Building Forever is the first in a series of standalone novels focused on older characters who think love has passed them by. I loved writing these second chance romances, and I hope you enjoy reading about the books—especially this one because Charlie and Simon will forever be the characters who started me on this journey.
About Building Forever
A new town, a new neighbor, and a new chance to build a forever.
Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.
Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.
But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.
Building Forever Playlist
One of the joys of putting together a playlist for a series featuring older characters was picking some of the music I grew up with. I don’t tend to stick to one era or style of music for my playlists, but usually, they’re more influenced by what I hear on the radio. For this one, I picked some contemporary awesomeness, and then took a trip down memory lane, where I rediscovered some old favorites.
“Wish I Knew You” by The Revivalists
The perfect song for a second chance romance between two people who meet later in life! While listening to this one, I like to imagine Simon gazing at Charlie and wondering about who Charlie was before they met. Simon doesn’t feel as though he’s missed out on much in life, but he hasn’t always lived loudly and fully, and it’s obvious that Charlie has. For Charlie’s part, I think he’d have enjoyed knowing a younger Simon, if only so he could cajole a smile out of someone who was probably way too serious for his age.
“Drive” by Incubus
This song might seem more obviously for Simon. He’s lived a quiet, somewhat predictable life, and his greatest fear about entering a relationship with Charlie is that he might not be the one behind the wheel. A part of his journey in Building Forever is realizing that that’s not necessarily true.
The song also works for Charlie on a deeper level. He’s tired of being behind the wheel—but also afraid of being there—and he really needs to come to terms with the idea of letting someone else drive for a while.
“Blue Skies” by Willie Nelson
Is this not the perfect love song? In the first scene of the book—the first page—Simon walks into Charlie’s life and Charlie has a moment. He’s standing there, cracker crumbs clinging to his lips, lost in the deep blue of Simon’s eyes. He’s seeing Willie Nelson’s blue skies and something inside him yearns to unfold beneath their brightness.
I also love this song for their romance because while it had a rocky start, I believe they’ll spend the rest of their lives deriving joy from the existence of each other, even when they’re not seeing eye to eye. In other words, for Simon and Charlie, it’s “nothin’ but blue skies from now on.”
“Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
This song might seem more obviously for Charlie. He’s an only child, an only son, and he’s lived a life ruled by relatively simple choices. When he got his girlfriend pregnant, he decided he wanted to be a husband and father. When his wife died, he decided to do his best not to fail his daughter. To him, these were no brainers. The challenge in life, for Charlie, has been choosing something just for him. His writing has been that, in a way, but Simon is the choice that will change everything.
The song also fits Simon, though, in that the lyrics embody his philosophy when it comes to life. Simon is the epitome of a simple man. He’s a good friend, a caring lover, and one of the most forgiving men I’ve ever written. He’s decent and kind. And though he enjoys small luxuries, he lives a simple and honest life.
“Scar Tissue” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
The characters in this series are all older than I usually write, most of them being in their late forties, one already fifty. Life leads to scars and these characters have them, in varying shades and depths. Even Charlie, who is the youngest at thirty-six.
Charlie’s scars are obvious: with the death of his wife, he lost the love of his life. An accident might have precipitated their marriage, but he obviously never looked back. Simon’s scars are a little less visible. He left home before his family could reject him, found himself in college, and embarked on a career he chose. Then he let a man he loved break his heart slowly over more than a decade—all because he didn’t believe fully in himself.
The lyrics don’t quite fit as they are, but I like to imagine that Simon and Charlie are no longer lonely. Now they have someone other than the birds with whom they can share the view.
“Telegraph Road” by Dire Straits
Here it is, my favorite Dire Straits song, from my favorite Dire Straits album—and, obviously, I’ve been waiting for the perfect book to use it with. This is Simon’s journey. He doesn’t realize it, but this is what Simon brings to Bethlehem with him. Yes, the community is already there and Charlie is a part of it. But before Simon arrives, Charlie is merely existing. Charlie is the land and Simon brings him to life. And as a result, Bethlehem comes to life for Simon in a way no town has before.
I know, I’m weird. Either way, enjoy the song! And if you pick up the book, enjoy reading one of the most profound love stories I’ve ever written.
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 — releasing October 15, available now!
- Renewing Forever — releasing November 12, available for preorder!
Forever — releasing December 10, available soon!
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:
● Website: kellyjensenwrites.com
● Facebook: www.facebook.com/kellyjensenwrites/
● Twitter: twitter.com/kmkjensen
● Tumblr: kmkjensen.tumblr.com/
● Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/kmkjensen/
● Instagram: www.instagram.com/kellyjensenwrites/
To celebrate the release of Building 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 October 20, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!