Saige: I would like to welcome Chloe Stowe, author of Barbarian, here today. She will be on Saige Stage for the next week and I’m so excited to have her here!
Thanks for joining us Chloe!
So, I know that a lot of people are curious to know, where you get the names for your characters?
Chloe: Well, I’ve got to admit that naming my characters is one of my most favorite things to do when planning a story. I scour through baby name books and websites. I jot down lists of first names and last names, and then spend countless hours (yes, hours people… my craziness oozes out in the most unusual of places. lol) matching them up and tearing them apart.
Usually, I end really loving one character’s name and base all the other names on if they sound good with my fave. For example, in Barbarian, I loved the name Nick Paris. It just kind of fit him in my head. His counterpart’s name Evan Dyer never really got my juices going, but I kept the name because I liked the ironic twist of a guy named Dyer being the man Nick falls in love with after watching his first love die such a violent and senseless death. Stuff like that tickles me to no end. If you’re ever looking for something to waste a good few hours on, there are literally dozens of such name “trick” in my novels to find.
S: I must also admit that names are so very important to me in books, as a writer and a reader. I love ironic names like the one you mentioned and when I’m naming characters, I usually plot out the personalities and then find a name to fit. Names, to me, make a person, so I understand the obsession. *chuckles*
So, what are you reading now?
C: Right now, I’m reading Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby. I love my good old fashioned literature and am still catching up on things I’ve wanted to read since high school. Currently, Dickens is my “main man” and I’m working my way through all his goodies… albeit very slowly.
Part of my screwed up make-up (i.e. my chronic panic disorder) is that I can border on being a little obsessive about my work. So, I have to be really, really careful what I read while I’m actually writing a novel. If for instance I’m reading a Danielle Steel, I will thoroughly convince myself that I need to go heavy on the fashion choices of my characters. If I don’t, I’m utterly convinced that I’m doing it wrong, that it will be a miserable story, and so on, and so on. So, with sticking to Dickens (about as far away from m/m romances as you can get) I avoid a lot of those nasty quirks of my brain…. Let me tell you, it’s so much fun being me. *grins*
S: It sounds like it. I notice that fashion is the least of the things I think about. I rarely describe clothing, but rather the physicality of the character instead.
That sort of brings me to the question about wanting to actually spend time with one of your characters. If you could pick one of the characters you've written to have dinner with, who would you choose and why?
C: That’s an easy one: Cotswold, my mysterious bearded man. I’m not sure if anybody’s noticed yet, but my BDSM guru shows up (if in name only) in all my novels. I love divulging a little bit of his life in every book, digging into his past and present, seeing what makes this man tick.
Oh, I’d definitely invite Cotswold over to dinner, ply him with wine and have him tell me all his naughty secrets.
S: *laugh* I love that you do that! I love when I’m reading or watching a TV show or movie and a reference is made about something in relation to whatever it is. This happens a lot in Kevin Smith movies and it sort of gives you a “ah-ha” moment and you feel like you’re the only person in that moment that knows something that no one else does, even if that’s totally ridiculous.
We know that you’re an excellent writer, but besides reading, what are some of your other hobbies?
C: I’m a gourmet chef, a Chicago Cubs fanatic, a lover of old (and a few new) TV shows and a very proud aunt of a beautiful baby boy. The rest of my time is literally spent in tricking my mind into letting me survive it. It’s a constant battle just making it through the days, but I do it, and I love it, and I never intend to quit…. So, I guess, my number one hobby is staying sane.
S: Sometimes sanity is over-rated. It makes creativity!
I hear that you have some advice for the aspiring authors out there.
C: Two pieces of advice I’d give: First, find a niche. Find a genre and a sub-genre that is growing and not yet filled to the brim with new authors. Just remember, it’s got be something that you love writing about. Don’t head for the vampires if you’ve seen a horror movie just because it’s popular.
Second, write short stories. Forever Bound came about when I submitted a short story entitled “Chalk Wings” to Ravenous Romance. They liked it so much that they asked me if I could lengthen it into a novel (I still can’t believe that actually happened… lol). So, if it worked for me, it’s got to work for at least one more crazy person out there too.
S: Well, Chloe, thank you so much for joining me on the Stage this week and for the advice. Any bit is helpful. It’s been so lovely having you here and I hope that you stop by again soon!
Well, readers, there you have it. Here’s a little about Chloe Stowe, where you can find her and about her book, Barbarian!
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Nick Paris is a world-class photographer who is just returning to work after the tragic murder of his lover and partner, Cannon Ashford.
