#AuthorInterview – Exile, Haffling Book 2 by @CharlesAtkinsMD #MMROMANCE

OJ He Say! Interviews Author Caleb James

OJ:

You have quite an extensive book portfolio and yet these are the only ones, I believe, that are fantasy books and have M/M romance as a major theme. Fantasy isn’t something I’d necessarily expect from a Yale University faculty member, but here I am inexplicably caught in your masterful storytelling. Can you tell us a bit about this?

CJ:

First, thank you for having me on your blog and for the props. So don’t let the Yale thing derail you. It’s where I did my psychiatric residency, and they’ve allowed me to stay on the volunteer faculty, I suspect because of the amount I publish.
Now let’s talk fantasy. I love this stuff, but I’m aware it’s not for everyone. That’s why I do these books as Caleb James and not as Charles Atkins. My novels as Charles Atkins, with the exception of a wicked parable about doctors and the drug companies entitled, Go To Hell (Argo Navis), don’t veer from reality.
But starting with Haffling (DSP Publications), I wanted to mix things up. In this trilogy I keep one foot in a gritty New York story while the other slips on the banana peel and tumbles into the upside-down world of the Sidhe.

OJ:

Having read Haffling and now Exile, it’s obvious that you’ve done some research on this topic. Is this a new interest or have you always been interested in the fey?

CJ:

I love mythology. It started when I was a child. I devoured Bullfinch’s Mythology, and would prowl my hometown library and area museums for anything and everything. It started with the Greeks and the Romans, spread to the Norse, the Egyptians, the Incas, and hasn’t stopped. In one of my Charles Atkins’ thrillers, Cadaver’s Ball (St. Martin’s Press), which is set firmly in the real world, I dove deep into Amerindian folklore and shamanistic medicine. It’s a trippy read. And in Dark Blood (DSP Publications), a creepy paranormal thriller with a gay protagonist, I used Rom folklore and a bit of the Brother’s Grimm for much of the fantasy element.
So as I thought about worlds that have not been overdone, the fey and Irish folklore seemed a rich and beautiful source to mine. All you have to do is read WB Yeats’ The Stolen Child, and you know you’re going to sob… a lot. Yeats was my inspiration for the general feel of these books, where the music of the prose is more important—to me at least—than perfect grammar. Although I advise aspiring writers to learn the rules before they break them.

OJ:

Haffling pulled more than a mild trigger for me with the schizophrenia, and yet I kept on and was handsomely rewarded for persevering with the story. I’ve heard it say that schizophrenics can tap into alternate universes? Any thoughts?

CJ:

The opening of Haffling sees sixteen-year-old Alex Nevus, his little sister, Alice, and their mother with schizophrenia. He’s a kid thrust into a miserable situation, and he’ll either figure things out or bad stuff will happen to him and Alice. I drew on my experience as a psychiatrist when I painted his world and their life. I’ve spent my career working with people with serious mental illness and substance use problems. I talked with thousands of people who hear voices that others can’t. Schizophrenia, when the science finally figures things out, will likely be a variety of brain anomalies. This is where those of us who don’t have schizophrenia need to take a step back and consider the following: Our brain is the organ through which we perceive reality. If part of that reality includes hearing voices and/or seeing things that others can’t, does that make it less real? You might not hear the clatter in my head, but don’t tell me it doesn’t exist. Which is of course what the medical community does.
As to alternative universes, I haven’t run across any, though I have met people who were convinced that their friends and families had been replaced by aliens or doubles (Capgras Syndrome). To me, psychosis is like listening to a radio tuned to a different station. In the case of Alex’s mother, Marilyn, her madness has a unique origin that factors heavily into the mythology of these books. She was broken by travelling between the human and fey worlds. The price of her passage was her mind.

OJ:

Finn Hulain. Wow! Now there’s a character I can sink my teeth into. Tell us more about him and when can we expect his story.

CJ:

Yes. Well you can’t name a character Finn Hulain in a book using Irish folklore and not suspect that there will be more. Or as my friend and editor Liz commented, it’s like naming a character Clay Golum in a book with Jewish themes—you know he’s going to get all big and Frankensteiny. Just as I pulled Liam Summer, a not-so-likeable character from book one, and cast him as the star in Exile, a book about redemption, Fire Marshal Finn Hulain, gets front stage in book three. Hound will be the third and final in this trilogy. Earlier today I sent the manuscript to the publisher.

OJ:

Where to from here? Any more M/M romance books in our future? Please say yes.

CJ:

I’ve got two books floating around in my head right now. One will feature my two female detectives, Lil and Ada. The last of their outings, Done to Death (Severn House) was a recent finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. The other will be set in the real world, and might be a medical thriller with a gay protagonist. Something cat-and-mouse and similar to Dark Blood, albeit without the Nazi-doctor, heads-in-jars stuff. And yes, the romance line matters. I just happen to like my hearts and flowers with a bit of blood.

OJ

I’d like to thank Caleb James for stopping by and chatting with us. We sincerely look forward to more of his wonderful writing.

