Can you please tell us about your latest/upcoming book(s)?
Some Mistakes is about identity, at its very core. It follows the story of Craig Dale, who re-invented himself and his life after a mistake destroyed everything he had ten years ago. It's left him very phobic of relationships of any kind, and so his no-strings-attached series of one-night stands with a coffee shop barista, Damian, is as close as Craig lets himself get to other people.
Craig thinks carrying on with Damian is a mistake, but when Craig's past comes back to finish off what it started, he's finally introduced to the idea that not all mistakes are bad things.
It's my sixth novel and my first real foray into erotic romance. Both main characters were a complete mystery to me even as I wrote it, so I felt like I was learning about them as they learned about each other.
How did you come up with the idea for this story?
A good couple of years ago I heard a country song on the radio by Brad Paisley. I'm not a fan of country at all and had to Google the line when this book finally occurred to me so I could credit the lyric, but one single, solitary line stuck in my brain: 'Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.' From there, I had the vaguest of ideas of having a book about an affair seeming like it was a mistake, and turning out to be a good mistake.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I wanted to write a 'romance' without all the slushy stuff. I wanted a grittier, harder 'romance' that still had the element of a new relationship, but none of the mush. A sexual affair turning into something more settled seemed the perfect setting.
So then I asked myself what I always do - what would make that set-up more unique? What's a new reason for someone not to want a new boyfriend or a new relationship? There's countless burned-by-the-ex stories, millions of the cold-hearted bastard who doesn't do love, loads of them. What could be different about these guys?
To this day, I don't know exactly why or how I settled on Craig's back story, but once the idea happened - that 'Craig' was not a real person, merely a persona put on by a man trying to hide from his own history - the three threads just fell into place and became Some Mistakes.
Who is your ultimate "book boy/girlfriend"? You know, that hottie you read about and drool over.
Gotta admit...I don't have one. I haven't read fiction regularly since around 2009 when I went to university, and ever since it's all been non-fiction. It's pretty difficult to make a book boyfriend out of textbooks on statistical significance and mapping software.
Who is your Celebrity crush? And what would you do if you ever meet them?
I wouldn't say I have a crush on any celebrities, really. I find plenty of them hot as hell (one of the publishing team has been keeping me motivated recently with saucy pictures of Scarlett Johansson) but a crush on them? Not really. I'm not one for checking out TV shows or movies because a particular fit actor is in them.
I did, however, have an enormous crush on Sam Carter in Stargate SG-1 when I was a kid. She was how I knew I wasn't gay when I got my first crush on a boy. But as I got older, I realised it was more of a platonic crush - or what asexuals might call a squish - and I didn't actually have the hots for her. She was just kickass and I admired the hell out of that. If I ever met the actress, Amanda Tapping? Hell, I'd probably just tell her that!
If you could collaborate with another author on a secret project, who would you pick to work with and why?
Honestly, I don't think I would ever do collaborations. I have a bizarre writing style - incredibly vocal - and even when my editor tweaks too heavily it becomes blindingly obvious I didn't write it and I have to shuffle things around too much to smooth it over. Collaboration would be a nightmare!
Craig's life is defined by ugly mistakes. This 'arrangement' with sex-mad Damian is another - but maybe some mistakes aren't so bad after all...
Craig is not good at commitment. Relationships are to be avoided at all costs—but when Damian and their evolving coffee-order code fail to elicit anything more serious than Damian's last name, Craig begins to think that this is not a mistake at all, but an opportunity for guilt-free fun, without the prospect of breaking any hearts. Craig cannot afford to be found out, but it looks like Damian isn't interested in asking the right questions.
Then his mother dies. The mistake that ruined Craig's life in the first place is dragged kicking and screaming out of the past—and this casual arrangement with Damian begins to show its true colours.
As the song changes, the dancers shift, and a neon light ricochets off that fair hair. Craig necks the rest of his glass and moves. He rolls off the bar, predatory, and advances on the shadowed dancer like something on the hunt. Damian is dancing with someone, not quite touching but almost there, and Craig hooks a finger into the top of Damian's tight jeans to turn him, cupping those narrow hips in both hands.
