My debut novel with Dreamspinner Press, Everything Changes, features two very damaged heroes. It’s the story of Jase and Carey, close friends who have served alongside each other in a hostile foreign country, fighting a relentless and brutal enemy. Together they survive, and even though Carey has more visible injuries, Jase is wounded just as badly in his psyche and heart.
Carey Everett is an amputee, having lost his right leg due to an insurgent explosion while serving as a Marine in Afghanistan. After his injury he endured several surgeries and underwent painful physical therapy, spending months in a wheelchair. Eventually he was fitted for and learned to walk again on a prosthetic leg.
Jase DeSantis was the combat medic for Carey’s unit, and during the course of his military service he saw and experienced many horrors of war, including seeing his best friend grievously injured right in front of him. Jase was able to save Carey’s life, but suffered years of guilt for not being able to save his leg. Added to that was witnessing the brutal deaths of two honorable, brave men during a vicious battle with insurgents.
Carey was scarred on the outside, Jase on the inside. Jase is fighting an ongoing battle with PTSD – a battle that’s become more debilitating with each passing year. Carey was able to find emotional healing through helping other wounded veterans, work that gave his life meaning beyond pain and disfigurement.
What would happen if these intense, life-changing experiences and the feelings that resulted turned friendship into love? What if one of them had never in a million years imagined himself falling in love with another man? Living with a disability, coping with PTSD and friendship catching fire are the main themes of Everything Changes.
As an Air Force brat and Navy wife, I’ve been steeped in military culture almost my entire life. This background gave me a lot of material to work with, and when I heard this line from a song that I love, “When it’s just me and you, who knows what we could do, if we can just make it through the toughest part of the day,” the story for Everything Changes was born…friends who indeed make it through the toughest part of the day and find love on the other side.
A little bit more about me: I’ve been a romance reader almost my entire adult life, a voracious reader of m/f historical romance. Discovering m/m romance was like coming home, the readers and authors I met at GRL in 2013 and through online interaction feeling like “my people” from day one. I had never dreamed of writing anything myself until something happened off-page in one of my most beloved m/m book series, something I couldn’t let go of and had to see happen. So I wrote the story myself, and I posted it on Tumblr.
I won’t say that piece of fanfic was overwhelmingly received or changed my life, but I discovered an outlet for my love of romance and for certain book characters who had become precious to me. When NaNoWriMo rolled around, I thought, “Why not,” and on November 1, 2013, I opened a Word file and started what eventually became Everything Changes.
Working with Dreamspinner Press has been a wonderful, positive experience, and I can’t speak highly enough of everyone I’ve been fortunate enough to meet, authors and staff alike. I’m looking forward to GRL 2015, where I will be appearing as a supporting author. If you are there, please come find me. I’d love a “hi” and a hug!