CALEB JAMES

Caleb James is a pen name used by psychiatrist and author Charles Atkins, MD for his paranormal fiction. He lives and works in Connecticut, is a member of the Yale volunteer faculty, loves a flea market, gives a lot of workshops (including experiential writer’s trainings), and lives with his partner and too many cats.

Links:

Web site: www.charlesatkins.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/charles.atkins.37
Caleb James Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Caleb-James-536765356387453/
Twitter: @CharlesAtkinsMD
EXILE AT Amazon: Exile
EXILE at Barnes & Noble: Exile
DSP Publication link: Exile

#BookReview – Exile, Haffling Book 2 by Caleb James @CharlesAtkinsMD #MMROMANCE


Rating: 5.0 stars

BLURB

Liam Summer, with the face of an angel and the body of an underwear model, has done bad things. Raised as the whore and cat’s paw of a murderous fairy queen, his beauty has ruined many. When Queen May’s plot to unite and rule the fairy and human realms fails, Liam wakes naked and alone in a Manhattan building on fire. Unaware the blaze is arson, and he’s its intended victim, he prepares to die.

Enter ax-wielding FDNY firefighter Charlie Fitzgerald, who Liam mistakes for an ogre assassin. As Charlie rescues Liam, he realizes the handsome blond has nowhere to go. So he does what he, and his family, have always done—he helps.

As for Queen May, trapped in the body of a flame-throwing salamander, she may be down, but she’s not out. Yes, she failed the last time, but Liam, and others, will pay. She knows what must be done: possess a haffling, cross into the human world engorged with magic, and become queen and Goddess over all.

As Liam realizes the danger they all face, he discovers unexpected truths. That even the most wicked are not beyond redemption, and that love—true love—is a gift even he can receive.

EXILE – HAFFLING BOOK 2

To be honest I’m not one for fantasy usually, however after having read Dark Blood by Caleb James and then seeing that he’d gone on and written other fantasy I just had to give this a whirl, and I am so glad I did. Mr. James, AKA Charles Atkins, weaves an incredible tale of fantasy in the modern world that, for me, makes it all work wonderfully. By bringing the age old stories of the fey in to the 21st Century one can see the plausibility of such happenings. To do it as masterfully as he does? That’s an awesome talent! One bit of advice: read Haffling, the first book in this series, as Exile follows the happenings in book 1.

THE CHARACTERS

Liam Summer:

The man, who had to be about his age, in his early twenties, with matted blond hair that glinted gold from the reflected flashers on the streets and the shoots of fire that surrounded them, met Charlie’s gaze. Even in the dim light, Charlie marveled at the color of his eyes— purple. Guy’s naked in an abandoned apartment, wearing colored contacts. Stop staring at him, Charlie. “Come on. Can you stand?” Is he totally naked? Shit! He averted his eyes. Don’t be a perv… It didn’t help that, even covered in soot and sawdust, He’s perfect. Like someone out of an underwear ad, only… no underwear.

Charlie Fitzgerald:

For an instant he couldn’t recognize the tall man, but he knew those blue eyes, the dark hair matted to his scalp from the helmet Liam had originally taken to be an ogre’s head…
He’s not hurt, just filthy. His face, hands, and arms were smudged with soot, and his thick wavy hair clung matted to his scalp from the Kevlar hood of his respirator.


THE STORY

Exile, Haffling Book 2, is the story of Liam Summer, a gorgeous, blond fey whose gift is the ability to glamor others. May, Queen of The Fey, enslaves him as a youth after she kills and eats his parents and uses him as her tool to glamor others so she can eat them, as that is how she maintains her powers.

Exile picks up at the end of Haffling as Liam escapes the world of the fey, the Unsee, into the realm of humans. Even though May is being held prisoner by her sister Lizbeta she is steadily regaining her powers and re-starting her attempted conquest of the human realm. May attempts to kill Liam by sending a ball of fairy fire after him and instead ends up burning down the condo where Liam has entered the human realm. As the building is burning down Charlie Fitzgerald, a hunky, tall black Irish firefighter, rescues Liam and falls head over heels for him.

As I don’t do spoilers I’ll leave it for you to continue with this wonderfully written story of gorgeous, magical fey and hunky Irish firefighters. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

THE WRITING

Mr. James’ writing, AKA Charles Atkins, is simply, superbly flawless. This is the third book I’ve read by him and I can honestly say the experience is consistently flawless. It’s that rare ability to develop the characters and build a universe with such laser-like precision that allows the reader to totally and completely immerse him/herself in the story and go along with the ride.

THE AUTHOR

Caleb James is an author, member of the Yale volunteer faculty, practicing psychiatrist, and clinical trainer. He writes both fiction and nonfiction and has published books in multiple genres and under different names. Writing as Charles Atkins, he has been a Lambda Literary finalist. He lives in Connecticut with his partner and four cats.

THE DISCLAIMER

I would like to thank Caleb James and Dream Spinner Press for providing OJ He Say! with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Published by DSP Publications
5032 Capital Circle SW, Suite 2, PMB# 279
Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886 USA
www.dsppublications.com

Exile © 2017 Caleb James.

ISBN: 978-1-63533-260-5
Digital ISBN: 978-1-63533-261-2

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