Sunset at Pencarrow
Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell
Title: Sunset at Pencarrow
Author: Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell
Series: World of Love | New Zealand
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 6/7/2017
Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.
Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.
World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.
Hello! Lou Sylvre here with co-author Anne Barwell, glad and grateful to have a spot on Alpha Book Club for our Sunset at Pencarrow blog tour. Before we get started on anything else, I want to remind you we’ve got a Rafflecopter giveaway going on, so be sure to enter. (And you can do so more than once!) Now here’s what’s in store today:
We figured we hadn’t had enough fun with these characters writing the book—a Dreamspinner World of Love novella—so we put them in the interview hot seat. I asked Kiwi character Nate Dunn some probing questions and Anne acted as his secretary, taking down his answers verbatim. Vice-versa for American Rusty Beaumont—Anne asked, I took the role of stenographer. Fun, yes, but Rusty and Nate took the matter seriously.
Lou: How old are you? Where were you born, and when is your birthday? I know it’s cliché, but what’s your sign, and do you think you live up to the astrology? (Please explain.)
Nate: I was born in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, on 4th April 1984 which makes me 34 next birthday. I’ve never been one for astrology so, although I knew I was an Aries, I had to go look up my sign. I get the creative thing—I’m passionate about my art, and I guess perhaps I can be a little strong-willed at times, but I’m not too sure about being spontaneous, although I’ve done a few things lately which were. Rusty’s inspirational that way. Aries is a fire sign, yet I’ve never really considered myself that way. I’m usually a steady kind of guy, although I do lose my cool quickly if someone upsets or threatens someone I care about. I’ll fight for the important stuff, but I’m not great at waiting and can get a bit impatient. This is a hard question, and readers might need to decide just how self-aware I am—or not—when they read the story Anne and Lou wrote me into.
Anne: As this is good question to get things started…How old are you? Where were you born, and when is your birthday? I know it’s cliché, but what’s your sign, and do you think you live up to the astrology? (Please explain.)
Rusty: I was born in Lafayette, Louisiana. My mother was staying with my dad’s parents while he was in Guam for a military training exercise—urban warfare, since the Persia Gulf was heating up at the time. My brothers were young still, and he didn’t want her to be trying to do everything alone, especially since I was on the way. His parents were the best support option, I guess. On my birth certificate, it says I was born September 10th, 1988, so I celebrate on that day, but nobody’s really sure whether it was the 9th or the 10th. Hurricane Florence was going on, it was around midnight, and things were a little crazy, so I ended up being born at home and folks just weren’t watching the clock I guess. Either way, that makes me Virgo, but I don’t know much about that. My mom was pretty avid about Vietnamese Zodiac, though, and according to that, I’m dragon. Usually people expect dragons to succeed in whatever, and to be slow to commit to another person but get hella protective once they (we?) do. Supposedly, dragon people are energetic and sincere. On the other hand they’re stubborn, tend to get stressed now and then, and have a bit of a temper. Hah! My mom thinks I fit that mold to a tee—especially the stubborn and temper part—but I don’t know. To readers, I say, maybe read the story Lou and Anne wrote me into, and then you decide, okay?
Lou: One of the things I enjoyed about writing Sunset at Pencarrow with Anne was learning about some of the fascinating places in New Zealand. In the story, you and Rusty spend some time in a few of your favorite places—Orongorongos, and the beach towns around Eastbourne, and of course Pencarrow Head. But think back when you were a child, if you would please. What was the one place you went with your family that has become a treasured memory? Please tell us a little about the place, as well as what you did while you were there.
