all human, and every human has different things they notice and pick up on, and having a different pair of eyes was enlightening. However, it happened that when we finally got to editing I heard Sasha had a gap in her schedule, and there’s a kind of close, sharp-look to my words only she can do that I was longing for, and so I asked if she’d be willing to do a kind of half edit, and she said she would.
As these things do, everything sort of morphed into more than we all anticipated, and in the end I basically had two editors—which was completely, utterly wonderful. Occasionally it was humbling as hell, because they would “gang up” on me in the comments, agreeing with each other and deciding how things should go down and I was like, “wait a minute, here!” But they were always right, darn it—and honestly, having two of them in there who worked so well together (they know each other and have an amazing chemistry) was such a gift. They made the book stronger in so many ways, and I was blessed to have them both.
Oh, if only I could afford to have them both on every book, I would! Part of me can’t help thinking of how that could be arranged. But for Antisocial, at least, I got to enjoy this moment. So thank you, Christa and Sasha, for a wonderful experience. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
A single stroke can change your world.
Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten College to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour.
Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.
Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys playing with new recipes, reading romance and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.