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Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Recon Diaries - Brothers In Arms

Welcome to BRB, sweeties! It is November 30th and the end of the month, and Christmas is just around the corner. Yikes! I'm not even near ready, so I will do a little shopping this coming weekend. And, speaking of the weekend, my guest today Kendall McKenna has a great novel to add to your shopping list.
Where and/or how do you find the greatest inspiration?
The greatest source of inspiration for me is – no exaggeration – the United States Marine Corps. I know exactly how that came to be the case, and I’ve explained it in other interviews, but it’s a story that spans the entire course of my lifetime, so it’s a long one! Beyond that, I’m inspired by human stories that appear in the media on a daily basis. I don’t necessarily want to understand why the real people involved in an incident did what they did, but I am often times motivated to explore how a person in general would react in certain circumstances and why.
What made you chose to write m/m erotic literature in particular? And, is there any other genre you’d like to write? And, if so, why?
From the time I picked up my first standard romance novel, way back in the ‘80’s, I have always preferred the more graphic ones. I prefer open door love scenes, versus closed door. As an adult, I was able to seek out and enjoy the more graphic mainstream erotica. At the same time, I’ve been active in fandom for about fifteen years now. I love slash fanfiction. When I discovered that m/m erotic romances were a quickly growing genre in original fiction publishing, it felt like the perfect fit for me to try to write. I choose to write erotic literature because I enjoy reading it, it’s really pretty simple!
I’d like to try my hand at writing a ménage. Like most other things I attempt, I want to give it a shot just to see if I can do it, and do it well. Also, I have a story idea I’d like to try writing. I just don’t have a clear picture as to whether it’s a m/m/f or a m/m/m, so I haven’t actually started writing it yet.
Which appears first when contemplating a new project: a character, the plot or the title?
Character. I am very character-centric in things I like to read, as well as movies and television shows I like to watch. I tend to be forgiving of a lot of sins with regard to plot and theme, if something has awesome characters. When it comes to my writing, I seem to usually start with a character who has a conflict I want to explore. Then I tend to develop and idea of what his love interest would be like and what their conflict(s) would be. I sort of shape and develop the plot around the characters, and what I want their arcs to be. Titles crop up somewhere along the way.
What’s the hardest part of a novel for you to write: beginning, middle or end? Why?
The end. There are several different reasons for this. Sometimes, I get so excited about almost being done with the story that I end up with a mild case of writer’s block. Other times, a new idea for a story keeps moving around in my head and distracting me from finishing my current WIP. I could stop and write the other story but I’m afraid I’d end up with dozens of unfinished WIPs, so I make myself finish one story before staring another. There are other times that I lose interest in a character. By that I mean, in my head, I know how his story ends. In my head, I’ve already resolved his conflict. For some reason, I can lose interest in committing all of that to words. I get excited to move on to the next exploration. Sometimes, I just can’t figure out how to end a plot without it being too simple or abrupt, and I have to do some hard work to get it right.
Has your own life influenced your novels? If so, how?
Oh yes. The reason I write stories about military and law enforcement, is because those are things I know. My characters are adept with firearms and like muscle cars, because I’m adept with firearms and love muscle cars. And like most authors, my characters occasional end up learning lessons that I’ve had to learn, they make mistakes I’ve made, or they go through a life changing event that I’ve experienced.
Writing sex/romantic scenes can be a challenge for some authors. Do you find it difficult? If yes, how do you compensate? If no, where do you draw your inspiration?
Writing the sex and romance scenes is the easiest of all for me. The only thing I ever pre-plan is the position(s). Sex scenes for me are very organic. I reach a point in a story where sex can be used to move a character forward, or reveal something to them or about them. I sometimes use sex to move a story forward.
Do you use a certain formula to write the sensual parts? Do you prefer the sex to be open and bold? Or left to the imagination?
Whatever it is the scene needs to do, I simply use the sexual position I’ve selected to write, and I construct a three-act scene that does whatever it is I need done at that point in the story. I’m comfortable with the words and the terms, so writing those scenes is very, very easy for me. I prefer to read very open and graphic scenes, so those are what I enjoy writing, as well.
Who is your favourite character, which you’ve created? And, why?
Up until recently, my favorite character has been Gunnery Sergeant Jonah Carver, from Brothers In Arms. I like his world-weary dry humor. I like his annoyance with lazy or incompetent people. I like his loyalty and his focus. However, I’m ¾ of the way finished with the sequel, which is called The Final Line. This story is about Corey Yarwood, and I have to say I have fallen a little in love with him. He’s got an awful case of PTSD and all he wants is to live a nice, normal life and his symptoms keep getting in his way. Like all of us, he just keep moving forward, despite everything.
Tell us about your newest release.
