Jeff & Will talk about what they loved in Bridgerton season 2.
K.C. Kassidy, who also writes as Sierra Hill, talks about the new m/m installment of the All American Boy series and her book Pretty Boy. She shares how she decided to set the series in Maine with the backdrop of a tall ship festival, as well as why she created the series. K.C. also discusses her Blockers series, offers some book recommendations and has details on what’s coming up next.
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Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. Books are linked with Universal Book Links so you can see a variety of places to purchase ebooks and audiobooks. All links are current at the time the episode premieres, however links are subject to change.
- Rainbow Romance Reader Report Subscription Sign Up
- Bridgerton on Netflix
- K.C. Kassidy Interview
- K.C. Kassidy website | Facebook | Instagram
- Sierra Hill website | Facebook | Instagram
- Physical Connection by Sierra Hill
- Change of Course by Sierra Hill
- Pretty Boy by K.C. Kassidy
- S.E. Rose website
- C*ock Blocked by K.C. Kassidy
- Benny from the Block by K.C. Kassidy
- The Book Fest Awards website
- The Girlfriend Game by Sierra Hill
- Burned by Sierra Hill & S.E. Rose
- Sarina Bowen website
- Playmaker by Sierra Hill
- The Best Man by Sarina Bowen and Lauren Blakely
- Dirty Slide by Lauren Blakely and KD Kasey
- Headstrong by Eden Finley
- All American Boy series on Instagram | Facebook
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Patreon.com
- Libro.fm website (use this link to receive your Big Gay Fiction Podcast special offer)
- Frolic Podcast Network website
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Will: Coming up on this episode, we kick off our celebration of the “All American Boy” series as we talk to author K.C. Kassidy.
Jeff: Welcome to episode 370 of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast, the show for avid readers and passionate fans of gay romance fiction. I’m Jeff and with me as always is my co-host and husband, Will.
Will: Hello, rainbow romance readers. Welcome back. We are so glad that you could join us for another episode of the show.
Before we get to our author interview. I want to quickly say thank you to those of you who signed up for the Rainbow Romance Reader Report. When we announced it last week, I would say the initial reaction was very positive. And when the first issue went out on Friday, well, all I can say is I’m very happy with how it’s gone.
Jeff: Yeah, I would agree. It’s very pleasing to see the reaction that the Report has had.
Will: And there will definitely be many more come.
When you sign up for the Report, you’ll get updates about what Jeff and I have been up to each week, as well as news about new releases and upcoming titles, as well as looks ahead at what we have coming up on the show.
And as a thank you, we’re also going to be sending you an ebook copy of “Happily Ever After,” a collection of reviews and recommendations for some of what we feel is the very best in gay romance fiction.
If you’d like to join us each week, and receive your copy of the Rainbow Romance Reader Report, just go to biggayfictionpodcast.com/report, and you can sign up there.
So, since we last spoke last week, Jeff and I have watched season two of “Bridgeton.”
Jeff: I loved it so much. It was a master class in how to give smoldering looks to another person. Oh, I loved it so much. It’s possible that I loved it more than season one. I’m not sure, but oh my goodness.
Will: So, without going into all the details of Kate and Anthony’s love story, what was one of the key things that you loved the most about this season?
Jeff: It really has to be just overall, the performances given by Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley. From the moment Anthony and Kate, essentially lay eyes on each other they can’t stop looking at each other and Jonathan and Simone across the eight episodes gave us so much of the feelings that Anthony and Kate were having for each other, just by their looks.
Like I said, I felt like it was a masterclass. They smoldered. They were hot. They were sexy. They were I hate you, you need to stop looking at me but don’t stop looking at me. As I was watching some of that, it makes me want to go back and read the books. And I know the books don’t connect directly to this series and the way that the stories are presented. But I want to know how Julia Quinn might be writing those looks into the books. Cause I can’t even imagine.
And connected to those, the other thing I would say is those up close moments that they’d have where they’re like, I really want to kiss you, but I really shouldn’t because of the mores of our time period.
Oh, it was so sexy. In some ways I felt it was even more sexy than the flaming hot sex that we had in season one, between Daphne and her duke. I could watch it again just for all that.
What was the one thing for you?
