Thursday, April 12, 2012

Having A Chat With Author Alix Bekins

If there's one thing that's hard for a book to do it's make me laugh...on purpose. So, when an author approached Laura and I about reading Alix Bekins' book, Written In The Stars, both of us went and bought it but I didn't know what to expect. It was specifically mentioned though that I was going to love this book. By the end of the first chapter I knew that Alix Bekins had just made her way onto my "Authors With Talent" list.

I adored this book so much that not only are you all getting a review but, make sure to read on after the review, you're also getting a little Q&A with Alix Bekins!

Review Time!!

Bailey McMillan is one cranky scientific genius. His career and reputation were ruined by his former employer and, man, is he bitter about that. Now, he's almost 40, pudgy, balding and working at his long-time and best friend John's science magazine as an editor , columnist and fact checker. This is not where Bailey thought he would be at this point in his life.

There's one thing that Bailey loves about working at Spark though. He gets to write a scathing column where he rips apart his colleagues' shoddy theories and work, proving that he is indeed more intelligent than everyone else. Sweet, sweet joy. There's only one downside. In order to write his column every month Bailey has to anonymously write a dreaded astrology column. Oh, woe is him, especially since the astrology column becomes popular.

Bailey says astrology is a bunch of hogwash!

John says there's something to it.

A bet is born where Bailey must date a man from each astrological sign to see if astrology really is accurate. Winner gets a free steak dinner. Let the games begin.

Bailey McMillan is one of the funniest and most curmudgeonly characters I have come across in M/M romance. I absolutely loved him for his acerbic, absentminded, fussy, finnicky and arrogant nature. The man's screename was Genius. I could picture him all but cackling with evil joy while he disproved the work of other scientists. Bailey's friendship with John is one where they bicker like an old married couple. Bailey's relationship with his Czech scientist friend, another genius, is a competitive one where they try to one-up each other constantly. People love Bailey because he's so cranky not despite it and I found myself loving Bailey for the same reason.

I liked that while Bailey was completely confident in his intelligence he was insecure about his thinning hair, stocky body and average looks. What did I like even more? That Bailey's insecurity was not the focal point of the story. It's mentioned but never does Bailey come across as someone who doesn't like himself or who dwells on his imperfections. I appreciated that.

It's also made clear that while Bailey isn't some airbrushed underwear model there are plenty of people who find him sexy. Bailey has sex with at least three of his twelve dates and even has a weekend fling. This story very quietly promoted that fact that no one is perfect and everyone is sexy in their own way.

That brings us to the dates. HILARIOUS!!! This book was like some sort of awesome romantic comedy movie. Bailey goes on these dates with people who are complete characters without being caricatures. The man who looks like a model but who is way too full of himself, the pilot who's a captivating personality and totally sexy because of it, the suit who's young and uptight but a good guy, the germaphobe, the British mystery man with a mind who even though he looks like a slacker bad boy he's got a mind like a steel trap. There were more than a few of those guys that I'd like to see get their own stories.

Now, this book may not be for everyone just because, yes, Bailey does have sex with some of his dates. He and John, however, are not together, not dating and not even really thinking that there's a relationship on the horizon. The sex is pretty much fade-to-black off page stuff until Bailey and John get together. I found this refreshing because it let the dates and Bailey and John's friendship take center stage.

Bailey and John's friendship; AMAZINGLY AWESOMELY FUNNY. Bailey and John have one of the best friendships I've read about in a long while. I really believed that they enjoyed each other as people. They bickered, they sought out each other's company, their banter was hilarious and witty and they knew each other's idiosyncracies. It was their actions that made me believe that they cared about each other. Bailey and John's friendship was an excellent example of an author SHOWING and not TELLING.

When Bailey and John get together I thought to myself "YES!!! These two people were made for each other!"

This book was pure entertainment and I was so happy when these guys got their HEA. This will be a definite re-read for me because the story made me happy. It's a different kind of romance really but I liked that it wasn't formulaic. This is one that I'd recommend to anyone who is looking to laugh and smile. Two thumbs up, Alix Bekins, two thumbs up!

And Now The Q&A!!!

Lad: Okay, so this story has one of the cutest and most original premises that I've come across in the M/M romantic comedy subgenre. What gave you the idea for Written In The Stars?

Alix: Wow, I’m so flattered, thank you! The idea came from a book a friend gave me about five years ago, “Gay Love Signs” by Michael Jay. Its tagline is “the first astrological guide for men in love with men” and it’s very 1970s. I wanted to write something using it as a reference for a long time, and finally the blind date idea came to me, with a really grumpy scientist as the guy forced to go on these dates to try and “disprove” astrology.

Lad: This book unfolds almost like a movie with the 12 different dates, John's jealousy and how Bailey is oblivious. Did you intend for the story to have a movie-like feel?

Alix: I didn’t really, no, and actually I had a lot of concern that the twelve dates would get repetitive and drag. Probably some people feel that they do, but I really enjoyed creating each of the twelve guys, deciding what they’d do on their date with Bailey, and how they would interact.

Lad: Now, let's talk about Bailey. Bailey is the star (pun intended) of this show. Was his character inspired by anyone or is he a result of pure imagination?

Alix: *laughs* Bailey was inspired by an amalgam of know-it-all scientists from my favorite sci-fi TV shows. The kind of guy who is so unbelievably smart… about everything except people. His brain was a difficult place to inhabit; he’s so much smarter than I am about such totally different things than I’ve ever been interested in, and it was a challenge to do him justice.

Lad: The humor! If there is one word I would use to describe this book it would be funny. Was it hard to make the book funny without going overboard and making it slapstick?

Alix: Thank you so much! I’m always a little embarrassed to admit this, but sometimes my own writing makes me laugh out loud. It’s like I didn’t see the joke coming until I typed it, read, it and took a moment to process it. While it’s not easy to write humor, I’ve never tried to pull myself back from being too silly. Rather, it’s more of an effort the other way, to give voice to witty and clever characters when I personally am going through something difficult in my life.

Lad: You've given us 12 different characters in the form of Bailey's dates and there's at least three or four of them that I want to see more of! Will any of the date characters be given their own stories?

Alix: I would love to know which ones you were so interested in! As a matter of fact, the idea of a spin-off has been percolating in my head. I loved this world that I built, and the tone/writing style. I personally want to know what Oliver and Evans are getting up to after they so rudely ditched Bailey at the museum. Sadly, I have to wait for them to tell me their stories; while I don’t wait for divine inspiration to strike, I do feel firmly that I have to have a story to tell rather than simply a desire to write.

Lad: Last but not least, what are your future writing plans? Any stories in the works?

Alix: I am currently exploring my kinky side again, in the form of a steampunk genre story. Since I’ve always stuck with contemporary, I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out or if I’ll even try to publish it. And I’m working on a winter-holiday story as well.

Thank, Alix, for such an awesome book and for the Q&A. I can't wait to see what you come up with next.


  1. Thanks for visiting Alix and I'm very curious about steampunk book!

  2. I'm curious about the steampunk story too! Thanks for the wonderful Q&A, Alix!

  3. That was a wonderful Q&A, thank you! I have this story on my kindle and can't wait read it. I love grumpy guys! There's always at least one of them in my own books. They're just way too much fun!

    Thanks Alix, and thanks ladies for the lovely post!

    1. Hope you like the story, Charlie! I really enjoyed it. :)

  4. I'm still squeeing with giddy happiness that you liked the story. :) Thank you for having me!

  5. Sounds like an amazing book. Adding it to my TBR list. :)

    Great review and Q&A. Thank you.

  6. This is the kind of books I'm looking for these days.

    1. It was such an enjoyable book, Edina. It left me smiling.