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BioB asks: You are known for your books being light on the angst and yet this book has readers breaking out the Kleenex. Did you have to go to a different place to write this? Was it more a cathartic experience or a traumatic one?
This book is the product of a really difficult time in my own life. My father had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and the idea for Passing Through came to me while I was trying to come to terms with his diagnosis.
At first I tried to resist it, because I was worried it would be too depressing to write. I ignored the characters in my head and wrote The Dating Game instead which is the sort of light, feelgood book that readers have come to expect from me. But as soon as I finished that, the characters from Passing Through were back loud and clear—especially Edwin who had his own story to tell as much as the main characters.
Once I started writing the story I was instantly drawn into Leo’s world. The book almost wrote itself. I cried buckets while I wrote it, but ultimately it was very healing for me. My dad sadly died in late December, but I felt as though I’d already done a lot of my grieving while he was still here, and writing Passing Through was a large part of that process. It was an amazingly cathartic experience, because although it deals with loss, it’s also full of love and hope for the future.
Leo is a lonely workaholic with no time for romance in his life. His job in London takes all his energy and commitment. When he goes to Cornwall to stay with his terminally ill uncle, Edwin, love is the last thing Leo expects to find.
Tris lives in a cottage on Edwin’s land. Gay, but still half in the closet, he and Leo bond over their affection for Edwin, and the pull of attraction between them proves too strong to ignore. In Tris’s arms, in the wilds of Cornwall, Leo finds a peace he’d forgotten existed.
On his return to London, Leo finds himself grieving for more than just the loss of his uncle. When some unexpected news gives Leo the chance to return to Cornwall, he’s afraid it will be too late to rekindle things with Tris. But having learned much from his stay with his uncle, Leo doesn’t want to look back and wish he’d done things differently.
It’s time to seize the day—if it’s not already too late.
On the beach they crunched along the shingle to the edge of the rocks, then turned to look out over the sea. It was almost completely dark now, and the moon was rising, casting streaks of bright silver on the oil-black water.
They stood in silence, watching and listening to the crash of the waves. Leo’s heart felt suddenly too large for his chest. He was overwhelmed by the beauty of the place, a place that had barely changed since his childhood. The sea came and went with the tides, the sands shifted, but the rocks were constant. Yet here Leo was, an adult now rather than a boy, and his uncle reduced to an echo of the man Leo remembered—physically, at least. Unexpected tears prickled the backs of Leo’s eyes as a rush of emotion so strong that it made him draw in a sharp breath assaulted him. He swallowed hard, forcing the feelings back down.
Out of his peripheral vision, he saw Tris turn towards him, but Leo carried on gazing out at the gentle, rolling movement of the sea. Tris shifted his feet in the sand, bringing him closer. The warm skin of his arm brushed Leo’s, and Leo ached for more contact. He needed human warmth and touch to chase away the cold emptiness in his heart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.