Will: One thing that struck me about season two is that, while it is still just as grand and lush and extravagant when it needs to be, I was struck by the incredible intimacy of certain moments, where it’s just two people talking.
The characters are rich and compelling, and when this amazing group of actors are given the chance to just essentially sit alone in a room and dial in their performances using these amazing words. Like I said, it’s super compelling.
And some of the strongest writing. I was really compelled by what went down in the wedding episode. This is “Bridgerton,” and it shouldn’t come as any surprise that there will eventually be a wedding of some kind. But there’s a lot of stuff, both grand and very small and intimate that happened during that wedding that I think it was, like you said, it’s a masterclass in acting, but I also think it’s a masterclass in writing for television.
So not only could I enjoy the series as just a fan. Loving hard on these characters, but as a person who’s interested in the craft of writing, I think it’s fun to maybe sit and think about what’s going on and maybe peel back a layer or two. And look at just how exquisitely they’re telling this particular story about this wonderfully scandal written family.
Jeff: It’s interesting you mentioned the wedding episode, as I say this, I’m actually not sure if it was in the wedding episode or the one that immediately followed it, where we’re having the aftermath of the wedding and without giving away spoilers.
This goes to what you were saying about the writing and what they choose to put on the screen. There’s a moment with Edwina and like I said, I’m not gonna give too much away here, but it happens after the wedding. And it’s a moment where you see, to me crystal clear, who she is as a person, in some of the actions that she does and some of the kindnesses that she can convey even after what’s happened.
I mean, it truly, it was a moment that made me cry, had nothing to do with the romance. Some people will see it as a throwaway scene, I think, but I was just like, oh my gosh, you, in this moment doing that thing. I was a little overwhelmed by it. And it just shows you how. I think everything they put on screen has a very distinct purpose to be there. And I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow this comes back in later seasons, as a plot point of some kind or another, because I think everything’s very deliberate on this show.
But, oh, so good. I can’t wait for season three, which I assume we’re going to have to wait a year for. And in case you don’t know, you can catch “Bridgeton” on Netflix.
Now let’s move on to our interview. Most of you know, I think that will is a big fan of K.C. Kassidy’s “Blockers” series, and with the release this month of the latest installment of the “All American Boy” series, this was the perfect time to talk to K.C. You see K.C.’s alter ego as Sierra Hill is the organizer of the series, which has two previous releases featuring male-female couples. Now there’s nine books featuring gay romances, and one of those is K.C.’s “Pretty Boy.”
I had such a great time talking with K.C. about her new book, putting the series together, why she created K.C. Kassidy in the first place. And of course, we’re going to find out what’s coming up next for her.
K.C. Kassidy Interview
Jeff: K.C., welcome to the podcast. It is wonderful to have you here.
K.C.: Thank you. It’s so wonderful to be here.
Jeff: And of course, readers know you as both, K.C. Kassidy and Sierra Hill. K.C. being your newer pen name. As we get started, tell us a little bit about these different sides to your writing life and the differences in the pen names.
K.C.: All right. Well, I started writing as Sierra Hill back in 2014. During that time, I think I have, the last time I counted, I was about 38 books in. And I was writing mostly m/f, but also had sprinkled in some male/male pairings in there. Along the way I had decided I wasn’t doing justice to I the storylines and my readers were getting confused. They’re like, all right which one is this? What am I going to pick up today? so I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my time and in publishing, but it was only just last year, 2021 that I finally made that jump and decided, split off my writing so that Sierra Hill is focused on sports and college romance. And then my K.C. Kassidy is all focused on gay and queer romance. So, I love now writing both, and I hope that the split has helped the readers know exactly then what they are going to pick up when they read one of my books.
Jeff: The m/m that you had put out as Sierra are those going to come over to the K.C. Kassidy name at some point, or?
K.C.: That’s a really good question.
I don’t think so, because they are really part of another series. So, my first one was “Physical Connection” and that’s part of my “Physical” series which is all under Sierra Hill. And then the third book in my “Change of Heart” series, which is a college campus off-campus series is also, it’s a m/m, but part of that series. So, I don’t want to split them off.
Jeff: That would be even more confusing.
K.C.: It really would. But I try to make very clear this is a m/f or a male/male. They know.
Jeff: Now you’re the mastermind behind the “All American Boy” series and that has had nine new m/m romance has coming out since the beginning of April. What’s the background on that series and what inspired you to create it?
