Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fallen by P.J. Fox BLOG TOUR



Fallen
By P.J. Fox

IN A WORLD THAT REWARDS SADISTS,
CAN AN UNEXPECTED LOVE SURVIVE?
— New Romance Set Against Dystopian Backdrop


Entrepreneur and billionaire heir Dane is perfectly suited for New Victoria – a violent world that rose from the ashes of the Third World War and that prizes dominance above almost all else. Ani, a pacifist and outsider, is drawn to him against her better judgment, and even against her will, and Dane finds himself unable to resist Ani's independent spirit. Although he, as a product of the society that's given him so much, has long regarded such spirit as anything but a virtue. He likes his women like he likes everything else — on his own terms — and wonders, can he tame her? And will Ani let herself be tamed? Set against the dystopian backdrop of a society that encourages crimes of all kinds under the guise of keeping society stable, particularly on the night of the Purge, Fallen by P.J. Fox is an enthralling romance centered on a strong female protagonist.

“Many romance novels have vapid, simple heroines inexplicably pursued by men who’d be on Criminal Minds save for the fact that they’re rich,” says Fox. “What makes Fallen different is that Ani is a self-possessed, intelligent woman who isn’t looking for love, and certainly not with her arch enemy. This is less a tale of him saving her and more a tale of her saving him. I use real world problems addressed, if not necessarily solved, by real world solutions. My characters overcome their very real differences by growing and changing.”

Though Fallen has its fair share of violence and sex, the overall message of the book is a positive one of hope. Many women today still have a difficult time deciding for themselves who they are and what they want, and protagonist Ani offers readers a relatable and admirable character. “Ultimately, this is a romance, and I want the reader to fall in love with my characters,” Fox explains. “The reader should want them to get together; should want them to succeed. Soul destroying, world changing love isn’t just for tame Mary Sues, it’s also for nerdy, introverted girls with real interests and real brains.”

Fallen is the thirteenth book by P.J. Fox. Previous titles include The Demon of Darkling Reach, The White Queen, The Black Prince series, Book of Shadows, Prince of Darkness and more, all of which were traditionally published.

P.J. Fox is the author of the traditionally published novels: The Demon of Darkling Reach, The White Queen, The Black Prince: Part I, The Black Prince: Part II, The Price of Desire, A Dictionary of Fools, The Prince’s Slave, Book of Shadows, Prince of Darkness, Blood to Drink, and numerous other novels, novellas, short stories, and nonfiction works. She’s published over a million and a half words so far, and has no plans to stop anytime soon. In addition to being traditionally published, P.J. is also proud to have recently become a Wattpad Star, and you can be one of her beta readers by reading her new content here. She holds a degree in Medieval History and previously worked as an attorney before becoming a full-time writer. Fallen is her thirteenth book.

Fallen will be published on April 18, 2017, and is available for pre-order at Amazon.com For more information, visit www.PJFoxWrites.com and connect with the author on Facebook, Twitter, Wattpad, and follow @pjfox on Radish.

 REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST




Can you tell us about what first inspired you to begin writing your newest book, Fallen?

I’ve always been fascinated by post-apocalyptic worlds; most of the time, though, the focus is on either the nature of the apocalypse itself or its immediate aftermath. My question was, what about after that? What kind of world might we see one hundred, or even five hundred years later? Additionally, I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of a purge. I decided to marry those two together and ask, what does it mean to love in such an inhospitable environment? Can love, as we understand the term, even exist?

You’re happily married—how does your relationship with your husband color your writing?

It really is true that all my leading men are, to some extent, based on my husband. Writing him into my stories has never been a conscious choice on my part; I never sit down and say, “this character is based on this person.” Even if elements of so-called real life creep in, it’s never a one-to-one comparison. That being said, I’ll often realize after the fact that certain striking similarities do exist.

