Title: Unbreak Broken (Coming About #3)
Author Name & Publisher: J.K. Hogan (Wild City Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 16, 2015 – 98,000 Words
Rory Donovan’s life is a hot mess. His marriage is failing and he’s in intensive psychotherapy, working through the unfortunate side effects of memories from a childhood trauma. The only thing good in his life right now is his job—teaching photography to gifted high school students.
Harbor Patrol officer Bennett Foster is co-parenting his teenage daughter with his high school best friend Jessie. When he meets Addison’s teacher and realizes they’ve met before, he can’t get the sexy stranger out of his head.
Striking up a sexual-tension-filled friendship, together they must help an angsty teenager deal with a dying friend. Bennett must keep his little family from falling apart while Rory struggles to come to terms with his new reality. Somewhere along the way, most unexpectedly…love happens.
What a wonderful story! Drowning in a failed marriage, Rory turns to his therapist to help him understand himself and his sexual hang-ups. Rory also teaches high school photography and life keeps throwing him together with the father of one of his students.
Bennett and Rory are drawn to each other from the start. Gently, Bennett helps Rory re-discover his sexuality and discover his attraction to men. The relationship grows slowly as Rory becomes more comfortable with himself and his sexuality.
This is another story featuring slightly older leading men. I really enjoy the complexity that older characters bring to a romance. Both Bennett and Rory are intricate, beautifully drawn men. I love Bennett’s family and I really enjoyed reading about Rory’s job. I love his pupils and his passion for photography.
This story is beautifully written. If the men didn’t have to work through so many important issues to make a relationship work, I would argue that the ending is just a little too perfect and a little too saccharine. But these men do overcome a great deal to be together and I enjoyed every moment of their story.
This series just keeps getting better and better. In this story the author shows how Rory was able to overcome many issues, from childhood trauma to suddenly realizing he was gay. He was able to overcome it all and he was able to start a new relationship. I love the interactions between Rory and Bennett and loved how the author was able to bring Bennett’s daughter and best friend into the story. There was a story behind the original story and I loved how Rory was able to help many of the kids at his school.
The author was able to bring angst and love to this story and make it believable. I cried when Rory was telling his story to his therapist and then cried again when Rory came up with the idea to have a benefit to help one of the students at his school. Who just happens to be Addison’s soul mate. He even helped his therapist son. I’m hoping there will be a next installment (maybe Neil, Bennett’s work partner).
I grinned back, but then my brow furrowed. “Does this make me gay?”
“Does that matter?”
“I don’t know. Should it?”
“I’ll never understand the fascination with labeling things that our society seems to have. To me, sexuality is as intangible as the universe. There’s no way to truly know what’s out there, and how it all relates to everything else.
“As humans, we seek to know, to understand, and somehow we feel that putting things in boxes and labeling helps us do that. But some things are fluid, changing and developing with the tide of the evolution of life. Do me a favor, Rory. Don’t put yourself in a box.”
I was dumbfounded, stunned speechless. I knew I’d remember Dr. Conlan’s words for the rest of my life, and I would try to stay as true to them as I could. “I won’t,” I whispered.
- Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
Oh, this will be fun. Let’s see, I do most of my writing on the couch in our tv/billiard/greatroom with my trusty laptop. I’m usually surrounded by or buried under toys, with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse playing in the background. Yep, I’m a stay-at-home-mom toddler boy, and pregnant with another one. When I’m really in the middle of something, I pretty much have to drag the ole laptop from room to room so that I can watch his antics and make the appropriate encouraging noises.
I have a nice setup in my bedroom, however usually if I try and work up there, the temptation to rest is just too great.
- Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?
Definitely Justice from I Survived Seattle, my first m/m book and fourth in my backlist. I modelled Justice’s multitude of issues including generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, and panic disorder after my own struggles with the same illnesses. He’s pretty much me, except for the cute gay guy part.
- If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
I’ve worked in a lot of different industries so I’ve satisfied my curiosity in a lot of different areas. In addition to being an author, I’m also a freelance graphic designer and a graphic artist (I’m currently drawing an m/m webcomic and designing covers) so I’d probably put more energy into that side of things.
- Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?
I honestly can’t think of a thing. There’s nothing I’ve learned along the way that would keep me from wanting to do this. I’d still be writing rather I published or not, but it’s more fun this way.
- Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?
Not a thing. Unbreak Broken pretty much came out exactly as I wanted it to. I don’t put anything out that I haven’t agonized over every detail of. The only thing I might do is just fine tune the timelines on some of them.
- How do you come up with new ideas for your story?
There’s no set process. It could be a lyric in a song, some guy walking down the street, a picture I see or take myself that might spark the beginnings of a story. Usually once I have the spark, I don’t need much else to get the story rolling.
- What’s next for you as a writer?
My current WIP is a dark psychodrama about two guys that meet in a mental health facility (I know! How will I make that work?) and after that I’ll start on the sequel to Shadows Fall. After that, I have a contemporary cowboy/horseman story in my head that I’d like to do, in honor of a very special horse who was a big part of my life and recently passed away.
- Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?
I live in North Carolina. I try to use my writing to go places I don’t get to visit often. I find it a challenge to do the necessary research to set a story in a place that’s not my hometown. That said, Shadows Fall is set in Charlotte, NC. It was a new experience because I spent many hours trekking the city with my son, looking for interesting landmarks and ideas for the story. I actually loved writing about Charlotte because it felt like home. I also had to approach the collective attitude towards LGBT issues. While the state is conservative majority, I travel in the liberal, welcoming circles so I get both sides of the coin. This affected how I approached each character’s backstory.
- What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?
Suspense/thriller or horror. I’m always going to love romance, and when I read a book without it, I always wish there was a little romance in there. However, when I need to step outside the genre, thrillers are my go-to. I’m not easy to scare, or thrill, if you will, so I love finding books that can do it.
- Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?
Coffee and books. I’m a coffee addict and a book hoarder. Thank goodness for the age of the ebook or I’d be bankrupt.
J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?
J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and young son, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit www.jkhogan.com.