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Beyond The Page & Giveaway: “The Hardest Thing (A Dan Stagg Mystery)” by James Lear

Aug 14
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THT cover


Today I’m chatting with James Lear about book one in his new “sexy gay mystery” series, THE HARDEST THING (A DAN STAGG MYSTERY).

This is his first blog tour, btw, so please make James feel welcome 🙂


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James, tell us about your novel, “The Hardest Thing: A Dan Stagg Mystery

It’s about an ex-marine who got thrown out under the last days of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Now he’s finding it hard to fit into civilian life, he’s broke and horny and confused, which is how I like my men. He gets offered a job by a rather shady organisation and finds himself on the road with a very attractive young blond. Can you guess what happens next?

I presume by the title this is book one in a whole new series? What can you tell us about Dan’s future adventures?

Dan’s next adventure is all plotted out and ready to write: he gets a call from an ex-comrade who is convinced that someone’s trying to kill him. The good thing about Dan is that there are two strands to the story: the action thriller, and Dan’s own attempts to find fulfilment as a conflicted gay man in a civilian world. He’s very flawed, which makes him attractive and, I hope, durable.


On your blog you described the hero as your “take on the super-butch Lee Child/Jack Reacher thriller”. Which elements of each character did you draw from when bringing Dan to life?

Jack Reacher is a very sexy character: masculine, troubled, violent and horny. He has no family ties, no responsibilities. I took some of that for Dan – the big difference is that Dan longs for a relationship and a family life, but he’s always screwing it up. He was in the closet for so long, living inside the military machine, that he finds human relationships very difficult.


Congrats on your first blog tour btw 🙂 What’s it been like?

Thank you. It’s been fun, but I miss the opportunity to pick up married men in hotel bars.


Tell us about the most difficult/your favourite scene to write in THT.

I deliberately included a ‘gratuitous sex scene’. People who don’t like erotica always describe the sex as ‘gratuitous’ – which mine isn’t, I try to integrate it into the plot. So in The Hardest Thing I included an encounter in a gas station restroom which really has nothing to do with the plot, it delays the hero’s activities and basically just slows everything down. Afterwards, he says something like ‘Come on, we’ve wasted too much time!’. It’s a little in-joke, really, but the sex is really hot and nasty.




eBooks or paperbacks?

E-books, please. I live in a small flat and I don’t have room for any more books.


Plotter or panster?

I’m a plotter through and through, and I think anyone who takes writing seriously should be. It’s about making sure you’re giving the reader the best possible experience, honed with all the skill you’ve picked up along the way. ‘Pantsers’ are just amateurs, pretending to be artists.


If you be spend a day with anyone in history (living or dead), who would you choose and why?

The former England football captain, John Terry. I think a day would be just about enough to do all the things I’d like to do. Obviously I’d have cameras running so I could cherish the memory over and over again, and blackmail him if money’s tight.

Oh James 😉


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THT coverBlurb:

Once a major in the U.S. Army, Dan Stagg fell afoul of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. In his late 30s, tall, and muscular, Dan is prone to violence, always upholding what he views as justice. He’s offered a great deal of money to protect the young male “secretary” of a powerful real estate broker.

The vain, shallow—but most of all hot—young man’s idea of protection includes sex. Dan quickly realizes something strange is going on: he’s being used as a shield for a much more sinister operation and must chose between easy money and sex or the ideals that he embodied in the Army.

Why should he do the right thing—particularly when the army betrayed him? The Hardest Thing is a sexy gay mystery as only James Lear can write it: filled with lots of gay sexual encounters, romance, sweat, violence, and conspiracy.

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James Lear pictureABOUT THE AUTHOR:

James Lear is the author of gay fiction best sellers The Back Passage, The Palace of Varieties, A Sticky End and many more.

He lives in London and is the 2008 Winner of Erotic Awards “Best Writer”.



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