To call each of my leading men unique would be an understatement; they’re different from each other and different from the world around them. They’re antiheroes and in some cases outright villains. They don’t fit in. Alex, in Book of Shadows, is tormented by his past; Thorn, in Dark Obsession, is driven by desperation. And Dane, in Fallen, has a dangerous charisma that might hide even more dangerous motives. But in Alex, I see my husband’s dry, sometimes biting sense of humor; in Thorn, I see his ambition. And in Dane…I wouldn’t want to give any spoilers!

I’m fortunate in that, for me, my husband really is the most fascinating man on the planet. We’ve been together well over a decade and I still feel like I’ve just won the lottery every time he comes into the room. Honestly he, and our relationship, are what inspired me to write romance in the first place—and what continue to inspire me. I don’t think I’d be able to write happily ever after if I didn’t know what it felt like; and I don’t think I’d want to.

I used to joke, before I met my husband, that my various literary crushes had set a high bar; my husband was, in fact, the first man I ever met who didn’t pale in comparison. Who didn’t give me that urge, at the end of the night, to escape into a book. Yes, he took me out on glamorous dates, but anyone could’ve done that. What thrilled me was the fact that I had more fun doing “boring” things with him, like gassing up the car, than I had doing “exciting” things with anyone else. He made real life magical.

And that, I think, has been the biggest contribution that our relationship has made to my writing: the knowledge that finding happily ever after doesn’t require an escape from reality but, rather, a shift in perspective.

The relationship between the protagonists in Fallen can hardly be described as love at first sight. Why did you create such a resistance on behalf of the female protagonist? And why does she eventually give in to her true feelings about Dane?

People say love at first sight doesn’t exist; it does. Our problem, though, is often that we don’t understand what it is. Lots of us have experienced like at first sight, but like and love are two very different things. Like is about finding someone charming, and maybe even wanting to take their pants off; love is about awakening the soul. Souls, however, speak to each other in a way that can be confusing to understand.

Ani knows that there’s something about Dane, which draws her in; but she’s also an independent woman. She doesn’t believe that he’s right for her, and so she fights him—and, to some extent, herself. There’s a fashion, sometimes, in romances to present women as mere objects of desire, as prizes to be won. They don’t always have much in the way of thoughts, feelings, or certainly ambitions of their own—or beyond securing a relationship. Ani, on the other hand, is determined to live life on her own terms. And that, for her, means independently.

New Victoria is a kingdom where a woman is meant to do one thing: obey. Ani, in saying no for so many years, has had to develop an incredible amount of strength. She doesn’t want to give that up, especially for a man who she believes represents the worst aspects of their society. Dane is a threat: to her, personally, to her beliefs, and to everything she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But while Ani and Dane might not seem to have much in common on the surface, and actually appear to be polar opposites, their souls connect. Something that Ani only discovers when she’s thrust into a horrifying situation. And I think that’s realistic: we often only discover the truth about others, and of course ourselves, in times of adversity. Anyone can put on a good show over dinner.

The society you’ve created in Fallen is one with a “survival of the fittest” mentality, where classism rules the social order. Do you believe that our present-day society is in danger of becoming like this?

I think our present-day society is already like this. I live in the heart of what was once Puritan country, near the site of the Salem Witch Trials. At that time, most accepted a doctrine called predestination: the idea that your fate is decided for you before birth. Some people are going to Heaven and some simply aren’t, no matter what they do. And how do we know? We know, by reference to your success on earth. Here, social—and monetary—success is inextricably linked with the idea of a higher, more meaningful success. Which is, although we’ve left the days of witch trials behind, an idea that’s still very much in vogue. Our society glorifies people who have money, even if they only have it through an accident of birth; they’re celebrated as more desirable, as simply having more value. How hard is it to find “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” style stories in the tabloids?

We have politicians debating whether the poor “deserve” healthcare; as though by being born with less, one has automatically failed some vital test. Here, the unstated assumption is that certain people aren’t worth the investment. And I can tell you that, as a former poor person, people do treat me differently now than they once did. They look at me and see someone educated, someone with means. Someone “worthy.” They’re often uncomfortable when I point out that I was born into very different circumstances. Why? Because, at least in some quarters, upward mobility disrupts a certain narrative. If we admit that we’re all equal, that we’re all equally deserving and equally capable given the right supports and opportunities, then we have to rearrange our thinking about who our role models should be.

