Hello, everyone, I’m Bru Baker and I’m so stoked to be here at Open Skye! I’m promoting Some Assembly Required, the paranormal home goods store meet-cute book you never knew you needed until now. The talented Lex Chase and I collaborated on it, and not only was it my first time co-writing with someone, it was also my first time dipping my toe in the paranormal pond.
The best part of co-writing is having someone to bounce ideas off of and to share the workload with, which is exactly what I’m going to do here today. Lex and I come from pretty different genre backgrounds within the gay romance world. She writes epic adventure fantasy with mind-blowing detail and fantastical twists. I write contemporary with down-to-earth, relatable characters who you usually end up wanting to take home and fatten up with cookies and soup.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we’re both horrible influences on each other. This book is proof of that, especially since we basically wrote it because Damon Suede double dog dared us to do it. Impulse control is not a strong suit for either one of us.
So, Lex. A few questions for you:
What was the scariest part of writing something more contemporary for you?
Lex: For me it was getting over what I call ìHallmark Hell. Where “Boy Meets Boy” falls in love in three seconds, and everything is all so sugary and fluffy and the only tension is what they like to watch on TV. I like complicated stories. I like stories that make you think. Or stories with people that do terrible things in the name of justice. Or stories about itís not the monsters coming to get us, itís the monsters within us that are the true terror.
I also like explosions.
Lots. Of. Them.
Were there things you were dreading, either about contemporary or co-writing, that didn’t come to pass? (Or did they?)
Lex: We had taken the leap so suddenly, I was thinking in the back of my head wtf am I getting myself into? We met over Twitter, and hung out there for a while, and you seemed pretty cool. And after meeting in person a few times, I’m like Oh.Okay. She’s not a serial killer..But what if she is?
I was fearing a clash of egos the longer we stayed together. But it turned out that wasn’t true at all because we were equally quirky in a very complementary way. We were also there for each other when things weren’t right, or when one of us needed to pick up the slack.
Also you let me write a fight scene! Yay!
Just exactly how much did you want to kill me every time I begged you to dial back the worldbuilding?- Just kidding.- Except not really. How did you deal with tamping down your epic worldbuilding instincts?
Lex: I come from a background of being able to explain everything. I’m also a very quick and dirty worldbuilder. My worlds are never fully fleshed out because I like the sense of discovery alongside my readers too. I keep it simple as I can. When I’m working on a book I stick to the worldbuilding details I need at that moment. All the rest I can figure out later when I need it. As you know I write a high fantasy paranormal series featuring all kinds of shifters. The first book features wolves and cats. But I know the world extends far beyond that. Like there’s bird shifters for instance we meet those in the second book and a jellyfish shifter in book three. Do I need to know everything about them right this second? Nope. Don’t care. Not important at the current moment. As my mom says “Weíll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
When we did Some Assembly Required we set the ground rules: This book is about ghosts and CASA is purgatory. Together they help other sprits move on. But I asked “How do the ghosts work? How do the physics work? What’s their mythology?”
ÖÖ.aaaaannnnd I can see your eyes glazing.
Your characters tend to be abrasive with gooey centers. What is it about that character type that draws you in?
Lex: I love the asshole with a heart of gold. I write a bunch of ’em. I love guys that are complicated in one way or another. The world has wronged them in some way and therefore they have to toughen up out of one reason or another.
For Patrick it’s two fold, he fears abandonment of not only his companions, but also fear of the unknown. He tosses up a thick concrete wall around his heart. Instead of enjoying the time he has with other people, he pushes them away as fast as possible so he doesn’t grow attached because he thinks they’ll just leave in the end anyhow.
Also his fear of the unknown spawned his love of science in his living life. We only get a glimpse of it in Some Assembly Required. We learn in passing he has a doctorate in particle physics and had one day set his eyes on working for CERN. Patrick is very, very much a Man of Science. He only believes what he can see. But that becomes the bitch of it all, when you’re now a ghost and you find out everything you believed was wrong.
The book is basically one long love letter to meatballs. Why are meatballs so important to Patrick in the book? And just for fun–what’s your favorite kind of meatball?
Lex: Meatballs are delicious. They should be important to everyone. It’s a tossup on my fave. I really love Swedish meatballs, but sweet and sour ones you have at holiday parties are also quite tasty.
Question for you guys! Do you have that one friend who is the bad influence? Or are you that friend?
Tell us and don’t forget to record your entry on the giveaway widget!
Everyone wishes they were dead when wandering the purgatory of a home furnishings store, but these guys actually are.
Benji Goss is the quintessential good guy. When his boyfriend dumps him and moves out, Benji obligingly keeps the cat even though he’s allergic because his ex’s new place doesn’t accept pets. He’s always joked the cat would be the death of him, but not in a way he expects when a feline mishap crushes him under a DEL TORO bookcase.
Snarky loner Patrick Bryant is in such a rut he barely remembers the life he used to lead. The last thing he recalls is being decapitated by a DEL TORO bookcase in a freak accident. As a spiritual CASA resident, he haunts the aisles of affordable Italian furniture, assisting fellow spirits in moving on to their final destinations.
When Benji appears in the CASA cafÈ, Patrick considers the naive spirit just the man to cure his boredom. Benji’s relentless optimism chips away at Patrick’s sarcasm, making him question if there’s something beyond what he can see. But the heart is like CASA furniture there’s always some assembly required.
About the Authors:
Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting”. Now she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.
Weaving tales of sweeping cinematic adventure depending on how she feels that dayóLex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.
Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, and she unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.
Bru Baker got her first taste of life as a writer at the tender age of four when she started publishing a weekly newspaper for her family. What they called nosiness she called a nose for news, and no one was surprised when she ended up with degrees in journalism and political science and started a career in journalism.
Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now works in reference and readers’ advisory in a Midwestern library, though she still finds it hard to believe someone’s willing to pay her to talk about books all day. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when sheís engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.
Do you have that one friend who is the bad influence? Or are you that friend?
Blog Tour Stops:
2/8 – The Novel Approach and Release Day!
2/9 – Gay List Book Reviews
2/9 -†My Fiction Nook
2/10 – Love Bytes Reviews
2/10 – Divine Magazine
2/11 -†Open Skye Book Reviews
2/17 – Joyfully Jay