Today I am so pleased to welcome Michelle Osgood to Joyfully Jay. Michelle has come to talk to us about her latest release, Huntsmen. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Michelle a big welcome!
Settings as Story Inspiration
While at a panel at Emerald City Comic Con this year, I was asked where I got the inspiration for my stories. Until I was asked point-blank, I wasn’t really sure. I would always vaguely think Characters, I guess… when I ever wondered myself, and not push the matter further. But for some reason when I was asked in Seattle, a new answer popped into my head: Settings. I realized that’s what clicks in my mind, the spark that sets the fire going and spins into a story.
The Better to Kiss You With came from a friend’s incredibly tiny, incredibly feminine apartment. Huntsmen from drag king night in a club in downtown Vancouver.
For some reason it’s spaces that catch my attention and beg me to fill them with stories. I see them in my head, empty like a movie set, and start to wonder What should fill you? What characters belong in your space? What brought them there? What’s drawn me?
Last night I went to a concert at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia. The Chan Centre is beautiful, and this was the first time I’d been inside. All I could think as I walked through the crowd of people milling in the half-moon lobby was: I want to murder someone here.
I’m a really fun date to a concert, honest! And for the record, the band, Tinariwen, was amazing.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about the gorgeous space. The huge, arching windows with the plants outside pressing in. The wide wood panels that curved around the theatre. The soft, glowing lights.
In my mind I could already see the police tape, picture the drying blood, the limp, outstretched arm. The horrified witnesses gathered in their gowns and their tuxes, diamonds glinting in the gentle lighting.
I could set a story here, I thought with satisfaction. I have a list in my head (which I may want to start writing it down) of places I could set or start stories. Homes are some of my favorites – the place a person or character lives is so intimate. Some of the settings are incredibly detailed, and others float vaguely in the back of my mind as The Sea Story, or Lakefic.
Once an idea for a space comes, I can’t see that space used for anything else. With the series I’m writing right now, I feel so lucky because I get to keep going back to these spaces, over and over, and write new stories in them without writing different stories. Most of Huntsmen takes place in Nathan’s apartment, which we visited for a scene in The Better to Kiss You With, and we visit Jamie’s apartment in Huntsmen, which we see in The Better to Kiss You With! We are briefly introduced to Kiara and Cole’s apartment in Huntsmen as well, and that may be a space that features more heavily in book three.
“Check out my undercut,” Deanna boasted. She turned around and lifted up her hair to display the closely shaved triangle on the back of her head. She twisted so that she could look at it in the monitor.
Nathan paused the game so they could all look. When Deanna let her hair fall it completely hid the shave; she could be as femme-presenting as she wanted, or show it off by twisting her hair up. Before Kiara could think better of it, she lifted a hand to her own hair, fingering the blunt edges of her bob.
“I love it,” Jamie proclaimed. She rose from the couch and swept a giggling Deanna up in her arms.
Leaning against the island with her arms folded comfortably across her chest, Ryn watched them with apparent fondness and enough familiarity that Kiara frowned. Ryn hadn’t met either woman until last night. But Ryn’s eyes were soft, and her lips were curved upward in a gentle smile.
Kiara pulled her gaze away and sank against the couch, letting the pillows engulf her. She remembered seeing that look on Ryn’s face, the same look of happiness for someone who wasn’t herself. When they’d been together Ryn had pressed Kiara about her large family with the curiosity of someone who had a small one. Kiara had found it easy to talk to Ryn about them.
Ryn had particularly enjoyed stories about Cole and Kiara and Jamie growing up together. They had other cousins, firsts and seconds and thirds—the very nature of a werewolf pack living in a human society meant that they stayed close—but Jamie was the one closest in age and location to Cole and Kiara.
Before Deanna, Jamie had never had a serious girlfriend. She’d dated a few women casually and had nursed a year-long crush on a sociology prof, only to have her heart bruised, though not broken, when the professor gently rebuffed her flirting.
During the year Kiara and Ryn were together, when Kiara was so wrapped up in Ryn—around Ryn—that she’d nearly flunked out, too in love to see anything past Ryn, too busy lounging naked and blissed out in Ryn’s bed to go to class, Kiara had confessed that she worried Jamie would never find such happiness. Jamie was shy, awkward, and horribly tongue-tied around cute girls. Kiara had worried to Ryn that no one would be able to see past Jamie’s shyness, which was so easily interpreted as aloofness.
“She’s wonderful. She’s so good, so honestly good. What if no one ever sees that, Ryn? What if Jamie’s always hidden, and no one loves her?”
Ryn had laughed and pulled Kiara in for a kiss. “That won’t happen. Someone will see. And then you’ll see that you were silly to worry. Silly, but sweet.” Ryn kissed her again and again, and then Kiara stopped thinking about Jamie altogether.
Suddenly it was all too much for Kiara. She couldn’t stay in Nathan’s living room, staring at that open, fearless love, not when the only person she’d ever felt that with was in the same room, and between them was a chasm eight miles wide.
Months after saving Jamie and Deanna from crywolf, Kiara and her brother Cole have moved into the city. While clubbing one night, Kiara is stunned to see her ex, Taryn, onstage. But before she can react, Jamie notices a distinctive tattoo in the crowd: an axe rumored to be the mark of the Huntsmen, a group of werewolf-tracking humans. The girls need to leave immediately—and since Taryn is also a werewolf, they need to take her with them.
The Huntsmen are more than a myth, and they’re scouring the city for lone wolves just like Taryn. Until the General North American Assembly of Werewolves lends a plan of action, Kiara’s small pack is on lockdown in a friend’s apartment, where she and Taryn must face the differences that drove them apart. Furthermore, the longer the group waits, the more it seems the Huntsmen haven’t been acting entirely on their own.
Michelle Osgood writes queer, feminist romance from her tiny apartment in Vancouver, BC. She loves stories in all media, especially those created by Shonda Rhimes, and dreams of one day owning a wine cellar to rival Olivia Pope’s. She is active in Vancouver’s poly and LGBTQ communities, never turns down a debate about pop culture, and is trying to learn how to cook. Her first novel, The Better to Kiss You With, was published by Interlude Press in 2016.
Michelle has brought a $25 Interlude Press gift card and a copy of to give away to one lucky reader on her tour as a grand prize, plus five additional winners will get a copy of the book.. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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