Title: Linear Park
Author: Ken Harrison
Series: States of Love
Release Date: 11/22/2017
Sean and Nick’s life together was a fairy tale: childhood friends who became lovers, high school sweethearts who married after college, both handsome professionals. Sean always enjoyed a few drinks, but after the death of his father, his alcoholism spiraled out of control… and it cost him everything.
When Sean loses his job and becomes too surly and unreasonable to live with, Nick has little choice but to end the relationship. Sean can’t blame Nick for giving up—not after the arguments and the lies—but he longs for the happiness and love they shared before he spoiled everything. He resolves to get sober and win back his husband. But even if he wins his battle with alcoholism, will it be too late to save his marriage?
When I wrote Linear Park, it was to get back into publishing after a year and a half hiatus (I closed Seventh Window Publications, where I was the editor and owner, in December 2015). To get back into the business, this time as a writer, I decided to work on something personal, which is why I chose recovery as a topic for a romance about forgiveness and the power of love.
When Linear Park begins, Sean is going into his third month of sobriety. I chose starting the story at this time because it made it easier to rush through the darker parts of addiction, and it’s also when you become very introspective—at least it was for me. Sean does a lot of soul searching, looking back at his relationship with his estranged husband and how his addiction came in the way of his personal and professional lives. This is a very difficult time and one that can be very painful, especially when you realize how often you blamed your drinking on other people and refused to see the truth standing in front of you. There’s a scene in Linear Park when Sean is in recovery and meets Rachel, a woman who lost her husband because of her addiction. Although Sean fears he may have also lost his husband for the same reason, he refuses to acknowledge the connection he has with Rachel.
Excerpt, Linear Park, Chapter 3
Sean was glad when she was done and some rugged guy full of tattoos regaled them with stories about prison. Sean tuned him out, nodding and smiling like he was paying attention. Then bits and pieces of Rachel’s story popped in his head, how sorry she was for ruining her marriage and how much she longed to see her children again. He didn’t want to think about Rachel, so he tuned back in to the tattoo guy, who was going on about his drunken tirades, robbing stores and breaking into houses.
–End of excerpt–
At this point Sean is early in his recovery and fighting it. Later in the chapter he’s made to talk about his addiction, but it doesn’t go well and he tries to leave.
Excerpt, Linear Park, Chapter 3
He stopped. Everybody was looking at him, all those faces, those people. He tried to catch his breath, to calm himself. He took a deep breath, held it, then let it out slowly. “I’m fine.” He took another breath, let it out. “I just… I have to stop, you know. I can’t….” He wrapped his arms around himself and rocked, then got up, put on his coat and slowly made his way to the exit.
When he got to the door, there was a hand on his back, small and delicate. It was Rachel, her dark eyes set deep in her slender face. Her voice was soft, almost a whisper. “I lost my husband, too.”
–End of excerpt–
Even when you’re in recovery, you fight it. Accepting your addiction is a difficult process, but it’s the first step to reclaiming your life. And for Sean, like many people, it was the only choice he had.
By the time I had the third draft of Linear Park written, I was glad it was only a novella. Writing it brought back so many memories, both painful and joyous, and it was an emotional roller-coaster. At the time I was a little over two years sober and getting ready to marry my husband, who I met in recovery.
During the writing process he and I talked about our recovery, what we were like before and what we’re working on in ourselves today. And because Linear Park is part of the States of Love series, we also got to talk about our home state of Rhode Island.
Recovery is a lifelong process, which I hope comes through in the story. When I was in the editing process, one of the editors told me that she knows somebody who has suffered from addiction and it helped her better understand his struggle. For me, that made it all worthwhile.
About Ken Harrison
Back in the nineties, Ken Harrison wrote erotic short stories for several gay skin magazines and published three short story collections (Daddy’s Boys; Young, Hung and Ready for Action; and Ten Thick Inches). He stopped writing in 2001 to start a small press, Seventh Window Publications, and worked with several great authors and artists. He closed Seventh Window Publications in December 2015. After a year and a half away, he realized that publishing was a big part of his life and went back to writing.
When he isn’t writing, he enjoys cooking, web design, blowing bubbles in the park, dressing up in costumes, and entertaining. Halloween is his favorite holiday and his house is a popular stop for the neighborhood kids. He believes that the only thing better than telling a good story is watching people enjoy his food.
Ken lives in Rhode Island with his husband, who is an avid reader.