Your early life was particularly difficult. How do you think these experiences have informed your writing?

I believe strongly in write what you know. Classics like Beauty and the Beast aren’t still around because so many people relate to the literal storyline, but because they relate to what it evokes: longing for love, feeling hopeless. Feeling, and being, misunderstood. All the best stories have truth in them.

Most of my books are set in fantasy worlds, or contain fantasy elements; in a way, though, they’re all autobiographies. I know what it’s like to be abused; to be tortured, even. To the extent that my books are “dark,” they reflect those experiences. At the same time, though, these aren’t stories about wallowing in misery but about overcoming things. Sometimes very difficult things. My characters, too, are relatable because they’re flawed. Because I’m flawed. And, just like me, they create their own happiness by seizing control of their own destinies.

I’m fortunate in having a different perspective than many Americans. I go to sleep every night, thankful for the opportunity to sleep in safety; I’m amazed, every time I turn the tap, that water comes out. Things like enough warmth, and enough food to eat, are things most of the people I know take for granted but that fill me with joy. To me, they’re miracles.

I’ve always felt compelled to write, since I can remember. Actually doing so wasn’t an option for me, until later; I was actively, and sometimes brutally discouraged from any form of creative expression as a child because it “served no purpose,” i.e. distracted me from cleaning up after my drug addict mother. Or, indeed, entertaining her friends. Once I finally broke free of that environment, however, and with my husband’s encouragement, I rediscovered my muse. To me, one of the best parts of writing is that it’s so therapeutic; I’ve dealt with a lot of the things in my past, through the emotions of my characters.

And because I’m free, I want to give them freedom.

You explore elements of BDSM both in your novels and in your personal life. What are some common misconceptions about dominant-submissive relationships? How do your books help to dispel these notions?

I think the biggest misconceptions about BDSM are that it’s about violence, and that it oppresses women. Neither could be further from the truth. First and foremost, BDSM is about consent—and for this reason, communication is vital. Even more vital, arguably, than in “vanilla” relationships, where it’s still pretty vital! The fact is, though, that a healthy relationship is a healthy relationship; the same elements are going to be present, regardless of the kinks.

BDSM is an element in many of my books, but my husband and I are also in a D/s relationship. This is a kind of relationship where the parties, without coercion and because it’s what make them both feel the most fulfilled, agree on an exchange of power. In our marriage, my husband is the dominant; however, these roles aren’t gender specific. Plenty of women are dominants, as well!

There is no one in the world that I feel safer with, or trust more, than my husband. I’m not his submissive, because I think he’s stronger than I am or, God forbid, am afraid of him; rather, this is what a partnership of equals looks like to us. D/s also brings us closer together in that it helps us, as our marriage progresses, to continually explore two things: first, who we really are and, second, how we want to relate to each other—and what, in turn, helps us to express our shared commitment.

Are there whips and chains? Sometimes. Although, for many couples, there aren’t. BDSM isn’t a one-size fits all proposition; each couple has to decide, for themselves, what does and doesn’t work for them. What we share, as a community, is our goal of creating authentic relationships.

And finally…yes. There is sex. But sex, to me, is part of any healthy, functioning marriage. We happen to like certain things, in the bedroom, and some of those things definitely aren’t for everybody. Pain, for example, is often part of our repertoire. Not because there’s anything wrong with my husband, or anything wrong with me. This is just how we’re wired. Good sex, I’ve always maintained, is loving one another. For some couples that means Luther Vandross and for some couples that means a good caning. What matters isn’t the outward mechanics but the feelings they evoke.

