TNA: Hi, Kenzie, thanks so much for being here with us at The Novel Approach today. Why don’t we start out having you tell us a little bit about yourself: hobbies, interests, odds and ends things about you?
Kenzie: Oh my! I’m so boring and a serious geek. Let’s see what can make you yawn first. Well, I have a strange obsession with spreadsheets. I have one for just about everything. It’s how I keep organized. I read almost constantly, at least four books a week. I’m a serious BBC fanatic. Doctor Who is my favorite television show, and David Tennant is, by far, my favorite Doctor. Orphan Black has become a weekly obsession of mine along with Torchwood, Graham Norton, Sherlock (which doesn’t actually come on BBC America, but still), Ripper Street, and Copper. See. I earned my geek status years ago. I like to cook, to experiment with recipes. I’m kind of a fix-it-all. I’m pretty good with technology and taking things apart only to put them back together, but I have problems putting a grill together. Don’t ask. And I sing. I’ve been doing so since I was a child, which explains my love of all kinds of music. So, yeah… that’s me… next question? 🙂
TNA: Son of a Fish is your first published work. Tell us a little bit about how this all came about. What’s the theme of this particular anthology, and what was it about this call for submission from Dreamspinner that compelled you to write a story for it?
Kenzie: Mended is the title of Dreamspinner Press’s Daily Dose this year. The theme is that of hurt/comfort, anywhere from emotional, mental, or physical. It’s the physical that first drew my attention. I have a bit of experience in the klutz department, which probably explains Casey’s situation. Sorry, Case. I mean if you want to go into detail: I’ve broken both ankles—the right twice and the left once. I unknowingly stepped on a tack nail. I’ve broken several toes, sprained my wrist, dislocated my right shoulder, fallen off of two porches, tripped over absolutely nothing, broken my tailbone, and sprained both ankles countless times. I’m a bit of a walking disaster. So why not put that experience into a hurt/comfort (emphasis on hurt) story?
TNA: Tell us a little bit about your main characters, Sam and Casey. What is it that you love about them, and what would you say it is that they love about each other?
Kenzie: Sam is a freelance journalist, so he works from home and is pretty much a loner. He’s the comfort part of this story. He has a very giving heart. He wants to help so he does. Casey is a teacher and high school football coach. Casey is my sad baby. He’s been the object of a lot of hurt in his recent past and he’s trying to move past it.
I simply love these guys. One, for the fact that they are my first couple to be published. And two, for their likability—to me anyway. I love Casey’s oddities and Sam’s huge heart. And I think that’s what they like about each other. Casey’s quirkiness is very attractive to Sam initially, then he connects with him on a deeper level. And Casey, after his physical attraction is attracted first of all to Sam’s generosity and kind spirit. They are both sweet character who I fell in love with and had a lot of fun writing.
TNA: So, Casey has a rather creative way of, shall we say, emoting? Do you cuss? Just curious. What’s your favorite expletive?
Kenzie: Ha! If only. I’m a sailor in my normal life and I don’t have much of a filter. Most of my creative cussing comes from spending so much time with my almost three year old niece. The kid is a sponge and repeat everything, which is why son of a fish was born. Coincidentally, son of a bitch is the swear most likely to leave my mouth. That or fuck… or motherfucker. I’m an equal opportunity cusser. 🙂
TNA: Start to finish, how long did it take you to write Son of a Fish? Share with us what it was like the moment you attached the document to that submission email and hit send. Did you drink heavily afterwards? What was the wait for a reply like for you, and do you think it’ll ever get easier?
Kenzie: Oh wow! Um… start to finish, actually writing, Son of a Fish took three days to write. Then came the revisions and the comments from my critique partner, who is more of a mentor. Attaching the document to my email… I’ve never felt that sort of stress. I’ve done a lot. I speak and sing in public. I’m used to being seen that way, but writing tends to be more personal for me. I literally cried after I sent the email—somewhat relieved and horrified at the same time. It’s scary to be in that position, but then again it’s exciting. And then I had a drink. Okay, I had damn near a bottle of wine… two bottles. Whatever. It was a weekend and I wasn’t worried about work the next day.
Thankfully the wait was not long. It was somewhere around three weeks. I’m telling you had it been much longer, I probably would have developed an ulcer. I went through the whole it-is-genius-I-am-genius-it-was-crap-I-am-crap cycle like once a day. The longer I it took, the more certain I was that I’d get a rejection email. And I’d prepared myself for it. I was sort of okay with it.
I’m not sure it’ll get easier. I’ve submitted another story since, and I was just as nervous—same cycle and all—right up until I received the acceptance email. It certainly hasn’t gotten easier yet. I’ll let you know if that ever changes.
TNA: You know I have to ask this: who’s your favorite, Sam or Casey, and why? Was one of them easier to write than the other?
Kenzie: Aaah!! There’s so much about both of them I love. Casey is quirky and determined, and Sam is sweet and giving. I love them both. But if I had to choose…absolutely HAD to choose a favorite, it would probably be Casey. He is the biggest focus of this book. With his weirdness comes the title of this book. The hurt in his past is also one of the reasons I favor him so much. I love a broken character. So if I had to choose a favorite character it would be Casey.