K.C.: Oh, wow, thank you. This is a, this is the fourth round of “All American Boy” series books. And actually, it was originally in my head, I was going to write them all like myself. You know, I came up with a series idea and I wanted it to be a small town romance. And I had all these great titles, which all had the boy, the word boy in them. Then 2020 hit and I needed connection with my people because I couldn’t see, I couldn’t go meet authors and be part of those groups. And I thought, why don’t I open it up and make it more of a collaborative collective sort of, series. And so, I invited a bunch of authors. I had way more than I really wanted to put out at the time, and so that’s how I ended up with more than just one series. And the first group was about 15 authors, and we wrote in the male/ female pairings, and that was 15. And then the second release was last fall. And I think we had 10. Well, maybe we had 15 now I’m losing count. And then, because I selfishly, I wanted the male/male and the gay romance aspect to it as well. And so, it was last May, I think I invited the group that we have now that’s releasing this week.
Jeff: And it’s just amazing, how this series has just grown. And I love that it was 2020 that inspired you to do it. I think we saw that with Sarina Bowen to create all of those, interconnected universes spinning off of some of her work. What was it like for you to suddenly open this up and start to work with other writers to get books written and produced and planned and all of that?
K.C.: Well, I have been very lucky with the authors that have been part of the group. There’s been only a few that I’ve had to like, knock knock, come on where are your things. But for the most part, I wanted to make it easy on the authors that they control when they release. I give them dates, a range of dates and they control what their storyline is going to be. They control their cover. We have uniformity in the covers that we’ve created, but they can choose whatever they want. And so, in that aspect it’s, easy. I give them dates. They choose. They get to choose their covers. They get to write their own stories. But we have that connection in the setting of the series.
So, each grouping has a different setting and then I leave it up to the authors to just do their thing.
Jeff: And this time, I know it’s Stoney Brook, Maine, and there’s a tall ship festival.
Jeff: Where did that, manifest itself from?
K.C.: Yeah. Well I personally, I am a tall ships fan, so, when I created the series, I knew I wanted different fictitious settings. So, the first one was set in a fictitious small town in wine country in California. The second group was in, at a music festival in Colorado. And then I just naturally migrated east and decided where should I have it in on the east coast? And I thought, wow, I love… Okay, I’ve never been to Maine, but I thought Maine seemed like a really cool place to be. And the tall ships festival, I thought, well, with summer, who, what do you go to Maine for? And that’s where it came from.
Jeff: I heard from one of the other authors that I’ve interviewed, who’ll be coming on Thursday, that there really is a tall ship festival up there, although Stoney Brook is fictitious.
K.C.: Yes. Yup. Yup. I do research when I create a setting or create a storyline or whatever it is. And I know that there was like a Stoney Brook like, oh, like park or something in Maine. But there was no town, so I thought, okay, I’m safe with that. And yeah, tall ships festival. I know we have one out here on the west coast in the Seattle area. And so, I figured. Why not have it in, on the east coast.
Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. I’m a big fan of tall ships too, so I’m like, I would go to that festival.
K.C.: Yeah, they’re so beautiful. They’re just majestic. I don’t know
Jeff: What are readers have to look forward to within this set of nine m/m, romances.
K.C.: Oh, well, again, the beauty of, the collective is that each author has complete control and creativity over what they want to write about. And what I give them is here’s the setting. And here’s some nuances and some unique aspects of the setting to include. So, what readers then have, they have these little Easter eggs that they can, you know, hunt and peck for as they read and hopefully the idea is they read all the books in the collection and find those little those little special nuggets of, you know, details.
So, like, I have a bed and breakfast owner two, two owners in my book, and one of the other authors I know included them in her book. And so, it’s just that fun overlap and readers can have a sense of connection when they do read them.
Jeff: And of course, K.C. Kassidy has a book in this collection called “Pretty boy.” tell us a little bit about Finn and Mason’s story.
K.C.: Oh, wow. As an author, I create the characters. I develop them. And I understand, who they’re going to be before I start writing. But, this particular couple, I just fell in love with right away. They just spoke to me. They’re both 20 something, early to mid-twenties and they’re both trying to find their way in the world. And really both of them have the need to make their fathers proud. Finn in particular, he was a model at an early age. So therefore the “Pretty Boy.” And, but what he’s trying to do is use that and capitalize on his pretty face and the money he’s earned to really do something bigger in his life. And again, trying to make his father proud who really doesn’t approve of his profession right now.
