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GRL 2014 BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: KAJE HARPER

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Boys in our Books is proud to be selected as a Featured Blog for GRL 2014. As a part of the GRL Blog Tour, we’re highlighting some of our favorite authors. Every Friday, stop by and get to know them as they answer some of our questions.

 

WELCOME

KAJE HARPER

 

1.  Starting from scratch: Tell us all about you. What do you want us to know?

I’m an optimist and a dreamer. Writing has always been my joy and my escape. Creating a story in my head is a way to take the harshness of the real world when it won’t bent to my wishes, and manufacture my own happy endings. I like to dream up good people, under stress and conflict and pressure, and help them turn adversity into triumph and pain into hope.

About three years ago, I decided to try publishing one of the many stories I’d written.  I was delighted to find that readers also enjoyed meeting my men and watching them win against the odds. I’ve published several novels and short stories now, mostly adult M/M romance, but some Young Adult LGBT, including about 30 free short stories on the Goodreads YA LGBT group I moderate.

The actual writing is still the thing I love best, and I have a tendency to release free stories for the fun of it, but now I also have enough pro books out to mollify my husband and call myself a professional author.

2.  10 Questions about books:

How did you get interested in gay romance?

I read “The Persian Boy” by Mary Renault when I was about thirteen, and I really, really wanted to create a happy ending for the young man, Bagoas. So I wrote an alternate ending in my head, and then another story about two guys, and another one. I was drawn by the depth of adversity, the balance of the characters, and the potential for emotion in M/M romance. I’ve been writing it for over 40 years now.

Best book you’ve read in the last 3 months? 

“Shaking the Sugar Tree” by Nick Wilgus is one that stands out. It’s unusual, more about the love of a father for his child than a romance. It has a refreshing, unique mix of the crazy, the honest, the wildly inappropriate and the deep sweetness of love. There are some vivid characters, and although it seems at first glance like a story that would be light and funny, underneath that there is real, deep pain about family and prejudice.

Best book you’ve written in the last 3 years? 

“Into Deep Waters” is my personal favorite – it was written fast, in 45 days, for an M/M Romance Group summer writing event. There was a prompt asking for a story running from WWII to the legalization of gay marriage. How could I resist that challenge? With the time constraint, it’s shorter than it might otherwise have been. But I think it comes across as a testament to the endurance of love between two men, beginning in times when it was even more dangerous and difficult than it is now. It’s also meant to be a bit of a tribute to all the LGBT pioneers, who, by simply living lives of authentic unmistakable love in front of family and friends, gave rise to the changes we now enjoy.

What book would you recommend to someone who’s never read your work?

It depends, because I write different genres and readers don’t read across all of them. “Life Lessons” is my most popular series, if they enjoy mysteries. “Nor Iron Bars a Cage” for fantasy. “Into Deep Waters” if the WWII time frame works for them. And “Like the Taste of Summer” is a short (15K) free option, if someone doesn’t want to dive into a long novel.

What book would you recommend to someone who’s never read gay romance?

Of someone else’s? “Faith & Fidelity” by Tere Michaels. “Love Lessons” by Heidi Cullinan. “The Locker Room” by Amy Lane. All of them reflect my preference for some angst, character growth and change, in a story that has hot sex but is not overwhelmed by it, and with a sweet ending.

.

Your favorite character you’ve written?

Mac – Detective Jared MacLean from “Life Lessons”. Mac begins the series as a strong, honorable man doing the best he can to support his small child and be a great cop. He keeps so much of himself hidden and under wraps, because he thinks he can’t indulge himself and still get the important parts of his life done right. He also really does, down deep, think of himself as flawed, and he doesn’t believe in his right to real happiness or in his worth as a person. Then he meets Tony, who is out and proud and who won’t let Mac go on like that forever, being less than whole. It’s a long tough journey for Mac, to learn to love his man in the open light of day, and to accept himself. He loses some things along the way, but gains far more.

Your favorite character someone else has written?

Chase, from Amy Lane’s “Chase in Shadow”. He tries so damned hard to meet all the conflicting needs and responsibilities in his life, and screws it up so royally that something has to give. I wanted to just hug him and make sure he came through all right.

What plot bunny has been sitting in your head that you haven’t committed to writing? 

I have a SciFi, about an ambassador to a newly rediscovered lost colony on a cold world. Also a fantasy about a man whose lover has been possessed by a demon. A contemporary about an ex-FBI agent with a missing leg who is now a PI…

What’s on the horizon/in the pipeline?

