As Is This Love? has just been released as an ebook (on Kindle and all other ebook platforms) and in paperback, I’ve decided to interview its unusual hero, Jed. Tamara had a crush on him when she was ten and he was fourteen (and hardly knew she existed) and although the adult Jed is not at all how Tamara Rix would have expected him to turn out, that attraction lingers …
Q So, Jed, what brought you back to Middledip? You left when you were fourteen.
A I wanted to come back straight away, but I didn’t know how. Dad moved the family away and then he and Mum split up. I stayed with Mum and she wanted to stay with her new job, so I felt stuck.
Two things brought me back as an adult. One was my boss, Mr H. He was looking for somewhere secluded in the country, where he could feel safe, after a couple of nasty experiences, either directly or indirectly connected to his personal wealth. When I was looking for suitable properties I saw that Lie Low was on the market. It was just outside Middledip and I knew it slightly from when I was a kid. It was just right. The other thing that brought be back was the Rix family. I had a teenage thing going with the eldest daughter, Lyddie, before I left. Then she was hurt in a hit-and-run accident. Someone told me who was driving the car, so I had to go back and tell the family. Not a task I enjoyed.
Q What had changed in your absence?
A Tamara and Lyddie! Lyddie acquired head injury in the accident. It’s heartbreaking to see that she needs more care than most adults and that she’s irrevocably lost the future that she was entitled to.
And Tamara … wow. When I left the village she was a stick drawing. Now she’s all grown up. The first time I saw her again, I lost the power of speech. She was so bright and clean and healthy. She sort of vibrated into the room.
Q What about your life? What happened while you were away?
A [Several seconds of silence.] It was all quite unexpected. I didn’t react well when Mum and Dad split up. I was just sixteen and my stepbrother, Manny, was living in an unconventional way. I went and joined him. I suppose you could say I dropped out of society for a while. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It’s a hard and uncomfortable existence and it’s not easy to find a way back to what most people would term normal life.
Q Intriguing! So how did you get back to normality?
A In a surprise move, Manny joined the army. It made me reassess things. I fell into a full-time job and there was someone in that organisation who let me work my way up to my present position.
Q Who was that?
A My employer.
Q Who is he?
A A businessman.
Q What was the job?
A Making his life run smoothly.
Q OK. I’ll come at things a different way. What did you learn from your past?
A To take care of myself, to deal with situations decisively and never take for granted a comfortable bed or a hot bath.
Q You don’t seem keen to talk about it. I’ll ask you about something else. What do you think of Tamara Rix?
A Tamara, wow. She’s so incredibly hot. She has a lot of qualities that have caught my attention. She’s intelligent, compassionate, stunning and has integrity. Integrity that gets in the way, sometimes. She’s a yoga instructor, you know? I had always thought yoga was exercise for wussies but she’s as toned as a panther.
She’s very giving to those she loves, like her sister.
Q And you?
A Me …? She can’t make her mind up about me.