I’ll Write You a Story… with Roan Parrish

July 10, 2015

Hi, all! Roan Parrish here, visiting the blog because my debut novel, In the Middle of Somewhere, is coming out today!


In the Middle of Somewhere is a contemporary romance, featuring a scrappy professor, an intense carpenter, and a stray dog. Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates look down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Northern Michigan, but, a city boy through and through, when Daniel arrives in Holiday, Michigan, it’s clear that this small town is one more place he just won’t fit in.

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his large, muscular body until it can handle anything, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people. Though he loves the quiet and solitude of his little cabin in the woods, Rex can’t help but want someone to share it with.

When Daniel arrives in Holiday, they are smitten with each other, but though the sex is intense and explosive, Rex fears that Daniel will be one more in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in could be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls that have been keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia where a secret is revealed that changes the way he understands everything.

In the Middle of Somewhere came about rather by accident while I was working on another project entirely. I was visiting my dear friend A in Phoenix, and we were talking in her kitchen while we put together an elaborate cheese plate—talking about books in general, talking about M/M in particular; talking about various real life annoyances, dissatisfactions, and desires. The usual. A said that she wished someone would write a romance about someone in her situation: having recently moved to a brand new place to take an academic job and having a tough time adjusting. Never one to let dissatisfaction fester when there’s cheese to eat, I blurted: “I’ll write one for you!”

On the plane ride home to Philly the next day, I wrote a little story and emailed it to A. It was about Daniel, who was just finishing his Ph.D. in Philadelphia, and has to totally turn his life upside-down when he moves to small-town Michigan for his first teaching job, but ends up meeting the love of his life there. I assumed that, my duty dispatched, I’d go back to the grim urban horror story of capitalism I was working on. Except that A wrote back, “Send me MORE!!!” So I did. That story was the first chapter of what became In the Middle of Somewhere and I just kept sending her more.


As an ex-academic who worked for years on a book that only about five people in the whole world ever read, knowing that there was someone on the other side of those emails who was reading what I was writing and actually enjoying it was like a drug. After I’d written five or six chapters it stopped feeling like something I was writing just for fun. The characters started to feel real so I knew I couldn’t abandon them in the middle of the story. That is, I started thinking of it as a real book. Then as a series.

And that’s what I’m working on now: the second book in the In the Middle of Somewhere series! It features a new couple, who you’ll meet in book one, but Rex and Daniel definitely make an appearance. The second book is a bit darker, so that’s been a nice change (what can I tell you; I’m moody). I’m also having a smashing time working on a brand new project. It’s a series of novellas set in 19th century New York City, each of which revolves around one of Edgar Allan Poe’s detective stories. What do you get when you combine a very practical detective, an eccentric Poe enthusiast, and a copycat killer who may or not operate in a supernatural realm? Intrigue, horror, and a whole lot of heat. More nerdiness and ratiocination coming your way soon!

Thanks for hanging out today, everyone! I have two copies of In the Middle of Somewhere to give away. So: our hero, Daniel, has a lot of tattoos (with a tattoo artist for a best friend it’s kind of to be expected). To win an e-book of In the Middle of Somewhere, tell me your best tattoo story in the comments. If you have tattoos, you could tell me the story behind your favorite one; if not, tell me about the best (or worst!) tattoo you’ve seen. Have you always wanted a tattoo but never gotten one? Tell me what it would take to make you take the plunge. Extra credit (can you tell I used to teach?) if your story includes getting a tattoo for love. Spill all your inky tales in the comments for a chance to win!


Find In the Middle of Somewhere on:

Dreamspinner Press   |  All Romance eBooks

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23 Responses to “I’ll Write You a Story… with Roan Parrish”

  1. Angela says:

    Congrats on the release of In the Middle of Somewhere, and a happy release day :)

    I won’t be entering the contest to win an ecopy of In the Middle of Somewhere because i pre-orderd it, i really liked the blurb and i couldn’t wait to get my hands on it LOL. I look forward to reading it.
    It’s also good to read that there will be a second book, is there a (sort of) release date for that one yet?

  2. jilrene says:

    I am going to totally fan girl here. I got to read an ARC. O. M. G. You are an awesome author! I am so thrilled you are writing another book. Truly, I was amazed this was your first book. It deserves awards! Oh, the cover should get it’s own award, too. Fabulous book. I have recommended it to all my friends. Please tell your friend A thank you for me. Without her, this may not have happened.

