An Interview With Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin—Authors of “In the Distance”
Today I get to welcome back the duo of Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin. They agreed to let me interview and talk about their newest release, In the Distance. So with that, let’s get started:
Welcome Nikka and Eileen. You’ve been guests before, but remind folks who you are.
Eileen: Hi Andrew! Thanks so much for having us on your blog today! Most people probably don’t know this, but I was lucky enough to meet you at GRL last year. Hearing about your adorable daughter and stealing a dance from you at the party on the last night was an absolute highlight for me J For those who don’t know me, I’m Eileen Griffin and have been writing M/M romance for about two years now. I live in Texas, but I’m happiest when I’m traveling abroad.
Nikka: Hi Andrew! Thanks again for having us on your blog. I haven’t been as lucky as my lovely co-writer Eileen in meeting you in person yet, but hopefully one day! I’ve been writing romance, both solo and co-writing with Eileen for almost two years. I live in weird and wonderful Oregon.
Many of us have written with a co-author for a book or two, but you both are a writing team. Can you tell us a bit how that works?
Eileen: Nikka and I have both written individual works (Nik more so than I have), but we love plotting, outlining, and writing longer stories together. Writing is such a solitary endeavor that it’s comforting to have someone with you throughout the process who shares your ups and downs, your frustrations and triumphs, and who loves your characters as much as you do. As far as how we work together: we both work on the outline by chatting online while we’re outlining since we live in different states, then we typically alternate writing different chapters/characters.
Nikka: There’s something immensely satisfying writing solo but I really love writing as a team. Eileen is definitely the organizational backbone of our duo and is the master plotter and outliner. She keeps us both on track when we start writing and without her outlines I’d be adrift. I agree with her about co-writing keeping us sane. We love the worlds we’ve created and getting the chance to work with her on a daily basis is an honor.
How many books have you written together? Which was the first?
Eileen: Altogether, we’ve co-written five books with Chasing Matt as our first work as a writing duo.
Okay, let’s talk In the Distance. What’s it about?
In the Distance is about two guys, Tyler and Trevor, who are introduced in Book Two of our In the Kitchen Series, In the Fire. Book Two focuses on Tyler being taken under Ethan’s wing (a head chef and one of the MCs in the first two books) after being kicked out of his parents’ house and forced to live on the streets. Trevor, on the opposite end of the spectrum, comes from old money and a good family but almost loses his friendship with Jamie (the other MC of Books One and Two) when he tries to sabotage Jamie’s and Ethan’s relationship. Tyler and Trevor get thrown together in In the Distance and have to navigate the waters of their two completely different worlds and family lives as they discover and act on the growing attraction between them.
Who are the main characters?
Tyler Mitchell: a twenty-year old from Seattle who was homeless and on the streets before Ethan took him under his wing and gave him a job at his restaurant. He’s currently a student at the Culinary Institute of Seattle.
Trevor Pratt: a thirty year-old from New York, Jamie’s best friend, and a total player in the singles scene because he’s anti-commitment after almost losing his best friend (and one-sided love interest for eight years). Trevor is an entertainment manager who doesn’t need to work, hence his lovely nickname of “Trustfund”, but loves what he does and takes pride in doing the best job he can do for his clients.
What part of the book was the most fun to write and why?
Eileen: Nik and I have different answers for this one. My favorite part to write was toward the end of the book when Trevor has to work to earn back Tyler’s trust. There’s a scene where Tyler is working at a community garden and Trevor surprises him there. The truth is Trevor screws up royally in Book Two, In the Fire, and a lot of readers didn’t like him. However, Nikka and I saw beneath his spoiled exterior. For years, Trevor just wanted to find the kind of love that lasts a lifetime. He thought he had found that with Jamie, but Jamie’s heart had always belonged to Ethan. In this garden scene, I wanted to give the readers a view of Trevor’s softer, more vulnerable side, and allow them to see that he wasn’t such a bad guy, after all.
