Hey guys~ I hope everyone’s morning has been great so far! I actually have a special post for you all today and it’s one I’m a tad nervous about because I’ve never done one like this before. Yes I’ve done blog tour posts with OWLS but never one where I get the chance to interview an author! So yes. Basically I was given the chance to read this book called The Uncrossing, which I was pretty excited about because it’s boys love! I felt like this site was in some dire need of more BL (I think my last post was like 3 months ago, maybe more) so I saw this and thought, why not? Especially since a lot of the titles I’m following are still on hold
p.s I did receive this e-book for free via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
The Uncrossing by Melissa Eastlake ● Publication Date: October 2, 2017 ● Publisher: Entangled Teen
Luke can uncross almost any curse—they unravel themselves for him like no one else. So working for the Kovrovs, one of the families controlling all the magic in New York, is exciting and dangerous, especially when he encounters the first curse he can’t break. And it involves Jeremy, the beloved, sheltered prince of the Kovrov family—the one boy he absolutely shouldn’t be falling for.
Jeremy’s been in love with cocky, talented Luke since they were kids. But from their first kiss, something’s missing. Jeremy’s family keeps generations of deadly secrets, forcing him to choose between love and loyalty. As Luke fights to break the curse, a magical, citywide war starts crackling, and it’s tied to Jeremy.
This might be the one curse Luke can’t uncross. If true love’s kiss fails, what’s left for him and Jeremy?
I already mentioned this but the biggest reason I decided to check this book out was because it was an lgbtq read and had a gay couple. Reading m/m has been such a huge part of my otaku life (#fujoshi) and I’ve been trying to transfer this into my novel reading as well. Just reading the summary had me excited because not only did we have a gay couple, but there were fantasy elements and I love me a good fantasy!
In The Uncrossing we follow two characters: Luke and Jeremy, both of whom always have trouble expressing the right things at the right times with the people who matter. Jeremy has liked Luke since they were toddlers but can’t get up the courage to just ask him out or even flirt with him because of the power imbalance with their family. Jeremy, on the other, is in an ‘it’s complicated’ relationship with a boy named Max. But as Alexie, Jeremy’s nosy and meddling brother starts to play matchmaker, both Jeremy and Luke start to hang out and attraction sets in. Especially after Luke finds out Jeremy is crossed, and if there’s anything Luke can brag about, it’s the fact that he can uncross ANYTHING
In terms of characters, I really liked Luke. He was very fun, seriously cared about Jeremy, and was overall very charismatic. Jeremy, on the other hand, reminded me a bit about myself. He was very self-conscious, reserved, and often times blew things out of proportion. The latter a trait that really irritated me, but something that I understood because he was in quite the situation (being possibly cursed). As a couple I really thought they were cute and I really wish we’d had more of them being cute and less of them arguing. I get that relationships have good and bad times, but sometimes I felt like Luke and Jeremy didn’t have too many good times
We were also introduced to Camille, who is Luke’s twin sister, and considering how the book started, I thought she was going to be an important character. In a way, she was and wasn’t. She helped Luke out whenever he needed it and like a twin, while Luke could uncross anything, Camille could cross anyone. I really wish we’d had more interactions with her as I thought she was a cool character.
Also, I wanted to note that Luke is black (as is his mother) but it’s only something that is “clearly stated” about halfway through the book. At the beginning he says he’s brown so in my head I just imagined someone tanned, but I might have been way off and the two guys on the cover don’t even look like an interracial couple. Of course, Luke could be light skinned since his father is Ukrainian (I believe it was) but the way it was mentioned halfway through the book made me think that wasn’t the case. Either way, what I mean to say is that it would have been nice to be more explicit about it. The way it is now feels a bit tip-toey
And our last “more important” characters were Alexie and Sergie, both of them Jeremy’s brothers and possible matchmakers. Alexie seemed to clearly try to get Jeremy and Luke together, which immediately made me like him, while Sergie was the more “grown up” of the two (sometimes). There’s actually a scene in the book that made me laugh because he goes to Jeremy’s room and tells them to keep the door open and omg that’s happened to me before!! Of course, as the story progresses, it’s hard to say which of the two brothers I would gravitate towards, as they both have their own secrets buried deep down
In terms of the plot and world…that’s where it gets a bit more complicated. In a way, I would describe it like getting a puzzle labeled 1,000 pieces but finding the box only contained 900. It’s never really explained where the magic comes from, who can do magic, and how to do the magic. And then we had Jeremy, someone who isn’t magically inclined but that could make inanimate objects come to life. In a way, it felt like the book was telling us that anything could be magic as long as you had enough want. I would definitely talk more about this but then I’d be going into spoiler territory as it has to do with Jeremy’s crossing (curse)
Aside from the magic, the plot was very dependant on misunderstandings between our main couple, and themes like adoption, being gay, and even race/interracial relationships, something I had not expected when I picked this up
True Love’s Kiss. One thing I absolutely loved about this book was the fairytale feel and use of true love’s kiss. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know that the whole true love stuff isn’t my cup of tea. Yes, I love it in fanfiction and the soulmate trope is my jam, but in stories, I feel like it’s just not done right. Princess has been asleep for years and only true love’s kiss will wake her? Snow White ate from the poisonous apple and Prince Charming kisses her awake? No. Way. You guys haven’t even known each other!
