Today I am so pleased to welcome Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne to Joyfully Jay. Jenna and Katey have come to talk to us about their latest release, Kanaan & Tilney: The Case of the Arms Dealers. They have also brought along an exclusive excerpt and a giveaway! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Writing a Demisexual Character in K&T
Thanks to Joyfully Jay for letting us drop in to talk about our new paranormal mystery-romance, Kanaan & Tilney: The Case of the Arms Dealers. (It’s a pun. Long story.) It arrives tomorrow! There’s a wolf-shifter, a pyrokinetic, and a whole lot of creepy crime to solve.
Today we’re gonna talk about something super important to both of us, though, and we’re just gonna tag team it.
Katey: John Tilney, from the moment he appeared as a fully realized character, was always going to be demisexual. I always wanted to see more ace spectrum characters in romance, and in my romance especially, as an allosexual-but-also-queer person, so when he popped up and it was right, it was so right. The emotional attachment element key to demisexuality was such a strong part of what made John loyal and honest–which was in turn what made him attractive to Lowell–that he honestly couldn’t be otherwise.
But obviously, Jenna’s opinion on the subject was the one that counted. Not just as my co-author and friend, but…
Jenna: As someone who’s demisexual too. Which meant a lot to me. I don’t see ace spectrum characters in media often and I’ve looked. It sucks not seeing yourself represented, and thinking that people don’t want to represent you or don’t think you need to be represented. So, I was really excited when Katey came to me about John being demisexual. It was great hearing someone who wasn’t ace wanted to include a character who was, and I’ve personally always wanted to write an ace spectrum character.
Katey: I am so glad it made you glad! It’s not so much that I was waiting to work with an ace author before I did it–not at all, as you know–but it definitely set me much more at ease, knowing you were on board.
So we started writing, and–I think the thing that’s most fun about this book to me personally is that the demisexual element, which is so important to us, ends up being the thing that makes John more relatable. Because frankly, he’s a total weirdo, except for that. And the way he and Lowell talk about it feels very natural and is a kind of gateway to his emotional workings.
Jenna: I like that too!
I think, for me, maybe not the most fun, but the most significant part of writing John was having someone who identified as ace talking about what being ace meant to them.
There are a lot of people out there who don’t know or don’t understand what being ace spectrum means. Knowing that someone could read John and take away a better understanding of it from him or maybe even realize something about themselves, means a lot to me. I know, I for one, would have been spared a lot of confusing years had I known asexuality was a thing that even existed.
In the story, John uses the word “broken” to describe how he felt before he knew what demisexuality was. It’s a word that a lot of ace spectrum people use, and it’s how many of them felt before discovering their identity. In fact, it was seeing them use it that made me realize I was ace. I felt that way. I felt that way all the time. Some ace spectrum people still feel that way and, to be honest, in the hypersexualized culture we live in, I still sometimes feel that way. But we’re not broken. And I hope that having one more ace spectrum character out there in the world will help people realize that.
SO! With all this talk of our ace spectrum baby, we thought we’d included a snippet from the book. We hope you enjoy it!
If you’re looking for info on the ace spectrum, a favorite resource is http://asexualsanonymous.tumblr.com/. Great glossary, great FAQ, and great new questions posted all the time.
“I told you I didn’t think I’d make the best hero,” Lowell replied, sounding amused.
“You do, though,” John insisted, stepping closer. “But I don’t… The thing is, I was trying to write yesterday, and it wouldn’t work, and I think it’s because I’d rather not share you.”
Lowell went still behind his desk. “Share me?”
“With readers. With the book. I don’t know exactly.” John held his hands out in an open, helpless gesture. “I’m not good at this kind of thing. I mean, I know you like me, but I have no idea if you could like me, and I’m sorry if I’m making this awkward by suggesting it. But I don’t really want to write you so much as…” Do you implied all the wrong things, so not that. Live you? Try you? Have you try me, more like? “Fuck. No, I mean, not fuck. Well, not at this precise moment. Probably. I just meant it as an exclamation of frustration and horror with myself. Sorry.”
“John. Johnny,” Lowell interrupted, voice firm, but gentle in a way John had never heard it before. “Deep breath. Slow down.” He stood and came around the desk, then stopped in front of him.
Naturally John obeyed, and found that the combination of the deep breath and that reassuring tone…worked. “Right. Well, what I think I want to say is that I don’t think of you solving mysteries but more like as the romantic interest in my own story.” Yes, that sounded spot-on, actually.
Even though Lowell had to know that was coming after the last ramble of word vomit, he still looked surprised. That could be bad…or good? Maybe? “You’re saying you like me,” he said slowly.
John nodded. All those words and now nothing. Welp. There it was.
“Huh,” Lowell said, nodding to himself a little, then starting to smile. “So if I were to kiss you right now…?”
John slumped in relief. “Oh, God, please do.”
And then Lowell stepped in, a hand going to the back of John’s neck to make him meet him halfway, and leaned up to kiss him. John sighed happily, hand going to Lowell’s waist, fingers pinching at his soft T-shirt. For a moment, John forgot what he was doing and went with it, eyes shut, enjoying finding out what Lowell tasted like, the feeling of his pretty mouth sliding into place, then opening up a little.
Yeah, there it was. The tingly thing. Which reminded him—he’d had one too many disappointing experiences with people being idiots not to remember to say: “Oh, by the way, I’m demisexual, so that’s a thing. If it’s a problem—”
Lowell made a face. “Of course it isn’t. I’m an asshole, but I’m not that big of an asshole.”
“Yeah, I figured.” John leaned down to renew the kiss. He slipped two fingers into the waist of Lowell’s jeans and tugged him closer so they were front-to-front and—
Yeah. Lowell felt as good as he looked. John was not surprised. Elated, but not surprised.
Lowell’s fingers pressed into his neck, drawing him in a little more, and John swore he could feel him smiling into the kiss.
Yeah. He likes me.
John Tilney–praeternatural pyrokinetic and mystery author–has noticed the bottom dropping out of the market for his usual gothic fare, so he goes to Lowell Kanaan, PI, for a crash course in noir. Lowell, the cranky wolf-shifter detective, isn’t sure why he agrees to let John shadow him–though it might have something to do with John’s weirdly endearing honesty… and pretty lips. John thinks he’s found the perfect detective novel hero in Lowell, but it isn’t long before he realizes he doesn’t want Lowell for his book, but for himself.
As they become entangled in a supernatural whodunnit involving the Zombie Mafia, black market body parts, and shady insurance deals, their partnership grows closer–and hotter. But when it comes down to the wire, Lowell’s wolfy protective side threatens to drive John around the bend, or at least out of the office. Good thing John’s as much sunshine as he is fire; hopefully it’s enough to help them catch a murderer before they end up in literal pieces, too.
Jenna Rose is an avid reader and writer, particularly when it comes to science-fiction and fantasy. Currently, she works as a receptionist, but her real love is writing. In her free time, she likes to read comic books, play video games, and waste time on the internet. She currently lives in Massachusetts with her dog, Harley.
Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of superpowered romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly,because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in Ohio. In her spare time she enjoys comic books, B-movies, loud music, Epiphones, and Bushmills.
Jenna and Katey have brought four eBook Copies of Kanaan & Tilney: The Case of the Arms Dealers to give to four lucky folks on their tour. Follow the Rafflecopter link below to enter.
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