Interview with Brooke Moss
Today I’m a lucky lucky girl and get to interview the talented Brooke Moss form InkSpell Publishing. She’s written a great new book called The Carny which I had the pleasure of reading recently. I’ll post my review tomorrow, but today I wanted to take a moment to sit down with Brooke and chat about her book and her inspiration.
PAV: The Carny is a delightful read. Super fun, fast and well written. The dialogue flows easily and funny and the characters are familiar. Where did you find your inspiration for such a detailed world?
BMoss: I find inspiration for love stories all around. Every couple has a love story to share. Vincent and Charlotte’s story was loosely inspired by a few things. A dream I had about a handsome carny, and my brother and sister in law’s marriage. They are an interracial couple, and have been happily married for twenty years.
PAV: I totally fell in love with Vincent Youngblood. He’s funny, charming, handsome and totally climbable. Through the whole book I wanted to just vault up him like a rope ladder. Do you have a man like this in your life? What inspired him?
BMoss: Vincent was originally going to be an African American man, but I was inspired by my neighbor. The weekend I started writing The Carny, my neighbor–who is a Native American–was taking my children (and his) to a local Pow Wow for the evening. His father was over, and the two of them were in their driveway dressed in authentic garb. I put my fingers on the keyboard, and Vincent Youngblood was born.
PAV: I hate to be indelicate, but because you have written about a Native American man in the Pacific Northwest and so many of my readers are Team Jacob fanficers, is there any of Jake in your depiction of Vin?
BMoss: Nope, not at all. Other than the fact that they’re both Native Americans, there is no connection. Jacob is a teen, Vincent is a 30 year old adult. Jacob is a shapeshifter in love with his best friend, Vincent is a widowed doctor. Jacob was raised in the small town where his book is set, Vincent was raised primarily in Chicago, and only recently moved to Astoria, Oregon. It is important to realize that in northwestern Oregon (where The Carny is set) there are lots of Native Americans, as well as many other ethnic varieties. While I appreciated the Twilight stories as much as anyone, the character of Jacob Black didn’t represent the Native American population of the northwest alone. Hopefully readers will see Vincent Youngblood as another representation of a northwestern Native American, alongside Jacob Black, rather than melding them into one character.
PAV: It’s so unfortunate there are more positive examples of Native Americans in Literature. The ones I can think of are mostly set “back in the day” and not in contemporary stories. Am I wrong in that? Are there other authors or books who are exploring the Native American culture that you can recommend to us?
BMoss: Actually, there really aren’t nearly enough Native Americans in books these days. Which is a dang shame when you think about their culture and history. Seems like a storyline that would be compelling and interesting and very beneficial for more Americans to familiarize themselves with the first residents of our country. Though it isn’t a contemporary, my CP just signed a contract for the most amazing steampunk I’ve ever read, called Jessie’s War. It features Native American culture heavily throughout the book, and is truly an amazing book. Look for it from Musa Publishing this winter!
PAV: Most of my stories deal with issues of race, is this a common theme in your work, or something that you explored in The Carny thanks to the characters you created?
BMoss: Actually, this is my first time using racial relations as a “theme” in one of my books. I often use characters that aren’t caucasian in my books, but don’t usually make their ethnicity part of the storyline. This was something I was very excited about–exploring the idea of subtle racism. Not necessarily burning crosses, etc, but cutting remarks and back-biting done by people who would otherwise call themselves racially tolerant. This is an epidemic that we *still* experience in America today. I wanted to write about it, and I really hope I did the subject justice.
PAV: I think you did a great job, the running joke of the white folks who gave to this or that native charity however many years ago cracked me up. In contrast with the salt of the earth good people you depicted at the carnival, Charlotte’s family is a hot mess of drama, racism and control. Where did your inspiration for McIntyre come from. (Charlotte’s father).
BMoss: I think every single family, no matter how incredibly stable they seem on the surface, has a certain level of dysfunction. When I write stories, I really try to capture that aspect of human nature in my characters. I like to show my readers the good, the bad, and the ugly. And, well, MacIntyre is a mixture of about a dozen people that I know. It’s probably best if we leave it at that.
PAV: Amidst all of these bigger themes you tackled, there is a beautifully simple story, one of first love and fate. What would you say is different about your love story from the gaggle out there today?
BMoss: Charlotte is not traditionally beautiful. Her mother and sisters are all thin and perfect, with glossy hair, and waiflike bodies. Charlotte is tall and sort of cumbersome. Her hair is always a tangled mess of curls. And Vin, while handsome and sexy, isn’t exactly your standard Brad Pitt type, either. I think their story is different because it represents a love story that could happen to just about anybody.
PAV: I recently read that in order for a book to be considered “romance” as its genre it has to have a Happily Ever After. What do you think of that?
BMoss: I agree. Frankly, I don’t enjoy stories that lack the H.E.A. When I close a book without one, I tend to feel like it ended too soon. Like the story was left incomplete. The H.E.A. is very important to a romance novel. What is love without one??
PAV: To build on that can you tell me why for the love of pete you kept the love scenes PG-13? I wanted some good smexing for Vin and Charlotte!
BMoss: LOL! Oh, believe me…in my imagination, they did plenty of smexing. Good smexing, too. Actually, because of my religious beliefs, I only do PG13 scenes. Not because I don’t appreciate a good sex scene, or because I don’t appreciate the amazing authors who write such delicious sexiness. Because I certainly do! I think every author has a comfort level with their writing, and their own personal reasons why they do or don’t write their bedroom scenes graphically. I actually committed to my faith that I wouldn’t write anything that couldn’t be produced in a PG13 movie, and so far it seems to be working…..speaking of Fan Fiction, maybe someone will write what happened in that Airstream trailer after I stopped writing.
PAV: Oh man, I’m feeling a new fic coming on… I just might have to take you up on that . I totally respect keeping it PG-13. As an erotica writer myself I sometimes forget there are actually good reasons for not writing it all out. Thanks so much for chatting with me today Would you mind telling folks what other projects you have going on and what we can expect from you next? And when my review copy will arrive in my PO Box
BMoss: I have a romantic women’s fiction, Keeping Secrets in Seattle, coming out from Entangled Publishing this fall/winter (no release date yet.) It is “My Best Friend’s Wedding” meets “Bridget Jones’ Diary” with a dark twist. I also recently finished a Fantasy YA that is part one of a trilogy that I am trying to find a home for now. Hopefully it will come to print soon…and you’re now on my list for a review! In the meantime, your readers can find me elsewhere on the web: www.brookemoss.com.