Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding
Release Date: August 31, 2015
Pages or Words: Approximately 80,000 words:
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Romance, Western/Cowboy
Today we’re very lucky to be interviewing Kim Fielding, author of Rattlesnake!
Hi Kim, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Let’s just jump right in…
Why do you write?
Why do I breathe?
I have had stories in my head since I was a little kid, and being an author was always my dream job. It took me a few decades to get here, but I’ve never stopped writing.
So mostly I write because I have these people in my head and they are screaming to get out.
Also, it’s enormously satisfying to hear from readers who enjoy my work. I love it when someone says I made them laugh or—mwah-hah-hah!—cry, or when other people fall in love with my characters. I’ve had a wonderful time getting to know other authors, too.
But honestly, if you locked me in a cave with pen and paper and told me nobody else would ever read a word I wrote, I’d still write.
Which of your books was the most difficult to write?
I don’t know that any book was more difficult than the others, but some scenes were really hard. From a technical standpoint, fighting scenes and sex scenes are challenging to write, and for pretty much the same reasons. You have to carefully describe physical acts without being boring or lapsing into purple prose (I promise I will never write about a “shuddering love-rocket”). You have to carefully keep track of who’s doing what to whom without drowning in pronouns and names, while also making sure you’re not doing anything physically impossible. And you have to carefully control the rhythm, building tension, starting off slow, then gradually increasing the thrust and parry until you reach a climax of some kind. And you have to be original about it, even though a zillion battle and sex scenes have been written before (and sometimes battle-and-sex scenes too).
From an emotional standpoint, it’s hard to write someone doing something stupid or stubborn, even if it’s in character and he has to do it. I want to shake sense into the guy. There’s some of that in Rattlesnake. And then there are the scenes when something really awful happens to someone or, worst of all, you have to kill someone off. I won’t be too spoilerish, but I have a book in which I killed off the same character twice. And I really like the poor guy.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?
Jimmy has been a drifter since he was 14. He’s never had family or friends to stand at his side, and he’s never felt that he was worth much. But he’s a genuinely good man. He’s kind and caring, and he has an ethical code that he tries to stick to even in tough times. When he’s faced with conflict, he doesn’t fight—he just picks up and leaves. What he really needs—although he doesn’t realize it—is someone who not only can take care of him now and then, but who he can take care of too. Another great thing about Jimmy is that he has a lot of stories. They’re not all true stories, but he uses them to entertain and comfort others.
How much research do you do for your books?
Research is one of my favorite parts, and I sometimes have to stop myself from getting carried away. But I enjoy it, plus it’s important to me to get details right. For example, for The Pillar, I spent fair bit of time trying to figure out the cost of a healthy male slave in 15th century Bosnia. In Astounding!, I had to calculate how much energy would be required for conversion into roughly 180 pounds of mass (the answer: a LOT).
My favorite way to do research is via travel. The town of Rattlesnake is based loosely on a real place, Angels Camp, California. It’s in the Sierra foothills. I visited a few times and went tromping around Gold Rush era cemeteries, climbing down (and up) into caves, wandering down Main Street, and driving past cattle ranches.
Who designs your covers?
I am so lucky to have scored cover art by several amazingly talented artists! L.C. Chase did that lovely cover for Rattlesnake. I’ve also had several covers by Paul Richmond, Shobana Appavu, and Anne Cain, among others.
One thing I love about Dreamspinner Press, which has published many of my books, is that they ask authors for a lot of feedback on cover design. Sometimes I have a pretty specific idea, which the artists end up improving wonderfully, and sometimes I’m pretty vague. I’ve never been disappointed with the results, and some of the covers have won awards.
I have made the covers for most (but not all) of my self-published works. I’m not much of an artist, so I stick with simple. For Equipoise, I knew I wanted a photo of old natural rope. So I went to Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco and took about 150 pictures of ropes. At one point, a curious park ranger asked me what the heck I was doing. He seemed to like my answer. But I did eventually get a rope I liked—and also a nice shot of the USS Balclutha for the back cover.
