Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 21, 2018
Cover Artist:L.C. Chase
Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback
Dreamspinner Press, Buchanan House series page
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Charley Descoteaux here today talking about writing, characters and the lastest in the Buchanan House series, Art House. Welcome, Charley.
Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words Interview with Charley Descoteaux
Hello & thank you for visiting me on my Art House tour! I’m thrilled to be here—thank you for having me!
Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?
Yes and no. From the age of nine I loved sci fi—I watched episodes of Star Trek (the original series) every chance I got, and read anything I could get my hands on that was set in space. As a teenager, though, I read (and re-read) S. E. Hinton. It felt almost impossible to find books with characters who were like me—who didn’t live fancy, exciting lives and always got everything they wanted in the end. It took until I discovered Romance (by “borrowing” my mom’s when I was about 13) before I understood that escaping into a contemporary (or historical) book could be just as satisfying as heading out into space.
How much of yourself goes into a character?
They all get something from me, usually when I’m getting to know them. Once I get past the halfway point in the draft a story begins to take on a life of its own—and so do the characters. When that happens the characters are more like someone who’s had similar life experiences than fictional versions of me. In Art House, I gave the main characters pieces of invisible disabilities I deal with, but they experience depression and anxiety in their own unique ways.
Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why?
Right now, Art House is my favorite. I think my favorite among my stories changes based on what stage the story is in—when I’m drafting or releasing a story, that one will be my favorite. If I didn’t have a new release, I’d probably say my favorite was either Torque or Speedbump. Both are under my other pen name, and are more bisexual fiction than Romance, but I think those are the stories I’m most proud of.
If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”? Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?
I hope not! I love complex and conflicted characters—the more flawed the better! Hopefully that doesn’t make it impossible for readers to empathize with my characters. It’s true, many readers are looking for an escape, and not everyone loves angst as much as I do, but I think it’s worse for a character to be “too perfect” than to have so many flaws they might be read as “too real.”
Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story? Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?
All. The. Time. I didn’t get much in the way of parenting while I was growing up so I learned most of what I know about how to be a good human from books. First I got that information by reading them, and then by writing them. I tend to work through issues in abstract ways, though, and usually don’t recognize the way my characters’ problems intersect with my own until after the book is drafted. Or edited. 😉
If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?
At the beach! I love the beach but haven’t been very often in the past five years or so. In February I went on an author retreat, though, and that was ideal. We had an Air BnB right on the coast and those few days were paradise on Earth!
What’s next for you as a writer?
This is a hard question, one I’ve been struggling with lately. I’m not sure what I want to write, and since I’ll probably never be able to write full time the joy is the most important thing for me. I’m open to suggestions!
Seriously. Suggest away! Every suggestion is an entry to my giveaway! At the end of the tour every name will go into a hat and the winner will get a signed paperback of Art House, some Buchanan House and Dreamspinner swag, and a surprise or two. This giveaway is worldwide.
While you’re thinking about what I should do next, here’s an excerpt from Art House.
Chase woke a half hour later feeling more rested than he had in the past two weeks of nights. And then realized he was alone in the large bed. He didn’t need to open his eyes to know that Garrett wasn’t lying beside him. His throat constricted, and in that moment, he thought he experienced true despair.
He rolled toward Garrett’s side of the bed, the sheet that might still smell like him, depending on how long ago he’d gone, and saw him. Garrett was sitting on the floor beside his easel, curled into a ball, hugging his legs and drawing on the wall near the floor. Beautifully nude. Garrett must have heard the rustle of the bed because his hand stopped.
“Are you tagging the bedroom wall?”
Garrett turned his head and rested his cheek on his knee. His smile warmed Chase to the marrow of his bones. “Sorry.”
“Finish it? I love watching you work.”
Garrett’s smile turned a touch shy and he resumed his work, not quite turning away to do so. Chase meant what he said about watching, but at the moment he couldn’t spare much energy for the actual content of said work. He was happy to lounge on the bed and watch the fine muscles in Garrett’s arm and shoulder, to draw his gaze down his lean torso and the curve of his delectable ass.
“You’re the most talented artist I’ve ever seen.”
“Am not,” Garrett answered quickly, with a smile in his voice. “You’re better.”
Chase sputtered out something that passed for laughter. “What? That’s crazy. I paint the equivalent of hipster advertisements. Corporate art.” Chase waved at the canvases in the corner nearest the door—views of Mt. Hood and Multnomah Falls and the Japanese Gardens in various stages of completion. He’d had more trouble than usual keeping his mind on a single canvas, but it didn’t matter much when the paintings were destined to hang in Puddle Jumper’s dining room to replace the ones purchased by tourists. He did like the two versions of the Portland Oregon sign, though: he’d replaced the words “Portland Oregon” on the iconic sign with the name of a local band on one, and a popular microbrewery on the other. At least they’re different.
“Just because you do that, doesn’t mean that’s all you can do.”
About Art House...
Chase Holland spends his days painting Portland scenes to hang in local businesses, neglecting his own surrealist style. After twenty-five years as a full-time artist, he’s frustrated that his career has stalled, but churning out the equivalent of corporate art is better than getting a day job. Chase and Garrett have been together—off and on, but mostly on—for a decade. If asked, they would both say the source of their trouble is the seventeen-year age gap. The truth is less clear-cut. Life would be so much easier if Chase could make a living with his own art, or if Garrett held less conventional ideas about relationships.
Garrett Frisch has been watching their friends get married for the past two years, and it’s taking an emotional toll. When he proposes as a way to keep them together permanently, he thinks he’s being responsible, but Chase is ambivalent and hurt and can’t hide it. It doesn’t help that Garrett’s anxiety is out of control and he’s dealing with insecurities about his own art career. They will have to do their least favorite thing—talk about something more important than which food cart to visit—if they are to get the happy ending they both want.
About the Author
Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.
Rattle Charley’s cages: