We are very happy to welcome KC Burn to the Smoocher’s Voice blog today. Burn’s latest novel Rainbow Blues is available on Dreamspinner Press.
KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds). After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own — getting published. After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does.
Visit KC at her website: http://kcburn.com
Jodi: Thank you, KC, for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. Tell us a little about yourself and how you decided to write exclusively in the m/m genre.
KC: I’ve been writing for a long time, and many of my stories have included gay characters, but when I was first seriously trying to write a book for publication, I wrote straight romances. For some reason, I was always embarrassed about writing the sex scenes. I decided I’d write an erotic romance, try and push myself over the hurdle with lots of sex. I planned out a story (well, as much as I ever do) and then I realized the central conflict would be stronger if both characters were men. So I made the necessary adjustments to the plot, and tried writing a sex scene, just to test the waters. It was fun! It flowed! And both points of view were male, which I’ve always been more comfortable writing. That sex scene went into Wolfsbane, which was also the first book I got published.
Jodi: You write both standalone books as well as series. Do you have a preference? Do you feel that series give you more leeway for character development?
KC: Generally when I write series, I don’t write the same characters in each book, but I do enjoy introducing future heroes as secondary characters in earlier books, and if I can, flip people’s expectations of those characters. Some stories don’t lend themselves well to series, but it depends on the book. Trompe L’oeil, for example, has a straight best friend that my editor would love for me to find a man for, but he’s straight! And that book was never meant to have a sequel. On the other hand, Voodoo ‘n’ Vice, in my Galactic Alliance series, features a character who was a huge jerk in the previous book and I redeem him and let him find love.
Jodi: If someone is not familiar with your books, which book would you recommend they read first?
KC: Probably Cop Out. It’s probably the most emotional of my books, but also the most accessible, even for those who haven’t read gay romances before.
Jodi: Rainbow Blues is a great story that has a bit of a fairy tale vibe to it. What was your inspiration for this book?
KC: Thank you! Rainbow Blues grew out of a scene I pictured of a guy (older, more mature) thinking he’s losing his guy to the popularity of being a successful actor, and I pictured him sitting on the kitchen floor, leaning against a wall, devastated and trying to come to grips with what he sees as the crumbling of his relationship. From there, I had to figure out who the two guys were, and how they got to that particular spot. It came out a little different in the book than I’d originally envisioned, but that’s nothing new.
Jodi: Like many of your books, Rainbow Blues is written in third person point of view. Does writing in third person point of view provide more opportunities to explore each character’s personality than it would if the books were written in first person?
KC: When I write, it’s like I’m describing for you the movie in my head. Since I’m an observer, it never feels natural to write in first person.
Jodi: Luke Jordan is a construction manager, a divorced father of an adult son. He has no friends and seems very lonely. Tell us a little about your inspiration for Luke’s character.
KC: Jimmy’s character, or at least his profession, came first. I had to find someone who’d be so enamored of Jimmy and yet feel out of place in a flashier, Hollywood style world. He also needed to be in a situation where he’d even be interested in Rainbow Blues, which meant no real support system. If he had lots of friends and a great social life, joining Rainbow Blues might not be as pivotal to his life. It took a while to figure out exactly who Luke was, but I think his practical nature makes him an excellent partner for the sometimes flighty Jimmy.
Jodi: Is the Rainbow Blues organization based on a real group?
KC: I’d love it if were, but as far as I know, there is not a real group like Rainbow Blues. I know some large companies have LGBT social groups, often used to promote diversity in the workplace, but it’s not really based on anything specific.
Jodi: Jimmy Alexander is an actor, and he is the complete opposite of Luke. What was your inspiration for his character?
KC: I’m friends with a few guys who aren’t professional actors but act in plays in addition to their regular jobs. Jimmy got a number of characteristics from them, but he’s his own person.
Jodi: Let’s talk a little about Ryan. Why did you choose the method you did to “out” him to Luke? Will he get his own story and a HEA?
KC: So, you may have been able to figure out I don’t do a lot of planning ahead… The thing with Ryan just happened. I was kind of surprised when it did, but as for choosing, that was not me, that was the characters. I do feel he needs his own story, though, and I’ve got a couple of ideas kicking around for him.
Jodi: I love the Toronto Tales series. Is that series complete, or will there be more books?
KC: Oh there are still some unfinished stories! I have another idea for a series that I’m considering making a spin off of Toronto Tales, too, but finding the time to write all these ideas is always a challenge.
Jodi: What was your inspiration for that series?
