The Novel Approach welcomes Tina Blenke today on the Shifting Cargo blog tour. I asked Tina to tell us a bit about the novel’s characters, Ramey and Londyn, more specifically, what intrigued her about contrasting Ramey’s very human depression and subsequent addictions to Londyn’s perfect life as a shifter, and why was that contrast important to their development?
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Tina: Ramey’s character is very personal to me in so many ways. Much of what he went through was a knee-jerk reaction to an event that struck him to the very core and who knows how any of us would have reacted to such a live changing traumatic experience. There were a series of my own life experiences that have happened recently and this story is a conglomeration of some of those events. But, when I first wrote about Ramey, I didn’t expect him to have his own story. I was intrigued about why he was behaving the way he was and I wanted him to have a happy ending.
The contrast between him and Londyn are so different. It starts with the differences in their families and upbringing but both men had happy childhoods and came from loving supportive families. What I really liked was the point in their lives where they meet. Ramey is feeling that his life has reached rock bottom and he has no hope for the future while Londyn believes that his life is just beginning because he’s found his mate.
Some of this contrast is portrayed in the flashbacks that Ramey has. He exists in the present but much of his life is lived in the past with the ramifications of many bad decisions. Londyn lives in the future and can only see forward without initially realizing that the couple isn’t starting on the same page. It’s something that they both need to overcome.
In your research of depression, addiction, and recovery, did you find that some of the things you learned also affected the way you portrayed Londyn? How so?
Unfortunately, I’ll admit that most of my research was all firsthand experience. I won’t go into details here, but it was important to portray the difficulty in how these experiences affect a relationship. There’s the combined actuality of Ramey living with the recovery as well as Londyn trying to understand Ramey’s triggers and sensitivity. Both men must make the mental determination to make this relationship work. They both have to give a little. Londyn has the compassion to love Ramey but he has to put aside his ideal world and learn that sometimes life is messy, sometimes it’s out of his control. I think that this makes for a more heartwarming story that can be consumed and digested in a sweet short love story.
Blurb: Ramey’s world is shattered when his brother dies suddenly. He tries to go through the motions, day by agonizing day, doing the best that he can at his job, but it’s not enough. Months of depression escalates into alcohol use and drug abuse to numb the pain. For the past year, he’s been dreading meeting with his lawyer and accepting his brother’s death. The pain becomes too much to bear and Ramey is caught with cocaine at work and fired immediately. When he hits rock bottom, he realizes that he’s disrespecting his brother’s memory and checks himself into rehab with the help of an unlikely friend.
Londyn’s life is perfect living as a wolf Shifter in the Pack Lands. He’s been working in the family business and happy living in his cabin in the woods. Londyn has high expectations for the perfect mate to make his life complete.
Can Ramey accept his destiny as a Shifter’s mate? And is his love for the wolf Shifter worth leaving behind the demons and the only world he’s ever known?
About the Author: Tina is a retired Air Force brat and has lived in several states as well as a handful of countries. She has always had a soft spot for literature and is a voracious reader. When she isn’t writing, she can be found cuddled up with a good book. Though Tina adores a thrilling novel with sappy lovesick heroes, she is terrified of things that go bump in the night. This makes for quite a complicated relationship with zombies, something that she just can’t get enough of.