February 12, 2014

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Hi guys. You remember that little book, SOMETHING REAL by Heather Demetrios? I've only talked about it a little bit and maybe mentioned it on my blog a few times...
Well, in case you have no idea what I'm talking about or are still unsure how much I loved this book and how much I really want you all to get off the fence, put on your pants, and go buy this one, I have Heather on the blog today to tell you exactly why this is the perfect book for you to buy and read - ESPECIALLY because Valentines Day is coming up.

Also, it's worth noting that I've obviously already read this post already and the depth of my affection for this book, Benny, Matt and Heather has only grown. So that might excite all the fans and fans-to-be out there!

And in case you still don't know what this book is about:

Title: Something Real
Author: Heather Demetrios
Release Date: February 4th, 2014
There’s nothing real about reality TV.

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]
Okay. But for serious, before I stop talking and let Heather have the floor, be sure to CLICK HERE to find out more about Heather's GIVEAWAY. That's right, my darlings, free things.

And now, time to hear from Heather!


Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, it’s only right to give some love to Benny and Matt, one of the couples in my debut novel, SOMETHING REAL.

I had way too much fun creating these book boyfriends. Building their relationship was one of the most satisfying aspects of writing this novel, mostly because it was a natural extension of Benny himself. People often ask me who my favorite character is and though I feel like a mom and want to say “I love them all equally,” the truth is that Benton™ Baker stole my heart from day one. This is because I didn’t make him up: he appeared to me, fully formed. I’ve said a few times now that it was as if he’d tapped me on the shoulder and said, “put me in your book.”

I knew from day one that Benny was gay and that he had a serious boyfriend. As I wrote scenes with Bonnie™ (Benny’s sister/BFF) Matt began to surface. Details about him would come out of the conversation and these became the foundation of their relationship. It was clear almost immediately that Matt was in the closet. Why? I went down the rabbit hole and came out with “a young Taye Diggs in a football jersey.” It became clear that a combination of Matt’s family (conservative Christians) and school life (football team) were what was keeping him in the closet, but that this had nothing to do with confusion about his sexual identity or his love for Benny.

It take a pretty special guy to steal Benton™ Baker’s heart. First, let’s just say that this is my fantasy casting for him. Obviously their relationship is about more than them both being adorable, but you have the start somewhere, right? Here is a very Benny and Matt moment from early in the book:

“Side note: I love Pepsi Freezes almost as much as I love Matt,” Benny says.

“Excuse me?” Matt turns his burly Abercrombie-esque body around. “Pepsi Freezes are not about to frolic with you in a media shit storm, Benton™ Andrew Baker.”

I’d never written a GLBT couple before and it quickly became clear to me that the principles remain the same as a heterosexual pair. Like my proto Bonnie™ and her boy Patrick Sheldon, you’ve got two people who love each other and are attracted to each other. Their relationship needs to be a universe until itself, with its own language and customs (for those of you that have read the book, I have one word for you: cantaloupe). There are obstacles that they must go through if they want to stay together, compromises that must be made, and decisions that will make or break them. What’s really cool is that I had the challenge of figuring out how these guys present as gay and quickly realized that it’s pretty easy for them both to stay in the closet because they’re both masculine in the traditional sense (though Bonnie™ accuses her brother of taking “an extra gay pill” when he gets swoony on her behalf over Patrick Sheldon).

Next, I had to suss out the difference in their behavior at school, where no one knows they’re gay, and how they act when they’re with people they’ve come out to. These latter scenes were really helpful because I began to see what a support system they are for one another. Benny is able to weather the media storm much more easily than Bonnie™, but Matt keeps him sane in a thousand ways. Benny says, “We all run away from stuff in our own way. I mean, when things get too intense, I know I can always see Matt or at least call him.”

Still, I knew that Benny’s fame was something Matt would need to come to terms with. Unlike Patrick, Matt’s leading a double life where instead of kissing his boyfriend when he sees him at school, he has to settle for a fist bump. There’s a lot at stake for him and having a secret boyfriend the paparazzi chase isn’t the easiest thing to deal with. But, like Patrick, Matt’s protective of his other half and wants to keep the cameras from destroying Benny’s life. He helps Benny ditch the cameras and has his back when the chips are down. This push-pull tension between the private and public is something that plays a large role in all the relationships in the book, but especially Benny and Matt’s. What I really liked discovering were the ways in which they go out of their comfort zones for one another: for example, early on we see Benny is distraught because the show is keeping him from going to the rally before one of Matt’s football games, while Matt does several things that I can’t discuss here because I am anti-spoilers.

The biggest gift creating this relationship has given me is that it has allowed me to talk about something I really care about, which is equality. Growing up, I went to a really conservative church that was hateful and intolerant. They brainwashed us into thinking God only let us love certain people and that if you were gay, too bad for you. When you’re a teenager and adults are telling you this stuff, it’s so confusing. You feel like you have to believe them because they’re the authority, right? So so so wrong. Thankfully, these people aren’t the final word on God, faith, and love. I wish I could go back in time to my high school and tell every gay kid there that such a way of thinking is backward and not to believe a word of it. It kills me, the destruction that church left in its wake in the lives of gay and straight kids, not to mention parents and teachers.

So, Benny and Matt are more than two characters in my book: they’re the world as it should be and they’re a way of telling GLBT teens that it gets better.


About Heather Demetrios:
"I love books. I love writing stories almost as much as I like reading them. When I’m not traipsing about the world, I prefer to spend my time in imaginary places—maybe I’ll see you in one of them. I’ll be the one with my nose in a book and more tattoos than your mother would approve of."

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You guys totally want to read this book now, right? If you still have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment below and I'll be sure to address them IMMEDIATELY, in such a way you'll have no choice but to find yourself a copy of this book.