Unfortunately, there’s a fashion in literature for portraying dominants as men who are cold, aloof, and unfeeling and who use the D/s dynamic to distance themselves from love. And, even more troublingly in some respects, from responsibility. This isn’t real life and it isn’t healthy. A man (or woman) who acts like this isn’t a dominant but an abuser; calling something “BDSM” doesn’t make it BDSM and I cannot stress enough that a healthy relationship is a meeting of the minds between equals. Regardless of how it might appear to others.

In the real world, the one us kinksters inhabited long before Fifty Shades of Grey came out, a common concept is that the submissive has all the power. She (or he) is the one who says “no.” No one should ever be pushed into doing something that makes them question themselves, or feel bad about themselves. And submission is not about healing the dominant. Yes, we all have our issues and no one is perfect; but, inside the bedroom or out, your partner is never your punching bag.

A real dominant might have a need for control, but that need doesn’t come from a place of anger and insecurity. He isn’t forcing his partner to give him what, in his resentment, he thinks the world doesn’t. He isn’t entitled. A man who needs to force a woman, to do anything, to feel power isn’t a dominant. He is, and I cannot stress this enough, the lowest form of life. He isn’t ready to be in a relationship, or even potentially to inhabit earth and calling himself “Master” doesn’t change that.

My husband, who is also my strength and my courage and my reason for being, has earned the title of Master. Of Sir. Of husband. Not because we had a certain kind of sex, or signed a certain kind of contract. A relationship, of any kind, is never created by those things. And a D/s relationship is, first and foremost, a relationship. Trust comes before obedience, and submission—like all expressions of love—is earned. My husband earns, and rewards my love every day. Likewise, in my books, I depict characters who have their own unique interpretations of what it means to be in a D/s relationship. Thereby demonstrating that BDSM isn’t, at heart, about certain activities, or props—or secret sex dungeons! I want my readers to understand that it’s about trust, and compassion, and above all an incredibly deep and powerful psychological bond.

What are you working on now? What’s next?

I’m writing two books, currently: Owned, my first erotica, and Devour Me, a romantic intrigue set in a fantasy reimagining of England’s Middle Ages. Both are available to read, currently, on the serialized fiction app Radish. I post each new chapter, there, as I finish it. I’m extremely proud of both works, in particular of Devour Me, and hope that both will become “real” books later this year.

EXCERPT:

CHAPTER ONE The Belly of the Beast “OKAY, BUT HOW MANY TIMES HAS HE ASKED YOU OUT NOW?”

Lisa couldn’t keep a smile off her face. She found the whole thing hilariously funny. Well, she could. She was on the outside, looking in, completely unaffected and so free to think whatever she wanted. Maybe in her friend’s position Ani would’ve laughed, too.

Although she doubted it.

Even more hilariously funny, undoubtedly, was the fact that they were literally in the belly of the beast: at the house of the man Ani kept rejecting. Which probably made this conversation unwise, but she and Lisa had holed up in a forgotten corner of the sprawling mansion miles away from where everyone else was congregating. Or what seemed like miles; Ani had never been in a house this big.

Ani shook her head. “I don’t know.” “You can’t completely hate him. You’re here.”

Ani had slipped off her shoes, not because they hurt but because she preferred to be barefoot, and had tucked her feet up under her. She felt dwarfed by the chair she was sitting in, an ornately carved thing upholstered in gold brocade that had to be at least a few hundred years old. There was really no comfortable spot in it, either; it wasn’t meant to be lounged in but to be perched on. The width of the seat was to accommodate the yards wide skirts that had once been so fashionable.

Everything in the room was shades of brown and gold: the walls were paneled in mahogany and what furniture wasn’t gilded also appeared to be mahogany. Even the marble fireplace was a deep, golden cream. An ormolu clock rested above. There was more wealth displayed in this room than most men earned in a lifetime and whoever had decorated it wanted you to know.

Lisa, unlike Ani, thought the room was wonderful.

“I’m here,” Ani explained patiently, and not for the first time, “because my aunt and uncle are here. Because they’re desperate to impress our host.”

