Bru Baker on Characters, Writing, and Hiding in Plain Sight (the last in the Camp H.O.W.L. trilogy)

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Hiding In Plain Sight (Camp H.O.W.L. #3) by Bru Baker 

Dreamspun Beyond Title from Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art:  Aaron Anderson

Buy links:

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Dreamspinner Press

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Bru Baker today on tour for her latest release, Hiding in Plain Sight. Welcome, Bru!

 

~  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Bru Baker ~

 

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I think those are two totally different animals. We make our characters richer by using our own experiences to help shape them. That’s a far cry from a Mary Sue character where we’re inserting ourselves into the story and living vicariously through a character. Readers connect with our characters when they have personalities that leap off the page, and the way we as authors accomplish that is by giving them strong feelings and experiences that can appeal to a variety of people. Some of our first impressions of Harris in the opening scene of Hiding in Plain Sight tells the reader he loves sleeping in on his rare days off and he has a low tolerance for cutesy couples and PDA. These are traits I share, and Harris’s sarcastic take on them is definitely influenced by me. But that doesn’t mean Harris has my personality or that I’m envisioning myself as Harris as I write. Instead, by choosing a few things that I feel passionately about to include in his character, I’m able to write him with real emotions and quirks that I can easily describe to build a scene for the readers.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

I read everything that wasn’t nailed down. I still would, if I had unlimited time in the day! I think reading across a broad swathe of genres has made me more well-rounded as a writer. I also went through a period where I was obsessed with thrillers, and I’m having fun incorporating some suspenseful elements in the Camp H.O.W.L. series. That will continue into the spin-off series, since the first book features a shifter NYPD detective and a werewolf who ends up on the wrong end of a crime ring.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Both! There are definitely times where I like that HEA wrapped up for me in a bow, both as a writer and a reader. But I also love shorter-form stories that end with that HFN and that delicious promise of an undefined but assumed amazing future for the couple. If I can end a book on a happy sigh, that’s a good ending–whether it’s an epilogue showing the couple married and established in their future or one that ends shortly after their first kiss and dangles the promise of that HEA down the road.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

As a teenager I read all the romance of all genres I could get my hands on. Nora Roberts’ early books are still comfort reads for me, as well as Danielle Steel and of course, the Harlequin category romance books. The first book with romantic elements I read was Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, stolen off my mother’s bookshelf when I was around nine. I feel like that explains a lot about my choice to write romance with erotic elements.

As an adult I still enjoy reading broadly across the romance genres. Paranormal, romantic suspense, gothic romance, category romance, historicals, contemporaries–basically as long as it has some great banter and a swoon-worthy love story, I’m in.

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 think it all comes down to the author’s skill in showcasing all the facets of a flawed person’s character. One of my favorite romantic characters in fiction is Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, and it’s hard to find a character more flawed than him. He’s by all accounts unlovable, but we understand why and we see how that haunts him, and we see him try, at least as best he can. For me, that’s what makes a character real and relatable. I don’t want to read (or write) someone who has a perfect life. I want characters who make mistakes and have fatal flaws but still manage to find love despite them.

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I’m drawn to people who are comfortable with who they are as a person. Someone who has the confidence to be flawed or quirky and finds happiness in that despite what anyone else might think of them. Luna Lovegood is one of my favorite characters in the Harry Potter series because she’s unapologetically herself. I love being with people who have a passion for something–even if it’s something I don’t personally care about. If they have the ability to throw all of themselves into something it usually means they’ll do the same for a relationship. (It also often means they’ll forget to eat/pick up the kids/be human, which is probably why I have developed such a love taking care of people!)

I do tend to write characters who share the same passions and hobbies as the people I surround myself with . Most of the main characters I write have a deeply rooted sarcastic side or a quirky sense of humor, and that comes from my circle of friends and family, too.

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

I have multiple folders of unfinished WIPs on my hard drive, as I imagine most authors do. As readers have to put a book aside because it’s not the right fit for our mood, and the same thing happens to authors. Sometimes you have that lightning-strike moment where you feverishly plot out a book and you’re able to stay with that until it’s finished, and sometimes it’s a plod and you feel like you can’t do it justice at that moment. I wish I could say I’ve picked all those up and run with them later, but I probably have 20 or so unfinished WIPs, some pushing 50 to 60,000 words, in those WIP folders.

I did recently pull one out and finish it. Downward Facing Dreamboat is a novella that was part of a giveaway on Instafreebie a few weeks ago, and I hope to offer it in Kindle Unlimited soon.

What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m currently working on another Dreamspun Desires book that was inspired by an unexpected overnight layover in Dallas on my way home from the Romantic Times convention in Reno earlier this year. I’m also working on edits for the spin-off series for Camp H.O.W.L., which will follow the wolves to New York City as they integrate with the Connoll Pack. We’ll get to explore all the Supes we learned about in Hiding in Plain Sight and more, since the city is a hotbed for Supernaturals!

Blurb:

Hiding in Plain Sight: A Camp H.O.W.L. Novel


Happily ever after is right under their noses.

Harris has been keeping a big secret for years—his unrequited mate bond with his best friend, Jackson. He’s convinced himself that having Jackson in his life is enough. That, and his work at Camp H.O.W.L., keeps him going.

Things get complicated when Jackson applies for a high-ranking Tribunal job in New York City—far from Camp H.O.W.L. The position requires he relinquish all Pack bonds… and that’s when his wolf decides to choose a mate. Suddenly Jackson sees his best friend in a sizzling new light.

Their chemistry is through the roof, but they’re setting themselves up for broken hearts—and broken bonds—if Jackson can’t figure out a way to balance his career and the love that’s just been waiting for him to take notice.

About the Author

Bru Baker writes sophisticated gay romantic fiction with strong characters, real-world problems, and plenty of humor.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Whether it’s 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.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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