Growing up the outcast in an infamous family of psychics, Nate Black never learned how to control his empath abilities. Then after five years without contact, his estranged twin turns up dead in New York City. The claim of suicide doesn’t ring true, especially when a mysterious vision tells Nate it was murder. Now his long-hated gift is his only tool to investigate.
Hitching from his tiny Texas town, Nate is picked up by Trent, a gorgeous engineer who thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. The heat that sparks between them is instant and intense, and Nate ends up trusting Trent with his secrets—something he’s never done before. But once they arrive in the city, the secrets multiply when Nate discovers an underground supernatural community, more missing psychics, and frightening information about his own talent.
Nate is left questioning his connection with Trent. Are their feelings real, or are they being propelled by abilities Nate didn’t realize he had? His fear of his power grows, but Nate must overcome it to find his brother’s killer and trust himself with Trent’s heart.
- Insight is the beginning of a new series for you, The Community. Where do you see this series going? What is upcoming with it?
The Community is going to be very different from my contemporary romance series, Five Boroughs, in that it’s planned to wrap up as a trilogy. There will still be side characters who get their own points of view and romantic arc in the two sequels, but the over arcing plot and conflicts will resolve in book 3. I like to think of it as a three-act play—the first book is when the main character discovers the existence of this psychic community, the second book is when characters who’ve long since been in it confront the shady elements of it, and the third book is when everyone comes together to do something about it.
- One of the main character’s, Nate, is described as an outcast in a psychic family. Where did the idea for his story come from?
I really wanted to write about a clan of psychics who were eerily powerful, and the more I thought about the potential the more I realized how dysfunctional that would be. These people grew up together, afraid of the outside world and anyone who would find out about their gifts, while always being inside each other’s heads? Not to mention the various coping mechanisms they’d use to deal with all the power and dysfunction. In short, I decided to make my powerful psychic clan a mess in a small town where that reputation would attach to Nate. So, he tried to disassociate from them because of their reputation but also because he wanted to be far away from how twisted they all could be.
- According to the synopsis, Trent thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. How easy, or difficult, is it to develop a character who is exudes a sarcastic nature? How do you integrate that skepticism into the character’s personality?
Trent is an engineer, so he’s skeptical by nature. You can’t just tell him “psychics exist” or “I think my brother was murdered” without him picking apart your claim and trying to figure out how all the parts come together. He wants proof. He wants to figure out a way to make it real. And once he gets what he needs to believe it, he’ll put together an action plan to deal with it. That’s why he and Nate work so well together. Nate is very emotionally invested in the mystery, the existence of a psychic community, whereas Trent is a step back and can look at it all objectively. His sarcasm is just a part of who he is, and also a way for him to make light of how ludicrous he thinks it is even after he accepts the truth. So, you can expect a lot of X-Men jokes.
- What is one ritual you have to perform before, during or after writing that might surprise your readers?
This isn’t very interesting, but I tend to reread my draft a lot while I’m writing it. Sometimes I have to reassure myself that the pacing is good or that it’s compelling because once I’m knee deep in a draft, it all looks like junk to me. I also have an alpha reader who gives me feedback on that type of thing if I just can’t see it clearly.
- Always have to have a fun question to finish. 🙂 You and Megan Erickson are on opposite sides of a jail door. Who is behind lock and key, and why?
LOL I’m definitely behind the lock and key, and she’s smuggling me pizza and Nilla Wafers as I serve my time.
Having read quite a few of Santino‘s books, I was looking forward to this one, and seeing his writing from a different perspective. This was not going to be his normal snarky contemporary romance with dark tones and a gritty New York scene. Except, it kind of was.
Insight involves paranormal, which got me hooked in right away. Why would someone who had some sort of powers want to hide them, not use them, and even more, be in a dark hole in his life? How does that happen to someone who can see things, have an insight into others’ lives?
We do get some answers in Insight, but not the full picture yet, which I quite liked. I enjoyed knowing that there was more coming, layers that we will be uncovering in the next two books.
Poor Nate had just a crap life, and no prospects of it looking up when his twin brother dies, and after seeing it from his brother’s point of view, decides to go to NYC to investigate. Trent, meanwhile, an engineer at heart that needs to see proof of something before he will believe it, was the perfect snarky foil to down, but not out, Nate.
What made the story so compelling, in addition to all the intrigue and suspense, was the team that Nate and Trent made. Even with Nate’s concerns that he was using his empath abilities to have his feelings mirrored by Trent, they had each other’s backs, and knew that even with all the half-truths, questions and intensity, they could count on the other person to be there. How that was slowly built over the course of their drive across the country is one of Santino’s greatest gifts as a storyteller, his ability to build his characters into living, breathing people with varying interests, flaws, and personalities, yet be the puzzle piece the other character needs to complete the picture.
I’m looking forward to seeing how book 2, Oversight, brings the arc around to Holden, and somehow makes us want an HEA for him. 🙂
4 pieces of eye candy
Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twentysomething, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.
Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of LGBT fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.
Connect with Santino:
- Website: www.santinohassell.com
- Blog: santinohassell.com/blog
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/santinohassellbooks
- Twitter: twitter.com/SantinoHassell
- Tumblr: thatdudesantino.tumblr.com/
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/santinohassell/
- Instagram: instagram.com/santinohassell
- Google+: plus.google.com/u/0/+SantinoHassell/
- Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/santino_hassell
To celebrate the release of Insight, one lucky winner will receive $20 in Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 18, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!