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A few years back, Thrice Read Books had the privilege of sitting down with debut author Gloria Joynt-Lang to talk about her first novel, Beyond Circumstances. Unfortunately, a few months after the release, the publishing house had to close its doors, and Ms. Joynt-Lang’s book was off the market. We’re very excited to welcome her back to our bookshelves with her release of Braking Hard.
Jenn: Could you tell our readers a little about your new novel, Braking Hard?
Gloria: Braking Hard is a contemporary romance novel set in a fictional coastal town in Oregon. It follows Gage O’Neill a mechanic with ADHD who happens to be the co-owner of Big C’s Automotive. When his business partner passes away, Gage’s life unravels. Navigating through his own grief leads to a series of mishaps. In an effort to stop Big C’s from tanking, Gage hires Eden Sampario, a woman who’s had her own struggles. Working in a male-dominated profession has taken a toll on her. The last thing she needs is to complicate her life by dating the boss. Braking Hard is a friends-to-lovers romance with a unique neurodiversity twist.
Jenn: How long has Braking Hard been in the making?
Gloria: I started writing Braking Hard two years ago. I had a few obstacles along the way including searching for a new publisher. I also went through a bit of health issue which derailed me from writing. I ended up with daily headaches and light sensitivity issues. For several months I couldn’t even check my emails let alone open my laptop. Blue light from electronic devices is the worst. Fortunately, it turned out to be a pinched nerve and thus treatable. Numerous trips to the chiropractor and yoga sessions helped me to realign my body. I was so thankful when the problem went away as I feared my writing days were over. I’m pretty much back to where I was before.
Jenn: I imagine there was considerable research with Braking Hard? How did you approach the research?
Gloria: I love doing research as it’s an opportunity to experience new things. For Braking Hard I convinced my husband we needed to take a road trip to the Oregon coast. We still talk about how much fun we had. It was quite an adventure. We booked this old Airstream trailer in a farmer’s field one night. The on-line pictures seemed rather quaint. Other than the small mattress, it was kind of romantic. The only problem was that by the time we arrived down a very narrow road late at night, we were exhausted. Thankfully, our hosts had pancake mix, s’mores and a bottle of wine for us. Who would have thought red wine pairs so nicely with flapjacks? We took our two small dogs with us. A lot of places ban pets on the beach but not Oregon. I would go back in a second.
Other parts of the research dealt with talking to people with ADHD and hours reading about the disorder. This was more difficult. Peoples’ experiences differ and there’s some contradictory information. I tried to focus on the commonalities of people with ADHD while being respectful of how different people handle the challenges. In Braking Hard there’s a scene where Gage opens up to Eden about his struggles and what works and doesn’t work for him. I believe it’s done in a respectful manner and doesn’t discount the variety of therapies and medication available to help people manage.
Jenn: What inspired Gage and Eden’s story?
Gloria: There’s a fair amount of information and dialogue on kids with ADHD, but we often forget about the adults. There’s a percentage of kids with ADHD who symptoms lessen as they get older, but for some, it’s a lifelong battle. I wanted to show not only the struggles but also a man who‘s successful. There are positive aspects of ADHD and these traits help Gage when it comes to being a mechanic and also a friend.
When it came to Eden, my goal was to create a feminine character who’s independent and tough with a degree of vulnerability. She’s in a male-dominated profession and had some horrible experiences with men. Her family situation is so different than Gage. He comes from a large family. They’re boisterous and meddlesome but love him with great intensity. With Eden there’s just her and her mom. They have a strained relationship because of her mother’s choices. Eden’s vulnerability comes from wanting to fit in both at work and in the community but also afraid of getting too close to others. People have this annoying tendency to disappoint.
Jenn: Is this your first published novel?
Gloria: No, this is the second one. My first novel was published in 2018. Unfortunately, a few months after Beyond Circumstances’ release, the publisher ended up closing shop. At the time I was devasted, but I learned a lot from that experience. The rights were returned to me, so I plan to relaunch it. I have two other novels as part of that series which I’m polishing up and hoping to get published.
Braking Hard is published through The Wild Rose Press and is the first in the Storm Harbor series. I already started on the next book and I’ve got some great ideas for the third.
Jenn: What advice would you give to aspiring authors looking to get published?
Gloria: Rejection is part of the process. It’s extremely rare for an author to be offered a contract on their first query. Most of us get turned down numerous times, especially on the first book. If you find you’re getting rejected a crazy amount of times, look at what you can do differently. Is it your story, your writing style, poor grammar? Some agents and publishers tell you what you’re doing wrong. Beta readers and critique partners also help to point you in the right direction.
Jenn: Are you are a pantser or a planner when it comes to your writing style?
Gloria: I’m more of a pantser. I do jot a few ideas as they come to me and try to organize them into a scene, but normally I just type as it flows from my brain. Perhaps that’s why I spend a considerable amount of time doing self-edits and chopping out the excessive wordage.
Jenn: So, Braking Hard hits the shelves February 12, but you mentioned that you have more in the works for this series. Care to elaborate.
Gloria: The second novel in the Storm Harbor Series follows Gage’s cousin Cole. There are a few signs in Braking Hard that Cole is ready to settle down. Cole’s a bit of wild one so he needs a woman who will challenge him. Expect some fireworks in this enemies-to-lovers story. And there’s going to be a cat in it. I’m a dog lover so felines are foreign territory to me. I doubt I’ll be able to convince my husband we need to adopt a cat—in the name of research—so I’ll be turning to readers to educate me on all things feline.
Jenn: On behalf of Thrice Read Books, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk today.
Also by Gloria Joynt-Lang
Braking Hard (coming soon)