A big thank you to Kim Fielding for answering a few questions for us and being so candid.
A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.
On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.
Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.
Their waitress appeared beside the table. “Anything else?” she asked Jimmy.
He didn’t want to go just yet. But his belly was full, and any further conversation with Shane was probably going to frustrate him. Already Jimmy wanted to reach across the table and touch Shane’s hair, maybe run a finger across his scars. “Just the check. Thanks.”
“Mine too,” Shane said, but his thoughts were clearly elsewhere. As soon as she took their plates away, he leaned forward. “You don’t have to go, do you? I mean, you’re not, um, on the run from the law, are you?”
That made Jimmy laugh. “I’ve done some stupid shit, but never bad enough to make me a fugitive.”
“If I Google you, I won’t find you on the Ten Most Wanted list?”
“So.” Shane traced his finger through a bit of spilled sugar on the tabletop, worrying at his lip and not meeting Jimmy’s gaze. He finally looked up again. “So you could stick around here for a while. If you had a place to stay and a job.”
God damn it! You don’t hope. You don’t want. That only leads to destruction. But Jimmy felt himself nod. “I could. For a short time.”
Sales Links: Amazon • Dreamspinner Press
Meet the author:
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
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 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.
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/KFieldingWrites
Goodreads Author link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4105707.Kim_Fielding
Rattlesnake is a beautifully written story. One of a man, alone in the world. With no one to care of or for him. That man, Jimmy Dorsett, sets on a path that would alter his perceived course in this life.
A drifter, Jimmy would go from town to town and job to job. Mostly homeless and penniless, Jimmy managed to survive with very little. As we meet him in Rattlesnake, he’s a bit better off. With a few dollars in his pocket and a (barely) working car, he’s on his way to a new town and job. One convenience store/gas station stop sets him down a different course. Old Tom hitches and ride with Jimmy. Tom isn’t well and he only leaves a few parting words of wisdom before he dies in his sleep in the passenger seat of Jimmy’s car.
Tom also leaves a letter to his estranged son in Rattlesnake, CA. Something about that letter and Tom start an itch in Jimmy’s mind. Next thing he knows, he’s off to Rattlesnake to deliver the letter to Tom’s son, Shane Little.
Nothing goes as planned for Jimmy. He’s actually given a helping hand once in Rattlesnake. Shane likes him and manages to set him up in a place and a job. From there, Jimmy keeps his head down and his body working. Jimmy never gives reason for people not to trust him. His stories from his many job endeavors and towns passed through are entertaining and people listen to him. He finds with each passing day that it is harder to leave. How does one leave a place they finally feel they belong to. A place Jimmy’s finally seen and valued as a person. Not a homeless person on a street corner busking for coins or food. A hard-working man who can speak to others, tell a story and be a valued participant of a conversation. Someone that would be missed if he left.
Every day Jimmy says he is going to leave town but each day he comes up with another reason to stay. That reason usually involves Shane. But will Shane be able tame the drifter. Can Jimmy finally accept a home, Rattlesnake, and someone to love. It’s not easy for a man of 43 to feel he deserves both since being alone since age 14. Is broken Shane just the man to make Jimmy realize his worth in this lifetime?
Although this story is bit slower paced, it isn’t lacking in emotion of the slow build. We know it’s a matter of time before the unsavory will raise its weary head and try to defeat the fairytale our protagonists are building. The question is, will the drifter drift away never to be seen again of will the cowboy tame his wild horse so they can enjoy a ride together.
Rattlesnake is a burst of fresh air. A story that eases into your heart until it just might burst from fullness.
RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!
Tour Dates and Stops:
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Rafflecopter Prize: $20 Dreamspinner gift certificate plus an e-copy of Kim Fielding’s novel, Astounding!
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