Published May 21st 2019
Cover Art: Alexandria Corza
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kim Fielding here today talking about writing, characters, and the latest story in her Stars from Peril series, Redesigning Landry Bishop. Welcome, Kim.
Hi! Kim Fielding here to celebrate the release of my new novel, Redesigning Landry Bishop.
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 it’s often inevitable that fiction authors include some of their own experiences in their books―maybe those experiences even inspired some stories in the first place. The distinction here is that the characters should react to those experiences in a way that’s true to themselves and the stories, rather than reflecting what the author did or wants to do. For example in my new book, as soon as Landry Bishop graduated from high school, he moved to California and created a more glamorous version of himself. I left my hometown as soon as I graduated college, but I’m no more glamorous now then I was then. And unlike Landry, I love opportunities to go back and visit the place where I grew up.
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 doing research. It’s sort of an occupational hazard since my day job is university professor. But even if I didn’t enjoy it, I still believe that all genres―not just historicals―benefit from research. Readers bring various areas of expertise to their readings, and mistakes often pull them out of a story or cause them to abandon a book entirely. My new book is a contemporary that required me to look up lots of things about Los Angeles, men’s fashion, luxury cars, the Nebraska Sandhills, hip restaurants, and Seattle roadways, among others. For my sci-fi novel Astounding! I spent hours researching the physical layout and power output of Bonneville Dam and figuring out the amount of energy necessary to convert a noncorporeal alien to physical mass. (I hope no government agencies were tracking my Google searches during that process.) My Ennek fantasy series needed a lot of background work on geography and the Roman Empire. When I was working on my paranormal Bones series, I spent a lot of time reading about wolves (the real kind, not shifters). So even when I’m making up worlds and cultures, I find research critical for consistency and believability.
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?
Not exactly, but I’ve certainly struggled to continue. Probably my worst time was when writing The Tin Box―a book I’m very proud of now. The problem there was twofold. First off, my protagonist, William, is really uptight at the beginning. He’s in denial about his own sexuality and, consequently, isn’t very warm to Colby at the start. Colby is out, proud, and a trifle flamboyant. I knew why William was like this, and I knew he’d grow as a person, but writing him was still difficult at first. Even worse, though, was writing the letters that William discovers in the former mental hospital. I hated what was happening to the man who wrote those letters, even more so because those things actually happened to far too many gay men during that era. I’m glad I soldiered on and finished the book, but it was hard going for a while.
Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?
I rarely read romances as a teen. That was back in the Stone Age, and I found the depictions of women in most of those (het romance) books off-putting. Back then, I mostly stuck to fantasy, horror, and sci fi, although I enjoyed some of the gothic novels that sort of straddled romance and horror. Fourteen-year-old me adored Flowers in the Attic. My reading habits changed when I was older. For one thing, gay romance became widely available, and I fell in love with that genre. Also, het romance matured, and now I find the range of heroines much more relatable and sympathetic. I’ve also discovered that there are some truly excellent writers in both gay and het romance.
How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part)
This varies a bit, depending on whether the book is self-published or released through a publisher. In either case, though, I generally have a vague concept that I give the cover artist. I’ll describe the characters and the tone, because the cover for an angsty paranormal should look very different from a light contemporary. Then I let the artist do their thing. I never cease to be amazed at how well these talented people can take my germ of an idea and nurture it into something amazing. I’ve even had a couple of my favorite covers made into posters and framed; they’re hanging on my wall right now. I consider myself hugely lucky to have worked with these artists. Sometimes I think it would be worth writing books just to score the beautiful cover art.
If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?
I can―and do!―write almost anywhere, although I do the bulk of my work sitting at the kitchen table. One of my favorite places to write is in hotel rooms, probably because there isn’t much to distract me. But I have a dream. I’m staying at a resort on the shores of a tropical sea. My private bungalow is set on stilts in the water. The glass walls open completely, allowing the warm breeze to ruffle the white curtains and carry the faint scent of flowers. Outside, dolphins frolic. Inside I have a huge bed, a big desk, and a comfy chair. At the press of a button, scantily-clad waiters bring me trays of fruit, pastries, and cold drinks. Aaaahhhh.
What’s next for you as a writer?
The third book in the Stars from Peril series, Drawing the Prince, will release in October. If you’re in the mood for something with more angst, the third Love Can’t book will come out early next year. That one is called Love Has No Direction. I’m also working now on the fifth novella in the Bureau series, plus I have projects going with Venona Keyes and with Shira Anthony. Busy!
Love never goes out of style.
Landry Bishop fled his tiny hometown and never looked back. Now his expertise in food, fashion, and décor has earned him all of Hollywood’s glittering perks. But with his husband deceased and his personal assistant retired, Landry has nobody to rely on—and no one to help him indulge his secret cravings.
Casual, plainspoken Jordan Stryker seems a dubious choice of a PA for someone as formal and self-controlled as Landry. Jordan’s questionable fashion sense and limited kitchen skills don’t exactly enhance his résumé. But as Landry soon realizes, Jordan has many attractive qualities too.
With a strong pull toward Jordan, new career opportunities on the horizon, and a persistent tug from family back home, Landry is in a quandary. He can advise others on how to make their lives special, but what should he do about his own?
Half an hour later, while Landry was puttering around with an experimental tabbouleh recipe, Jordan and Elaine joined him in the kitchen. “Try this,” he ordered, handing them each a spoonful.
Jordan made approving noises, but Elaine frowned. “That’s not a grain.”
“For the love of God, why?”
“For people who want to eat grain-free.”
“If you don’t want to eat grains, you shouldn’t be eating tabbouleh.” She took Jordan’s spoon along with her own and washed them in the sink.
“I like it,” Jordan announced. “It’s kind of crunchyish.” He seemed sincere.
“Thank you,” Landry said.
“Hey, um, you didn’t really have an important phone call, did you?”
“No. That was Elaine rescuing me.”
“I kinda figured. Except… I hope this doesn’t sound rude, but why did you need rescuing? Those guys were hot. That whole thing was like the opening of a pretty good porno, you know? If they’d been all over me like that, I sure as hell wouldn’t have wanted rescuing.”
Landry pushed aside the interesting information that Jordan was attracted to men. His PA’s sexual orientation was irrelevant. He also pushed aside a stupid and inexplicable jab of jealousy. If Jordan wanted to fantasize about group sex with hunky furniture deliverymen, that was none of Landry’s business. So he focused on the question itself.
“Why do you think those extremely attractive men were so interested in me?”
“Um, because they were throwing themselves all over you.”
“Yes, I suppose they were. But why? Why me?”
“’Cause you’re damned hot too.”
Even as Landry’s face heated at the unexpected compliment, Jordan’s cheeks turned a charming shade of pink. Interesting. Their gazes locked so tightly that Landry wondered if either of them would ever look away. Or if he wanted them to.
About the Author
Kim Fielding is the bestselling, award-winning 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.
Having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls California home. She lives there with her family 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.