“How about you? Did you always want to be a writer?”
“Yeah. I think I did.” He finally gives up on work completely and closes the laptop. “I mean. I guess what I write about is kind of pointless, but I wanted to be a poet once upon a time, so I guess it could be even more pointless,” he jokes.
Benji’s eyebrows knot. “It’s not. Why would it be pointless?”
Simon gives a humorless laugh. “I mean, I write a sex column for women. Not exactly moving prose or hard-hitting journalism.”
Benji scoots over little on the desk, sitting with his legs so close to where Simon is sitting low in his chair that he can smell Benji’s crisp laundry detergent and citrusy soap. He suddenly has to fight the urge to move a fraction to the left, press his nose to the inside seam of Benji’s jeans and breathe him in.
“You listen to people. You remind them that they’re valuable and worthy of love and respect. How is that not important?” Simon is struck speechless, chest tight and breath caught. Then Benji claps him on the shoulder and hops off the desk. “Come on. Let’s go have lunch.”
Pages or Words: 228 Pages
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Ask the author:
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
More than anything I want the readers of Spice to come away from the story with a sense of happiness. In a genre that sways towards heavy drama and heartache, I wanted to offer something fun and funny, and a look at a relationship that’s about two people who genuinely like and take pleasure in one another.
The overall message would probably be that a relationship itself can be a compelling story. I wanted to take the standard story beats of a Rom Com, make it a little more modern and honest, and then take it beyond that: What happens after the happily ever after? I wanted to settle into this relationship and bring the reader inside. What does this committed relationship look like? How does it feel? What are the ups and downs and joys and sorrows within it? I want readers to fall in love with Simon and fall in love with Benji right along with him. And then I want them to fall in love with their relationship.
Stories about heartache and angst are important, and interesting, and certainly something I enjoy. But with Spice I really started from a place of wanting something that was fun and joyful, and I believe that not only is there room in the romance genre for this sort of story, but that it’s important and interesting and the type of narrative I wish I’d seen more of when I was figuring out what love looks like. If a reader comes away at the end of Spice with a smile on their face, then that’s more than enough of a message for me.
Lilah Suzanne has been writing actively since the sixth grade, when a literary magazine published her essay about an uncle who lost his life to AIDS. A freelance writer, she also authored a children’s book and has a devoted following in the online fan community.