Today we talk with author J.C. Owens, who writes wonderful m/m romances. Here’s the cover and blurb for Taken, J.C.’s Etopia Press release.
Kidnapping the brother of a mob boss was madness. If only it had stayed that simple.
It had all gone wrong. Sent as a mercenary to kidnap Kirith Martinelli from his tropical island home, Landon finds himself on the wrong end of a job gone bad. But there’s more to Kirith than meets the eye—he’s the brother of feared mob boss Enzo Martinelli, and he’s taken Landon as his captive. Kirith makes Landon an offer he can’t refuse: stay with him for three months—until he tires of Landon’s body—and then Landon may go free.
Landon, fearing his own criminal family more than the man before him, quickly agrees. Three months will buy him enough time for his brothers to lose his scent, and then freedom will be his. But that freedom has a steeper price than Landon bargained for as he’s drawn into the secrets of Kirith’s past. He can’t ignore the sadness and loss behind his captor’s beautiful eyes, and Landon finds himself wondering if three months will be enough—for either of them…
Annie: Hello, J.C., thanks for giving me the opportunity to flood you with questions. Let’s be off, shall we?
Your new M/M romance Taken is set on a Caribbean island. Did the setting play into the atmosphere of the story, and what made the Caribbean the perfect place for Taken?
J.C. Owens: The Caribbean is so beautiful and has always been the dream place for those wanting to escape, and yet, it became Kirith’s prison. I think that the contrast of that beauty and what Kirith was undergoing made it all the more poignant. I have always believed that we cannot outrun or hide what is inside us; no matter our surroundings, it is within us. That is why we have to face ourselves, find healing, or we will never be happy anywhere, no matter how beautiful or perfect. I like to think that by the end of the book, when the healing really begins, that the island will then become the haven it was meant to be for both Landon and Kirith.
Annie: Talk a little about your two heroes. Landon is a mercenary and Kirith is an architect. At first glance it seems as if they’re from two completely different worlds with no hope of bridging the gap…
J.C. Owens: Both men have been abused in their own way and that becomes the bridge for them. Landon has been repressed and abused by his two older brothers as well as seeing and doing things as a mercenary that go against his own conscience. He feels tainted and that he can never be a “good” person. Kirith has endured horrors because of his connections with the “Family.” The facts that as a child, death was talked about casually at the dinner table and that as a young man he was expected to kill, scarred him deeply. I think that once the initial emotions were out of the way, both men began to understand that here at last was someone who could understand and perhaps even accept them as they are: inner scars and all.
Annie: People have said that your books can be somewhat edgy at times. What makes you write things like that?
J.C. Owens: I like to write realism and I like to read realism. I have never found a place in my life where events are all sweet and perfect, so I don’t have the knowledge to write about it. I like edgy and emotional. I like characters to go to the very limit of what they can bear and then find a way back. I love a happy ending, but I feel the characters have to earn it. I find strength in reading about people who manage to come through the fire and find love on the other side.
Annie: What do you love most about the M/M romance genre?
J.C. Owens: I enjoy writing of the beauty of men loving men, plus the conflict in what a person thinks they want, versus what they truly need to become themselves. I find it so troubling that society as a whole throughout the world cannot just let people love each other, no matter the gender. The GLBT community endures so much bias for no other reason than they want to be able to love openly and freely, to be themselves, as is their right. Therefore I write about those men who have gone through a lot to find that happy ending. I wish everyone could have that.
Annie: How long have you been writing?
J.C. Owens: (Laughs) As long as I could hold a pen or pencil. As a child, I used to make up stories with my toys and then later in school, the teachers always had to tell me to write shorter essays, they were WAY too long! Throughout the many trials of my life, writing was my purge, my way of surviving. To this day, when things get rough, I go to the computer and submerge myself in a different world. There are many days when I am writing, that I come back to reality and have to sit there for a while, relearning where I am! My friends had always encouraged me to continue, to take the many books I had and DO something with them! I self published three books under the name J.C. McGuire, “My Name is Aelida, Book1 and 2”, the story of a woman in Arthurian Briton and the secrets she holds that could either save a kingdom or see it fall forever, and “Shadow of the Sun” a very emotional novel of Alexander the Great’s lover and Companion, Hephaistion. “Shadow of the Sun” got me into the m/m genre and I began to write under J.C. Owens. To have people read my stories is the greatest thrill in the world! I just want to share what I write.
