This is one of my most favorite days of the week. I don't have to get up early, I can stay in my pajamas as long as I like, and it's Author Saturday Spotlight! YAY! This week we have the lovely Kaje Harper, author of such amazing books as Life Lessons, The Rebuilding Year, Into Deep Waters, and so so sooooooooooooooooooooooooo many more! We will look at her work, do a fab interview, and of course there's the giveaway at the end. So, hop on the couch with your beverage of choice and enjoy.....
Tony Hart's life has been quiet lately. He has good friends and a rewarding teaching job. Then the murdered body of another teacher falls into the elevator at his feet, and Tony's life gets a little too exciting.
Jared MacLean is a homicide detective, a widowed father, and deeply in the closet. But from the moment he meets Tony's blue eyes in that high school hallway, Mac can't help wanting this man in his life. However Mac isn't the only one with his eyes on Tony. As the murderer tries to cover his tracks, Mac has to work fast or lose Tony, permanently.
What could an undercover cop and a drug lord’s pet psychic have in common?
Brian Kerr has spent years hiding behind a facade of mental slowness. His brother and sister got all three of them off the streets and into a cushy life, under the protection of a dangerous criminal. But to keep that safety, Brian has to use his Finding talent to track down the boss’s enemies. Although he pretends not to know what he’s really doing, each Find takes its toll, and he’s trapped in a life he hates, losing touch with his true self.
Nick Rugo’s job is to protect and serve the people of Minneapolis as an undercover cop. He isn’t closeted, but he isn’t out at work, and there’s a wild, angry side to him that he’s managed to keep hidden until now. When he’s assigned to bring Brian’s boss to justice, he intends to use anything and anyone it takes to do that.
Nick initially sees Brian as a pawn to be played in his case, but he keeps getting glimpses of a different man behind the slow, simpleminded mask. As the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear they share secrets, some of which might get them both killed.
Losing nearly everything leaves room for the one thing they can’t live without.
A few excruciating minutes pinned in a burning building cost Ryan Ward his job as a firefighter, the easy camaraderie of his coworkers, his girlfriend, and damn near cost him his left leg. Giving up, though, isn’t an option. Compared to the alternative, choosing a new profession, going back to school, and renting a room from the college groundskeeper are simple.
Until he realizes he’s falling in love with his housemate, and things take a turn for the complicated.
John Barrett knows about loss. After moving twice to stay in touch with his kids, he could only watch as his ex-wife whisked them away to California. Offering Ryan a room seems better than rattling around the empty house, but as casual friendship moves to something more, and a firestorm of emotions ignites, the big old house feels like tight quarters.
It’s nothing they can’t learn to navigate, though. But when dead bodies start turning up on campus—and one of the guys is a suspect—their first taste of real love could go up in smoke.
Thank you Kaje for being here today as my Author Saturday Spotlight. I’m so excited to have you here and to assault you with my questions. I understand if I drive you to drink. Try and have fun.
I'm pretty good at having fun :)
Let’s start off with perhaps a cliché question. Why writing and why gay romance?
I've written stories ever since I could read. Cleaning out my mom's house, I found pages written in crayon that she saved from when I was in kindergarten, about a girl who really wanted a doll in a green and purple dress. It had a decent plot, if somewhat garish color coordination (and a small problem with the spelling of “purpel”). I continued to write nonstop, just for fun, for the next 50 years (yeah, I'm that old.) I also continued to not spell things right. :)
I started writing gay romances when I was 14 and read “The Persian Boy” by Mary Renault. So sweet and cruel and sad. I had to rewrite the last bit to give them a happy ending.
I kept writing the genre out of both love and anger. I hated the deep unfairness faced by gay men who just wanted to be together. I was also caught by the depth of emotions that can happen when two inarticulate men get past their male-culture reserve, to admit to how they feel about each other. As an optimist, and an idealist, I wanted to write hope, and love, and justice, in situations where that was hard to come by. The hot sex bonus came… a few years later.
How do you celebrate a book launch?
I don't really. I'm more nervous than excited when a book goes out, and the best remedy for that is to write something else. So on a release day I tend to work – maybe on my next book but more often on something free for my Young Adult group, or on something I don't plan to release. Once I'm sure the new book doesn't have major glitches, I relax a bit. But I guess I'm just not a celebration person. When my first book came out, I didn't even tell my husband it had released for two days. I think I didn't quite believe it.
If you could only pick one of your books to hit the big screen which would it be and who would you cast?
I'd love to see “Into Deep Waters” on the big screen, especially after hearing it come alive in the audio book with Kaleo Griffith's narration. I wrote it in part as a tribute to the LGBTQ people who served and lived and worked in times when being gay was even harder than it is now. I'd love to have that reach more people. The early scenes in World War II would also be visually cool to do. I really enjoy historical details.
As for a cast, I don't watch a lot of movies, so I know very few actors. This story would be a challenge, because they're so young at first meeting – just 18 and 19. And at the end of the book they're in their 80's.
