Today on the blog, I'm joined by award-winning author Kevin Klehr!
Kevin's most recent book in the Actors and Angels series, Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes, recently received the 2017 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Alternative Universe/Reality.
Congratulations on your book's success at the Rainbow Awards! Tell us a bit about Guy, your guardian angel from the Actors and Angels series.
Thanks for the congrats, Lisa. Guy became the star once the first in the Actors and Angels series, Drama Queens with Love Scenes, came out. Every reviewer fell in love with him and I was caught by surprise. I didn’t realize he’d be so popular.
Readers see him as the insecure best friend that not only gives good advice, but is also that gay friend that others want to help build. As bloggers had their own take on how his story should progress, I was caught out by having already written the first draft of the second book, putting the main focus on the lovers.
I quickly built up Guy’s role for Drama Queens and Adult Themes, making him break the major angel rule of visiting the main character, Adam, through his childhood, thus making himself known to a mortal.
Now and again, Guy also finds himself referenced to in some of my other books and shorts stories, and is always there to guide someone down the right path.
I would consider Actors and Angels contemporary fantasy, but you also write the Nate and Cameron books. These are more traditionally romantic fiction but carry a hint of magical realism. Will you tell us about these stories?
I haven’t read many traditional Romance books but I wanted to try writing one so I used Sex and the City as my guide. I’d been revisiting the TV series over the previous year when I began writing the first book, Nate and the New Yorker.
Even though I used the well-known trope of making one of the characters a millionaire, I still wanted to explore imperfect relationships. We’d seen Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda get their hearts broken, and break hearts as well, so I wanted Nate and Cameron’s romance to also be messy.
Some of the romance books I’ve read have been charming but seem to play on an ethical dilemma that’s keeping the lovers apart, rather than the fears and doubts that come up in new relationships. How much of myself do I give? Will I lose myself in the process? Is this really the right guy to spend my life with? You know, issues that were explored in Sex and the City.
Both books in the Nate and Cameron series deal with the apprehensions the lovers face. For Nate it’s about learning to love second best because the love of his life is gone. And although it’s too soon for him to love again, he knows he has landed in a relationship that could work so he battles with his feelings to make it work.
Cameron’s issue is that he knows he’s in love with Nate, but he’s also spoilt and is coming to terms with factoring in someone else’s feelings. In short, to not make it all about himself.
I’m glad both ebooks are now out as one paperback, The Nate and Cameron Collection, and to answer your question about magic realism, yes there is a touch in these stories. I think I’m fascinated with the subconscious, and you can explore the root of someone’s fear when you add a magical element into a story. It’s a way for your characters to literally come face to face with their demons.
What part of your creative process causes you the most hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth?
Every three months I revisit the most recent draft of a novel I’ve been working on, carefully reading through it with a red pen in hand. And although I add notes like ‘develop this scene’ or ‘include some backstory’ or ‘show don’t tell’, I also put a red line through any word or sentence, or sometimes paragraph, which is not needed.
When I begin on the next draft, it’s the deletion of those words or sentences that irk me the most. It’s important for flow, but it takes so much time and is as captivating as data entry.
Do you consider yourself a writer of a particular genre? What do you prefer when you're reading?
Every novel I read is different from the last. I think that’s important for a writer. You learn a lot from the style of other writers and somehow, whatever book you are currently reading helps you write your work in progress.
In the past year I’ve read dystopian, GLBTQI contemporary, YA, Stephen King’s book on writing, general fiction and so on. I’m reading a period detective novel at the moment.
But I guess my fascination is with human relationships in anything I write. I have a dystopian novel coming out in March called Social Media Central, but still it focusses on a lonely guy whose life changes when he meets famous fashion blogger, Madeline Q. He makes new friends and deals with his own rising stardom before things turn sour.
And ironically, one of my two current projects returns to Magical Realism and looks at an unhappy relationship where one of the lovers finds the perfect man. The problem is, this perfect man only appears in his dreams. Again, it’s not a romance, it’s about someone finding themselves while they sleep.
So I guess this long winded answer is saying I still love magic in my realism, but am branching out a bit. Hey, I even have an erotic short out about tops learning to bottom, which three friends dared me to write. I doubt I’ll write another erotic tale but at least I can say I’ve tried that genre.
You are a world traveler, and you've had some exciting adventures this past year. Do your travels inspire you? Do things you experience while traveling show up in your writing?
Yes, but many everyday experiences and lines of actual dialogue also show up in my books. In the Nate and Cameron Collection, the lovers travel to cities my partner, Warren, and I have been to, but I try to give a flavor of that city rather than give details. Sometimes the descriptions are surreal as I hope it inspires readers to see those places and understand what I’ve felt when I’ve been there.
Whenever someone says something clever or something happens that would make a good scene in a book, I voice record it into my phone. My novels are full of actual circumstances heavily disguised in fiction. In fact, friends read them just to recognize a real life moment.
Finally—what creature, mythical or otherwise, do you think best represents you as a writer?
Wow. That’s a hard one. I’m trying to think of a creature that is part of life yet at the same time, an observer of it. I think a lot of writing is done by just living. Being part of the flow yet watching how the jigsaw pieces (i.e. the individuals) fit together. And learning which actions change that flow.
As for a creature, err, um, let me work on that one. ;~j
Thank you so much for joining me on the blog today. Where can readers interact with you on the web?
Thanks Lisa for having me. As for where I exist on the inter-web, check out-
My website – www.kevinklehr.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/@kevinklehr/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/klehrkevin/