Monday, February 17, 2014

Guest Author: Kim Fielding Tells Pilgrimage's Origin Story

During my recovery from surgery, a few author friends helped lift my spirits by sending galleys and other books to read. One of my favorites was this one from Kim Fielding. I so loved Pilgrimage I asked… okay, I begged… Kim to write something about this amazing and heartwarming fantasy for my blog so I could share it with you. 

Next item on my list: pester her for more Mike and Goran!


Thanks so much, Tali, for letting me visit today!

Every book is a voyage of sorts, I think. You begin with an idea—a character, a theme, a scene, a bit of conversation—and you add to it, expand it, change it. Sometimes you get lost along the way. Sometimes you have to backtrack. Sometimes you end up somewhere totally different from where you were originally headed.

My newest novel, Pilgrimage, began here:

I attended a travel writing workshop during the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. We talked about pilgrims’ narratives such as Canterbury Tales, which were among the earliest travel writing. That got me thinking… a dangerous thing, as Lefou said. The narratives often included romantic or even bawdy elements. Wouldn’t an m/m version be interesting?

Then my muse wandered to Ancient Greece, wherein the gods and goddesses feuded and seemed sometimes more like spoiled children than deities. Hmm. I watched my darling daughters squabble for the umpteenth time and thus were born Agata and Alina, sister goddesses who rarely get along.

After that, my muse came back home to California’s Central Valley, which—to me, at least—seems the very opposite of exotic. And what would happen if a guy from around here, a guy with not much imagination and with a mundane job, got suddenly zapped to another world by one of those goddesses?

The other world was influenced by my own travels. The names are vaguely Balkan, the locations inspired by places in Croatia, Italy, and Austria.
And our other main character? Take an old-school Harlequin romance cover model, throw in a little of the Groosalugg (from Angel), and stir with my long-abiding love of gentle giants.

That’s how Pilgrimage came to be. And in the story, Mike and Goran set off on their own journey, visiting a death god’s shrines to lift a terrible curse. That’s a long way from Iowa, isn’t it?

Fiscal analyst Mike Carlson is good with spreadsheets and baseball stats. He doesn’t believe in fate, true love, or fantasy. But then a fertility goddess whisks him away to another world. A promise has been broken, and if Mike is ever to return to California—and his comfortable if lonely life—he must complete a pilgrimage to the shrines of a death goddess.

A humiliating event convinces Mike to hire a guard to accompany him, and hunky Goran is handy enough with a sword, if a little too liberal with his ale. A man with no home and no family, Goran is deeper than he first appears. As Mike learns more about Goran, his disbelief wavers and his goals become less clear. Contending with feuding gods, the challenges of the journey, and his growing attraction to Goran, Mike faces a puzzle far harder to solve than simple rows of numbers.

Pilgrimage is available in print and e-book versions from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and all major booksellers.

Kim Fielding can be found at her blog:
On Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

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