Friday, September 5, 2014

Author Interview: L.C. Chase talks Pulling Leather with Jodi

We are very happy to welcome L.C. Chase to the Smoocher’s Voice blog today.  L.C.’s latest novel Pulling Leather, the third book in the Pickup Men series, is available at Riptide Publishing. Make sure you read to the end of the post and enter the GiveAway!

Cover artist by day, author by night, L.C. Chase is a hopeless romantic and adventure seeker. After a decade of traveling three continents, she now calls the Canadian West Coast home. When not writing sensual tales of beautiful men falling love, she can be found designing book covers with said beautiful men, drawing, horseback riding, or hiking the trails with her goofy four-legged roommate.

L.C. is a 2014 Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Pickup Men; a 2013 EPIC eBook Awards Finalist for Long Tall Drink; and a 2013-2014 Ariana eBook Cover Art Awards Finalist. She also won an honorable mention in the 2012 Rainbow Awards for Riding with Heaven.

Connect with L.C..

Jodi:     Thank you, L.C., for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. I am a big fan of your writing and your artwork. I especially love the cowboys in the Pickup Men series. Tell us a little about yourself and how you decided to write exclusively in the m/m genre.

L.C.:     Thank you so much, Jodi! I’m excited to be here. I never know what to say about myself that doesn’t end up sounding like a dating profile though, so how about we go straight to writing.  :-)  I didn’t so much deliberately decide to write in the M/M genre, as it demanded that I write it. All the characters who come to me, all the people who want me to tell their stories, are gay men fighting for their other half, even when they don’t realize that’s what they’re doing.

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?

L.C.:     I hadn’t actually written a series before the Pickup Men books, and I’m not sure I have a preference for one over the other. There are pros and cons to each. In a series, you are somewhat limited to points that had been established in earlier books, but at the same time, there’s something about writing familiar characters and growing with them that definitely appeals. Standalones give more freedom to follow where a story/the characters want to go rather than “oops, he can’t go there because he already went here”. That said, I feel character development in both should be strong and deep regardless. A series is fun to revisit favorite characters though, and I have to say, I’m not sure I’m ready to let Bridge go just yet. ;-)

Jodi:     That is good news. I love Bridge J. If someone is not familiar with your books, which book would you recommend they read first?

L.C:      Hmm… That’s tough. I’m kind of partial to them all. ;-) I think maybe Long Tall Drink is a good overall representation of my style.

Jodi:     What was your inspiration for the Pickup Men series?

L.C.:     Cowboys! :-D I’ve always been around horses and ranches, owned a couple of my own, and I often volunteer at local rodeo. At a rodeo a few years ago, I just got to watching the pickup men at work. I started wondering who they were and about their role, talked with a few people and my intrigue grew. They’re the unsung heroes of the rodeo scene and I just felt they deserved a story.

Jodi:     Did you need to do research about rodeos and cowboys to write the series?

L.C.:     Some, yes, for rodeo mostly — specific things unique to the sport, the various circuits, about bull riding and pickup, rules/regulations, etc. The majority of my research though, was just being there, being involved, and a lot of talking/listening/observing.

Jodi:     Bridge and Tripp appear to be typical cowboys who are not “out” to their friends and fellow cowboys. What was your inspiration for these two men and their backgrounds?

L.C.:     The funny thing is, and this probably sounds crazy, but a lot of my characters “introduce” themselves to me, rather than any particular real life person inspiring them. No doubt bits and pieces of people I know/have known creep in — and I have intentionally set out to write one or two stories/characters based on people I know — but mostly they come to me with their base personality established. It’s when I get deeper into their stories that their personalities and motivations become clearer and clearer. I’m just telling their story for them, is how I usually think of it. And with all of my characters, I feel like I know them, that if they were real they’re the kind of people I’d like in my life.   

Jodi:     Was it difficult for you as a writer to develop the conflicted sides of Tripp’s character?

L.C.:     I’m not sure it was hard, per se. He did some things that were hard for me on a personal level, but I knew who Tripp was, I knew what drove him and what he fought internally, so everything he did was an organic extension from there. It all made sense, in his way. I just followed where he lead me. :-)

Jodi:     In Pickup Men, the first book in the series, you introduce readers to Scott Gillard identifying him as “the biggest homophobic prick on the circuit,” and his actions within the series have not been very endearing. Scott, of course, is one of the main characters in Pulling Leather. Tell us a little about Scott’s character.

L.C.:     Scott is complicated. He’s got issues — a lot of them — all stemming from his childhood when he didn't understand things fully. He grew up angry and spread that anger without care. Once he realizes what he’s been doing all of his life, and the harm he’s been causing, he sets out to make amends. Despite his past, he’s a man willing to take responsibility for his actions, and work through his issues to be a better person. 

Jodi:     Did you know the depth of Scott’s character when you wrote the first book? Was Scott a difficult character to develop?

L.C.:     I didn’t know the depths of his character until I got closer to the end of Pickup Men. About halfway through that book I started realizing there was more to him than just the story’s bad guy. Why did he act the way he did? What motivated so much hate and aggression? He was absolutely difficult to write, some of the places he needed to go were hard for me to follow — which is why this story starts two years later, I couldn’t follow him in his darkest moments — but he had to see what he’d done, had to change ingrained negative thinking/actions so he could come out into the light.

Jodi:     We meet Cory Ackerson in the second book, Let it Ride. He is a rookie to the circuit. You  describe him as a young man who “had a spark that was hard to ignore.” Tell us a little about his character and your inspiration for him.

