Hello and welcome to the book tour for Unbreak My Heart from Dreamspinner Press. I have to say a big thanks to Divine Magazine for celebrating my release day with me. Unbreak My Heart is a book that holds a special place in my heart and it makes me so happy to be able to share it with readers.
When asked, “Which book of yours should I try…”, this story of broken and unbroken love is always the one I recommend because as soon as I started writing Brett Taylor, he quickly became my favorite character (though there are one or two giving him a run for his money now.) But hat’s not to say that I don’t love the other guys I write, but Brett is a very special snowflake.
People sometimes ask me — “Do you become attached to the characters you create?” I usually come back with another question.
“Have you ever fallen in love with a character in a TV show, movie, or book? Have you worried about them between episodes, sequels, or chapters? Once they’re gone do you ever wonder how they’re doing, even after they’ve ended in happily ever after?”
If the person says yes, then I tell them that it’s like that but potentially one hundred times worse—or maybe better.
From my early years onward, I’ve been attached to more book boyfriends, teen idols, and leading men than I can count. My mom always says I was boy crazy at a very young age, and of course, fictional characters were my first opportunities to “find love”. I also like to think I’m built in a way that it’s impossibly easy for me to fall in love, easy for me slip into obsession. The guys work their way deep into my life.
So while I can’t say it happens every time, sometimes when I’m writing a character he can become so real I swear I can hear him breathing in my ear, feel him right beside me urging me on. And writing a character that has stolen my heart takes my obsessive love and raises it to another amazing level.
The difference is, with my own characters, I —or more accurately my muse— get to guide my new love in any direction I wish and mess around inside his pretty little head and heart. Most of the time that’s a fabulous rush. It makes me feel like I’m some kind of higher power like I have this ability to create this awesome man that other people might just fall in love with too. But sometimes, those emotions I’ve fed into that character can have just as big an impact on me as they do on him or my readers. When I’ve pulled out all the stops and shredded my guy’s heart, it can be rough on me too.
Don’t misunderstand me. I adore all my main characters. But Brett Taylor is a man of many layers. He’s like an onion that needs someone with a gentle touch and strong tear ducts to handle him, to take care of him. I managed to break him in ways even he didn’t understand and that lack of understanding only added to his brokenness and vulnerability, and that challenged me emotionally too.
When I wrote Unbreak My Heart, I was in need of a safe place to store emotions that were battering my head and heart. I’m not ashamed or too shy to say I have battled depression for years and writing is my way of dealing with overwhelming feelings, frustrations, and confusion. During a rough time in January 2013, Brett Taylor became the outlet I used to dump my emotional baggage.
Often there are tears involved in my writing process, but creating Brett evoked more ugly tears than any other character I’ve written. On occasion, there was so much moisture behind my eyes I couldn’t even see the screen. If you’ve ever seen the Friends episode where Joey is reading Little Women and gets so upset that he has to put the book in the freezer — well, that’s exactly how writing parts of Unbreak My Heart was for me.
There’s a scene in the book that I worried and fretted over, unsure whether I could actually write it or not because it not only involves Brett doing something only out of character, but something that could be construed as mean-spirited and therefore make him unlikable. But I felt it was necessary to the storyline and though I wasn’t happy to write it and even became a little angry with Brett myself — which I also heard reflected in a few readers’ comments — I had to go with what was right for the plot.
To sum this all up, I guess you could say writing Unbreak My Heart involved a lot of strong emotions for me; good, bad, angry, sad, and all those things are the reason Brett is so special to me. I put everything I was feeling into that cowboy, sending him to hell and back, and I took myself right along for the ride. The best part is we both survived so how can I ever give someone like that up whether fictional or not?
In the end, I rewarded Brett’s survival with unbreaking a heart as big as Texas and finding him a love interest with a heart of gold. And their story isn’t done yet.
Thank you for stopping by. I feel honored to have shared my release day and Mr. Brett Taylor with you. Before I go, I want to tell you about the giveaway I’m doing for this post. I’ll be giving away one ebook copy of Unbreak My Heart or anything from my backlist to one lucky commenter. Just leave your name, email address, and answer to the following question—who was your first book boyfriend or leading man love? (I think mine was Joe Hardy from the Hardy Boys’ books.) The contest will be open until August 10 when I’ll randomly pick a winner.
Brett Taylor’s world collapsed three years ago when he lost the love of his life. Almost as bad as the grief is the advice he’s starting to get from everyone and their brother, telling him it’s time to move on. They’re flat-out wrong. He left his career as a musician and escaped to his ranch because he needs the peace and quiet, and he’s doing just fine. He doesn’t want anyone invading his memory-filled, booze-fueled solitude.
JT Campbell’s world has been defined by his parents’ money, status, and his own empty relationships, until he’s desperately sick of it. A quest to find something meaningful leads him to Brett’s failing ranch. It’s supposed to be a brief stay. JT never wanted to be anyone’s savior or compete with the ghosts of lovers past. Still, he can’t help wanting this gruff and grieving man.
JT’s mind knows it’s a bad idea, but his heart keeps pushing him to find out what lies beneath Brett’s rough and broken exterior. Brett’s not going to make it easy. JT can only be patient, keep his sense of humor, and hope for the day he may be allowed far enough into Brett’s world to unbreak his heart.
Review by Claire Potterton
Beautiful love story.
Unbreak My Heart is a beautiful story of grief and loss, healing, and love.
Brett and JT find each other, with the help of Brett’s amazing mother, at a time when neither are looking for a relationship, although their relationship is exactly what they each need.
There are heart-breaking moments in this book, as Brett slowly comes to terms with moving on after the death of his long-term partner, initially fighting his overwhelming attraction to JT, but the slow build of this new relationship brings such a deep connection between the characters.
There are misunderstandings between Brett and JT, both too afraid to really talk to each other for a time, that are frustrating yet so important to understanding where these two men are emotionally.
This is a wonderful love story. Romantic and sexy, heart-warming yet devastating in places; extremely attractive MCs and superb secondary characters. It is emotional and attention grabbing; has you rooting for Brett and JT from the start. It’s a story of overcoming grief and guilt and learning that it is ok to love again. A beautifully written, highly recommended love story.
Meet K-Lee Klein
K-lee Klein loves guys with long hair and tattoos, and you’ll often find her front and center at her favorite rock concerts. She has bounced around Western Canada all her life, but will always consider the solitude and beauty of the British Columbian mountains home. Her life is blessed as the proud mother of three now-grown but still spoiled kids, the servant of two bossy felines, and the wife of a truly patient husband.
Her writing muse is terribly temperamental, so to keep him close by and in check, she had him inked on her left calf. The gorgeous, long-haired, mostly naked, kneeling angel that resulted is truly a work of art, although he’s still a handful and hopelessly uncontrollable. She writes on his schedule and inspiration.
K-lee tends to fall easily into obsessions. When something grabs her attention, she jumps into it headfirst with complete abandon. Actors, musicians, superheroes, fictional characters, and brainwashed assassins all hold spots on her cannot-get-enough list. She once followed Thirty Seconds to Mars around the United States and Canada and saw them perform fourteen times that year. Obsession sometimes leads to ideas for her kneeling angel to turn into stories.
Although an introvert in person, she’s extroverted online and has met many wonderful friends there, sometimes with the added fun of meeting them in person at gay romance conferences. She’s grateful for all the people in her life who accept her as she is and support her through her ups and downs as mom, wife, and joyfully obsessed writer.