JJ Harper author of gay romance novels
Writing happy endings one word at a time
Sunday Interview -
Good afternoon, guys. It’s great to see you again, and you’ve brought your men too, thank you.
Collective shouts and waves from them all: Hi, JJ, hi, Honeys!
We appreciate you giving up your time. I promise it won’t be too bad. I’m not going to ask too many personal questions. Ooh, thank you, Gus. (I’ve just been handed a Prosecco cocktail)
Are we ready to start?
More groans and they all seem to have a beer now.
Okay, here goes, and it’s an open question, so anyone can answer. Oh, don’t look so scared. One of the things that has been commented on the most is how you have become such a tight-knit family. How did that come about, and how does the dynamic work?
Max: When Jonas and I bought this place, about four years ago, Beck, Sawyer, and Leo were already working here. They had already become best friends. Each of them had a painful past, and they were looking out for each other. We weren’t sure how they’d get on with us or if we’d be able to become a part of them. But we didn’t need to worry. They were just as quick to be our friends. We’ve always had each other’s backs.
Gus: I think seeing them all get on so well quickly draw me in and made it so much more than a job for me. When I was attacked, they were amazingly supportive. We couldn’t work as closely together if we didn’t get on so well. Apart from when I flirted with Beck before I worked here. Max wasn’t too impressed with that.
Max: It was the first night we met, babe, and you gave Beck your number!
Beck is laughing so hard he’s just snorted, setting everyone else off.
What makes BAR 28 so different from all the other bars? Do you know why after four years it’s still the most popular bar in town?
Jonas: Apart from you writing about us, you mean? (He grins) I think we switch things up enough to keep it interesting. And we have the sexiest barmen who have the ability to turn on the charm for everyone. But the club downstairs is a big attraction. Two different spaces but on the same premises is convenient.
Leo: It’s a great place to hang out, whether it’s just for a couple of drinks or for a full night out. There’s no specific group of patrons. We can have a group of students in one side of the room and a couple out for a romantic night a few tables down, or maybe two friends who want to get together and talk and laugh all night.
Maybe it’s time to get more personal. (I look at the men, wondering which one to target first.) Sawyer, you found a different side of yourself when you found Devon. How surprised were you when you discovered what made you both the happiest?
Sawyer: I think having Devon give me a way to express myself and my feelings for him in a way I’d never been able to before. It was exhilarating. I was always the bigger man, the one who was supposed to be in charge, in the lead. And that wasn’t what I needed. Finding Devon is the best thing that has happened to me. Being his boy is a joy, the icing on the cake.
Your turn now, Gus and Max. You were the first to find your person, the special forever one. Did you ever think that a chance glance and a few words would turn into forever? Or was that just something that happened in books?
Gus: My plan for that night was to get a hookup, I was focused on my final year of my degree, and I was going to have one night before having to bury myself in my books for the next nine months. But from the moment I spoke to him, I realised he was someone special, that I could easily want more from him. At the time, I wasn’t going to let anything interrupt my studies. But after seeing him here when I came for the job, I knew there was no way I could let him go.
Max: I felt differently. I’d had enough of hookups and was ready for more, although I never thought that Gus was looking for anything more that night. But waking up to an empty bed and no way of finding him was a kick in the teeth. When he turned up here, I knew I had to make him mine.
Beck, I know you don’t want to give too much away about your story yet, but did you ever get to the point where you’d had enough of the others finding their person?
Beck: Not at all. I was happy when Leo and Sawyer got the good guy after the bad relationships they had been through. I knew that I wasn’t in the right headspace to trust myself if someone had turned up before. (He looks at the man next to him and smiles softly.) I knew I’d find someone when the time was right. I didn’t know I’d have to work quite as hard as I did, but it was worth it.
I guess that leaves Leo and Bruno, and Jonas. Who wants to go next?
Jonas shakes his head: No chance. You’re not dissecting my lonely existence. Not this time.
Well then, guys. It looks like it’s you two. Sue from the Honeys has asked if you still send each other random facts and where you find them.
Leo: Yeah, we do, although not so much when we’re together unless I see something I know will make him laugh. I leave Post-Its on his phone or coffee mug. But when we’re apart, it’s fun to still do it. And Google is the font of all knowledge.
How do you cope with being apart?
Bruno: It’s not great, but I try to keep it to a minimum. Leo has come with me a few times, and I love that. We always talk to each other every day, sometimes more than once. Knowing that Leo is safe from his past and has these guys with him makes it easier for me. It’s not going to be something I do forever, so we manage for now.
There’s just one more question to ask. Who’s going to get married first?
Everyone looks at Gus and Max.
Max: Everybody thinks it should be us, as we’ve been together the longest, but I’ll put my money on Leo and Bruno. They are the most impetuous out of all of us. They’ll probably just go and do it, then tell us.
Bruno: We kind of thought you'd know before us.
Sawyer and Devon give each other a secret smile.
Have I missed something, boys? I level them with a look that makes their smiles fade.
Devon: I’m not saying a word.
But he grins and kisses the knuckle above Sawyer’s ring finger.
Final comment, Are you looking forward to having us back again in a fortnight?
Beck smiles. We can’t wait.
Thank you so much. You’ve been awesome.
Max: Anytime, JJ. You know that.