Author Valerie UllmerS: Good morning, Valerie. Thanks so much for bringing along my favorite morning buns from Babette's Bakery in Denver. (Seelie takes a bite.) Best.morning.buns.ever.
Anyhoo, let's get down to the nitty-gritty. How do you define romance?
V: Well, I have two definitions of romance. In real life, like with my husband, it’s the small things we share with each other I consider romantic. I love it when I make my husband laugh and when he makes me, but it’s the moments where you spend together talking about nothing and everything that make your relationship and romance special. I don’t need flowers, candy, or a night out, I’m most happy when he and I are together with our dog and we’re laughing or talking. When I read romances, I look for that moment where the book brings out so much emotion, I can’t put it down. Although the book is guaranteed an HEA (Happily Ever After) during these moments there is a tightness in my chest and my eyes start to water because you are rooting for these two people to finally admit their feelings but one or both unintentionally get hurt and there is a sense of desperation. But the end, knowing the two characters will fight for one another to be happy in the end, I consider that truly romantic.
S: Is that why you write romance? The HEA?
V: Yes. I love a happily ever after. I love to think that these two people I’ve gotten to know throughout a book; their feelings, their insecurities, and the reason why the two of them fell in love are all laid out on the page. The best part, I can go back to their world any time I want and they are still together in the end.
S: Do you believe you only fall in love once?
V: No, I don’t think you do only fall in love once. I think love takes different forms. Some people are in abusive relationships and they’ve sworn up and down they love that person who’s harming them, but once they leave, they stop. Some live their entire lives married to one person and love that one person. Others find themselves falling in love easily before realizing that although they might have thought it was love at the time, they are different from who they used to be and aren’t in love now. I believe trying to answer this question is like trying to define love, and no matter how hard you try, I don’t think there is one definitive answer. And I believe love comes in all forms.
S: I like to say love comes in all shapes and sizes, because everyone's experience is different. I am especially struck by the people others find love with. Love is so unpredictable, which is what makes it so fun to write about!
Tell me, what’s the best advice you have ever given?
V: Advice is what you ask for when you already know the answer, but wish you didn’t.
S: (chuckles) Now that I think about it, you're right. Seeking advice is a way of clarifying thoughts.
Summer is breathing its last gasp, fall is almost here. Fall is my favorite time of the year. How about you?
V: (nods) That first fall day where the leaves have just started their change from green to oranges and reds and yellows. There is a crisp scent to the air that promises cooler weather and the clouds are scattered about in the sky. It’s not cold enough to call it winter and not warm enough to be the end of summer, but it’s the perfect fall day.
S: Of course, the thing I love most about fall is everything pumpkin, from carving them and baking pumpkin bread to pumpkin spice coffee.
Tell me about your latest book, "Fall for You."
V: Well, it's a new adult M/M romance and it's available on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents. Here's the blurb:
Ethan Sutton had come to the stunning revelation that he’d fallen in love with his best friend, Sebastian Young. Although friends since childhood, Ethan vowed to keep his feelings for Sebastian under wraps and live the rest of his life with this one secret between them rather than risk a lifelong connection and never see him again. But when they move into their own apartment at the start of their third year of college, can Ethan keep his feelings from showing when they live so close together?
Sebastian Young had an epiphany about Ethan at the end of last year and arranged for the shared apartment he’d found over the summer to be closer to Ethan and see if a relationship could develop between them. But as they settle into their lives in a new place with such close quarters, ex-girlfriends, nosy downstairs neighbors, and Sebastian’s own doubts, their relationship could be in jeopardy before it even begins.
Can two best friends admit their feelings and fall in love?
S: Ah, moving out of the friend zone is always risky. Can you share an excerpt?
V: Sure--"Ethan kept his eyes on his phone during the entire trip. It wasn’t as though he didn’t want to speak to Sebastian, who sang under his breath at the song coming through the speakers of his older SUV. But whenever he’d been in an enclosed space with Sebastian, he caught his scent of pine and cedar mixed with 'a hint of mint, and each time he moved, it drifted over to him and drove Ethan crazy. Even from the other side, Sebastian’s body heat surrounded him and he wriggled in his seat to adjust himself before his desire for his best friend became clear.
For years, the closeness he shared with Sebastian had been enough. It was he and Sebastian against the world throughout high school, and Ethan understood it would be the same in college.
But when they started their freshman year, Sebastian decided he would make up for lost time by dating his way through the female student body at the University of Oregon. Sebastian still made time for him, but it was rare during their first two years of college for Sebastian not to have at least one date on the weekend.
Ethan hadn’t understood what the churning emotions were each time Sebastian talked about a new woman. Later, he recognized the feeling was jealousy.
There had been a time during his sophomore year, driven by those feelings of jealousy and his new found awareness he was gay, he’d gone out. Most of the time, with a frequency that matched Sebastian’s frenzied dating life. Ethan resolved to find someone and forget about the man he most wanted, his best friend, so he headed to a well-known bar off-campus.
Although he’d gone home with guys, nothing progressed past blowjobs. For one, it solidified the fact he was gay. Despite knowing, Ethan had no clue what held him back from going further with the willing men he’d met, but something stopped him.
After his break-up with his long-time girlfriend, Sebastian became a constant in Ethan’s life again. Their friendship had never strained during their first years of college, and they grew closer when Sebastian found himself single.
During the summer, they decided they wanted to rent an off-campus apartment and live together. Ethan believed they would request a room together in the dorms, but Sebastian wanted to ditch the dorms and find their own place. Their parents had agreed to it although it would be more expensive.
More than once, Ethan had wanted to look for a place before they were all rented, but Sebastian said he would handle everything.
“Don’t worry. I’ve got it covered.”
And now they were moving in together, Ethan found himself nervous about having his feelings show at the most inopportune moments.
Their freshman year, they were assigned separate rooms in different buildings. And being so far apart from each other became a pain in the ass. More often than not, Ethan would stay at Sebastian’s place, or Sebastian’s at Ethan’s. Unless Sebastian had a date.
It had been easy to hide his feelings then. He wasn’t so sure his desire wouldn't show in such close quarters. But when Sebastian brought up living together, there wasn't a reason not to, and he agreed. Hundreds of excuses became plain as they drove closer to their destination but Ethan didn't voice them aloud.
But his eyes kept being drawn back to Sebastian, his heart kicking in his chest as he took in Sebastian’s tanned arm draped over the steering wheel. Each time Sebastian caught Ethan looking at him, he would give him that easy smile. The smile made every man want to be his friend and every woman fall in love with him.
Although their friendship was an easy one, Ethan sometimes wondered how they grew so close when they were so different."
S: Sounds interesting. Where can readers purchase your book?
V: It's available on Amazon Kindle. Here's the link--
S: Valerie, thanks for much for visiting me today. I wish you much luck with "Fall for You." It sounds like a great read!
To learn more about Valerie, visiting the following--
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Valerie-Ullmer/e/B01FSWMI9A/
Next week in The Loft: Kayelle Allen!