Your latest book PLAY IT AGAIN is out this month! Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
Sure! Play It Again is about Dovid, a famous, blind YouTube vlogger who loves his life and his job–making videos for his channel Don’t Look Now–with the help of his camera person and twin sister Rachel. When Rachel introduces him to Sam’s Let’s Play channel (Let’s Players record themselves playing video games, usually with accompanying narration), Dovid is instantly smitten with Sam’s voice and personality. Miffed that Sam doesn’t have more followers, he plugs Sam on his channel. Meanwhile, Sam, living in Ireland, is an incredibly shy man using YouTube to poke his head out of his shell, and he has absolutely no idea what to do with the fact that he’s suddenly popular. First from watching each other’s videos, then through twitter DMs and eventually WhatsApp phone calls, Dovid and Sam’s relationship grows first into a friendship, and then something more.
How would you best describe Dovid in three words?
In his everyday life, with his channel, and viewers/fans?: Confident, competent, outgoing.
When it comes to Sam?: Has no chill.
What would you like readers to take away from reading PLAY IT AGAIN?
There are a lot of different ways to be happy. And there a lot of different ways to be that don’t impede happiness. Dovid is disabled. Sam is asexual. They don’t need to be fixed.
Also, long-distance relationships are very real and very valid. Distance can make things more difficult, but effort, communication, and trust are what any relationship is built on.
Can you share some fun facts about PLAY IT AGAIN?
There are a lot of nods and homages to various games and YouTube videos in Play It Again. Here are a few!
+ “Angry Blind Teen Rants About His Name,” the video in the book that went viral and started Dovid and Rachel’s rise to YouTube fame was inspired by Vague Recollections of: Watchmen a two-part YouTube video touted as “EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WATCHMEN (as told by a half asleep guy who last read it five years ago).”
+ Dire Straits, the game that Sam primarily plays, is based on the game Don’t Starve (a game I, myself, have watched many, many Let’s Plays of).
+ Dovid and Rachel’s misadventure with salmiakki candy (also known as salted licorice) is a nod to YouTubers Simon and Martina, who got some in a fanmail package and immediately deemed it punishment candy.
Is there anything funny/strange/interesting/choose-your-adjective that’s happened to you while doing research for a book?
I have a book I’ve been working on off and on wherein the main character runs an apple orchard. So I called a bunch of apple orchards in the area to ask questions, and somehow managed to connect with a 95 year old man who owned and ran an orchard he and his father planted before WWII! He spent 20 minutes on the phone with me. It was such a cool experience.
What do you do when you get stuck?
Sometimes the only thing I can do is stop. But often what helps is rereading the parts of the book I’ve already written. This allows me to get back into the mindset of project I’m working on and pick up where I left off. This is also helpful when it comes to editing; rereading what I’ve already written helps me refine those portions of the book…and sometimes that also makes it easier, to move forward from a more polished point.
What distracts you the most when you’re trying to write?
If I’m stuck? Literally everything in the entire world. I will FIND distractions. But starting is usually the toughest part for me. Once I actually begin writing it’s a lot harder for me to get distracted. I get very focused. Sometimes to my detriment–because it’s difficult to stop.
What TV show or other activity interferes with your writing schedule?
Reading is primarily what interferes with my writing. There are so many things I want to read, often it becomes a choice between my own work and someone else’s. I’m pretty sure this isn’t an unusual problem.
What advice would you give to any aspiring romance writers out there?
Read! Read and write, and then read and write more.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
You’re going to be bad. You’re going to be bad, because nothing is perfect at first pass. Let yourself be bad. That might mean edits will improve your work. It also might mean discarding what you’ve done, learning from those mistakes, and moving on to write something better.
What’s next? Any upcoming book projects in the works that you can tell us about?
I actually have a book coming out in May! Hitting the Mark is about Marcus Econimidis, a movie star, reuniting with Taemin Choi, his martial arts mentor. What had been a childhood crush on a teacher quickly turns into mutual attraction on both sides, and the book is about them navigating a relationship around their respective schedules and Marcus’s fame. It was a blast to write, and I had a lot of fun including inside experience when it came to both careers.
Is there a TV show that you’ve recently binge-watched?
It’s not a TV show, but I do watch a lot of YouTube (which must be such a surprise I’m sure) and I’ll binge-watch certain channels. That, or I will binge videos on the same topic. Something I’ve done for the last several years is watch all the fukubukuro opening videos I can find. Fukubukuro, or “lucky bags” are a Japanese New Year’s event. Stores will fill bags with an assortment of random items and then sell it for a set discounted price. It’s a way for stores to get rid of old stock and for consumers to get great deals–except they don’t know what they’re getting. I enjoy watching them as they get released starting in January of the new year because it’s the fun of experiencing a bag myself…without paying the price or ending up with a bunch of items I don’t need or want.
What is your favorite movie or TV show?
The Great British Bake-off.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Honestly? I know it’s a cliche, but reading and writing. Probably my top two favorite activities (except when I get stuck on a project making writing the very last thing I want to do). Meeting up with friends is high up there as well. And I really enjoy being active.
Do you use a bookmark or dogear pages?
Bookmarks all the way.
Thanks for stopping by Aiden! Play it Again can be found at e-tailers now.
Aidan Wayne lives with altogether too many houseplants on the seventh floor of an apartment building, and though the building has an elevator, Aidan refuses to acknowledge its existence. They’ve been in constant motion since before they were born (pity Aidan’s mom)—and being born didn’t change anything. When not moving Aidan is usually writing, so things tend to balance out. They mostly stick with contemporary romance (both adult and YA), but some soft sci-fi/fantasy has been known to sneak in as well, and they primarily write character-driven stories with happy endings. Because, dammit, queer people deserve happy endings too.
- Website: http://aidanwayne.com
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/aidanwayne
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15164017.Aidan_Wayne
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