KC Burn on Writing, Characters, and her new release Banded Together (author interview)

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Banded Together by K.C. Burn
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Banded Together is available at Dreamspinner Press and Amazon.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host K.C. Burn here today on their Banded Together tour. Welcome, K.C.

 

 ~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with K.C. Burns ~

 

Hi all! I’m so excited to be here! I’m KC Burn, talking about writing and my new release, Banded Together.

  •  Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  

No, actually. In fact, the emotional ties often make it more real, at least in my opinion. In this new release, Banded Together, one of the heroes, Dr. Jack is dealing with his dad having dementia. My mother had dementia and it was a difficult few years before she passed. Although I don’t go into a lot of detail in this book, my feelings during that time informed a lot of Jack’s reactions. I think most writers take every experience as potential fodder for stories, whether they be painful or joyful. I don’t think we can help it; I know I can’t.

  •  How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

LOL – mostly it’s not my choice! Even for those few books I’ve self published, the cover artists all require similar “art forms” where they ask what the characters look like, if there are significant visual items in the story, if there’s a particular scene that demonstrates the theme. Is it light, dark, paranormal, contemporary. Those attributes all affect how a cover is created, but I’m so not an artist – I can’t articulate how that comes about. Sometimes I’m given a couple of options to choose from, and many times it’s a gut feeling. One of them will just fit the story. One of my books, Tartan Candy, had the cover I went with, which was fun and flirty and a little unconventional. Since the main character was an ex-porn star who loved wearing kilts, it was perfect. The other option looked more like a typical Highlander romance cover, which didn’t match the story at all, although it was still a lovely cover.

  •  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?

Yes, I do. As much as one would like to relate to the characters we read about, in romance, we’re also reading for escapism. That doesn’t mean a character can’t have faults – maybe some serious ones – but I’ve definitely read books where the characters are flawed to the point the book becomes harsh and almost brutal. But I also know people who love that sort of realism. I just can’t find the escapism in it and so I wouldn’t want to write it. It’s a fine line, though.

  

  •  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?

Not exactly. I jot down story ideas and scenes, and it might be years before I get around to writing that book or it might take years before I come up with an idea where I can make one of those scenes work, but with one exception, I’ve never put an entire story away. As for that one exception… it was a short story I’d written for a cyberpunk call. It wasn’t accepted, and although I like reading cyberpunk, I certainly wasn’t planning on really delving into writing it, or expanding the story into a novel. Instead, I cannibalized scenes from that story and wove them into… two or three other books. And there are still a few scenes that I haven’t used yet, but there is the potential they’ll end up in future books.

  

  •  If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

Somewhere with no windows. Not only are they a bit distracting, I get a little tense as the light changes. Feels almost like a ticking clock. But if I’m in a room where the lighting stays at a consistent level, it’s easier to focus.

 

  •  With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To wide our knowledge?  Why do you write?

Mostly I write to stay sane. There is so much going on in my head, writing almost acts like a pressure release valve. But aside from that, it’s escapism. I’ve loved reading for so long, and not only is writing a different sort of escapism for me, I also want to give some of that joy to other people if I can. Share the love, or pay it forward, so to speak.

 

  •  What’s next for you as a writer?

I have a firefighter/dancer story coming out in the new year called Set Ablaze, and I’ve submitted a proposal for a guy wooing his love interest with pastries. We’ll see how that goes – I don’t do a lot of planning ahead of time. I mostly fly by the seat of my pants! Next year I’ll also have another Christmas story for sure, and hopefully the sequel to North on Drummond, my paranormal mystery, will be ready.

Blurb

Punk’s not dead, but it’s time to redefine life.

Devlin Waters thought he’d have music forever. But the tragic death of his best friend ended the twenty-year run of his punk band, Negative Impression. Unable to process the loss, Devlin distances himself from everyone and everything that reminds him of the band. But forty-one is too young to curl up and wait for the end. In a search for a second career, he finds himself at university, with a bunch of kids young enough to be… his kids. His sexy archaeology professor, however, makes Devlin think about life beyond his grief….

