Blog Post from Meredith Allard:
It’s no surprise that my latest novel, That You Are Here, is a love story. All of my novels are love stories in one way or another. My most popular novels, The Loving Husband Trilogy, is a paranormal story about eternal love. The surprise might be that That You Are Here is a completely present-day story set in one of my favorite places, Portland, Oregon, when I’m most known for historical fiction. Or, the surprise for That You Are Here might be that the romantic leads are both men. Andrew Whittaker and Mark Bryce have quite a journey to travel together, and I hope they are a couple readers cheer for.
That You Are Here is a present-day story when I’m most known for historical fiction, but everything I write is about people who are outsiders or different from the general society somehow. James Wentworth in the Loving Husband Trilogy struggles as a supernatural being (a vampire) in a human world. In Victory Garden, Rose Scofield struggles as a woman who wants to live on her own terms during a time (1917-1922) when women were fighting for their rights. In That You Are Here, Andrew Whittaker and Mark Bryce must make sense of what it means to be a gay man in the 21st century. Great progress has been made, certainly, but there is still prejudice to overcome. It’s a story about learning to feel comfortable in your own skin, which is something nearly everyone has to deal with in one way or another. I’m not gay so I haven’t had to hide a secret the way Andrew does in the story, but I understand Andrew’s struggle to make sense of his place in the world. I feel very lucky that That You Are Here is my highest rated novel on both Amazon and Goodreads, and I’m glad that readers have been able to relate to the universal aspect of the story. I didn’t want to write a gay story exactly. I wanted to write something that readers could relate to on a human level, and I hope I’ve done that.As for that abstract red cover for That You Are Here: the cover for That You Are Here is definitely different from my other book covers, which I like because That You Are Here is such a different type of book for me. I love the bold red color, a strong suggestion for the love Andrew and Mark feel for each other. I love the abstract design, which almost looks like a line map I saw of Portland, Oregon, which is where the story takes place, so I thought that was kind of cool. And I love that the two figures could stand for Andrew and Mark. Really, I love that the abstract design allows readers to make meanings for themselves about what the cover (and the story) means.