Thursday, February 9, 2017

Interview with Conner from Guitars and Cages

It’s been more than a year since your introduction into Asher’s life and the events of Guitars and Cages, have you ever had a moment where you looked back and thought, wow, this is becoming too much of a hellride even for me?

Connor: Not at all. If anything, this past year has given me a chance to look at my relationship with my own family and see it for the toxic disaster that it truly is. Asher might have his flaws, but he loves the people he considers family to the point where more often than not, he puts their feelings and well-behind ahead of his own. Even when he knows he’ll fail, he tries to make things right for them, and that’s something I can admire. It’s something no one in my family ever tried to do for me.

In the upcoming sequel to Guitars and Cages there is the opportunity for the reader to see a bit of your family situation as your folks make a rather brief appearance. How hard was it to walk into that situation, with Asher, not knowing how it was going to go with them.

Connor: I was terrified, as readers will clearly see, and if it hadn’t been for Asher walking in there at my side, I think I’d have puked in a potted plant, tucked tail and run. It was stressful just talking to my mother on the phone and the whole way there I felt like I was strung out on nervous tension. Fortunately, there were a few moments of levity as we tried to get Asher outfitted for the evening, I think readers will enjoy the side of him they’ll get to see in that scene.

So much of your story is now wrapped up in his, but were you aware that initially, you were only to have a bit part in the novel?

Connor: I know the author seemed determined to slam the door on me a time or two. I doubt she ever expected Asher’s interest to drift in my direction so fully, especially not when she had other plans for him.

Now, speaking of those other plans, you are aware then, that Asher’s initial romantic interest is still very close to him, that it was never Catfish at all, and instead, someone who has played an instrumental part in his life for a very long time. Someone he very well might still have unresolved feelings for.

Connor: I know who you’re talking about, and I think some of the readers have already guessed, if not, the issue is addressed more fully in Guitars 2, and I think all parties involved will be satisfied with the resolution. Asher can’t help what he feels, nor can I help what I feel for him, it is what it is. Right now, he’s mine and we’re taking it day by day and that’s all we really can do. My focus is on helping him stay healthy first, so we have plenty of time later to figure out the relationship issues.

And how has that been working? One of the things that seemed to horrify readers was his tendency towards self-harm.

It horrified me as well. But Dr. Hozman has been working with him and he’s done good. Everyone has a backslide every now and again and I can’t say that won’t happen in Guitar’s 2, what I can say is that it was only once and it was dealt with quickly and decisively and he’s been removed from his biggest trigger right now.

And that would be?

Conner: Look, Cole is Asher’s brother and the last thing I need is him getting pissed at me for speaking ill of the guy, but, they needed some distance. Cole needs to figure out his own issues and Asher doesn’t need someone putting him down for being honest about what he thinks or feels. Maybe if he’d had the opportunity to be honest when he was with Gage, things would have ended far differently. Maybe we never would have met, I don’t know, but what I do know is those memories of Gage haunt him. Knowing Gage never held what happened against him haunts him too. He stayed away for years because he was ashamed. He hurts himself because he is ashamed, and one of the people who tend to have a real easy time of making him feel ashamed, is Cole. That’s all I’m willing to say about that.

Fair enough. Let’s lighten the tone, shall we. Are you finding plenty of things to photograph around the ranch.

Conner: Am I ever, but it’s hard some days to balance wanting to take pictures of everything that’s going into rebuilding, and actually helping with the process. I find myself getting into the zone with the camera sometimes, especially when it’s Asher I’m taking pictures of. He’ll deny it, but he’s amazingly handsome and the camera loves him.

I bet. What moments have you been able to capture so far that just left you in awe?

Connor: God, only one? That’s tough, I can’t narrow it down to just one. I mean, there was the night he took me to the barn to watch a calf being born and I took some photos of him while he was helping with the birth. Those, in black and white, capture something I can’t even put into words. I have black and whites of him mud streaked in just his jeans and workbooks carrying a fence post, others of him lying in the straw beside a mare, stroking her neck and whispering her as she was in labor.  Then there’s one of him laying by the fire pit, face illuminated by the flames while he stared at the stars. There are so many shots, so many moments, it’s just so good to see this side of him.

It sounds like it’s been full of new experiences, at least for you. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. I’m looking forward to hearing about more of your adventures.

Connor: Thanks for having me. We’re still not done yet. Guitars 2, that’s just another piece of the picture. Guitars 3 is already in the works and that, well…let’s just say it’s shaping up to be epic. 

Note: readers with questions for Conner please feel free to leave them in the comments section and he'll be happy to answer your questions. 

Guitars and Cages is available at all major booksellers.

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