Heat Wave Astoria by Liam Livings
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RJ Scott: today we have Lucy and Brad from Liam Livings' latest story, Heat Wave Astoria. I'm led to believe it's his first story set in America. Have you both got your coffees?
Brad and Lucy: -nodding, raising a cup of coffee each-
RJ Scott: So, what's it like living in a place like Astoria?
Brad: it's pretty neat knowing everyone knows you, ever time you walk to the store you're gonna meet someone, catch up about your day. It's where I grew up, so most people have know me since I was this high -gestures to his knees-
Lucy: yeah, but you've changed a bit since then. Bit more naughty now I'd guess.
Brad: I don't agree. That's totally unfair. I'm a changed man. I've put all that behind me.
Lucy: remember, no spoilers. Don't wanna ruin the story for the readers do we?
Brad: -shrugs- They're gonna know it ends happily I'm guessing.
RJ Scott: Of course, who doesn't love a happy ending. I think everyone deserves their own happy ending. But Lucy's right, no spoilers.
Brad: -sticks bottom lip out, blinks slowly- OK.
RJ Scott: Is it always good that everyone in Astoria knows you, or are there some times when it's been more challenging?
Lucy: I have this thing where someone's always trying to set me up with someone's son. He's such a nice boy, you'll definitely love him. I must have you round to meet him. That's what they always say.
Brad: And you can't catch a cold without someone on the other side of town hearing about it, and telling you the best way to fix it next time you see them. If you tell one of the sweet old ladies, they all know it by lunchtime the next day. It spreads, like, something.
Lucy: wild fire?
Brad: if you say so.
RJ Scott: Brad, what about you, has the small town caught you out before?
Brad: I'm too smart for that.
Lucy: -spits out her coffee- Err, excuse me, I don't think so. What about that time with Chip when he came back from one of his trips and you were down by the docks and had misjudged if people in the restaurant could see you.
Brad: -sitting up, waving his hands- That was one time. It was a one time thing and I've never repeated it.
Lucy: only 'cause the mayor banned you from returning to the docks for the whole of the next summer. A public disorder bill, or something it was called.
Brad: the picture in the local paper wasn't too flattering either was it?
Lucy: I don't know what you're complaining about, you were hardly in the picture, only the top of your head was visible. It was Chip's white butt everyone got to see.
Brad: yeah, that took some explaining to his dad I can tell you. Lucky it was only the top of my head, or he'd never have gotten away with saying it was that girl he was seeing.
Lucy: lucky she had short hair too.
RJ Scott: Yes. Erm. I think that's enough local scandal. What about James, to what extent would you say he is the sort of man you usually go for?
Lucy: -spitting out more coffee-
Brad: Excuse me, can I start?
Lucy: no, I can't let that one slide. See, the thing is, Brad's not, what you'd call picky. He's doesn't have what you'd call, a type, or a sort of man he goes for, do you Brad?
Brad: -hangs head, then sits upright, puffs out chest- No, I don't. And what's wrong with that? I'm a young man in my prime, I've got a talent, so why not use it.
Lucy: If you walk into any gay bar in Oregon…
Brad: it's a big city not far from Astoria.
Lucy: if you walk into any gay bar there, I'll bet you ten dollars if you showed people a picture of Brad at least one or two would recognise him. Recognise him in a getting to know you in a biblical sense.
Brad: and so what? Some people like driving fast cars, some people like, making quilts, some people, well, I like sex. And what's wrong with that.
RJ Scott: -checks watch- I think we'll have to keep this clean, we're before nine PM here. What first made James catch your eye, when you saw him the first time in your quilting shop?
Brad: he was pretty wide-eyed, looked like he'd just gotten off the plane. That home-made jacket he wore, well that was something else. And his accent. As soon as he opened his mouth I had visions of Hugh Grant, and characters from that costume drama everyone goes crazy for, what's it called? -snaps his fingers-
Lucy: Downton Abbey.
Brad: that's it. It was like he could have been a servant, or a butler, or something in that. I knew I wanted to get to know him.
Lucy: and don't forget the wall chart, ticking off the wall chart.
Brad: I thought James would tick off at least 3 countries on my wall chart: England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales. Oh, that's four. So yeah, there was that too.
RJ Scott: -raises an eyebrow- the wall chart? Can you tell us more?
Brad: -looks at Lucy-
Lucy: I think it's best to leave it there. 'Cause if he starts about that it'll be the next thing and before you know it, it's all. Spoilers...
RJ Scott: you two really are a pair aren't you? All we can say is, you definitely got to know James better didn't you?
Brad: -smiling- Yes, I did. And he's such a 'lovely' man, as he'd say. He's so 'lovely'. But it wasn't all so lovely. Oh no.
Lucy: -shaking her head- Plenty of heart ache. Plenty of sadness. I've never seen him like that. -rubbing Brad's back-
Brad: Thanks. Let's just say neither of us went into anything expecting how it turned out. And I'd never experienced the feelings I experienced after I first met James.
Brad: -zips his lips- no more from me.
RJ Scott: -checks her watch- Unfortunately that's all we've got time for. If you'd like to know more, you can read all about it in Heat Wave Astoria, by Liam Livings.
If you'd like to enter a competition to win a copy of one of Liam Livings' ebooks, please comment in the boxes below in answer to this question: How are your experiences of living in a small town?
Heat Wave Astoria by Liam Livings
Brad's shop is known as the most popular tourist attraction for certain men in his home town, Astoria. Brad doesn't do relationships - why would he? Brad is an unashamed slut, and he loves it.
British IT programmer, James is much happier working with software and computers than people. He finds escape in his encyclopaedic knowledge of childhood films like The Goonies & Short Circuit.
When James walks into a quilting shop in Astoria, he decides he'll take his brother's advice and talk to the stranger. That stranger is Brad, melting slowly behind the counter during the longest heat wave America's had in years.
Can a man who thinks in binary code and always plans things to the finest degree, cope with the twists and turns of emotions? Can someone who never thinks before he leaps allow himself to leap into the biggest unknown, a relationship? And how will they cope with James' impending return to England?
Can two men who never to meet learn to embrace the whole messy relationship that love brings into their lives?
About Liam Livings
Liam Livings lives where east London ends and becomes Essex. He shares his house with his boyfriend and cat. He enjoys baking, cooking, classic cars and socialising with friends. He escapes from real life with a guilty pleasure book, cries at a sad, funny and camp film – and he’s been known to watch an awful lot of Gilmore Girls in the name of writing ‘research’.
He has written since he was a teenager, started writing with the hope of publication in 2011. His writing focuses on friendships, British humour, romance with plenty of sparkle.
You can connect with Liam