L.C.:     Cory is the light to Scott's dark. He had to be in order to balance Scott and guide him out into the world. He shines bright, is so much stronger than anyone thinks, has a huge caring heart, and is one of those people you just can't help but adore from the moment you meet him. An absolute opposite to Scott, which I think made him the perfect man. His character was inspired more by what Scott needed than on anyone I know, but I pictured Luke Guldan as I was writing.

Jodi:     Long Tall Drink is also a cowboy-focused story. What was your inspiration for that book?

L.C.:     The book actually sparked out of a thousand-word writing challenge in an old writing forum I used to be active in. The prompt was a hot cowboy photo and one requirement: it had to include a rear view mirror. Right away I saw the main character watching a cowboy stepping out of swirling dust in the rear view. That image is forever planted in my mind’s eye. The story just grew from there.

Jodi:     Both Ray and Travis have tortured pasts they are trying to reconcile. Tell us a little about their characters.

L.C.:     Ray buried who he was for so long, kept himself behind a thick stoic layer—afraid of repercussion, bound by reputation, responsibility and legacy — so there was a lot of work to bring him out into the open…with a lot of help from Travis. I really enjoyed exploring his personality and nuances. Same with Travis, though he was a little different in that he’d been dealt some tough cards in life, but he kept on not only fighting, but fighting for others as well. Through it all he just wants what most of us want — love, a place to belong, and peace.  

Jodi:     Regardless of the angst taking place in your plots, add humor seems to be one of your specialties. Is that a challenge for you?

L.C.:     That actually comes pretty natural to me, so nope, not much of a challenge at all. I’m one of those people who uses humor, often with a good helping of sarcasm, to deflect things – the more intense the situation the sharper/drier the humor.

Jodi:     Riding with Heaven is very different from these other books. It is an intriguing plot with great characters and a little mystery thrown in. What was your inspiration for this story?

L.C.:     This story was actually inspired by true events. I was living in Colorado when the Denver International Airport was shut down for two full days due to snowstorms. My roommate’s flight was cancelled, so she placed an ad on Craigslist for a ride share East. The next morning I dropped her off at the gas station…and took down the driver’s license plate number. Just in case. ;-) All turned out well, but later I started thinking, “what if…” and one thing lead to another.

Jodi:     Was it challenging to write a mystery?

L.C.:     Somewhat, yes, but I did have a lot of fun with it. I had to do some major rewriting in the earlier parts to pull back how Lucas was coming across, and then when I got to the end of the story I realized the dead killer was being escorted back to prison so he wouldn’t escape again. Er… LOL The fun part is planting foreshadows and red herrings and bringing things from the beginning back around to the end. I had a lot of notes to keep track of. ;-) I’d definitely like to write another mystery/suspense story, and actually have a couple in my plot bunny folder.

Jodi:     Do you have any plans to revive these characters in another story?

L.C.:     These two, not right now, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely ruled out. There is a possible story hinted at in that one, which could see a revisit with Lucas and Evan, though not from either of their POVs.  

Jodi:     What is your next project?

L.C.:     Next up are two books that don't have cowboys in them! ;-)  First is (hopefully) a fun paranormal-ish story. No vampires of werewolves, but a bit of a nerdy environmentally-conscious MC, a mysterious love interest, and a car. Probably won't be until early spring when it's all done and ready for release. After that is a holiday story that was sparked by the same blizzard that inspired Riding with Heaven. That should release next fall.

Pulling Leather (Pickup Men, #3)

The toughest ride of his life is all in his head.

Bull rider Scott Gillard has a reputation for quick fists and harsh words. What no one knows is where that anger comes from. After a shocking incident sends him into a tailspin, he knows he needs help: he’s been fighting a battle he could never win. Now he's trying navigate a new life and embrace his true self, but some days are easier than others.

Pickup man Cory Ackerson has suffered his share of harassment, but his light still burns bright. He doesn’t let anything or anyone keep him down, so when he meets the rugged cowboy with a battered chip on his shoulder and regret in his dark eyes, all he wants to do is help.

As their unlikely friendship grows into something deeper, Scott must overcome his past to be the man Cory deserves, or lose his best chance at his own happily ever after.

Buy  Links

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Stops for this tour:
September 1, 2014 Fresh Fiction
September 1, 2014 Delighted Reader - Spotlight Stop
September 2, 2014 Cup O' Porn - Spotlight Stop
September 3, 2014 Book Reviews & More by Kathy
September 3, 2014 Creative Deeds - Spotlight Stop
September 4, 2014 The Blogger Girls
September 5, 2014 Boys in our Books
September 5, 2014 Smoocher's Voice
September 12, 2014 Thorny, Not Prickly
September 12, 2014 My Fiction Nook - Spotlight Stop
September 12, 2014 The Pen & Muse
September 14, 2014 Wild & Wicked
September 14, 2014 Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews

- See more: Here
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The Big Tour Contest:

In celebration and thanks, I’m offering goodies for two lucky readers . . .
1 - COWBOYS IN PIXELS: One ebook copy of any title in my backlist. Open to worldwide entries.
2 - COWBOYS IN PRINT: One signed paperback copy of Long Tall Drink, the extended edition, Pickup Men or Let It Ride. Open to worldwide entries.


  1. Hey, sometimes dead guys escape more often than you'd think...I take it you've seen BLOOD SIMPLE?

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

  2. LOL! I haven't of Blood Simple before, but now I'm going to go look it up! :)



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