He ends up in Stoney Brook, and what he does though, is he, he holds a protest. He has strong opinions about how he believes the whales are being mistreated by these lobster fishermen. And of course, in his protest, he ends up meeting an actual lobster fisherman and that is Mason. Mason, although he does like, and he has an immediate attraction to Finn, he plays it off and his behavior towards Finn, isn’t all that gracious. He’s rude and grumpy and all of that. So, they have this back and forth. So anyhow, the characters, they’re fun. I like to write lighthearted books, but obviously with a little bit of drama in between, and of course the HEAs happily ever afters for them both.
Jeff: You gave them some nice opposition there. Setting up the environmentalist, save the whales with the person that he is accusing of mistreating the whales. Such a good way to butt heads there while you’re like, oh, I really like you.
K.C.: I can actually thank my niece for that because she’s always very conscientious about what’s going on in the world and has very strong opinions about things, but I’m always telling her, you got to look at both sides. You can’t just focus on the one, you have to see the whole thing in relation to, whatever the problem is. And so that’s really how this came about that opposition between the two characters.
Jeff: How much research did you have to do to be able to talk about somebody who is, engaged in lobstering and then somebody who would be in opposition to that of what actually goes out on the sea. I have to imagine there was some research involved there.
K.C.: Absolutely. And luckily in my own network of authors, I have an author who lives in Maine and her husband is a lobster fisherman. So, I really, got a ton of information direct from the source and it was so helpful. Hannah Gray, thank you for that.
And then also my co-writer, so under Sierra hill, I also co-write books with my author friend S.E. Rose, and she gave me some information from her day job and that was more of the governmental side of the regulations revolving around fishing and fishing wildlife. So that was extremely helpful for writing that particular piece of the story. A lot of research,
Jeff: You can give good arguments on both sides.
K.C.: I did try to do that without weighing it down. Yeah.
Jeff: Sure, because it is a lighthearted book in the long run, but give them one good argument to come out, swinging with each other.
Jeff: What was your favorite scene to write in “Pretty Boy?”
K.C.: Oh well, my favorite, and the one that I am hearing a lot from the ARC readers, is a particular scene where Finn and Mason have just spent the night together, their first night. And there was a little incident where Finn can’t get around too well. And so, Mason has to get up early in the morning and head out to the open waters and do his thing. So, Finn is sitting around his house and a little going a little stir-crazy cause he’s very impatient. He’s always on the go. And so, he wants us to do something fun for Mason when he gets home. So, he has this brilliant idea to surprise Mason and the door opens to Mason’s apartment. And instead of being Mason, it’s someone else. And so, excuse my expression, but shit, it’s such an oh shit moment in the book. And I just thought it was fun to write. I just, I laughed at myself.
Jeff: It’s always good when you can make yourself laugh or cry or whatever it is.
Jeff: Now, as you mentioned, you debuted K.C. Kassidy last year with the “Blockers” series and Will, has loved those books. For the listeners who haven’t picked those up yet. What do we find in the “Blockers” series?
K.C.: Well, first off, thank you for giving it a read because that is so important to me, that people do, enjoy the books. I mean, that’s, that’s why I write, for others enjoyment.
So, When I, started the series, I don’t even, honestly, I don’t even remember how the series and how the series title came about. It just popped in my head, like most things. But the first book in the “Blockers” series is “Cock Blocked.” That one is a really fun romp, in Ireland and the Irish countryside. They’re all standalone. And they’re rather short. They’re about 50,000 words. So, they’re, short. Most of the feedback I normally get from readers is like, they want it longer, right.
So that one was the first book. And then the second book is ” Benny from the Block.” I’m very excited, cause “Benny from the Block” is a finalist in one award for 2022 and just became a second-place winner, for the Book Fest contest. I’m very excited about that that they’re receiving that kind of recognition, but “Benny from the Block” is a single father, enemies to lovers, bully romance.
I didn’t write a lot of bullying in there, but there’s, an aspect of that book. And again, they’re both standalone. And then I do have several more coming in the series. The next one’s coming up is called “Roadblock,” and I don’t want to give too much of it a way. I actually haven’t started writing it yet.
What I found as I’m writing this series. It has a really central theme about family and the importance of family and the love of family. And so, if you haven’t read “Cock Blocked,” that’s a really big part of that particular book and the same for “Benny from the Block” cause he’s a single father and trying to do right by his son.
Jeff: Congratulations about “Benny.” I’ve been seeing your posts on Facebook, the finalist, and just a couple of days ago, the second-place thing, which is really wonderful to see. And it’s interesting, the kind of issues you’re tackling in “Benny” with the backstory of these characters, but how did you balance the bullying in the past and giving them that pathway to be able to move beyond that towards the HEA? I’ve read bullying romances before, some that I’ve had to put down cause it’s like, I can’t see it. And maybe that’s cause I don’t want to see it. It’s a fine line.
K.C.: It really is. And it was. It was a very delicate position because I wanted enough for the character of Benny that there was redemption in his character arc. He was the way he was in high school for particular reason. He didn’t understand it himself. And the way he treated William wasn’t great. There were a few parts in there that my lovely editor Sandy had to suggest, well, maybe we need to taper that back a little bit. I wanted to avoid that trap of it being too violent or too many triggers associated with it because like many of us in high school or those formative years were bullied or mistreated by our classmates. And they’re very difficult times to forget, forgive and forget.
So, with Benny, I wanted, there to be a very clear transformation for him and for William to be able to be the bigger man and really forgive him for what he did to him back then.
Jeff: And I like how it all formed around helping his son, who’s now bullied. It comes back to that family aspect.
K.C.: Yeah, I was writing these books during a very difficult time in my family with my father and he passed on, but that really, it came out in, my emotional state and the way that I wrote both books where the father is really the focal point of the book and ties everything together, so.
Jeff: I’m sorry for your loss, but…
K.C.: Thank you!
Jeff: I love how you poured that back into your creativity too.
K.C.: Yes. Yes.
Jeff: You’ve got such a variety of characters in these two “Blockers” books. So far the actor and the B&B owner, in Ireland, as you mentioned. And then the school principal and the father of the student. What’s your process for drawing your pairings together because even in “Pretty Boy,” there are two vastly different people who you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find each other.
K.C.: Right. I don’t even know how to answer that question. You know, I think I take traits from either people in real life or characters in that I’ve, seen in movies or read about, and really it’s just a conglomeration of all of those individuals. And what I want, and what I seek in my characters are that they are opposites in some way that who they are necessarily right now, as they start the story, isn’t going to be who they are at the end of the story. And that together with that right person, they can blossom and become that person that is loved.
And we’re all, tragically flawed in our own ways, and so all my characters are flawed in some way, right? I would say at the beginning of a “Pretty Boy,” Finn is a little bit arrogant and he’s, a little full of himself and hopefully he’s transformed at the end of that book. I don’t know that the characters that I develop and write, I just, I like them to be unique, but yet with their own issues and also their capacity to love.
Jeff: And I know for us, we love the size of these books. You’ve mentioned that so many people want, maybe a little bit longer.
We love that sweet spot of category romance that 50, 60K book, relatively low angst that you can just dive right into, have a nice story, and then, move on to the next. So, was it deliberate to keep them on the shorter side for these to have more of that category feel? Or is it just where the stories are landing themselves?
K.C.: Yes, typically and even in my Sierra Hill books I write under 70,000 words, because I personally, as a reader, I don’t like long books. I have friends that can write a hundred thousand word books, I’m like, “oh my gosh, I can’t even read that much, much less write it.” But I do like the 50,000 words because I feel like I can develop the characters enough during that time period, and really bring their story to fruition by the end of it.
Now, going back to the “All American Boy” series, those are a little bit shorter, even more so. They’re under 40,000 words, and there was a reason for that as well, because I wanted to make sure that the readers had an opportunity to go through those kind of like buffet-style, and continue eating and not get too full, so to speak. So, those are intentionally much shorter than my normal books.
Jeff: Yeah, there’s a nice bite-size morsel to be had with a novella.
Do you have favorite tropes that you like to work with?
