Character Interview with Justin Jimenez of 3

I’m thrilled to announce that in celebration of the upcoming release (October 15, 2012) of 3 from Dreamspinner Press, I will be conducting a three-part interview series with the three main characters from the novel on “From Gay to Z.” Here, readers will get a chance to meet the characters and learn a little bit about Justin, Spencer, and Dutch prior to the book’s release.

To give everyone some background information, here’s the official blurb for 3:

Justin Jimenez has loved his partner, Spencer Harrison, for ten years. He’ll do anything for him—including bury his feelings for a man he met while he and Spencer were separated last year. Justin never planned to fall in love, and he certainly never planned to tell Spencer about it—but when a phone call wakes them in the middle of the night to inform Justin that his former lover, Dutch Keller, has been in an accident, he doesn’t have a choice.

Justin’s revelation shatters the fragile relationship he and Spencer were trying to rebuild. The weight of his guilt—both for hurting Spencer and for leaving a heartbroken Dutch to find solace in a bottle—crushes him. But what Justin doesn’t know is that Spencer and Dutch guard an explosive secret of their own. All three men are tangled in a communal web of lies, and unless they find the events in their lives that ultimately led them to friendship, passion, and betrayal, they won’t see the love at the heart of the pain.”

Today, I’ll be kicking off the interviews with Justin Jimenez, a high school principal at Burbank High School in San Antonio, Texas.

First of all, Justin, thanks for joining me here at “From Gay to Z.” I hope you didn’t have any difficulty finding the place.

Justin: Thanks for having me, and, well, I get lost pretty easy. I have no sense of direction. I always want to turn right for some reason!

It can’t be that bad, can it?

Justin: I wish it wasn’t, but it is. I don’t know if I’m just not paying attention to my surroundings or what, but I can get lost coming home from work. Now keep in mind, San Antonio always seems to be fixing itself. Detour here. Road construction there. If you miss your exit, you go for a mile or two in a completely different direction and then have no clue how to get back to where you need to go. It gets really confusing! Plus, today, I’m nervous, and when I’m this distracted, I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to going somewhere I’ve never been before.

Why are you so nervous?

Justin: Are you kidding me? This is my first public appearance. I’m not used to being put out there on display. It’s a tad overwhelming. It took me an hour just to do my hair!

Okay, so you have no sense of direction and a touch of vanity?

Justin: Hey! I’m not vain. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good. Is there?

No, I guess not. But an hour?

Justin: My hair doesn’t always want to behave. I have a pretty wicked cowlick, and when my hair gets longer, it’s more difficult to tame. If you want to talk vanity with someone, ask Spencer. Vanity and Spencer are best friends.

I’ll be sure to ask him about it, but we’re talking about you, not Spencer. So, tell us about yourself in three sentences or less.

Justin: (groaning) I’d rather talk about Spencer’s vanity. I hate talking about myself, but if you insist, here goes: I tend to be pretty focused on whatever I’m trying to accomplish. It’s what helped me move out of the barrio and create a different life for myself. Unfortunately, it had some side effects; I can be pretty darn stubborn and a tad selfish, as a result.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting more out of life. And being stubborn and selfish can sometimes help someone achieve those goals. But, what problems have those character traits created for you?

Justin: Wow, that’s pretty deep! But I have to say that I sometimes ignore the needs of others in my life in pursuit of what I want. It’s funny really. In order to achieve the life I always imagined, I had to stay focused on my ultimate goal. Nothing could stand in my way. Not people who thought I would never climb my way out of poverty or boyfriends who wanted me to ease up on my education or career to spend more time with them. I was a man on a mission. I had a path before me, and I had to walk it at my own pace. With or without anyone else. But now that I finally have the life I envisioned, a good job, financial stability, and a relationship, I need to work on opening my eyes more to the needs of those I love. I can’t have the only-child mentality anymore. The world is bigger than me and my wants.

That’s a pretty common conflict for only children, so I’m sure you’re not alone there. But since you bring up your family, tell us about them. How have they helped shape the man you are today?

Justin: They’ve had everything to do with the man I am. My mom and I are pretty close. As long as I’m happy, she’s happy. Same goes for everyone else in my family. They all support me unconditionally. Having that in my life has made me think that anything is possible.

Now, I know your father is a sensitive subject for you, but what about your relationship with him? How has that affected you?

Justin: The man is non-existent for me. He abandoned me and my mom a long time ago.

And it’s had no affect on you as an adult?

Justin: Well, it’s certainly created trust issues. One of my biggest fears is that someone I love will leave me the way he did. I mean, if a father can abandon his son, why can’t a lover just as easily pack up and walk out the door? That’s why I don’t do well with confrontation. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem wading into a disagreement, I can even provoke them, but on the inside I can’t help but wonder: is this it? Will he leave me after this fight?

That’s a pretty tough way to approach a relationship. Does it affect how you fall in love? Is it at first sight or does it happen over a period of time?

Justin: You know, you’d think it would be something that would happen over a period of time for me, but it hasn’t worked that way at all. When I fall in love, it’s like the universe has presented me with a gift that I just reach out and grab, not thinking about the consequences at all. For someone who lives on a pre-set path, that seems weird, I know, but for me falling in love has been, well, magical. Both times that it’s happened to me, that’s how it’s been. One minute I’m going about my life like usual, then BAM! I’m in love. That’s weird, right?

I don’t think so. How people fall in love is fascinating to me as a person and a reader. It’s not something we can control. If we could, I doubt love would truly exist. But since we’re on the subject of love, 3 is about your relationships with Spencer and Dutch, which seems quite complicated to the every day person. Without giving too much away, tell us about those relationships.  

Justin: That’s a tough one. All I’ll say is that our relationship goes beyond people’s preconceived notions of m/m/m fiction. It’s not about men who are led around by their, um, manhoods. I’m not saying we don’t have sex. We are human! But sex is really a minor part of our relationship. Our story is about the events that led us to a pretty difficult point in our lives. How we as men screwed up a lot of things, by lying to others but more importantly to ourselves. What we had to do was evaluate those mistakes and take a good hard look at our actions. It’s more of a journey, really. As for where we might end up, well, who ever knows how things will work out. All of us, readers included, will just have to wait and see.

Well, that’s all the time we have for today, Justin. Thanks for stopping by. I wish you good luck on your journey.

*blog post image from by photostock