I recently had the pleasure of reading LJ Hamlin's newest book - about to be released on September 19th - Rise Again. Rise Again is a M/M romance novella starring the bad boy of ballet, Arkady. When Arkady suffers an accident, he fears everything good about his life may come to an end. Until a few unexpected people come along and offer him a chance for a fresh start. Or, as the author may say, a chance to rise again Of course, the biggest question in all of this is, was his accident really an 'accident'?
Besides having the pleasure of getting a sneak peek at this book, I also enjoyed sitting down with the author and asking her a few questions. You can read my interview below. Full disclosure: LJ & I have known each other for several years now, both through writing and through the disability community.
AW: You've written a lot of romance stories before - what made you decide this time to make both of the relationship partners disabled?
LJ: It came a lot from how my disabled friends have helped me grow after my own injury made my EDS worse. I wanted Arkady to have relationships that helped him grow like that, not a romance focused on a cure.
AW: So you yourself are disabled. Was there something personal in your life that you were passionate about the way Arkady was passionate about dancing? Something the disability forced you to step away from?
LJ: I had trained to be a chef, as I loved cooking. It was a struggle to do so with the pain I was in, but it got so much worse as time went on that I decided it wouldn't be the career for me. It was hard, but the right choice long-term for me.
AW: So you were going to be a chef? Do you think you would have found writing as a career, if your disability hadn't taken a downturn as it did?
LJ: I always wrote, even when I was training to be a chef. I'd come home exhausted and write fanfic, but if I'd ended up doing it full-time, I may not have made the leap to try and get published when I did.
AW: So, without spoiling it for the readers, it sounds like you and the main character of Arkady have some things in common then, as far as certain changing points in your life and how you worked past them. Was that something you did intentionally or did it just come out during the writing process?
LJ: Arkady's story was very healing for me as I did intentionally write him close to me. He and I dealt differently, he did better sooner I think, but writing him was really personal and good for me.
AW: One of the things that struck me in this book were the layered relationships Arkady has, especially his relationship with his parents. Does that mirror your relationship with your own parents at all?
LJ: A little, I'm very close to my parents, maybe more than Arkady is, but some of the different emotions he felt and support he got mirrored my family.
AW: You have some great characters in Prisha and Cade. How do you form characters? How much do you know about them upfront and how much comes out in the writing process?
LJ: I often get a clear idea for a character in my head, but sometimes it's just a few characteristics and as I write I learn more about the character.
AW: Rise Again features the process of dealing with a new disability, a complex relationship with the main character's parents and a romance. What made you decide to throw in a mystery as well?
LJ: The mystery came from wanting a person to hate, to almost blame for the pain in my own life and not having that. Not having a direction at that time for anger and frustration, the idea of a physical baddie I could tackle appealed.
AW: It sounds like Rise Again was very personal for you to write then, to maybe help you deal with some of your own life struggles. Would you say that's true?
LJ: Very true, it was like therapy to write, hard but worth it.
AW: Are we going to see more of Arkady and Cade in the future?
LJ: Arkady and Cade will be getting a second book together. The plot is in my head at the moment, but I will get to work on it soon.
Rise Again is a romance, a mystery and a healing process. It's available from Less Than Three Press and on Amazon on September 19th.
LJ Hamlin's Amazon page can be found here.
LJ Hamlin's author blog can be found here.
This interview was conducted and written by one of Westword Books aspiring new authors. Her book will be released soon. Check out Westword Books on Facebook for more updates. This interview is (c)Westword Books. https://www.facebook.com/westword.books/
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