Welcome Cheryl Headford


Cheryl is here today to tell us about her brand new release from eXtasybooks…

Lab Rat.

You can run but sometimes the farther you go the closer you are to where you started.

Gabriel’s life ground to a halt some time ago, but he’s still running—from his past, his family, and now the new man in his life. A man who just won’t get the message that Gabriel isn’t interested in love anymore.

Laurie won’t give up on the beautiful man who is broken and intent on running away. Even though he doesn’t know what Gabriel is running from, he’s determined to be at his side no matter what.

When Gabriel’s past finally catches up, they both stop running and find themselves plunged into something Laurie could not have dreamed of, and Gabriel never stopped having nightmares about.

Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene of attempted suicide.

EXCERPT

Life sucks. I mean really sucks. I’m a good person, so why do bad things keep happening to me? While I’m not the type to help old ladies across the road—I’d probably scare them into a heart attack—I don’t go out of my way to hurt people either. And yet…

My family has pretty much disowned me, and I don’t blame them. They can’t cope with me, never could. Hell, I can’t cope with myself. They kind of tried for a while, in their own way. The thing is—it wasn’t my way. It wasn’t a good way. It wasn’t the right way.

When I was thirteen, something bad happened to me—really bad. They never got over it. Neither did I, but that didn’t matter. I got into drugs and alcohol in a big way. I became dark, too dark. Then, when I was fifteen, it all got to be too much. I couldn’t hold it all in anymore—the memories, the pressure, the…problems it left me with.

They say I had a breakdown. I don’t know what that is, but I ended up in hospital. I don’t know how long I was there or what happened to me there. I only know that I felt safe. For the first time since it happened, I felt safe. I didn’t want to come out. I wasn’t ready to come out, but they pronounced me cured because I could string sentences together and go for days without screaming or hiding under the bed.

My parents knew, though. They knew I wasn’t cured, that I never would be. They tried for a while, but they couldn’t cope. Not with the screaming in the night. Or the staggering in at three in the morning, either high or pissed—to stop the screaming in the night. They couldn’t cope with the physical conditions, the mental problems, the attitude, the violence. They couldn’t cope with watching the child they loved change into a monster.

When I was sixteen, I moved out and went off the rails. Surprisingly, I still managed to go to school now and again, and I got decent results in my exams. This led to the headmaster persuading me to go back for my A levels, and even more surprisingly, given what I was doing to my body by that time, I got three A levels in one year. And thus ended my academic career.

There was talk about going on to university, but to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered. I still had the nightmares, and I was afraid to go out into the world. I felt vulnerable and exposed in unfamiliar places and situations. I guess I was—I am—a complete nut job.

At the moment, I’m living in a grotty room, in a grotty house, on a non-descript street, in a second-rate town, that is…nowhere. I have two housemates who are used to me and know when it is and isn’t safe to talk to me, and who ignore the screams.

Tonight, I’m going out. It’s Saturday night. I always go out on Saturday nights. I go to the same place, see the same people, and do the same things. You’d think I’d get bored, but it’s safe.

I give myself a last look in the mirror and am reasonably satisfied with what I see. I need a haircut, and I’m way too pale, but at least the shadows around my eyes are camouflaged by the kohl, and where I’m going the vampire look is par for the course. The black lips in the mirror smile at me, but there isn’t any humour in them or in the piercing blue eyes that stare coldly at me when I allow myself to catch their gaze.

Ah well. This is the best it’s going to get tonight. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I don’t feel up to going out. I’m not myself at the moment, mentally or physically. It’s not as if I can even get pissed anymore. I learned the hard way that alcohol and my meds don’t mix, or do mix. Blegh.

But then, today hasn’t been a good day. If my head’s anything to go by, it’s not going to be a good night either, so what’s the point in being good? What’s the point in trying to look after myself? Fuck it.

I check my wallet to make sure I have enough for taxis and plenty of booze. Then I flick my hair over my shoulder and stalk out of the room.

