Date Published: 28th November 2014
Available in: ebook / print / audio
Other forms coming: Italian and Korean in 2016
When did you start writing this book? November 2013
What gave you the inspiration for the story? I set out to write a series of short stories. I was unsure how people would receive my books (and my humour) and thought that maybe I should “tone it down a bit.” (Remember this was before Loving Jay released). I thought a series of single chapter erotic stories would get my name seen.
So I wrote the first chapter of Safe in His Arms. The idea behind the series of short stories was sexual encounters between strangers, but with a little bit of caring and consideration behind the encounter. No HEA. Just brief encounters.
However, I wrote the first chapter and then became curious. Why was Casey in the shower room at that time of night? What was wrong? He was staring in the mirror intently, so something was up. What was Casey’s story?
I told myself that I would write one more chapter and explore the story from Casey’s POV, just to find out about him.
Some 70,000 later I realised I had a novel instead of a short story.
What was the working title? Encounters. Yep. It was supposed to be a brief encounter.
Where did the title of the book come from? I couldn’t think of a title. I must’ve thought of and discarded about 50 titles before this stuck.
What challenges did you face with writing this? You may notice that this is the first story I wrote in 3rd person, and the first story that has both POVs. I wasn’t comfortable in writing it this way and editing was a nightmare. I quickly went back to 1st person after this.
I also faced the challenge of Casey’s background. I wanted to make a broken character that was fighting to make it in life. So many of us suffer from depression or bad experiences. So many of us think we need to hide it and bottle it up. I wanted a character that had been broken and was attempting to put his life back together, but I didn’t want a fairytale where a psychologist would pat him on the head and say, “All fixed now.”
It doesn’t work like that in real life. In real life you have set backs and it will always affect you to some degree.
I had to do a lot of research into sexual trauma and counselling to write this book. Please don’t judge me on my web browsing history that month. I’m surprised I didn’t get a visit from some special task force the amount of times I had to google things like “rape.”
I wanted my man to be the image of dangerous. Someone with a gruff exterior. Someone who was putting up a front to keep people away.
Tell us about MC2 – where did the inspiration come for him? Casey is the juxtaposition to Lon. I love contrasts. I love opposites attract. He’s the type of guy that you think is brainless, weak and needy – and yet you’d be wrong.
Casey’s past came as a surprise to me. I like my characters to be real, but I stopped and nearly scrubbed the WIP several times because I thought, “I can’t write about this!” But he kept pushing me. Casey’s my hero. He had something terrible happen to him, but he keeps facing the next day, and the next. He doesn’t try to pretend everything is normal. I just want to hug him and tell him I’m sorry, but that he’s someone I look up to.
Is there anything special that happens in the story that you think readers would like to know about? I think it’s interesting that adoption once again crept into my storyline. Patrick from The Blinding Light was adopted, and in this story Lon is. Perhaps it’s because my family blends the adopted in with the step-siblings, the half-siblings and everything else along the way. I have a brother and sister who were adopted 10 years before I was born. I’ve grown up with the knowledge they are adopted, but it’s not a big deal.
What is the best thing that has happened about this story, post-publication? There were a lot of comments about this story. Some people called for trigger warnings on the book. Some people slammed me for writing about a character who was sexually abused as a teen. I have no regrets about writing Casey. We shouldn’t have to only write about perfect characters. Characters with a past are equally important. And for those who think to avoid the story because it contains references that may set them off, perhaps a rethink. Casey’s past is in the past. Be joyed about the steps he’s making to reclaim his life from the darkness. He’s coping and living. He doesn’t dwell on the past.
For every email and message I received from someone upset that I wrote about the subject, I received two emails or messages from people thanking me for it. People who had been through it. People who were learning to cope with their new life. People who could relate. Thank you for reading, guys.
Do you plan a follow up story? Why, yes. Thank you for asking this question, Renae. My first new novel out in 2016 will be a spin-off of this story. In Safe in His Arms Lon has a friend who is a seeing a married man. People asked me about Paul and Andrew’s story – so I wrote it. I plan a third story in the series too, the story of Devon and Ash.