Here though, I liked how it didn’t work. Yes, it really hit the characters hard but I just loved how that didn’t deter them from loving each other or trying. And I loved how the concept of love and when one knows it’s love is talked about
Overall, I did enjoy this book. It was a quick read (not even hitting the 300 page count I hear), had a cute gay couple, an original fantasy element, fairytale feels, and a failed kiss; all elements I like in my reads. But because we only got 900 pieces of the puzzle and because the whole crossing left me with more questions than answers, I did have to give this book a 3/5 for an OK read
Q. So before we start with this interview, can you tell us a bit about yourself? Maybe a like, a dislike, any secret agendas, your favorite candy bar, tea or coffee, etc?
Hello! I’m Melissa, and it’s wonderful to meet you. I like baking, perfume, and dogs; dislike driving and gendered forms of address; I am terrible at secrets of all kinds, never tell me any; my favorite candy is yes, please, all of the above; tea and coffee are both great, but my daily coffee is non-negotiable.
Q. I heard The Uncrossing is your debut novel, CONGRATS! How are you feeling? What with this blog tour, the loads of people wanting to read this book, and basically everything in general
Thank you so much! It’s definitely nerve-wracking and vulnerable to have a book making its way into the world, but it’s also very exciting. I’m already hearing from people who’ve gotten a chance to read it and wanted to reach out, and that’s been so wonderful.
Q. Ok, shoutout time! Can you tell us how the idea of The Uncrossing came to be and what kept the plot bunnies going? Any fun rituals to get you in the writing mood?
Some of the characters in The Uncrossing came from a completely different book I wrote through a few difficult drafts. When I realized it wasn’t working, I took my favorite characters and rearranged them into a story that would work for their unique personalities and arcs.
When I was drafting this book, I woke up every morning at five a.m. It was really tough, but I made coffee, walked the dog, and then sat down to write before I went to work. I think what made that work so well was having to walk the dog, actually—I’d listen to my playlist and think about what I was going to write before I actually dove into the document, and getting up and moving kept me from falling back asleep on the couch!
Q. I’m curious, the biggest reason I picked this book up was because of the lgbtq elements (in this case m/m), and when I started reading it I realized that this topic and race were really important to the characters and even to the plot. Was this something you wanted to explore/happen from the very beginning or was it something that came to be as you were writing?
I was definitely interested in exploring LGBTQ+ identities from the very beginning—I’m a queer woman, and everything I work on has some element of queer identity in it. The original kernel of the idea for The Uncrossing was a queer fairytale, and what really brought it together was the gendering of a boy with a classic princess curse.
Race came into play a little differently. I’m white, and race is certainly not something I set out to define or manage. But, as I was building the world and magical system, I realized that leaving out people of color or, ultimately, Luke’s voice would have been acts of erasure that I would have found unconscionable.
Q. And since we’re talking about it already, what were you hoping to achieve by having these elements play such a big role? Do you think you achieved your goal?
Though I went about writing those two elements very differently—throughout revision, I was digging deeper and deeper into queer issues to make sure I had said as much as I needed to, and removing and stepping away from racial issues that were outside my lane—those processes had the same goal. I wanted to render something honest to both my characters and my voice. I did my best, and I’m proud of the work, but I don’t know if I can decide whether I achieved that goal. A book is always a conversation, and representation in particular is something that interacts with readers.
Q. Another thing that really pulled me in was the true love’s kiss in the summary of the book. The first thing I thought was, oh a fairytale story! But I was happily surprised to see something I felt was original. But I’m curious, why the use of true love’s kiss?
I also love fairytale elements, and I wanted to mix them up with more different ideas to make something that was uniquely compelling to me. I think of The Uncrossing as a fairytale in an action-movie world. “True love” in particular is so classic, so broad, and so interpretable that it makes for a great story trope—readers come to the book with their own ideas and preconceptions, and as the author, that’s all stuff I can play with.
Q. So now that you’re a published author, what’s the next step? Are you already planning a next novel, are you taking a break?
I don’t have anything new to announce right now, but I am definitely writing! That’s always the next step: just keep writing.
Q. As an aspiring writer myself (and I’m sure many others here) can you give us some tips? On writing or even the publishing and marketing process?
The most classic writing and publishing advice is also the truest: be patient, keep writing, and know that no one can learn your process or style for you. That’s boring, though, so here are some rad writing tips that you won’t find anywhere else:
- If you give people names to animals or places, make sure they follow a different naming convention than your actual people.
- Give each of your POV characters a few preferred narratives or images that they use for their metaphors and similes, rather than whacking up a brand new metaphor every time you need one.
- When you get stuck, make as many characters as possible eat a meal together.
Thank you so much to Melissa Eastlake, Entangled Teen, and Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours for giving me this opportunity! Hopefully I didn’t butcher this post up and don’t forget to check out everyone else’s reviews, interviews, and other goodies (like this Rafflecopter giveaway)! I went ahead and listed everyone in the second week of this blog tour but there are also more links here, as the tour started on October 2nd
- Motif by Tanya – Review
- Fantasticando sui libri – Spotlight
- A Book Addict’s Bookshelves – Spotlight
- Port Jericho – Review
- Highlit Books – Review and Interview
- Chapters through life – Review and Interview
- Confessions of an Ex-ballerina – Guest Post