OS: Welcome to Kim Fielding here today to share with us about her new book and The Desert!
I travel through the desert at least once or twice a year. My in-laws live in Palm Desert, over 400 miles from my part of California, and about half of the drive there is through the Mojave Desert. The Sonoran Desert is nearby; they meet in Joshua Tree National Park. On occasion, I drive to Las Vegas, which also takes me through the Mojave. I’ve visited the Baja California desert a few times. This year a long road trip took me through the Central Basin, the Wyoming Basin, and the Columbia Basin.
When somebody mentions the word desert, what immediately comes to mind is barrenness. Emptiness. In fact, the word is often used metaphorically to mean a lack of something. For example, the US Department of Agriculture defines a food desert as a place where fresh produce and other healthy foods are difficult or impossible to find.
These connotations associated with deserts are interesting to me, because I’ve found that desert landscapes are wonderfully inspirational. The idea for one of my most popular novels, Rattlesnake, came to me during a nighttime drive through the Mojave. I got the idea for another of my books, Motel. Pool., while my family was on a road trip in Arizona, on our way to the Grand Canyon. And much of my newest book, Ante Up—which releases tomorrow!—takes place in and around Las Vegas. I also have several desert plot bunnies itching to be written.
What is it about deserts that gets my muse excited? I have theories. For one thing, the landscapes generally aren’t as variable and visually complex as, say, forests or cityscapes. The miles of sagebrush or Joshua trees may be just repetitive enough to let my brain downshift a little and allow my imagination to take over. Seascapes offer much the same experience—as does my shower, where a lot of ideas come to me. I think the key here is that when my surroundings don’t require a huge percentage of my attention, my thoughts can drift elsewhere.
Another theory, though, lies in the fact that deserts are actually a lot more diverse than they seem at first glance. Seen from a speeding car, it may look like just smudges of tan and olive green. But if you get out and explore, you discover a surprising array of fauna, flora, and geology. Joshua Tree National Park is a great example of this because areas of the park are strikingly different from each other and many fascinating plants and animals call it home. So in a way, deserts are like secrets waiting to be discovered, like a plain envelope that promises all kinds of wonders once opened. That gets the imagination revving too.
A third thing about deserts is that they are visually beautiful. I’m often drawn to simple but somewhat abstract natural shapes, and deserts offer plenty of those: the twisted or Seussian architecture of the plants, the alien plateau, the voluptuous shapes of rocks and mountains. I’m certainly no Georgia O’Keeffe, but I can appreciate the beauty, and the experience can get my creative juices flowing.
Finally, there are the people who live in the desert. Deserts aren’t generally easy places to live, and the people who choose to do so are often fascinating. They have interesting—often difficult—histories. They may be somewhat eccentric. In short, they are stories waiting to be told. So I do.
The desert story in Ante Up involves gangster vampires and several other not-quite-humans. I had enormous fun writing the book, and I hope you enjoy reading it.
What are your thoughts on deserts? Do you have a favorite desert location? Please share in the comments and make sure you enter the Rafflecopter below.
Love is a high-stakes game.
A century and a half ago, Ante Novak died on a Croatian battlefield—and rose three days later as a vampire. Now he haunts Las Vegas, stealing blood and money from drunken gamblers and staying on the fringe of the powerful vampire organization known as the Shadows. His existence feels empty and meaningless until he meets beautiful Peter Gehrardi, who can influence others with his thoughts.
An attraction flares instantly, bringing a semblance of life to Ante’s dead heart. But the Shadows want Peter too, and they’re willing to kill to get him. As Ante and Peter flee, they learn more about themselves and each other, and they discover that the world is a stranger place than either of them imagined. With enemies at their heels and old mistakes coming back to exact a price, how can Ante and Peter find sanctuary?
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.
A complete list of Kim’s books: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/kim-fieldings-books/