Jake has been hiding in plain sight, always a few rows behind his straight-crush Quentin during their four years of college. He’s been successful so far but just as they’re about to graduate, Quentin finds out Jake’s secret and Quentin shares one of his own. He’s in the closet.
Jake isn’t about to let this opportunity pass him by especially when Quentin is scheduled to leave for the East coast in a few short summer months. Willing to keep Quentin’s secret from his upper crust politically-fueled homophobic family, Jake shares his bed and eventually his heart.
Quentin’s life in the closet is non-negotiable. His family has strong political ties and any word about their son’s sexuality would cast him out of the family and out of his inheritance which he desperately needs to finish his education. He’s been successful keeping his sexuality a secret for years until he meets the irresistibly adorable Jake at an early graduation party.
Quentin is unable to ignore his desire for Jake and makes the life-altering leap that holds his future in the balance. Locked away from the public eye, the two men admit their love for one another. In three short months, they will be forced to part ways for graduate school but the challenges of potential scrutiny, family commitment and an un-promised future may prove to be more than they can overcome.
I was excited to read this book as it looked really interesting. Sadly it wasn’t what I expected. Jake and Quentin had a relationship that started out as expected for one of them in the closet and unable to come out. However, the relationship didn’t really get any better. Plus there was this tension with an unexpected character that wasn’t really well developed. Then Jake loses all sense of reason and has depression where he has unhealthy habits and barely functions, yet his friends let it go on for four years. It just didn’t strike me as believable or rational to have that kind of desperation for a person that was only able to be with you in secret and kept hurting you and a huge downward spiral and never ending depression with no one ever suggesting you get help. Plus there’s no way you can get a masters, PhD, and a year of teaching in four years. When Quentin came back it was too easy and quick for Jake to take him back and everything to wind up with a pretty happily ever after. In the end I couldn’t look past many of the problems and enjoy the story.
Molly: Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Tina Blenke author of Life Worth Living. Hi Tina, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Tina: Thanks so much for having me today. I’ve been in the M/M genre for a couple of years now and started out with a paranormal novel about a pansexual vampire with amnesia. I followed that with a series of wolf shifter short stories and now I’m following it up with my new contemporary novel. This story is a sweet college crush that grows into a summer love but there’s a lot of turmoil in their lives. So many secrets surround them, both their own and those of others, that threaten to upend their love and in the end they must choose to let go and be honest with themselves before they can have that happy ever after.
Molly: How do you develop your plots and characters?
Tina: Several of my characters have existing traits from people that I know with a few embellishments or merging of traits. I’ve started using character sheets and I find that the more books I right, the more I’ve evolved from a pantser to a plotter and that’s become a good thing. My plots usually hit me when I’m least expecting it and so I keep either a notebook of thoughts and plans or space on my iPhone for such occasions.
Molly: Who doesn’t love a good hero? Tell us about your protagonist. Was there a real life inspiration behind them?
Tina: Jake is an average geeky man interested in two things: science and Quentin. Nothing else really exists for him outside of these two centers of his universe. He’s most likely a mixture of my entire senior class in university though not anyone more than another. I like his simplicity in the beginning and his complexity grows as he matures and becomes honest with who he is and what he wants from his life.
Molly: What real-life inspirations do you use when world building?
Tina: I like to stick to simple worlds. In our day to day lives, we typically revolve around a few places such as work and home. This is where we live and occasionally touch on a few other points on the map. I like to keep my guys in this handful of places and learn how their lives are shaped and futures are mapped. The rest is pulled together during the story.
Molly: Did you learn anything from this book and what was it?
Tina: This story was a taste of the contemporary genre to see if I enjoyed writing outside of my usual paranormal. I also played with writing in first person when my comfort zone is limited third person. It’s good to play outside of the box and that includes writing. I feel that this helped to broaden my scope and that’s always a good thing to do something a little scary once in awhile.
“Cora? He’s really gone, isn’t he?”
“You did what you had to do to save both your life and his career. You didn’t do a goddamned thing wrong, you hear me? You are one of the bravest men I know,” she growled.
“Yeah, right. I’m the gayest man you know.”
“You shut the fuck up right now, Jake. I don’t let anyone bad-mouth you around me and that includes you. It takes a real man to stand up for who he truly is on the inside. The easy way out would be to hide who you are and live in the closet for fear of what the world will say or do to you.”
“Now that’s not fair,” I argued immediately, thinking of Quentin’s situation.
“And for what? Admitting that you want to love another man? It’s a beautiful romantic notion, Jake. You throw yourself bare to the world for love, the noblest feeling in the world, and all you expect in return is someone to return the feeling. And what does that rat bastard do? He shows you what it feels like to be loved, only there was a condition on it, wasn’t there? As long as he could hide you from the world and not be proud of the honest, kind and decent man that you are. He should have been yelling your name from the mountains or something. Instead? Instead, he runs and hides so he can save his face from his family.”
Tina is a retired Air Force brat and has lived in several states as well as a handful of countries. She has always had a soft spot for literature and is a voracious reader. When she isn’t writing, she can be found cuddled up with a good book. Though Tina adores a thrilling novel with sappy lovesick heroes, she is terrified of things that go bump in the night. This makes for quite a complicated relationship with zombies, something that she just can’t get enough of.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tina-Blenke-Author/487878157926041?ref=hl
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