Monday, September 23, 2013

On Being Eclectic, Or Why Can't Kim Choose a Damn Genre Already?

Kim Fielding is not only one of my favorite writers (if you haven't read Brute or Speechless yet, you're seriously deprived of awesomeness), she shares some of my quirks. This guest post nails it. My bookcases look just like hers! Read on for a look inside the mind of an amazing writer...
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Thank you, Tali, for letting me visit today!



This is a photo of one of my bookshelves. Now, aside from the obvious—ahem, I might have a teensy little book-buying addiction—what can we conclude? Yes, I once took a ceramics class, at which I did not excel. And yes, bookends do seem rather unnecessary with so many volumes double-stacked. But aside from that, can you make out the titles? On this shelf alone, I have travel books and books about nature. I have some classics like Mark Twain. I have reference books on subjects such as LGBT history, punk music, sailing, and the Klondike Gold Rush. I have horror, sci-fi, fantasy… I have lots of things. And this is only one of my shelves. My cookbooks, knitting books, gardening books, my books on law, most of my history and other non-fiction, my collection of Latin American magical realism, my graphic novels, my m/m romance—they’re all on other shelves, along with more. And that’s not even counting my Kindle books!

Given the wide range of things I like to read, it probably won’t surprise you that I write in a range of genres. And the explanation for that is as simple as pie: I love to write what I love to read. Today that might mean fantasy, tomorrow paranormal or something else. I go where my muse takes me, or else I face a nasty fight I’m sure to lose. My hope is that my readers have a wide range of tastes too, and that they’re willing to follow me wherever I end up.

My most recent releases are a good example of this. Last week, Dreamspinner Press released my newest novel, The Tin Box. It’s a contemporary m/m romance set mostly in a former mental hospital, where caretaker and graduate student William Lyon struggles to come to terms with his true self. He’s helped along by his new friend, the buoyant and somewhat flamboyant Colby Anderson, as well as by a box of letters written decades earlier by a patient at the asylum.

Also last week, Cherry Hill released audiobook versions of my Ennek trilogy (Stasis, Flux, and Equipoise). These are dark fantasy books about a somewhat unwilling wizard named Ennek, who saves a man named Miner from a terrible punishment.

What these seemingly disparate books have in common—what all my books have in common, I think—is characters who are faced with difficult circumstances and who struggle with internal demons as well as external crises. Whether someone’s problem is an evil wizard, a lack of faith and family support, a troubled past, a face and body that frighten people, or being accidentally turned into a werewolf, he’s going to have to face that problem before the story is over. And he’s going to discover that another man’s love gives him some of the strength he needs to triumph over adversity.

If someone stuck a gun to my head and forced me to choose a genre, I’d probably pick something within the broad scope of magical realism. But wouldn’t that be like eating only one flavor of ice cream for the rest of my life?


To buy the audio trilogy: http://www.cherryhillpublishing.com/  (100% of my trilogy royalties go to Doctors Without Borders!)

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On Twitter @KFieldingWrites

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An excerpt from The Tin Box:

With the menus gone, William had nowhere to hide. He pretended to be closely examining his surroundings, but in fact the Java Joint was pretty unremarkably decorated, and he couldn’t avoid Colby’s thoughtful stare.
“You don’t like me much, do you?” Colby finally said.
“I… I don’t think I know you well enough to not like you.”
“Yeah, but you sort of make these faces and you keep flinching away.” He narrowed his eyes. “Are you homophobic? Afraid you’ll catch my queer cooties?”
If William had been sipping his water, he would have choked. As it was, he coughed rather loudly. “I’m not a bigot.”
“It doesn’t bother you to be seen with a flaming gayboy?”
“I don’t care what anyone else thinks.” That was true, more or less. Once he’d given up on gaining his parents’ respect, the only judgment he’d feared was his own. Unfortunately, he was a harsh critic of himself.
“So then what’s the deal? Hermit? Confirmed introvert? Asperger’s? Maybe you just disapprove of my stylistic choices.” Colby gave a significant look at his own tight and fairly skimpy outfit, and then at William’s Oxford shirt and sport coat. “Are you the fashion police, Will?”
“William.” He wanted to frown, but Colby was looking genuinely upset, his sunny smile replaced by troubled eyes and a frown. For the first time, William felt guilty for how he’d been acting. Colby seemed like a nice guy. Friendly and cheery. It wasn’t his fault he made William uncomfortable. “I’m sorry, Colby. I think I’m just kind of a jerk.”
The grin reappeared, and William was strangely relieved. “You’re not really a jerk,” said Colby. “We just need to work a little on your social skills. Loosen you up a little. ’Cause Will, my man, you’ve got a stick so far up your ass you must be tasting it. Who the hell put it there?”
William felt a little flutter of panic at the question. He intentionally pushed it down and focused instead on the coarseness of Colby’s language, which made him blush. It didn’t help that he knew Colby was right—William was about as uptight as they came. And Colby wasn’t the first to accuse him of it. Even Lisa used to complain and tell him to ease up, and she was wound pretty tight herself.
The coffee arrived, hot and blessedly caffeinated. William burned his tongue but didn’t especially care. Coffee had always been his one true vice, the one thing he wanted, knew he shouldn’t have, and couldn’t quite give up. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the rich, bitter flavor. He imagined he could feel his veins singing in happiness. Oddly, the song sounded a lot like the one Colby had been humming in the car.
“I’ve seen guys look less blissed out than that after a really good orgasm.”
William opened his eyes to glare. He looked around, but if any of the other customers had heard what Colby said, they weren’t reacting. “I need to buy a coffeemaker,” William said.
“Yeah, Frank’s will have one. How come you didn’t bring yours with you to JV?”
“JV?”
“Jelley’s Valley. See, now that you’re a local we can let you in on our secret lingo.”
“Oh.”
“So why no coffeemaker?”
After taking another soothing swallow, William answered carefully. “I didn’t have one before I came. I used to just go out for coffee.” That was sort of true. A few years back he and Lisa had splurged on a really nice Italian machine, the programmable kind that brewed coffee and espresso and probably did your income taxes if you punched the right buttons. Naturally, Lisa had kept it when he left. And during those miserable weeks of living in his office, he did go out for coffee, buying it from a campus vendor when he could afford it, pouring it from the burner in the graduate student lounge when he was broke.
“I guess that’s one of the advantages of living in civilization. You can go out for stuff.” Colby seemed neither sarcastic nor sad, just matter-of-fact.
“Have you really lived here your whole life?”
Colby had been slurping at his soft drink; now he smiled around the straw. “Why? You figure I’m a little too colorful for JV?”
“Maybe,” William answered cautiously.
“I thought so too, when I was a kid. Couldn’t wait to shake the dust from my feet. I graduated high school early, when I was only sixteen. Took off for the bright lights. San Francisco—homo heaven, right?”
“And your family let you go?”
Colby shrugged. “Dad was dead. Mom was remarried, to a truck driver. He has a house up in Redding but he spends most of the time on the road. Mom too. They’ve got their rig all set up like a little apartment, practically. It’s pretty cool. And Grandma and Grandpa, they were a little overwhelmed with me, I think.” He batted his eyelashes, which were unnaturally long. “I was just too fabulous for them to deal with.”
The waitress came to the table and plopped down laden plates. She pulled ketchup and mustard bottles from her apron pocket and set them on the table. “Anything else?”

“We’re good for now,” said Colby.


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