The third novel in the “Hidden Wolves” werewolf series, “Unjustified Claims”, is in editing with MLR and I’m hoping for a September release.

I have a free novel coming out from the M/M Romance group on Goodreads for their summer event, probably in August. “Laser Visions” is a near-future paranormal with a guy who might be a ghost, in an antebellum house, but it’s more mystery than spooky.

Then two 20,000 word short stories, one a WWII home-front historical and the other about two men trapped together to wait out a hurricane. The historical is for a charity anthology; the hurricane will be part of a “Storming Love” series with matching stories from 5 others of MLR Press’s top authors.

I also have a contemporary self-pub novel, “The Family We Make”, which is the sequel to “The Family We’re Born With”, my Christmas free novella. This one won’t be free, but it’s a long novel, and will be released as soon as it can be edited and formatted.

What’s the BEST thing about being an author?

The writing itself is always a joy. But the best thing about being a published author is knowing that the stories that lived only in my head have gone out and done some good for other people.

I love when I get reviews or letters that say my stories helped someone through their day or made them think, or touched their heart. I’ve had people say one of my stories made them decide to support gay marriage. I’ve had someone tell me they were a gay guy who, for the first time ever, read a story about someone like himself with a truly happy ending. (I do hope I launched that guy into the wonderful world of M/M, because there are many more stories out there for him.) I’ve had people say my books got them through a difficult time in their lives, or reminded them of loved ones, or gave them hope on a dark day. That’s really the best. To know that a story I created gave someone else hope

3.  Would You Rather…

…Write a book that sells a ton or a book that generates a ton of discussion?

Discussion. I love when people treat my guys as real, and my ideas as worth talking about. I saw a little chat once about “Life Lessons”, readers arguing whether Mac was a coward for staying in the closet, or Tony was too pushy, for asking him to come out. The vote was about even, which was perfect, and I loved the way they talked about my men as if they really lived together here in Minneapolis

…Have a book with 100 4-star ratings or a book with 50 2-star and 50 5-star ratings?

5’s and 2’s – you’re never going to please everyone. Seeing the first 5-star reviews for any book is what affirms for me that it was worth publishing and not just keeping to myself. That for someone, my story made a difference in a way that not just any book could. I admit that 50 2-stars would have me reaching for the Swiss chocolate though. Ouch.

…Write fluff or angst?

Angst. I love emotion in my reading, and try to infuse it into my writing. Although interestingly, I seem to make people cry most with my happy scenes… “Into Deep Waters” ends happily, but many of the reviewers seem to have read the last scene in tears. Which is such a lovely compliment, I think, that I made them feel the sweet love as deeply as the pain.

…Have a book made into an indie-movie that told the exact story or into a long-running tv show that was only inspired by the story?

Don’t mess with my guys! Definitely the faithful movie. I’ve winced on behalf of authors whose novels turned into series with only a passing resemblance.

…Have written Twilight or 50 Shades of Gray?

Um. I’ll take Twilight, because BDSM doesn’t do a lot for me and I doubt I’d write it well, or even badly. My Twilight would be Jacob and Edward slash though. Jacob could lick the sparkles right off of Edward…

4.  Two Truths and a Lie…

Tell us 3 things about you…2 of them are true, 1 is false. 

* I spent a summer milking cows on a dairy farm

* I have a Master’s degree in biochemistry

* I based the social anxiety of Mike, in “Sole Support”, on my own ineptitude with crowds and strangers

 

 

GIVEAWAY

Try and guess which are the author’s truths and which is the lie!

Comment below for a chance to win this week’s prize package:  ONE (1) backlist title from KAJE HARPER, a Boys in our Books branded mug, AND a $10 gift certificate to All Romance e-Books!

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI live in Minnesota (where the two seasons are snow removal and road-repair, and the mosquito is the state bird, and where sometimes in winter it is so beautiful you can’t breathe for gazing at it). I have been writing for longer than I care to admit, and currently am focused on writing m/m romance.

This writing thing is addictive. So read, comment, tell me what you like and what you don’t, and help me make the upcoming books even better. I have a blog here on Goodreads, and a website with WordPress, (http://kajeharper.wordpress.com/ ) which includes a complete book list.

 

 

40 comments on “GRL 2014 BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: KAJE HARPER

  1. suze294
    July 18, 2014

    I’m Going to go with the biochemistry as the lie, not sure why other than I think 3 is true and 1 sounds like it needs to be!
    I like that Kaje loves Mac the best, he is a great character! And I just read Laser Visions, it was really really good!

