Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review, Interview, Giveaway: Breakfall by Kate Pavelle

BREAKFALL Final Banner
  Breakfall by Kate Pavelle
Publication Date: June 27, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, LGBT, Romance  
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Synopsis: Fall Trilogy: Book One

Sexual assault doesn't discriminate. Aikido instructor Sean Gallaway learns that when he falls prey to a violent stalker. Asbjorn Lund, a karate sensei on campus and a Navy vet, yearns to teach Sean how to survive. How to overcome. How to recover. Sean feels hunted and alone as the stalker escalates, testing his boundaries. With the entire dojo at his back, Sean resolves to play bait. He will catch the predator stalking him and reclaim his sense of self if it's the last thing he does. Yet Sean's hunger for justice clashes with Asbjorn's protective streak, and their budding romance might not survive their war of wills.
Adina Falling


4 Stars

Asbjorn is still grieving Tiger's death when he meets the aikido instrutor, Sean. He pretends to be a martial arts beginner when he himself is a karate instructor in order to get into the aikido club and build connections. Sean is super confident in his martial arts and uses it to beat up a group of men ganging up on a kid in an alley. However, one of the men got away and comes back for revenge on him.

Sean is a master at aikido but is ignorant of other martial arts. When he gets attacked in his own home, he feels defeated and weak. All his years of studying aikido seems like a waste. Asbjorn forces Sean to accept help and branch out to study various fighting techniques. At the end of the story, Sean gives the impression of being resilient and adaptable to changes in life.

This story is action-packed with lots of fighting, drinking, and main characters acting macho. Neither of the MCs say they are gay, but they experiment and comfort each other in the bedroom. They gradually fall deeper in love, but don't know how to express it. Each of them thinks the relationship would be easier if the other was a girl. At least then they would know how to act based on their experiences and societal expectations. They love their independence but smothers the other with too much attention. It is interesting to watch them struggle to find a compromise and figure out how to date a gay man.

This story incorporates a lot of Japanese culture. The author uses some language specific to martial arts and describes traditional Japanese clothing. It adds more appeal to the study and I learned some new things about Japanese martial arts.

Overall, the story is fast paced with the right amount of romance and action. I could do without the abrupt cliffhanger ending leading to the next book in the series. If the ending is neatly wrapped up without hinting at the next book, it would have been perfect. Sean and Asbjorn are great characters with tough backgrounds and realistic personalities. I definitely recommend this story to fans of Japanese culture, martial arts, and a slow romance.

Author Interview: 

1. This story sounds very intense and well researched. Was this based on a true story?

Yes. And, no. Even though I did teach an aikido club in college and a bad guy taught me that it’s not the ideal martial art under the circumstances described, I did fictionalize the events. The whole “attack-recovery-play bait-put him in jail” part really did happen. And yes, it was amazingly intense!
All the martial arts described are the ones I’ve played with to a greater or lesser extent. Like, I wouldn’t write a book on boxing, because for me that’s a spectator sport. Currently, I’m struggling with karate and the associated Okinawan farming tools we use for weapons. Japanese sword is very challenging for me, because I’m a slow learner.

When it comes to location, I’ve moved the story to Boston because I used to live there. Also, I did not use any specifics that would tie me to the old case. Unlike in Sean’s case, my perp is a real person, still alive, and currently out of jail. I’d hate to stir the nest and have him come after me like he said he would.

One reason why this story involves two men and not a heterosexual couple is an effort to keep my profile slightly low. It’s a fine balance: I want to attract attention of the readers, but I don’t want to put myself into a situation where I’d have to use my hard-earned skills. The second reason is emotional distance. Yes, “Breakfall” is intense – and it was so hard to write it at first, I found that changing genders gave me a filter through which I could view what happened and draw on those old emotions and memories without becoming overwhelmed. It’s a cop-out, but I’m willing to live with it.

2. What message do you want readers to take away with?

We can all become a statistic. Regardless of gender, physical build, or training, anyone can become a victim of sexual assault. Predators tend to not play fair, and a weapon or a rape drug will down the most prepared person. Because sexual assault is so prevalent, I made no bones about the nature of the book in the blurb. Statistically speaking, about a third of my readers either was, or will be, in Sean’s shoes at some point in their lives.

The takeaway: You are not alone. You are not powerless. Survive. Lose the battle, but win the war. Doing your part in bringing a predator to justice is great therapy – and you save the next person, or even several, from the same experience down the line. Being scared is natural – but not letting the bad guy win is a great antidote to fear.

3. What's next for this series?

“Swordfall” is Book 2 in the Fall Trilogy. Where “Breakfall” is about Sean and the way he handles the situation, “Swordfall” is about Asbjorn and his coping skills when things go bad. You should be aware that “Breakfall” ends on a cliff-hanger.  The sequel addresses means of neutralizing the enemy once the system has failed.

4. What genre would you like to try writing that you haven't yet?

Aside from romance, thrillers, and memoirs, I’d love to write science fiction. But I’m scared of it! Sci-fi relies on keeping the world internally consistent. I am an “organic writer,” not an “outliner.” I think it would be a lot harder to keep my facts in order unless I outlined first, but that’s like a kiss of death to my creativity. Once I know what happens in the end, I feel absolutely no motivation to actually generate those 70,000 words!

5. Can you share with us something off your bucket list?

Sure! In Western storytelling, it’s traditional for things to come in threes… you’ll probably pursuits in my other books, too:

1. I’d like to successfully brain-tan deer hide at home. My husband won’t let me, though, because last time I tried, we ended up with maggots in the driveway and the post office almost stopped mail delivery. (We learned not to kick the bucket with water and the writhing mass over in the driveway, because deer hair gets stuck in old concrete. It reeked of decomp for weeks… you aren’t eating, are you? Oh, good.)

2. I’d like to finish an Olympic-length triathlon without coming to personal harm. Right now, I can do a Sprint, which is a lot shorter. I’m not fast, so I’d like to finish during daylight, and before all the snacks at the finish line are gone. Just sayin’.

3. I’d like to ride a horse well enough to shoot a bow from horseback. And hit a big, round target! (See, I’m keeping it all modest and realistic.) I’d have to get a lot better at both archery and riding first, though! Especially riding.

Thank you for having me over. I hope you enjoy Sean and Asbjorn in all their glory!

About the Author
Kate Pavelle

Just about everything Kate Pavelle writes is colored by her life experiences, whether the book in your hand is romance, mystery, or adventure. Kate grew up under a totalitarian regime behind the Iron Curtain. In her life, she has been a hungry refugee and a hopeful immigrant, a crime victim and a force of lawful vengeance, a humble employee and a business owner, an unemployed free-lancer and a corporate executive, a scientist and an artist, a storyteller volunteering for her local storytelling guild, a martial artist, and a triathlete. Kate’s frequent travels imbue her stories with local color from places both exotic and mundane.
Kate Pavelle is encouraged in her writing by her husband, children and pets, and tries not to kill her extensive garden in her free time. Out of the five and a half languages she speaks, English is her favorite comfort zone.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a very interesting book. Can't wait to read it.