Nikka: My favorite scene was the confrontation between a highly inebriated Trevor and Ethan from In the Raw and In the Fire. I can hear Eileen laughing as she knows that I was relishing writing this scene even before we began the first chapter. These two have a history and they both care about Tyler in different ways, so watching them face off was glorious.
What part made you struggle the most?
Eileen: I think I speak for both of us when I say the hardest scene to write/get through was when Tyler sees his parents again after two long years. We wrote things a parent should never say to their child (or anyone, for that matter) and we had to take breaks while writing it because our hearts were breaking with each word we typed.
Nikka: I second that. Tyler isn’t a child anymore, but no one should have to deal with the type of abandonment and verbal abuse that his parents heaped on him. Love is love, in all its forms and parents have a responsibility to love their kids for all that makes them unique.
Tell us something interesting that is not in the blurb?
Both men grow up emotionally in this story, but Tyler also gains an inner strength he didn’t know he had. After being abandoned by his parents, Tyler is terrified of disappointing his friends and bosses. I think we’re all a little bit like Tyler when we’re young. Sometimes others want for us isn’t always what we want for ourselves, and yet we put our dreams on the back burner for fear of hurting the ones we love with what we (stupidly) think are selfish whims.
Since there is always another story to tell, what are you working on now?
Eileen: Together, we’ve already outlined and started writing the second book in our Cooper Mountain Series, and we’re working on the outline for Book Four of the In the Kitchen Series. Individually, I’m working on a solo piece that is more RomCom-ish than angsty.
Nikka: In addition to the co-written books Eileen mentioned, I’m working on a short story featuring a pastry chef reunited with his old flame.
What have you read lately that most people haven’t read but should?
Eileen: Ooooh! I have soooo many favorites in the M/M genre! The THRDS Series by Charlie Cochet and the Whyborne and Griffin Series by Jordan Hawk are two of my all-time favorite series, but I’d also have to recommend the Don’t Series by Jack Pyke. Fair warning, they’re dark and gritty and difficult to read at times, but they’re beyond fantastic 🙂
Nikka Michaels: If you’re a fan of space operas and speculative fiction, the Chaos Station series by fellow Carina Press writing duo Kelly Jensen and Jenn Burke is awesome. Chaos Station and Lonely Shore are out now with three more titles to come and I cannot wait.
If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Eileen: Wow. That’s a hard one. I’d have to say William Shakespeare. There’s so much controversy surrounding who he really was, where was he during those missing years between when he left Stratford and when he arrived on the scene in London, and whether he was he some fictitious entity created by a nobleman to cover up the indecency of someone of noble birth writing dramas. Plus, the crowd he supposedly hung out with was a wild one, so I’m sure we’d have a pretty damn good time in the tavern while we talked. 🙂
Nikka Michaels: I’d meet my lovely co-writer who I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting in real life. Even after two years of writing together, countless phone calls, chats and web meetings I’d love to give her a hug in person.
What’s a fun – non-writing – day for you?
Eileen: I’m kind of boring, so this is my “OMG – THIS IS MY PERFECT NON-WRITING DAY!!!” (SHOUTY CAPS are totally necessary to convey how excited I would be to have this day.) I would wake up late (I’m usually up by 5:30 or 6), have my coffee in peace and quiet while I read for an hour, go get a pedicure with an extra-long massage, then meet some friends for drinks and dinner (most likely Tex-Mex, Indian, or Thai) and then curling up in bed with a glass of wine and my Kindle so I could read until I finally fell asleep. A realistic fun day is more likely going to Target (god, I love that store), getting to read without being interrupted, and having dinner out so I don’t have to worry about prepping, cooking, or cleaning. 🙂
Nikka: Eileen is definitely not boring but I’m going with her idea. A perfect non-writing day is sleeping in, drinking coffee as I read in the morning, a lazy day doing a Netflix marathon after a good meal with friends would all be a part of my perfect day.
