Author: Ana Newfolk
Book: Made In Portugal
Series: Made In, Book #1
Page/Word Count: 80K words
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Release Date: June 1, 2018
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
At 10 years old Joel was uprooted from his home and everything he knew in Portugal to start a new life in the States. At 26 he finds himself returning for the first time in thirteen years. So what if looking into the eyes of his childhood best friend again still makes his heart race out of his chest?
Living in sunny, laid-back Portugal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For David, dreams of being a pastry chef come second to working in his family’s café where his renowned custard tarts draw in the crowds. Seeing Joel brings old feelings back. Feelings he’s not sure he’s brave enough to acknowledge to anyone other than himself.
With the inspiration of an old travel journal, the two friends embark on a real journey through memories in a country where looking back into the past runs as deep as the blood that courses through their veins.
Falling in love was never meant to be a stop along the way, but maybe inevitable when you have the adventurous spirit and courage to pursue what you want, make love under the stars and even figure out how to jumpstart an old Citroen 2CV in the middle of the Alentejo countryside.
We went as close to the cliff as safely possible and sat down on the wild grass. I imagined my parents coming here together. Thirty years ago they would have looked at the waves crashing the same rock formations, the miles of uninterrupted beaches in the distance, the colors of the ocean, the almost cloudless blue sky and the occasional seagull flying past.
No other place on the planet held such a significant meaning to me; and letting my parents rest here wasn’t just about following their wishes – but doing what was right for them.
My chest ached, and my hands shook as I opened the small box I was carrying. I dropped to my knees and ran my fingers through some of the small wild flowers. I didn’t know what they were but I liked the colors.
I let some of the ashes fall from the box onto the spaces between the flowers and allowed them to mix with the brown-orange soil, making my mom and dad part of this special place.
I got up and took just a few more steps closer to the cliff edge. David was right there with me. He held my hand and squeezed it tight showing his support.
In one swift movement I released the ashes towards the ocean. I let out a sob when I saw the cloud of ashes caught on an updraft making them float in front of us for a moment before they dispersed in the wind, flying to their final destination.
With each particle that settled on rock, soil or water I said goodbye to my parents. They would now live in my heart and my memories.
I thought of all the great moments we had as a family and knew I would never forget them. The day I told my parents I was gay and found nothing but unwavering support, the day Max and I graduated from high school, and the day I secured a job as a teacher in one of the top elementary schools in Manhattan. If one day I married and had children I would tell them all about my parents so they’d know what amazing and caring people they’d been.
I almost forgot I wasn’t on my own, and I didn’t realize I was sobbing until David scooped me up into his arms and wrapped them around me. David, my best friend, the first person I remember ever other than my family, he was here for me even when I was breaking. Little did he know that his presence alone was enough to put me back together.
About Ana Newfolk:
Ana Newfolk was born in Portugal where she grew up surrounded by sunshine and countryside. She has always had a deep love of reading, and ever since she can remember her favorite presents and treats have always been books. She would often be found in her not-so-secret spot reading her favorite adventure books (when she was younger) and romance novels (when she discovered boys). At 20 years old she moved to the UK where she has lived since.
In 2015 Ana stumbled across her first MM romance novel by chance, and she was hooked. She loves reading about men falling in love, hard, fast and ever so sweetly. This new found love for LGBTQ+ romance has opened a new world for Ana, and in 2017 she decided to finally listen to the voices in her head and write them down.
In addition to the time she spends reading and writing Ana has a full-time job that involves meeting lots of people with interesting stories to tell. She also loves baking as much as she loves watching people eat what she creates, much to the delight of family, friends and work colleagues alike.
Interview with Ana Newfolk:
- As an author myself, I know inspiration can strike at the most inopportune moments (like in the shower, when you don’t have anything to write with!). So, what was the inspiration behind Made In Portugal? The inspiration for Made In Portugal started with a location, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Cape which is near Cape Espichel on the Portuguese coast, south of Lisbon. Once I had the location, the rest of the plot started unraveling in my head. I wanted to take readers on two journeys with Made In Portugal. One is quite literal, and I self-indulged in showing my favorite locations. The other is a more subtle internal journey. I have now lived in the UK for the same length of time as I did in Portugal where I grew up. I drew upon my own experience to show Joel’s journey finding his forever home. Does he belong in New York? Portugal? Or somewhere else entirely? You’ll have to read Made In Portugal to find out.
- What is your writing process? Writing Made In Portugal was like getting in a car and realizing I didn’t have a map. I also hadn’t decided where I was going, only that I knew I wanted to go somewhere. Unlike other authors who have been writing since way before they published, I had never written a piece of fiction until now. There was a considerable amount of learning as I went along. I saw what others did and found out if it worked for me.I learned that I like the structure of plotting but with enough space to move things around. Quite often I have ideas for scenes and dialogue while I’m driving (which I do a lot of) and then figure out where that fits in the story. I can’t say I have a process as such. The story tells me what it needs, and I go along for the ride. Maybe that’s my process!
- What would one piece of advice you give an aspiring writer? Just do it. Everything you need to learn you’ll learn it along the way. Be nice and make friends. Most authors are really lovely people who will be happy sharing their experience and expertise. Most of all, I repeat, just do it. When I started Made In Portugal, I found that the more the story progressed, the more I wanted to know about it. I wanted more from the characters, even the secondary ones, except no one was writing it but me so I had to carry on if I wanted to know what happened to these very real (in my head) people.
- Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals? I don’t think I have any writing habits or rituals. My favorite location to write is the coffee shop. If I can’t get to the coffee shop, I have a few youtube videos with coffee shop background noise I play in the background.
- What can readers expect from you next? I am now working on Isaac and Max’s story. You’ll meet them in Made In Portugal, but you can also have a sneak preview of their story in Made In New York – A Christmas Short Story, which is available on Amazon KU. For those who like to read books in timeline order, Made In New York – A Christmas Story happens first and then Made In Portugal happens this summer. Made In New York ends on a cliffhanger so readers who don’t like cliffhangers should wait until Max and Isaac’s story is out.
5 Fun Quickies
- Least favorite endearment: Hun
- You’re auditioning for a singing competition, what’s your song: Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts because I can hit all the notes.
- If you were ice cream, what flavor would you be: Chocolate and Salted Caramel with a few nuts sprinkled on top
- Sleep with your socks on or off: Off
- Ask for permission or ask for forgiveness: It depends to whom but quite often than not I ask for permission. I’m a good girl at heart.