KC: Basing it in Toronto was a no-brainer. I lived in Toronto until I was thirty-four (and I’m forty-one now) so it’s a familiar setting. Although the execution didn’t much resemble the initial spark, I had the idea for Cover Up first, and I tucked it away in my idea file until I’d finished the book I was working on. Then, I had a scene pop into my head, where a cop goes to a house to inform the next of kin about a death and unexpectedly discovers the man’s husband. That scene, which again bears little resemblance to Cop Out, was so compelling I had to write it first, and I realized I could quite easily link them together. Toronto Tales was never intended to be a “cop” series, and I think that might have surprised a number of readers when I put out Cast Off.
Jodi: Was it difficult to mingle the mystery, violence and romance?
KC: Violence and romance go hand in hand in my opinion. I cut my teeth on historical romances. Pirates and duelists and Vikings… plenty o’ violence to be found and the danger makes it necessary to rely on someone who may be a total stranger, even if they end up the love of your life. Even still, I think the violence in my books is relatively tame. The mystery… well, I never tried to be too mysterious because I find writing mysteries very difficult, although I love them to pieces. And yes, I have two terrible mystery manuscripts tucked away under my bed.
Jodi: Do you have a favorite character or book in that series?
KC: I have a super soft spot for Rick. There’s something about him, about how skittish he is underneath his brash exterior that really appeals to me. I know we’re supposed to love all our babies equally, but Rick is one of my favorites.
Jodi: Cast off the third book in the series has recently been released as an audiobook. Are you involved in the process of picking actors/readers for the audio versions of the books?
KC: Three of my Carina books are in audio and I had no input into the selection of the narrators. However, for Toronto Tales, Dreamspinner sent me several audition files, and Tristan James was exactly right. He reads with the same cadence that I hear the words in my head.
Jodi: What was your inspiration for writing about werewolves and vampires in the MIA Case Files series?
KC: As much as I love reading about vampire and shifters finding true love, I’m a big fan of horror as well. I wanted to write books where werewolves and vampires were the bad guys, not the tortured heroes.
Jodi: You write in different styles and genres within the m/m romance category. Do you prefer writing science fiction, paranormal, fantasy or contemporary books?
KC: I love them all! Seriously, that’s one of the fabulous benefits of writing gay romance – you aren’t roped in to one specific subgenre like many straight romance authors are. Science fiction is probably my first love, though. The first movie I remember seeing in a theatre was Star Wars. The second was Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. I think we only went to see movies at the theatre my dad wanted to see! My dad and I would also watch Doctor Who while eating Chinese food on, I think, Sunday nights.
Jodi: And, I have to ask, what was your inspiration for Pen Name - Doctor Chicken?
KC: I was trying to come up with a name for the club in Cast Off. First, I searched for “penis euphemisms” on Google. I have two words for you – mayonnaise cannon. I think I’m scarred for life! Then I ended up on a random word generator, and after a couple of clicks, it matched up Doctor Chicken. It was like lightning striking. I have a snippet file, filled with bits of dialogue and partial scenes. Once I had Doctor Chicken, a whole mess of snippets I’d written down over the years suddenly fit together. The underwear on the driveway? In the snippet file. A cat named Bob Marley? In the snippet file. Unintentionally sexual typos getting someone in trouble? In the snippet file. Dildo at work? Also in the snippet file, but execution didn’t match the original idea. The random word generator also inspired a number of Doctor Chicken’s book titles.
Jodi: What is your next project?
KC: A giant, evil manuscript where I did a genre mash-up. It’s an erotic paranormal romance/cozy mystery. It took forever, and I’m just at the initial editing stage, so it’s not contracted anywhere, and I maybe hate it, just a bit. Anyway, it’s about a cop and a psychic butting heads in a small Florida town. After that? Porn stars!
Having come out late in life, forty-three-year-old Luke Jordan is at a loss about how to conduct himself as a gay man. As a construction manager, he’s not interested in being out at work, but he’d like to find a boyfriend or at least some gay friends. Two years after his wife got all their friends in the divorce, he’s no closer to the life he wants.
Zach, Luke’s adult son, takes charge and signs him up for the Rainbow Blues, a social group for gay blue-collar workers. At an event, he not only finds friends but meets Jimmy Alexander, part-time stage actor and full-time high school biology teacher. Jimmy loves the stage but wishes potential boyfriends weren’t so jealous of the time he devotes to it. When he meets Luke and finds him accepting of his many facets, he thinks it’s a dream come true.
Their relationship quickly moves into serious territory, but their connection is tested to its breaking point by the offer of a juicy movie role that takes Jimmy to the opposite coast and into the path of a very sexy costar.