Saturday, January 22, 2011

Anchored Blog Tour - Interview with Daniel Halstrom

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 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!


booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed reading the post; the interview was great.

I look forward in reading Anchored.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Jenre said...

Thanks, Tracey :).

Anchored is well worth reading.

Amy Lane said...

I am now VERY interested in this book!

Chris said...

I'm intrigued by and a little afraid of this book...

(and don't enter me in the giveaway, as I already have Counterpoint!)

Unknown said...

What a touching interview. Thanks for sharing.

Rachel Haimowitz said...

@Tracey and Alex: Welcome back! Glad you enjoyed the interview; Jen asked some great questions :D

@Amy: Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you pick Anchored up!

@Chris: You might find it kind of stressful, but it does wrap up neatly at the end in (what I think is) a satisfying HFN, so you might enjoy it. If you want a review copy, just LMK and I'll shoot one over.

Rachel Haimowitz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Aw, thanks, Rachel - but I just picked it up at ARe! :)

Rachel Haimowitz said...

@Chris: Even better! ;D

Lea said...

Hey Jenre:

Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts (I read your Goodreads review) and the interview with "Daniel". I've been seeing this book everywhere and read a lot about it. I have to say the warning is a little alarming but I'm going to pull up my "big girl socks" and give it a try.

Thanks to you and Ms. Haimowitz for the great post.

Rachel Haimowitz said...

Hi Lea! Thanks kindly for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy Anchored :D

Jenre said...

Amy: The book has certainly caused a lot of discussion :). It will be interesting to know what you think of it.

Chris: I read the book without knowing anything about it, other than it had a rape scene. It wasn't an easy read but I found it rewarding nonetheless. Don't be afraid to give it a go :).

Alex: Thank you :). Thanks for stopping by.

Jenre said...

Hi Lea
You'll have to tell me whether the book was worth pulling up your socks and taking a chance :).

Lilli said...

Hi Jenre and Rachel :)

Thanks for this interesting interview with Daniel. I can't wait to read this book, it's next on my list. *bounces* It sounds utterly intriguing and...uh...terrifying, but I like walking on the dark side once in a while.

Lilli :)

(Do I have to leave my email?

RFTC Blog said...

Great interview. This book looks great I would love to read it.

She said...

Good interview with Daniel. I know he's a slave but it bothered me that he believed he was guilty for all the torment he went through.

Izzy said...

Great interview! I haven't read Anchored yet but I look forward to reading it in the future.

bradunwanted at yahoo dot com

Jessica said...

Wow sounds like a GREAT book!

jsididia at gmail dot com

Rachel Haimowitz said...

@Lilli: I too enjoy walking on the dark side, though I'm prone to do it more often than not. Hope you find it a pleasant stroll!

@Danielle: Thank you! I would love for you to read it ;D

@She: Hello again! Yeah, poor Daniel's drunk the Kool-Aid for damn sure, and that'll probably never change. He doesn't possess the frame of reference to see things any other way, and honestly, neither does Carl or Tim or pretty much anyone else in the story.

@Izzy: Thanks kindly for stopping by, and I'm glad you enjoyed the interview!

@Jessica: Aw, thanks for your kind words :D said...

hi Rachel and DIK Ladies. Loved the interview, and the premise of the book too. I haven't read it yet but I can't wait to.

thanks for the giveaway!

Rachel Haimowitz said...

Hi Steph-Anne! Glad you enjoyed the interview, and thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

Lily said...

I read Anchored a few days ago and loved it!!

Thanks for the great interview Daniel, Jen and Rachel. :)

Rachel Haimowitz said...

@Lily: Awesome :D New Belonging-verse stories already in the works. I'm actually taking short story requests here if there's anything in particular you or anyone else would like to see:

Lily said...