K.C.: Oh, I seem to fall in the trap of a lot of forced proximity. I liked that when, characters are forced together, like in “Cock Blocked.” Niall is forced to deal with this early handsome American who, is that is bed and breakfast for a month and has to take them on tours of Ireland. And so, it’s that I have to be with this person, and I don’t know if I like it or not, but then, it all turns around. I work a lot with the forced proximity. Otherwise, I try to disperse my writing into various other tropes, so.
Jeff: Let’s dive back into your past. What got you started as a writer?
K.C.: It’s so cliche I’ve loved writing since I was young. Instead of going out and playing with the kids in the neighborhood, when I was 10, 12, I would sit and write stories in my notebooks during the summer months. And then, in college I was going to become a journalist, and I always wrote on the school newspapers. And then of course I was forced to get a real, paying job. And so, I stepped away from writing for a long time and then just was able to come back to it in about 2014 when I had a little time off after a corporate merger and I thought, I’m going to write a book. I’m going to write and finish a book this time. And I did that and never stopped.
Jeff: What was young Sierra writing in those notebooks? What kind of stories?
K.C.: Oh, gosh, I found one of an old story and it was at the time it was kind of Nancy Drew-ish, where my characters were trying to solve these mysteries and uncover all of these, I don’t know, hidden clues about something. I think my books were always character-driven in my writing style.
And I did start my first series called “Physical” was in the third person, but every book since has been written in the first person. So, I have dual points of view, which I like myself personally, because I like to get into different characters heads.
Jeff: I like first person dual and of course first-person single also occasionally it makes sense, depending on the story that you’re doing. What flipped you over from doing third. Cause you could still do third and flip those POV’s. Obviously, many writers do that, but what brought you over to first?
K.C.: Well, good question. A friend of mine, actually, we’re both writing college sports romance. And she had just made a comment, that a lot of the readers enjoyed more the first person POV and the dual POV. I started giving it a try. And since then, I just haven’t been able to flip back to the third person. Maybe I will someday. I dunno, but I liked the first person.
Jeff: Someday the story may dictate that.
Jeff: What got you into writing romance as being what you wanted to pursue as you turn being an author into a career?
K.C.: Well, I would say that I’ve always loved reading romance. In my early twenties, I picked up my first romance book and yeah, the rest is history, as they say. But I also think it’s my astrological sign. I’m a Scorpio. So, one of the traits is a passionate person. And so, I love the passion of both writing and reading romance. So, it speaks to me, and I love the happy happily ever afters. I used to, I guess know, I’ve read a lot of different genres in the past, some mystery and thriller, but it’s always come back to the romance. It’s just love, love.
Jeff: It’s interesting. You’ve mentioned mystery and thriller. Cause I was wondering since, as a youngster that you were writing Nancy Drew type things, is there like romantic suspense in your future somewhere or some sort of a, mystery thriller with romance, put into it or something.
K.C.: I would love that, yes. There was a book that I started many years ago, but it freaked me out because the topic had got a little too dark for me. And so, I put it away and like, “eh, I don’t know if I can write that type of mystery or thriller or anything like that. Maybe someday. I don’t want to say never.
Jeff: Any other sub genres or even non romance genres that you think about periodically?
K.C.: Definitely. I have well they’re now 17 and 19, but nieces and when they were a little younger, I’m like, oh, I really want to write a book that they can read. That isn’t as spicy and steamy as the ones that I write. And so there have been a couple of YA books that I started, and I would absolutely love to finish those someday. But now that I’m writing both Sierra and K.C. books, I can’t find time on my calendar. If I could write 24/7, I would, but YA, I have a couple of books that I’d like to finish and publish them someday.
Jeff: I’m always in for authors turning to YA, just to put their characters in front of younger readers to start to see whatever representation they’re going to present over there, because there’s so many stories to tell.
K.C.: There are. I love the idea and the fact that there are readers out there, not just adult readers who read YA, but you know, young readers. And that they form their identities and who they are based on, some of the things that they read, and it opens their minds and hearts to new worlds and different aspects of life.
K.C.: That’ll be on my I’ll be on my tombstone. “Someday.”
Jeff: I think that’s on every author’s tombstone, because we all have so many ideas that we can never write all of them.
K.C.: Isn’t that the truth? It’s just like, oh, they’re all here. And I just can’t write fast enough.
Jeff: Who are some of the authors who inspire you in the stories that you tell?
