TNA: Hi, Jaime, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell us a little bit about yourself: hobbies, interests, things we might not know about you but should?
Jaime: Thanks for inviting me! :)
I love creative things…art, music, reading. I’m not much of an outdoorsy person but I love saltwater fishing.
Personality-wise, I’m quiet and reserved initially but will gladly talk your ear off once I’m comfortable in a situation.
I’m married to an amazing man who deserves a medal for putting up with me. We have a 120lb dog who thinks he’s our son and definitely knows how to work those puppy dog eyes of his.
TNA: Do you remember the first M/M book you ever read? If so, what was it, and what about it made the most lasting impression upon you?
Jaime: My first encounter with M/M was with Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series. Within her M/F series was a gay character who caught my attention far more than the main characters of the story. I anxiously waited for his book in the series, then I was hooked and on the hunt for more M/M stories. My first official M/M book was Out of My Mind by ML Rhodes. What left the strongest impression on me was how different the story was from others I had read up to that point—the depth of emotion, the complexity of the relationship, just about everything.
TNA: Can you describe what it was like the moment you decided, “I’m going to sit down at the computer and write a book?” How did you psyche yourself up for the challenge?
Jaime: I almost chickened out. LOL I came up with all kinds of excuses to not do it, until finally, I caved. Looking through stock sites, I found the perfect image of Julian from A Better Man. Within minutes, I began typing the first chapter of that book. He inspired me to write the story.
TNA: What is it that drew you toward wanting to explore gay relationships in your writing?
Jaime: Men have strong personalities and are often guarded or hide their emotions. When you put two of them together, the result is usually a highly charged mix of emotions which, to me, adds to the complexity of the relationship and makes you want to cheer for them. I want to be able to give these men their happily ever after.
TNA: How would you describe your books to someone who hasn’t read them yet? Do your characters share common qualities? What’s your idea of a great protagonist?
Jaime: I tend to write more about the romance, the characters, and how their relationship affects them. I do have sex scenes because it’s part of the relationship, but it’s more about the feelings involved than a blow-by-blow breakdown of the act. No pun intended :) At least one of my characters in each couple will have some weakness. After all, nobody’s perfect. In each story, the characters are partnered with men who offer love strong enough to mend a broken man and help them in their quest for a happily ever after. I don’t have a solid list of qualities of what makes up a great protagonist because I think that depends on the story.
TNA: A Hunted Man is the second book in The Men of Halfway House series, the first being A Better Man. Can you tell us, without giving away too many secrets, the significance of not only the titles but also of the setting?
Jaime: The title for the first in series, A Better Man fits several of the male characters in the book. Matt and Julian strive to be better men throughout the story—Matt works to build a halfway house to offer second chances to others while Julian tries to let his guard down and be the supportive rock Matt needs in his life.
The significance of the title for book two is two-fold. In addition to the romance in the story, there’s a secondary storyline of mystery/suspense. That’s all I can say about that portion of the story without giving anything away. The title is also a play on words…hunted…Hunter. Cam becomes Hunter’s prey…and he’s totally okay with that. ;)
As far as the setting, the halfway house is often perceived as a positive and a negative. A negative for some because of its association with individuals released from prison. A positive for others because it is usually the first introduction to a second chance at life after leaving prison. It is this mixed message I hope to parallel in the stories. The desire for a second chance by the residents recently released and their hesitation in taking that chance and everything they encounter during their journey.
TNA: Tell us a little bit about Cameron and Hunter. What makes them work? If they were to describe each other in a sentence or three, what would they each say about the other that might give us some insight into who they are?
Jaime: Cam would say Hunter’s a sap.
Hunter would respond that Cam’s a smart-ass.
They complement each other. Both are stubborn, determined, and territorial, but it’s their opposing traits that seem to draw each other in. Cam rarely speaks his emotions or asks for anything. Hunter is open and vocal. Cam is afraid to think of what the future will hold while Hunter can easily picture them building a home together.
After spending almost a decade in prison, Cam is guarded and has learned to not hope for more than just getting through the day. It is Hunter’s love and determination Cam needs to awaken that hope and desire to dream bigger.
TNA: How many books do you have the series planned out to? Have you plotted them all out to the end, or are you finding your vision is morphing as the books are being written?
Jaime: My vision is morphing as I write the books, so I don’t have a set number of books in series at this time. Books 1 and 2 were well plotted in my mind. Book 3 is clear as well, as is a potential spin off based on characters in A Hunted Man. But I honestly don’t know where the series will lead until I actually sit and write out the stories.
TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt from A Hunted Man with us?
Blurb: After surviving ten years in prison, Cameron Pierce is attempting to put the past behind him. He tries to adjust to his newfound freedom with a place at the halfway house and a job. But one lesson he learned in prison keeps him guarded: hope is a dangerous thing.
