A. Lusch – 52 First Dates series
I had a chance this weekend to chat with Algenon Lusch, author of the 52 First Dates series. The third book in the series, Seeing DOUBLE, as well as a boxed set including the first three books, have just been released. There were a few things I wanted to ask the man behind the semi-autobiographical story…
**Don’t forget to scroll down to read the blurbs and publishing information for all three books, an excerpt from Seeing DOUBLE, a brief author bio and social media links, and for a chance to win one of three copies of Seeing DOUBLE or a boxed set of the first three books in the 52 First Dates series via Rafflecopter!**
Scuttlebutt: Before we really get into things, I have to know: What’s the deal with capitalizing the entire last word in the book titles (The Man PLAN, Friends and FRENCHMEN, Seeing DOUBLE)? Is it just a hint at the story, or is there more to it, for instance, a word scramble using them when the series is complete?
Lusch: Hi Scuttlebutt, thanks for having me! It’s just a hint at the story; nothing more. I love puzzles….why on earth didn’t I think to do something more? I should’ve had you on board from the start!
Scuttlebutt: You still have a chance to turn the words into a game! Now that’s out of the way, here we go. You’ve mentioned the 52 First Dates series is based on your own experiences, but what compelled you write these books?
Lusch: I finished my own experience a while ago now, and the story’s been ruminating in my head for a time. I had a blast doing the challenge, and my Twitter friends and followers were always wanting to hear more. People kept saying ‘you should write a book’. I didn’t have the time to sit down and write a full length novel, so I thought I’d break it down into more manageable pieces; I think it works well, though I am planning on making them a little longer.
It’s fun looking back on what happened – it’s a little nostalgic. Good to think about all the passionate times too. 😛
Scuttlebutt: I’ll bet! On that note, how well do you think you’ve disguised the real men involved in your quest to find Mr. Right? Do you anticipate any ruffled feathers?
Lusch: Other than changing their names, and perhaps the chronological order, most things are the same – so I haven’t really disguised them well at all! I hope that, if any of the dates read the books, they’ll think I was fair. I’m not going about trying to degrade anyone’s character. I’m just trying to be as truthful as possible. Also, in all honesty, most of the guys I met were lovely. It was just that the connection wasn’t there, it was the wrong time or they just weren’t that into me. I can handle that truth, so I hope they can handle mine.
Scuttlebutt: I think you’re safe, as far as not portraying the dates as complete jerks. However, I will admit I had a laugh imagining you getting a call a year later from a former date, asking if you’ve ever read the series because there’s a scene in it just like that time…
Getting back on track…Jess and Grace (the non-fuck buddy friends) seem to be the most important people in David’s life, especially Jess. Do you have a real-life Jess and Grace, and if so, were they on board with your dating plan?
Lusch: Jess and Grace are most certainly based on some of my besties; Grace on one particular person and Jess on a conglomerate of a few people. There were certainly times when I was ready to give up, and they urged me on. They also offered a welcome ear when I needed it most!
Again, most of the things happening to them – getting pregnant, being sick in her handbag – are based on real experiences.
Scuttlebutt: I’m slightly jealous; they seem like great friends to have!
When you first sat down to write 52 First Dates, did you intend for the books to be a light-hearted look at your search, or did you know you’d be adding bits of insight you picked up on your quest (such as when to call it quits, or the switch from date nights to afternoon meetings in Friends and FRENCHMEN)?
Lusch: I definitely wanted to do both. Yeah, it’s a bit of fun, but there are some tips in there too. Dating is a minefield, and it can be frightening to put yourself out there and try to find the one. I know people who just move from one boyfriend to the next until they’ve found that special someone. They’re lucky. For the rest of us, it’s hard. I wanted to show that you can go out there and date, it just that sometimes you might need a change in perspective and to take the pressure off a little.
Scuttlebutt: I’d say you succeed in balancing the fun and the self-realization aspects.
I love the rules set out in The Man Plan (book 1). Did you actually adhere to the One Date Each Week rule, which sounds exhausting, or did you give yourself time off? Similarly, do you have plans for a future installment to not feature a date, or do you anticipate each book will include at least one?