K.C.: Well, you actually mentioned when earlier and Sarina Bowen and her “World of True North” series” I had a book in her series, “Moo U,” the college hockey series. I’ve been a fan of hers for so many years. And then you recently interviewed Lauren Blakely. She’s the queen of indie authors and indie romance authors. And I love the fact that she has now taken that leap and has been writing in a male/male, gay romance. So, both of those authors, I read everything of theirs.
Jeff: Yeah, they’re both just amazing. And then they collaborated and it’s like, boom.
K.C.: I know right! When I was watching your podcast with her, with Lauren, and then I found out that she was co-writing with KD Casey. Which not to be confused with K.C. Kassidy. I was like, wow, that is amazing that this debut author and she, opens it up and wants to write with her. That is really cool. I wish I could have been so lucky.
Jeff: And you did write under “Moo U”, so is hockey one of your primary sports or do you spread your sports romance around?
K.C.: Yeah. So, I, again, I have these series lined up that I’m going to write someday that are hockey related. But most of my sports romance are a basketball. And only because I love college basketball. So of course, this time of year, March Madness, I’m diehard fan and watching all the games. But I have series in for basketball and then hockey, I have a couple of books, so the one in her line and then a couple of others just standalones and I do have a series that will be coming out, probably in 2023, that is hockey related.
K.C.: And I do have a sports romance coming out that will be in my “Blockers” series. That might be hockey, or it may not.
Jeff: But maybe.
K.C.: But maybe.
Jeff: What’s a book you’ve read recently that you would recommend to our listeners?
K.C.: Well, because I’m a big fan of Lauren and Sarina, I did just finish “The Best Men.” Oh my gosh. That was so good. And then I have to say to all of the books, I’m working my way through them, all of the books in the “Vino & Veritas,” under Sarina Bowen’s “World of True North”. They’re all wonderful authors, a wonderful collection of books, and I think I read a “Headstrong.” And oh gosh. Now I can’t even remember all of them. There’s a lot of books in that series.
Jeff: What is it 15 or 20 just in “Vino & Veritas” alone, yeah.
K.C.: Yeah. Yeah. Yes, yes. But again, that type of series is just for me as even a reader, I love it because you can pick up a book and there’s that connection with the stories, but they’re all very different, and all unique. And you get to experience that author’s writing style and I love it.
Jeff: To that end. I mean, for the series that you’ve created for folks, how far do you see “All American Boy” going?
K.C.: I think I’m done for now. I’m tired. No, but after this male/male series, we have one more that we’ll be releasing another nine group of authors in the male/female pairings. They’ll come out in May. And that one’s set in a small town ranch town in Texas.
And that will be the last one for this year. Now I might pick it up again next year with some more, but I’m giving myself a little break for the rest of the year to just focus on both my Sierra and K.C. brands.
Jeff: Sure. Organizing 18 books, even though you’re not writing 18 books, organizing 18 books is a job.
K.C.: Yes, yes. Yeah. And I’ve made mistakes along the way. So like, just this past week, for example, sometimes you just juggle too much. It’s like okay step back.
Jeff: What would you say to authors in the audience who are thinking about starting something like “All American Boy?” Like what are your top couple of tips for them as they might think about such a thing?
K.C.: Oh, well I think the first thing I did when I created the invite was ensure that the authors, some of them were relatively new and that was okay. They may have had a one or two books to their back list. But I, made sure that they had some understanding of what it took to write under a deadline. Cause it’s the deadline that drives everything. Out of all of the books that we’ve had. We’ve only had one author who hasn’t been able to commit to the, their book publishing. So, that’s really important, to make sure that the authors can commit to a deadline.
The other important aspect is they understand that the collective is only as good as the intention of the authors, right? So, it’s not just a, this is my book and I’m releasing and it’s for me. It is for everyone, right? And it’s important that we share and promote each other’s works because that’s really what’s the background in this whole series is that it’s a collective and we want to share each other’s works and make sure our readers get the benefit of knowing about the other books. So, it’s really the cross promotion really that makes a big difference. So, yeah, just the commitment level from the authors is really, really key to success of a series like this.
Jeff: And then the reader just have to go pick them all up.
Jeff: And dive in.