Annie: Your stories are often in a fantasy or faintly medieval setting. What is the reason? Do these settings resonate best with you?
J.C. Owens: I spent 15 years in a medieval recreation group, learning about history by creating a persona and researching that particular time period. How that person would have dressed, acted, eaten, how they would have lived daily. It is a beautiful way to learn about history! Then I became more interested in ancient history (hence “Shadow of the Sun”) and I travelled to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt to understand the background of a great deal of our history. Those experiences tend to color my stories whether I am truly aware of it or not!
Annie: So what is coming up next in your writing?
J.C. Owens: I have approximately fifteen books I am working on right now. I tend to jump around a lot until I settle on a particular book. Then I write like mad, usually two-three thousand words a day, until I finish that one. Then I often float again, adding to two or three books a day until I find another one that gets my creative side humming. I have a list of my partial books on my website, www.jcowensauthor.net, and I update them regularly so my readers know what is in the works. Right now, I have two completed manuscripts, “Taken”, with Etopia Press and “Draconian Measures” (a prequel to the “Gaven” series”) at Loose Id. I hopefully will finish another manuscript, “Wings 2: Dominion of the Eth”, (second book in the Wings series) by the end of 2010.
Annie: You’ve done some extensive traveling (Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Egypt). Do you have a favorite place or thing you’ve seen? Special memories?
J.C. Owens: OMG, so many memories… There are two things that stand out though. One was seeing a donkey just outside of Cairo. He was piled high with palm fronds, could hardly see the little guy, and on top of the pile sat a tiny old man, cross-legged, talking on a cell phone. The meeting of two worlds, old and new, was hilarious. I thought for sure the whole pile was going to slide sideways and onto the ground. I’m sure the donkey would not have minded…
The second memory was sitting cross-legged in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, talking about religion with our guide. Now that is the supposed no-no of travel. Don’t bring up religion. Not being religious myself, that is rarely a problem. But here we were and it was beautiful. That talk has kept me level-headed in these times of us versus them mentality. There is nothing like travel to broaden perception and open the mind. The average person from any country is just like you and I. The same hopes and dreams, the same grief and triumphs. The possessions and surroundings might be different, but people’s motivations are the same the world over. While we were sitting there, a young boy came bouncing over; he was probably six or so. He smiled at us and asked where we were from and we told him Canada. He quite obviously did not have the slightest idea where the heck Canada was or that there even was a Canada, but he did not let it get him down. He simply smiled and waved a hand at us. “Welcome to Turkey,” he said expansively and bounced away again. We laughed for a long time over that. I told our guide that he better look out, that young man was going to provide some competition for his job very, very soon… It was surreal, sitting in this ancient, beautiful mosque and encountering the influence of those people who exist there today. It was amazing.
I have to say though, if I could live anywhere, it would be Italy. Off the beauty scale…and my love of ancient history makes it fascinating to the extreme… Someday, when I win the lottery…LOL
Annie: In Taken, Kirith rescues abused ferrets. How does his love of animals play into his growing relationship with Landon?
I think that people who understand animals; truly understand animals, not just love them; have an insight and compassion within them that enables them to have great empathy for the world around them. Kirith could no more have resisted Landon’s abusive past than flown to the moon. It was a draw in the beginning, that need to heal, and it progressed from there into true feeling. Landon in many ways was unwanted and certainly that is true of many ferrets. Over 50% of all ferrets sold end up in shelters because people do not understand them and do not provide what such intelligent animals need. They are unique and complicated little beings and certainly Landon was unique and complicated as well! It was such a joy to include ferrets in this book; I love the little furballs beyond words!!! Bet you could not have guessed that, right??? I know, I know…I am SO subtle!
Annie: LOL! Thanks again for talking with us, J.C.!
Taken by J.C. Owens can be found here: