Friday, December 13, 2019

DAMAGED HEARTS


Dear Readers:

Have you ever had your heart broken? If so, you know the impeding deep grit feeling you get. After breaking up with someone, it is difficult to ever love again. What happens when you find love, but not in a relationship that you dreamed possible? My next author is Jan St. Marcus, and his book, "Damaged Hearts: The Boys of Venice Beach," he addresses that very question as he also explores what it means to love unconditionally. This book is cutting edge.


ABOUT THE BOOK

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When 19-year-old military veteran Brandon Hawkins is attacked on Venice Beach by a gang of frat boys, he is saved by MichaelAngelo Curtis, a passerby.

Michelangelo was roaming the boardwalk grieving the death of his twin brother six months earlier. The two men’s unexpected encounter forges a strong bond between the damaged and lonely men.

Inviting the homeless Bran to his place for some food and a shower, 25-year-old Michelangelo finds himself drawn to the younger man. Neither of the men is gay. But before long, their friendship morphs into something like love and takes them both by surprise.

And they have something else in common: The frat boys are out for revenge.


December 7, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition

November 16, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition

November 14, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition




JAN ST. MARCUS



Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
I am a professional photographer in the Washington DC area where I grew up. I spent many years traveling the world in the Air Force and then in the corporate world. When I landed in Southern California, I lived on the Boardwalk in Venice Beach and was astounded at the myriad of people who lived, worked and visited there. The area is really cool, weird, and a vibrant place. After the death of my brother, I moved back to the DC area and decided to pursue my artistic side after decades in the corporate world. One of my favorite things to do is to write. I love creating new worlds, meeting new people (on the page), and seeing the journeys they want to take me on. I enjoy sharing those exciting, sometimes heartbreaking journeys with my readers.
What inspired you to author this book?
When I was living in Venice, I had to move when the landlord sold the building I had called home for five years. I was pretty upset about leaving and when I was almost entirely moved out, I met a young man outside my apartment who was homeless. He asked me for a cigarette and I told him I'd do more than that. I invited him up to my nearly empty apartment, let him shower, and relax while I fixed him some food. We ended up talking for a while and he revealed that he was a veteran who was now homeless. As we talked more about his service, it turned out that he was awarded a Bronze Star in Iraq.

I was blown away by the fact that a genuine war hero was now homeless and wandering the boardwalk. I gave him a new duffel bag and some of the clothes I was planning to donate to charity and wished him luck. I always wished I could do more for him, and I never saw him again, but his story stuck with me. This experience formed the basis for Brandon in DAMAGED HEARTS.
 
Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

I found a graphic artist online and described the story to her. Then I went online and found some stock photos of characters that fit the descriptions I had formed in my mind and let her loose. I was blown away at how great it turned out!

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?
 
My father. He was a reporter for a newspaper when I was growing up, and he taught me how to write, how to live and how to be a man.
 
What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
 
The biggest struggle I had in writing the book was just how emotional I got while writing certain parts and figuring out the story. In my writing process,  never start with a detailed outline -- I start with a couple of characters and then observe what they say and what they do and write it down. I honestly don't know where some of the ideas come from--they just happen. Anyway, as I was writing, a couple of things happened that completely took me by surprise and I just started crying. I had developed a very close relationship with the characters, and when these tragic things happened to them, I was right there with them and I couldn't help but get emotional.

It was so bad when I found out what was going to happen to Brandon that I couldn't write for days because every time I sat down at the computer, I couldn't see the keyboard through the tears.
 
 
 
Tell your readers about your book.

DAMAGED HEARTS is about unexpected love that occurs when two damaged people find themselves thrown together. Neither Brandon nor Michelangelo consider themselves gay, but when they get together, their bond quickly morphs from a deep friendship into something like love. They meet when Brandon is harassed on the boardwalk by a group of mean frat-boys. Michelangelo was wandering the boardwalk while grieving the death of his twin brother six months earlier and seeing what they were doing to Brandon tripped something in him and he intervenes.

He ends up breaking the arm of one of the frat boys and for reasons he doesn't even know himself, he recorded the incident on his cell phone. A little later, he explains that he thought maybe he'd post it on Reddit to get someone to start a GoFundMe page for the kid, but he isn't really sure. When the cops release the video, it quickly goes viral, adding complications to both of their lives. As they try to figure out their feelings for each other, the frat boys are planning their revenge after having their lives ruined by the video.



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 Who is your target audience, and why?

This is a NEW ADULT romance, and I guess the primary audience would be fans of LGBTQ Romance. However, I think that there is a broader audience since at the beginning, neither character identifies as being gay. I believe that under the right circumstances, and with an open mind, love can exist on some level between any two people. And as we, as a society and as a species evolve, there is less stigma associated with coming out, discovering your sexuality, and exploring the depth of your feelings with other people. That's a big part of what happens between Brandon and Michelangelo in DAMAGED HEARTS.

Oh, and it's for people who need a good cry or two every now and then.


 
What do you consider your greatest success in life?
I am really proud of finishing this novel. I'll be even more proud if it becomes a bestseller! And seriously, as the reviews keep coming back with 5-stars, I'm thrilled that I was able to create something that makes people FEEL and that entertains.
 What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

Probably the most unique thing about DAMAGED HEARTS is that I use a format that I've never seen before--I use multiple 1st Person POVs throughout the book. I have read numerous books in the Romance genre that have the two main characters telling the story from their points of view, but in DAMAGED HEARTS, six characters who narrate from their points of view. I wasn't sure if it would work, but so far, everybody loves getting inside the heads of so many different people--even the bad guys.

Using this formula, I was able to tell a much broader story than is possible when the voices are limited to only the two main characters. It also allowed me to build tension and suspense while adding extra layers of the story.

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