Here’s the second part of our Sara York Pray the Gay Away feature. First here is Lily’s review of the book, followed by an interview with Adrienne and Sara.
Pray the Gay Away (A Southern Thing #1), by Sara York
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Series, MM Romance
Blurb: Star football player, Jack Miller, had it all. The perfect family, looks, girls hanging on his every word, and the respect of most people in his town. But one thing was missing–a man to be his own. When Andrew Collins showed up in small town, conservative Sweet, Georgia, he looked more scrawny mutt than high school senior. Andrew’s plan was to keep his head down and graduate high school, leaving his family behind to start his real life. When he meets Andrew, Jack thinks he’s found heaven, but reality holds him in check until one night when his lips gently slide across Andrew’s and fireworks go off. As lust and something a little deeper brings them together, compelling them to take chances, people start to notice. Then the unthinkable happens, and Jack’s parents find out he likes guys. The battle lines are drawn and they vow to pray the gay away.
Review: The events and subjects I read in this book are ones I also hear about from GLBT news sites, so you can imagine this story was very gripping since it could be real. Andrew and Jack’s story is one you will find very hard to put down because it is deeply emotional and written with a great insight. I love stories like this, where the writer touches social issues as well as the romance to raise the awareness of readers. Sara York certainly did this with this story, and managed to not come across as preachy. As I was reading this story, I was biting my nails and felt very anxious at times because I was so worried about these two boys. Their parents were described so well and their behaviour was so poignant. I was left feeling really emotional. This story is truly captivating and keeps you glued to your chair, so make sure you have your snacks and drink with you. The characters in this book are amazing. Some are awful, some are sweet, and some are just adorable. Wonderful storyline. The dialogues between characters left me in awe of this writer. But all in all, this book has everything I want in a quality story and more! When it comes to emotional, intense stories, Sara York is one in a million.
Publisher and Original Publication Date: Self-Published March, 13 2014
All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-praythegayaway-1429822-149.html
Formats Available: Epub, mobi, PDF, PDB, lit
Length: 70,000 words, 314 pages
Reviewed by: Lily Lamb
Author’s Website: http://sarayork.com
Scuttlebutt: You’ve a pretty prolific backlist of books. Where do you find the time, and how on earth do you come up with new ideas?
Sara: I really don’t know. I wonder sometimes how I can write any more, but somehow it always works out.
Scuttlebutt: Your writing spans a variety of genres, from MF to MM, YA to adult. When beginning to write a new book, do you ever find yourself struggling between what your readers and your imagination ask of you, or are one (or both) flexible?
Sara: I’m very flexible. When I start a book I already know which audience I want to position it for. There are some things I write just for me though. Those are often the books I love the most.
Scuttlebutt: How and when do you realize a book should be part of a larger series? Is this something you plan before writing a word, does the urge come later in the process, or does it vary?
Sara: I usually have the series already planned out about a year in advance. The A Southern Thing Series took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to write it and I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be so big. I really hope the readers enjoy the books.
Scuttlebutt: Are there any of your books for which you’d love to write a sequel?
Sara: I’d love to go back to a few books. I’ve always loved Aiden from Not That Type Of Guy. And I’ll probably write another book for the Torn to Shreds series.
Scuttlebutt: Have you ever been tempted to completely scrap a project when nearly finished? What did you end up doing, powering through, rewriting, or tossing the whole thing?
Sara: Yes. Sometimes the pressure of getting everything ready is overwhelming. I always power through though and go forward with the book.
Scuttlebutt: So many authors share “playlists” to accompany their books. Do you find you write better with background noise, or are you more focused in silence? If the former, are there any particular songs you find you go back to again and again, particularly while writing Pray the Gay Away?
Sara: I almost always listen to music when I write. It’s usually the same set of songs since I don’t want to be pulled out of writing by new lyrics. Mostly I listen to Green Day, Steve Grand, Eli Lieb, Foo Fighters, Avenged Sevenfold, and Breaking Benjamin. That reminds me, one series I really need to get back to is the one inspired by Breaking Benjamin songs. Without You was my interpretation of the Breaking Benjamin song with the same title.
Scuttlebutt: Is there any one book you could read over and over and never be bored?
Sara: I love Ethan Stone’s Bartender PI. I’ve read that book multiple times. The comedy in the book is amazing along with the storytelling. All in all it’s a great book.
Scuttlebutt: Was there one particular inspiration behind Pray the Gay Away, or did you pull from multiple sources?
Sara: The last few years have been rather intense in the fight for equality. Pray The Gay Away didn’t come from any one source. The name came up when I was at GRL talking with Jared Rackler and Kiernan Kelly. When I sat down to write the book for the title, I had just finished Double Full by Kindle Alexander. I loved that book and Colt Michaels made a huge impact on me. His story was so painful—giving up the one he loved for his safety. It was wonderful. I took my love for that character and created Jack and Andrew.
Scuttlebutt: Mixing religion with sexuality can often be tricky, both for individuals directly affected and families/friends. Pray the Gay Away reads as both well researched and emotionally driven. Do you find it difficult to balance facts with feelings when writing about certain topics?
Sara: Striking the right balance is important. With Pray The Gay Away I had to walk a fine line in describing how the churches operate and how some of these parents behave. Having been a member of one of those mega churches I know from the inside what happens. I wanted this to be an emotional tale so I really focused on Jack and Andrew much more than what was going on around them.
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