Hi, K.C., thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start out with you telling us a little bit about yourself?
Was there someone who inspired and encouraged you to begin writing creatively?
I’d always written from an early age. My dad always encouraged me, because he was of a literary bent too. Of course, life gets in the way and I pushed aside any thoughts of writing. But once I got going with the writing last year, my dad and stepmum were absolutely wonderful. They were so supportive, particularly during the past four months when life got a little more interesting. Dad says he is suffering from Very Proud Father syndrome…lol
Why did you start writing M/M romance?
I came across a M/M scene in a M/M/F ménage storyline, and really liked it. So much so, that I started looking for more such stories. Eventually I took the plunge and bought Bareback by Chris Owen… wow. That was it – I was hooked. But then of course, the idea for a story began niggling at me. Four months after starting to read M/M romances, I finally sat down at my laptop and began to write Learning to Love: Michael & Sean. I had no idea what I’d just started…
What drew you to the BDSM aspect of M/M?
The first books I ever read about BDSM were the Hammer series by Sean Michael. I loved Found. And then I discovered SE Jakes, then Heidi Cullinan. I loved the dynamics of the D/s relationship. It’s true to say I’m not into heavy BDSM – I prefer looking at how two people can fit together and meet each other’s needs. When the idea for An Unlocked Heart first came to me, I approached a friend who describes himself as a total submissive. He helped me a great deal, particularly when it came to getting inside Alex’s head. I’d originally planned the Collars & Cuffs series to be three books in length – er…that might have changed.
You recently worked with a co-author who lives in the States. How did it work? I hear he is particularly difficult to work with (tee hee).
HAHAHAHAHA…. I suggested (casually) that if Will Parkinson ever considered co-authoring a book, to count me in. A couple of weeks later, he messaged that actually, he had an idea… When I told a friend that I was going to do this, well, let’s just say his reaction was extremely negative. Luckily, I didn’t listen to him.
Working with Will was fantastic. We planned the whole story out first, ironing out any plot holes, making sure it all made sense. Will had already written the Prologue and we just took it from there. We each wrote chapters, bits of chapters… Our friends assume that Will wrote the part of Scott (American) and I wrote Ben (British) but to be honest, it didn’t work out that way. We both wrote for both characters, and then we checked each other’s stuff. (Will says he had to correct my English – yeah, let’s not go there, Will )
It was sooooo much fun. Our writing styles just…meshed. Lots of fun Skype conversations, usually when Will got home from work, so gone midnight for him and about 5-7am for me – yeah, early bird here. And it left us wanting to do more.
I understand that An Unlocked Heart is the first in the “Collars and Cuffs” series. Any idea how many we can expect?
As I wrote earlier, it had been intended originally to be a series of three. The second in the series, Trusting Thomas, is due for release in October / November. I then had the idea for a story involving Dorian. But then the whole Will thing happened and Someone to Keep Me became part of the Collars & Cuffs world. And during the writing of Thomas, I suddenly found myself wanting to write about a very interesting character, Darren. And now? Will and I have plans for two more…
What is the perfect writing atmosphere for you?
Somewhere with no Internet! (Yeah, okay, I get distracted, I admit it)
I live on the Isle of Wight – and just like it says on the tin, it’s an island – and to the south is a wonderful little bay, Steephill Cove. I go down there when I want to concentrate. No phone signal, no Internet, just the sound of the waves…heaven. Plus tea whenever I want it, and great food, too. They’re used to seeing me down there now. Most of book #3 in the L2L series was written there.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Plotter, mostly. I like to know where I’m going. But sometimes things take a different direction. I love that. Especially when a character starts telling me that no, he doesn’t want to do that, he wants to do this…. And then I go with the flow.
How much input do you have in the design of your book covers?
The first three books, I told Paul Richmond at Dreamspinner that the house had to be there. But for this one, I fell in love with the wonderful photos of real life couple Nate and Zach, from photographer Terry Cyr’s Naked Man Project. And I want to use them again for further books in the series. Paul loves the idea.
