Getting inside Crossing the Lines

by | Mar 5, 2014 | Neighborly Affection series

The release week for Crossing the Lines has been just a huge outpouring of love for Henry, Jay, and Alice, for which I am so grateful.

Neighborly Affection 2: Crossing the Lines by M.Q. Barber

Jay: “Henry’s in charge of your pleasure. That’s how you know it’ll be good.”

It’s hard to express how “real” the characters feel during the writing process or how driving that intensity is to get every word just the way Alice would think it or Henry would say it or Jay would act it out. The standard is impossible to meet, but when readers feel that connection — when you can sink inside a book so deep that the characters are you — that’s when I’m so profoundly happy to be an author.

Today I want to point out a pair of reviews for Crossing the Lines.

Delphina at Delphina Reads Too Much gets into the characters’ heads in her review, especially in pointing out how important Jay is in making this three-sided relationship work. But what sticks with me the most is how she points out the balancing act between the surface differences and the internal similarities that bond the trio:

There is something about this series that has me hooked.  I can not quite place what it is.  Sometimes I think it is the depth of the characters and the fact that they feel real.  Sometimes I think it is because Jay, Henry, and Alice are in some ways so different from one another, but deep down they each have their own insecurities and vulnerabilities making them also very much alike.  Sometime I think it is because it is hotter than hot.

You can read the whole review here. Huge thanks to Delphina for letting Henry, Jay, and Alice occupy a piece of her imagination. 🙂

Felicity at the Mad Gypsy in Wonderland stepped into Crossing the Lines without the benefit of reading Playing the Game — which I confess terrified me a little. How would the trio stack up without the background? Could they still reach a reader on an emotional level, or would their struggles feel hollow?

But Alice and her men made a new friend, and I’m thrilled that they did. Jay made a great impression:

Jay was one of my favorite characters, it’s not often that a writer can capture the insecurities of a man. You can clearly see that Henry is Jay’s savior and I love that Barber explains how they found each other.

Even Henry’s controlled reserve grew on her as he opened up:

At first, I wasn’t his biggest fan but as I watched him through the story I came to love and adore him. He is firm but has a soft spot for Alice and Jay. To me, Henry has this need for control. I think without the lifestyle he would be a lost soul.

(Hop over to the Mad Gypsy to read the full review.)

And that’s why I’m always so humbled and grateful when readers and reviewers and bloggers share how the characters have touched them. The words in the books, those are just the foundation. The real story is the individual one we each build in the reading of it.

Thank you to all of you who are sharing in Henry, Alice, and Jay’s story and letting me peek at your interpretations.

Available from these fine shops

The links below will take you to the M.Q. Barber page at each retailer. Need more info to make up your mind? Check out the series pages for the Neighborly Affection books and the Gentleman books.

Also available at your library

Did you know that you can read M.Q. Barber books for free through your library? Libraries can request digital copies through Overdrive, Hoopla, and BorrowBox.

If your library uses Overdrive, you can download the Libby app and request a book directly from your library. Check it out!