Nate: We didn’t go away a lot when I was kid as my dad’s a plumber and owns his own business so didn’t take a lot of time off. One year, though, Mum insisted we have a proper holiday so we stayed in a motel in Raumati Beach, which is near Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast, about an hour’s drive from the Hutt Valley where we lived at the time—and I still live now. Typically, although summer, it rained for the first couple of days so we hung around the motel the first day. Dad taught me how to play chess, and we took Mum shopping to Coastlands—a big shopping mall—and watched videos. Once the weather picked up Dad and I went for some bike rides together while Mum sat on the beach and sketched. Although Dad had always said she was a good artist, it was the first time I realized just how good. I also remember going to Queen Elizabeth Park and visiting the nearby tramway museum. My parents have since bought a house in Otaki which is about half an hour from Raumati, and plan to retire there.
Anne: One of my favorite things about writing Sunset at Pencarrow with Lou was Nate sharing some of the local sites with you. If you and Nate could visit the States together, what would be the one place you’d want to take him, and why?
Rusty: Oh, that’s a great question, but hard to answer. The US is really, really big place and it includes every kind of geology and every kind of people. I can’t narrow it down to one—sorry, but I’ll choose two even though it’s hell to do it. First one, we’d go to Louisiana, including the French Quarter—you know, Cajun and Creole food, Cajun and Zydeco music—but also out into the Jean Lafitte National Park. Wetlands that’ll rival anything New Zealand has, that’s for sure. Wild, still, and beautiful. But California is like a damn wonderland, so we’d have to go there too. The Redwoods, for sure—you get in them trees you feel so small, yet somehow perfect, like those trees have always known you’d come, someday, and they welcome you, as long as you don’t mean the any harm. But then, the entire 800 miles of coastline, the high and low deserts, San Francisco, LA—there’s just so much. Okay, I know I was only supposed to pick one tiny place, but it’s like I once heard this Scottish singer, Jim Malcolm, say in a radio interview, “We have the history, but you (Americans) have the geography.” There’s just so damn much of it. And plus, I didn’t want to choose just one. Reference the word stubborn in my answer to the previous question.
Anne: You and Nate also share several meals together as you’re getting to know each other. What was your favorite food growing up that you’d like to share with Nate (either cooking it yourself or eating out), and what memories does it bring with it?
Rusty: Oh, my all-time forever favorite food is gumbo, the way my granddad made it when I was growing up. Chicken, maybe shrimp, Andouille sausage, tomatoes, and it’s gotta have okra! To make it right, it’s a long process from scratch, but damn is it ever worth it. I could cook it for Nate, and it would be almost as good as pépé used to make, but not quite. (Mom, if you’re reading this, I love your cooking, but I’m trying to be honest, here.)
Lou: It’s clear to me that you love creating art. What childhood experience or influence helped set you on that path? You talked to Rusty about how you’d like to set up a program for youth, teach them and work with them on their art, but in a community program rather than the school system. Why this dream? Please share a little about your vision.
Nate: Watching Mum draw when I was a kid, and her encouragement to give it a go, was a big part of what set me on my current path. She and Dad have always been really supportive. I argued with them about putting my dreams on a backseat for a while when Mum got sick, and told them I could back to it later. Although I worked construction for a bit to help out with the bills, I always came home and sketched what I’d seen in a day. It was my way of keeping my spirits up when the future didn’t always look good.
My experience then is partly what influenced my dream to help others. I’ve seen a lot of kids wandering aimlessly, hanging around the streets, and getting in with the wrong crowd. I’m hoping I can help them unlock their potential, and give them their own dream to aim for. A lot of these kids drop out of school and/or don’t achieve through formal schooling so I figure having another option where art is encouraged as something fun and creative instead of part of their education might be the way to go.
Anne: I know you spent some time in the Marines. What made you decide to join up, and why the Marines?
Rusty: Well, my dad was a marine, one of my older brothers was a marine, my mother’s father was a marine. It just seemed like the thing to do. But I didn’t go career like my dad grandpa, because I fell in love, and had plans. Turns out that was a good life choice even though those plans didn’t come to pass.
Lou: What’s it like in New Zealand being gay? Clearly you’re not completely in the closet, but do you feel safe everywhere being out? To complicate things, Rusty is a person of color with both African American and Asian roots. Are mixed-race couples common and accepted in New Zealand? What kind of reaction(s) do you expect from family? Friends? Strangers?
