by Lynn Kelling
Sometimes, when I’m writing a story, the characters completely take me by surprise—doing or saying things I never planned on. This happened in a big way with Arctic Absolution.
Toward the beginning of the story, there is a scene in which Jaye, one of the main characters, is left alone in his cabin with his thoughts. It was a turning point for me. It was when I really began to understand who he is. Before this quiet pause, there is a riot of action. The book opens with Jaye trying to rob a convenience store. After Trooper Dixon Rowe arrives, there are a lot of distractions for Jaye to cope with while trying to talk his way out trouble. Later that night and alone at last in his cabin in the Alaskan wilderness, Jaye abruptly begins hearing voices. Once awakened by some subtle trigger, these voices’ taunting, cruel whispers weave in and out of everything Jaye thinks or speaks.
This wasn’t an aspect of his character I had planned on ahead of time. But, knowing what Jaye had managed to live through, against all odds, I suddenly realized I couldn’t shut out the voices either.
Jaye adjusted his personality and body language, in the heat of the moment and reacting to danger, to play off of Rowe’s sympathies, as well as his libido. It was role playing, and he happily lost himself in pretending to be someone else.
But once Jaye was alone, there was no one else he needed to be. The truth came out.
In prison, and in his life before prison, Jaye had been severely traumatized. He had survived, but not without some scars. Jaye’s mental illness does not define him, but it is also inseparable from who he is. It is constantly altering his experiences. He hears the voices of his attackers, and reacts to sensations and stimuli he knows don’t actually exist. These phenomena create tension, anxiety, and challenge him to try to not respond to people who aren’t really there.
Without diagnosing Jaye, I simply wanted to allow him to be an honest product of his collective experiences. The things Jaye’s “ghosts” say to him are part memory, part direct reaction to Jaye’s fears or hopes. They’re upsetting to hear, but Jaye can’t shut them out—so neither should we.
Barely out of his teens, Jaye has fought for his life more than once. But the only confrontations he’s truly scared of are those he finds at night in the dark; there’s no light, and no one there to assure him that the devil whispering in his ear and caressing his thigh isn’t really there. Weapons don’t work as well when the person you’re trying to defend yourself from is you.
As a man with a devil of his own to deal with, Dixon knows better than to try to fix Jaye or fight his battles for him. Instead, he tries to help Jaye reach hidden, inner reservoirs of strength by holding his hand and thereby letting him stretch just a little farther, to get a little closer to clarity.
For Jaye, nightmares from his past are what—more than anything—challenge him to endure his present moments. That struggle is a universal one. As Buddha said, “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.”
But when inner peace is hard to find, sometimes a loving, patient presence at our side, holding our hand, can be our greatest blessing. That’s what Dixon is for Jaye.
Though Jaye hears voices, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with him. It’s his truth; his process to work through the rough spots. As an author, I know something about that. Jaye is one of my voices. Sometimes I want to shut him out, too, but know in my heart I never will.
About Arctic Absolution
In the frozen expanses of remote Alaska, Dixon Rowe is a good man and a good cop who keeps finding himself in bed with the enemy. After he picks up a young ex-con named Jaye Larson for stealing food, Dixon gets seduced by the possibility of helping someone truly in need. Though he tells himself he’s assisting young Jaye out of the goodness of his heart, not because of how sexy Jaye is under all of the tattoos and defiance, the temptations of sin entangle them as their hostile environment threatens. Both of their pasts are filled with malicious ghosts that haunt every step, and while Jaye’s demons are less tangible that Dixon’s, they are all powerful enough to put both of their lives in danger.
About Lynn Kelling
Lynn Kelling began writing in order to tell stories that weren’t afraid of the dark, didn’t hold anything back and always strived to be memorable, forging lasting attachments between character and reader. Her inspiration comes from taking a closer look at behaviors and ideas lurking at the fringes of life – basically anything that people may hesitate to speak of in mixed company, but everyone wonders about anyway. Her work is driven by the taboo in order to expose the humanity within it. Lynn is an artist, designer and lover of any form of creative self-expression that comes from a place of honesty and emotion, whether it’s body art or opera. She has had multiple novels published, has written over 70 works of erotic fiction of varying lengths, and always has several novels in progress.
Lynn has graciously offered up an autographed paperback copy of to one lucky winner!! The giveaway starts now and ends December 22, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. To enter, just click the link below!
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Don’t forget to check out JustJen’s review of Arctic Absolution to see what she thought of it!