The Roosevelt, Book 1
Normal is just a setting on the dryer.
High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.
But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.
As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.
Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.
Available April 7, 2015
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Length: 89,300 words
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, April 14, 2015
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-61922-520-6
Print ISBN: 978-1-61922-711-8
Characters: Emmet Washington, Jeremey Samson
Short Summary: Jeremey doesn’t judge Emmet for his autism. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in clinical depression. When his illness reaches a breaking point, Emmet rescues him and brings him to The Roosevelt, a quirky assisted living facility. As Jeremey settles in, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is inside. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.
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Emmet Washington, Blues Brother
Emmet Washington has a passion for the movie The Blues Brothers.
The Blues Brothers isn’t just my favorite movie. It was one of the first things I memorized. My dad loves the movie too, and he played it around me when I was little. My mom got mad at him for that, because I would walk around quoting the whole movie, or using the movie to speak. If I wanted something from my mom, I asked her, “Did you get my Cheez Whiz?” I didn’t want Cheez Whiz, but to my brain, it was the only way I could ask for something, using the line from the movie. When I played with my blocks, I would line them up in a row and count them by quoting the part where the guard (who is Frank Oz, the guy who gave the voice to Miss Piggy and other Muppets) lists the inventory of Jake Blues’ personal effects. “One Timex digital watch, broken. One unused prophylactic. One soiled. One black suit jacket.” And when I didn’t want to do something, I didn’t simply say no. I crossed my arms over my chest and said, “No. Fucking. Way.
I don’t remember doing this, but Mom says I used the whole movie as speech from the time I was four until the first half of kindergarten. I don’t do that anymore, but sometimes my brain whispers the lines from the movie in places it thinks would be a good time to say them. Sometimes people on the mean quote movies, and other people on the mean laugh at the joke. But they laugh differently at me when I quote The Blues Brothers, so I don’t do it in public.
My dad likes it when I quote, though, because he says I do an amazing Elwood Blues. Sometimes when we’re in the car, he says, “What’s this?” and I know I’m supposed to do the part about trading the Cadillac for a microphone. I keep telling him that for it to be right he needs to let me drive, since Elwood always drives. He says no, I’d try to jump a bridge. Which isn’t true. Ames doesn’t have any moveable bridges.
He has particular affection for Ellwood Blues, because he feels they have a lot in common.
I love the song “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”, but I love the speech Elwood does before it best of all the lines of the whole movie. He says everyone is somebody, and we’re all the same.
I think Elwood Blues is on the spectrum. He’s higher functioning, but he has the signs. Only eating white bread—that’s something an autistic person would do. Then there’s the bad driving, and some of his tics. Also, I can parrot a lot of characters in movies, but I don’t do anybody better than Elwood.
I don’t know if he’s gay too or not, but he never gets excited about girls, so maybe.
The Blues Brothers comes up a lot during Carry the Ocean, because for Emmet it represents a lot of how he views the world and how he’d like to think about himself. That he’s cool, that the off-the-mean things about him make him special, not strange. And by the end of the book, that’s pretty much what he’s decided he is.
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Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and teenaged daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.