Today, I’m delighted to welcome my guest, Sara Dobie Bauer with her new novel, Abstract Love. The moment I saw its cover I was hooked. I’m so looking forward to reading Sam & Donovan’s story.
Special thanks to Sara for being kind enough to be interviewed too. I couldn’t agree with her more about what makes a great story…and very much suspect Abstract Love will prove itself a portrait of exactly that.
Book Title: Abstract Love
Author: Sara Dobie Bauer
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: September 4, 2020
Genre/s: Contemporary MM romance
Trope/s: enemies-to-lovers, age gap, co-workers, office romance,
bisexuality, businessmen, artists, bondage, comedy
Themes: sexual awakening
Possible triggers: depression, suicidal ideations, biphobia
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 71 000 words
It is a standalone book.
Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited
I hate Sam Shelby. So why do I want to kiss him?
Sam never expected to move back to Cleveland.
Donovan never expected to be attracted to a man.
Well, shit happens.
After high school, Sam Shelby moved to New York. Eight years later, he returns to Cleveland and lands a job at the best ad firm in town. It would be the perfect gig, if his boss weren’t such an ass.
After his wife leaves, Donovan Cooper questions everything. The arrival of a young, arrogant, gifted graphic designer at Donovan’s firm is the last straw.
Tempers flare over office gossip, and following a nasty argument and scathing kiss, Donovan flails away from heterosexuality while Sam struggles to keep his “no relationship” rule intact.
Despite ugly socks, fiery fights, and their best intentions to not fall in love, these bullheaded coworkers can’t deny their chemistry. Donovan seeks happiness while Sam seeks success, but is there room for more?
Interview with Sara
Do you use images to develop your character’s looks?
Oh, for sure! I ROUGHLY base my characters on actors I love. In Abstract Love, for instance, Donovan is Daniel Craig and Sam is Timothee Chalamet. (Yes, the characters are ROUGHLY based on these men, but Sam’s fashion choices are actual outfits Timothee has worn in real life, for better or worse.) In the past, I’ve used Benedict Cumberbatch, Alexander Skarsgard, Armie Hammer, Tilda Swinton, and more.
Are your characters based on people you know?
Not usually, but in the case of Abstract Love, yes. Monica is very much based on my beautiful friend Keri.They have the same hair, tattoos, glasses, and style. They’re both sassy, smart, confident women. I love women who stand out amongst the masses and embrace their identities without fear. That’s Keri.
Do you use your experiences in your books?
I’d say I use my feelings more than my experiences. As a theater minor in college, I used to channel my emotions into my performance on stage, and I’ve transferred that catharsis into my writing. So, nope, you’re not going to see anything autobiographical here, but the emotions—heartbreak, joy, fear—come from a place that is very, very real.
Do you ever get writer’s block?
What do you think makes a good story?
Strong, complex, believable characters with chemistry. The plot doesn’t much matter to me if I’m spending time with characters I love. Especially characters with a great sense of humor. I have a weak spot for snarky protagonists.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Energize. More than anything else in my life. Except maybe sex. (My mom isn’t going to read this, right?)
What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
I released Handsome Death in April through Carnation Books. Due to the pandemic, we weren’t sure what kind of sales we might get. The night of the book’s release, my publisher messaged me freaking out. She couldn’t believe the sales numbers. We broke that publishing house’s record that night. I couldn’t sleep. I was so pumped, I stayed up, watched Clue, and drank absinthe. It was such a dark time for me and for the world; Handsome Death’s book birthday was an unexpected bright spot.
What do your friends and family think about you being a writer?
They think it’s awesome … but don’t really understand what it means to be “a writer.” (My hubby is an engineer, so it’s the same when he talks about work. Since his words don’t make sense, I just focus on how hot he is.) My friends and family celebrate new releases and read my books, but my day-to-day existence is a great mystery of the universe to most people. I like it that way.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Bartend and practice yoga to stay healthy and sane. Oh, and I read. So much reading.
Do you like music or silence when your write?
SILENCE IS GOLDEN.
Donovan sifted through a few hand-drawn logos on the desk and froze when he found a crudely drawn sketch of himself. Sam must have done it during a meeting at some point, capturing Donovan’s faux hawk, wide jaw, and severe expression.
Jesus, was this what other people saw when they looked at him? Did he really look so miserable?
“Make yourself at home?” Donovan dropped the picture and stood straight at the sound of Sam’s voice. He leaned against the doorframe, with one ankle crossed over the other.
“It’s really bullshit when people say that, you know?” Sam said. “Make yourself at home. No one actually wants their friends to take off their pants, drink all their beer, and binge The Great British Bake Off.” He paused. “What are you doing in my office?”
“I didn’t mean to snoop.”
The office door closed as he stepped inside. “Sure you did, or you wouldn’t be in here, so what’s up?”
Sam circled the desk, so Donovan circled the other way, although he noticed it was true what coworkers said: Sam did smell good—like clean laundry and cedar.
“I think we started off on the wrong foot.” Sam snort laughed and flipped through some files on his desk.
“More like wrong continent, man.” When he found what he was looking for, he tapped the file’s corner against his palm. “I can handle guys like you, you know.” Donovan shifted back on his heels.
“Guys like me?”
“Hmm. Corporate assholes. All you see are dollar signs. You take no pleasure in your work. Advertising is money to you, not art, but without the artists, there wouldn’t be advertising, so…”
He sucked his cheeks into his mouth, a momentary fish face.
Donovan wanted to tell him it wasn’t true. Donovan loved art. He used to love art.
Sam continued, “I know I look like a six-foot-two Disney princess, but you’re not gonna rattle me.” To prove his point, Sam got right up in Donovan’s personal space until Donovan took a step back. Again, he was not used to dealing with someone his own height. “And I’m right about the Great Lakes ad campaign. If you’d pull your head out of your ass, maybe you’d notice.” He turned away abruptly.
“I’m sorry.” Ouch, that hurt coming out.
Sam’s rebuttal: “Prove it.”
“Excuse me?” He rested a hand on the desk and cocked his hip out—the very picture of young attitude.
“Listen to me in meetings.”
“I was listening.”
“Nope.” He shook his head and ran a hand through his unkempt, unprofessional hair. “No, you were hearing. I need you to listen. There’s a difference. And I know I’m just some fucking kid to you, but I ruled the New York City advertising scene. I know what I’m doing, Donovan, so let me do it.”
“Fine.” He’d had enough. He’d apologized, okay, so he’d done his Monica-enforced duty. He didn’t owe Sam anything else.
He didn’t run for the door, but he definitely moved with speed.
About the Author
Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. She lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film.