MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KRIS JACEN
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Kris Jacen and I’d say my books are gay romance.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
STEP UP WITH ME is book five in my With Me series. The main characters, Richard “Tank” Martin and Dr. Jack Dillon, were secondary characters in the previous two books and really stepped up in the last book wanting their story. Here’s the blurb:
Richard “Tank” Martin was a big boy from the start. Born weighing over 11 pounds, he didn’t stop growing. When he was in middle school, a football coach took him under his wing and finally explained to him the mystery of calories in, calories out and from then on it was all good for him. At least he thought. Being called to meet with his platoon sergeant and told that he was now part of the Army’s overweight program, sent him into a spin that only his crews can help him out of.
Dr. Jack Dillon thought his life was good and finally settled. Part of an active veterinarian practice, volunteering with a service dog organization, spoiling his sister’s triplets and training in sports jiu-jitsu…the only this missing was a partner. He never thought that his world could be shattered with just a phone call even after being around his military friends.
Tank and Jack have been dancing around each other for months until Tank takes a chance and kisses Jack at their friends’ wedding moving their slow dance into a heated bump and grind. Can these two survive the changes coming their ways together or will all the changes break them apart?
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I’ve been editing MM fiction of all types for over eleven years so it fit.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
While I do know quite a bit about the military and the Army in particular, I have had to do research on different facts. I’ve done research on things like “how far is the hospital in Mobile from the bay” or the specific details of a military funeral (I’ve unfortunately been to a few but I wasn’t really paying attention).
Can you tell me about your Series?
I have a series of military romances (book five releases at the end of February 2019). Here’s the series blurb:
Serving in the military is a hard job and even harder for those that love those in uniform. Dealing with deployment to the final respects to a soldier, the military holds tight to their traditions and family formed through it all is the backbone. Someone to help you move a couch or talk you through a PTSD patch at two am. A group of seven — the heptad— have been there done that for each and every one of them.
Jeff “Mackay” MacNamara has been there for his friends when they’ve found love and now they’re there for him in WAIT FOR ME. Danny Glenn thought that he’d lose his connection with his friends but instead, it changes when he falls for Mackay’s brother in EXPLORE WITH ME. The heptad had been there for the Army for over twenty years, maybe it was time to train the next generation to take care of the soldiers; one of those is Carter May, who served with Mackay, helped out Danny and is now learning from Mooney as he falls in love and deals with hatred in LEARN WITH ME. May is forming his own family (the mil crew and civ crew) and one of them, Randolph is extremely protective especially when May’s former best friend shows up. Seems there’s more than meets the eye to Briar Mason and they’ll learn their individual and combined strengths when they face challenges in CHALLENGE ME. Formed and biological families meet and come together to support Tank and Jack as they’ve got to figure out how to STEP UP WITH ME. The last in the series will release in 2019 and readers will get to see the set of twins that first appears in WAIT FOR ME, all grown up and finding their futures and loves.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
I think if I had to pick, I’d say LEARN WITH ME (book three). It really touched me when I was writing it. I have two daughters who grew up with daddy leaving and not really understanding so being able to show some of the impact the military has on “military brats” stood out to me.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
My husband was in the Army for over 26 years. It’s always seemed to me that there are a lot of stories out there with SEALs or Marines or pilots but not the soldiers. When it came down to I was writing a book (I said for years that I had no interest in writing; I was an editor), I decided that I could educate readers on different aspects of military life that don’t necessarily get and showcase some of the traditions that are honored.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I haven’t really needed to do much research for STEP UP WITH ME.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Absolutely not. I was going to write WAIT FOR ME and then I’d be done but the heptad, the group of soldiers that showed up had different ideas.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I don’t really have a typical work day. I write when I’ve got time and I tend to squeeze writing in during breaks at the day job. I don’t set a daily goal until I’m close to my deadline then I try and get at least 2-3k each day. I absolutely can’t write without music playing.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I’m moving on to the final book in the series, entitled ALWAYS WITH ME. Readers will get to see the twins that I’ve had in each book all grown up and getting their own partners. It’s tentatively scheduled for a May 2019 release.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
I’m not sure how important the names are. I do try and avoid repeating names. I have so many characters in each of my books and most of the characters have a nickname.
