Disarm: The Complete Novel
December 31, 2012
26-year-old Elsie Sherman has had a crush on her brother's best friend, Henry Logan, since she was twelve years old. Unfortunately, ever since her brother was killed in action, Henry has only treated her as a little sister that needed to be protected. That is, until one night, when one dance ignites a sensual fire between the two, leaving Elsie confused and ridiculously turned-on. Is she allowed to lust after her surrogate big brother who also happens to be her roommate? But Henry has been keeping two secrets--one will bring them together and the other will ruin everything--and it is up to Elsie to decide if their relationship is worth fighting for.
DISARM will take you on a journey. Henry reminisced about the past and retraced his steps on how he met and fell in love with Elsie. Unlike other contemporary novels time didn't stand still for these two, the entire novel spans over a decade of love and friendship. JGray showcased the highs and lows of Henry and Elsie's platonic and romantic relationships beautifully. And contrary to other erotica/romantica tales, they didn't fluck their problems out nor sought solutions in the bedroom, they actually did SOMETHING to fix things. Henry didn't go to Elsie for redemption, he worked for it and Elsie let him earn his worth. I guess what I'm trying to say is the resolution was normal, organic and REAL. It wasn't a bloated version of what non-fictional people would do, it IS what I would do if I were caught in the same situation.
Suped Up review here
Thank you so much for having me! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story!
DISARM is about two people who have harbored feelings for each other for a long time. They practically grew up together—he being the best friend of her brother—but circumstances have kept them apart. After her brother's death, they turn to each other for comfort and as a result, their bond becomes stronger. That is until the day she realizes she wants more from him than just friendship.
I rarely ask the typical questions but this time around I can't help it! How and where did the story for DISARM come from?
My writer friend, Mimi Strong, and I were talking one day about writing something really smutty. I was apprehensive at first, but she convinced me to just start typing and see where it took me. So I started plotting about what I knew, which is the military. I first created the characters of Elsie and Henry, writing down quick details (age, description, etc.) then went on Pinterest to "cast" them. That really started the ball rolling—their history unfolded and their current relationship took shape faster than I could type.
I knew I was onto something special when I looked up from my computer at the end of that first day and saw that I'd already written almost the entire novelette. And I still didn't want to stop.
Sounds like you're meant to write this. Now I've read a lot of emotional books but one thing about DISARM that I liked was it felt personal. Was the story based on a true story and on a side note, are you an military brat? Henry's character and struggle is just so fleshed out!
I'm not a military brat, but I am a military spouse. So a lot of what Elsie went through were variations of what I'd experienced being married to an Air Force officer. But no, DISARM is not based on a true story, or even slightly autobiographical. I just took some of my experiences and lent them to Elsie, in hopes of giving their story a little realism.
Also, I've spoken with many military members who've been deployed and have come home "slightly different." Theirs is a world fraught with uncertainty and I really wanted to be able to tell their story without being too cliche.
Speaking of Henry. I know that the dude has some serious issues and I appreciate that you didn't emasculate the man and turned him into a teary blabbering fool. For those who haven't had the pleasure of meeting Captain Henry Logan, can you tell the ladies out there why he's dreamy in a... challenging way?
Oh, Henry! I love this guy. At first, I intended to write him as the typical "Alpha" male but he told me otherwise. His personality came through the page and oftentimes he dictated where the story would go (for example, the scene in the kitchen when he made that big confession that threw Elsie for a loop—I never meant for him to say that then!). He deals with his emotions internally, so he's not a very expressive guy, and only Elsie is able to bring that out of him. So here is this stoic, sexy military guy who has a soft spot for the woman he grew up with.
To me, apart from his looks, he's appealing because he's realistic; he's both strong and weak at once. He appears confident but underneath that is conflict and below that, holding everything up, is his love for Elsie.
He gets a lot of flack for what he did to Elsie in RETREAT, but he actually spared her from a lot of heartache. Sure he was a bit of a jerk sometimes, but what would have really happened if they'd stayed together while he wasn't right in the head? It wouldn't have been pretty, that's for sure.
Some people might take it another way but I do admire Henry. It takes a lot to admit you have a problem and work it out by yourself. Elsie! This lady deserves a medal or something! I mean some other fictional character not only would've thrown a fit but went out of her way to "punish" Henry in so many ways but Elsie, she held her own. I'm obviously blabbering so I'll leave it to you to introduce this amazing lady to the blog readers.
Elsie is an interesting character because she's a strong woman who has an obvious weakness—Henry. I tried to think realistically when writing her because I didn't want her to be a Mary Sue, a character who's too perfect to exist. Elsie is a pretty even-keeled person, so histrionics is not really her style, but she does have her moments when everything is just too much. I think we've all been there.
But what I really liked about her—and what some readers don't—is that she believed in Henry enough to give him another chance. She's willing to be vulnerable again, to run back out into the fray unprotected, because she knew without a doubt that they belonged together.
There are a LOT of challenging scenes and I'm sure you were "carried" away by some of it. Which parts did you bawl over or was the most difficult to write?
