Guest Post: Interview with KD Grace for Landscapes
I am very pleased to welcome KD Grace today. We discuss her writing process and her new novella Landscapes!
Message from KD: Giveaway: To help mecelebrate the launch of Landscapes, I’m giving away a $30/£20 Amazon gift voucher. Enter via the Rafflecopter for chances to win!
JB: How long have you been writing for?
KD: First, Jacqueline, let me just say what a pleasure it is to chat with you about Alonso and Reese and company on Day 4 of my Landscapes blog tour and giveaway. Thanks so much for hosting me!
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Since I was able to write, there hasn’t been a time when I didn’t love it. Before I could write, I drew pictures to tell stories. But I’ve only been publishing stories and novels for the past seven years.
JB: Who or what are your influences? Not necessarily other writers, but anything at all (music, art, people you’ve met?)
KD: I have lots of favourite writers. I consider them my tutors. The best way to become better at my craft is to read good books, but if I had to choose my biggest influence, it would have to be nature. Nothing influences me nor inspires me quite like going for a walk, hearing the birds sing, feeling the breeze on my face. I just this minute saw a red kite flying above my back garden. If that’s not inspiration, I don’t know what is. 🙂
JB: What is your writing process, from idea to final draft?
KD: Ideas can come from anywhere – nearly getting lost in the mist in a storm in the Lake District, Kay Jaybee asking me to write something sexy about a tin of pears, a favourite myth. I have lots of ideas to choose from – so many in fact that I doubt I’ll live nearly long enough to make stories from all of them.
But when an idea gets my full attention and I decide to write it, I’ll go for a walk. I’ll usually go for several walks until I have the basic shape of the novel in my head. Then I’ll write a brief synopsis – usually under one hundred words. I’ll follow that up with a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. That synopsis is very loosely drawn and I always think of it as Google Maps for writers. It gives me the most direct route for my story, but I seldom follow it very closely. It just gets me started and points me in the right direction. After that I go exploring.
If I’m able to write without interruption, which I seldom can, I can write a 100K novel in a month – rough draft. After that I do the final draft, which usually takes a little longer. I seldom write more than two drafts because I’ve become better at self-editing through the years, which means less drafts.
JB: Landscapes brings together several of your of loves, the Lake District and gardening being among them. What was it like incorporating these into one story and is there anything else interesting that readers should look out for?
KD: I think since Landscapes was both my first MM story and my first vampire story, having a couple of “old friends” in the form of location and Reese’s profession as a gardener and landscaper made me feel more comfortable with the process. However the real reason for setting the story in the high Lakeland fells is because I could imagine Alonso, fearing his interaction with mortals, would want a place remote enough to keep them away. I chose to make Reese a gardener and a landscaper, because I figured Alonso would be intrigued by someone so close to the earth and its cycles. It also fit with his needs to renovate his ancestral home, in particular a derelict garden overlooking a beck. From that ruin, it was a challenge for Reese to create a special night garden on the often-inhospitable high fells in which someone who could never enjoy the daylight could safely spend time.
JB: Any writer tackling vampires wants to add their own touch to the old myths. How have you made these vampires your own?
KD: There are things about Alonso and other vampires in his world that I didn’t have time to bring out in a novella-length story, though there are hints at them. Clearly Alonso’s blood has healing qualities, and he shares it with his familiars as a part of their bonding. He also uses it to heal Reese when he is badly injured in a fall. Alonso’s blood is also an aphrodisiac when shared while having sex.
The reader gets the first views of Reese through the eyes of the succubus, Talia, who is Alonso’s friend and familiar. She has a special gift of taking in the essence of a person during sex and then giving that essence back to someone else when she has sex with them – almost like a human flash drive. Through her, Alonso is able to get to know Reese and Reese him without them ever touching. Alonso can also read people’s thoughts through taking their blood, though he’s too polite and too civilized to do so. Vampire, Desiree Fielding, who will come along in a later novel, is not so squeamish about using that power when it serves her.
A very important attribute of my vampires is that when they take blood from humans, if they choose not to kill them or turn them, and most don’t because they don’t want attention drawn to themselves, they have the ability to “make an exchange.” In other words they may leave their victim a pint low, but they’ll leave fabulous dreams or fantasies or a feeling of euphoria in their wake, thus their victim will never know they’ve been bitten by a vampire, but they’ll wake from the best dream ever. Sometime they’ll even believe that the planted thoughts and dreams really happened.
JB: What was your inspiration for Alonso? He’s a rather compelling character…
KD: Thank you, Jacqui! I honestly don’t know. It was something about the first few lines of the narrative from Alonso’s point of view that told me exactly who he was.
It wasn’t that Reese Chambers made my cock hard – though he did. It wasn’t that he was beautiful in a rugged, leather and stone sort of way – though he was. It was that Reese Chambers moved me in ways I had not been moved in a very long time, in ways that I, who never lacked just the right words to express myself, found my vocabulary inadequate to the task.
Before that I didn’t even know he was a vampire. Before that I only knew he was a man sitting in a pub obsessing over another man he was watching. From that point on, he was as real as if he sat across the table telling me his story. That he was so real is a part of why I ended up revisiting him as myself in several blog entries, which I called Strange Encounter with Alonso Darlington The encounter itself was so intriguing to me that I ended up writing Part 2 and Part 3 as well. Sort of fan-ficcing on my own character, I guess. 🙂
JB: When do you get your writing done?
KD: I can write anytime anywhere. I don’t really have a best time, though the time I enjoy most is early in the morning when the house is quiet while I’m enjoying a cup of coffee and my task for the day is just to write. That’s heaven!
JB: This is your first self-published title. What are the top two things you learned from the process?
KD: First, I learned the value of a good editor. I sort of already knew that, and since Landscapes was a part of the Brit Boys: On Boys book bundle before it was self-published, the story was already well edited. But I know that no matter how careful I am at self-editing, and I am pretty good, I miss things. The one thing I don’t want as I begin self-publishing a few titles is for readers to open up the book, find a typo or a grammar mistake and say, ‘oh, well it is self-published after all.’ I’ve certainly had that experience.
Secondly I think a good cover is important for the very same reason. Nothing screams bad self-pubbing as loudly as a bad cover, and it is your first chance to impress the reader into checking out your story.
JB: Will we be seeing more of Alonso, Reese, and Talia?
KD: Oh yes! And very soon! All three characters appear in the novel, In The Flesh, which will be out later this year – also self-published. In fact, Alonso has a major role to play. He is a real plot-changer. In Blind-Sided, which is the sequel to In The Flesh, Alonso will also play a role, but Reese will play a more important role. As for Talia, I absolutely adore her, and I’m dying to tell her story. At the moment she’s keeping it pretty close to her chest, but I’m sure I can convince her to share it with me when the time comes
What Alonso and his team have done is open up the doors for a whole new series I’m now writing called Medusa’s Consortium, in which Landscapes (though I didn’t know it when I wrote it) is a side story. In the Flesh is the novel in which we’ll begin to see that world and the Consortium of which Alonso is a part. I’m working on Blind-Sided now and I’m proofing book three, Buried Pleasures, a story with different Consortium members, who will be quite a surprise to readers. That novel is set in Las Vegas. Alonso has been a real inspiration to me. Who knew that one vampire could open up so many story possibilities?
JB: What is your next project?
KD: As I mentioned, I’m working on Blind-Sided now. It’s a Medusa’s Consortium novel set in New York. It heavily involves Alonso and Reese as well as characters from In The Flesh, which will be released later this year. I’m loving the characters and the fantastic twists and turns of their tales, and I’m having a great time writing them. I can’t wait to share them with readers!
Thanks so much for having me over, Jacqui! It’s been a pleasure chatting with you.
Alonso Darlington has a disturbing method of keeping landscaper, Reese Chambers, both safe from and oblivious to his dangerous lust for the man. But Reese isn’t easy to keep secrets from, and Alonso wants way more than to admire the man from afar. Can he risk a real relationship without risking Reese’s life?
Buy links: http://kdgrace.co.uk/books/landscapes/
Reese wondered if he were dreaming again. If he was, the dream hurt like a sonovabitch. Alonso was there and so was Talia. ‘You have to do something one way or another,’ Talia said, ‘or all that blood will be wasted.’
“Get out.’ Alonso’s voice was a low growl, and Reese vaguely recalled hearing that sound before and being frightened.
‘Someone’s got to be practical,’ she said.
Be practical about what, Reese wondered.
And then he was alone with Alonso, and for some reason he couldn’t remember, he was afraid.
He was in a bed. He didn’t know where. He hurt, and it was hard to breathe.
‘I’m going to help you now, Reese.’ He returned his attention to Alonso who now sat on the edge of the bed. He might have made some feeble attempt to get away, or maybe he imagined it. The man shrugged out of his shirt, then slid onto the bed next to him. Talia’s question came back to him. What was Alonso going to do with all the blood? Reese’s blood? It had to be a dream. Reese watched as, with his fingernail, Alonso made a tiny cut above his left nipple and the blood welled up jewel bright in the muted lighting.
‘At first this will be uncomfortable, but only for a few seconds, and then it’ll be good. You’ll see.’ Alonso placed his hand at the base of Reese’s skull and pulled him close. When he realized what was about to happen, Reese tried to push away, tried to turn his face, but he was too weak. Alonso easily forced his head down so that his mouth settled on the upwelling of blood.
For a horrifying moment, Reese’ stomach rebelled and he battled his own gag reflex, battled to breathe against the tight press of Alonso’s flesh to his face, forcing him to open his mouth in order to inhale. The first taste of blood burned like acid against his tongue, then thickened and warmed as the welling up became a steady flow, the taste of metal and salt giving way to the taste of dark, full-bodied wine and honey with the bite of bitter citrus. Reese’s throat muscles contracted once, then twice then he began to lick and suck at the wound as though he were starving, and Alonso sighed as though he felt the relief of it.
‘There, that’s not so bad is it?’ The cup of his hand at the back of Reese’s head shifted slightly as Alonso moved until he cradled Reese like a nursing child. At some point Reese’s arms went around the man’s thick chest, hands fisted against his back to pull him closer as he suckled. At some point he stopped feeling pain and he felt euphoric. At some point his cock got hard and Alonso chuckled softly at the shifting and squirming of Reese’s hips. ‘It has that effect. My blood does.’
Christ! He should be horrified. He should be totally repulsed, instead he wanted more. He couldn’t get enough, and … he was about to come. He shifted more onto Alonso’s lap, and Alonso grunted softly as Reese became aware of the man’s own erection beneath him.
‘I’ll help you come, Reese, but you mustn’t move’ he said, sliding a hand into Reese’s lap and cupping him. Reese hadn’t realized until then that he was naked. ‘You must let me do it. You’re not strong enough just yet.’ The sound of Alonso’s voice was nearly as arousing as his touch. ‘God you’re full. You’re always full, aren’t you? You hold it all the time, that passion, and you channel it into your work. But now, I want you to give it to me, Reese, all of it, and I’ll make you feel better.’ He kissed his ear, then spat on his hand and fisted Reese’ heavy cock, and Reese cried out against his chest, but didn’t stop tugging and nursing at the flow of blood.
As his semen filled Alonso’s cupped hand, the grunt and the shudder of his release was a shifting of tectonic plates inside him. When Alonso finally pulled him away from his chest, he might have mumbled some childlike protest, as he was carefully tucked down under the duvet. Through the thick cotton haze of impending sleep, he felt Alonso settle in next to him and pull him close. Reese’s last thought was that nothing hurt. Nothing at all. Perhaps then, he was dead.
About K D Grace/Grace Marshall
Voted ETO Best Erotic Author of 2014, and a proud member of The Brit Babes, K D Grace believes Freud was right. In the end, it really IS all about sex, well sex and love. And nobody’s happier about that than she is, otherwise, what would she write about?
When she’s not writing, K D is veg gardening. When she’s not gardening, she’s walking. She walks her stories, and she’s serious about it. She and her husband have walked Coast to Coast across England, along with several other long-distance routes. For her, inspiration is directly proportionate to how quickly she wears out a pair of walking boots. She also enjoys martial arts, reading, watching the birds and anything that gets her outdoors.
KD has erotica published with SourceBooks, Xcite Books, Harper Collins Mischief Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace,Sweetmeats Press and others.
K D’s critically acclaimed erotic romance novels include, The Initiation of Ms Holly, Fulfilling the Contract, To Rome with Lust, and The Pet Shop. Her paranormal erotic novel, Body Temperature and Rising, the first book of her Lakeland Witches trilogy, was listed as honorable mention on Violet Blue’s Top 12 Sex Books for 2011. Books two and three, Riding the Ether, and Elemental Fire, are now also available.
Find K D Here:
- Websites: http://kdgrace.co.uk/
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KDGraceAuthor
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/KD_Grace
- Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kdgraceauthor/
Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/k-d-grace-9/