We’re so pleased to welcome author Cass Lennox today, on the Finding Your Feet blog tour. Cass talks a bit about writing the book, and is also offering a great giveaway, so be sure to check out those details below.
I’d been reading queer romance for several years by the time Nanowrimo 2014 rolled around. In the lead up to November, I had these two characters pop into my head: a woman who was at a crossroads in her life, and a man who needed a positive change in his. So I thought, why not write something sweet and romantic about these two? Something fluffy, nothing super serious or intense, just silly shenanigans around a budding love story. I’d never conscientiously written a romance before, so I thought it would make a really fun Nanowrimo project.
It was, hands down, the easiest book I’ve ever written. I have never had words flow like that, before or since. I hit 50k words (the Nanowrimo goal count) two weeks in, and finished it at over 60k a week later.
The characters arrived fairly fully-formed. Evie was always a tourist, generous, and a little lost and uncertain; Tyler was always a dancer, independent, and a little gruff and hesitant. The cast of side-characters also arrived fully-formed: the background dramatics of Gigi and Brock, the intrusive documentary crew, Evie’s supportive queerplatonic friends, and the competitiveness of the dancing school directors. I wanted lots of community, funny asides, personalities, and general chaos (without actual chaos).
This was something new for me to write, and it really woke my brain up. I dropped my other projects because I could clearly see adjacent stories for nearly all the side characters, and immediately drafted rough plots for three other couples. I even started writing one of them (the first woebegone draft of Growing Pains) a few weeks after finishing Finding Your Feet, but dropped it to edit FYF for submission to Riptide (then angsted for months about the submission and got nothing more done).
During that first edit and further edits, the story did become more intense in places. In my head it’s ‘the sweet fluffy one’, and while that’s still largely true compared to the other books, it does have its sad moments, and points where it touches on sensitive issues like the aftereffects of emotional abuse. I focused far more on the characters’ emotional journeys rather than on their sexualities or gender identities, as they’re largely happy with who they are – the book is more about where they want to be. So, not quite as fluffy as the original version, but hopefully still fun and enjoyable!
About Finding Your Feet
While on holiday in Toronto, Evie Whitmore planned to sightsee and meet other asexuals, not audition for a dance competition. Now she’s representing Toronto’s newest queer dance studio, despite never having danced before. Not only does she have to spend hours learning her routine, she has to do it with one of the grumpiest men she’s ever met. Tyler turns out to be more than a dedicated dancer, though—he might be the kind of man who can sweep her off her feet, literally and figuratively.
Tyler Davis has spent the last year recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship. So he doesn’t need to be pushed into a rushed routine for a dumb competition. Ticking major representation boxes for being trans and biracial isn’t why he went into dance. But Evie turns out to be a dream student. In fact, she helps him remember just how good partnering can be, in all senses of the word. Teaching her the routine, however, raises ghosts for him, ones he’s not sure he can handle.
Plans change, and people change with them. Learning a few steps is one thing; learning to trust again is another entirely.
Available from Riptide Publishing
About the Author
Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently sequestered in a valley in southeast England.
To celebrate the release of Finding Your Feet, one lucky winner will receive $15 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!