In the Spotlight with Bayou Book Junkie ~ Author River Jaymes (Review)
Hi River Jaymes and a warm welcome to Bayou Book Junkie from Rita, Mari, Tracy and Jaymie. I know all of us here, and in particular, yours truly, moi, Rita, aka Fan Extraordinaire of Alec and Dylan (the leads from the amazing book that spawned the series, The Backup Boyfriend) have been waiting for Noah’s book, The Boyfriend Makeover, for what feels like forever (yes, I know, that’s the tiniest bit moany, sorry, but we Brits like to get our snark in!), but we know it’ll be worth the wait. River gives readers romance, a proper tale, passion, hot sex, angst and true love, and leaves her guys embarking on their HEA. But, enough from me - she’s the one with the words, so let’s turn things over to her before I go into an Alec and Dylan mega-swoon!
BBJ: Please tell us all about yourself, River, and if you’re really, truly, honestly as mild-mannered as your official bio blurb would have us believe. I mean, a physician wouldn’t lie, would she? Please, feel free to spill, spill, spill.
River: Thanks so much for having me! By the way, on my laptop computer at work I have a bumper sticker that reads Sarcasm: just another service I offer. All my co-workers agree that the phrase suits me perfectly. So, yeah, the (mostly) mild-mannered description in my bio is pure snark. : )
Now, about me. I’m married with three children. My husband and I moved our family from Florida to Alaska in 2002. I’ve been reading romance since I was a preteen and caught the writing bug in 2005. It started out as a lark, a stress reliever from a demanding day job, and quickly morphed into something I can’t live without. I don’t feel right unless I’m working on a novel. I enjoy plotting, creating new characters, research, and the actual writing process itself—especially the sex scenes! I just love everything about it. Well, except editing. I hate editing. But that’s true of all authors, I suspect LOL.
BBJ: And, tell us what living in a remote Alaskan town is like, please. I’m a Londoner, so ‘remote’ and ‘town’ don’t really feature in my RL. And, my sadly lacking knowledge of Alaska is mainly garnered from the media (hmm…strangely, the only person who springs to mind is a certain someone who came to prominence in 2008, famous for a quote that grouped together hockey mom, pitbull and lipstick) and fiction (perpetual cold, 24hour darkness/24hour sunlight, huskies, snowmobiles, seals, seaplanes, polar bears of the not-warm-or-fluffy variety, etc.), so can we please have the real deal?
River: Well, Alaska is HUGE, so the answer to your question depends on where you’re located. I live in the southwest corner, separated from Anchorage (the closest city) by 500 miles of empty land and mountain ranges covered in snow year round. In my town, we have about 5 miles of roads and no malls. No movie theatre. No way in or out except by plane. And when the weather is bad? No way in or out at all! It’s not unusual to be stuck in town for two, sometimes three days without being able to leave. On a positive note, the people are friendly, incredibly neighborly, and remarkably self-sufficient. Now, to address your specific questions:
Perpetual cold? Only in the winter lol, 24hour darkness/24hour sunlight? Only in the northern most latitudes. For us it’s max 20 hours of darkness/20 hours of sunlight, huskies? Yes! Lots of sled dogs and lots of mushers, snowmobiles? most everyone owns one, if not two, seals and polar bears? Nope, we’re located on a river, not on the coast. That means we have moose, salmon, and brown bears.
BBJ: And if you didn’t live in Alaska and money wasn’t an object, where would you live and why? Somewhere tropical? A busy city? Another continent?
River: I grew up in Florida and I’m not fond of the heat, so no tropical locations for me, please. I like to visit cities but I prefer wide open spaces with fewer people. Another continent would be fun but I’d miss my extended family. So…as long as I have snow, a wood stove, a good book, and a mountain view I’m happy!
BBJ: What inspires your writing, River? Is it RL events/experiences/people? And, given where you live, how open are you able to be with your second career with friends/family/colleagues?
River: Real Life is a never-ending source of inspiration for all writers, I think. I find people fascinating and I like to figure out what makes them tick. A good portion of my time is devoted to the practice of medicine, so that plays heavily into my stories as well.
As far as how open I am about my second career, Alaska is surprisingly progressive in many ways and I doubt many would take issue with what I write. The Chief of Staff at my hospital (my boss) is gay. That being said, I’m pretty private about my life, in general. My writing time? That’s something I do for me. I don’t feel I owe anyone an explanation.
BBJ: Name 3 things that you could technically get away with on your 1040/1040A form as ‘writing-related incidentals’.
River: Coffee, chocolate, and my internet bill
BBJ: Do you love all your leads equally, or do you secretly have a fave pair? It’s OK, you’re among friends, so you can tell all. And, if you do and could cast
Dylan and Alec them in a film, who would you choose to play them?
River: I do love all my leads equally—yes, that’s the boring truth—although Dylan occupies a special place in my heart for being the spark that started the series. Once I get the romantic pairing right, tapping into the two’s chemistry on the page really gives me a rush. That was true for each of three couples, although in different ways. So, no, I don’t have a favorite couple, per se. My favorite pair of friends to write was Dylan and Noah, because they’re such opposites and have been through so much together. Dylan provided the spark for the series, and their friendship formed the backbone. When I sat down and started writing The Backup Boyfriend, Dylan and Noah—and their unique relationship—pretty much poured out of my head and onto the page fully formed.
I’m a big Supernatural fan. If The Backup Boyfriend were to be turned into a film, Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester from Supernatural) would absolutely have to play Dylan. I used Misha Collins as inspiration for Alec.
