Cover Art: Bree Archer
A Dreamspun Desire Novel
Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kim Fielding here today talking about writing, characters and her latest release in the Dreamspun Desires line from Dreamspinner Press, A Full Plate. Welcome, Kim.
~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Kim Fielding ~
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. Partly because I’m a great big nerd, partly because it’s an occupational hazard of my day job (university professor). Also, it really annoys me when the smallest details aren’t right.
Even when I make up an entire world, I do research to back it up. Imaginary universes feel a lot more real when they bear similarities to ours. That doesn’t mean I can’t embroider on reality—that’s the creative part—but the foundation is often based on what’s really out there. For example, the city of Tellomer exists only in my novel Brute, but to build it, I did a lot of research on medieval cities and castles. The town of Rattlesnake is fictional too, but it’s based on some real places in California gold rush country, and it has such substance in my head that I once honestly forgot Mae’s Café isn’t real (and was disappointed with the realization).
Even a contemporary novel set in a real place requires research. For A Full Plate I looked up a lot of stuff about cooking, private jets, and the logistics of creating flying cars, among other things. I even went on a tour of the Tesla car factory!
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, although I have occasionally found it difficult to progress with my writing. The hardest book I’ve ever written is one I’m ultimately very proud of: The Tin Box. I had a hard time with that one in the beginning because the protagonist, William, isn’t very likable at that point. I knew why he wasn’t likable, and I understood it. I also knew that eventually he’d blossom and we’d learn what a good man he truly is. But there at the beginning? I kind of wanted to throttle him.
But a later part of that book was even worse. Not to be too spoilerish, but I had to do something terrible to a secondary character. That thing had to happen; no way around it. But man, I dreaded that part, and every word was like ripping out a piece of my heart. Sob. I think the results are worth the pain, but my characters feel very real to me, and I honestly suffered. It didn’t help to know that what happened to my fictional person actually happened to thousands of very real human beings.
Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?
I like both. Now, to be honest, my guys often go through a good bit of suffering during the story. Even in A Full Plate, which is relatively light on angst, Tully and Sage have serious struggles in their life. In the end, though, I want happiness. I mean, who doesn’t? And doesn’t that give us hope? I think that’s a good part of what draws readers to romance in the first place.
I don’t think I have a preference between HFN and HEA. Certainly an HEA is joyful and brings that warm feeling of completeness. But I also enjoy the bit of ambiguity inherent to an HFN, that sense that the story will continue, maybe with more potential conflict. That’s real life.
Who do you think is your major influence as a writer? Now and growing up?
As a young kid, I read a lot of classic science fiction. I veered more into other aspects of spec fic when I got older: horror, fantasy, magical realism. I found traditional romances somewhat limiting and didn’t really get into the genre until later, when I discovered m/m.
Although I read in many genres, the authors who’ve influenced me the most are the ones who are excellent writers. These folks have such a way with words that they can draw good storytelling out of even the simplest plots. Some of my very favorites include Isabel Allende, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Charles deLint, Stephen King, and Neil Gaiman. When I read these authors, I get a little envious of their skills, yet that envy inspires me to improve my own writing.
How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?
I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I love the instant gratification of ebooks and the ability to obtain them in unlikely places. I’ve downloaded them on ships, on a train in Spain (yes, it was on a plain), and in hotels and apartments in many places in North America and Europe. Once I was sitting next to a woman on an airplane, and when she discovered mid-flight that I’m an author, she bought one of my books and began reading it right then and there on her Kindle! Of course, ebooks are also wonderful for reducing clutter, and I find them invaluable for travel. I also like how I can read a single book on multiple devices, depending on which one is handiest.
On the other hand, I love print books. I like to browse them and enjoy their full-sized covers in all their colorful glory. I like the feel of them and even the smell of them. I like giving them away and buying used ones. All the ebook catalogs in the world will never satisfy me like a brick-and-mortar bookstore does. Or a public library. (A shout-out to Little Free Libraries too.) And print books never run out of batteries.
I think we’ll see ebooks increase their dominance. They’re just so easy for consumers, and they reduce production and distribution costs so much for publishers. I am troubled by some aspects of the market, however, including Amazon’s near monopoly (I have a love-hate relationship with the Zon), the poor quality of many ebooks, and reduced profits for authors and publishers. I hope we see improvements in those areas.
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 love flawed characters, and I believe that no matter how imperfect we are, every one of us deserves love. In fact, I think that’s a central theme to most of my stories.
One thing that kept me from enjoying traditional romances, back in the day, was that I found the characters too perfect. They were all beautiful and brilliant (well, except some of the women, frankly, who I found depressingly dim-witted) and rich. I had a hard time relating. So when I began writing, I made a deliberate choice to make my people more human. Even when they’re wealthy and handsome, like Tully in A Full Plate, they have real problems. In Tully’s case, that includes a past with unsupportive family and a present in which he struggles to make emotional connections.
Unless a character is cartoonishly awful, I think love is always a real possibility. I even love villains. And redemption makes for a wonderful character arc.
Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it? Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.
I don’t drink often, and I very rarely get drunk, mostly because I’m too big of a control freak to enjoy it. However, I do frequently do my writing very late at night, after a long day, when my eyes are bleary and my brain is desperately wanting to go offline. I think the resulting writing is a little bit as if I were drunk. The grammar and spelling tend to suffer—sometimes neither spellcheck nor I have any idea what I was trying to say—but I do find myself making some creative leaps. And I usually keep those.
If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?
A really nice hotel someplace very interesting, where I can look up from my writing and enjoy a sweeping view. When I need a writing break, I can take a few steps outside my room to find myself on a secluded tropical beach or in the midst of a fascinating city—where I can walk for a while to refresh my body and brain. I can choose to eat at delicious restaurants or order room service. I can sleep in and stay up late—that’s when I’m most creative—and there are few interruptions and little noise.
What’s next for you as a writer?
This is a really busy year for me. I have two more releases from Dreamspinner this year. Blyd and Pearce will come out this summer; it’s a noir private-eye gay romance in a medieval fantasy setting. Then The Spy’s Love Song releases in October. That’s another Dreamspun Desires title, this time about a jaded rock star and the spy he falls for. In May, I’ll have the third novella in The Bureau series, Creature. And Joel Leslie will be recording an audiobook version of all three novellas, which I’m really excited about. I’m also planning a light Christmas fantasy set in the 1880s. And I’m working now on the third book in the Love Can’t series.
A Full Plate by Kim Fielding
Opposites come together for a spicy surprise.
Bradford “Tully” Tolliver has everything—money, a great car, a beautiful condo, and a promising career as one of Portland’s hottest young lawyers. Sure, he puts in long hours and has no social life to speak of, but who needs romance when corporations pay top dollar for his expertise? He hesitates when a colleague asks if her cousin can live with him, but the arrangement will last less than a year, and then the cousin—Sage Filling—will return to his tiny hometown.
But Sage is handsome and intriguing, and his cooking makes Tully swoon. Sage has obligations back home, though, and Tully has offers he might not refuse from a persistent—and very wealthy—ex. Since Tully and Sage each have a full plate, can they make room for a side of love?
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/