That’s a tough one, and a little bit of a complicated answer. My new release was supposed to be a paranormal story called Strength of the Pack. It comes out January 18th. Unfortunately, I am one of the authors that Silver Publishing is in breach of contract with. I pulled my rights to Brothers In Arms and MLR is re-releasing that title on December 14th. So, my newest release is a re-release, but I do have a brand new paranormal title coming out in January. See? Complicated.
Just for fun–
What is your favourite colour?
Which do you prefer a great hero or a great villain?
I like a good hero and a good villain who are attracted to each other and battling against it.
What is your favourite movie? And, why?
It’s a toss-up between Hurt Locker and Warrior. Because I LOVE orgies of man pain and horribly broken characters.
If you could be anyone in the world who would it be? Why?
I don’t want to be anyone other than me. I have a pretty awesome life and I’ve figured out how to deal with my own issues. The grass really isn’t ever greener.
Where do you see your writing career in the next five to ten years?
I will have a very vast back catalog of titles and I will have become a vocal advocate for furthering the m/m genre. 
Website Link: www.kendallmckenna.com
Brothers In Arms
Jonah Carver is a Marine and combat veteran. He and his former Captain, Kellan Reynolds, once shared a scorching night, but then lost touch; something Jonah has long regretted.
When an investigation into government corruption, and the murder of U.S. troops, ends in the killing of a V.I.P. on Jonah’s watch, the FBI arrives. With them is Kellan Reynolds.
Together once more, Jonah begins to believe in second chances and sparks fly. Nothing is that easy, though, as the suspects will stop at nothing to bring the investigation to an end. Jonah must keep everyone in his charge alive while helping the FBI and Kellan find the proof they need.
When Kellan is kidnapped, Jonah has to find and rescue him. If he doesn’t, not only will the investigation unravel, but he’ll lose Kellan for a second time–for good.
“There are these amazing devices called e-mail and cell phones, you know.” Jonah’s rage melted farther away as he smiled. “You didn’t have to get yourself airlifted to Iraq.”
“Well, the opportunity just presented itself.” Kellan grinned.
Jonah was pretty glad he hadn’t resorted to e-mail.
“You know, sir, I read that book of yours about the invasion” Jonah poked Kellan square in the chest with one finger. “When you run for President, I’m not voting for you if you run as a Democrat.”
Kellan’s laugh sent a shockwave rolling through Jonah.
“I have no intention of running for President,” he said.
“Well, maybe not right away. You’ll do some time in Congress or the Senate. Then you’ll become the Governor of New York. Maybe Massachusetts. Then you’ll make your run at the White House.”
“Actually, I’m more a ‘power behind the throne’ kind of guy.” Jonah felt a sort of perverse fascination as Kellan reached out and hooked two fingers into the waist of Jonah’s trousers.
“Is that a fact?” Jonah searched Kellan’s face.
“More to the point, some of the most powerful positions in DC are not elected but appointed.” Kellan leaned in, voice conspiratorial.
“You’re not an attorney, so you can’t be a judge,” Jonah mused. Kellan was standing so close; Jonah caught the scent of him and lost his train of thought.
“No, but there are cabinet positions. Say, Secretary of the Navy. Secretary of Defense.” Kellan paused. “Secretary of State.”
“Well then, Mr Secretary,” Jonah said solemnly. He believed Kellan would someday achieve that very thing. He wondered in passing what Kellan would do if Jonah leaned in and kissed him.
“Stop teasing me,” Kellan said, his expression serious.
Jonah became acutely aware of Kellan’s hand touching him. It was only teasing if Jonah didn’t mean it. He wasn’t teasing. He didn’t think Kellan was, either.
“When we’re both Stateside again, I’ll show you I’m not teasing.” The words were spoken before Jonah could stop them. He swallowed hard, his throat suddenly tight. This was the part where Kellan would tell him how much he’d enjoy a passing friendship with a former Team Leader; as if he was unaware this was exactly how things had started between them before.
Instead, Kellan looked pleased, and Jonah realized, with deep satisfaction, that was the reaction he’d been hoping for.
“I’m holding you to that.”
“I’m counting on it. For now, though, why don’t you head back inside and I’ll be in shortly.”
One corner of Kellan’s mouth lifted in a brief smile. “Good night, Jonah,” he said quietly, before he turned and climbed the steps into the firmbase.
“Good night, Kellan.”
Jonah took a cleansing breath and released it slowly. He rolled his head, stretching out the once tense muscles that had relaxed sometime during the last few minutes.
With a final upward glance, this time seeing the sky, Jonah followed Kellan inside, realizing he would finally be able to sleep.
Thanks for the great interview, Kendall! All the best. ~ Blak Rayne