Special Guest: Darien Cox on Safe in Your Fire

One of my dearest writer friends is m/m author Darien Cox. We started at the same publisher years ago, and I was hooked as a fangirl when I read his first book. He just came out with a sexy, intriguing new sci-fi romance novel, which I devoured in record time and couldn’t help asking some questions. And I’ve got answers for readers dying for more!


Q: You usually write contemporary romance. What made you go with sci-fi this time?
A: I’ve always been a closet nerd, read a lot of books about various conspiracies etc. just for fun. So after I put out Victim of Love last year I got a little blocked, and ultimately a friend asked me…well, what do you love? I was like…um, cheeseburgers? Oh, and creepy otherworldly stuff, yeah, that’s it! I was hesitant to go there at first, but my editor, Skyla Dawn Cameron, reminded me that art is risk, and that I could still use my own voice and a contemporary setting while adding the weird. So I said screw it, let’s have some fun. I think it still very much feels like a Darien Cox book, it’s still a pretty modern romance, just with some oogedy boogedy weaved into the plot. The best part is it worked – I’m unblocked and already partway into a MM non- creepy contemp novel I’m gonna put out before the next Village book, so it’s a good mix for me, alternating between the two.

Q: All the side-characters have rich, detailed lives even though they’re not the focus–do you already know who will get their own book?
A: Ultimately I want them all to get their own books, but I have decided on a certain character for the next one. It’s going to be fun to get deeper into all their backstories while rocking their little worlds and getting them naked.

Q: Without giving any spoilers, do you have more mysteries to explore with the scifi angle after explaining some of it in this book?
A: And it’s so hard not to talk about spoilers! But yes, definitely. The great part about what’s lurking around the village is that it’s still such an unknown despite what’s been revealed. Even though I’ve used some existing concepts, I really wanted to get across that when it comes to this stuff, bottom line is NOBODY FUCKING KNOWS, so my goal is to keep it surprising. While writing this book, I tried to really open myself up and let the story tell itself, so to speak, and was happy the details that emerged managed to surprise even me, so there’s gonna be some crazy stuff coming down the pipe for our village crew.

Q: How did you go about constructing the village itself to be its own character?
A: Well first, I’m happy you see it that way! The village, while ultimately becoming a very real and unique place to me, started out as a combination of places I’ve spent time, places that are colorful, a little off-beat, and give you a sense of self-containment, like their own little world. There’s a bit of Provincetown in there, a little Hull, Massachusetts, and a dash of Burlington, Vermont. Places that have that kind of island feel where if you go on the off-season you’ll see the real locals and feel the pulse of the place and what’s brimming beneath the surface. So I basically put all that in a blender and then used the characters and the story to mutate it into its own animal. As far as the New York State setting, I’ve had some awesome experiences in the mountains up there, and it’s definitely a place that pops up a lot in the non-fiction realm, in terms of ‘I had a weird experience in this place’, so I took that and used a speculative eye to expand upon it.

Q: What made you decide to add cameos of Ben and Peter from Seducing Professor Coyle? It was nice to see them again.
A: It was a combination of circumstance and laziness! At the start, Rudy needed help with his computer, and I thought, ‘If only Ben LeClair was here’. Then I thought…oh wait, he can be. BECAUSE I AM GOD HERE!

Q: Can you tell us what the non-creepy contemporary romance you’re working on is about?
A: It’s a forbidden fruit story, which is pretty much my favorite theme, and it’s going to be very, very, nasty. In a good way.

Q: When can we expect The Village Book Two?
A: Shouldn’t be too long! The ball-ache of writing the first one was setting the scene and creating the village and the characters. Now that they’re in place, I’ll bang the second one out fast, already got most of it outlined. So get ready to whip out that #smutordie hashtag!


Thank you for visiting, Darien!


SafeinYourFire-KindleWelcome to The Village – A new gay romance series with a sci-fi twist from best selling author Darien Cox.

When asked to locate and interview an off-the-grid former child star for a magazine feature, novice journalist Rudy Sansone thinks he’s getting yet another demeaning assignment from his boss. But finding ‘Baby James’ Waterman proves to be a personal and professional challenge, as the elusive, hostile, and surprisingly sexy James is nothing that Rudy expected. But Rudy’s scrappy motivation to get the story at all costs plunges him into the mountain community of Singing Bear Village, where he senses strange and frightening secrets simmering beneath the surface. But what’s simmering between Rudy and his reluctant interview subject is something more carnal and heated, and his desire to be consumed by it clouds his judgement when warning bells urge him to flee the village and never look back.

Buy on Amazon, ARe, and Nook.


Talking about GUYS ON THE SIDE with Darien Cox

Do you like good-looking men and hot books like I do? Have I got a treat for you. Please join me in welcoming my partner-in-smut, Darien Cox (who I do writing marathons with using the Twitter hashtag #smutordie).

Darien writes scorching hot m/m books and recently released his sequel to Guys on Top, called Guys on the Side.


Q) Guys on the Side is your first sequel, correct? And as I recall, you stated on your blog that you’d decided NOT to write a sequel to Guys on Top…so what changed?

A) Yes, I did say I’d never write it! After Guys on Top came out last year I was all blubbery with postpartum book sadness and wanted to continue with the characters, but at the time I didn’t have an angle, it hadn’t yet occurred to me to make it all about Corey. I didn’t want to add conflict to Doug and Stewart’s life because they’d gone through so much to get together I couldn’t bear it. So what changed is that Corey started speaking to me again so I decided to give his story a go, see what he had to say, which turned out, was quite a lot.

Q) Did you find it more difficult writing a sequel as opposed to a brand new book with fresh characters, or was it easier because they were familiar to you? 

A) It definitely flowed more easily because I knew the characters, so they had a lot of life in them already. But because I brought new characters into it and a whole new plotline it was still a challenge getting all the pieces to fit.

Q) With the first book, Guys on Top, there were a lot of readers who strongly disliked Corey. Did this influence your decision to write his story at all? Did you see it as a risk?

A) That’s true, some people really hated him, and let me know how strongly they felt! I’ve never had such conflicting feedback about a character before, it was kind of interesting, split down the middle between those who loved him and those who wanted to lynch him in the town square. I loved him of course, but certainly understood when people didn’t, he WAS quite the antagonist.

 But I have a lot of extroverted, wiseass friends like Corey. I’m personally a shy, more subdued type of person so I think I’m drawn to that opposite type, and I know everyone has multiple layers. That’s what I wanted to do with Corey, peel some of the outer layers away and expose his insides. I didn’t see it as a risk because I don’t allow myself think that way, I need to write what I’m feeling, and I was feeling Corey, his story wanted to be told.

Q) Introducing Angelo as a love interest for Corey transformed Guys on the Side into a ‘gay for you’ story. What made you decide to introduce this dynamic into Corey’s life?

A) I had to find something that would set Corey off-balance, which wasn’t easy. Corey had an almost otherworldly quality in the first book, the guy who seemingly has it all, good looks, quick wit, desired by lots of men, always lands on his feet. By introducing a ‘straight’ man into his life was a way to present Corey with something unfamiliar for a change, something to make him second guess himself.

Also, I thought it would be interesting to do a gay for you story where the trepidation exists more in the out gay character than the straight one. They both experience a rebirth – but Angelo’s coming out wasn’t the primary rebirth in the story. We see Corey go through a major change and self-reflection where he experiences a newness that he, with his promiscuous history, has not felt in a very long time. It rejuvenates him, but it also knocks him off kilter.

Q) How realistic do you think Angelo’s scenario is, discovering that he’s attracted to a man at the prime of his life, even though he’s never had such feelings before? 

A) Well, it’s certainly not common, but it’s an enjoyable fantasy. As a reader I dig books with a forbidden fruit quality. Corey has this magnetism that’s almost magical, so I thought it would be fun to have that backfire on him in a way he wasn’t prepared for. Corey’s a bit of a know-it-all, thinks he has the world all figured out, so I wanted to throw something at him that would mess with his confident reality.

Q) The destruction of Corey’s relationship with Zach was pretty intense and dark in places. Do you think including these details made Corey more sympathetic? 

A) That wasn’t my goal, but I suppose it was part of stripping Corey down to a vulnerable place so he could be truly renewed. But I thought it would be a cop-out to just start the story with ‘And then Corey and Zach broke up’ simply to move Corey on to a new romantic venture. As they say, relationships always end badly, otherwise they wouldn’t end. In life, romance is messy, we choose people who end up being bad for us, we stay too long trying to fix the unfixable, and sometimes we lay ourselves bare before someone who ends up figuratively kicking us in the balls. It’s important to me to make a story as real as possible, so I didn’t want to sugarcoat the bad stuff that happens and the things that end to make way for new beginnings.

Q) Do you have plans to continue with this series? 

A) Not at the moment, but as I learned recently, never say never. It could happen. I like beginnings more than continuations, so a fresh angle would have to present itself for me to bring these characters back. Sure, I’d LOVE to just keep writing these guys, but only if it’s a fresh and realistic plot that can carry a whole story. This was a great experience, but I’d say as a rule, sequels are not my thing.

Q) If you had to write a sequel to one of your other books, like say if someone was holding you hostage Annie Wilkes style and forced you to choose one, which book would it be? 

A) Eek! Under pressure I suppose I’d choose Criminal Pleasures, because with the organized crime and the undercover elements and all that, there are certainly things from Brendan and Marc’s past that could come back on them and create conflict and chaos. But I’d prefer to just think of them as living happily ever after, because I’m a sap.

Q) Which of your characters (in any of your books) would you say is the most like you, if any? 

A) Definitely Doug Crandall in the Guys books.

Q) What are you working on now? Can we expect another book from you soon? 

A) I’m beaching it! (After all the snow we got this winter I couldn’t bear anything but a summer setting.) I’m working on a new book in a seaside town, and getting ready to torment a whole new set of characters, which I hope will be ready to meet the world this coming summer.


About Darien Cox: Darien Cox lives in New England, bouncing back and forth between the mountain and the ocean states, anywhere there’s a wave or a ski slope. A nature lover and thrill seeker, he enjoys exploring the intensity, insanity, humor and chaos that accompanies cupid’s arrow, whether it’s love at first sight or just the overwhelming power of lust.

Visit him online at www.dariencox.com