Today I am so pleased to welcome Kate Sherwood to Joyfully Jay. Kate has come to talk to us about her latest release, Shelter from the Storm. She has also brought along a great tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
I think most writers are probably people-watchers.
Well, to some extent, most people are probably people-watchers, if you expand what the term generally means. Like, most people watch TV, and there are people on TV, so… bear with me! I think this makes sense!
When we talk about people watching, we generally mean watching strangers, in person, as they go about their daily lives. We use our imaginations to take the clues they give us and glue it all together into some sort of story we think makes sense.
But that’s what we do when we watch TV, too. If we’re watching scripted TV our impressions are being manipulated, obviously—the strangers we’re watching are acting like people living their daily lives. But we still have to do a bit of work to glue their coded behaviour into something coherent. (‘He slammed the door! He’s frustrated! But why?). And if we watch reality TV, we’re obviously still being manipulated, but we’re also still doing some work to figure things out and analyze who’s doing what and why.
But the real work comes when we’re people-watching stuff that isn’t scripted or edited. Watching people being interviewed on the news is always interesting. There are those with polished performances, but even they can be pushed off-message by a well-timed question, and viewers can really pull some information out of the unpolished moments.
There’s no polish for regular people being interviewed on the street, so we can really see what they think, or at least what they think they should say, or how they think they should react. It’s fascinating to watch the layers, and to imagine how they got there.
As a writer? I really try to see people through a lens of compassion. (I don’t always achieve it, but I try.). So when I see someone on TV who’s really angry, who’s saying things I don’t think are healthy or good, I really try to figure them out. Where’s the anger coming from? Oh, from fear? Where does the fear come from? Oh, from certain experiences? Which experiences? How did they come about? Who else was there, and did they react the same way? Why or why not?
There can be a sort of feedback loop. I can see people on TV saying something I don’t agree with and I can try to climb inside their skin and figure them out, and then I can write a character using some of my imagined insight, and then from writing the character I can learn something about how people work and I can apply that to the next time I try to climb inside someone saying something on TV, and on it goes.
My newest release, Shelter from the Storm, has only two active characters, and one of them, Grif, starts the story very angry and defeated and aggressive. He’s not based on any one person from TV news, or meant to be an amalgam of any side of any debate. He’s just what happens to people who are pushed around for too long, who haven’t had enough compassion or understanding or forgiveness.
I could have based him on people from my real life. But it was a hell of a lot easier to find dramatic examples by just turning on the news.
A healer and a warrior fight to survive the winter . . . and each other.
Grif is tired of life as a mercenary—tired of life, period. So he heads off into the mountains, not much caring whether he lives or dies. But when his indifference leaves him unconscious in a snowbank, a stranger finds him and insists on dragging him back from death.
Kiernan doesn’t really have time to nurse a stranger back to health; he’s on an important mission. He doesn’t know why the message he’s carrying is significant, but he’s determined to deliver it, even if it means risking his life in the winter mountains. Still, he can’t just walk away from a fellow traveler in need.
Grif didn’t want to be saved, and he sure as hell doesn’t want to be stuck with an annoying, naïve do-gooder. But since when do the mountains give men what they want? The snow is too deep to travel. Food is scarce. Grif and Kiernan learn to depend on each other, and eventually to care about each other. Neither of them wanted it to happen. But sometimes the mountains don’t give men what they want; sometimes, the mountains give men what they need.
Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!
Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!
Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?
Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.
After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.
Connect with Kate:
To celebrate the release of Shelter from the Storm, Kate is giving away a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 26, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
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