Today I am so pleased to welcome Kate McMurray to Joyfully Jay. Kate has come to talk to us about her latest release, Damage Control. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
A lot of my books start with an offhand “what if?” thought. What if two Major League baseball players fell in love? What if a blue collar construction worker fell in love with an opera singer?
What if a closeted politician needs help from his ex-boyfriend?
When I started writing Damage Control, I didn’t specifically set a challenge for myself beyond, “this guy needs a compelling reason to be in the closet,” so US Senate candidate Parker Livingston had to be a Republican. And the story really grew out of that: Park is a child of privilege who had once been in a long-term relationship with a man, but went back in the closet to run for office, then discovered he was actually good at legislating, and he’s poised to win his Senate seat… when a dead body turns up in his apartment.
The challenge, then, was less to make a Republican sympathetic than to make this specific character someone readers could root for. He doesn’t start off that way; he’s arrogant and pushy and used to getting what he wants… except his ex, Jackson. So he has to really earn his happy ending, and that was the particular challenge of writing this book.
Although I did worry about the whole Republican thing. I said to my editor, “I’m worried some readers are going to think these are my politics,” in reference to Park explaining his positions on some of the issues. My editor was like, “Girl, I’ve seen your Twitter.” I’m a pinko liberal feminist, if that wasn’t clear, so finding a balance for Park was tricky. But he’s a practical man, more of a centrist than a right wing Republican. He’s logical, not extreme. He just has more faith in the free market than I do.
Still, I wrote the first draft in the prehistoric time of 2015, before anyone took our current president seriously as a candidate, and that affected how I approached the story when I revised it. I decided to keep the book set in a world in which the 2016 election never happened or isn’t acknowledged, if that’s some consolation.
But the politics is window dressing. At its heart, Damage Control is the story of Park, who chose career over love five years ago. But when a dead woman is found in his apartment, he goes to the best lawyer in town… who happens to be the man he left behind. Jackson is not eager to take Park back, but their reunion gives both of them a second chance, if Park is willing to change his ways.
Senate candidate Parker Livingston chose his political dreams over a future with the man he loved. He lives with constant regret about not having Jackson Kane in his life. Or his bed. And when a strange woman is found murdered in Parker’s apartment, Jackson is the only person Parker trusts to help clear his name.
Jackson never forgave Parker for the way their relationship ended. He moved on, built a name for himself as a criminal defense attorney and swore he’d never let heartbreak back in. But when Parker shows up on his doorstep, wild-eyed and handsome and desperate for his help, Jackson can’t say no. Parker is a lot of things, but he’s no murderer.
Forced back together, searching for answers, their attraction returns with a vengeance. Any distraction—personal or professional—could be deadly. The murderer is still at large, and he’s made it clear one of them is his next victim.
Kate McMurray writes smart romantic fiction. She likes creating stories that are brainy, funny, and of course sexy, with regular guy characters and urban sensibilities. She advocates for romance stories by and for everyone. When she’s not writing, she edits textbooks, watches baseball, plays violin, crafts things out of yarn, and wears a lot of cute dresses. She’s active in Romance Writers of America, serving for two years on the board of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter, and three—including two as president—on the board of the New York City chapter. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with two cats and too many books.