Kim Fielding’s Rattlesnake

I am a huge fan of Kim Fielding. I’ve read almost all of her books and there isn’t one that I didn’t enjoy. Her latest book Rattlesnake is another that I can’t wait to read. She stops by for an interview today and tells us a bit more about where the story comes from. After reading all of her fabulous answers, read all about the book and an excerpt that is just enough to make you want more. At the very bottom, enter for a chance to win a Dreamspinner Press gift card and a copy of her book Astounding!.

Amanda C. Stone: Today I’m very excited to be interviewing Kim Fielding, author of Rattlesnake. Morning Kim, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book.
Kim Fielding: Well, first off, this is my lucky 13th novel. Yay! Just a few years ago, if you’d told me I’d soon be writing 13 novels (and a bunch of novellas and shorts), I’d never have believed you.
ACS: Congratulations on the lucky number! That’s some prolific writing.
KF: Here’s a bit of trivia. Although the book is a standalone, faithful fans who read carefully may notice a quick mention of a (fictional) location from another of my books.

And one more. At the beginning of the book, Jimmy picks up a hitchhiker in the Mojave desert. Just as they’re passing through Bakersfield, something bad happens—although Jimmy doesn’t realize it until Fresno, 100 miles later. Pairing Bakersfield with a negative event may, um, reflect my own personal views of the town, where I once spent the afternoon stranded at Sears with 2 young kids, waiting for my blown tire to be replaced.
ACS: I can only imagine how horrible that experience was! Being stranded anywhere with two young kids, having to wait, is no fun! How did you come up with the title of your book?
KF: Rattlesnake is the name of the town where the book takes place. The town is modeled loosely on a real town, Angels Camp, California, where there’s a restaurant called Sidewinder. That’s where I got the idea. Rattlesnake seemed an appropriate name for a former Gold Rush town in the Sierra foothills. But more than that, it’s a metaphor for something that lies quietly, maybe unnoticed—until it leaps out and bites you.
ACS: Of course now there’s going to be a ton of people Googling about Angels Camp to see a place that gave us this book. Give us an insight into your main character, Jimmy. What does he do that is so special?
KF: Jimmy’s been a drifter since he was 14, living off whatever odd jobs came his way. Totally on his own. When his car dies, everything he owns fits comfortably in his worn duffel bag. But he has one valuable possession: a gift as a storyteller. He’s been gathering stories his whole life. Not all of them are entirely true—well, a lot of them aren’t—but that doesn’t matter. He uses his stories to entertain others and put them at ease. And they make him interesting… interesting enough to catch the attention of a former cowboy turned bartender.
ACS: Jimmy sounds like an interesting character. I can’t wait to get to know him better. What do you think makes a good story?
KF: For me, it’s all about the characters. If you have interesting characters and good writing, the plot doesn’t matter as much. Stephen King, for example. If you try to explain the plots of his books, well, many of them will sound kind of dorky. But his people are great and the man can write, and that’s what’s important.

Personally, I get in moods for different things at different times. One day a good story might be something to make me laugh, the next day, maybe a little hurt/comfort. I might want something short and quick or something deep, where I can bury myself for a good long time.

When I write, it’s mostly characters that inspire me, but also locations and emotions. I think a book like Rattlesnake has a very distinct atmosphere, the sum of all its parts. And within the book, Jimmy’s stories are good because he doesn’t try to make himself look good or others look bad. He entertains with his stories, letting people see the little details in life that we often overlook.
ACS: Yes! It’s always the characters that pull me in the most. If I want to see them succeed, or not succeed if that’s where the story is headed, then I’m going to ignore everything else to keep reading. What does your family think of your writing?
KF: They’re wonderfully supportive. My husband is an accountant, and he loves keeping track of all my sales and things on spreadsheets. He brags about me at work. My parents read my books, which sometimes makes me feel a little uncomfortable. I try not to think about it when I’m writing sex scenes. Even my in-laws read my books.

Now, my older daughter is 15, that lovely age when everything parents do is deathly embarrassing. So of course she’s embarrassed that I write anything at all, and the fact that it’s m/m romance, well, that’s even worse. It’s not that she disapproves in principle, because she writes slash fanfic and reads yaoi. It’s just, well, I’m Mom. On the other hand, she tells all her friends and even some of her teachers about my books, so I guess she can’t be too humiliated.
ACS: That’s wonderful that everyone is so supportive of you. Even your teenage daughter, where nothing is cool. Thank you so much for stopping by. I loved having you!

A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.

On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.

Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.

Their waitress appeared beside the table. “Anything else?” she asked Jimmy.

He didn’t want to go just yet. But his belly was full, and any further conversation with Shane was probably going to frustrate him. Already Jimmy wanted to reach across the table and touch Shane’s hair, maybe run a finger across his scars. “Just the check. Thanks.”

“Mine too,” Shane said, but his thoughts were clearly elsewhere. As soon as she took their plates away, he leaned forward. “You don’t have to go, do you? I mean, you’re not, um, on the run from the law, are you?”

That made Jimmy laugh. “I’ve done some stupid shit, but never bad enough to make me a fugitive.”

“If I Google you, I won’t find you on the Ten Most Wanted list?”

“Afraid not.”

“So.” Shane traced his finger through a bit of spilled sugar on the tabletop, worrying at his lip and not meeting Jimmy’s gaze. He finally looked up again. “So you could stick around here for a while. If you had a place to stay and a job.”

God damn it! You don’t hope. You don’t want. That only leads to destruction. But Jimmy felt himself nod. “I could. For a short time.”

About Kim:
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.
Facebook Author Page:
Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

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