I bawled at least once during each novelette! Of course, in the first novelette, it was the deployment scene, which I experienced myself. That feeling of utter helplessness and dread; I'll never forget it.
Other scenes that made me emotional: the moment he stepped off the bus, the angry sex in RETREAT, and of course, that surprise in Dallas. But I think, one of the most moving for me to write was Jason's funeral, as told by Henry in The Henry Sessions. That scene was impossible to write without thinking about those who've died in the line of duty and the families they leave behind. It's making me teary-eyed right now just thinking about it.
Jason's funeral almost tore me up. Took a lot for me to get it together at that point. So DISARM started as a serial and now it's turned into a series. Did you know that you'll be writing ARREST or did that come after the DISARM compilation?
Henry and Elsie's story was meant to be over at CAPTURE, period, the end. However, while I was plotting the free short story (titled R&R), another story came to life, one where Henry was a police officer. I knew then that I had to write it because it was a chance for me to explore their marriage, to see what happens beyond the happily ever after.
So when Berkley (now a part of Penguin USA) made me a three-book offer, I took it. Three books not only meant I could write ARREST, it meant I could also write Julie's story! I was so excited for the opportunity to give her the happily ever after she deserves.
Julie's story!! SQUEE! How can I forget her?! She deserves her own HEA & Im happy she's getting it. Is SURRENDER her book? Can you give us a quick blurb and maybe a short line or phrase?
SURRENDER is indeed Julie's book! I'm not sure if I can share anything about the story yet but just know that writing about her past with Jason and her future with a new man requires a delicate balancing act. I don't want the reader to be too enamored with Jason because I want them to connect with the new guy, but I also don't want to make Julie and Jason's time together too trivial.
Julie is a lot more complicated than Elsie because she's also a single mom who's had to let go of her dreams in order to raise her son. SURRENDER will feature the men in her life, but this is definitely Julie's journey to letting go.
How many books are you planning to write for the series?
Only three. DISARM, ARREST, and SURRENDER.
Is there a big difference between writing serials and a full length novel for you?
Yes, huge! Before DISARM, it would take me a year to finish a novel. When I started to write DISARM, I was cranking out the novelettes in one to two weeks (the first one was written, edited, and ready to publish in about five days). I had the entire DISARM series written in about two and a half months (if my fuzzy math is correct), which is a record for me!
Writing ARREST was a much different process. It wasn't being released as novelettes, so I didn't have the pressure and encouragement from readers to fuel me. It took nearly eight months for ARREST to be done.
With the third novel, I'm once again trying to write it in novelette forms, finishing one part a week in order to meet my deadline. Fingers crossed!
Girl, Elsie and Henry have been through tough times and Elsie especially has to develop some adamantium spine to withstand the blows! What is up with these two in ARREST?
Adamantium spine indeed! Elsie will definitely need it in ARREST because, as all police officers' wives know, being married to a cop is no easy feat. I don't want to say too much, but just know that it won't be easy for the newlyweds. It would make for a boring story if it were.
I'm currently trying to finish Heading East, the second half of the True North Series, about the loner Kat and the mysterious West. I'm afraid I'm a little behind on it actually (sorry to those who are waiting!!). I'll hopefully have Heading East done soon, but my first priority right now is meeting my SURRENDER deadline.
After those two are done, my next project is a series of 4 novellas about four friends who live together. Each novella will feature a different character, but there is an underlying thread tying them all together. I'm so excited to start it because it will have a different kind of hero—a nerdy kind of hero. It should be a fun challenge!
As I am a fan now, what is Finding West about? Is this NA or adult contemporary?
Finding West is the first in the True North Series. It's about a woman named Kat who lives by herself in a cabin in Alaska, with only her dog for company. She's independent, strong, and a prickly kind of character. One night she finds a stranger passed out on the side of the road and, even though she really didn't want to, she pulled him from the snow and took him home. So begins the story of the mysterious West and how his lack of identity helps Kat find her own. Heading East is the sequel.
It is an adult contemporary (though I've seen some people label it as NA) and is fairly steamy. To compare, if DISARM is a 3.5-4 on the scale, Finding West is about a 3.
Where can fans catch you (author signings, readings, etc.)?
I'm a little bit of an introvert and the idea of book signings and such just scare the hell out of me!
With that said, I am going to have a book launch party on February 8, here in Miramar, Florida. The details are up on my FB page (www.facebook.com/AuthorJuneGray).
Also, I'm almost 80% sure that I'll appear at a She-Writes event at The Miramar Library on March 15.
In Twitter fashion, why should the Supies read DISARM?
140 characters, right? Here we go:
"DISARM: The military romance that will break your heart and put it back together again."
I know it sucks, I'm sorry! I hope people still read it!
Don't worry about it, I'm sure they still will.
June Gray is a daydreamer who was born in the Philippines, raised in Australia, and now calls the United States home. At the age of ten she penned a short story inspired by a Judy Blume novel and has been unable to stop writing since. She resides in California with her family. She loves to titillate and enrage, to break the reader's heart and put it back together again.
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