Guest Author Day with Karenna Colcroft
Please give a warm welcoem to author Karenna Colcroft as we talk about their new release, Stepping Stone Not Doormat.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’ve been making up stories since I was about three years old, and writing them down since I was five. When I was in junior high, I started writing young adult stories, and for a long time, that was what I believed my writing career would be. But then in 2006, a friend challenged me to write something sex-positive, and I began writing erotic romance, and my first published fiction, in 2009, was erotic romance.
What is your book(s) about?
Stepping Stone Not Doormat is a reunited lovers story, but it’s also a story of hope and recovery. Solara Flare, the drag queen main character, has battled substance abuse in the past, and was even arrested for burglary and drug possession, which is why her then-lover Navon broke up with her. After a stint in rehab, Solara got involved with a man who became extremely physically abusive, to the point of putting Solara in the hospital. On release, Solara left Los Angeles for Boston, chose Solara Flare as her new drag name, and began using that name and female pronouns on a daily basis, hoping to hide from her abuser. Nine years later, Solara still struggles with abuse-related PTSD, and having Navon suddenly show up to return something Solara’s abuser kept doesn’t help.
What are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m working on a May-December male/male romance focusing around a flea market. It’s a short story for an anthology call I spotted online.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
For the past few months, I’ve been learning to play bass guitar. Which isn’t easy when I’m not actually taking lessons, and the friend who loaned me the bass told me, “Just listen to songs you like and mess around until you figure out a bass part that works for them.” But once in a while, I actually manage to play something…and if nothing else, banging on the bass strings is good stress relief.
What genres do you write in?
For romance, I write primarily contemporary. Gender and number are irrelevant for me; I write heterosexual romance, male/male romance, and menage, and I have a few different things planned for the next year or so. I also write young adult fiction under a different pen name, and most of those books are contemporary. And some have a smidgeon of age-appropriate romance in them.
Is there anything you would tell aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. You aren’t going to master writing right away—or, to be honest, ever. But you will always improve as long as you keep trying.
What was the hardest part of writing your book(s)?
For me, the hardest part of writing is always revising. I love getting through the first draft of a book, but then I have to shred it to pieces to make it good enough to send to a publisher.
Is there anything you wish to say to your readers?
Just thank you. Some of my readers have shown me amazing support and encouragement, and after all, there wouldn’t be any point in being an author if not for readers.
Has there been any characters that started off as supporting characters, but then developed into a more prominent character?
That was actually the case with Solara Flare. She was introduced in my novel I Should Tell You, which was released by Loose Id in March 2014, as the “drag mother” to one of the main characters. (A drag mother is a more experienced, sometimes older drag queen who mentors a newer queen. And often, they genuinely are like family to one another.) I loved Solara’s no-nonsense attitude, and I had a feeling there was more to her than showed in that novel. But the moment she became a definite main character was when I read a review in which the reviewer said she hoped to see more of Solara, because Solara was the character with whom she most identified.
How do you like to relax after a day writing?
My best friend gave me a Roku streaming stick for the holidays, and since I got that hooked up, I’ve become somewhat addicted to Korean dramas that are streamed on Hulu.
Stepping Stone Not Doormat
Loose Id Publishing
Stepping Stone Not Doormat buy link: http://www.loose-id.com/can-t-drag-me-down-stepping-stone-not-doormat.html
Fifteen years ago in Los Angeles, a man named Charlie lost everything in his life to drug and burglary charges. Everything including his lover Navon, who was unable to accept Charlie’s actions.
Nine years ago, after building a drag career that included TV appearances and international travel, Charlie left his entire life behind to escape his abusive boyfriend Mason, and started anew in Boston as club queen Solara Flare. Going by stage name and female pronouns, Solara has taken every step possible to prevent Mason–or anyone else from her former life–from finding her.
Now, Navon has tracked Solara down in the wake of Mason’s death to return something Mason had kept, and to apologize for abandoning her after her arrest. Fifteen years hasn’t dulled their sexual attraction to each other, but the memories brought up by Navon’s appearance are almost more than Solara can stand. And no matter how much she wants to give Navon the second chance he asks for, Solara doesn’t know whether she can move beyond the past.
“Where’s your mind wandered off to?” Solara finally sat on the couch. “Unhappy memories, it looks like.”
“As I said, families suck. Let’s leave it at that.” Navon forced a smile. “Anyway.”
“I saw my family a few months ago,” Solara said. “My parents, anyway. My father isn’t doing well, and my mother can’t handle it.”
“That must not have been easy.” I don’t want to talk about families anymore! We’re way past the small-talk stage. “I want to help you with it, if you’ll let me.”
“It wasn’t a bit easy.” Solara leaned back and closed her eyes. “I know what you want me to say, Navon. I can’t say it. I can’t predict the future. When you get out here for good, everything might be great, or we might crash and burn like we did before.”
“I fucked up before,” Navon said quietly. “I own that. Letting me support you with dealing with your parents isn’t a commitment, Solara. Feelings aren’t a commitment either.”
“Yeah. I know.” She looked at him. “But this whole situation feels like one. I want to let you in again, Navon, but it’s going to take time to believe you won’t walk away.”
“I get it.” I just wish you would give me more credit.
“Besides, I do have some support,” she said. “Mitch and Hunter are good friends.”
“Mitch said you took care of him.” Navon wasn’t sure he had any right to ask for more details, but it was better than getting too deeply into a topic Solara clearly wasn’t ready to discuss. “What did he need from you?”
“It isn’t my place to tell you Mitch’s story,” Solara said. “Maybe someday, if he trusts you enough, he’ll share. I won’t.”
“I’m not asking you to.” He didn’t need details to fill in the blanks. Even in stage makeup, Mitch looked haunted. That was the first word that came to Navon’s mind. The kid had a past, and Navon suspected he was an addict of some kind, though he couldn’t have explained what gave him that impression.
“I tried to get him through it,” Solara said. “Every time he struggled, I picked up the pieces. I know how it feels to have no support when you’re fighting demons. I didn’t want him to go through that.”
“I’m sorry.” The words were far too weak. Navon’s heart sank. Solara had done for Mitch what Navon had been unwilling to do for her.
Solara pressed her lips together. “I don’t know if ‘sorry’ can change anything, but I appreciate the apology. And I accept it. We were young. I don’t blame you for not wanting the baggage. Plus you were just getting started in your career, and the last thing you needed was anyone finding out you were living with a druggie criminal.”
“No excuses,” Navon said. “I was in love with you, and I should have helped you. You didn’t have a whole lot of people backing you. I should have been one of them. I should have forgiven you. God knows you’d forgiven me for some shit.”
“And now?” Solara raised an eyebrow. “Do you forgive me now?”
“God, yes.” Navon wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against him, though she tensed instead of relaxing into the embrace. “I forgave you then. I was just too fucking stubborn to say so. I’m the one who should be asking for your forgiveness. Everything you’ve been through was because I didn’t stand up the way I should have.”
“Kicking your ass about something that happened over fifteen years ago isn’t going to do you much good,” Solara said. “And it won’t change anything. I forgive you, or I wouldn’t have asked you to stay with me. But you have to know you didn’t cause anything. I might not have gone back to you after rehab even if you’d still wanted me. There’s no way to know. You damn sure weren’t the cause of what happened after that.”
If I’d been there for you, you wouldn’t have ended up with Mason. Navon took a deep breath. He’d said that to Solara already. Repeating it wouldn’t serve any purpose. She was right. Regrets didn’t change the past. Navon wasn’t proud of himself, but he couldn’t undo what had been done.
Find the author at Karenna Colcroft website link: http://www.karennacolcroft.com