OS: Welcome to Ari McKay, author of Letters from Cupid!
Hi, everyone! I’m the McKay half of Ari McKay. I’m stopping by as part of our blog tour celebrating the release of our Valentine’s Day book, Letters from Cupid. Thanks very much to Open Skye Reviews for hosting us!
Ari and I collaborate by each writing one of the main characters. In this book, I wrote Macon Pinney, who is a tenured professor in creative writing. He’s also introverted and over forty. I don’t think it’s all that unusual to see introverted characters in romance novels of any type (maybe because many writers are introverts and we write what we know?). Lead characters who are over forty do seem to be a bit rarer, however.
Both of our leads in this book – Macon and Derek – are older. Macon is forty-two, and Derek is almost forty. Many of our characters skew older, actually; it’s rare for us to have a lead who is under twenty-five. They tend to be thirty and up.
The reason for this is probably because we’re Women of a Certain Age ourselves, so we’re comfortable writing characters with – shall we say – more life experience under their belts. Part of it might also be a little subconscious pushback against the youth-oriented culture we live in.
Or in my case, maybe not so subconscious! Ari and I watch TV and movies together via chat, and recently, we were watching a sci fi show that has a pretty diverse cast, but of course there was a quirky teenager thrown in the mix. As soon as I saw the character, my comment to Ari was, “Dear TV show writers, I know our culture is obsessed with youth, but we don’t actually need a teenager shoehorned into every show ever made.”
There’s also a double standard at play. Aging men are called silver foxes while aging women are encouraged to use all manner of expensive products and undergo plastic surgery to maintain the illusion of youth.
Which is why I enjoyed writing Macon, who wears bowties and isn’t buff. He may be older and an introvert, but he’s the one who can rev Derek’s engine like no other man Derek has dated.
But even with the double standard of attractiveness, there are people who think that once you reach a certain age, you’re no longer allowed to be sexy or sexual, no matter how you identify gender-wise. Like your libido shuts down once you get a mortgage and start investing in a 401K. But I’m here to say that’s not true! You may grow older, but you don’t have to grow up, and age doesn’t necessarily change who you are or what you enjoy doing.
Ari and I still attend sci fi conventions. We’re still geeks who love Star Wars and Star Trek, and we dress up in costumes because it’s still fun. I have Funko Pop figurines on my bookshelves, which are full of fantasy, horror, and some sci fi – and my first edition AD&D Players Handbook that I bought when I was in junior high school right next to the shiny new 5e handbook.
So never let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t do something you enjoy just because you’ve hit (or passed) a certain birthday. You can level up your druid in World of Warcraft and maintain a healthy investment portfolio. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
And besides, the truth is, you’ll never really get the hang of Adulting no matter how old you are. My eighty-year-old great-aunt used to talk about “the old people” at her church, which I think perfectly illustrates the idea that age isn’t a number, it’s a state of mind.
Some of us might look like we’re Responsible Adults, and for the most part, maybe we are. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t also binge-watching Stranger Things (season two can’t get here fast enough!) or planning our next cosplay outfit for an upcoming convention.
Thanks again to Open Skye for hosting, and I hope you enjoy Letters from Cupid, which will be available from Dreamspinner Press on February 14th!
After breaking up with his partner, English professor Dr. Derek Chandler feels like a failure who will never win at romance. His aloof colleague, Dr. Macon Pinney, disagrees and pens an anonymous note of encouragement to Derek, which he signs “Cupid.” Thus begins an exchange of correspondence, a courtship through words where the two men find out they have a great deal in common. Meanwhile, Derek reaches out to Macon, not knowing Macon is his anonymous pen pal. Derek reveals through his letters that someone close by has piqued his interest. Could he mean Macon—or has Macon missed his opportunity and lost Derek to another man?
Perhaps the time has come for Cupid to put in an appearance, and when better to do so than Valentine’s Day?
Barnes & Noble:
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.
Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.
McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ari-Mckay/266185570179748