Who is Malcolm Montgomery?
I always have a hard time with January. I don’t know if it’s because it’s cold AF outside, or I’m feeling let down from the holidays. I just tend to feel a bit down in January. This year, I felt worse than usual. I had four friends pass away in 2017, and it had been a really tough year for other reasons. By the time New Year’s Eve arrived, I pretty much fell across the finish line gasping and panting and really needing a hand up before I could start thinking about a new year. On top of that, I had a book to write.
So, it came as no surprise that Malcolm Montgomery starts out in Chasing Forever as somewhat depressed. He’s an athlete with two broken legs and a definite family man yearning for more company than a bear of a cat and a super cool collection of gaming miniatures. I hadn’t intended him to be such a downer, but when my editor kindly pointed out that his first two chapters were depressing, I could definitely see what she was talking about. Thankfully, I was in a better place mentally when it came time to edits—but also, over the course of the book Mal had proven that while he was down, he definitely wasn’t out.
One of the things I love about writing is how my characters grow on the page. I do fairly detailed character studies before I begin each novel, but although I know a lot about their backstories, and have an idea of what they want and how the plan to get it, so much of my character’s eventual story arc is the result of interaction within the story. It’s not until I write a couple together that I really get a feel for how they’ll react. That’s when I really have to figure out how their relationship will grow and what I can do to challenge it, all while still telling the story I set out to write.
Mal grew so much on the page. At the beginning of the book, he is recovering from the fourth surgery to repair his legs. He’s wearing a huge brace on his right leg and uses crutches to get around. His brother has always been a permanent fixture in Mal’s life, but after having Donny pretty much camping out at his place to help him do everyday life, Mal’s feeling a bit over-coddled. He loves Donny, but wants to start doing stuff for himself. But, when he’s presented with a new opportunity at work—leadership of the high school LGBTQ society—Mal isn’t at all sure he’s up to the challenge.
While Mal is shy and quiet, however, he’s no doormat—and this is an absolutely essential part of his character. He’s been knocked down twice now: a career ending football injury in college, and now a permanent end to competitive running. Both times, he changed direction and happened into something that suited him better. He’s a fantastic teacher. Loved by his students and respected by the school. The same qualities that make him a good teacher also make him a great mentor, and when he takes over the LGBTQ society, he puts all of his energy into it, going so far as to recruit another man who needs a change in direction: Brian Kenway.
It’s an ingenious plan and wonderful insight into Mal’s character. Because he’s quiet, people often mistake him for being spineless. So they’re surprised when they run into the wall of man that he really is, which brings me to another aspect of Mal’s character I quite enjoy: he’s a big guy. Not huge, but obviously someone who is physical. I loved giving him the personality of someone who takes up less space and having Brian respond to that.
Finally, it’s who Mal is with Brian—who he becomes—that pleases me the most. Because he’s awkward and anxious, it’d be easy to assume he’s been dumped too many times, or has been cheated on. That he’s scarred in a way that will make his relationship with Brian even more difficult. What comes out, however, is that Mal is quite capable of standing up for himself and what he wants, and it’s only when he reaches for that, for a guy like Brian, that this magical connection happens. Because Brian really needs someone like Mal. Someone who will invite a chase. Someone worth chasing. But it was important to me that this relationship be as good a fit for Mal as it was for Brian, so Mal had to be the one to set those parameters. To be the kind of guy who could not only say, “you’ll have to chase me,” but be worth the catch.
Brian certainly thinks he’s worth it and I do too. Mal is the complete package. He’s warm and kind, a family man just waiting for his family, a mentor and a very good friend. But he’s also good at protecting himself and the people he loves, and he’s capable of doing more. Wants to do more. He and Brian are going to do great things together. I hope you’ll agree.
To view my visual inspiration for Mal, Brian, and the setting for Chasing Forever, visit my Pinterest board. https://www.pinterest.com/kmkjensen/chasing-forever-this-time-forever-3/
Chasing Forever is the final book in the series This Time Forever. Brian and Mal’s story is special in all sorts of ways. Even though these books all standalone, Brian has been there since the beginning–as the character everyone loved to hate in the first book, and the character who seemed to have more to him in book two. In this final story, I share who Brian really is, and hope you’ll all come to love him as much as I do. Then there’s Mal, his other half, my serious soldier who has been waiting all his life for a challenge like Brian. Sometimes we have to be knocked lower than ever before in order to reach that high, and Mal’s journey is one I treasure. I hope you enjoy reading this story of redemption and learning to live out loud.
About Chasing Forever
Old wounds, new directions, and a forever worth chasing.
Malcolm Montgomery was a history teacher and track coach until an accident left him with two broken legs. He’ll recover, but life has knocked his feet out twice now. He’s not sure if he’s ready to try again, especially when it comes to love—and slick guys like Brian Kenway. Still, he needs help mentoring the school’s LGBTQ society, so he asks Brian to take some responsibility.
Brian has been hiding behind his reputation as a liar and a cheat for so long that he actually believes he’s that guy—until his nephew, Josh, turns up on his couch, tossed out for being gay. Brian has never considered being a father, but he knows all about being rejected by loved ones. Now Brian wants to be more: a partner for Mal and a role model for Josh.
But when Mal’s recovery is set back and the sad truth of Brian’s past is revealed, the forever they’ve been chasing seems even further from their grasps. It’ll take a rescue effort to revive their sense of worth and make Brian, Mal, and Josh into a family of their own.
About the This Time Forever Series
Small towns and second chances.
Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.
This time it’s forever.
This series includes:
- Building Forever — released October 15
- Renewing Forever — released November 12
- Chasing Forever — released December 10
About Kelly Jensen
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.
Connect with Kelly:
To celebrate the release of Chasing Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 15, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!