Lusch: I did stick rigidly to the plan and yes, it was exhausting. Sometimes I had a date and I really didn’t want to go. At other times even trying to get a date was a nightmare. You know…there are SO many flakes out there. You line up two or three possibilities and then NONE come through. I also read in one review that the amount of men got a little confusing – that happened in real life too! At some points I didn’t know whether I was coming or going or who I was texting.
I think there will be a date in most of the books…though there were a few dramas in my own personal year that I might write into the books and which would create a format for no date. Technically I had a couple of no date weeks – but normally because someone cancelled or stood me up.
Scuttlebutt: That seems almost like a second job. You mention keeping track of people, and one guy keeps showing up- I’m curious about Rick. He’s been in the first three books, though in a somewhat different context in Seeing DOUBLE. Can readers expect him to be a constant presence?
Lusch: Rick will be around for a while, but David’s already getting tired of him. He’s good as a fuck-buddy, but it can’t go anywhere. I think David’s mindset is changing and coming around to not even wanting to go with someone where things can’t develop. They do live just around the corner from one another, however, so I’m sure they’ll see each other.
Scuttlebutt: That’s actually a good example of how you’ve managed to work in the learning process while avoiding being preachy, which is a huge win in my book. Let’s pretend I asked how you do that.
The first three books in the 52 First Dates series have just been released in a box set. Do you intend for the entire series to be compiled into one book, or do you think you think offering the books as short tastes works better with your style and the stories?
Lusch: I like to give readers options. Perhaps they want to grab The Man Plan for 99cents and test out the story and my writing first. Or, maybe they’ll just grab the boxed set. I think offering short stories works as long as the books are brought out regularly. Some people will want the story immediately, others might be willing to wait six/nine months until more books are available. Once the series complete, I’m sure I’ll make another boxed set available if people want to buy one huge read at once.
Scuttlebutt: You don’t need my approval, but I think the short books work with your story, though I’m also a little antsy to see the final product in one book. Do you have any other books in the works, or are you focused on finishing this story before considering further projects?
Lusch: I have a full length M/M romance percolating, but won’t start it until this series is complete. I’ve tried writing novels side by side before and it’s a nightmare to keep up with the characters and story.
The outcome of 52 First Dates will influence the next book, however, because there are certain aspects I may need to alter.
Scuttlebutt: If that’s not cryptic, I don’t know what is. But I won’t prod for more details just yet. What is the biggest thing you thing you’ve gained from this whole experience, from the real-life dating to publishing this series?
Lusch: A Happy Ever After! Yes…I said it. 52 First Dates worked for me, though I can’t let on just WHO won my heart. That has to be the biggest thing I’ve gained, but I’ve met so many incredible readers, fans and supporters along the way, and had a blast writing these stories, that I’m still gaining a lot!
A final note from Scuttlebutt: So, there you have it. I’m confident stating Algenon has plans for this series and beyond, and is also a bit of a tease about what those plans may be. Guess that means I’ll have to keep reading to find out what happens. I’m pretty okay with that.
(For The Man PLAN, Friends and FRENCHMEN, and Seeing DOUBLE)
The Man PLAN
Now that David’s heading towards his mid-30s, he’s finally realised that it’s time to find a husband. But with so many men and so little time, he realises he’s going to have to be strategic if he’s ever to find his soulmate.
Thus, 52 First Dates is formed; a challenge, a scheme, to go on a date with a new man, every week, for a year. If it pays off, he’ll be in marital bliss. If it doesn’t, he’ll know that he’s fated with being the eternal bachelor. With everything to live for, David plunges into the world of dating in search of the perfect man.
Friends and FRENCHMEN
With David in his mid-30’s, it’s time to get serious about finding a husband. Too many men and not enough time, mean he’s embarked on the challenge of a lifetime; to date a new man every week for a year until he finds THE ONE.
With one date out the way, and many more to come, David’s realising there’s a reason it’s so hard to find a soulmate. And, with friends, lovers and lust getting in the way, finding a husband might be harder than he thought.
The man-hunt is under way, and David’s keen to a snag a husband without having to complete every date of his 52 First Dates challenge. With several successful meets behind him, there’s a growing feeling of confidence that his search could actually work. But now that the novelty’s worn off, finding the motivation to keep going is about to become harder.
