I have a special post today, which includes an interview with my guest, the wonderful C F White, with her new release: Fade To Blank…
Book Title: Fade to Blank (London Lies # 1)
Author: C F White
Cover Artist: Rhys Everly-Lawless
Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romantic Suspense
Trope/s: Slow burn, hurt/comfort
Themes: Enemies to lovers, Revenge, Secrets, Mystery
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 78 000 words/ 280 pages
It’s the first book in a new series.
Book 2 is coming later in the year. Book 1 ends on a HFN for the couple.
Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited
A celebrity accused of murder. A writer needing his big break. The lies that tie them together.
Accused of a murder he didn’t commit, vilified celebrity Jackson Young enlists the help of a rookie journalist to clear his name and write his biography.
Jackson has a secret though. One he must keep from becoming public. But Fletcher’s dreamy green eyes, Irish drawl and effortless charm makes it hard to suppress those long-buried feelings, even if it could compromise his innocence.
Uncovering the murky past behind Jackson’s rise to fame, Fletcher grows closer to a man he’d once declared as talentless, and their intense attraction starts to affect not only his professional integrity but the life he’d made since moving to London.
Falling for the subject of his book could be fatal for Fletcher, and Jackson should know better than to trust a journalist.
Fade to Blank is the first book in the London Lies trilogy set in 1999, and is a slow burn, enemies to lovers, hurt/comfort romantic suspense.
Fletcher drew troubled eyebrows in. “Are you okay?” he asked.
“Okay? Okay?” Jackson breathed out a laugh that was more a release of pent up anguish. He’d always been taught to laugh in the face of adversity. He hadn’t been able to do much of that lately. Any flicker of amusement seeping out when in Flaymore would only have been captured by an inmate wanting a name for himself and used against him in the media. He rubbed his stinging eyes. “My girlfriend is dead. Someone strangled her whilst I was passed out in the other room. The world thinks I did it. I’ve spent six months inside because I wasn’t granted bail. This morning I wasn’t told that I was free because they believed I didn’t do it. They just couldn’t prove that I did. I can’t quite see how I would be okay after all that. Do you?”
Perhaps that was too blunt. Too much, too soon? Perhaps all this seeking the truth was coming across more selfish than he’d anticipated. It was. But the world was pointing at him. So he needed to prove his innocence to force people to look at who might have killed her, instead of allowing them to tie the noose around his neck.
And on that thought, his heart almost stopped. So the desperation kicked in. “I need you. Your help.”
Fletcher softened before him. “Okay,” he said. “Go on. Why would I, the fella you tried to knock out due to one bad review, want to write another article about you?”
“I want more than an article. And you’ll have a ready and waiting readership for this. It’ll rocket you to a fortune you never knew existed.”
“Wind your neck in, lad, that’s a touch arrogant there.”
“Arrogance doesn’t equal guilt.” Jackson leapt up from leaning against his bike, new found energy resumed. “Nor does it equal untalented.”
Fletcher glanced away, flicking his gaze back just as quick. “What are you talking here, then? A featured piece?”
Jackson forced a smile. “A full exposé of Jackson Young and why he isn’t the man he’s been depicted as in the media of late.”
“So this is all about you? Not… Tallulah?”
Jackson sucked in a breath at her name. It still stabbed at his heart, strangled his chest, erupted bile into his throat. He wondered if it would ever stop.
Scrubbing fingers across his perspiring forehead, Jackson had to find the right way to explain what he needed. What he had to do before it was too late and this was all hidden under the carpet as so many of the lies and manipulations already had been. He wasn’t sure how far he should go. How much he should admit he knew. There was the whole story. And there was his story.
“I was arrested for something I didn’t do,” he settled on. “I’ve been painted in the media as a monster. Pretty much all my friends and family have abandoned me because they believe people like you.”
“People like me?”
“People with the ability to write words and print them for the public to read, to believe and to act upon.”
“I never wrote about what happened to her. I’ve avoided talking about you, or her, since.”
“I know. Now I want you to.”
Jackson waited for the faint glimmer of understanding to work its way across Fletcher’s face. He had to know this would be the ultimate scoop for him. A writer, a journalist, a gossip columnist…whatever the man claimed to be, if he took this opportunity he could retire.
“I don’t write news. I write…gossip.” It sounded a lot like he hated to say that word, and his gaze blinked away from Jackson toward the glass frontage of London Lights HQ.
“I don’t want you to write for a paper. I don’t want this to be news, or gossip. This is the truth. My truth.”
“I’m not sure my editor will buy into it.” Fletcher sighed. “And if she did, she’d pass it onto the more seasoned journalists.”
“I don’t want your editor. I don’t want this in your poxy magazine.” Jackson spat the word, nodding toward the office block in contempt. He wanted nothing to do with any of that. Especially not London Lights. “This has got to be independent.”
“I don’t understand. I thought you wanted an exposé?”
Jackson stepped forward, a hair’s breadth from Fletcher, so close he could taste the man’s coffee breath. “Ever want to write something different? Something good. Something that could make a name for yourself away from the trash rags? Don’t you want to see your name on a shelf?”
“What type of shelf?”
“A book shelf. I want you to write my biography. So if you ever wanted your fortune handed on a plate, Fletcher Doherty…” Jackson held out his arms. “It’s here.”
