Please welcome JA Rock and Lisa Henry to the blog today. They are giving us some inside info into how Jason Banning, a character in their latest book The Preacher’s Son, ticks.
Character Profile: Jason Banning
Jason Banning is…intense. A wannabe journalist and a ruthless activist, he starts the story out filming himself sleeping with Nate Tull–son of the influential Reverend Tull, who runs a gay conversion camp. Jason sleeps with Nate in order to expose the reverend as a hypocrite for running a conversion camp but having a gay son, and then writes an article (complete with photos) about the experience. Jason does it thinking he’s doing the world–and, ultimately, Nate–a favor. He believes it’ll be better for Nate in the long run to be outed, and to be forced to come to terms with what a POS his father is.
Instead, Nate is hurt in ways beyond what Jason had anticipated, and it’s Jason who’s forced to confront what a horrific thing he’s done, and what a terrible person he might be. Four years later, Jason is not in a good place. He’s been injured while serving as a military photographer in Afghanistan, dumped by his boyfriend, and forced by circumstances to move back to Pinehurst, his hated hometown, where he’s still public enemy number one for what he did to Nate.
It was definitely a challenge to find the right balance for Jason Unlike Nate, Jason has let life turn him cynical. He has a hard time taking responsibility for his actions, and spends a good chunk of the story blaming others. But once he’s back in Pinehurst and actually sees Nate again for the first time since The Incident, he had to start to reconcile the person he was four years ago with the person he is now, and find a path toward forgiveness.
As writers, we had to make sure Jason’s good intentions were presented with realism and nuance, while refusing to let him off the hook for what he did to Nate. We weren’t necessarily looking to redeem Jason so much as tell a story about learning to live with guilt, and learning to take responsibility for past mistakes. Jason’s probably not particularly likable in many ways, but he is passionate, committed to his ideals, and courageous in his own way. While the shattered trust he and Nate try to rebuild remains a fragile thing throughout the story, they do both find strength in each other, and start to understand the ways in which their journeys are similar.
Jason Banning is a wreck. His leg’s been blown to hell in Afghanistan, his boyfriend just left him and took the dog, and now he’s back in his hometown of Pinehurst, Washington, a place that holds nothing but wretched memories…and Nathan Tull. Nathan Tull, whose life Jason ruined. Nathan Tull, who will never believe Jason did what he did for a greater good. Nathan Tull, whose reverend father runs a gay conversion therapy camp that Jason once sought to bring down—at any cost.
Nathan Tull is trying to live a quiet life. Four years ago, when Nate was a prospective student visiting UW Tacoma, his world collapsed when senior Jason Bannon slept with him, filmed it, and put the footage online. A painful public outing and a crisis of faith later, Nate has finally begun to heal. Cured of the “phantoms” that plagued him for years, he now has a girlfriend, a counselor job at his dad’s camp, and the constant, loving support of his father.
But when he learns Jason is back in town, his carefully constructed identity begins to crumble. As desperate to reconcile his love for God with his attraction to men as Jason is to make sense of the damage he’s done, Nate finds himself walking a dangerous line. On one side lies the righteous life he committed himself to in the wake of his public humiliation. On the other is the sin he committed with Jason Banning, and the phantoms that won’t let him be. But is there a path that can bridge those two worlds—where his faith and his identity as a gay man aren’t mutually exclusive?
And can he walk that path with the man who betrayed him?
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About J.A. Rock
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J.A. Rock is the author or coauthor of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. J.A. has received Lambda Literary and INDIEFAB Award nominations for Minotaur, and The Subs Club received the 2016 National Leather Association-International Pauline Reage Novel Award. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.
About Lisa Henry
Lisa Henry 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 dog, 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.Website Blog Twitter Facebook Newsletter More Reviews