    Like

  2. Kim W
    July 18, 2014

    I pick biochemistry. I love the Life Lessons series and can’t wait for the next Hidden Wolves book. I normally don’t like shifter books but that is almost the only exception.

    Like

  3. Debra E
    July 18, 2014

    Thanks for the interview. I love Kaje’s books and I’m going with the biochemistry as not true, for no apparent reason.

    Like

  4. Shirley Ann Speakman
    July 18, 2014

    I enjoyed reading the interview and I haven’t a clue which one is a lie but I’ll choose Biochemistry as I’m sure you would have mentioned that you have a Master’s in it.

    ShirleyAnn(at)speakman40(dot)freeserve(dot)co(dot)uk

    Like

  5. rojoroaors
    July 18, 2014

    I know from reading her history that she worked for a biomedical company so I am going with the dairy farm as the lie. Love you Kaje

    Like

  6. Antonia
    July 18, 2014

    I’m going with social anxiety, though I have no reason to back that up and am making a total guess! Thanks for the great interview!

    Like

  7. Hannah B.
    July 18, 2014

    I am going to go with social anxiety.

    Like

  8. xlorix
    July 18, 2014

    Of COURSE Mac is her favourite – he’s THE BEST CHARACTER EVER and I love him. Oh my god – the things he does, the way he grows because of his love for Tony. I love him so much. Have I mentioned I love MAc (I may have, but you know, just to be sure) I LOVE MAC!

    (Sorry for all the shouting!)

    Like

    • xlorix
      July 18, 2014

      Okay, now I’ve read the rest of the (fabulous) interview (commenting just for fun here, not prizes) I think it’s C that’s the lie. …no A…no C. Um…okay, uh, uh, uh…C is my final answer….

      Like

  9. Idamus
    July 18, 2014

    Great interview :-)

    I think I’ll pick A as false

    …What plot bunny has been sitting in your head that you haven’t committed to writing?

    GET STARTED ON THEM BUNNIES, I WANT :D

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Valerie
    July 18, 2014

    Thank you for the wonderful interview.

    I’ll go with a) milking cows as false.

    I love Mac, too. :-)

    Like

  11. Kate
    July 18, 2014

    I love Kaje’s book – and she does an absolutely amazing job in moderating the YA LGBT group on Goodreads, not to mention she has time and is willing to help those of us who are just testing the waters when it comes to writing.

    *thinks* Now, I am not sure if the lie is the social anxiety … or the milking cows… erm… enie, meanie, mynie, mo…. *closes eyes an points*…. Okay, I am going to say the social anxiety…

    K

    Like

  12. jenf27
    July 18, 2014

    Thanks for the great interview! All the plot bunnies mentioned sound wonderful – I hope at least some of them come to fruition. :-)

    I am going to pick the social anxiety as the false item since I am hoping the dairy farm is true.

    Like

  13. susana
    July 18, 2014

    Great interview! I am going for the first truth, the milking thing. I know it is much more difficult that what it sounds, because I have tried it myself! ;)

    Like

  14. Marlobo
    July 18, 2014

    Kaje is one one of my favs, an auto-buy author for me, Thanks for this interview, guys!

    I think that the false answer is… I don’t know!! I can believe anything from Kaje, but I’m going with «I based the social anxiety of Mike, in “Sole Support”, on my own ineptitude with crowds and strangers » because it sounds so sincere that could be a hocus-pocus ;)

    Like

  15. fritz42war
    July 18, 2014

    I’m guessing the summer with the cows.

    Kaje, you’re my go-to author when I need a comforting read and an auto-buy. I set my Windows calendar for when your stories comes out. Your list of upcoming stories made me very happy.

    Your guys are definitely “real” in my world. You talk about writing to get away from the pains and frustrations of RL. I read to do the same. Thanks for providing us with such wonderful places to escape to.

    Like

  16. fsteph55
    July 18, 2014

    I am going to say the lie is, I spent a summer milking cows on a dairy farm.
    Sounds like a really great series.

    Like

  17. H.B.
    July 18, 2014

    I think I’m going to go with you basing the social anxiety of Mike, in “Sole Support” on your ineptitude with crowds and strangers.