“God, I’m desperate to impress our host. He’s so hot.”

Their host was her would-be boyfriend’s uncle, who was not hot. At least, not according to Ani’s definition of the term. Dane Edward Asquith-Long had grown up as the ward of his uncle, Jasper Grant Asquith-Long. Ani, for all that she’d known Dane for some years now, at least casually, had no idea what had happened to his parents. Or when, indeed, he’d come to live with Jasper. It might have been as a child, or as a teenager; by the time Ani and Dane had met, he was out of school.

Dane wasn’t the kind of person who lent himself easily to being known but even if he had been, Ani wanted to avoid him—not learn his innermost secrets. She supposed, in fairness to Lisa, that he was handsome. And that Jasper was, too. They looked quite a lot alike. They were both pale, with dark hair and dark eyes and aquiline noses. Lisa had quipped once that Jasper would stand out in a room full of supermodels at a supermodel convention. There was some merit, Ani had to admit, to that claim. If, of course, you completely ignored his personality.

She couldn’t decide who was worse: Dane or his uncle.

“He’s too old for you,” Ani said, meaning Jasper.

“No, he’s not! He’s only in his forties.”

And Ani thought Dane, at twenty-seven, was too old for her.

The most perplexing thing about Lisa, she decided, was that Lisa was aware of Jasper’s flaws. And of Dane’s. And of everyone’s in the Asquith-Long family’s execrable social group. Ani couldn’t have been friends with her if she’d been the kind of person who never noticed anything. She simply didn’t care. Because she was a pragmatist, she claimed. But Ani wondered if it was more. Was she…was she excited by it? All the detachment, all the cruelty, all the license? “Jasper is single.” Lisa sipped her drink. She wasn’t old enough to drink, but she’d cadged the martini somewhere.

Ani considered this—even for Lisa—surprising statement. “Is Jasper looking to…not be single?” As far as she was aware, Lisa had never even talked to Jasper. Certainly not one on one. Ani might be twenty-one but Lisa was nineteen. Ani couldn’t think of a single situation in which she and Jasper might even so much as exchange pleasantries. He was old enough, more than old enough, to be her father! Then again, she realized, they were both here….

“I don’t know. But he might be looking to have a fling.”

“Lisa!”

“What?”

“You can’t—”

“Just because you don’t,” Lisa said judiciously, “doesn’t mean I can’t.”

Ani felt herself redden.

“You’re saving yourself for someone wonderful, who doesn’t exist. And I find that admirable. Really. But for the rest of us, sex really isn’t that big of a deal. And he might give me presents.” Lisa’s eyes flashed with anticipation.

She was right, Jasper wouldn’t be her first fling. Although, as far as Ani knew, he’d be her friend’s oldest fling. And she certainly seemed contented enough. But Ani had to wonder: didn’t Lisa, in some secret recess of her heart, wish for more? To be loved, cherished? To be with men who minded when she left the room?

Lisa had parents, unlike Ani, who only had her aunt and uncle. But, like Ani’s aunt and uncle, Lisa’s parents rarely seemed to notice where she was—or care—unless and until they wanted something from her. Which usually consisted of her getting gussied up and smiling. Both of which she was good at. Lisa, unlike Ani, was a real part of this social circle.

Her parents had been to dozens of these parties, with and without her. Whereas this had been Ani’s family’s first invitation.

Her uncle had spent his life on the fringes, desperate to gain access through some gate in the invisible wall that was class. For some reason, probably money related, Jasper and his ilk were considered to have it. That, and they could each of them trace their lineages back to before the Third World War. Some of them, even to the ancient times that they so loved to ape. William Winn Rice was unmannerly and sometimes just plain unfortunate, but no more unfortunate than Jasper and his sex parties. Yes, her uncle burped and scratched and was occasionally too enthusiastic about the idea of other peoples’ accomplishments but…what? Jasper very politely pranced around naked?


Post a Comment

© Tiffany's Book Blog. Design by Fearne.