The Rodeo Knight (Sam’s Cafe Romances #3) by Ashavan Doyon
Cover art by Bree Archer
Today we have Ashavan Doyon, author of the recently released The Rodeo Knight here for an interview.
Thank you for having me today here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. I’m happy to be here to promote The Rodeo Knight, which released November 30, and also the first book in the series, The King’s Mate, which has a second edition that was also just released. I’m so lucky, because Dreamspinner Press also released all three novellas in the series as a print only anthology, The Chess Master Chronicles.
Are you a planner or a pantser when writing a story? And why?
I’m a total pantser. Most of the time I’m writing off a vague idea with only one character well defined, everything else flows from that. My problem is that when I’ve planned, my characters always rebel. And planning takes focus, energy, that ends up wasted, because you know your character is going to do x thing, and instead they upend the story and do something totally different. The Rodeo Knight is really the closest I’ve gotten to “planning” a story in a long time, because I sold the pitch for the story in advance at a conference, so I absolutely had to have more than “I’m writing a sequel to A Wounded Promise” — I needed to have some sort of structure. So in addition to Brian, the main character, I wrote the blurb for the story, which also introduced the love interest Sylvester.
Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else? Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?
I love writing contemporary. I do some modern fantasy also, and I regularly release chapters of an ongoing modern fantasy serial on my blog. Sometimes when I write fan fiction I’ll go a little further afield. Reading is something else. I grew up on fantasy, and outside of reading in my genre (Sue Brown and Cindy Sutherland are favorites), a lot of what I read is stuff like The Riftwar Saga and The Belgariad. My mom read me The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as bedtime stories, so I blame her for that.
If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?
You know, as an author I try to not read reviews. And I fail spectacularly most of the time. That means I know what people have said about my characters and I struggle a lot with people who want these mostly college aged characters to be something they’re not. I try to write characters who are human and real and feel that way. I often say that my characters tell me what to write and that mostly I’m just reporting. But I’m not perfect. I did go back and change how I wrote Justin for The King’s Mate. In the second edition, he’s a lot more confident and stumbles a lot less, and I think that makes him more consistent with his portrayal in A Wounded Promise, and it also makes the places where he feels broken more stark, because it’s that much more clear that in most of his life he’s doing okay.
One of the things I’ve tried to show in my stories is the range of parental acceptance, from Adam’s father in Gerry’s Lion with his loving acceptance of Gerry as a member of the family to the ultimatum Brian faced as discussed in The Rodeo Knight, to Chris being kicked out by his father when he turned eighteen in I Almost Let You. I think I might look at how I wrote some of the mothers, and maybe adjust that some. But at the same time, I think it’s important, especially now, to remember the proportion of kids who do get kicked out of their homes when they come out, and the epidemic of homelessness in the LGBT youth community. So maybe it’s better to write those stories and let the characters overcome that than pretend that every parent is going to be like Sam.
Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?
I think every author has some favorites. Of my Dreamspinner releases, as much as I love Justin and Sylvester, and I’m proud of how I wrote Brian, I think my favorite is probably Gerry. This was a man in love, a man grieving, and showing the depths of his love through that grief I thought made him a very powerful character.
If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?
I’d pick LaGuardia (so I could charge my kindle) – that way I’d still have access to everything. Stuck on a dessert island? Probably The Lord of the Rings. I’ve been reading it over and over since I was kid and I’m still not sick of it.
How early in your life did you begin writing?
My mom has a ‘swoofs’ fanfic (it was a Smurfs storyline) that I wrote on her portable typewriter when I was about five.
Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?
I think I mostly answered this. My mom was always told it was good to read to kids and that it didn’t matter what you read. So from the time I was tiny she read us all the books she liked. The Hobbit. The Dragonriders of Pern. Time of the Dark. Those were my bedtime stories. I read The Lord of the Rings on my own in first grade and I never looked back. My classmates would grumble that they couldn’t call me a book worm, book worms were slow. I was a book bird.
If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?
I’ve considered sometimes writing the story of how I ended up with my husband as a romance novel, because there’s a lot of ways it would fit. For a title? “I know you probably hate me, but…” It’s the first line from a letter I wrote to my now husband. We had dated briefly when I was in college and for a slew of reasons, it didn’t work and I broke up with him. I decided life wasn’t worth having regrets about, so five years later I wrote him and poured my heart out in a letter. It’s probably the single most important piece of writing I’ve ever done in my life.
Thanks again to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me, and I do hope you’ll check out those new releases. The Rodeo Knight is a particularly fun romp, and The King’s Mate, while it is a second edition, has 11,000 new words, making it almost twice the length of the original story!
I always love to hear from readers, please feel free to contact me, there’s a form to reach me at my website, which is in the contact information below!
For fifteen years, Ashavan Doyon worked with students in the student affairs office of a liberal arts college. He recently decided to shake things up a little, and is now working in the publications and communications office at the college. During lunch, evenings, and when he can escape the grasp of his husband on weekends, he writes, pounding out words day after day in hopes that his ancient typewriter-trained fingers won’t break the glass on his tablet computer. Ashavan is an avid science fiction and fantasy fan and prefers to write while listening to music that fits the mood of his current story. He has no children, but lavishes attention on his sole remaining fur child, a very elderly pug. A Texan by birth, he currently lives in New England, and frequently complains of the weather.
Ashavan went to school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, getting his degree in Russian and East European Studies, with a focus in language and literature. He has two incomplete manuscripts from college that he goes back compulsively to fiddle with every so often, but is still not happy with either of them. He still loves fantasy and science fiction and reads constantly in the moments between writing stories.
You can find me online at:
The King’s Mate
Sam’s Café Romances: Book One
Russell Pine comes to Sam’s Café every morning to enjoy the best coffee in town and to chat with Sam Tesh, the owner, a loyal friend for the past twenty years. When Sam offers him a challenge, Russ reluctantly takes it on, acting as the master opponent in a chess tournament. As the days pass and the hopefuls fall to the chess mastermind one by one, Russ discovers that the contest isn’t the only game being played.
Russ finds himself the focus of a secret courtship through words and pictures left for him to discover each morning. Will a hint of cologne on the paper lead him to his admirer? In a café full of young and beautiful minds, who is looking at the graying chess master?
First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, June 2013.
The King’s Mate (Dreamspinner): https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-kings-mate-by-ashavan-doyon-7831-b
The King’s Mate (Amazon):
The Chess Master Chronicles (Dreamspinner)
Sam’s Cafe Romances books 1-3, print only:
The Rodeo Knight
Struck by amnesia after a car crash, Brian Stouten has been living a life laid out by his family, a heterosexual life that just doesn’t fit. When he learns it was all a lie, he returns to the small college town that’s his only clue to his past. But the town is still unfamiliar, and the man he’d hoped would make all his memories return is on a honeymoon with another man. To add insult to injury, everyone thinks Brian died in the crash. It’s only when an out-of-place cowboy asks to bum a smoke that Brian realizes this trip was meant to be.
Sylvester Thomas has always fought a secret desire, and done it successfully. But when geeky Brian offers him a smoke and a light, a simple brush of hands has Sylvester’s hidden passions burning deep. Did he make a mistake letting Brian walk away?
The Rodeo Knight (Dreamspinner): https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-rodeo-knight-by-ashavan-doyon-7832-b
The Rodeo Knight (Amazon):
Sam’s Cafe Romances books 1-3, print only: