Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Lex Chase and Bru Baker here today to share with our reader something about their latest novel, Some Assembly Required and the process of writing it together. Welcome, Lex and Bru!
Hello, everyone! I’m Lex Chase and I want to thank Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me here today as a part of the Some Assembly Required blog tour! What is Some Assembly Required, you ask? It ís a fluffy meet-cute I had co-written with Bru Baker about two dead guys who meet in the afterlife in CASA, a big box affordable home furnishings store, which happens to be purgatory. And you say, “That’s a thing?” Oh, yes. Yes, indeed. And you never knew you needed it until now.
In this post, Bru and I have done a two-part interview. She got me to chat over at Open Skye Book Reviews, and now I’m putting her in the hot seat over here.
Bru and I come from radically different backgrounds as writers. She writes fluffy feel good contemporary that makes you feel warm and cozy on the inside. I write sci-fi/fantasy with guys that kiss as well as kick ass. I’m in my element writing elaborate battle scenes, bloodletting, beheadings, and body counts. As I always say: Its never a party until something explodes into a magnificent fireball.
So, Bru has joined me as I ask her a few questions!
What was the scariest part about writing more paranormal for you?
Bru: I am utterly terrified of worldbuilding. I have mad respect for writers who can do it well, but I’m not really one of them. So it was a relief that Some Assembly Required is kind of paranormal-lite, with a gentle introduction to the ghostly aspects and a contemporary feel for Benji and Patrick’s actual relationship. As much as CASA is its own character, we really didn’t bog the book down with too many detailed explanations about how purgatory worked. And every time you would go off on a worldbuilding tangent or try to work in a detailed paranormal storyline that wasn’t necessary, I would reel you back in, even if it meant literally sending texts that said things like ‘You can’t make that explode.’ You did manage to work in a few bits of massive destruction, but at least our beloved CASA was still standing at the end of it.
What did you dread most about going in a more paranormal direction or co-writing? (Did it come to pass?)
Bru: I hate paranormal books that are just retreads of old standards, and I was anticipating it being really difficult to put our own spin on a paranormal plot. That fear fizzled about ten seconds into our first brainstorming session because it was clear you felt the same way I did. We worked hard to come up with something that was different and interesting, and I’m really proud of it.
I was also worried about whether or not our writing would mesh, but it worked out better than I could have hoped. Our styles really do fit together perfectly.
I’m a planner, you’re a pantser. How did you feel when I gently (okay not at all gently) tried to steer you in creating an outline together? What is it about planning that makes you break out into hives?
Bru: Oh, man. So you have to understand, my idea of planning something out is writing a synopsis. We’re talking a few paragraphs that give the general arc of the plot and that’s about it. When we started writing Some Assembly Required there was this spreadsheet with multiple tabs and character summaries and chapter summaries that were more detailed than I usually am with an entire book synopsis…yeah. It was so far outside my comfort zone, but it was absolutely what we needed for this book.
We also wrote linearly, which is a first for me. I write more organically, hopping around and writing whichever scene is in my mind that day. I generally go into a book knowing a few key scenes and the plot arc and the rest just falls into place as I write. So having the action in every chapter nailed down was hard for me, and it led to a good deal more writer’s block than usually have, but you were always there to talk me through it.
You write such adorkable, sweet guys. What is it about the ‘Goody-Goody Guys’ that get you going?
Bru: I love banter and connections that go deeper than just physical attraction, and I’m almost always a fan of the slow build. So I need my characters to be well fleshed out and real with flaws and dorky moments they can bond over together. In Some Assembly Required, Benji is 100 percent sweet and goofy, and it was fun to write someone who isn’t bogged down with a lot of angst. I tend to have sweet characters with stormy backgrounds because I like to write about how they work through things and come out the other side stronger and more sure of themselves.† But I also need to connect to them and have the reader connect to them, and that’s harder to do when the character is a big jerk. And you can’t have witty banter when both characters are terse and uninteresting. So…dorky characters FTW.
You do realize, we wrote a book about dead guys meeting in the afterlife in a home furnishings store. And no one stopped us. Do you think we need we need adult supervision?
Bru: Well, we kind of do have adult supervision in the form of our editor at Dreamspinner Press, and she’s egging us on after not only encouraging us to write this book but also accepting our three-book proposal about a paranormal online dating service run by a Djinn. So I think we’re absolved of all blame here. It’s really her fault.
Question for you guys! Did you ever do something outside of your comfort zone? Did you enjoy it? Or vow to Never.†Do.†It.†Again. (Mine was going on Splash Mountain at Disney World. NOPE.)†
Tell us and don’t forget to record your entry on the giveaway widget!
Everyone wishes they were dead when wandering the purgatory of a home furnishings store, but these guys actually are.
Benji Goss is the quintessential good guy. When his boyfriend dumps him and moves out, Benji obligingly keeps the catóeven though heís allergicóbecause his exís new place doesnít accept pets. Heís always joked the cat would be the death of him, but not in a way he expects when a feline mishap crushes him under a DEL TORO bookcase.
Snarky loner Patrick Bryant is in such a rut he barely remembers the life he used to lead. The last thing he recalls is being decapitated by a DEL TORO bookcase in a freak accident. As a spiritual CASA resident, he haunts the aisles of affordable Italian furniture, assisting fellow spirits in moving on to their final destinations.
When Benji appears in the CASA cafÈ, Patrick considers the naÔve spirit just the man to cure his boredom. Benjiís relentless optimism chips away at Patrickís sarcasm, making him question if thereís something beyond what he can see. But the heart is like CASA furnitureóthereís always some assembly required.
About the Authors:
Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “Weíre all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.
Weaving tales of sweeping cinematic adventure,depending on how she feels that day, Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.
Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, and she unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldnít last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.
Bru Baker got her first taste of life as a writer at the tender age of four when she started publishing a weekly newspaper for her family. What they called nosiness she called a nose for news, and no one was surprised when she ended up with degrees in journalism and political science and started a career in journalism.
Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now works in reference and readers’ advisory in a Midwestern library, though she still finds it hard to believe someone’s willing to pay her to talk about books all day. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether itís creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.
Did you ever do something outside of your comfort zone? Did you enjoy it? Or vow to Never.†Do.†It.†Again.
Blog Tour Stops:
2/8 – The Novel Approach and Release Day!
2/9 – Gay List Book Reviews
2/9 -†My Fiction Nook
2/10 – Love Bytes Reviews
2/10 – Divine Magazine
2/11 -†Open Skye Book Reviews
2/17 – Joyfully Jay