Please join us in welcoming author Kim Fielding today, on the tour for her latest novel, Staged, book three in the Belonging -verse. Enjoy Kim’s guest post, and then be sure to check out the giveaway details below.
Hi! I’m Kim Fielding, and today I’d like to talk about the non-fluffy side of romance.
Let me begin by saying there’s absolutely nothing wrong with light romance—the sweet kind that’s like ice cream with syrup, sprinkles, and whipped cream on top. I sometimes indulge in reading that kind of romance, and I’ve written some of it too. I think all of us need this at times in our lives.
But my new book, Staged, is not an ice cream sundae. It deals with some very real, very gritty issues, most notably slavery. Although it takes place in an alternate universe, I would not want to belittle or gloss over the very real problems slavery presents. I do my research, and I try to be as sensitive as I can to people’s feelings.
Despite the difficulty in writing about angsty issues, those topics come up fairly often in my books. The Tin Box features a character who was confined to a mental hospital in the 1930s for being gay. Rattlesnake has a man who was rejected by his family and has spent his entire life without a home or friends. Aiden in Night Shift is an ex-con struggling to go straight, Drew in Speechless has a serious disability, and Tag in Motel. Pool. is suffering from depression. Qay in Love Can’t Conquer has suffered from problems related to abuse, addiction, and mental illness. And now there’s Sky, who was born a slave and has little control over his body and fate. Why do I do this to my poor characters?
There are a few reasons why I think this kind of angst isn’t just desirable, but necessary. For one, it’s real. Life isn’t all about rainbows and kittens and long walks on the beach, and frankly, reading (or writing) about only the sunny side of life would soon ring false. It would be boring too. Sugar can be nice, but sometimes I want something with chili peppers or lemon juice. I had Korean bibimbap for lunch the other day—salty, spicy, crunchy, soft, fresh, and colorful—and it satisfied my palate and filled my belly in a way something sticky and sweet never would have.
Also, reading (or writing) about terrible things can put life in perspective. I may have had another run-in with the asshat at my day job, but at least I’m free and mostly in control of my life. And that’s critical to remember.
But most importantly, I’m writing romance. That means that whatever miserable or dangerous things happen to my characters, in the end they’re going to get an HEA or at least an HFN. So what I’m offering in addition to the gritty reality is a powerful kind of hope. Happy endings aren’t just for people who have a meet-cute in the subway, then stumble through a silly misunderstanding before adopting a puppy and finding True Love. Happy endings can be for everyone. People who’ve made serious mistakes or endured terrible suffering. People who are far from perfect. People like us.
What are your thoughts on romances with serious themes?
Once the second-prize winner on My Slave’s Got Talent, Sky Blue has spent the past few years singing at a failing New York nightclub. While Sky has never had control over his fate, his life seems to take a turn for the worse when he’s torn from the familiar comfort of performing and sold to a rich and enigmatic man.
Morgan Wallace takes his newly purchased slave to San Francisco, his intentions unclear. On the one hand, he treats Sky with more kindness than Sky has ever known—treats him like a real person. On the other hand, he shares Sky at parties hosted by his sadistic new friends.
A confused slave is an endangered slave, and Sky isn’t even sure of his master’s real name. Is he Morgan Wallace, wealthy and cruel, or Mackenzie Webster, caring and compassionate? Caught between hope, fear, and an undeniably growing attachment, Sky struggles to untangle which parts are real and which are merely a performance. His future, his heart, and even his life may depend on it.
About Kim Fielding
Kim Fielding picked up a pencil when she was three years old and never put it down. She always dreamed of becoming an author, but took a roundabout way of getting there, first spending an inordinate amount of time as a student and ending up with a law degree and a PhD in psychology. She wrote plenty of academic articles and even a few books, but fiction continued to call to her. One day, she finally put that pencil to its intended use again and began to write novels.
Today, Kim is the best-selling, award-winning author of numerous gay romance and fantasy novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning multiple -genres. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in fifteenth-century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, slaves, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
Kim writes authentic voices and unexpected heroes.
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 among the cows and almond trees 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.
To celebrate the release of Staged, one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide gift certificate and a copy of Treasure by Kim Fielding in audiobook. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 23, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!