I chatted with my editor and production angel, Jonathan Penn, and we came up with Jude Law to play Daniel, and David Krumholtz as Jacob, if we could do a little time traveling to when they were young enough to play teenagers.
This genre has amazing authors but if you could pick three you’d love to meet which 3 would you love to?
I've already met so many great M/M authors at GayRomLit… hugged with Amy Lane, laughed with Edmond Manning, talked covers with Jordan Hawk, compared guys with K-lee Klein, sold books next to Jordan Castillo Price, listened to a keynote from K.A. Mitchell, heard about agents from Tere Michaels, talked mysteries with Eden Winters, and characters with Julie Bozza…
Of authors I haven't met…
I just became Facebook friends with Patricia Nell Warren who wrote “The Front Runner” - the second gay love story I ever read and one of my inspirations in my teens. She just turned 80 and has so much life and writing experience. I'd love to meet her.
Michael Nava wrote the “Henry Rios” Lambda-Award-winning gay mystery series, the last book of which is “Rag and Bone” where Henry wins his happy romance ending. The first book was rejected 12 times before publication, but is widely loved now. Nava is both an amazing author and a gay Hispanic lawyer who came out and wrote in the 1980s and 90s, as life in gay communities changed forever. I'd be fascinated by his insights.
Jim Grimsley is a playwright and novelist and author of one of my deep comfort rereads, appropriately titled “Comfort and Joy”. Written in 1995, this book follows two men making the slow, sometimes difficult, journey toward a love so solid that nothing outside of them can rock it. There's such a resonance of emotion in this story, while featuring real, flawed characters, that I'd love to talk to the man who created it.
Do you write with an outline or do you wing it and why does this work for you?
I am a total pantser – I start with a hint of a beginning and just write till the end. So much so that I've written mysteries where I didn't know who was guilty until halfway through the book. The story runs through my fingers to the keyboard, and I write the first draft in one unedited rush.
I think it works for me because it keeps me engaged with the emerging book. I wrote just to entertain myself for decades without even trying to publish, and the fun of it was in the odd mix of creating and surprising myself. The faster and less planned a story pours out, the better it seems to be.
What’s your least favorite part about writing a book and your favorite part?
I love that first draft — perhaps most of all at some point about three quarters of the way through when the rough shape of the ending comes to me. I love beginning with challenges, and creating hope and a happy resolution. The moment when I see how the story is going to wrap up is just cool.
My least favorite part of publishing is at the end, checking the formatting and proofreading, knowing that there is always going to be some error that gets missed. I'm a perfectionist, and there is no such thing as a perfect book. The final moments when I have to decide that enough polishing is enough, and let it go, are tough.
Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
I'm doing line edits for “Unsafe Exposure”, the fourth in my “Hidden Wolves” series. I'm in content editing with “Tracefinder: Changes”, the second in that series. And I am about 20,000 words into the first draft of “The Family We Keep”, the third “Finding Family” book. Of course, I also take a quick break to write a short Young Adult story every month, but for once I finished this one before the last day of June.
Do you have a character or characters that you’ve written that you relate to most and why?
I think Paul, in “Unacceptable Risk”, is the most like me. He's a scientist, a rationalist, a bit of an idealist but not always smart about how he expresses that. He's happily obsessed with his work, loves animals, and he adores Simon. But he also doesn't let Simon walk all over him. Sometimes he pushes back too hard, because he trusts his mind more than his emotions. He's not great with people, outside his profession.
I wish I was more like Tony, in “Life Lessons”, who always seems to know the right thing to say and has that inner strength. But in real life, I usually think of those things hours too late. Part of the fun of writing Tony is putting the words I'd love to say into his mouth at just the right moment, so maybe Tony is who I aspire to be, eventually… in my sixties, maybe.
How can your readers follow you: Twitter, Facebook, Website etc…
Goodreads Author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4769304.Kaje_Harper
FAST FIRE QUESTION TIME:
Favorite holiday? Christmas – the one time my family usually gathers from afar.
Favorite color? Yellow
Winter or summer? I hate heat, but winter in Minnesota is brutal. Can I have fall?
Rainbows or glitter? Rainbows. I'm more watercolor than sparkle.
City or country? Country, especially if there are horses.
Day or night? Night. Not a morning person.
Pepsi or Coke? Neither. I don't drink much soda, but when I do it's ginger ale.
Paperback or Kindle? Nook. Although I do have a couple of Kindles now for formatting. I love paper books and own many, but I love ebooks for the pleasure of not running out of reading material while still being able to lift my bag.
Okay Kaje, thank you so very much for being my spotlight! It’s been a blast!
Kaje is doing a giveaway! You can win her newest book Tracefinder: Contact
Simply enter the rafflecopter below! Contest ends on July 1st!
Winner will be contacted via email.
Thank you all and thank you Kaje for being here today!
a Rafflecopter giveaway