Hi! I’m Lisa Henry, and welcome to the blog tour for my new release, Two Man Station. I’m visiting some of my favourite blogs around the place to talk a bit about writing Two Man Station, and sharing some of my influences, my ideas, and even an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win a prize of a $20 Riptide voucher plus a small package of Australian goodies that I’ll post worldwide. The winner will be drawn on January 31.
I don’t write a lot of kids in my m/m romances. I think up until now I’ve written the sum total of one: Lucy, Brady’s sister in Dark Space. And while she was a character in the sequel, in the first book she existed as a plot device rather than a character: she was the reason Brady was so desperate to get home was because there was nobody else to look after her.
From the moment it came to planning Two Man Station though, I knew that one of my MCs had a kid. I didn’t know either of their names back then, but I was certain from the start that I wanted my country copper to be a dad. So Taylor Quinn, ten years old, was a part of Jason’s identity from the inception of this story.
It’s always a bit of a tricky balance writing kids, I think, and I’m a picky reader when it comes to them as well. I sometimes find child characters grating, because so often they’re used as tiny little Greek choruses who pop up at opportune moments to teach the adults a lesson about love. Or maybe I’ve been watching too many daytime movies lately. The point is, I wanted Taylor to be a part of Jason’s story without being overwhelmingly cutesy and precocious.
So while Taylor does have his few moments of innocent childish wisdom, those are definitely balanced by the times he spends in the backyard bashing boxes with a cricket bat, or not cleaning up after himself, or getting pissed off at his dad when he doesn’t get what he wants. A regular kid, basically.
But it was also important to me to make Taylor Jason’s number one priority, which causes Jason a hell of a lot of stress by trying to balance the nature of his job—and a lot of middle-of-the-night callouts—with his son’s needs. Jason is no more a perfect dad than Taylor is a perfect kid, but that’s families, right?
Here’s a short excerpt where Jason wakes up to discover Taylor is missing, and finds him next door at the new senior constable’s house:
When Jason Quinn woke up, Taylor was gone. There was a half-finished bowl of cereal in the kitchen sink and the milk had been left to slowly curdle on the table. The back door was open.
Jason was too tired to panic. He was still half sunk in sleep when he was climbing the new guy’s back steps, and by the time he’d pulled himself into a state approaching wakefulness, he could already hear Taylor chattering away inside.
Time to remind Taylor that boundaries were a thing that existed. He’d been the same with Dan and his family. At least Dan and Gabby hadn’t minded having Taylor underfoot all the time. Taylor had liked coming over to visit Gabby and the baby. He’d been inconsolable when Dan had put in for a transfer to Cairns.
“Who’s coming to live here now, Dad?” he’d asked one night, sniffling into his pillow.
“I don’t know, mate.”
Taylor had scrubbed at his eyes. “Will they have kids maybe?”
“Maybe,” Jason had told him, tousling his hair. He’d hoped whoever got the spot did have kids, for Taylor’s sake. Jason had just wanted someone he could work with as easily as he could with Dan. Someone he could trust to have his back.
Turned out they’d both been shafted, hadn’t they?
Jason knocked on the screen door and then opened it. “Taylor? You in here, mate?”
Taylor poked his head around the kitchen doorway. “Dad! I’m helping Gio unpack!”
“You’re supposed to be getting ready for school,” Jason reminded him.
“What time is it?”
Jason squinted at his watch. “Eight thirty.”
“Shit!” Taylor’s eyes went owlishly wide.
And it was probably time for a refresher course on appropriate language while they were going over that boundary thing again.
“Go and get your bag and your shoes,” Jason said. “And your lunchbox is in the fridge.”
“Can I get money for tuckshop?”
Taylor’s face split with a grin.
“Bye, Gio!” he yelled, pushing past Jason to get to the stairs. “Bye, Dad!”
Gio appeared in the kitchen doorway, leaning on the frame. He was wearing track pants and a faded Green Day shirt. “Sarge,” he said, nodding.
“Morning. Sorry about . . .” Jason made a vague gesture that he hoped encompassed Taylor’s lack of boundaries, Taylor’s lack of polite language, and pretty much Taylor himself.
About Two Man Station
Gio Valeri is a big city police officer who’s been transferred to the small outback town of Richmond with his professional reputation in tatters. His transfer is a punishment, and Gio just wants to keep his head down and survive the next two years. No more mistakes. No more complications.
Except Gio isn’t counting on Jason Quinn.
Jason Quinn, officer in charge of Richmond Station, is a single dad struggling with balancing the demands of shift work with the challenges of raising his son. The last thing he needs is a new senior constable with a history of destroying other people’s careers. But like it or not, Jason has to work with Gio.
In a remote two man station hours away from the next town, Gio and Jason have to learn to trust and rely on each another. Close quarters and a growing attraction mean that the lines between professional and personal are blurring. And even in Richmond, being a copper can be dangerous enough without risking their hearts as well.
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
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To celebrate the release of Two Man Station, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit and a package of Australian goodies! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 27, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!