Nate: I like to think that we Kiwis are accepting of others, and fairly laid back about that kind of stuff, although—like most societies—we have our fair share of homophobes and bigots. Mix-raced couples are very common here, and most people don’t bat an eyelid over it. We’re a multicultural society, and our gene pool is a very mixed one. Rusty’s a great guy and he makes me happy, and that’s what my parents will be focused on, not that he’s a person of color with Asian roots and from the US. Friends are going to have much the same reaction. I’ve been out as gay for years so anyone who knows me won’t be surprised to see us together, although they’ll want to know how we met. Strangers… well, I figured they have the potential to be friends but, if they don’t like me, or Rusty, or don’t approve of us together, that’s their problem for whatever reason why.
Anne: You’re obviously well-travelled, first as a Marine, and then working in tech graphic arts. What about New Zealand appeals to you—apart from Nate?
Rusty: Hm. I can’t lie, Nathaniel Dunn is my big attraction. And I love the US, both as my home country and a beautiful and diverse place—though the political atmosphere right now sucks. And I still have family here. Long story short, if I were to stay in New Zealand, I’d miss this place. But on the other hand, New Zealand feels very comfortable to me. I like that it has all the different kinds of terrain and geography—as does the states—but in a smaller package. I like the people—the hospitality reminds me of my family, and I’m not sure if I’m deceived, but I feel like there’s attitude of tolerance. Honestly, I haven’t traveled much to speak of. Traveling as a Marine wasn’t a great experience for the most part, as I was generally in places where there was fighting. I’ve been around in the States, but New Zealand is my first experience of “other,” really. I like new things, but I also like that it’s not so new I feel completely lost.
Lou: Does New Zealand have marriage equality? Do you think marriage is for you? (Whether yes or no, tell us why.) If you do want marriage in your future, do you think Rusty is the one? Because?
And just for fun, dress the two of you up for your imaginary wedding, tell us where you’d go on your honeymoon, and what you’d do for your tenth anniversary.
Nate: Same-sex marriage has been legal in New Zealand since 2013. I’d never really thought of marriage because up to now I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life with someone. I really like the idea of growing old with Rusty, and us being married, but as for taking that step—it depends what he wants to do. I know he was engaged, but… that wasn’t with me, you know? But if he wanted to… yeah he’s definitely the one. Being with him makes me feel as though everything is right with my world, and that I’ve finally found my place in life.
So… planning a wedding…
I’d like something intimate with both our families, and close friends. My mum would kill me if we didn’t have it in Wellington, but I figure if Rusty’s side couldn’t come here, we’d repeat it for them in the U.S. I’d love to have the ceremony outdoors, but with a backup plan in case the weather doesn’t behave. For our honeymoon I figure somewhere neither of us has been before, where we can enjoy nature and each other. I’ve seen advertisements for B&Bs in the Marlborough Sounds which come with a private sandy beach surrounded by wilderness, and stunning sunsets. Perfect!
For our ten-year anniversary, there’s only one place I’d want to go with Rusty—to Pencarrow to enjoy a sunset.
Thank you, Alpha Book Club, for hosting us! And thank you everyone for reading. I hope you’ll join for other stops on the tour. Go to Tour Links to see the complete schedule and links to the blogs. See you around!
About Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She works in a library, is an avid reader and watcher across genres, and is constantly on the lookout for more hours in her day. Music often plays a part in her stories, and although she denies being a romantic at heart, the men in her books definitely are. Anne has written in several genres—contemporary, fantasy, historical, and SF— and believes in making her characters work for their happy endings.
Lou Sylvre loves romance with all its ups and downs, and likes to conjure it into books. The romantics on her pages are men who fall hard for each other, end up deeply in love, and often save each other from unspeakable danger. It’s all pretty crazy and very sexy. Among other things, Lou is the creator of the popular Vasquez and James series, which can be found at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and many other online vendors.