Thanks for the link, Rachel. I just left a story request. I'm really looking forward to the sequel of Daniel and Carl's story. Also wanted to let you know I bought your Sublime collection yesterday although I haven't read it yet. It looks really good. Maybe I'll get lucky and win Counterpoint too. :)

Rachel Haimowitz said...

@Lily: I saw the request--thank you for the suggestion! Now I just have to figure out if I can work an erotic/romantic encounter into that, as my editor wants primarily erotic stories. I think there's definitely room to work with it though if I write about Daniel and Victor spending a day off together.

Thanks also for buying Sublime; I wouldn't be able to spend so much time writing stories if all you wonderful folks didn't buy them, so that means a ton to me :D I wish you luck with the Counterpoint drawings--if you haven't left comments on the other stops on the blog tour, many of them won't be awarding prizes until tomorrow so there's still time to put in a few extra contest entries :)

orannia said...

That was one fascinating interview - thank you Rachel! I think I'd like to read this book...I'm interesting, but also a little scared. But, I'm beginning to realise that I won't know what I do or don't like if I don't try it :)

All the best with the release.

Rachel Haimowitz said...

@Orannia: I'm the first to admit that Anchored isn't for the faint of heart, but at the same time, there's a lot of good to be found in the bad and a lot of comfort to be found amongst the hurt. It's not a pleasant world, but Carl and Daniel do find each other despite that, and in a way I hope makes everyone smile. Earlier on the tour were some excerpts, including all of Chapter 1 on D. Renee Bagby's blog. And a chunk of chapter 2 is the excerpt available on the Noble Romance page. So you can get a good feel for whether or not you think you'll like it before you commit to buying it. (All the links to these sites are listed on my blog if you need them.)

Thanks for stopping by and for the well-wishes :)

Barbara said...

I truly loved the interview - it was fascinating and gave us a more insight into Daniel's mind. And now, I simply want to hug him and never let him go :). OK, maybe I'll share with Carl (if he behave ;). I can't wait to read Anchored, why tomorrow can't come faster?

Jenre said...

Hi Lilli
Yes walking on the dark side can be very scary, but I hope you'll think this book is worth it :).

Danielle: Thanks :). Good luck in the draw!

She: It was hard to read Daniel's self-blame. It's a result of his upbringing and conditioning - and partly why this book is very difficult to read in places.

Jenre said...

Izzy: Thanks :). Hope you enjoy Anchored as much as I did.

Jessica: It is a great book :).

Steph-Anne: Thank you! It was the premise that drew me into the story too.

Lily: Glad you enjoyed it too :).

Jenre said...

Orannia: It's true that you have to experiment a little if you are going to find out your likes/dislikes. Hopefully this will be a 'like' for you :).

Barbara: I wanted to hug Daniel too on a number of occasions.

Rachel Haimowitz said...

@Barbara: Aww, yeah, he is an awfully huggable little woobie. But he's in good hands now :)

Ingrid said...

Thanks for the interesting interview with Daniel.
Reading the book I had some questions and some are cleared up now. I am very much looking forward to the sequel to see how Daniel and Carl doing.

Rachel Haimowitz said...

Thanks so much, Ingrid! If you still have questions, be sure to stop by this blog post, where I'm taking short story requests for an ucpoming collection in the Anchored world :D

Ingrid said...

Guess who's name is already on there?

Rachel Haimowitz said...

Haha oh :D Well in that case, thank you for the suggestions! :D

CaryLory said...

Loved Anchored and Daniel's interview ---- just want him safe and understood. What's next for him? Does his master buy him eventually?
Want to just cuddle with Daniel and comfort him.
Started the print book at 4pm and finished sometime around 2am--- I could not put it down!

Rachel Haimowitz said...

Aw Cary, you just made my afternoon :D I do have a sequel in the planning for Daniel and Carl, but it may be a while before I have time for it. There is indeed an HEA in Daniel's future, though.

Ingrid said...

I am glad to hear that Rachel. I don't like to see David hanging like he is now.

I will be "patiently" waiting!

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