I wrote a Christmas story this past year (SUGAR COOKIES AND COMPUTER CODE) and one of the names is very special to me. A good friend unexpectedly passed as I was writing the story and he never found his forever partner on this plane so I gave him one.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I’m toying around with writing a romantic suspense around a serial killer, one of the survivors of an attack and the police detective trying to solve it all. But I’m not sure if I can pull it off.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The sex scenes. I’m almost terrified of writing something that’s corny or too over the top on accident.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I’m not a big book trailer person. If I have one, my PA that takes very good care of me made it and probably showed it to me and I’ve forgotten.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I’m not sure. I didn’t have the anticipation that some go through. When I wrote the opening scene to WAIT FOR ME, I sent it to Laura Baumbach (the owner/publisher of MLR Press) and her response was “not sure who the author is for this but you better have given them a contract”.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Having readers tell me that my characters and stories touched them. I had a retired first sergeant tell me that while he read a bunch there were only a few that he needed in print and my LEARN WITH ME was one of them (I signed it for him at GayRomLit 2018 in Virginia).
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Still writing and editing, possibly retired from my day job.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I’ve written so many blogs on this subject. The main things that I’d recommend: choose a pen name that people can remember and spell; put your contact information on the first page of your manuscript including your email address (that can be associated with your pen name – email@example.com tells an editor/publisher absolutely who it is); and read, read, read – knowing what is out there when you’re writing is a good thing.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I sometimes will look at reviews. I’ve always held that reviews aren’t for the authors, they are for readers. If I respond, I will likely thank the reviewer for taking their time to spend it with my story. Reviewers/Readers have so many options that if they’ve spent time with mine, that’s important. As for dealing with a bad review? Not every book is for every reader; something that one likes, another doesn’t. It’s hard but shaking it off is necessary.
What are you working on now?
I’m gearing up for ALWAYS WITH ME and just finishing up the last tweaks on STEP UP WITH ME.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Here’s a little bit from STEP UP WITH ME where Jack meets his nephew and nieces for the first time. The triplets play a big part in the story.
Tom pulled back and wiped his cheeks on his shoulders before pulling Jack toward the hallway. “Come meet the babies.” Tom pushed open the third door on the left and led Jack in the room. Jack looked over and there was Sandy propped in bed holding a baby with a basinet next to the bed.
“Hey Uncle Jack. Come meet your nephew,” Sandy greeted him holding out the baby. As Jack took the baby in his hands, she said, “Ethan, this is your uncle Jack. He’ll always be there for you and your sisters.”
“Your mama’s a smart woman, Ethan. I will always be there for you.” Jack placed a kiss on the baby’s head before turning toward the basinet. “What are the girls’ names?”
“Faith is on the left and Grace on the right,” Tom said as he stroked their cheeks.
“Hello, princesses. I’m your—”
“Oh hell no! Princess is unacceptable. My girls will know that they are more important for what they do and how they act than how they look. I’m putting a list on the refrigerator.” Jack looked over at Sandy and saw that she was dead serious.
“Okay, no princesses. I’ll find a different nickname for them. For now, hello little ones, I’m your uncle Jack.”
Where did your love of books come from?
I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember. Always had a book with me throughout high school and college. Both of my parents are huge readers.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Within the category of MM — Sean Michael (THREE TO GET READY); Kiernan Kelly’s RIDING HEARTBREAK RIDGE; AKM Miles (SOLDIER), JL Langley (Everything she writes); Susi Hawke’s LEGACY CHRONICLES and LEGACY WARRIORS
Outside of MM – Nora Robert’s INNER HARBOR or her McGregor Series; Suzanne Brockmann’s OVER THE EDGE (it was the first that I can remember with an enlisted service member as the lead character)
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
I love four characters of mine that seem to show up in all my books:
The twins, Camden and Calvin – they just have such an energy about them that they make me smile
Command Sergeant Major Raphael Luna aka Mooney and Luny – the twins’ dad who is a problem fixer and loves to hep
Josiah “Siah” Kent – he’s not in book one but he’s in all the rest; he’s like a grown up version of the twins and grows a lot in his book and the others.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I’d say original since I tell Army stories with enlisted soldiers instead of officers.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
There is absolutely no way that I can list the authors that I’m friends with. Since I’ve been editing for so long, I’m friends with a number of authors that I feel fortunate that they’re in my life. They push me to not overlook little details in descriptions; they push me to finish a story.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
I have a tattoo on my hip that I got just for me and it says “I Can…” because I can do whatever I set my mind to.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1027160227461354/
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️