J.A. Rock Interview and Giveaway
J.A.: Thank you for having me!
Kazza: For those readers who haven’t read J.A Rock before, tell us a bit about your writing. What genres/sub genres do you write in?
J.A.: Haha, I have no idea anymore! Lately I’ve been saying LGBTQ romance and psychological thrillers. I used to be primarily m/m BDSM, but now I’m exploring my vanilla side a little, and working on f/f books. I’m still writing primarily romance as J.A. Rock, but last year Lisa Henry and I did ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE, which was not a romance, and now we’re working on more in that vein. Plus Civil War-themed tentacle porn choose-your-own-adventure—with zombies. I also do slightly more literary-ish queer spec fic under the name Jill Smith. So, yes, I’ll give almost any genre a try. And I take audience suggestions. looks around
Kazza: Last year I read a co-write of yours with Lisa Henry – When all the World Sleeps – which was one of my Books of the Year. It was utterly seamless in terms of the overall writing and characterisations. It certainly seems to be a very successful partnership, and this isn’t the only collaboration with LH. How did that partnership start? Plenty of people struggle working with another person on something so personal or intensive, so how easy/hard is it to write with another person?
J.A.: It is so easy to work with Lisa. Seriously. It seems like there’d be a lot of potential for things to go wrong with co-writing, but for me it’s been a dream. It started because we had books out around the same time. I read THE ISLAND and was fascinated by early evidence of what we now call our “hive mind.” Lisa is brilliant. She’s open to any project, she at least pretends to listen patiently when I have sixteen different ideas for how to do one thing and I need to tell her all of them RIGHT NOW, plus she’s hilarious and a great friend. What more could I want? We joke that the only thing we don’t agree on is spelling. Her Aussie words mean nothing to me.
Kazza: I’ll just pretend I didn’t see those last words about Strayan 🙂
Kazza: Recently I read The Two Gentlemen of Altona – review – a real deviation from When all the World Sleeps – review. I understand there will be more depth around Mac and Henry with each book in this series but these two books really are poles apart. How easy is it to flip from serious, psychological writing to more snarky and humorous dialogue and characterisations?
J.A.: Not too hard, really. I get bored doing the same thing, so I like to keep mixing it up with different tones. Lisa and I both seem to have equal affection for writing dark things and fun things. So I loved the intense, claustrophobic experience of writing WAtWS and then turning around and doing MARK COOPER VERSUS AMERICA. TWO GENTLEMEN OF ALTONA was cool because romance doesn’t play a big part. Not saying that won’t change in the next two books in the trilogy, but it was great to be able to focus on the banter and sexual tension without feeling any pressure to get the guys to declare their undying love before the end.
Kazza: As a reader, I have certain books that stay with me. I can still tell you the names of the characters and little details about them. Years after reading, I remember them with much fondness – as well as plot, parts of the dialogue, or scenes. I am sure it scares my friends and family when I can relate something back to a fictional character. As a writer, are there characters/books of yours you have a real affinity with over others? If so, which ones/why?
J.A.: I’m like that too! I feel like I can relate anything in my life to a scene from a book (oddly, in most cases, to a scene from JURASSIC PARK). As far as my own books go, I bonded hard with CALLING THE SHOW. I think writing that was one of the happiest times of my life (and you can totally tell, because nothing that bad happens to any of the characters!). For co-written books, WHEN ALL THE WORLD SLEEPS was my favorite writing experience. It was the second book Lisa and I wrote together, and our first time using Google Docs instead of passing a Word doc back and forth. I was living in a cabin in the woods at the time (in the south, coincidentally), and just up the gravel road was an old empty house I had a key to. The cabin didn’t have the internet, but the house did, so I’d take my computer to the house each morning, plug it into the ye olde internet cable, and read the magic words that had appeared in the Google Doc in the night. I loved those characters and getting to open up that world each day and dive in. Just the whole atmosphere of the project was fantastic.
Kazza: Today is about a new book of yours, released on January 20th – Take the Long Way Home. The blurb is attached but what more can you say about the book for readers? Something about the process or the idea behind it?
J.A.: I see it as a story about trying. It’s about growing up, messing up, and getting things a little more right with each trial and error. The main character is young and has a lot of deeply rooted psychological issues and a complicated situation with his family. He’s not looking to be cured by love—but the new relationships he forms throughout the story, and the broken ones he struggles to repair, help him start to think about the future he wants for himself and the man he’d like to be.
OTDU: We would like to thank J.A Rock for joining us today and for the fabulous giveaway
Dresden Marich has failed out of high school three months shy of graduation. He’s infatuated with his online friend, Evan, alienated from his family and former classmates, and still trying to recover from his father’s death six years ago. He’s also keeping a troubling secret about his older brother, Gunner, who is away at boot camp.
Then Dresden meets Caleb, a judgmental environmentalist who’s hardly Dresden’s fantasy come true. But Caleb seems to understand Dresden’s desire for rough sex, big feelings, and, ultimately, safety. As Dresden becomes embroiled in a farmers market drama involving Caleb, a couple of bullying tomato enthusiasts, and a gang of vigilante vegans, he discovers he might be willing to trade a fantasy relationship with Evan for a shot at something real with Caleb.
But Dresden fears telling quick-to-judge Caleb his secret, and the news that Gunner is coming home sends him fleeing to California for a chance to meet Evan in person and hopefully fall in love. When the encounter doesn’t go as expected, Dresden faces a choice: stay in California and carve out a new life, or take the long road home to his family, Caleb, and a past he must face if he has any hope for a future.
**GIVEAWAY NOW OVER, CONGRATULATIONS TO DIANNA**
Simply leave a comment below to be in the running to win a choice of any backlist title od J.A Rock’s—including co-written titles. The winner will be drawn at 11:59pm on January 26rd. Thanks for participating! (**If you get a spam message, don’t worry, we’ll find your comment.)
J.A. Rock has worked as a dog groomer, knife seller, haunted house zombie, standardized patient, census taker, state fair quilt hanger, and, for one less-than-magical evening, a server—and would much rather be writing about those jobs than doing them. J.A. lives in Chicago but still sees West Virginia behind Illinois’s back.