Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Guest Post: Kim Fielding

My guest today is Kim Fielding to talk about her new book, Venetian Masks.

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I have daughters ages thirteen and just-turning-ten. They’re both bookworms. I don’t know how many times I’ve caught them reading after bedtime. The younger one tends to do the under-the-covers-with-the-flashlight gig. The older one has a towering stack of books at her bedside, which I fear may someday topple on her and then we’ll never see her again. And inevitably when I call to one of them to do a chore or eat a meal or go to bed, I hear the same complaint: “But I’m at a good part!”

As readers, we’ve all experienced that feeling of being unable to stop because a story has so consumed us. I once screamed at my entire family like a lunatic and banished them from the room until I’d finished reading the final chapters of The Book Thief.

Until I began writing novels a few years ago, I didn’t realize that writers experience the same thing.

My experience with writing a novel tends to be a bit like a roller coaster. There’s the brief initial drop when I get started and I am really enthusiastic about a new story. The there’s that sort of sloggy part in the middle—the uphill chug—when progress seems so slow and it feels like I’ll never finish. But then… then comes that delirious whee! of the final chapters. I generally shoot for writing 2000 words a day (I have a day job, alas). On a good day I hit 3000. But towards the end of the story I manage much more than that. I just finished the first draft of a novel in which the final 11,000 words were written in two days. My record, though, comes from my upcoming novella, Night Shift, in which I wrote the final 7000 words in one day.

When that roller coaster starts zooming down the track, I become a conduit for my muse. I write until the screen is so blurry I can’t see and I’m making more typos than correct words. Doesn’t matter what’s going on around me and doesn’t matter how early I have to wake up in the morning. I’m at a good part.

What I really hope is that when the story makes it into print, people will find it as hard to stop reading as I did to stop writing. I like to picture people hiding from their partners, their kids, their jobs, their friends, all so they can keep on reading.

My newest novel, Venetian Masks, releases February 11. The main character, Jeff Dawkins, is a reader too. Here’s an excerpt from the book.


Kim Fielding:
On Twitter: #kfieldingwrites


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They stopped for lunch at a place Cleve said had decent pizza, but which he chose for the view. And it was spectacular. The restaurant was built over the water of the Canale di San Marco, looking out toward an island with a domed church. Right next to the restaurant was a little dock where boats came and went constantly.
“Why Venice?” Cleve asked him over their food and wine.
“Told you. Wasn’t my idea.”
“Yeah, but you’re the one who’s here now, so there must’ve been something about the place that appealed to you.”
“Nonrefundable plane tickets,” Jeff said with a sigh. And then, probably because he was finishing off his third glass, he looked out over the serene water and said, “It was my boyfriend’s idea. My ex-boyfriend’s idea.”
“Yeah?”
“He had this plan for a kind of grand tour, right? Probably he was trying to inject some spice into our relationship. We’d been living together for a while. But the spice didn’t come soon enough. He dumped me for another guy.”
“That sucks balls. But any guy who’d dump you obviously has shit for brains, and you’re better off without him.”
Jeff turned his head to look at Cleve, who was doing a pretty good job of pretending to look sincere. “Kissing my ass isn’t going to get me to hire you.”
Cleve waggled his eyebrows suggestively and then chuckled. “I’ll skip making a comment about ass-kissing. I really meant what I said, though. I mean… look at you.” He waved a hand in Jeff’s general direction. “You’re fucking adorable.”
Adorable? Kittens are adorable. Chubby babies are adorable. Little cottages with gingerbread trim and flower boxes are adorable.”
Cleve reached across the table and pinched Jeff’s cheek. “So are you, man. I mean, you have these… wholesome boy-next-door good looks, and you blush, and you’re sort of cutely grouchy, and….” He bit his lower lip. For once, he was the one who looked embarrassed. Although that was probably an act too, Jeff reminded himself.
But Jeff was having trouble thinking straight at the moment, because the skin of his face burned where the other man had touched him, and he could suddenly imagine exactly what it would feel like for Cleve to trace his cheekbones with his broad fingers, to ghost along his mouth and then in, and—
“Why are you in Venice?” Jeff asked gruffly, very glad that the tablecloth covered his lap.
Cleve visibly relaxed, his usual demeanor settling over him like a well-worn mask. “Told you. I bum around.”
“Yeah. But why here?”
“Dunno. I like it. There’s lots of tourists around if I need to make a buck.” He flashed a grin. “And it’s kind of… in the middle. Easy to get to somewhere else if you want to take off in a hurry.”
Jeff decided not to ask why he’d want to leave so quickly. Cleve wouldn’t give a straight answer anyway. “Is it your favorite city?”
Cleve smiled. “It is this week.”

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