We interrupt usual proceedings at DIK to take part in a blog tour to promote the release of Anchored: Belonging by Rachel Haimowitz:
Rachel is an M/M erotic romance author and a freelance writer and editor. She originally dipped her toes into cable news and book publishing, decided the water was cold and smelled kinda funny, and moved on to help would-be authors polish and publish, write for websites and magazines, and ghostwrite nonfiction. Her first novel, Counterpoint: Book One of Song of the Fallen, released in August of 2010 with Guiltless Pleasure Publishing. Her second novel, Anchored: Belonging Book One, is out now with Noble Romance. Her third, the Counterpoint sequel, will release in the Fall of 2011. Visit RachelHaimowitz.com for more info.
During the last few days on the tour there have been character interviews, author interviews, question and answer sessions and lots of reviews. The last two days have been particularly busy with character interviews with the secondary characters at Amara's Place; reader questions and answers at Rick R Reed's blog; a review and author interview at Aleksandr Voinov's blog and book related questions and answers, plus a whole deleted scene from Anchored at Brita Addams' blog.
I have to say that I loved the book myself and thought it "Fantastic, gripping and emotionally compelling". You can read the rest of my review at Good Reads here and here's the blurb for those who are interested:
Network news anchor Daniel Halstrom is at the top of his field, but being at the bottom of the social ladder—being a slave—makes that hard to enjoy. Especially when NewWorld Media, the company who's owned him since childhood, decides to lease him on evenings and weekends to boost their flagging profits.
Daniel's not stupid; he knows there's only one reason a man would pay so much for what little free time he has, and it's got nothing to do with his knowledge of current events. But he's never been made to serve like that before, and he fears he won't survive the experience with his sanity intact.
He finds himself in the home of Carl Whitman, a talk show host whose words fail him time and again when it comes to ordering Daniel to bed. Daniel knows what Carl wants, but it seems as if Carl isn't willing to take it, and Daniel's not willing to give it freely. His recalcitrance costs him dearly, but with patience and some hard-won understanding, love just might flourish where once there'd been only fear and pain. Can Carl become the anchor in Daniel's turbulent life, or will he end up the weight that sinks his slave for good?
(WARNING: This book contains potentially triggering subject matter, including a violent on-screen rape. Please take heed.)
What I particularly liked about the book was the 1st person narrator, Daniel Halstrom. He makes a number of ill advised mistakes in the story and suffers so much as a result, and yet remains a sympathetic character. I wanted to know more about what makes him tick, so I asked Rachel if she would don the mantle of Daniel and answer some of my nosy questions from his point of view:
Tell us how you were born into slavery and how you are different from the so called freemen.
It’s interesting—and I mean no disrespect, ma’am—that you asked how I was born into slavery. Most people assume I must have done something, that I was a criminal, or maybe a debtor, or at least that my mother was. That’s easier for them, I guess. But no. I mean, I’m sure there was a criminal or debtor in my ancestry somewhere, but I can’t trace it back that far. I only know my mother. Don’t know who my father was, but my mother was a real beauty in her day, I’m told, so they bred her. Could’ve been—Are you sure you’re not taping this? You’re not?—could’ve even been her master. But in the end, it didn’t work out too well; she only ever had two children. Good thing she could sew, I guess.
What were your early years as a slave like?
I, uh . . . It was okay, I guess? I was about the same age as my mistress’s son, so when I was very little, my only job was to play with him, keep him happy. Mostly I just watched a lot; he had no reason to share his toys with me, after all. I was working the shop by the time I was four or five, I think, though it’s hard to remember that far back. Simple stuff, you know? Sorting buttons, fetching pins and thread, sweeping up, that kind of thing. I learned how to sew a couple years later, the math I needed for the work, how to wait on clients. Mistress always used to say I was a difficult child, that my head was always in the clouds; I went hungry a lot, had a lot of bruises. But she wasn’t— I mean, surely it was my fault, you know?
How did that change when you were bought by New World Media.
It was all really kind of scary at first, I must admit. They were so big, and it seemed like everyone knew what they were supposed to do but me. There was this dorm full of slaves and Supervisors—more people than I think I’d probably ever seen in one place before. Rooms full of bunk beds, and rooms full of books, and TVs tuned to news we were actually supposed to watch. I wasn’t used to having no one person to please, and I didn’t know how to please all these new people, all the teachers and supervisors. I also couldn’t read, which put me years behind the other kids at NewWorld, but this one boy . . . he was in Companion training, a couple years older than me. He sort of mentored me, helped me learn, made it a lot less scary.
And really, I had nothing to be scared of. I just didn’t realize it at the time. But all my difficult behaviour, all that curiosity, all the questions I wanted to ask . . . they liked that at NewWorld. Encouraged me. Gave me textbooks to study and newspapers to read. We even had a couple hours of free time every day, could go play in the park behind the dorm—“Fit bodies make fit minds,” they’d always say. I hardly ever went hungry anymore. Didn’t get so many bruises. They even bought my mother, put her to work in Wardrobe, and I could spend four hours with her every Saturday if I’d been good. I studied very hard; I was as good as I knew how to be. I wanted to show them how much I appreciated everything they’d given me.
Do you like your life with New World Media?
Oh yes, very much. They gave me the whole world, you know? They’re very fair, and they’ve treated me very well, and my handler is probably the nicest freeman in the world. All they ask in return is that I work hard for them, and since I’m doing work that I love—freemen’s work, by the way, and how amazing is that, that they promoted me despite the bracelets on my wrists?—it’s no hardship at all to give it everything I can.
Rumour has it that you are being loaned out as a companion to the very successful Carl Whitman for a large fee for New World Media. How do you feel about that?
Well, to be honest, I— Wait, are you sure you’re not taping this? Because I mean, surely you know we’re not supposed to talk about our masters, and I shouldn’t be breaking the rules. I feel bad enough as it is answering your other questions, but if they find out . . . What’s that? Yeah, I’m okay, just . . . *laughs nervously* Yeah, you’re right, Tim said I should tell the truth. So, here goes.
I was angry. I mean really, really angry. It was terrible and spoiled of me, I know that now, but when I first found out? Every morning I spend a couple hours catching up on the overnight news, and then another hour in the gym, and then I put in twelve, fourteen hours a day on the newsfloor. By the time I get back to my dorm, all I want to do is sleep, you know? I couldn’t imagine where I’d fit my new master into that life, and I foolishly neglected to trust NewWorld to fit it in for me. Plus, I’m not a Companion, never was. I didn’t know how . . . how to do that, you know? And yes, it terrified me. I’d heard . . . stories. So, yeah, not happy.
But I was wrong about all that, Mr. Foster helped me to see that. And the master helped me to see that too. I should have known better than to second-guess my owners. Things are fine now. Good, even. I like Master Whitman. He’s very kind to me. Too kind sometimes, I think. I don’t deserve that.
Thank you Daniel for that honest interview.
If this interview has caught your interest and you want to know more about how Daniel copes with being leased to Carl, then you can buy Anchored from Noble Publishing here.
You can also continue the blog tour today at Kari Greg's blog where you can watch a trailer for the book and for the next two days at Rachel's blog where she's running a big prize give-away of Anchored, Counterpoint: Book 1 of Song of the Fallen and her book of short stories Sublime.
And as a further incentive, Rachel has kindly offered to give a way a copy of her first book Counterpoint: Book 1 of Song of the Fallen to one lucky person who leaves a comment in this post. The book is also available at Guiltless Pleasure Publishing here. Good Luck!