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Origin Stories: THE EXCHANGE STUDENT

For the next installment of my Origin Stories series, I’ll be dealing with my time-traveling gay romance novel THE EXCHANGE STUDENT.



This novel was written back before I’d ever published anything. It was simply an idea I had that I thought was interesting, and I didn’t worry that it was outside the genre I normally wrote in (as I had published nothing yet, it wasn’t as if I had a reputation or anything). I wanted to write it, so I wrote it.

Shortly before I completed the novel, I sold a gothic gay romance ghost story to an anthology called TANGLE which was published by Blind Eye Books, which specialized in gay and lesbian fiction with a romance angle. I thought they would be the perfect avenue to try.

The publisher ended up passing on the book because it didn’t have a traditional happy ending, and they made some suggestions about changes to certain characters that would have completely altered the story from the one I had wanted to tell. I ended up putting the book aside, not knowing of any other markets to try, and once I was publishing regularly with horror publishers, I kind of forgot all about THE EXCHANGE STUDENT.

Then one day I noticed the file on my computer, opened it up, and read back through the manuscript. I found that I still believed in the story. I had no real knowledge of publishers that worked with gay romance, but I mentioned the book to my editor at Evil Jester Press, Peter Giglio. He suggested I try a digital publisher called Etopia.

I took his advice, sent it in, and within a month had an acceptance and a contract. I was really thrilled, but also nervous. This was outside my normal genre and I wasn’t sure how to promote a book of this ilk. The novel has done reasonably well but not as well as some of my horror stuff, and I didn’t have a lot of my horror readers give it a try. I can understand that, but it also makes me a little sad as I think it’s some of my best plotting and is a satisfying tale. Even though the book has been out for several years now, I still hope it finds a bigger audience. In fact, I’ve even got a sequel called THE TIME GUARDIAN planned in my head that I plan to get down on paper sometime in the near future.

THE EXCHANGE STUDENT can be purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/Exchange-Student-Mark-Allan-Gunnells-ebook/dp/B00C7886L8/ref=la_B005C18L7Q_1_28?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486034657&sr=1-28&refinements=p_82%3AB005C18L7Q

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