Nick has accepted a job photographing an archaeological dig in the Ukraine led by Professor Evan Dyer, a man Nick quickly finds is nearly impossible to resist. Refusing to get involved with another man on the job, he allows himself to be seduced by Rissa Johns, a woman with a dark secret and lethal ties to the Russian mafia.
As Evan fights for Nick, and Nick fights himself, both men are embroiled in a dangerous, international plot to steal Evan's finds: the ancient gold of the Black Sea Barbarians.
With breathtaking excitement, red-hot passion, and a thrilling conclusion, Barbarian will leave you aching for more!
“Could have sworn you promised me a vacation.” Cannon Ashford ducked behind the palm tree as another gardening tool whizzed by his head.
Crouched down beside him, Nick Paris managed to look affronted. “You’ve got the sand. You’ve got the sea. You’ve got…”
“The madman with the machete.” Said machete sliced through the air, taking out two coconuts and the rain barrel at their side.
“Consider it a little something extra from your boss.” Nick tossed a crooked smile in Cannon’s direction.
From beneath the brim of his old Marine Corps cap, Cannon rolled his eyes. “Do I have to get out my paycheck again?”
A hacksaw flew by. “Not really the time.” "Never is.” One an investigative reporter and the other a world-class photographer, the pair was World Geographic’s most in-demand team. The last month had found them exploring the thirty-three tiny islands of the Republic of Kiribati. The country’s president had recently made international news by declaring that his South Pacific nation would be the first to lose all its land to global warming. The islands were, in effect, sinking. World Geographic had immediately sent their best team to investigate and report.
Nick, being one never to turn down an interesting job, had to convince his partner to put off their longplanned vacation for just one more month. Eventually Cannon had caved.
The lunatic with the gardening shears had cemented the idiocy of the deal.
“You know, we could just walk away.” Hunched down over his knees in the third hour of their “captivity,” Cannon knelt most uncomfortably in the sand. “A stroll down the beach at a full run is sounding mighty good to me.”
With the ocean at their backs and endless white sands on either side, they were trapped behind two palm trees, a fuel barrel, and a clump of prickly brush. The islander holding them hostage with his collection of projectile tools sat on his front porch, only fifteen feet in front of the pair. The man was in his fifties, with a lifetime of anger in his arsenal and a well-soused mind as his anchor. He railed against the world with hoe, spade, and shovel.
Nick and Cannon had apparently picked a poor time to visit this man’s island. He was the atoll’s sole remaining inhabitant. They hadn’t even made it to the front porch, let alone gotten a word out, before they got pummeled. Their lone saving grace was the fact that the islander was too drunk to stand. So, pinned to porch and palm, the standoff continued.
Now lying on his belly, chin on his bent arms, Nick shook his head at Cannon’s idea of deserting, “I’d never hear the end of it.”
“The lecture on missed opportunities.” With one hand, Nick fiddled with his camera. The fact that he had used just the same argument to get them stuck in this oddly barbaric situation, Nick hoped Cannon would ignore.
“I believe that’s how I got you in bed the first time,” Cannon defended.
“Yeah.” Nick took a picture of a passing sand crab. “But it kind of loses its potency after that.”
“Was that an insult?” Cannon squinted his blue eyes down at his lover in suspicion.
“I don’t know.” Nick smirked. “You’re the writer. You tell me.”
Cannon didn’t have a chance. The whine of a motor boat broke over the gently lapping waves. Cannon perked up and smiled. “Do you hear that?”
Hitching himself up on his elbows, Nick peeked over the fallen palm tree at their side and grinned. “Could that be the infamous police boat?” While Kiribati had no police cars, they did have a boat. One boat. Nick prayed that that noisy speck of garish colors and flags was it.
“Cute little thing,” Cannon deadpanned as the single engine puttered to the shore. “Did you get a picture?”
Nick didn’t spare the energy to roll his eyes. “Isn’t that why you drag me along to these things?”
“Drag you?” Cannon dragged out ever so cleverly. “So you’re saying that I am the boss? Sweet.”
“Shut up and start yakking.” If there was anything Cannon Ashford could do, it was talk. His silver tongue had saved their asses an embarrassing number of times. Nick saw no reason to change the script now.
Cannon laughed as he stood up and dusted the sand off his knees. “One of these days we’re going to have a long talk about oxymorons.” He raised his arms to the sky and took a step toward the police boat. After four weeks, the government knew them well and most likely knew this islander’s oddities as well. Besides, when it came to situations like this, surrender had always been Cannon’s favorite policy.
Nick snickered as he prepared to follow his fearless leader, “One of these days, Ash…”
There was a gunshot.
A bullet ripped through twenty-five-year-old Cannon’s brain, killing him before his body hit the sand.
Cannon Ashford would have no more days.
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