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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host R.K. Staunton here today to talk about her latest story, Gabriel, the latest in the Order of the Black Knights series from Dreamspinners Press. Welcome, R.K.!
~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words R.K. Staunton Interview ~
How much of yourself goes into a character?
I think at least a little of myself goes into every character I write or have ever written. We have small commonalities. For instance, at one point in my life I wanted to be a social worker and work in foster care like Lucas in Gabriel. For one reason or another, that never worked out for me, but that early ambition made its way into Lucas’s character.
At the same time, my characters are very much their own people. They have their own voices, and their own ideas that are often very different from what I think they’re going to do. Writers talk a lot about whether we outline or not and how much we outline. I fall somewhere in between in that I attempt to outline important parts but leave a lot of the getting there open, and I say that I attempt to outline because no matter how much I try the characters still seem to somehow change things up in the middle on me.
Gabriel is probably the character who is most different from me. He’s a hard-edged assassin, and I tend to be far more of the caregiver type.
Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?
I’ve been voraciously reading romances since I was about 16. I write the kind of stories that I like to read. Gabriel is my first M/M book, but I’ve been a reader for years. Personally, I think it’s essential that you know your genre as a reader before you try to write it.
Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?
I’m a sucker for HEA. I’m a hopeless romantic who wants happily ever after. HFN is okay, but to me, it seems like more of a stopgap along the road to HEA than a true ending. When stories end in HFN, I always find myself wanting to know what happens next. It doesn’t feel like all the loose ends are tied up for me with that kind of ending.
How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part)
Honestly, I don’t really have a method to choosing covers. It’s all about which one feels like it fits a particular story best. If I had to summarize it, I usually pick photos that look like the characters to me first. Then I’ll get a general idea of what I want as the look of the cover. Often, it doesn’t all come together until I’ve have a title, and that can be at any point in the book. I went into Gabriel knowing the title because all the books in the series are named after the knight featured in the book, but in the past, there have been times when I haven’t known the title until the very end of the book. On at least one occasion, I called the book by one title throughout the entire process then ended up changing it to something I thought fit better at the last minute. Sometimes, that would’ve also changed the cover, but it didn’t on that one.
Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why?
Not really. Trying to choose between my stories would be like trying to choose between my friends or even my children. I’m fond of each of them for different reasons. I do have favorite parts in every story that I especially like, but not a favorite book.
What’s next for you as an author?
For the next few months, I will be working on books that I’ll publish under my Ruth Staunton pen name. I publish books that feature spanking/domestic discipline under that pen name and more mainstream M/M books as RK Staunton. Prior to now, everything I have published as Ruth has been M/F, but the series I am working on for the remainder of this year will be M/M. For now, I have informally dubbed it my Geek Love series because at least one character in every couple is a technology geek. Those books will be out beginning in July with a crossover prequel, and the series proper will probably start sometime around September.
As for the next RK Staunton book, I’m toying with a sci-fi idea about a man whose partner disappears and is replaced with his genetic double, but no one believes this man when he says the double is not his partner. I have no idea when I’ll get around to writing that one though.
“I’ll call you tomorrow,” Gabriel went on, and Lucas nodded. He forced himself to unlock the door and push it open, and he felt more than saw Gabriel turn to go down the steps.
Gabriel froze midstep and immediately turned back to look at him.
“Do you even have my number?” he asked as he stopped in the open doorway and turned back to face Gabriel
Gabriel’s face shifted from confused to blank and back again. He took his phone from his pocket and thumbed through the contacts. “No,” he said after a moment, “I don’t guess I do.”
“It will be hard for you to call me, then,” Lucas teased, and he smiled despite his anxiety.
Gabriel jogged up the steps, and they traded phones and added their information to one another’s contacts. “Sorry. I wasn’t trying to blow you off.”
“I know,” Lucas said. He passed back Gabriel’s phone and pocketed his own. “Now you can call me tomorrow.”
“And I will,” Gabriel promised.
Lucas stepped back. He meant to say good-bye and close the door, but his hand closed over Gabriel’s wrist before his mind was even consciously aware of what his body was doing. “Don’t go,” he heard himself say, sounding like nothing so much as a child begging a parent to stay with them after a nightmare. “I can’t do this alone.”
He didn’t mean to say that out loud. Yes, he was terrified. He couldn’t remember the last time he even spoke to Eric’s father beyond the briefest of pleasantries when he answered the phone. And it was going to be hard enough to go into Eric’s room to find the number. He hadn’t set foot in Eric’s room since Eric had been gone. He wasn’t looking forward to doing that alone. But he wasn’t supposed to say so out loud.
About The Order of the Black Knights
Every century has seen its knights. But there are those who are never seen. They do what must be done—what has to be done—when nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s by the wizard Moriel, these men seem cold and hard, and it is said that some have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man who waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it out.
Through the ages, they’ve conquered and ruled and taken what they wanted. And they have adapted to modern times. Instead of being bullies for hire, they have taken their skills further—the Internet, the CIA, government infiltration, hacking, special ops, assassination, but each one of them has a need they don’t understand—to squash, kill, or destroy.
Blurb for Gabriel
Gabriel Ingram is running from his past. It’s common knowledge at the college where he teaches that he’s a former CIA technical analyst, but no one knows the things he really did—or about the rage and bloodlust that are his constant companions. He’s holding on to his normal life with both hands, but he knows someday he’ll lose his grip.
Lucas Craig is a social worker studying to become a family therapist. For reasons Lucas can’t understand, the normally reclusive Professor Ingram takes an interest in him, and Lucas secretly hopes their friendship might become more.
Then Eric, Lucas’s roommate, disappears. Lucas is frantic. The police are no help. With nowhere else to turn, Lucas begs Gabriel for his expertise.
What starts as a simple errand to help a friend becomes a journey into a violent world of gangs and human trafficking—one that will bring Gabriel face-to-face with the forces intent on stealing his soul. But Lucas might be the one who can save him—if Gabriel can get them out alive.
About the Author
RK Staunton rebelled against having a Christmas birthday in favor of making an unexpected debut in early fall, and she’s been doing the unexpected ever since. This tendency has resulted in many adventures, including a ten-year stint as a guide in that strange urban jungle called middle school. While entertaining, that expedition ultimately proved too harrowing. After finally making her escape, she turned to a quieter life masquerading as a crazy cat lady living in a small town in the southeastern US.
RK has lived with a menagerie of characters inside her head for as long as she can remember. In a desperate bid to preserve her sanity, she has begun to transcribe the tales they tell her. This endeavor has proven to be fun, occasionally profitable, and cheaper than therapy. It has also fueled raging addictions to caffeine and chocolate on top of her lifelong addiction to books, but everyone is entitled to a vice or three, right?
RK also writes spanking and domestic discipline romances as Ruth Staunton. Right now, these are M/F, but several M/M stories are coming later this year. You can find out more about those books and get a free story here.
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