Gay Book Reviews is thrilled to welcome Renae Kaye to the blog today, talking about her new book Safe in His Heart.
Had he noticed Paul? Was the pope Catholic? Did Andrew’s mother attend church rain, hail, or shine? Did Andrew know the Lord’s Prayer word for word and even backward? He’d noticed Paul from the very beginning. But if there was such a thing as gaydar, Andrew’s was severely broken. He snorted as he remembered when he couldn’t even recognize the gayness in himself, let alone someone else.Andrew, Safe in His Heart
I keep a daily word count log, to show me that I’m working, which is usually a good thing. Until you start looking at when you started a book and when you finished. My little sheet tells me I wrote the first sentence on this book on the 20th of May 2014, and worked on it on-and-off for four months. Then I didn’t touch it much until June 2015 when I picked it up with a starting word count of 24,000 words, and finished the draft on the 11th of August with 95,000 words.
Why was this book so hard? For a start, I wasn’t sure of the characters. I never intended to write Paul and Andrew’s story, so when I introduced them during Safe in His Arms (Safe #1), I made them complicated. Andrew was married and cheating on his wife. Any person who knows anything about the romance genre knows you should shy away from that subject. It appears as if I’m a bit of a rebel. To me, being true to life is more important. I like to make my characters realistic. I like to tackle real-life problems that we have in our society today. Life isn’t meant to be all rose petals and chocolate cake.
I knew I was taking a risk by writing about two subjects that would instantly turn readers away – cheating and religion. But I hope to reassure anyone who’s wavering on the whether to read my book or not – things are not exactly how they seem. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
One of the things I feel deeply is the amount of people who are affected and pushed away by the churches of the world. I’ve read the Bible. (Okay – not the whole way through, I’ve done about 75% of it. Give me a bit more time). I feel that certain parts of the Bible are misinterpreted. People often refer to what is known as the “clobber passages” which are used to tell LGBT people they are wrong/no good/an abomination/a sinner. We all know which ones they’re talking about. Any person who is LGBT will be able to point to a part of their life where they had to reconcile themselves to the reality of being gay/bi/trans and what that means to their faith, or what that means to the people who have faith.
Safe in His Heart is Andrew’s reconciliation. Andrew is trying to be straight. He’s trying to be a good Catholic. He’s trying to not upset his family. And in trying his best to fit into a mould that was never made for his size, he’s married a woman like he’s been told his whole life to do, and had two children.
Andrew never, ever regrets that. His children are his life, and he would do anything for them. But in trying to be what he’s been told he must be, Andrew has trouble realising he is gay. Brainwashing at its finest.
I’m proud of this novel. When marketers talk about branding and an author, they mean “What does a reader associate with this author?” I want the name of Renae Kaye to stand for someone who tackles the hard issues, and entertains the audience while she’s at it. Hard issues don’t need to be all angst and ugly-crying. They can be handled with humour. But they need to addressed in literature to foster empathy and understanding from those in real life.
I love Andrew – he’s a great character. But Paul has his own story in here too. Paul’s one of these people who I feel I need to often take aside and say, “Now how about you?” In Safe in His Arms (Safe #1) he was always there for Lon to lean on. And when Lon was away, Paul was there for Casey. Paul was there on the other end of the phone, or swinging by Lon’s place with beer, or turning up Christmas morning to drive Lon to the cemetery for eight long years.
It’s in Paul’s nature – he’s actually a nurse. He spends most of his time looking after people. Don’t think Paul is bitter. He loves his job. He’s had a pretty easy life with his accepting family. But he’s never really had anything that matters to him before. Not to the degree that Andrew has suddenly mattered. And worse for Paul, Andrew comes with a family that Paul knows must come before him. Suddenly Paul needs to commit to something that has no guarantee of a positive outcome, and it’s something that is the most important thing to him.
Safe in His Heart (Safe #2) was not an easy book to write, and it’s not going to be an easy book to read. Choices will need to be made, and mistakes of the past will need to accounted for and dealt with. Some choices are easy. Some not so. And as always, life was never promised to work out the way you want.
Title: Safe in His Heart (Safe, #2)
Author: Renae Kaye
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 2nd 2016
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 270 pages
Reviewed by: Belen and Crabbypatty
Andrew and Paul learned about God and Jesus in different churches and realize their views of spirituality are worlds apart.
Andrew was raised Catholic and was told his homosexuality was a sin. For his entire life, he hid the truth. He married and had children to present a façade to the world—that of a straight man. It’s not until he has an affair with Paul, who shows him a different side of Jesus, that Andrew realizes he can be gay and still believe in God. Paul’s Jesus is one of acceptance and love, and in Paul’s church, being gay is not a problem.
For Paul and Andrew, falling in love is the easy part of their journey. They must make it through the fires of cheating, being discovered, Andrew’s wife leaving, the necessities of childcare and family life, the demands of their jobs, and working on their commitment to each other. Only then can they be safe in each other’s heart.
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Renae Kaye Bio
Renae Kaye is a lover and hoarder of books who thinks libraries are devilish places because they make you give the books back. She consumed her first adult romance book at the tender age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since. After years – and thousands of stories! – of not having book characters do what she wants, she decided she would write her own novel and found the characters still didn’t do what she wanted. It hasn’t stopped her though. She believes that maybe one day the world will create a perfect couple – and it will be the most boring story ever. So until then she is stuck with quirky, snarky and imperfect characters who just want their story told.
Renae lives in Perth, Western Australia and writes in five minute snatches between the demands of two kids, a forbearing husband, too many pets, too much housework and her beloved veggie garden. She is a survivor of being the youngest in a large family and believes that laughter (and a good book) can cure anything.