The Novel Approach welcomes author EE Montgomery on the Just the Way You Are blog tour. EE chats a bit about the title of the book and series, and is also offering the chance for one reader to win e-copies of each of the first three books in the Just Life series. Just click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.
Enjoy and good luck!
The Just Life series began after I’d read a number of books that were contemporary but all of which contained plot elements that the average person doesn’t generally come across, at least not where I live. I wanted to write some stories that began with an incident that actually happened. I didn’t want the series to be full of James Bond type actions or reactions. I also didn’t want to write a story where all the characters have some deep dark secret in their past, or a horrific experience to overcome. A lot of people do have to deal with those sorts of trauma, but a lot of people don’t. It doesn’t mean their lives are completely boring and not worth knowing about. The ones that don’t have past traumas have just as much right and plausibility in their lives to find true love. I wanted the stories to be real—as real as fiction can get.
The first three books of the series have beginning scenes that actually happened to someone. A lot of other scenes that follow on in those books also really happened. I’ve just changed the people and some of the circumstances around them… and exaggerated a little… and added a few other things in. You know—turned it into a story that someone might enjoy reading about, hopefully without making it unreal.
Just the Way You Are is different to the other three books in that it’s at once the least real story of the series and the most real. It’s the least real because only the very beginning (perhaps the first page or two) is an actual real-life event extrapolated and retold. It’s also the most real because Jonathan lived in a primarily emotionally abusive relationship for a very long time. The insidious nature of emotional abuse is something that’s very real to me. I had a lot of difficulty teasing out Jonathan’s reactions to living with Anthony, leaving him and being stalked by him. It’s incredibly difficult to be aware of what you’re feeling and how you’re reacting to things and why, when you’re in the middle of a situation like that. So much of what you do is reactionary and fear-filled, with only one goal in mind: survival. There’s very little deep thought and self-awareness happening at that time. It was hard to write Jonathan’s reactions, or lack of reaction, in a way that still showed his emotion—even when he wasn’t aware of feeling the emotion because he’d suppressed it.
So, real life: that was my initial aim. I had no thought in my head that the series name could mean anything different until quite a while after I’d named the series. I mentioned it to a friend, thinking I sounded like a total idiot for not noticing it sooner, and his response was, “Of course you didn’t. It’s intrinsic with you.” I have the best friends.
Blurb: After ten years in an abusive relationship and a near-fatal knife wound, Jonathan Watson is finally free. Unused to being able to make even the smallest decision and smothered by family and well-meaning neighbors, he’s floundering in the real world. Jonathan is afraid of falling into another relationship too quickly and realizes he needs time to rediscover who he is before he attaches himself to another man.
He never counted on meeting Ben Urquhart, though. Ben tempts Jonathan to forget everything and take a leap. For Ben, it’s love at first sight, and he doesn’t want to take it slow. He wants to build a life with Jonathan, free from harm and full of laughter. But before they can take the next step, they must protect Jonathan from his possessive, threatening ex. Jonathan must find the courage to confront him and break the chains of his past before he can be truly free to build a future with Ben.
About the Author: EE Montgomery wants the world to be a better place, with equality and acceptance for all. Her philosophy is: We can’t change the world but we can change our small part of it and, in that way, influence the whole. Writing stories that show people finding their own ‘better place’ is part of E E Montgomery’s own small contribution.
Thankfully, there’s never a shortage of inspiration for stories that show people growing in their acceptance and love of themselves and others. A dedicated people-watcher, E E finds stories everywhere. In a cafe, a cemetery, a book on space exploration or on the news, there’ll be a story of personal growth, love, and unconditional acceptance there somewhere.