As a kid, Evan King thought Scott Sparrow was the most amazing person he’d ever met. At seventeen, his crush runs a little deeper, and nothing seems simple anymore. Scott is more interested in football and girls than playing superheroes, and Evan’s attention is focused on getting into art school. A late-night drunken kiss is something to be forgotten, not obsessed over for the next ten years.
When life suddenly brings them back together, it doesn’t take much for the flame Evan carried for Scott nearly all his life to come roaring back, and Evan discovers that life sometimes has a strange way of coming full circle.
Hello! Thank you for joining me at Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy so I can talk about my new book, ‘Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me, and One Time I Kissed Him First’.
I thought today I’d tell you a little bit about how the cover art for the novel came to be, since this is always something that fascinates me about other authors’ work!
If you didn’t already know, the amazing Garrett Leigh did the design work for me. We connected to talk about cover art at the UK Meet last year, when she gave me some advice for the artwork for ‘My Prince’. Kellie Dennis (at Book Cover By Design) did that cover in the end, but the conversation with Garrett stuck in my head.
When it came to doing the art for ‘Five Times’ I knew I had to get back in touch with Garrett and Kellie—the working title for ‘My Prince’ was originally much longer, and I made the decision to change it shortly before publication partly on their advice. Now I have possibly one of the longest book titles Dreamspinner Press have ever published! I had a handful of ideas for a cover image and Garrett picked up on the one of the boys in the ocean immediately. It turned out she’d already bought, but never used, that particular stock photo.
‘Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me’ covers about twenty-five years of the two characters lives, though for some reason I’ve always thought of it in terms of a ‘summer’ book. The image of the two boys horsing around in the ocean isn’t from any particular scene in the book, but it’s exactly the sort of thing I can imagine Scott and Evan doing. Something that was really important to me as I wrote the book was ensuring that the boys’ friendship was always the focus of their relationship, that they had that strong foundation on which to build everything that comes later. I think I’ve been incredibly lucky in finding an image that encapsulates all of that—friendship, love, summer, a carefree kind of joy—and then throwing some Garrett talent at it to bring it all together into the cover art.
So, there you go! I’ve had a bit of a tumultuous history with cover art in the past, so it feels great to be able to tell such a positive story. Here’s a little excerpt from the book – I hope you enjoy it!
The fire crackled invitingly, even after all the hours it had been lit. Orange sparks spat up into the night, occasionally spilling out of the hexagon of driftwood onto the sand, and long sticks thrust out of the blaze—earlier in the night, they had held fat sausage links, then s’mores. Evan and his friends had opted to chance being caught with the contraband fire on the beach after deciding the reward outweighed the risk.
Evan inhaled deeply and closed his eyes, tipping his head back to the heady, full night sky. This was summer. This. The feeling of being warm and full, fire heat on his face, vodka in his belly burning warmth there too. The sea air, no breeze, not in Virginia in August. Sand between his toes.
Soft lips on his own. Evan startled, and the group around him laughed. “Thought you were sleeping,” Cassie Williams told him, pushing at his shoulder so Evan lost his balance and fell back on his elbows. He joined in the laughter, even though he didn’t share their amusement.
Cassie was nice, of course. He’d known her since preschool, maybe earlier. Who knew around here. It wasn’t the first time she’d kissed him. Once, in second grade, it had been after he’d fallen and scraped his knee. For the past few weeks, Cassie had been hitting on him again, and every time he’d neatly deflected, trying to turn her attention to someone who’d maybe return it. Evan wasn’t going to.
“Not sleeping,” Evan said. His voice came out a deep rumble. Since his voice had broken, it had been like that, deeper than the other guys’, something else that made him stand out. He’d hit his growth spurt twice now, once at fourteen and again the previous year, just after his seventeenth birthday. He’d be eighteen in a few weeks, right after the start of the new school year. Evan would be the first one in this group to have his eighteenth birthday.
Two of his friends stumbled out from behind one of the high sand dunes, their hair in disarray, clothes more than a little disheveled. Evan joined in the hoots and catcalls, grateful for the distraction.
That voice was familiar, and Evan dropped his head back, knowing he couldn’t ignore it.
“Evan, you fuck!”
Evan laughed and let his head roll to the side. Grinning, Scott stood in his board shorts and a long-sleeved T-shirt, hands balled on his hips.
“We’re playing football.”
“Scott, it’s almost midnight. How the fuck do you plan on playing football?”
Scott pointed straight up at the moon. Which, admittedly, was giving off a lot of light in the clear night sky. Scott’s skin glowed, pearlescent in the moonlight. It reflected off his Irish pale skin and lit up his blue eyes like he was magical.
Evan pulled himself to his feet with a heaving sigh. He hadn’t been able to say no to Scott for a long time now.
Scott Sparrow, the terminally straight football captain and Evan King, the artistic sensitive soul have been best friends since they were seven. Evan is pretty sure he has loved Scott since the beginning, but Scott is straight. Or so he thinks. From a stolen drunken kiss at a high school party to mis-steps and miscommunications along the way Scott and Evan have to decide if taking a chance on a romantic relationship is worth the possible loss of their friendship.
A twist of fate has the two reevaluating everything they think they know, because life is too short to be wasted on what ifs and should haves.
I LOVED this story! Watching this epic love develop over time was truly beautiful. The relationship seemed so easy, even the sex scenes were fun. Full of laughter and witty banter, the true mark of friends become lovers.
Even when Evan rushed to Chicago the angst and sadness never overpowered the lighthearted feel I got from the book. It was a perfect, delicate balance.
5 pieces of eye candy
Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south- west of England and now lives in the slightly arty, slightly quirky city of Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.
Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, baking weird and wonderful sweets, learning to play the ukulele, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.
Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.
Social Media links
Twitter:@missannamartin or https://twitter.com/missannamartin