Today I am so pleased to welcome Jackie North to Joyfully Jay. Jackie has come to talk to us about her latest release, Honey From the Lion. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Here’s why I write m/m romance. In 1993, I went to a Star Trek convention. Leonard Nimoy was speaking, and someone asked him if he knew what K/S was and if he’d ever read any. The whole crowd (standing room only) moaned.
Mr. Nimoy, gentleman that he was, said, “Yes, I’ve heard of it but I’ve never read any.” Then he added, “However, I know for a fact that Bill (Shatner) has a stack beneath his bed.” That made the crowd laugh.
I discovered that K/S was fan fiction about the romance between Captain Kirk and his First Officer, Spock. From the first one, I was hooked, not only by the stories but also by the passion with which fan fiction authors told the story. I tried writing my own K/S and loved it.
Today, rather than writing about a starship captain and his space husband, I’m writing a series called Love Across Time.
The first book is called Heroes for Ghosts, about a WW1 soldier who time travels to present day to meet a history student who is obsessed with WW1 soldiers.
The second, and newest, book in the series is called Honey From the Lion, and tells the story of a young software developer who goes to a dude ranch in Wyoming only to find himself lost in a blizzard in 1891. As luck would have it, he stumbles across a cabin in the snow that is inhabited by a gruff, burly guy who only wants to be left alone. It’s a match made in heaven, of course, and they quickly fall in love.
The theme that all my stories share is the idea that food is love. There are many kinds of love, of course, but to me the gift of food and of cooking is among the purest.
Growing up, there was plenty of liquor in the cupboard, and cigarettes in the drawer. There were donuts and grape soda, and once a week, fresh white bread and margarine. I would let the margarine soften, spread it on the white bread, and smother the whole thing with sugar. That was breakfast. I was typically hungry.
I read with rapt attention, any book where the character was hungry and would rejoice when the character was fed. Oliver Twist and I were bosom companions, as you can imagine.
When Sara Crew in A Little Princess gave away five out of the six fresh, hot buns she’d just gotten from the bakery I always shouted, “For pity’s sake, Sara, keep three for yourself at least!” But no, she never did.
Then I read The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser. It’s a time travel story about a woman who goes back in time, and her granddaughter comes forward in time through the same mirror. I adored this story with all my heart.
In Chapter 15, the author describes Hutch eating breakfast:
When his food came, he smelled in the coffee steam from his cup, let tough juicy steak linger on his tongue…The yellow of egg yolk, the warm filling taste of it on a hunk of bread. The salty tang of a fried potato followed by the smooth heat of coffee.
I could smell the coffee and taste those eggs and knew that I’d found what I didn’t even know I was looking for: that food in a story allowed me to experience eating without actually eating. This book in particular, combined my love of food with my love of time travel fiction, and inspired me to write my own time travel romance, which I hope readers will enjoy.
Here’s a scene from my upcoming book Honey From the Lion where food is central:
“Eat your supper,” said John. He pointed at Laurie’s plate with his spoon.
“I said I’m not hungry,” said Laurie with a shake of his head.
John suddenly got up from the table, scraping his chair across the wooden floor, startling Laurie into sitting up straight. But then John went past him and went to the pantry, and Laurie let out a slow breath.
John went down into the little root cellar, and when he came back up he had two canning jars in his hands, which he placed on the table with a clunk. He sat down and took one of the biscuits, sliced it, and slathered it with the white butter. Then he took a spoonful of something that looked like red vomit from one canning jar, and drizzled what looked like honey from the other. He handed the whole mess to Laurie on a small blue and white china plate.
“You can’t go to sleep on an empty belly,” said John. “So at least eat that.”
Laurie scrubbed at his chin, not knowing what to say to this sudden display of care. What if John was like one of those guys who beat their girlfriends and then apologized with roses, only to have the whole cycle start again the next day? He couldn’t deal with that, couldn’t put up with that. But he was too exhausted to leave for Farthing, and besides it was dark out.
“What’s the red stuff?” Laurie asked.
“Rhubarb compote,” said John. “A woman in town makes it, along with the tomato preserves and suchlike that I have in the cellar. Try it, it’s sweet, for she makes it with sugar.”
“Sweet?” asked Laurie. “And is that honey?”
“I save it for special occasions,” said John, and it seemed to Laurie he was somewhat defensive about this, as though a burly, strong man shouldn’t have any weaknesses, or a soft spot for honey.
“Don’t save it for special,” said Laurie, in an almost scolding way. “Now is special.”
He meant to say it in a way to explain to John how he felt about always putting off the nice things, like the people who bought super expensive towels that only guests could use, which was ridiculous. Possibly John had been planning to save that honey to celebrate with when he got his pay in spring. Except now he’d opened it for Laurie, so now it was Laurie’s duty as a guest to eat it.
He picked up the ladened biscuit, and he bit into it. The inside of his whole mouth turned into a mix of flavors he’d not been expecting, the tart with the sweet, and the fat of the butter. And he found he’d eaten the entire thing with a few swallows.
Soulmates across time. A love that was meant to be.
In present day, Laurie, tired of corporate life, takes a much-needed vacation at Farthingdale Dude Ranch.
The very first night a freak blizzard combined with a powerful meteor shower takes Laurie back to the year 1891. When he wakes up in a snowbank, his only refuge is an isolated cabin inhabited by the gruff, grouchy John Henton, who only wants to be left alone. His sense of duty prevails, however, and he takes Laurie under his care, teaching him how to survive on the wild frontier.
As winter approaches, Laurie’s normal fun-loving manner makes it difficult for him to connect with John, but in spite of John’s old-fashioned ways, the chemistry between them grows.
Sparks fly as the blizzard rages outside the cabin. Can two men from different worlds and different times find happiness together?
A male/male time travel romance, complete with hurt/comfort, true confessions, a shared bed, fireplace kisses, the angst of separation, and true love across time.
Jackie North has been writing stories since grade school and spent years absorbing the mainstream romances that she found at her local grocery store. Her dream was to someday leave her corporate day job behind and travel the world. She also wanted to put her English degree to good use and write romance novels, because for years she’s had a never-ending movie of made-up love stories in her head that simply wouldn’t leave her alone.
As fate would have it, she discovered m/m romance and decided that men falling in love with other men was exactly what she wanted to write books about. In this dazzling new world, she turned her grocery-store romance ideas around and is now putting them to paper as fast as her fingers can type. She creates characters who are a bit flawed and broken, who find themselves on the edge of society, and maybe a few who are a little bit lost, but who all deserve a happily ever after. (And she makes sure they get it!)
She likes long walks on the beach, the smell of lavender and rainstorms, and enjoys sleeping in on snowy mornings. She is especially fond of pizza and beer and, when time allows, long road trips with soda fountain drinks and rock and roll music. In her heart, there is peace to be found everywhere, but since in the real world this isn’t always true, Jackie writes for love.