    Like

  18. Jonathan Penn
    July 19, 2014

    Milking cows? I don’t think so! ;)

    Like

  19. Andrea M
    July 19, 2014

    I’m going with milking cows as the lie

    Like

  20. diannakay
    July 19, 2014

    Thanks for the interview – it sounds like there are some good things to look forward to.

    I think milking cows is the false answer.

    Like

  21. Tammy
    July 19, 2014

    I love Kaje’s books. Life Lessons is one of my all-time favorite series! Thanks so much for the giveaway. I think the false fact is the first one – milking cows.

    Like

  22. Jen CW
    July 19, 2014

    I think that the social ineptitude is the false one. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

    Like

  23. Denise Dechene
    July 19, 2014

    Thanks for the interview and chance to win. The Life Lessons books as well as The Rebuilding year are in my comfort read pile. Love them. I would guess that anxiety and social ineptitude being false. Cant’ wait for your next release. Hope you all have a great week.

    Like

  24. Kaje Harper
    July 19, 2014

    Wow, I stopped by to see how this was going, and there are so many great comments. Thank you all (and I’m not telling which is a lie, yet…) Hi to all the people I chat with on Goodreads, including Roger, Kate, Jonathan, and many more. I appreciate everyone coming here to check this blog post out :) I hope to see some of you at GRL in October.

    Like

  25. Donna Mayer
    July 19, 2014

    I think option 3 is the lie. Thank you, for the chance at this giveaway, and to tell you, your books are great.

    Like

  26. Melody
    July 19, 2014

    I’m going to guess that option 1 is the lie. I recently read Laser Visions – it was great!!!

    Like

  27. Sara
    July 19, 2014

    Not entering because, well I can’t, but I laughed out loud at “Jacob could lick the sparkles right off of Edward…” Now THAT would be a Twilight movie I would actually watch! ☺

    Like

  28. Jbst
    July 20, 2014

    I choosing the last one #3 as being false with Mike being based on Kaje’s own social ineptitude with crowds etc.

    Like

  29. Erin
    July 21, 2014

    I’m going to guess the summer at the dairy farm is a lie :)
    Into Deep Waters is a fantastic story–I reread it the other day.

    Like

  30. Summer Devon
    July 21, 2014

    I’m assuming it’s too late for the contest, but i wanted to stop in and say hello and thank you to Kaje. I’m thinking the cows are a lie, even though she lives in minnesota, i think.

    Like

  31. Kaje Harper
    July 21, 2014

    I don’t even know when the contest ends (BiOB guys? End date?) but I appreciate everyone who stopped by here :)

    Like

  32. Penumbra
    July 22, 2014

    Can I still enter? If so I’m going to guess the lie is milking the cows. The only reason is unless it was a very small herd, wouldn’t the milking be done by machine and not by hand?

    Like

  33. boysinourbooks
    July 22, 2014

    SORRY! YES! You can still enter! The contest each week runs Friday – Friday! So you get 7 days to comment and enter for that week’s author! Thanks so much everyone!

    Like

  34. Melisha
    July 23, 2014

    I’ll go with milking cows as the false statement. I love Kaje Harper’s books and have been waiting for The Family We Make for what has either been forever or I’m just impatient when it comes to waiting for books and it only seems that way. Lol

    Like

  35. Jennifer
    July 26, 2014

    I think number 3 is the lie. I hope I’m right!

    Like

  36. boysinourbooks
    July 26, 2014

    AND THE ANSWER IS:

    “The Master’s degree in Biochemistry is a lie. I have a Master’s degree in Psychology, and a biomedical Doctorate that is not biochemistry, (I survived that course – that was enough; my least-favorite subject.)

    I did spend a summer milking cows and taking care of a dairy herd – I lost 15 pounds in 3 months and gained a vast respect for full-time farmers. And some of the things Mike did in Sole Support, like analyzing casual conversations to figure out why his own efforts always fell flat like lead balloons, or telling people TMI about icky coursework over a social drink – that was all me.

    Thanks for having me on – I look forward to hearing the winner.”

    AND THE WINNER IS:

    Picked among those who choose the correct “lie”, at random. The winner is: SHIRLEY ANN SPEAKMAN. We’ll reach out to you via the email you provided. Congratulations!

    Like

  37. Kaje Harper
    July 26, 2014

    Congrats to Shirley Ann, and thanks to everyone who came by.

    Like

  38. Gigi
    July 28, 2014

    Awesome Interview love your books! life lessons was one of the first Gay Romance novels that I first read…I could not get enough of it. I am going to go with the first one as the lie.

    Like

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