Character Interview with Gabriel

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Myself. Ha, yeah right. That’s probably what everyone else thinks, though. I’d like to say it’s Laurie, and it probably is, but this whole love thing is new to me so I’m not sure I can say that anyone is the love of my life yet.

What is your favourite journey?

From the bedroom to the kitchen to get a cold beer. Seriously, I’m not too keen on the outside world. It still hasn’t quite sunk in that I’m safe, so I still prefer to hide away at home where I feel secure.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My optimism and sunny disposition. What? Okay, probably my sarcasm.

When and where were you the happiest?

When I was a kid. Before everything turned to shit when I was 13.

What is it that you most dislike?

People asking questions, and talking about myself. No, seriously. It makes me very uncomfortable. I guess it’s because I have to think about myself and the way I feel and that’s not something I like to do.

What is your greatest fear?

Being taken back…there. I can’t say any more because I lost my mind over it all once and when I look back I feel…brittle. I don’t want to snap again. I think if you read the book the answer to this question will become very clear.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Clothes and make up. And hair products. And Jack Daniels.

Tell me something about Laurie

He puts up with me. That alone has to put him in line for a place on the next honours list. Honours list? That’s when the queen gives medals and stuff to the little people she doesn’t really care about. I think it’s something to do with her birthday. Load of shit really, but it gets you fancy sandwiches and tea with the queen, and I think Laurie would like that. Not that he’d admit it. He’s a bit posh really – and a bloody amazing artist.

What is your greatest regret?

Ooh, this is a hard one. I’d have to say causing the death of two previous boyfriends has to rank high on that list.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Perseverance. And a killer smile.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

I don’t know. Knowing when to stay the hell away from me, I guess. Actually, that’s not just women, that people as a whole.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

What? Are you crazy? I deplore absolutely everything about myself. I’m poison inside and out. That’s what I keep telling Laurie. But does he listen? Yeah right, of course he does.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Falseness

What do you most value in your friends?

What friends? Oh alright; I know I’ve got friends. I’ve got more friends than I allow myself to acknowledge, and definitely more than I deserve, but I just don’t let people get close. It makes me very uncomfortable and I don’t like people caring about me. What was the question. Oh yeah. Um. Honesty, I guess. I like that Carrie always tells it as it is, even though it’s uncomfortable.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

What are you counting as virtues? If we’re looking at the four cardinal virtues I’d have to say temperance. I overdo everything and why not?

What are your favourite names?

Favourite names? What kind of question is that? Bleargh. Anastasia and Gaylord. No of course not, but it was a stupid question wasn’t it?

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

Bloody pissed off

What is your motto?

Fuck off.

Cheryl was born and brought up in a very conservative working class Welsh mining valley. For generations, her family had been farmers and miners, and she was very much the black sheep. The first of her family to attend university, she broke the mold, becoming a lawyer, an artist, and, of course, a writer.





When, at thirteen, her daughter became very open about the fact she was gay—and having known for years that her brother was—Cheryl became far more aware of the problems facing young gay people generally. Over the years, speaking to her daughter, who is an enthusiastic campaigner for gay rights, and her friends, Cheryl realised that there was very little out there in the world of literature for young gay people. It seemed that what gay literature existed was highly erotic and sexual in content. She therefore set out to write m/m stories that were about romance and not sex, aimed at older teens and young adults.

Since that time, Cheryl has become totally addicted to writing gay romances, thrillers, adventures, fantasies, and all kinds of other genres, with little or no sex to get in the way of the story and the characters. She finds it extremely rewarding and has had a lot of positive feedback from young people who have read her works.

Cheryl continues to live in the Welsh valleys with her son and two cats. Her daughter has left her for the lure of her long-term girlfriend and the lights of the big city. She fills her days with the important things in life, such as writing and painting. She is a committed pagan, and unconventional mother, but, over and above it all, an obsessive writer.

Author Links

Email: chakira@hotmail.co.uk

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Welcome Cheryl Headford

  1. Pingback: I don’t usually post book stuff on this blog, but this is a special one. – cherylheadford

  2. Thank you so much. The post looks great

  3. Loved the character interview, Cheryl. Awesome stuff.

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