It is my pleasure to welcome Kim Fielding to Book Reviews & More by Kathy. For today’s stop on the virtual tour for Rattlesnake, she is chatting with us a little about herself, her background and her current novel.
1) Tell us something no one else knows about your characters.
When Jimmy was 16 years old, he developed a killing crush on a guy in his early twenties who worked at a youth center where Jimmy sometimes hung out. When Jimmy clumsily came on to him, the guy gently turned him down. That was the last time Jimmy allowed himself to feel emotionally connected with anyone.
Shane’s first crush, though, was on Paul Newman. The summer that Shane was 12, the town of Rattlesnake showed a string of Paul Newman movies in the park downtown. One night the movie was Hombre, and that was it—young Shane realized he was gay. His mother must have suspected something, because years later—long after she knew he was gay—when Shane was facing his long recuperation, she brought him a whole collection of Paul Newman DVDs to watch.
2) Have you ever written something that made you cry?
No, I don’t cry easily. But there have been a few scenes that I dreaded writing, and in which it was really hard to make myself type those words. The Tin Box has one of those, and Motel. Pool. has two. And after I finished a couple of my books, I missed the characters so much that I felt really down for a while, as if good friends had gone away. That also happened after The Tin Box and, more recently, Rattlesnake.
3) Have you ever co-written with someone before?
Yes, in several contexts. My day job is university professor, so I’ve collaborated with colleagues on journal articles and textbooks. That’s a very different kind of writing than fiction, of course. Also, I used to write fanfic (in the Buffyverse, starring Spike with just about any of the other guys). I co-wrote a series of fanfic stories, which was really fun. We didn’t plan out ahead of time—we just alternated chapters, and it was a kick to see what kind of writing quandaries we could leave for each other.
Now I’m in the middle of co-writing a novel with the wonderful and vivacious Venona Keyes. One of the joys of that is that we can draw on our separate areas of expertise. For example, she knows a lot about long-distance running and Japanese culture, neither of which I have much of a clue about.
4) What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
Let me tell you the only part I hate: writing the synopsis. When you submit a story to a publisher or agent, you generally have to submit a synopsis, which is a summary of the entire story. For a novel, the synopsis might be 2 to 3 pages long. It’s hard enough to condense everything so much, but you also have to make it interesting since you’re trying to convince someone that your story is wonderful. And frankly, that’s hard to do. I dread this task—it’s almost physically painful. I always have to reward myself with something good for surviving it. I tell you, if someone could invent an automatic synopsizer, they would be rich.
5) Name your four most important food groups.
Caffeine, bread, ice cream, and more caffeine. That’s a balanced diet, right?
Title: Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: 240 pages/Word Count: 80,000
A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.
On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.
Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.
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Their waitress appeared beside the table. “Anything else?” she asked Jimmy.
He didn’t want to go just yet. But his belly was full, and any further conversation with Shane was probably going to frustrate him. Already Jimmy wanted to reach across the table and touch Shane’s hair, maybe run a finger across his scars. “Just the check. Thanks.”
“Mine too,” Shane said, but his thoughts were clearly elsewhere. As soon as she took their plates away, he leaned forward. “You don’t have to go, do you? I mean, you’re not, um, on the run from the law, are you?”
That made Jimmy laugh. “I’ve done some stupid shit, but never bad enough to make me a fugitive.”
“If I Google you, I won’t find you on the Ten Most Wanted list?”
“So.” Shane traced his finger through a bit of spilled sugar on the tabletop, worrying at his lip and not meeting Jimmy’s gaze. He finally looked up again. “So you could stick around here for a while. If you had a place to stay and a job.”
God damn it! You don’t hope. You don’t want. That only leads to destruction. But Jimmy felt himself nod. “I could. For a short time.”
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.
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