Neither Sam nor Casey was extremely difficult to write, probably because they are both very similar to myself. I think I love them both so much because they didn’t fight me while I wrote their story. They were very easy to work with, luckily, because I’ve learned since that not all characters are that easy.
TNA: Do you remember the first M/M book you ever read? What was it, and what about it hooked you on gay romance?
Kenzie: Yes! Oh my god! It was an accident that I even found it. I had just finished all of Laurel K. Hamilton’s books and I was searching to see when her next Merry Gentry book was coming out when I found a blog. I couldn’t even tell you what the blog was, but it had a TON of PNR books listed by author. I don’t know what pulled me to Jamie Craig, but I read the blurb about Gideon, a vampire, and Jesse, his best friend. It was Master of Obsidian the first in the Master Chronicles series. Okay, to be honest, I read the first paragraph of the blurb and thought Jesse was a girl. So imagine my surprise when in like the second scene Gideon and Jesse start having sex in the alley… and there’s NO VAGINA! I was dumbfounded and shockingly enjoying it, so I kept reading. Then I read the next book and the next. And when the female element was added into the mix, I realized I wasn’t that much of a fan. I wanted Gideon and Jesse to ride off in the sunset together, just them.
I can’t pinpoint one thing that attracted me to m/m. I like the passion and strength two men show in the moment of need, but also the tenderness and comfort they can have in the same moment. I mean I love two sets of hard sweaty muscles, why would I not? But it’s more than that. There’s something about two heroes without a damsel in distress. I love that strength, even in broken characters, that is either overt or underlying. There’s a power that comes with m/m fiction that, I learned soon after reading that first scene, is be hard to turn away from. It’s passionate and magnetic.
TNA: If you could have one superpower, what would you choose, and why?
Kenzie: Invisibility. I don’t need to think about it. I’m mostly an introvert in an extrovert’s world. I can fake it with the best, and I love to have a good time. I like to spend time with people, but I have a tendency to go into overload then need some alone time. I’m pretty sure invisibility would help with that. Also I would sneak into the Raven’s locker room, because football players. Same goes for the Yankees. I’d be all over that. I didn’t say I’d use my powers for good all the time. 🙂
TNA: Name one book you wish you’d written, and what is it about that particular book/author that inspires that admiration?
Kenzie: That’s a tough one. There are so many great ones out there. I’m in the middle of a mystery/romance right now, so I’d have to choose Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford. And I’m talking about at this moment in this, the genre of my heart. Rhys is flat-out genius. Her humor, sarcasm, absurd quality at times; the thrill of the mystery and the need of the characters—it all melds into such an amazing story. I’d also add the rest of the series, because really, it’s all genius. And while we’re at it, I’d include the Cole McGinnis series, because you’ve read that genius, right?
TNA: Do you have any current WIPs you’d like to share information with us about?
Kenzie: I have a few. I’m working on a Christmas piece that’s pretty personal for me, so I’m writing it in stops and starts. It’s sort of a play on the film P.S. I Love You, except my main character is getting letters from his grandmother, and he ends up in England.
I also have my first novel in the works. As I mentioned before, it’s a mystery. One of my MCs is being stalked and the other is a cop. When you talk about difficult characters to write, Scott is in that category. He’s my guy who is being stalked. And man do I like him.
And then I’ve got a few ideas brewing in my head with some notes on paper. I have a contemporary fantasy story in my head as well—witches and warlocks in modern time. So we’ll see. I’ve always heard that the possibilities are limitless. I just didn’t understand until I actually started writing.
TNA: Where can readers find you on the internet?
Kenzie: Social media is a curious thing; don’t you think. I’m still trying to master it all, but I’m definitely there.
About the Author: Kenzie Cade was born and raised in the South where she spends her days in the sometimes stressful field of private medicine observing interesting people and committing them to memory for later use. When she isn’t reading, experimenting with recipes, or being distracted by social media, Kenzie spends time with her family, friends, and the Pomeranian/long-haired Chihuahua mix who likes to keep her company while she writes. As a young girl, Kenzie dreamed of princesses and their white knights. As an adult (or sort of adult), she dreams of princes and their proverbial white knights, which she attributes to fellow Arkansan S.E. Hinton and her novel
The Outsiders. Writing to keep the fictional voices at bay, Kenzie enjoys the journeys her characters travel to find their happy endings, and she loves the challenge of writing a great love story.
Blurb: Sam Crowe lives a quiet life. He’s a freelance journalist and sometimes fiction writer. His world is turned upside down when love lands on his doorstep—literally, while cursing up a G-rated storm. Son of a fish, indeed. Casey Sanders doesn’t know whether it’s good luck or bad when he slips and falls on the icy steps of his apartment building, but the hero who comes to his rescue is worth the discomfort.
Their attraction is instant, but Sam is certain Casey’s flirtation and kind words are a result of the pain medication. But Casey is persistent and won’t give up until he has what he wants. And what he wants is Sam.
The Giveaway: THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED