Lisa: We’re so pleased to welcome author Jamie Dean today, to chat a bit about himself and his new book, Not Just Passing Through.
Jamie, why don’t we start by having you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Jamie: Sure. Um, what’s interesting about me? Well, I love nature, especially if I can be naked in it. Is that scandalous? I don’t know, but it’s true. I really enjoy cooking and experimenting with food. I have to be careful because I love cooking shows, but when I cook, I eat, so I have to struggle to keep from having a spare tire. My husband jokingly calls it the fuel tank for the love machine, haha. Let’s see, I try to have a positive attitude, which was not always the case, so I am a pretty upbeat person and I love to laugh. I hope that’s something that comes through in my stories because I love making other people laugh too.
Lisa: What are some of your favorite and least favorite things about being an author?
Jamie: Hm, my favorite part is definitely the people that I get to meet, both real and fictional. In writing out their stories, I get to know my characters so well, and a lot of times, I have no idea what I’m going to learn about them. There’s only so much that is preconceived when I write a story, and my leads often surprise me. My least favorite part… well, I am not a fan of overly harsh reviews, haha, but I think the hardest part about writing is how hard it makes it to read other stories. Because I’m constantly second-guessing myself when I read the things others have done.
Lisa: If you could name one book you’ve read over the course of your lifetime that you wish you’d written, what would that book be, and why did it make such an impression on you?
Jamie: Oh, wow, that’s a tough one. I love this question. If I could be another author, it would be Dean Koontz because he has this way of telling one story that’s really about something completely different, and his humor is amazing, but one book… I think that would have to be Imajica by Clive Barker. I just remember being so affected by that book, from the very first, as soon as I read about how they called the main character “Gentle.” That spoke to me for some reason. We don’t often get male protagonists who can be described like that, I suppose, or we didn’t then, anyway. And then the way Barker played with gender and sexuality, it was such an eye-opening read for me. Barker always has so much going on in his books, so much depth, so much layering, but Imajica was a discovery. It undoubtedly shaped my ideas on certain things. I’d love to write something like that, a story that could profoundly affect the way someone felt about sexuality and life in general. That would be incredible.
Lisa: What do you feel makes for a great protagonist, as both a writer and a reader?
Jamie: You have to love them. They have to be a little broken, maybe even a little defective, but somehow always struggling to rise above and be more than the sum of their parts. Being funny helps. A tragic backstory isn’t a requirement, but I like to show what has shaped a person’s thinking on things, especially if the story is going to show them changing those thoughts. I love sarcastic little shits, though. Those are my favorite to read and write. Actually, all of this could be used to describe the people I think are great in real life…
Lisa: Let’s segue into Not Just Passing Through. You describe Avery as a socially awkward and closeted virgin. Chase is a sexy, motor cycle riding drifter—an opposites attract story setup if I’ve ever heard one. What do you enjoy about the challenge of making two such different characters work together on page?
Jamie: Ha! Definitely an opposites attract story. I think what made this story so much fun to write was getting to find out and show that, despite all of those differences, they have so much in common. They live life in opposing ways, but they are still so alike, under the surface. Their opposite behaviors stem from similar desires and somewhat parallel experiences, and I think that’s intriguing, to see how different people react to the same stimuli.
Lisa: The cover of the book has a sort of noir-ish feel to it. How do the cover and the tone of the story go together? Did you have a lot of input on the cover design?
Jamie: I love my cover so much! TL Bland did an amazing job with it. In my experience the amount of input an author gets depends on the artist. I didn’t have much input at all on the cover of my first book, The Story of Jax and Dylan. I was allowed to make some tweak requests, but that was about the extent of it. With Not Just Passing Through, TL was very open to my input and really listened to what I said about the story and created something that I think matches the sultry feel of the story very well. I think you can look at the cover and get a good sense of what the story is about. Plus Avery looks almost exactly the way I imagined in my head, and there’s something very satisfying about that.
Lisa: Which character did you enjoy getting to know better as you were writing him? What surprised you about him as you fleshed him out further along in the story?
Jamie: Wow, I love both these lead guys so much, it’s hard to choose. I think they both surprised me, but I suppose the kindness inside Chase was the biggest shock. When we first meet him, he comes off as kind of cocky and full of himself, but as the story progresses, we see behind that and into how he really is, behind that pretty exterior. In my original notes, I actually describe him as “kind of a dick” haha, so watching him reveal himself was fun – pun intended. Avery’s got some surprises too, but I’ll let readers discover his secrets for themselves, I think. Let’s just say, he may be a virgin, but he’s not blushing.
Lisa: Would you consider sharing an excerpt from the book with us? Maybe a teaser snippet of one of your favorite scenes?
Jamie: Sure! This is one of my favorite moments in the book:
Ave grinned at him and Chase smiled back self-consciously, and all of a sudden, Ave knew he’d fallen in love.
It was like a sucker punch to the chest, and he quickly went back to changing the sheets. He wanted to dance for joy because Chase was in his life. He wanted to weep with agony because it would never be the way he wanted and wouldn’t be for long. Instead, he did neither. He just carried on changing the bed until it was done. Then he smiled vaguely at Chase and left with Chase’s promise that he’d be down at the office later.
When he got back to his office, he shut himself in his bedroom and closed the door. He leaned back against it, breathing hard. He was in love with Chase Lancaster, the completely heterosexual drifter who might leave any day. He was in love with the smart, charming blue-eyed man with the great sense of humor and the musical laugh and the pouty lips. He was in love.
It hurt, and it was wonderful and terrifying and stupid, and Jenny had been right to worry, maybe, but Ave wouldn’t trade this feeling. He had never felt this way for another human being in his life and he might never feel it again. The tears formed and fell over his smile, and he barely noticed the contradiction. He couldn’t think right now. All he could do was feel, and it was overwhelming. Even a doomed romance was more romance than he’d ever expected.
Lisa: What are you working on next? Do you have any news on your next release or current WIPs you’d like to share with us?
Jamie: I am always working on something! But right now, I am focusing on a sort of sequel for TSOJAD which follows Mickey, the bookstore clerk Dylan befriends in the first book. I’m also working on a story that’s a little deeper than my first two, and spotlights some aspects of society that I feel are pretty misunderstood, like Polyamory and nudism. I’m really excited to see where both stories are going.
Lisa: Thanks so much for being here with us today, Jamie. It’s been great chatting with you. Would you like to tell readers where we can find you on the internet?
About the Book
Socially awkward, closeted virgin Avery Malcolm passes his days and nights running his bigoted aunt’s motel in rural New Mexico. He dreams of getting away and hitting the road, but with one friend, a few acquaintances, and no real life to speak of outside his duties as front desk clerk, he doesn’t know if he’ll ever get a chance.
Fate sends hot drifter Chase Lancaster to the Red Ram Motel, riding in on his sexy black motorcycle. Within twenty-four hours, Avery’s life is turned upside down. Before long, even though Chase’s sexual interests seem to run exclusively toward women in bars, Avery finds himself falling for the beautiful biker with no permanent address. Chase is much more than his bad boy persona, so while it’s nice to have another friend, Avery doesn’t know how he’ll survive with his heart intact when Chase inevitably moves on.