Interview, Review, + Giveaway: What Remains by Garrett Leigh

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Garrett Leigh slid onto our radar last March when Misfits was released, and we’ve been waiting with bated breath for every release since! With this latest release, she does not disappoint. What Remains put us into an emotional tailspin that we won’t soon be recovering from. We got a chance to interview Garrett and find out if her characters haunt her just as much as they do us!

GL INTERVIEW

BBR: Hi, Garrett. Welcome to Badass Book Reviews! We can’t help but notice that you seem to favor writing protagonists who are haunted. What Remains was particularly poignant because the object of the memories plaguing Rupert was right in front of him. Once you’re done with a story and it hits shelves, do your characters still haunt you? Is there one in particular (from any book) who seems to dominate your thoughts?

GL: There are many books I’ve written where the characters still haunt me. From the early days, I’d have to say it was Pete from Slide, Jed from Only Love, and Sonny from the Blue Boy Series. With Pete and Sonny it is perhaps because I feel there is some more story there. With Jed, I’ve had him in my head for a very long time. Life would be weird without him. Thinking of more recent books, Cass from Misfits is a loud voice in my head, Nero too. More of that below.

BBR: Can you tell us a little about your writing process? What comes first, the characters or the plot? Do you write a book from start to finish, or random scenes and then piece it all together? And does it need to be quiet for you to write, or do you like background noise?

GL: For me to write a book successfully, the characters generally need to come first. Plots can be, well, plotted as you go along, but its very difficult to write the story of a person you know nothing about. When I do actually sit down to write, I tend to write in order. My teeny brain can’t cope with the jigsaw puzzle at the end if I jump around too much. That being said, if there’s a scene that’s speaking to me, I do jot down bits and bobs as I go. I like solitude when I write, no one peeking over my shoulder (because I have to kill them), but I don’t mind a bit of noise. I tend to edit with the TV on.

BBR: M/M readers seem to prefer the genre almost to a fanatical degree. (Myself included.) What are some of your favorite M/M books that you’d recommend?

GL: I don’t actually read a lot of MM these days as I don’t get much time, so my list is probably waaaay out of date, but I’m a big fan of LA Witt and Vanessa North.

BBR: Has there been a particular character that elicited a reader reaction you weren’t expecting? If so, which character, and what was the reaction?

GL: I honestly wasn’t expecting readers to like Joe, a HET dude from Slide and Rare so much. The amount of requests I get for me to write him a book of his own is unreal. Unfortunately, the genre cross just wouldn’t work as he’s a happily married man these days, but I think the fraternal way he cared for the two MCs really touched people.

BBR: We love your books and are always on the lookout for what you have in store for us! Can you share a bit of information about what you are working on now?

GL: I have just finished writing my first contribution to Riptide’s Porthkennack series. It’s working title is House of Cards, and it will be out July 2017. Before that, I’ve got another book in the Misfits world coming out that I’m writing right now. Strays will introduce Nero a little better and will be out March 2017. Ooh, and even sooner, Rented Heart will be out in September and is available for preorder NOW. Thanks for having me!

Thank you so much for visiting Badass, Garrett!

| About the Author |

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzpress.com.

| Find Garrett on Social Media |

Website || Twitter || Facebook || Cover art enquiries

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What Remains

What Remains by Garrett Leigh
Genre: LGBTQIA, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: July 4th, 2016
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Riptide Publishing

Synopsis from Goodreads: Web designer Jodi Peters is a solitary creature. Lunch twice a week with his ex-girlfriend-turned-BFF and the occasional messy venture to a dodgy gay bar is all the company he needs, right?

Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter.

Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.

Angie’s Review – 5 stars – A+

Here’s the thing – you can give me an OK plot with stellar characterization or an impeccable plot with lukewarm characters, and sure –  I’ll get lost in your story. But when you give me the best of both worlds, I will absolutely be swept away. And that’s exactly what Garret Leigh did with What Remains; this story blew me away. When Jodi is injured in an accident and loses his memories of the past few years, he and Rupert’s relationship is put to the ultimate test. Theirs was a beautiful story about love, loss, and finding your way back together again even when things feel hopeless. Let’s start with Rupert. He was the hero of this book for me. The man had infinite patience and his love for Jodi knew no bounds. This was not the story of one broken man – this was a story of two broken men, and though Rupert’s suffering was exquisite and silent, it was no less than Jodi’s. He was on an emotional roller coaster ride and aside from what was going on with Jodi physically and mentally, their finances were in shambles. Jodi was the main breadwinner of the two, and without him working, they took a big hit. But for Rupert, his first concern was always what was best for Jodi and shielding him from the things that doctors warn could hinder his progress. I’d love to tell you that it was a sweet story as Jodi and Rupert tried to find their way back together, but frankly it was a devastating journey. And whether or not Rupert would ever get the Jodi he knew back kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. Jodi was the complete opposite of who he’d been; gone was the fun-loving carefree man he once was. He was impatient not only with those around him, but also with himself as he navigated this new, unfamiliar life. Frustration was his constant companion, and while I loved him because I got to see him through Rupert’s eyes, I think knowing who Jodi was before his accident was an important element for the reader to see how drastically he and Rupert’s lives had been altered.

I loved the flashbacks in this story. (I’m always a fan of flashbacks when they’re done well.) I thought they fit within the context, and they were essential to show the reader how deep Jodi and Rupert’s love was. The present certainly wasn’t going to give us much to go on as far as how their relationship had been up to this point. While the main focus was Jodi’s road to recovery from his traumatic brain injury, there was more going on in the story. Not only was Rupert trying to shield Jodi from anything hindering his progress, but he was also trying to hinder his (Rupert’s) daughter from seeing Jodi as he now was with no memory of the little girl he’d adored and who loved him back. I think the pacing of this story was just right. Recovering from a TBI is a long process, and I think it was handled very true to life in regards to the events and the length of recovery. I think what also makes this story unique is the angst. Typically I see angst when pairings are apart and longing to be together, but here, the object of Rupert’s angst was right in front of him. It was very moving to witness Rupert’s emotional journey through the ups and downs of Jodi’s recovery.

Amnesia isn’t a plot that I purposefully seek out, but Garrett Leigh is always on my radar, and I wasn’t about to let this book pass me by. I’m so glad I read this one as I loved every heart wrenching moment. With Misfits, Garrett Leigh made my Top 10 of 2015 favorites list. And with What Remains, she’s solidified a spot on my Top 10 of 2016.

Rating: 5 Stars

Thank you to RIPTIDE PUBLISHING and Netgalley for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

| Giveaway |

To celebrate the release of What Remains, Garrett is giving away $25 in Riptide Publishing credit. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 9, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

© 2016, Badass Book Reviews. All rights reserved.

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