    Congratulations on your release day!

  3. H.B. says:

    Nope. I never had the I inkling to get tatted. I have admired other peoples tattoos though.

  4. H.B. says:

    Congrats on your new book release! The cover looks fantastic and I’ve added it to my wishlist.

  5. Al says:

    My favorite tattoo is the yellow banana that Andy Warhol designed for the Velvet Underground and Nico album (on the left side of my chest). I wanted Andy, the banana was arbitrary (didn’t want Marilyn Monroe or a soup can), and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only did the artist do an amazing job, but, regardless of whether you recognize it or not, it’s always a talking point. I get anywhere from “Why a banana?” to “Oh, man, I love that album!” Either way, people think it’s interesting and I love being able to explain or effuse, depending on the circumstances.

    I’m really excited to read your books, whether I win them or have to pay for them, thank you so much.

  6. Qhuinn says:

    Oh god, I would love to win a copy!!! I’ve been anticipating this story so much! Anyway, my tattoo story is a bit cheesy but here it goes: me and my boyfriend decided to get matching tattoos after 6 months of being together. I know that sounds like a terrible decision xD but we were already living together and we wanted to do something to show our love. We met at a music festival and we were living in different cities back then so getting together was pretty complicated. Anyway, to celebrate we had overcome all these obstacles, we got matching stars on our feet. Corny, I know. But this last April we celebrated our 13th anniversary and we are getting married in September so I guess it wasn’t such a bad idea in the end… And every time I look at that little star, I think of him and the matching star on his foot and I feel happy :’)

  7. Kat says:

    I have a tattoo on my back of a girl jumping into the ocean and emerging as a dolphin. I had it designed for me and it took 4 1/2 hours for the artist to ink (in color).

    I had been born into a religion that most people consider a cult. My parents divorced and we were kicked out. I went from having bible study and church and activities 2-3 times a week to…nothing.

    I searched and searched for years and years for something to replace the ache in my heart and there was nothing.

    I went to the Grand Canyon and hiked to the bottom. I sat in Bright Angel Creek and watched the sun rise over the canyon and felt like the tiniest speck of nothing in the universe and simultaneously, the biggest thing in the universe. It was the single most amazing thing in my life (besides the birth of my child) and I felt free from religion for the first time in my life.

    I got the tattoo to symbolize how I am not tethered to this world. I am transforming constantly and always changing and nothing symbolizes change as well as water. It’s my own christening.

  8. Melle says:

    So…I only have one tattoo so far, but I have a few ideas that I am trying to fit together as a family memorial kinda thing. Mom, Dad, my cat. You know, important people in my life :) I have some trust issues though, so I’m having a tough time finding an artist. I love tattoos! I figure by the time I die my body will be mostly covered…at least the parts I can see anyway ;)

  9. Liz says:

    The story of how I got my first tattoo: so, I was in Philly. With a bunch of friends. And one particular friend and I had planned on getting matching tattoos while there. We wonder down South Street, looking at different places, before settling on one on a whim. My friends make me go first because they figure, if I don’t, I’ll never do it. For some reason, they have one guy doing the outlining and another doing the shading. Okay. We go with it. I show them the design, the dude fixes it up. Shows me. Great, I like it.

    I sit down. I lower my jeans, because this is going on my hip (yes, I am pretty young at this point, and hiding it from parents!). He turns on the machine. And I flip out. Like, it FREAKS ME OUT. My friends try to calm me and I want to call my boyfriend (I don’t know why) and the tattoo artist says, you gotta calm down, let’s go. Note to everyone: don’t ever go to a tattoo artist who pressures you to start when you’re not ready. He is a massive dickhead.

    But I’m young and easily intimidated, so I hang up with my boyfriend and try to breathe. Massive Dickhead goes, all right, here, look at this picture of some weird ass shit, and points to the wall behind me. I look. I ask, what the hell Is that?! He goes, “that’s some weird ass shit.”

    It was, in fact, a picture of literally that.

    I laugh. Then I tell him to start. He does the outline, and it hurts like hell but I am Not Moving.

    When it’s done, he sends me to the other guy for shading. I stand up, walk over there slowly, sit sown, and proceed to almost pass out. “YOU!” Points the other guy to one of my friends. “GO GET HER AN OJ RIGHT NOW!”

    Weakly, I protest that I’m FINE, and he orders me to put my head between my knees. I do this. It makes me feel better. My friend runs back in with the OJ, I chug it, and then get the thing finished.