Last question is all yours – feel free to talk about anything you want your readers to know about you, your book, anything at all.
Eileen: I just wanted to say thank you to all of our readers. I think, as writers, we put our hearts and souls into our books and hope there will be people out there who will love the finished product as much as we do. To have people ping us on Twitter or FB with how much they enjoyed reading out books makes all the late nights, early mornings, editing sessions, and revising jags worth it.
Nikka: I second what Eileen said so eloquently. Thank you, if you’re reading our books and thank you for stopping by Andrew’s blog to find out about In the Distance. We love creating the world within the In the Kitchen series and it’s still very surreal to think that people are reading our words. Without readers, bloggers, reviewers, fellow authors, friends and the Carina Press family we’d never be able to get this opportunity and it’s much appreciated.
Thank you both for being my guest today!
In the Distance
Because sometimes it takes some distance to finally see what’s right in front of you…
Tyler Mitchell has worked hard to rebuild his life after his family kicked him out. A culinary student and sous chef who spends his spare time volunteering with kids, he’s happy enough even though he has no time to consider a relationship.
Trevor Pratt is finally getting over losing his best friend and the one person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, but it’s taken screwing every cute guy in Manhattan to get there. He’s vowed to repair the friendship he endangered, but that’s hard to do when his friend’s new employee catches his eye. Despite being warned to stay away from Tyler, Trevor knows the sous chef is more than just a hookup.
Romance is a terrible idea. Trevor is ten years older and a relentless playboy. Tyler is still unsure of his place in the world. Neither of them is ready for life-changing love, but as things heat up, their chemistry in the bedroom might just take that decision out of their hands.
Read about Ethan and Jamie’s romance in In the Raw and In The Fire, Books 1 & 2 in the In The Kitchen Series, available now!
Series: In the Kitchen, Book 3
Release Date: June 15, 2015
Publisher: Carina Press
I threw him a dirty look over my shoulder as we walked out of the diner. “Okay. So I might have had my dad’s Platinum AmEx card to help me out, but I struggled just like the rest of my classmates.”
Tyler’s low, deep laugh hit me in all the right, and wrong, places. “Poor baby. I’m sure it was hard to choose between the double shot extra whip latte and the regular Joe Blow latte.”
God, it was good to hear him laugh. “Hey now. Leave my double shot latte out of this,” I shot back as I unlocked the doors to the Mercedes coupe I’d rented.
His laughter slowly faded as I pulled out of the parking lot. I had only been to Ethan’s old place a few times when Jamie had first moved back to Seattle and before they had bought a new condo together. But Tyler made sure to keep me on the right track with directions, his voice getting softer and softer the closer we got to the apartment.
I pulled up to the curb, letting the car idle instead of parking and walking him to his door. As much as I found myself not wanting the night to end, it wouldn’t have been smart to push whatever this was. Anyone else? We’d already be upstairs with Tyler’s pants around his ankles and my mouth on him. But he wasn’t just anyone else.
Tyler, who had been staring out his window, slowly turned toward me. The soft lights of the dash barely illuminated his face. God, he looked young, innocent and worth every ounce of protectiveness he brought out in the people who cared about him.
“Thanks for the ride. And dinner. It was nice.”
He turned again and reached for the door handle.
“Hey, Tyler. Wait up.”
About the Authors:
Eileen Griffin lives in the southwest, but loves to travel and has spent many summers crossing Europe with nothing but a backpack on her back. She enjoys TexMex, lives for good wine, and has a certain penchant for purple unicorns. She loves reading all genres of books, but her current obsession is writing M/M romance.
Where to find her:
Nikka Michaels lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest where she spends her time cooking, laughing and crafting romantic tales to satisfy her craving for HEAs with heat. A voracious reader, novice knitter and music lover she’s been known to multitask without breaking a sweat. She loves to read and write M/M romance but believes everyone deserves a love story.
Where to find her: