My guest today is K-Lee Klein, a lady I got to know through the Passionate About Plot group on Facebook. A native of Western Canada, she has titles with Less then three Press, and coming soon from MLR Press.
Hello K-Lee and welcome to the comfy chair.
Elin: Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?
K-Lee: Thanks for having me Elin. I was a full-time, stay-at-home mom for the last twenty years but now since I’m almost empty-nesting it, I don’t have a day job. To be honest, I have clinical depression so some days are all about just taking care of myself and getting through. I’ve always found writing to be a good creative outlet for my depression, so sometimes the two go hand in hand, you know? I realize that might be TMI.
Elin: When you aren’t writing, is there any other creative activity you enjoy? Have you ever written about it?
K-Lee: Hmm. That’s a tough one. I tried to learn acoustic guitar because it’s my favorite instrument – my son told me I wasn’t a very good student because I didn’t do my practicing (and he could apparently tell). My mother-in-law tried to teach me mosaic stained glass which ended up with me in tears and not going back after the first class (way too perfectionist for that).
Is concert-going a creative activity? Because I do that a lot and it’s one of the most enjoyable things in my life I think. There’s just something about getting caught up in the excitement, the music and the bands or singers you love. I do write a lot of rock stars so perhaps that answers the question in a roundabout way? I also write fanfic based on movies, characters, bands and actors I love.
Elin: Can you name any author/authors, past or present, who have been a great influence on your work?
K-Lee: I can tell you my first m/m authors were M.L. Rhodes, T.A. Chase and J.L. Langley so they were all a huge influence for me getting into the genre period. T.A. Chase is someone I strive to be when I grow up (even though she’s way younger than me), her characters always come to life and steal my heart so quickly. In mainstream, I’m a big fan of Lynn Flewelling, Diana Gabaldon, Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch series), Jonathan Kellerman and Catherine Coulter (FBI series).
Elin: What are you reading? Something to be clutched to the bosom or tossed aside with force? Fiction or non-fiction?
K-Lee: Right now I’m rereading The Hobbit because I’m completely addicted to the movie and the wonderful dwarves. I have a ton of m/m books on my iPad that I just never seem to get to, but next up is True of Heart by M.L. Rhodes, the first in her Draegan Lords series, and the Unconventional At Best anthology I won at GRL. I’m also way behind in my Outlander (Gabaldon) series. I do read a lot of non-fiction, but mostly books on depression and rock star biographies, lol.
Elin: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
K-Lee: I try so hard to be a plotter but it just never works out. I never know how long a book will be and though I generally know the beginning and the end, the middle is always a crapshoot. My characters (and muse) are constantly changing their minds or yelling at me to write more about “them” and not that other guy. I’m also a writer who needs to have more than one, two or even four stories going at the same time. I think it’s an ADHD thing. It’s also one of the reasons I picked up my fanfiction writing again. Writing fanfic seems to soothe my muse into cooperating with my WIPs. Fickle little guy, I tell you.
Elin: Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them?
K-Lee: A little of both I think. In my current WIP, my first MC was pretty much set in stone in my head, but my second one developed to the point where I had to go back and fix his first scenes because I was like “JT wouldn’t have said or acted like that”. I do keep a little bio of each character so at least I won’t get completely confused with characteristics, mannerisms, and such. I mentioned I have writers’ ADHD so my brain is always flickering about, which can get confusing when you have a mishmash of characters running amuck in there.
Elin: Do you have a crisp mental picture of your characters or are they more a thought and a feeling than an image?
K-Lee: I always have a very definite physical description of my characters from the very beginning. That seems to be the first thing my muse decides on. I’ve been told I have a type, lol, so at least one of my MCs will undoubtedly have longer hair. (I think it’s a rock star throwback thing). So they’re definitely an image but their personalities or issues seem to be firmly attached to them even in the beginning.
Elin: Do you find there to be a lot of structural differences between a relationship driven story and one with masses of action?
K-Lee: To be honest, I haven’t written any action-based stories (at least I don’t think I have). One of the reasons I write is for emotional relief so I tend to base all my stories on emotions and relationships, at least so far. It’s the same when I pick up a book to read, the relationship and insights of the characters is always far more important than anything going on around them.
Elin: Put together your ideal team of men – drawing from all and any walks of life, fictional or non-fictional – who you would want to come to your rescue if menaced by muggers/alligators/fundamentalists?
K-Lee: LMAO. This so embarrassing but I have to go with my Hobbit dwarves on this one – Thorin, Fili and Kili from the line of Durin or if they’re not available I’ll take their portrayers – Richard Armitage, Dean O’Gorman and Aidan Turner. ^_^ But if they’re too busy washing their hair or playing with their swords, I’m sure I’d call on Thor and Loki anytime.
Elin: Villains – incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. What sort of villains do you prize? A moustache-twirling nightmare or … ?
K-Lee: I think a psychological villain would be my preference. I’m not sure if I’m even saying that right. A guy that knows exactly how to get into someone’s head and push all the right/wrong buttons. He wouldn’t have to even be violent or dastardly, just capable of mentally hijacking the protagonists. I guess my answer goes along with all the emotional aspects that I like to see in stories I read.
Elin: What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished.
K-Lee: I’ve been working on a cowboy/rancher story for a while now. I had major block from December to March so I’m definitely happy to be writing again. My first MC, Brett, is a rancher who’s a bit of a hermit and intends on keeping it that way. He’s had some tragedy in his life and chose to withdraw rather than pretend. The second is sort of the opposite to him, a privileged city kid trying to find something to do with his life or maybe just trying to find out who he is and wants to be. It’s a very angsty but at the same time sweet story.
I’m also working on a sequel to the first story I had published, Finally Home (my Home on the Ranch series). Josiah and Wyatt will be back with a longer and more in depth story. The second book in my Family of Misfits series is also in the words – it’s Ali’s story this time. And I’m putting together the pieces of my Lazy Days series so I can compile both my free stories, Lazy Sundays and Lazy Valentines into one book then continue Devon and Scott’s story.
Elin: Could we please have an excerpt of something?
K-Lee: Of course. This is from my WIP starring Brett and J.T. I’m hoping it will be published summer. Thanks for some great interview questions. I enjoyed myself. J
“Brett.” The voice lowered to warm when Brett came into view. “You look a mess, son. Didn’t wake you up, did we?”
“Just a little doze, Mama.” The pissed-off thread running through his body softened when he took in her familiar sweet smile and loving blue eyes. “Kinda late for a visit, ain’t it?” Goddamn he loved his mama but he was positive she’d be the death of him one day.
“It’s not even ten o’clock. I swear you’re turning into your daddy with all your darn grumpin’.”
The tension in his head eased a little as his lips quirked smugly and he crossed his arms over his chest. He planted his feet shoulder-width apart for balance, then winked at his grinning mama. “And just which daddy would that be, ma’am?”
Millie Taylor-Montgomery-Allan jutted out her hip, laying a ring-abundant hand over it while she narrowed her eyes at Brett. “You watch your mouth, boy. You’re not too big or old for me to hang a beatin’ on. You best keep remember that.”
His smugness turned into a full out crooked smirk. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Good. Now where’re your manners? Give your mama a hug and politely greet your other guest.”
Brett’s adrenaline rose, involuntarily sobering him in a way he didn’t appreciate. He searched the room while he frowned and stepped into his mama’s embrace. Guest? He caught a slight shifting from the corner of his eye and peered into the shadow of the doorway. Why the hell was there a man, a stranger, in his house, and with his mama yet? He slipped an arm around her waist, squeezed gently, then kissed her cheek before stepping back. His gaze never left the figure poised behind her.
Millie motioned for the shadow to step forward, wrapping her fingers around his forearm and pulling him into the light. Brett did a quick assessment, his gaze traveling from head to toe as he contemplated whether the guy was a threat in any way possible. He held back the growl that forced its way up his throat by fisting one hand around the bottom of his t-shirt. It was a habit he’d never been able to completely rid himself of—protecting the woman who’d raised and taken care of him his whole life. He guessed if there was one inbred instinct he’d never been able to shake, it was the best one possible to hang on to. Plus, he wasn’t accustomed to having strangers—or anyone really—in his house.
The guy was young and just over six feet though his build was far slighter than Brett’s. He was wiry but toned if the ropey biceps and cut of his jeans were any indication. His dark blonde hair was curly, falling just passed his ears, messy and giving him a scruffy look that matched the stubble on his jaw and cheeks. His eyes were the color of brown velvet, almost black in the shadow of the overhead light; wide, deep eyes, frayed around the edges with uncertainty. And, if Brett wasn’t mistaken, the kid seemed to be a little worse for wear if the bruising around his right eye and the redness beneath the stubble of the left side of his jaw were any indication.
Brett had been told many times that he looked younger than his forty-one years but if this kid was any older than twenty-five then Brett was surely ready for the old folks’ home in town. The purple shirt he wore had seen much better days, stained or possibly spattered with a rip at the collar. It was snug across his noticeably toned chest and hung loose over the waistband of a very tight pair of black jeans. The black and purple striped kicks completed the trying-too-hard city boy persona that Brett automatically placed on him. He hoped he hadn’t been doing any drinking in the local bars because, damn, he stuck out like a pinto in a herd of quarter horses.
“Brett, this is Johan Terrance.”
Brett’s suspicious nature eased up just a bit while he hid his smirk behind his hand and heard Johan groan low in his throat. “That his first name or last?”
“I think it’s his first—”
The kid—Johan for Christ’s sake—finally spoke up, shifting from foot to foot as he cut Millie off. His cheeks were flushed and his tongue slid nervously over his lips. “J.T. Campbell. J.T. is fine.”
He held out his hand and Brett had to give him points for having the balls to interrupt Millie. Of course, he didn’t know her all that well yet either, at least not that Brett was aware of.
Millie slapped Brett’s shoulder lightly. “J.T., this is my mannerless son, Brett Taylor.”
Brett let his mama’s comment slide, crinkled his eyes and gave her his best toothless, fake grin; practiced, perfected and used often when it came to her. A fact she was highly aware of. He shook J.T.’s hand, immediately noticing the softness of his fingers and palm—definitely city.
“Hey,” he said, his voice curt and soft. He glared into the kid’s eyes, sending his own brand of “don’t you be moving too quickly or I’ll lasso your ass faster than you can say what the fuck,” He eased off a little, quirking an eyebrow before moving his gaze to his mama and back again. “Now if it’s not too much trouble could y’all tell me why you’ve come calling in the middle of the night?”
Where to find K-lee and her books:-
– on her website http://kleeklein.com/kleinwebsite/
– at Less Than Three Press http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/author-k-lee-klein/
– on Twitter https://twitter.com/Klee_Klein
– on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kleemoon
– on LiveJournal http://chaotic-heart66.livejournal.com/profile