    When it comes time for another friend to get hers done, the first dude looks at her as he does it, then looks at me, then looks at her, and says, “This one here” he points at me, “was a rock. You gotta stop moving, man.”

    I feel vaguely like a rock star. LUCKILY, all my other tattoos were done by actual pros.

  10. Margalit says:

    No tattoo story to contribute. I was lucky enough to read an ARC, and Dreamspinner promises that my paperback is on its way to me, so I’m here just to say how much I loved the book, and let folks know what a treat they’re in for! Great characters, great story, beautiful writing. Your next project sounds awesome, and I’m looking forward to it. But right now I’m focused on this series; can’t wait to read more!

  11. Antonia says:

    Happy release day! I have one tattoo. Which is strange because I’m scared of needles and I hate pain and never really had any burning desire to get a tattoo. But I did and I think it was mostly on a whim to show myself I could. It’s small and in a place that’s usually covered but it’s there. I had two friends with me when I did it, both of whom had tattoos, and as it was being done, I told them to talk to me and distract me. They just look at each and can’t think think of a thing to say. The guy doing the tattoo is laughing and I finally just burst out “fine, I’ll talk!” And I proceeded to do so, carrying on a monologue about something ridiculous that happened at my summer job the entire time. I don’t regret it but I doubt I’ll get another.

  12. Juliana says:

    I don’t have any tattoos, I’m afraid of needles & my Jewish mother would kill me, but I did go with my college roommate when she got hers. She got dog tags, for her dad & boyfriend (now husband) on her foot. I held her hand the whole time, not because she needed moral support but because I did! I cringed the entire time! The tattoo artist thought it was hilarious.
    I loved it when it was finished but the process was so scary.

  13. Trix says:

    I live in an area where I’m one of the few people *without* tattoos…easily irritated skin and a fear of needles made me shy away. I always liked the stories of, say, junior hockey teams winning the Memorial Cup or something and going en masse to get identical commemorative tattoos, so I’d probably do that if I played a sport (which I don’t).

  14. Roan Parrish says:

    I hope you enjoy, H.B. and Angela! H.B.—ha, “inkling”!

    Angela, book two is with Dreamspinner right now, but I’ll definitely make an announcement when I have a tentative pub date on it!

    Thanks so much, Margalit—I’m thrilled you liked it!

  15. Roan Parrish says:

    Thank you, Jilrene! You’re so kind. I passed your comment along to A and she was *extremely* delighted :)

  16. Roan Parrish says:

    Oh, Al, that sounds awesome—the color in that image alone is great; that two-tone contrast. I totally agree about tattoos being a conversation starter. I’m not someone that people tend to talk to in public (resting bitch face alert), but when they do it’s almost always something about my tattoos. I do hope you enjoy the book, however it comes to you!

  17. Roan Parrish says:

    Qhuinn, that’s such a sweet story! One of my friends and her girlfriend tattooed each other on their second date and they’ve been together for years now . . . :)

    I mean, I think the thing about tattoos is that they’re always actually about *you* even if they’re linked to another person. So, if you feel happy when you see it, it sounds like a win to me.

  18. Roan Parrish says:

    Kat, what an amazing story! I totally believe in the power we have to remake our lives by reminding ourselves what we want them to be. And tattoos are an amazing way to do that because you’re faced with them whenever you see yourself, so they contain a story or a reminder about your intentions. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Roan Parrish says:

    Ooh, Melle, it’s my secret wish to have a portrait of my cat tattooed someday . . . not that her beauty could ever be captured ;)

  20. Roan Parrish says:

    Oh my god, Liz. That is SO PHILLY I can’t stand it. I think a lot of the South Street shops are used to drunk tourists wandering in and getting flash and are perhaps not as . . . um, attentive as they should be. You are *clearly* a rock star.

  21. Roan Parrish says:

    Thanks, Antonia! Aw, I like that you did it just to show yourself you could—doubly impressive if you hate needles!

  22. Roan Parrish says:

    Ooh, Trix, where do you live where everyone has tattoos? *sits with pen poised to write down location and go there immediately* Yeah, the group tattoos charm me—remember when the Dixie Chicks were getting those chicken feet . . . ?

  23. John says:

    Thanks Roan, I loved reading In The Middle Of Somewhere and I hope you come out with a second book. I loved reading about Rex and Daniel and I want to know what happens. You left me suspending!!!!!!!!!!! I need the next book :)

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