Dreamspinner are good in that they ask you for a lot of info to help them put together the perfect cover. And isn’t this one beautiful? Sigh….
Have you ever seen a particularly sexy photograph and knew you had to write a book based on that picture? If so, which book(s)?
That hasn’t happened to me yet. But I don’t rule it out. I get my inspiration in so many different places.
Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have a favorite? If so, who and why?
Oh, now you’re asking…. I always had a soft spot for Evan, right from the start. That boy is just adorable. Sexy, flirtatious and wicked at times.
I loved all six boys from to L2L series. I wanted to create a world where they could be close to each other, supportive, loving… To then be told by some readers that this was unlikely in the real world… Sigh. This is fiction, and it’s my little world. And I wouldn’t change them.
Lately, though, I created Blake Davis and Will Parkinson in the story Making it Personal, and I absolutely loved them from the start. These weren’t boys, these were definitely Men, and I loved how they were together.
As an author, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
To let someone look at what you’re writing. My dad would disagree, but it’s been so important to me to get feedback as I’m going along. There are a few really close friends who get to read my stuff as I’m going along, and their advice is really important to me. Will is my barometer. I trust his reactions implicitly, and he hasn’t steered me wrong yet.
What 3 pearls of wisdom would you offer to an author just starting out?
Carry a notebook – you never know when inspiration will strike, and that wonderful idea that came to you on the bus going to work this morning? You will forget it…
Get a second (third / fourth) pair of eyes to check your writing. Both for errors and plot holes.
Learn from your mistakes. I know my writing has changed a lot since February 2012, and for the better. I would also invest in some software like SmartEdit – it’s great for spotting early on if you’re overusing some words.
How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?
I laugh real easily. I love Mel Brooks’s films, particularly Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. I think I need more humor in my stories, though.
Do you have a favorite literary character? If so, who and why?
Actually, I don’t think I do!
If you could sit down to dinner with one person, past or present, who would it be and what’s the one question you’d love to ask?
Wow… you’ve stumped me. Might have to think about that one.
Would you care to share a little bit of information on any of your current WIPs?
I started on a series of novellas entitled Island Tales, all set on the Isle of Wight. The first, Waiting for a Prince, should be out next month. The current WIP is September’s Tide, and I’m about 16K into it. That one is based around Steephill Cove. There are at least three or four more in the pipeline.
Then there’s the next Will / KC collaboration…. We’re still at the planning stage, although Will has already written a few scenes. I’m on catch-up. LOL.
Where can readers find you on the internet?
Would you like share an excerpt from An Unlocked Heart with us?
Alex knocked on the door to Sev’s office on the first floor and then walked in—and stopped dead in his tracks. Sev wasn’t there, but Leo was, seated in Sev’s big leather-padded chair. Alex’s face must have betrayed his shock.
Leo stood up and came around to his side of the desk. “Good evening, Alex.” He leaned back against Sev’s desk, his eyes on Alex’s face.
Alex’s brain couldn’t compute what Leo was doing in Sev’s office. What the…?
Leo smiled. “Your boss let me use his office for a moment. I didn’t want to do this downstairs in the restaurant or with any of your colleagues around.”
Do what? Alex’s brain was making frantic leaps, trying to connect the dots. He waited for Leo to speak, to give him more information. Leo’s brain was clearly having issues of its own. The tall, confident man appeared nervous.
“Alex, I… I’d like to take you out to dinner tomorrow night.”
Oh. Fuck. Leo was asking him on a date. Alex’s body switched to its default setting: he froze.
He wanted to say yes. He was dying to say yes. But as a cold wave of fear rolled through him, Alex realized it wasn’t that easy. He’d never been on a date in his life. And as for dating a man…. Alex didn’t have a fucking clue what to expect. What seemed like a million thoughts raced through his brain. Leo was older than him, had more experience than him…. What if Alex disappointed him? Leo might have an inkling Alex was inexperienced, but he’d probably assume that Alex wasn’t still a virgin.
He couldn’t do it. Couldn’t.
“I… I’m sorry, Leo, but… I’m working tomorrow night.” The lie rolled easily off his tongue. Suddenly, he was aware of those eyes on him, coolly appraising him.
“No you’re not. I checked.” There was the merest hint of amusement in that rich, deep voice. Alex’s heart stuttered. Damn Sev. Leo’s next words confirmed his worst suspicions. “Sev was very helpful. In fact, he gave me your work schedule for the next month.”
So many emotions vied for pole position in Alex’s head right now. Outrage that Sev had done this without mentioning it. Astonishment Leo had even thought of doing it. And one more: shock. Leo wanted to know his days off for the next month? This was obviously not going to be a one-off.
“Are you going to make me wait for your answer? Do you need time to think about it?”
Alex heard the faintest nuance of anxiety in Leo’s voice. His would-be date wasn’t as confident as he appeared, it seemed.
“I… I have to help out at home,” Alex said, although he was cursing himself even as the words slipped out. Christ, Leo must think he was a real loser.
Leo moved closer to him, and all of a sudden, Alex was aware of the heat from his body. It made his head swim. He was unable to keep in the small intake of breath as Leo took Alex’s hand in his. Alex’s immediate reaction was to jerk away, but that would’ve been incomparably rude. He decided to bear it, just a little while longer. But he couldn’t make the decision to say yes. No fucking way. That was a step just beyond his reach.
Leo’s head tilted down toward him, and Alex could feel his warm breath on his face. “Say yes, Alex. It’s just dinner.” The words were whispered, intimate.
Alex was in agony. Oh, he so wanted to tell him, “Fuck yes!” But he couldn’t bring himself to get the words out. Why was he so crap at making decisions? It… was… just… dinner.
Leo’s next words sent a torrent of calm surging through him. “I’ll pick you up outside the restaurant, tomorrow night, 7:00 p.m.”
It was clear it wasn’t a request. Leo had decided. End of story. But oh, the fucking relief that he’d taken that decision away from him. Alex took a calming breath, and Leo’s reaction showed Alex he’d noticed. Who was he kidding? Alex was beginning to think the man noticed everything.
“What… what do I need to wear?” Alex stammered. Important to know these things.
“Casual will be fine, Alex.”
Leo also seemed to be breathing more easily, and for a brief second, Alex pondered on what he’d learned from Vittorio. Had Leo even dated since Gabe’s death? Could that be the reason for his nerves?
Finally, Leo released Alex’s hand, albeit seemingly reluctantly, and Alex relaxed a little. “Until tomorrow night, then.”
Alex’s eyes fluttered upward to take in Leo’s expression. The man was smiling. Alex lowered his gaze, keeping his features straight, but inside he was a writhing mass of nerves. He was going on a date… with Leo Hart.
Alex was suddenly conscious of Leo’s amused grin, as if the man was able to see his thoughts. Christ, he hoped not.
Leo stepped toward the door of the office. “Good night, Alex.”
“Good night… Leo.” And then Leo was gone, and Alex was trying to get his head around what had just happened. He still didn’t have a clue what the following night would bring, and to be honest, he just wanted to get home to the sanctuary of his room where he could think about it clearly. What was he going to wear? Where would Leo take him? And more importantly, what did he tell his parents?
He gave a snort. That one was easy. Fuck all.
Thanks so much for being here with us today, K.C. Come back and visit with us again soon.
Now, let’s get on to this contest business. How about a little “Winner’s Choice” to make things fun? K.C. Wells is offering one lucky winner the choice of an ebook from her bookshelf, including An Unlocked Heart! Also included are the titles Making it Personal; Learning to Love: Michael and Sean; Learning to Love: Evan and Daniel; or Learning to Love: Josh and Chris
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment right here before 11:59pm Pacific Time on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. One winner will be drawn at random and notified via email on Wednesday, July 20.