A warm welcome and big thank you to my guest C F White – who incidentally has the most excellent taste in ice cream – for our interview…
Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.
Hi, I’m C F White and I write contemporary British gay romance. I have to add the British in there as my books all do tend to stay in or around London as that’s where I live. My tag line kinda sums up what you can expect from me and my books: Romance, mainly. Gritty, often. Love, always. It means you can expect a bit of angst, a bit of gritty realism but a HEA always guaranteed – even if it’s a long time getting there!
Writing goals are to keep on writing!
Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?
My latest book is the first in yet another three-book series. I have a thing about writing in trilogies! Fade to Blank (London Lies #1) is a romantic suspense set in 1999 and centres around Jackson Young, one half of UK TVs presenting dream team, who is serving time for the suspected murder of his socialite girlfriend. But with no evidence to convict, he is released with a fierce determination to clear his name that has been smeared in the mud by the press. He enlists the help of Fletcher Doherty, a writer stuck in the reviews and gossip column of the newest online magazine, who has had enough of chasing gossip and uncovering scandals for a celebrity hungry nation. The potential to elevate his career and reap the royalties that such a book would bring, ultimately make Fletcher accept the job that no one should want.
But there’s a murky story beneath Jackson Young’s rise to fame and the two men find themselves entangled into a web of lies and manipulation that runs deep into the underbelly of British television. There are people determined to silence Fletcher from giving Jackson a mouthpiece. But with every word written and every fact checked, Fletcher peels away the layers that had made up the captivating persona of Jax to reveal the true, vulnerable man underneath. He’s unable to walk away despite the threat to his career, his relationship, and the life he’d made for himself since settling in London.
Fade to Blank starts the series off with a slow burn, enemies to lovers romance fizzling between Jackson and Fletcher and that’s the part I loved writing—creating that unresolved sexual tension and seeing them fight with each other about their true feelings. I couldn’t say that I liked one character over the other and Jax and Fletch kinda come as a package.
Are you a planner or a pantser? How much do you know about your story before you start writing? How often does your plan change? Why does this work best for you?
Complete pantser. I can’t plan. I’ve tried it and I hate it. I feel like the book is already written if I plan. I prefer to be surprised where it goes, much like the reader! I tend to start with a basic idea, I’ll know where I want to go with it, where it needs to end. Then I just write and see what happens. It’s worked out so far, there’s only been a couple of occasions I’ve slipped up and fallen into a plot hole.
Do deadlines motivate you or block you? How do you deal with them?
I try ever so hard not to give myself deadlines. But to be honest, they do tend to motivate me otherwise I would tinker forever.
Do you schedule a certain amount of time for writing each day/week, or do you just work it in when you can? Would you like to change this, or does your current method work well for you?
I fit writing in as and when I can. I work full time and have two kids, one with special needs to writing oftentimes takes a back seat to everything else. It’s why I do a lot of drafts online first, it means I can write on the go, directly onto my phone. So, no, I don’t have a schedule. I see and free window, I sit down and write. I’d love to be able to set aside time but for the time being, I have to stick to this method. I’d probably discover if I did schedule time to write then the words wouldn’t come to me.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book? Why?
Keeping the suspense going. As I knew this was going to be spun over three books, it was hard to keep everything in and not give it all away to start with. I actually started the whole book without knowing what happened, which helped keep up the suspense and mystery for myself. I know now!
What are your favorite genres when it comes to your own pleasure reading? Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?
I tend to go for the romantic suspense or mystery and crime elements within an MM romance. I love a complex plot series over multiple books with that slow burn that has you screaming at the couple to just do it already! Josh Lanyon, Gergory Ashe, Dal MacLean, Cole McCade, A E Ryecart are all authors I admire and read regularly. And I do favour an ebook. I like to collect paperbacks but I won’t read from them anymore. They’re more for display. And signatures!
What is your writing Kryptonite?
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To keep writing. And reading. To trust in my own words and not compare myself to others. My voice is my voice. No one can be a better me than me 😊
What is your favorite underappreciated novel?
Won’t Be Fooled Again (St Cross 2). It’s the least read and bought novel of mine. It’s the second in a series but it’s vastly different from the first. It’s a friends to lovers story that deal with quite a few issues—addiction, abandonment, poverty, disability, interracial relationships. It’s a raw and emotional story but I think as it’s book 2 people think they have to have read book one, but they really don’t. I wish more people did pick it up.
What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
My book usually! I make playlists for my books I’m working on that I’ll play in the car to help me think about scenes. It’s a great motivator. I just need a car that will then write my book for me whilst stuck in traffic.
What was your favorite toy growing up?
A teddy bear I named Chunky. It was a Christmas present from my nan and grandad who died when I was fairly young. I slept with it, took it everywhere and even came to university with me. It was so squashed and ripped from how hard I hugged it when I finally had to give it up to the dustbin in my mid-twenties.
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Haagan Dasz Pralines and Cream.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Pheobe Waller Bridge from Fleabag. I love her humour and writing!
About the Author
Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.
Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly search for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.
She eventually moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.
After her second son was born with a rare disability, C F White’s life changed and brought pen back to paper having written stories as a child but never the confidence to show them to the world. Now, having embarked on this writing journey, she can’t stop. So strap in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
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