Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Date of Publication: September 1st 2014
Number of pages: 185
Cover Artist: Shari Ryan
Jason Barnes is a free spirit. Underneath that fun-loving surface lurks a severe case of PTSD, his personal souvenir from the war on terror. After his young marriage breaks up, he bounces from girlfriend to girlfriend, never allowing himself to get too close, all while maintaining a friendship with his ex-wife, Samantha Colton.
Everything changes when he meets Abby Jacobsen, a smart and sassy artist – but with love comes jealousy, and Abby doesn’t stand for Jason’s cozy friendship with Samantha. Two hours after a heated argument causes Jason to storm out of their apartment, Abby receives a phone call from the intensive care unit of a New Hampshire hospital. The hospital walls close in on Abby and Samantha as they are forced to make tough decisions while trying hard not to kill each other. The two form a rare bond when Emma Jane, Jason’s mom, arrives on the scene. Three weeks after Jason’s accident, Abby is left alone and hovering over a handful of positive pregnancy tests. During her pregnancy, Abby works with Samantha to dig up clues of Jason’s past. As the truth is discovered, their worlds are irreversibly changed.
An emotionally-moving look at PTSD and the intersection of three lives, Saving Jason is a riveting glimpse into unexpected friendships and the ripples we leave without our knowledge.
Samantha is nice. I don’t know why I ever worried about the two of them. If they were the last two strangers on earth, I couldn’t picture them together. She is so conservative and softspoken, where Jason is loud and uninhibited. I suppose I could see them young together, before life got real. Maybe they fit together like two puzzle pieces—where she had spaces and indents, he extended himself to fit into them smoothly, if only for a few years before their shapes grew and formed into different configurations.
"Good morning." I look up as Samantha folds herself into the booth in the hospital café, our official meeting spot.
"I snuck in some good coffee from my dad’s house. Godiva, my favorite." She slides a plastic togo mug over to me, suspicious eyes darting around the cafeteria as if she’s committing a crime. "Cream and two Splenda, just the way you like it.”
"This is a tiny slice of heaven." I take a sip of the smoldering rich coffee, robust flavors of hazelnut dominating my taste buds. "You’ve spoiled me; I’ll never be able to drink this hospital mud again."
"Alex calls me a coffee snob. And I certainly cannot deny it."
For a moment the two of us are just friends exchanging trinkets of our lives and we forget why we are here. Jason is our common bond. She has his past, and I am hanging on to what he may or may not have of a future.
Even though PTSD has been around for as long as we have had war, under the guise of various names, it's not a highly publicized or talked about matter. What made you chose this subject for you book?
The topic of PTSD actually kind of found me. Having been in the military myself, I’ve had several friends experience the harsh realities of war and I’ve witnessed firsthand what it can do to a person. Those in combat forces are trained to be strong and always put on a brave face. They signed up to not only defend their country but also their fellow soldiers. Oftentimes even those with severe PTSD won’t admit their pain because that means that they will be taken off of a battlefield that they have built bonds on. In some sense, the combat itself is the easy part for them, but when they come home, it’s another story. They are thrown into a world of normalcy but their minds are still trying to dig through the turmoil of what they experienced in combat. An example of this is the 4th of July. While the rest of the country celebrates the 4th of July with fireworks, these vets go into hiding as the sound of the blasts in the sky take them right back to the front line. While there are a lot of great organizations out there backing up PTSD education, it still somehow falls under the radar more than it should.
My debut novel, Saving Jason, depicts the strain that PTSD can cause on a family and relationships. Jason Barnes, the main character, is a combat veteran who suffers from severe PTSD. The story is told from two different perspectives-one is his current girlfriend and the other is his ex-wife. While Jason appears to be a free spirit with an upbeat personality, the reader gains insight to the anguish that silently haunts him. As the story unfolds, Jason’s secrets surface and you learn that there are always different sides to a story and it takes every character in the novel to ultimately save Jason.
While this is fiction, Jason’s character is based on a close friend of mine. The struggle with educating the world on PTSD is that even if we have loved ones who serve, their hardships go unnoticed because they don’t allow their pain to surface. Like all issues that don’t get taken care of, these thoughts cultivate in the privacy of their own mind, which ultimately causes more damage. I’m pretty sure there aren’t many veterans out there who want us to go digging through their pain and questioning them, but simply bringing awareness to this topic and educating the world would be a colossal benefit to them. After all, I think it’s time that we reciprocate the ultimate sacrifice that they have made for us.
EJ Hanagan writes women’s fiction with a focus on strong female characters. An emotionally-moving look at PTSD and the intersection of three lives forever changed, Saving Jason is a riveting glimpse into lives intertwined, unexpected friendships, and the ripples we leave without our knowledge.
EJ will be awarding a $50 Starbucks GC to a randomly selected winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
EJ Hanagan is a fitness fanatic, obsessive reader and animal lover. She currently lives in a sleepy little beach town just outside of Boston with her husband, their new aughter, and the family’s two giant Newfoundland dogs. After spending four years in the Air Force, she put her fire for fitness to good use and worked as a personal trainer while attending college. EJ credits the amazing, brave people she met in the military for giving her the passion and focus to raise awareness for veterans with PTSD. Her hope is to bring the invisible scars of war to the surface through her writing and community involvement.
You can learn more about EJ, her books, and her charity work at www.ejhanagan.com.
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