Today we’ve got author S.A. McAuley stopping by with a Q&A. S.A.’s new book, Out of Shade is out now.
Hi! I’m S.A. McAuley—aka Sam—and I have a new contemporary romance that released on May 21st called “Out of the Shade.” It’s the first novel I’ve released in three years and it’s completely different than anything I’ve written before. But just like my other books, it features found family and queer characters, the romance is at the heart of the story, and the HEA is guaranteed.
Your story is set in a town called Kensington in the US. Why did you choose that as the setting for your book?
Kensington is a fictional town situated in Midwestern America. I decided to create a fictional town for Out of the Shade because I wanted the setting to reflect the atmosphere of middle America, yet not be locked into one particular state.
It may not be familiar territory for a lot of readers and it’s not a…comfortable setting—Kensington isn’t progressive in any way. But that was the point. How do you come to terms with who you are when everything and everyone around you is subtly, and sometimes blatantly, discouraging anything that doesn’t fit within “traditional” (i.e., confining) ideas about identity?
What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
I started writing this book for very personal reasons and, at a certain point in the draft, had to go back and completely re-work the characters and story so they were their own. Once it was complete, I re-worked it for years. I hesitated to publish it at all because it’s still personal to me, but also because the characters aren’t my usual. They’re flawed and rough and—possibly, probably?—unlikeable at first. None of them are as they appear at first glance, but it takes drastic changes and growth to learn who they really are. Some people will want to read that character arc and some won’t. For me, it was the only way to tell their story, though.
Out of the Shade is a sports romance. Have you ever been on any sports teams? If so, what sport?
AHHAAHHAAHAhahaha ah no. I’m ridiculously unathletic. In fact, I dislocated my shoulder last year while riding on a hoverboard. And by “riding on a hoverboard” I mean that I was on it for .2 seconds before I lost control and plummeted like a stone. I tried track in middle school and was average, at best, with that. In high school, playing in a sport was mandatory but I was so bad at everything that school officials got together and decided to grant me an exception. I still have the “Statistics Coach” jacket that I earned by taking on oversight of all of the varsity teams’ stats. Me sitting behind a table was much safer for everyone.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently reading “Death in the City of Light” by David King and “Duke by Default” by Alyssa Cole and loving both for completely different reasons. Next up on my TBR is “On the Ice” by Amy Aislin, “Red, White, and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston, and “That Kind of Guy” by Talia Hibbert. I recently finished “Murder House” by Jordan Castillo Price and fell head over heels in love with Vic and Jacob again. I highly recommend it.
For every book I read, though, I buy at least three more. So my TBR list is never-ending, yet I still tell myself that I’m going to read everything I own before I buy anything else (then promptly fail at that). It’s a nice problem to have.
Thanks for stopping by Sam! You can find Sam on the interwebs here-
Out of the Shade by S.A. McAuley
Warnings: alcoholism, mentions of sexual and physical abuse, mentions of drug addiction, mentions of rape, attempted suicide by a minor character, violence, homophobia, closeting
Jesse Solomona has always tried to be the perfect straight guy—a cocky sports fan who drinks more than he did in his fraternity days and an expert at one-night-stands. That he hooks up with just as many men as he does women is a secret Jesse’s been hiding for years, fearful of losing his family and tight group of friends. He’s a Kensington boy—a group of guys that grew up in the same neighborhood and somehow all ended up back in their hometown. They, and his family, are the only things that still matter in his otherwise soul-sucking life.
Chuck Dunn, a tattooed and pierced sports photographer, has refused to step back into the closet since he was disowned by his family, but he keeps choosing men who can’t fully be with him. Finally free from a long-term relationship he should’ve ended years ago, he quits his high-profile gig in favor of getting back to the art of sports photography—documenting a local boxing club that works with at-risk teenagers. He may not have the same swagger anymore, but he’s working to be happy with who he is.
When Chuck joins one of the Kensington boys’ community center sports leagues, Jesse’s self-imposed rules are systematically demolished. But there’s one barrier Jesse can’t find the strength to break through—coming out to the other Kensington boys. Chuck knows hooking up with Jesse is a bad idea. Falling for him even worse. But he can’t stay away.
Chuck is damaged by his past. Jesse is frightened about his future. But, together, they may just be able to come out of the shade.