Gay Book Reviews is thrilled to welcome J.K. Hogan to the blog today talking about her latest book Strong Medicine.
How I came up with the concept for Strong Medicine
As usual with me, the characters for my newest novel came to me while struggling to get through editing on the previous one, in this case, . UB dealt with mental illness as well, but not nearly to the extent as . I’m beginning to understand that mental illness is a running theme in my m/m work, with the exception of my paranormal thriller, .
I’m going to share with you some of the drawings I did of my characters and themes from the book. Don’t judge me too harshly, I’m mainly a digital artist and haven’t done a lot of hand drawing since college. When Paul Richmond started the Doodle Tuesday group on Facebook, I got the drawing bug again.
Last spring, I was drawing a lot, trying to relearn some techniques that had become rusty from my years ago time at art school. ’s main character, Jonah Radley, kept appearing in my sketch pad. He changed as I got some of my skills back, but the features were mostly the same: mostly shaved head, scar through his right eyebrow, tortured expression, and massively sleep-deprived eyes. Jonah haunted me for a good long while, and I even began to draw his various visions and hallucinations, primarily of his dead mother, for which he was hospitalized. I knew I had to stay inside his head until I figured him out.
Cameron, the love interest, was a different story. My son actually gave me the idea for him. There was a kids’ network that had a show about a young musician, and the kid was in a band in real life. My son was totally in love with this boy—he was two, so it was just as easily hero worship, but the plotbunny was already scampering around in my brain. I based Cameron’s look on this boy, although Cameron is much older. Much like my son, Jonah watched Cameron on TV when he was a child. Then I started drawing Cameron too, and the rest is history.
The setting, Riverbend Behavioral Health Hospital, came about by accident. I was driving on this old country shortcut road I’d driven a million times, and I suddenly noticed a sign for a Behavioral Health institution. Some of the trees had been cleared away, and I saw that there was, indeed, a building back there. Based on the architecture, it could’ve easily been a mountain lodge instead of a private hospital in the middle of the country. So I started thinking about my own struggle with mental illness, those of some of my family members, and the lives of the people within the walls of that hospital. Thus, was born.
Lastly, my dedication reads:
This book is dedicated to all who have struggled with debilitating mental illness or devastating neurocognitive diseases, and their dedicated caregivers. We are warriors.
This book is very close to my heart, and I hope it touches you too!
Thank you for a fascinating look into your mind and heart J.K.!
Help celebrate the release of Strong Medicine by checking out the blog tour, including a giveaway.
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