Dr. Jack Johnson does not appreciate Devlin’s lack of respect, his inability to be serious, or his chronic lateness. Worse, he hates that he’s attracted to a student. When he realizes Devlin is the rock star he crushed on in his youth, he drops his guard—against his better judgment.

Before they can move forward together, Jack must admit to Devlin that he’s not only an admirer, but he also sings in a cover band. How will Devlin react to his ultimate fanboy when his own music has died?

About the Author

KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds).  After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own — getting published.  After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does. 

Visit KC at her website, on Twitter, on Facebook, or find out about new releases by signing up for her newsletter.

 

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KC Burn on Writing, Characters and ‘Just Add Argyle’ + Giveaway (author interview)

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Just Add Argyle (Fabric Hearts, #3)  by K.C. Burn
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Available for preorder at: Dreamspinner Press and Amazon.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host K.C. Burn here today. Welcome, K.C. and tell us about yourself!

✒︎

Hello! I’m KC Burn and I’m so happy to be here to talk about writing, inspiration, and my new release, Just Add Argyle, the third in my Fabric Hearts series.

1. How much of yourself goes into your characters?

That’s a difficult question. All of my books feature one of two themes: betrayal or fish out of water, or sometimes both. I think those are the biggest parts of me – I’m very sensitive to the concept of betrayal, which I think stems from having an emotionally and verbally abusive mother. I also have gone through much of my life trying to figure out where I fit in, so I often feel a bit like a fish out of water. These deeply internalized issues significantly colour my writing, and therefore all of my characters. Aside from that, a character who likes board games, and movies, and reading… these are all bits of me.

There’s only one character, though, that I would say is absolutely based on me. In my Christmas themed novella, Three Dates of Christmas, one of the guys is a grouchy Christmas-hater, primarily because he’s grown up in foster care and has spent his entire adult life working in retail. Although I had two parents, there were a number of times where I felt like I was alone with no support system at all, and I also spent 14 years working in retail. Let me tell you, both things can sort of sour you on the holidays, and to this day, I don’t get into the holidays although I certainly appreciate the sentiment behind it all.

2. Does research play a role in which genre you write?

Haha! Sort of. Just about any book requires looking up a lot of random factoids as you go, no matter which genre. And I’ve changed a character’s profession once because I was on deadline and didn’t have the time to research what I’d need to make him believable. But it doesn’t necessarily guide which genre I choose to write in. I get inspirations for story ideas from many sources: dreams, music, movies, people watching. Usually it’s the plot that guides the genre, not whether or not I’ll have to do research. I do write some sci-fi, but I sort of gloss over the techy/super science-y bits because I’m not really interested in the research part of it. But the creation of aliens and their customs and things – those are fun to play with, and I can at least apply some of the knowledge I gleaned from my Physical Anthropology degree, with respect to evolution to sentient beings and their respective cultures. Certainly it’s about the only use I’ve gotten out of that degree!

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

Huh. Yes and no. I started reading epic fantasy very early. I’d read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings at ten and loved it. My dad then started me on The Belgariad by David Eddings. The first book of that series cemented my desire to write books for a living. However, I don’t write fantasy (yet). I also started reading mysteries early, since both my parents did. I’ve added some mystery elements to a couple of my books, but I wouldn’t say I write mysteries. My books are all romances, but I didn’t start reading romance until I was about twenty. But, when I was a teenager I read the Last Herald Mage series by Mercedes Lackey. It featured a gay protagonist with some of the most heartbreaking, gut wrenching, but ultimately heart warming romantic scenes I’d ever read. And after several re-reads and almost thirty years, my opinion on that has not changed. Whether or not I succeed, my goal is always to put my characters and my readers through the wringer like that.

