Today we’re so pleased to continue the countdown to GayRomLit 2015 celebration with Tara Lain and the guys from her new novel Knave of Broken Hearts. We put together a little interview with Jim Carney and Ken Tenaka, and Tara is also offering the chance for one reader to win an e-copy of Book One in her Love in Laguna series, Knight of Ocean Avenue.
To enter for a chance to win, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below.
TNA: Hi, Jim and Ken, welcome to TNA. I know Tara usually fields all the promo for her books, so does it feel a little weird for you two be here with her readers to talk about yourselves? Who had to talk who into doing it, or were you both on board from the start?
Jim: *Jim shuffles his feet* Ken definitely had to talk me into this gig, but he explained that it would be good for Tara’s novel if we agreed to talk to you, so here I am.
Ken: *Ken puts a slim hand on Jim’s shoulder* He’s shy but he’d do anything to come through for a friend. As for me, well I’m so happy to get to work out my shit with my family, I’ll tell the world.
TNA: Speaking of weird, does it feel a little strange to know you guys are the subject of an entire novel about how you met and got together? What was the strangest part of the entire storytelling process for you?
Jim: *Jim shrugs* It got me off my ass and made me look at myself. Hard but worth it. *He threads his fingers through Ken’s*
Ken: I’m Japanese. We’re not used to opening our kimonos in public, so this whole experience was weird. But look how well it came out.
TNA: So, Jim, we already know you’re a big fan of Yaoi. What do you love about it?
Jim: Yaoi was Hiro’s thing first. He was my closest friend. Looking back, I realize it was an easy way to get me comfortable with gay sex. But the thing I loved most was the yaoi hero who looked like Ken. He really turned me on. Man, that guy was real to me. I’d never seen anything so beautiful or so sexy. Then, of course, I saw Ken in the flesh and that did it. He looked just like that character – but better. I knew I couldn’t hide anymore.
Ken: But did you notice that in his dream scenario the guy who looks like me is the uke (bottom) and the character who resembles Jim is the seme (top)? I don’t know how he worked that one out?
Jim: Oh come on, you know you love it.
Ken: *grinning* Ya think?
TNA: Have you ever been to YaoiCon before? If so, what’s the atmosphere like? Do you have plans to take Ken sometime?
Jim: No, I’ve never been, but I have to confess I’d just as soon keep Ken close to home. Exposing him to a lot of gorgeous Asian guys would probably turn me green with jealousy.
TNA: This year is the first time you guys will be attending GayRomLit. What made you decide this was the event and the right year to attend it?
Ken: *Ken adjusts his shirtsleeves* As you know, Tara’s been going to GRL since the first event. She loves the conference and loves seeing all the people who support gay romance. She’s told us so much about it, we can’t wait to go. I mean, she’s had some other guys with her in former years, but this is our GRL. I think Tara’s readers are going to like us best.
TNA: Are there any authors you’re most excited to meet? What are some of your favorite books in the genre?
Ken: Tara’s got a lot of favorites, but she has breakfast a lot with ZA Maxfield and KC Burn. I know these authors really help her and inspire her, so I look forward to meeting them. Plus, ZAM wrote a book called Drawn Together with an Asian hero who looks like a girl. I can relate.
TNA: Have you looked over the schedule of events? What are you most looking forward to attending?
Jim: Tara keeps talking about this big reader party she’s going to be throwing with a bunch of other authors. Readers will be guessing little known facts about the authors and winning prizes. Sounds like fun to me!
TNA: Given the historic ruling handed down by the Supreme Court on June 26th, what were your feelings the moment you heard? Were you together when the news broke?
Jim/Ken: Of course, we’re from California, so we’ve been planning a wedding with a whole helluva lot of help from my mother since we moved in together. But realizing that our marriage will assure our status and that of the children my mother so desperately wants us to have in every state is a huge relief to both of us.
TNA: One last question, then, for the readers who can’t attend GRL this year, and for the readers who’ll be there in San Diego with us. Would you consider sharing a short excerpt from your book? Maybe one of your favorite scenes, and telling us a little bit about what makes it so special?
Jim: Okay, I’m going to share a scene that’s really hard for me. It’s a moment that I’d like to forget – but I’m grateful it happened or maybe I would never have realized how much Ken meant to me. Here it is —
Except: Shit, the old man couldn’t even know what his plan would do to Jim. He just thought he was arranging Jim’s life for him, and he knew Jim would hate that. No way he could understand he was condemning Jim to misery and breaking his heart. Sweet Jesus, he’d be so happy if he knew.
He dropped his head on the steering wheel. Ken. Oh God, Ken.
Come on, he won’t miss you. He’ll move on in one day.
He picked up his phone and held it against his chest. But I won’t.
A tapping on the truck’s window brought his head up, and he stared into a flashlight. Behind it he could just make out the security guard from the gate. He rolled the window a couple of inches. “Yeah.”
“No loitering in this vicinity. Would you please move on?”
The top of his head exploded. “Fuck you!” He smashed his fist against the window, the edge of the phone caught the glass just right and cracked it into a spiderweb of pieces, as the perfect pain seared up his arm, into his shoulder, and out though his brain. He cranked the key, stomped the gas, and pulled out as a Porsche wheeled around the corner. The Porsche skidded to the side as Jim floored it, and the old truck showed it was pissed too as it sailed down the road toward the ocean, leaving the sports car driver leaning on his horn. His hand hung at his side. Oh shit, that hurts. Hurts. Good.
I could go to Ken’s. He’d fix it. I could tell him everything. Maybe he’d fix that too? His hand trembled. Why would he do that? Take on the chairman and board member of the club he loves? Take on a doctor who could ruin his career? For a casual date with no future? Shit, why?
He could practically hear the discomfort in Ken’s voice, feel his embarrassment at having to tell Jim that no way was he wrecking his life for a quick lay.
Before he could crap out, he switched the phone to his left hand on the wheel and pushed the speed dial number. He heard the ringing.
Ken sounded happy. “Hi, baby, on your way to see me? I made some salads. I know, you hate anything healthy, but I promise to slather them with blue cheese.”
“Can’t. Can’t come. I’m so sorry. Family matter.”
“Oh hell. I’m really sad not to see you, but I sure know about family. Can we get together tomorrow night?”
“No. No. I’m going to be tied up. Oh God, tied up for a while, quite a while.” Bile rose up his throat, and somehow his face got wet.
“Jim, are you okay?”
“Yeah. Just hurt my hand. But I’m fine. Thanks. Thanks for everything.”
“Can’t.” He clicked off, pulled to the side of PCH, jumped out, and puked his guts all over the scrub grass beside the highway that led to Crystal Cove.
Blurb: Jim Carney has a full time job—running from himself. Since he walked out on his wealthy family at sixteen because he’d wrecked his best friend’s life over some yaoi graphic novels, Jim has lived a macho, blue-collar existence of too much booze and too little responsibility. Then Billy Ballew, the man Jim most admires, gives Jim a chance to come through as his construction supervisor. For once, Jim is determined to make someone proud. Then Jim goes in for a physical for his new job, and his yaoi dream comes to life in the form of cardiologist Ken Tanaka. Jim discovers he has two heart problems—a wonky mitral valve and a serious attraction to his doctor. But Ken is a major player, and Jim might be just a notch on the doc’s stethoscope. To Ken, Jim is unforgettable—but the living embodiment of his traditional family’s worst nightmares. How come the minute Jim decides to be responsible, he finds himself taking care of his kid brother, getting a proposal from a wealthy woman, making a deal with the devil, and winding up in the hospital—when all he really wants is the Knave of Broken Hearts?
About the Author: Tara Lain, like so many novelists, wrote her first book at five. Writing ability got her through college when there wasn’t enough time in the day, and, shortly thereafter, it became a marketable skill. Very early in life, people started paying her to write — scripts for industrial films, brochures, magazine articles on semiconductors. She became a really successful non-fiction “ghost-writer”.
Blurb: How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgment blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.
Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising-star celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?