Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Kaj Harper for taking the time to talk with us today about their retro title The Rebuilding Year. Prism Book Alliance® recently reviewed The Rebuilding Year. You can find the review here.
We are here today to talk about The Rebuilding Year. What can you tell us about it?
The Rebuilding Year is a book I first wrote years before I ever planned to publish anything – I just wanted to tell a double GFY story, but in a slow and natural way. In my head, John and Ryan were two men who hadn’t been aware they were bi. In their pasts, loving one woman, or many, had been enough for them. Meeting each other, becoming friends, and then more, was a slow, gradual, comfortable process.
They begin to realize that the person who really completes them doesn’t have to be a woman, but just someone who feels wonderfully right. They slowly fall for each other, body and heart, and soul. I didn’t want a lot of I’m-not-gay panic, but also not instant love and immediate comfort with gay sex. And I also wanted some kids in the mix, because part of GFY (or really, bi for you) is explaining to all the people in your life how your world view has been rearranged, and dealing with the fall-out from that.
Tell us more about Ryan and John?
John is in his late thirties, divorced with two kids. He’s a quiet guy who fell in love with his wife young and never looked at anyone else until she left him. He has a lot of integrity, and gentleness that is not weakness. He adores his kids, but he’s lonely. When he meets Ryan, he’s looking for a friend, but as they become closer, he has the honesty to not hide his feelings from himself.
Ryan was a firefighter until he was badly injured on the job. He’s battled back from the injuries, gotten into medical school, and is starting over as a 30-year-old student with new limits and new goals. He isn’t planning to date anyone seriously. He’s expecting to be swamped with classwork, and he’s always had fast and casual relationships with women. But he also is a long way from friends and family, and facing a lot of change alone. Something about John strikes a chord with him, and their time together becomes a warmth in his goal-directed life.
What about The Rebuilding Year makes you the most proud?
I like hearing that people believed in the characters, both the guys and the teenaged kids. I was trying to write real people, reacting to a new situation and rebuilding their lives, and it’s very cool to know that many readers felt like these were actual people they would like to know.
If you could change one thing TRY what would it be and why?
Make Ryan’s eyes less green? (Green eyes are a bit of a trope in M/M – I once read six books in a row with green-eyed heroes, despite the fact that only 2% of the population have that color.) Seriously, there are a lot of minor tweaks, because I always want to make changes in anything I write, but as far as major ones, maybe I’d give Torey, John’s daughter, a bit more of a voice and acknowledgement. But then, she gets more page time than the son, Mark, in the upcoming sequel.
Will we be hearing more from these boys in the future?
I just finished the page proofs for the sequel, “Life, Some Assembly Required” which will release from Samhain Publishing on June 9th 2015. In that book, we move on, right from the closing scene of “The Rebuilding Year”, to find out how Ryan’s family reacts to the changes in his life, what happens with Torey, and how the rebuilding year for both these men continues. They have a ways to go to a make their long-term relationship work, with some bumps in the road still to come.
If you could give one piece of advice to new writers, what would it be?
Write lots and lots. Seriously, practice is the most critical thing for improving. And write what you love, not what you think the audience wants. No book will ever please everyone – “Lord of the Rings” has 4,000 one-star ratings on Goodreads. You will get reviews that hate your story for reasons good and bad no matter what you do, so there’s no point in writing for others, (and don’t publish if you can’t stand the thought of those bad reviews. Everyone gets them.) Write the book that comes from your heart and is what you want to read. You’ll do a better job, you will find readers who love it too, and you’ll be able to shrug off those who don’t more easily.
Tell us about some of your other titles.
“Into Deep Waters” is my personal favorite – a 64K short free novel about two men who meet in the Navy in WWII and struggle to stay together over the decades. It was written partly as a tribute to all the LGBTQ men and women of the past, who helped us get to the watershed years we are now in. Their courage, their years spent showing the people in their lives that love truly is love, and changing one mind at a time, was a gift to us all. I’m hoping to do an audio-book release of “Into Deep Waters” this year (although that won’t be able to be a freebie, but I hope people will find it worth buying.)
My “Life Lessons” series is my most popular. Four novels from MLR Press, and three free short stories, which follow Tony, a high-school teacher, and Mac, a homicide detective, through murder mysteries and a developing romance. This series mixes mystery, action, coming out of the closet, young children, injuries, family and all the issues large and small that make life complicated and hard, and glorious and sweet.
I have written fantasy (“Nor Iron Bars a Cage”) and paranormal (“Unacceptable Risk”) and SciFi (“Laser Visions”) and thriller (“Lies and Consequences”) as well as the contemporary, mystery and historical. I have a lot of free books if someone wants to try out my style. I also write Young Adult under the pen name Kira Harp, although most of my YA is unpublished stories on my Goodreads YA LGBT Books group. I have about 50 short stories there.
Rapid Fire Time
- Kirk or Picard? Picard – I love that he makes brains, age, wisdom, and integrity sexy.
- 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future? Past – I can cope with the known better than the unknown.
- Tardis or DeLorean? Tardis, absolutely. Preferably with Tom Baker inside it.
- Read or writing? I have to choose? Writing keeps me sane. I did it for 35 years without publishing, just for fun. So writing, except sometimes when my head is too full and I’m tired, then reading someone else’s words is better.
- Thongs or Flip Flops? Flip Flops – I was born in Canada, eh? Although as a kid we called them “splatchers” in my family, which comes from the “Swallows and Amazons” kids’ books.
- Rain or snow? Snow, until I have to shovel it.
- Sweet or Sour? I like both, but probably have to admit to a major sweet tooth.
- Vanilla or Chocolate? Chocolate – nature’s gift to womankind, especially when crafted by Swiss confectioners.
- Drunk or Sober? Sober. I like a little wine or champagne, but I hate losing control.
- Hawaii or Colorado? I heard there were no mosquitoes in Hawaii??? Coming from Minnesota where the mosquito is our state bird, that’s very appealing. But usually I prefer cool mountains to hot beaches.
What are you working on? What is next?
I’m writing a new freebie, featuring a transgender guy who’s a metal musician, for the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s summer event. Then I have a new mystery-paranormal novel finished that I hope will start a new series. Plus some other sequels – Finding Family, werewolves, and the follow-up to “Full Circle.”
Title: The Rebuilding Year
Author: Kaje Harper
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
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.
Prism Book Alliance® recently reviewed The Rebuilding Year. You can find the review here.
About the Author:
Kaje Harper grew up in Montreal, and spent her teen years writing, filling binders with stories. But as life got busy, the stories began to just live in her head. The characters grew up, met, endured, and loved, in any quiet moment she had, but the stories rarely made it to paper. Her time was taken up by work in psychology, teaching, and a biomedical career, and the fun of raising children.
Eventually the kids became more independent and her husband gave her a computer she didn’t have to share. She started putting words down in print again, just for fun. Hours of fun. Lots of hours of fun. The stories began piling up, and her husband suggested if she was going to spend that much time on the keyboard she ought to try to publish one. MLR Press accepted her first submission, Life Lessons, which was released in May 2011. Kaje now has many novels and short stories published, including Amazon bestseller The Rebuilding Year, and a selection of free short stories and novels available on Smashwords and elsewhere. She currently lives in Minnesota with a creative teenager, a crazy omnivorous little white dog, and a remarkably patient spouse.
Goodreads Author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4769304.Kaje_Harper
Kaje Harper has kindly offered 1 lucky commenter can choose either an ebook copy of “The Rebuilding Year” or an ebook copy of the sequel, “Life, Some Assembly Required”, as soon as it becomes available.
Locally held contests will end 7 days from original posting date at 8pm CST. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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