4. Do you like HFN or HEA and why?

LOL – this is a point of contention. I’ve been accused more than once of having endings that are too happy, too sweet. I definitely like the HEA. As to why… I don’t know. I like the completion of it all. I hate cliff hangers, and sometimes HFN feels a lot like a cliffhanger. Also, when I write, I don’t usually write more than one book with the same couple as main characters, so I like to wrap up all the loose ends.

5. Do you read romances as a teenager and as an adult?

I did not read romances as a teen. While I was in university, I worked in a pharmacy. One night, I was working until close, and I was sure I wanted to go home and read afterward. But the bookstores would be closed before I could leave work, and since this was in the days before ebooks, my only option was to buy a book from work. The selection was slim, and I’d read all the available thriller/mystery/fantasy books, which left me with Harlequins or single title romances. I ended up choosing a Johanna Lindsey, simply based on the bare-chested Fabio cover – Gentle Rogue. And she hooked me but good. I read all sorts of genres, but romance makes up the majority of my reading these days.

6. Who is your major influence as a writer?

I have a ton of influences. Because of David Eddings I wanted to become a writer. We can blame Agatha Christie for my tendency to combine my naturally coarse language with rather formal proper language. Mercedes Lackey probably had a lot to do with finding my way to gay romance. Johanna Lindsey who provided my gateway to romance. And then there are numerous incredible authors in my genre of gay romance, that I am so humbled to be able call peers and friends – all of whom are inspiring. Authors like ZA Maxfield, B.a. Tortuga, Julia Talbot, Tara Lain, Amy Lane, Mary Calmes, Lex Valentine, Sean Michael, Kiernan Kelly, Poppy Dennison, Charlie Cochet… this list could go on forever, and all of them have influenced me in one way or another.

7. Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

Yes, I do. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I do. Unfortunately, they’re not ones that resonate with most readers so I’m not sure exactly why I love ‘em so much and no one else does. Illusion of Life (formerly Trompe L’oeil) is one of those. It’s about an artist who ends up trapped in a cursed painting in the 30s. He and his love interest, a modern day history professor, need to fall in love with each other without interacting with each other for almost ¾ of the book. It was such a fantastical challenge and I love that book to pieces. Pen Name – Doctor Chicken was my sort of stab at romantic comedy. I guess my sense of humour doesn’t jibe with other people’s because that one didn’t go over all that well. But the main character, Stratford, who goes by the pen name Doctor Chicken for a series of children’s books is so endearingly broken (in my humble opinion) that he’s one of my favourite characters, and it’s one of my favourite stories.

8. What’s next for you as an author?

Right now, I’m working on a rock star meets professor story – it’s early stages yet, but I’m excited about that one. I’ve also got a sequel to my paranormal mystery, North on Drummond, started – I’ll probably get back to that manuscript in a few months. And I’ve got a romantic mystery call Tea or Consequences heading into edits, and it should be out later this year.

Thank you again for having me here!

Blurb

Tate Buchanan is a troublemaker who can’t keep a job, no matter how many times his lucky argyle sweater gets him hired. Add to that a learning disability and an impetuous nature that sends him into altercations to protect the defenseless, and he hardly manages to make friends, let alone find a man who’s interested in him for more than one night.

Most people think EMT Jaime Escobar is a player, but the truth is he wants a serious partner—he just can’t justify wasting time on guys he knows aren’t a match. But when he treats a gorgeous redhead after a fight, he finds the spark he’s spent so many years looking for.

Jaime wants to take the next step with Tate, but it’s clear Tate’s not going to curb his impulsive behavior—his next fight sends him to the hospital. Jaime’s relationship with a near criminal isn’t something his family is ready to accept, not any more than Tate is willing to be kept a secret. Jaime will need a lot of understanding—and some luck of his own—to keep them both. But this is one fight he’s going to see through to the end.

About the Author

KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds).  After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own — getting published.  After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does. 

Visit KC at her website, on Twitter, on Facebook, or find out about new releases by signing up for her newsletter.

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