Ante Up by Kim Fielding
A Dreamspun Beyond Title
Available for Purchase from Dreamspinner Press
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kim Fielding on her tour with Ante Up. Welcome, Kim, and thank you for sitting down and answering some of our author questions.
Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?
I love research. Seriously. My day job is university professor, so research is in my blood. It’s fun to do, but it’s also really important to me to get even small details right. I don’t want readers to be jolted out of a story due to an inaccuracy. Sometimes this means I spend hours trying to figure something out, like when needed to know whether a jollyboat can be lowered from a ship by the people in the jollyboat, or whether it has to be lowered from the bigger ship. Or the time I researched the likely average cost of a healthy male slave in 15th century Bosnia.
Research is just as important for imaginary worlds—maybe more so, actually. Even an imaginary place has to be plausible. For example, my Ennek trilogy takes place in an alternate universe in which the Roman Empire eventually reached the Americas. My city-state of Praesidium is located where our San Francisco sits, and the level of industrialization is roughly equal to the late 19th century. So I had to look stuff up. Was there indoor plumbing back then? (Yes.) What were the native fauna and flora before urban sprawl set in? What kinds of ships were in use? Yes, this brings us back to the jollyboat question (and the answer is yes, it can be lowered from within the jollyboat).
Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?
Absolutely. As a kid, I heavily favored speculative fiction of all kinds—fantasy, sci-fi, horror, etc. Some of my favorite authors included Ursula LeGuin, Madeleine L’Engle, Stephen King, Lloyd Alexander, E.E. Nesbitt, Peter S. Beagle…. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Now I write in a variety of genres. In fact, I write in almost all of them, it seems. But spec fic remains my most common and most comfortable home. I love how it allows me to mix things up. Vampire mobsters in Vegas (Ante Up). Hipster architect werewolves (the Bones series). A noir detective story with paranormal elements (the Bureau series). Looking over my lengthy ideas file, I’d say about 80% of my plot bunnies are spec fic.
Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it? You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?
No, mostly because I force myself to finish one story before beginning the next. But I can think of several stories where I experienced true anxiety and distress because of what I was about to put the characters through. The Tin Box is an example of this. So is Motel. Pool. And I once wrote a long fanfic (Spike/Xander *g*) in which one character had to betray another really horribly. That was awful to write. Sometimes, though, stories must include these difficult times, so I just need to soldier through. Sniff. I hope my own emotional turmoil makes the story more resonant for readers.
Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?
I don’t think I have a preference. HEA is nice because it’s so satisfying and optimistic. Especially when RL times are difficult, I think we all need some truly happy endings. But I’m also a big fan of the ambiguity HFN can offer. An HFN is more complex and more akin to real life. It leaves more room for speculation and imagination. So yeah. I like both.
Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?
I didn’t read them until I began writing them. I think partly that was because I found traditional romances limiting. I didn’t identify well with any of the heroines and was easily frustrated by them. I did, however, occasionally read gothic or horror stories with romance elements. When I was about 14 my friend and I had a wonderful time reading the Flowers in the Attic series—I think we felt very daring for reading them. Ditto with Judy Blume’s Forever. And I’ve always loved Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily.” That’s a romance. Sort of.
Nowadays I read a lot of romances, mainly m/m. There are many talented authors in the genre, which offers a lot more diversity than the books I rejected as a kid.
How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?
I think ebooks offer a lot of advantages. Portability is a huge one. I travel a lot, and instead of lugging books along, I can just bring my Kindle—or my phone. Ebooks are also a great option for those who are visually impaired, since it’s easy to change font size and audio’s often an option. The instant gratification aspect is great too. I’ve downloaded books in all sorts of places, like on a train outside Barcelona, on a cruise ship, and in airplanes.
On the other hand, I also love the feel of physical books. And I much prefer browsing a bookstore to browsing online. I think a lot of people share these feelings, so although I believe ebooks will continue to grow in popularity, I don’t see the end of print anytime soon.
How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part)
I have personal preferences for cover art—I tend to like strong graphic elements and tend to avoid the naked-floating-torsos-over-a-landscape. But the art also has to reflect the tone and subject of the story and has to be eye-catching. And there are decisions to be made about drawn covers v. photo covers, each of which has its pluses and minuses. I often have a vague general concept for the art, which I describe to the artist. I’ve been lucky to work with some extremely talented cover artists who not only listen to my ideas but often vastly improve on them. Sometimes artists will offer me several alternative versions to choose from, and often the initial design needs a little tweaking. I always get really excited when the cover is completed. I’ve even had a couple of covers—The Pillar and Venetian Masks—made into posters, which I framed and hung on my wall. And honestly? Sometimes I just pet my cover and gloat.
Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why?
Well, I love all of my children, of course, but my favorite depends on my mood. One I’m especially proud of is The Tin Box, because in addition to being a romance story, that book offers a view of the real and shameful history of how we’ve treated both homosexuality and mental illness. A lot of people aren’t aware of that history, and I hope the book opens some eyes while also offering hope for the future.
What’s next for you as an author?
Um… a lot. Ready? My Christmas novella, Dear Ruth, releases December 1, or folks can get it as part of Dreamspinner’s Advent Calendar subscription. Next year, I have contemporary novels releasing in March and April—A Full Plate and The Little Library, respectively—and a suspense thriller called Jaxon Powers in the fall. I’ll also be releasing another novella or two in the paranormal Bureau series. I have some audiobook projects planned with K.C. Kelly and Joel Leslie. I’m looking for a publishing home for a noir private-eye novel in a medieval fantasy setting. Right now I’m working on a contemporary about a lifestyle guru, plus Venona Keyes and I are writing the sequel to Running Blind. I also have some live appearances planned. Life is busy!
Love is a high-stakes game.
A century and a half ago, Ante Novak died on a Croatian battlefield—and rose three days later as a vampire. Now he haunts Las Vegas, stealing blood and money from drunken gamblers and staying on the fringe of the powerful vampire organization known as the Shadows. His existence feels empty and meaningless until he meets beautiful Peter Gehrardi, who can influence others with his thoughts.
An attraction flares instantly, bringing a semblance of life to Ante’s dead heart. But the Shadows want Peter too, and they’re willing to kill to get him. As Ante and Peter flee, they learn more about themselves and each other, and they discover that the world is a stranger place than either of them imagined. With enemies at their heels and old mistakes coming back to exact a price, how can Ante and Peter find sanctuary?
About the Author
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.
A complete list of Kim’s books: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/kim-fieldings-books/