In Dirty Mind, Horvat brings a fresh approach to storytelling
My biggest beef with romance is knowing on page one how it ends. Why watch a movie if you know how it ends? Why read a book if you know how it ends? I know millions of people do. I used to be one of them, but I just grew tired of the same old, same old. I mean why throw a tornado or a shark at a couple? It doesn’t matter what you do, in a romance, the ending is a given. When Roe asked me to read her first book, published by gay romance giant Dreamspinner, I agreed because we are friends, not because I was really wanting to read it. I don’t regret reading Layover, it is a good book, a very good story. Would her second book, released just two months later be any different? I was curious because DSP had refused it. So had another romance publisher, which is why I directed Roe to my publisher, Beaten Track. They are open-minded to all sorts of great diverse storytelling. And they took Roe under their wings, and Dirty Mind is published today, September 1.
Another romance, yet (according to the refusal letters) not romantic enough. I was intrigued. The story is interesting, and whether it’s the age difference (my husband and I are also exactly twelve years apart) or whether it’s Horvat’s storytelling I don’t know, but I gobbled that story up in one go. And even though it has the obligatory happy ending, it is a refreshing take on romance. See, Roe spent the first tender years of their life behind the Iron curtain in what is now Czechia before moving to Sweden a few years ago. Swedish storytelling tends to be, how can I put this politely, fifty shades of gray? No pun. Maybe it’s because most of what we produce here is either Bergman style suicide inducing drama or simply run of the mill crime novels. I don’t know what the mood is like in Czechia, beyond what I hear from Roe (and that’s pretty depressing as well). The mood of Horvat’s writing reflects that. It’s raw, it’s in your face, it’s open, honest to a fault, brutal even at times, but never crossing that line that would make it offensive or off-putting. It’s simply realism at its best.
Our two protagonists in Dirty Mind, Alexander and Christian are very realistic and as believable as fictional characters get. I saw a great deal of myself in Christian, my own suffering at the hands of my mom (although differently), the life of being away from home to study, forming friendships, being an outsider (a six on the Kinsey scale, too.) I also had a best friend who was a great deal older at that time, and yeah, we even tried to see if we could make it work. We did not. Maybe that’s where life differs from fiction. Although my friend was very different from Alex, nonetheless, plenty of points of recognition.
The story is extremely well-edited, as I’ve come to expect from Beaten Track, and the ARC I was given to read was as stable as many a software on release day. I’m sure by Friday’s release it’ll be perfect. Now I know you readers probably think “what’s the catch?”, and quite frankly there is none, at least none major. Because even if I felt that Roe’s description of a thirty-year-old as “older man” and Alex’s thirty-year crisis felt a bit over the top, the fact is that there IS such a thing as the great gay death at the age of thirty. Many men eighteen to twenty-five will never even look at anyone above thirty, quite simply because they’re “old”… I remember being like that myself, and the pain when I crossed the chasm myself and how suddenly the only (younger) guys who’d approach you were looking for a daddy. Sadly this is a bit of a thing. Gay men can be very ageist, sadly. Thanks for that reminder, Roe…
If you like to read great romance storytelling, need that happy ending in the end, but look for a fresh story, a fresh approach to romance, Roe’s your author. Two great stories out of two. It can’t get any better… Dirty Mind releases today Friday, September 1 from Beaten Track Publishing. It’s currently available for $0.99 on Amazon, so why not take advantage of a dirty cheap deal? This book is worth so much more!
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