BBJ: We’ve noticed that you don’t do a lot of social media/blogging/updating of your website, which for true fans, is akin to criminal *shock, horror, loud wailing*. Goodness, other than re-reads, what’s a fan to do when she’s got a craving for more of your books? I mean, I like to think I’m pretty good at nosing and not-the-weird-variety of stalking, but you’ve been pretty quiet – why, please? Are you that private a person, or do you subscribe to the school that your books and name (and with them, popularity, ratings, sales, etc.), should speak for themselves, which clearly they do, based on ratings/reviews?
River: This year we lost my brother to glioblastoma (a brain tumor), and it was a rough nine months from the time of his diagnosis until his passing. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the right mind to do much of anything (outside of work) but be there for him, his family, and my parents. Life is a gift. Losing a loved one changes you. Since then, every day I strive to be present in the moment, you know? Wherever I am, whoever I’m with, they have my total attention. Carving out separate time for social media has been a challenge.
As far as my philosophy goes? I’m doing this because I love creating interesting characters and bringing them to life on the page. So I write the story, put out the best book I can, and then I move on to the next one.
BBJ: Name 5 things you absolutely couldn’t do without.
River: coffee, coffee, wine, wine, chocolate
River: coffee, coffee, wine, wine, chocolate
BBJ: If we’re not mistaken, your books have featured one gay lead and one bisexual lead – is there a reason for this, a message that you’re trying to get across perhaps, to offset the bad press that the latter often gets? Were you consciously thinking ‘labels’ when you wrote your tales – or was is that these guys sprung into your imagination, already formed, wanting their tale to be told and you just got on with it?
River: Dylan absolutely sprang from my imagination fully formed. He also represents my personal take on labels. I don’t like them. I think they limit us. I think we’re at our best when we learn to say screw you to those who insist we conform to some societal “norm.” (in all aspects of our lives, not just our sexuality) People who live their lives this way intrigue me. So, no, I’m not consciously trying to send a message. I’m simply creating characters that fascinate me, and those who live to blaze their own trail are my personal kryptonite.
BBJ: Will there be more of the The Boyfriend Chronicles (and if not, why not?!) And, if it’s not to be, will there at least be any more freebie reads on your website, or a glimpse in Noah’s tale of what the guys are up to? I mean, for me as a romantic and a reader of primarily romance, I get vested in fave leads and need to know that they’re happy, they’re ‘it’ for each other and that they’re living their HEA. To me, all the former are a given with your books, but I like things in black and white (you know, like the Beyoncé song, Single Ladies, talking about putting rings on it?), and I’m admittedly a
lot bit book-greedy! – please put readers out of their misery and tell us where you see all the guys. And, where Alec and Dylan are concerned, there’s no such thing as TMI! You know, though, with gay marriage being legal in the US, surely out of love for your fans, there might there be a bonus scene or few, or a mop-up novella?
River: LOL. That was the least subtle hint I’ve ever seen. You get a good glimpse of Dylan and Alec’s life in Noah and Ky’s story. In fact, while writing The Backup Boyfriend, my muse “told” me exactly how Dylan and Alec’s relationship would play out in book three, The Boyfriend Makeover. Well, “told” is a mild description. It felt more like she’d hit me over the head with a baseball bat—and I’ve learned not to question her wisdom.
There won’t be any more books in this series (I’m currently working on a M/M romantic suspense series set in Alaska) but I’d never rule out a bonus scene or two.
BBJ: And finally, the quick-fire round:
What’s your favourite colour? Indigo - that lovely, lovely dark blue with just a hint of purple
What can you be bribed with? Dark chocolate! And Wine! Preferably both!
Describe yourself in one word. I’ll let one of my best friends choose: loud
Bubble bath, glass of wine to relax or something else entirely? A fire in my woodstove + a glass of wine + a good M/M book = perfection.
Finally, what’s your guilty pleasure? See above answer to your bribery question.
Thank you, River Jaymes for the fantastic interview! Don't miss out on Tracy and Mari's reviews for The Boyfriend Makeover and a giveaway here.
You can contact River Jaymes @
It feels as if I've been waiting for this book for years, and it was SO worth it. RJ's writing is as brilliant and fresh as ever, and Noah, well, Noah's tale simply had to be as fabulous as the guy himself, and it was.
It was a case of opposites attract - out, loud and proud Noah, who's never done a day's paid work in his life, and closeted, hard-working surgeon, Kyland/Ky. The romance was quite a lot tease-and-deliver and then went into full-on Noah-ness, revealing the guy's surprising heart, vulnerabilities and things that happened beyond Rick's death that made him into the man he is today. The more I learned about him, the more I liked him and I loved how all his friends were there for him, and viceversa. Ky was such a decent guy with so much love in him for his sisters, his late mum and honouring the promise he'd made to her. His life had been nothing but all work and very little play so far, but Noah brought out the real him.
There wasn't as much sex in this that knowing Noah from previous tales had made me anticipate, which is not a complaint, as RJ showed us the real Noah. The one with depth, with a huge heart that was still not healed, with guilt, with secrets and one who was scared of loving again and losing again. What sex scenes there were, especially the first one in a semi-public place, was smoking hot and pretty risqué, and Noah's quirks and obsession with Ky's cowboy boots made for lots of fun and sassy dialogue.
On top of all of the above, we see the previous leads living their HEAs, and HEAs is the right word. Seemingly, Memphis has beaten the big C and is intent on making up for lost time with Tyler, who's a softer version of the guy we kind of liked and disliked. But, for me, seeing Alec and Dylan in their HEA, which actually got cemented in the most unexpected way that brought pretty much everyone into this tale and into an extended family, was ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. They're some of the best ever MM leads and I loved knowing where they were in their lives, and who knows, how their little bit of 'cement' might just end up influencing others.
For me, The Back Up Boyfriend was THE book of the series, but this comes a close second.
ARC courtesy of the author and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.