Hunter Donovan, Assistant State Attorney, is a man of justice who loves a challenge. After a lifetime of putting his career first, a milestone brings him to a harsh realization—he’s lonely.
Hunter’s world changes when he meets Cam. The wary young man intrigues him and awakens a desire unlike anything he’s ever experienced. When Cam’s past resurfaces and threatens to rip them apart, their budding relationship is challenged and Cam’s hope for a future begins to dim.
These outside forces hunting Cam will stop at nothing to send him back to prison. But they’ll have to get past Hunter first.
Cameron Pierce didn’t really know what to expect when the entire nightmare began days before his eighteenth birthday, but here he was, standing behind a large metal door waiting for it to open and grant his freedom. Nine years, eight months, two weeks, and five days of hell. Even though he had to stay in a designated halfway house for the next few months, at least he wouldn’t have these bars or barbed wire fences to constantly remind him of his nightmare.
He fidgeted. In exchange for almost ten years of his life, the prison system gave him a hundred bucks for expenses during transfer, and a plain, standard-issue cardboard box containing his personal items—a watch, ten bucks, and a pack of gum. Everything broken or useless, which pretty much mirrored his existence. He ditched the box and everything else then pocketed the cash.
The gears of the large metal door ground as they inched open. Cameron shifted his weight from foot to foot, waiting for just enough space to squeeze through the door. He looked over to the guard and concluded he’d be better off attempting to walk out of this prison with a little dignity. At the pace these doors opened, he figured he’d age another decade in the process. He closed his eyes and counted, begging for a little patience to come his way. He finally heard the grinding stop and opened his eyes.
There, in the middle of the empty parking lot, Sam leaned against a car with crossed arms and a smile.
Cameron groaned as he finally exited the prison gates.
Mr. Samuel Issacs, rehabilitation officer, also secretly campaigned for sainthood every chance he had. His job was to help a group of assigned inmates rejoin the world with others but his mission was to mentor them. Sam wanted to talk, help, and offer support. Cam, on the other hand, knew better than to open his mouth, and he damn sure wasn’t going to risk Sam becoming some form of collateral damage.
Cam had learned that lesson the hard way.
“Hey, Sam,” he said once he arrived where Sam was parked.
“Hey, Cam. I thought I’d give you a ride to the halfway house instead of having you take the bus,” he said as he opened the passenger side door of the car.
Cameron waited, not sure if sitting in a car for hours with Saint Sam was a good idea.
“C’mon, Cam. I can guarantee you the drive with me will be better than a busload of people coming back from Universal Studios with stinky feet and a crapload of gas.”
Sam laughed. “Besides, I already filled out the paperwork so you’re stuck with me. Get in.”
Cam didn’t say a word. He climbed into the car, sat in the passenger seat, and then closed the car door.
“Buckle up, it’s the law.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Nope, state of Florida, it’s the law.”
“Just strap in so we can get out of here.”
Cameron groaned again as he pulled the belt and clicked it in place. He hated the way it cut into his damn shoulder. Who knew what else had changed while he was in prison. Just another reminder of things he had missed. He shifted in his seat only to have his movement limited by the seat belt restraint.
Here he was, finally out of prison, yet somehow still found a way to be constrained in a small enclosed area. Hell, this was even smaller than the six-by-eight cell he’d called home for almost a decade.
TNA: I know this is sort of like asking you to name your favorite child, but of the characters you’ve written thus far, do you have a favorite? If so, whom and why? If you could bring that character off the page and into the real world, would you do it?
Jaime: Now you’re just trying to get me in trouble here. I love Julian, Matt, Cameron, Hunter, and Sam for very different reasons. It would be tough to pick a favorite because they each have their strengths. Sam and Matt have their good hearts and the need to help others. Cameron is strong yet vulnerable, he hasn’t had it easy but his reawakened hope for a normal life pushes him forward. Julian and Hunter are rock solid and offer their counterparts the support they need to realize their incredible strengths.
As far as whether I’d bring them into the real world, I’m not sure. I know Matt and Sam would do great things for people, but I’m seriously concerned about the territorial streak of the others. :)
TNA: Would you care to share a little bit of information on any of your current WIPs with us?
Jaime: I’ve started on Book 3 in the series. It will be Cole’s story. I also have another story that is a single book spin off right now—only because the characters are not residents of the halfway house but deserve a story. That’s about all I can share right now. I have no idea what will ultimately happen to the side story until I get through book 3. It might change.
TNA: And finally, would you kindly share with us all the places we can find you on the internet?
Jaime: Sure! Stop on by. I love to chat.
Thanks for taking the time to interview me and to everyone who took the time to visit!
TNA: Thanks for being here with us, Jaime!
The Giveaway: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED