Today’s Author Spotlight guest is none other than the fabulous Kelly Fox, here to chat all things writerly and bookish! We talk using Dexter as a muse (but make it gay), size difference and how her home of Central Texas inspires her.
Take it away Kelly…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hey y’all hey, I’m Kelly Fox and I write contemporary gay romance, which is to say that I curse way too much, drink exactly the right amount of red wine, and sleep far too little. I’m also lucky enough to live in Central Texas with my wife and two dogs, where the astonishing diversity of humans and landscapes and tattoo shops serve as my muse.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I love character-driven stories, and that’s easy to do with the citizens of Texas as real-life writing prompts. A friend of mine once described my writing as darkness wrapped in light. The ground I cover is typically considered angsty, but I write it with such gallows humor that the overall effect is hopeful. Just go with me on that.
Describe your books in only three words.
Snark. Heat. Heart.
What’s your next book about and when is it coming out?
My latest release is Deep Impact, the final book in my Wrecked: Guardians series.
This series really allowed me to explore darkness and humor, and I love telling people that Dexter (the TV show about the principled serial killer) was my muse. Take a group of Dexters, but make it gay was my mantra, and I went all in. I promise, it’s not a dark series, but you’ll find yourself rooting for a pair of alligators named Millie and Dave. Deep Impact is the swoony, murdery conclusion that the readers have been waiting for, and it sets up my next series, a non-murdery ranch epic set in Central Texas.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
Hard Target, for sure. One of the main characters in this series was sort of a villain at the end of the last series, and people didn’t have a lot of sympathy for him. On top of that, this book was supposed to be the next book in that first series, but then the words, “I’m reminded that I’ve got places to go and a body to dispose of” flew out of my finger tips.
I recoiled in horror and tried to ignore the implication, but… the character wouldn’t let me. And just like that I knew that I’d just started a new series, a spin-off of the original combat vet story line. So, I’m proud of it because a) it’s hilarious, b) people love the character they were determined to hate, and c) I did the scary thing and followed the characters where they took me.
It’s possible I’m not entirely sane.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
My environment is so influential. Texas is a strange place with incredibly generous, kind, hilarious people ruled by draconian policies. The juxtaposition makes for some interesting storytelling. Beyond that, I have so many mentors, and they each have enriched and influenced my life in meaningful ways.
What inspired you to start writing?
I had a story that I couldn’t let go of. If you’re at all familiar with the Jonathan Maberry world of Joe Ledger, I had the thought it would be funny to drop my fat, snarky ass into the middle of a Very Serious black ops organization and see what happens. I started off with a bit of fan fiction, but quickly wrote away from Maberry’s world and came up with a world of my own. Unlike anything else I’d written, I couldn’t stop with this story until it became a book, now known as The Wimberley Chronicles.
And, once I knew I could write a book, I never stopped.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I currently have a day job, so I try to get a little writing first thing in the morning, and then I’ll spend 2-3 hours writing in the evening. I typically type when I’m trying to find the words, then dictate when I’ve go the story on the run.
On the weekends, depending on where I am with the book, I’ve been known to put in long days (like today). That usually looks like a combination of dictating, cleaning up the dictation, then arranging the story elements, with frequent breaks for puppy and wifey cuddles.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
The characters and location come first, then I outline the plot very carefully. Once I start writing, the characters laugh at my plot and take over. At that point I throw out the storyline and just follow where the idiots take me.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Want Me, Neve Wilder. How she got that much heat with that much artistry…it boggles the mind.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Size difference is always so damn hot to me, especially if they’re vers. I like the sense of protection that naturally occurs with a bigger guy–talk about swoon for days. Conversely, having a tiny sass monster to stand up for their gentle giant just makes me happy.
What would be your three desert island books?
Want Me, Pride and Prejudice, and Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry.
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
Probably Full Contact, since that one was the most fun to write. Toni Mafud (he’s a painter and model, but if we’re dream-casting…) as Omar and Chris Hemsworth as Anders, because I think he could pull off the delightful insanity and his body is insane.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
I really enjoy putting together the marketing materials for my releases. There’s something very relaxing about working with the visual medium. Also, the wifey and I volunteer for the local dachshund rescue and have fostered a total of 31 dogs (with only 2 foster fails!)
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Kelly Fox is a queer writer from Texas with a wifey and a variable number of dachshunds. If you want her to wax poetic, ask her about Ann Richards or the Central Texas Hill Country. If you want the truth, one bottle of a good Cabernet or two shots of tequila oughta do the trick. Combining those will not improve your results. She’s been known to dabble in the occasional urban fantasy, but her first love is contemporary gay romance. Watching men fall in love is something she could do all damn day.
For more information on Kelly and her work you can find her on Bookbub, Amazon, Instagram, and her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter. You can also join her Facebook group, The Fox Den, for more news and updates.