David finds himself trying to juggle meeting new men and providing a shoulder to cry on his to battered and pregnant friends. And, with a plethora of hotties vying for his attention, things are about to get more complicated.
Excerpt from Seeing DOUBLE:
I come to the end of Spitalfields and prepare to cross the road when my attention is caught by a sexy Mediterranean man walking towards me. The chiselled jaw that I know is there is hidden beneath thick scruff. Why do I know it’s there? Because I’m having a moment of intense déjà vu as Alex, Theo’s twin brother, strolls sexily towards me. Do these two just loiter in my vicinity to taunt/treat me? In the same way that we locked eyes all those weeks ago in Soho, we catch each other’s glance as the distance between us continues to diminish. The similarities between Alex and Theo are startling, even though I know they’re twins. This allure is the same too; both men exude intense sexuality.
As we pass each other, Alex smiles intensely, keeping his gaze on me until the last moment. I allow my heart to flutter as he walks by, and let a secret grin spread unseen.
“Wait, I’m not just gonna walk by you this time.”
I freeze as I hear Theo’s voice, though I know it’s not him but Alex. He reappears in my vision and smiles the smile I’ve seen before.
“This is the third time we’ve seen each other. Perhaps someone’s telling us something.”
“Maybe,” I grin back, clenching my jaw and feeling slightly fluttery. “I’m David by the way.”
“Alex,” he replies. I know. Now comes the conundrum; to let on that Theo and I have already had our own tryst, or to keep schtum. I decide on the latter for now. There’s no need to rock the boat before I work out where this might lead.
“I don’t normally do this, but do you fancy going for a drink?” Alex asks without removing his seductive eyes from my own. “I’ve finished uni work for the day and was just gonna head home otherwise.”
“Sure,” I reply, still feeling slightly stunned that not only is he asking, but that this scenario has happened in the first place. The twins have now each come to my aid after being stood up by the same guy.
“There’s a little pub down here. It ain’t anything special, but it’ll do for a quick drink.”
“You mentioned uni?” I ask as he turns back to where he’d been previously walking and we make our way to the pub.
“Yeah, I’m on my last year before starting clinical rotations. I’ve got a lot of reading to do.”
“So you’re doing medicine?” He’s hot and a doctor?
“Yeah, but don’t worry, I party as hard as I work.” He smirks at me with a knowing wink. “What about you?”
“Graphic designer. I know, I know, don’t roll your eyes. There’s a lot of us about, it’s practically a gay cliché these days.”
“No, no, it’s cool. Creative types….good with your hands and all that.” He gives me that knowing wink again, sending even more flutters through me. It’s strange. Whilst Theo brought out deep surges of lust, Alex is bringing out that and additional butterflies too. Maybe there is something different about these twins after all.
Publisher and Original Publication Date: Self-published, February 6, 2014
Purchase URLs (for Boxed Set):
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA4LOBM/
- ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-52firstdatesboxedsetbooks13-1414849-149.html
- Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/405816
- Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/A_Lusch_52_First_Dates_BOXED_SET_Books_1_3?id=pSPNAgAAQBAJ
Formats Available: epub, HTML, mobi, pdf
Length: 37,670 words, about 105 pages
Purchase URLs (for Book 03, Seeing DOUBLE):
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA4ULNE/
- B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seeing-double-a-lusch/1118399730?ean=2940045605786
- ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-seeingdouble52firstdates3-1414844-149.html
- Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/402565
- Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/A_Lusch_Seeing_Double?id=gCPNAgAAQBAJ
Formats Available: epub, HTML, mobi, pdf
Length: about 13,000 words, or 37 pages
About the author:
A. Lusch lives in London and has been though much of the same path as David – in fact – this series is based around true events.
Of course, there is MUCH more to come in the tale, but, don’t worry, now the scene is set, there’ll be many more dates per book. Is there a happy ending in sight? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.
A. Lusch fully believes in never settling, always striving for the perfect match, and never giving up on your man once you’ve found him – oh, and eating A LOT of donuts!
A. Lusch’s Social Media links:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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