"Hello," Damian says—or, rather, mouths. The music is too loud, but Craig doesn't need to hear him. The way those lips lift at the left side of his face is enough, and then Damian drapes both arms oh-so-casually over Craig's shoulders and begins to sway idly against him. He's wearing those jeans that do something sinful to his arse, and Craig slides both hands into the back pockets. Damian just grins.
"Buy you a drink?" Craig asks against Damian's ear, audible only by the extreme proximity, and bites the lobe lightly when Damian squirms against his hands. Damian has a bony arse, all things considered, but he can move his hips better than any woman in the frankly sensual way he dances, fluid as water, and it more than makes up for it. He twists and flexes as he sways, and if Craig didn't already know his measurements, he'd be able to calculate them now.
Damian nods. Craig guides him to the bar, one hand still in a back pocket, and they lounge against it waiting for the bartender to be free. Damian slips a hand between Craig's shirt and jeans, and his fingers are hot.
"What are you doing here?" he asks, just about audible now they're off the dance floor itself. Craig smirks. Damian's asked this question every Friday night since the second time Craig picked him up, and Craig never gives the same answer.
"Keeping tabs," he says this time, and Damian grins. He's had a few drinks already, judging by the lax way the smile blossoms, and the way he tips his head like his tight, almost strict, control over his own body has slipped a little. It's enticing, and Craig pulls him in and nips at his neck. When there's no shivery wriggle, he bites harder, and Damian sighs. Yep. Not quite drunk yet, but definitely heading there.
"On what?" Damian murmurs and kisses Craig's stubble.
"On who else you play around with."
Damian laughs. There's no illusions here - no strings - and it's what Craig needs. There's no expectations with Damian. They don't go on dates, and they don't know each other outside of sex and a coffee code about sex. Damian doesn't come here to pick up Craig, specifically. And when one of them loses interest and this all stops, it won't matter. There'll be no hideous fallout.
That knowledge is freeing, and it's why Craig keeps a hand in Damian's back pocket— literally—and orders for him at the bar. He knows what Damian drinks by now. The nasty, paint-stripper variety of vodka that Edge of Pleasure serves. Sometimes with a mixer, sometimes straight. Craig always orders it mixed with something, because he hates the taste of vodka alone on Damian's tongue.
"You trying to get me drunk?" Damian asks when Craig slides two double vodka and Cokes along the top of the bar.
"Why?" Damian asks, but knocks the first one back despite the question.
"You're easier to handle when you're smashed," Craig says honestly.
Damian smirks, knocking back the second before looping his arms around Craig's neck again and whispering in his ear. "You can't handle me drunk or sober."
"I can try."
"Mm, you could." Damian peels himself away. Craig watches him, watches who else watches him, and follows to cup those narrow hips and dance with him. He doesn't really know the music, and he's not much of a dancer, but it's easy enough to match Damian's rhythm and get his attention now and then with another bruise on his neck or another kiss.
Craig hooks a finger into the top of Damian's jeans and keeps him close. He kisses his neck and glowers over Damian's shoulder at another man who keeps hovering. Craig has plans for tonight, and the only unpredictable variable is when Damian has had enough of dancing.
Or rather, enough of dancing vertically.
About the Author
Matthew J. Metzger is the front for a twenty-three-year-old British author writing on the side of a demanding day job, and not wishing to be fully out of the closet just yet. Matthew is as much a creation as the characters in his books, and was invented in time for the release of his debut young adult novel, Our Last Summer.
Since then, Matthew has published on many more novels in the gay romance and young adult genres, with his work focusing on the grittier contemporary issues such as disability, illness, mental health, domestic violence and conflict in relationships. His trilogy on music and depression, beginning with Vivaldi in the Dark in December 2013, has been billed as both heartbreaking and intense. His fifth novel, Enough, was a bestseller within two weeks of publication, and at the opposite end of the spectrum is far more light-hearted. He is currently working on four new projects for 2015, about cancer, superheroes and unrequited love, coming out, and breaking up. (Not all at the same time.)
When he's not writing, Matthew is sleeping or working. Most of his time is spent thinking about writing or actually doing it. He can be stalked on Twitter and Facebook, as well as his Wordpress blog, and welcomes contact from readers and fellow authors alike.