Title: Fairest of the Faire
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Synopsis: Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller. Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart. When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.
CH: Today, I want to welcome Susabelle Kelmer to my blog. As you know, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming in November. In 2003, Susabelle wrote her first rough draft for the 50,000 word challenge of NaNoWriMo. She produced a novel of 96,000 words in 23 days. She is a ‘writer hero’ after my own heart. Welcome Susabelle.
CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?
SK: Neither Gage, nor Connie were interested in a relationship. Love had other plans.
CH: Why did you decide to write a book about the Renaissance Faire?
SK: Renaissance Faires are such romantic places—people in beautiful costumes, lots of play-acting and saucy interactions between characters. It is easy to fall into the fantasy of it all!
CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?
SK: There are so many ways to write, but the real truth is, it is hard work! Usually my stories start with a tiny little kernel of something—seeing someone that catches my eye, or witnessing a scene or interaction between two people. I then build the story around that little tiny kernel. It is a lot of fun trying to figure out how to make it all work out. It is rather like a puzzle! With romance novels, especially, there are some standards to be followed, most notably, that ‘Happily Ever After’ thing. Getting to that ending is where the fun is.
CH: What inspired you to write Fairest of the Faire?
SK: The idea of the character of Gage Youngblood came from an actual person I met at a Renaissance faire. Well, to be more accurate, I tried not to slobber while he posed for pictures with my friend and our daughters. His costume was interesting—different than I’d ever seen at any other faire. And he was ‘oh my god’ good-looking. How could I not write a story about him?
CH: Who was your favorite character to write?
SK: Gage, by far. Lots of depth there. Sometimes heroes in romance novels are pretty flat or at least, tend to be somewhat shallow. I didn’t want Gage to be shallow. He ended up being a great hero for Fairest of the Faire.
CH: Which character was hardest to write?
SK: Some of the secondary characters were difficult. Scot was kind of hard to figure out. I did okay with Robin Hood, though. He came through pretty clearly.
CH: Are there any books that influenced you while writing this book?
SK: No. When I’m working on writing a new novel, I tend not to read much fiction, at least, while I’m trying to get that first draft done. I don’t want to accidentally ‘borrow’ anything from a fiction I may be reading.
CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book?
SK: Some, but not a lot. The cool thing about writing contemporaries is that I don’t have to do as much world-building. But I did some research on the FBI, and how bookies operate, to get those elements right. I also spent time at the St. Louis Renaissance Faire talking to performers and some of the back-end people, so I knew how a faire worked.
CH: Since you have a shady character, the bookie, did you find anything challenging while writing this book?
SK: Writing bad guys is pretty easy. Bad guys are black and white, not too much depth. But I did look into whether that kind of ‘gangster’ activity took place or was common, and the answer was yes. So, Lenny and his silent friend Angus came together pretty easily.
CH: When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Or does the story trigger the title?
SK: Gosh, titles are hard. Way hard! Fairest of the Faire didn’t have a title until the book was in its third round of edits and I was gathering together my beta readers. Sometimes, titles come to me pretty easily, but generally, it is a lot of worrying and gnashing of teeth on my end. My current WIP (work in progress) does not have a title yet.
CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your type of romantic writing?
SK: I think, I bring people together who can see the wonder and beauty in each other. And I believe in writing characters that are pretty realistic. These are people that could be us, or could be friends of ours. They are everyday people, dealing with everyday things. I think that helps the reader identify with the characters. It is a story that could happen!
CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?
SK: I do take a lot from real life. In more than 50 years, I’ve lived a lot of life. So, I do have quite a good library to draw on. Even if that thing didn’t happen to me, it happened to someone I know, and I can use that experience to build scenes. The frightening incident at the laundromat is an example. I used to work in a laundromat and sometimes had to deal with scary people after I closed at night. I actually did one time drive straight to the police station when I knew I was being followed to the bank.
CH: Do you read in the same genre that you write?
SK: I do. I love reading contemporary romance, so that is what I write. I used to like historicals, but I guess, I outgrew them or something. They don’t appeal to me any more.
CH: Last but not least, why do you write, and what do you want readers to take from your novels?
SK: I write because if I don’t, the stories just tell and retell themselves in my head forever. The ongoing stories can be the source of some of my nights of insomnia. If I write the stories, and tell the stories, then my characters will shut up!
CH: Can you give my audience your website address?
CH: Can you tell my audience where is your book sold?
SK: Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Gwd9E0
CH: Any closing remarks?
SK: I love hearing from readers, so I encourage them to keep up with my blog at http://journal.celestialchicken.com/ Thanks for having me today!
CH: Thank you Susabelle Kelmer, it has been a real pleasure discussing your book and your writing journey with my audience.
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