K.C.: Dive in, that’s right. And there are plenty of books out there now in the “All American Boy” series to choose from. And I’m again, this particular round of nine books and the male/male, small town romance I’m really excited about. And I hope that yeah, everybody gets a chance to read all of them.
Jeff: It’s a perfect season. Spring time, thinking about Maine. I can’t wait to pick them up.
So, we’ve talked a little bit about, there’s another “All American Boy” series coming in May on the m/f side, there’s more “Blockers” series coming with K.C. Kassidy. What else can you tease us about that’s coming up for K.C. and Sierra?
K.C.: Oh boy. Well, under my Sierra brand name, I have a sports series that I’ve been working on in the first book, “The Girlfriend Game” came out last September. And I’m almost finished with the next book in the series, and it’s called “The Wife Win.” And it’s basically around a fictitious NBA team, set in Seattle. They’re called the Puget Sound Pilots. That’s where I live. And so, there’s, there’s all sorts of fun, new characters on this team that will be getting their own books in the near future. So, the next one is the “Wife Fan” that comes out in the end of May.
And then with K.C. you have the “Blockers” series that I’ll just continue working on. And those are all standalone. So, I jump around a little bit with different characters, different settings. There is no crossover in any of the “Blockers” series. So, anybody can pick up any book in that series. So, I think August is when my next book, “Roadblock,” I’m planning on publishing that one. And then again, the male/male sports romance will be in the next line of the “Blockers” series.
And then I also have co-written books with my co-writing partner S.E. Rose, and we have a firefighter series, and the third book of that series will be coming out in I think, June. So, never a dull moment.
Jeff: Never a dull moment. Yeah. I don’t know how you coordinated essentially 18 books to hit over the next couple of months. That’s really impressive. And you’re still writing on the side too.
K.C.: Yeah, well, again, kudos to the amazing authors that are part of this group because they all love to write, and they’re all very excited about the series. It’s just been a fun group to get to know. I think I only know two of two or three of the authors that were invited to participate. And so, I’ve gotten to know them much better. And now I have lifelong friends, so.
Jeff: That’s tremendous. I mean, to go to almost create, essentially create your network and reaching out to get these books. That’s tremendous.
K.C.: Yeah. Yeah. Well, as an indie author, you really that’s, I think that’s the most important thing in building your career is that network of other indie authors, because without them, it’s so hard to do what we do. And so, this group has been great. We have a lot of the Facebook parties coming up and again, the cross promotion. So good group of people.
Jeff: Tell everyone how they can keep up with both of your personas online so they can find out everything they want to know about what’s coming next as you make all these new books.
K.C.: Yeah. Well, I’m telling you social media is the biggest stressor of my life. I think I have my Sierra Hill website, which is sierrahillbooks.com, and actually from there, you can find my K.C. Kassidy. I have a separate page where you can find my K.C. Kassidy. So, I try to keep that as up to date as possible with all my upcoming books and news and all the good stuff there. I also have a blog, but I don’t really keep up on that too well.
Let’s see, on Amazon, you can follow me under Sierra Hill or K.C. Kassidy and then I have Facebook pages for both Sierra and K.C. Instagrams for both. We have an Instagram for the “All American Boy” series and a Facebook page. My goodness. Oh, and TikTok. Oh, don’t even get me started on TikTok.
Jeff: We will link to all of those things so that everybody can keep track of you however they want to across all those channels. Thank you so much for being here. It’s been great to find out about “All American Boy” and what’s coming up with the “Blockers” series.
K.C.: Thank you, it’s been so great talking to you, Jeff, and just the work that you and Will do. It’s really important to me, but also, to authors and readers alike. So, keep up the good work there. I love what you guys do.
Will: This episode’s transcript has been brought to you by our community on Patreon. If you’d like to read the conversation for yourself, simply head on over to the show notes page for this episode at biggayfictionpodcast.com. Don’t forget the show notes page also has links to everything that we’ve talked about in this episode.
Jeff: Thanks so much to K.C. for coming to talk to us. Not only do I desperately want to read “Pretty Boy,” and to be honest, all of the “All American Boy” books as well. But I can’t wait for her hockey romance. You could tell when she mentioned it that I’m like, yes, give me that right now, please. So hopefully that will be coming soon.
Will: All right. I think that’ll do it for now. Make sure not to miss our next episode coming up on Thursday. We’re going to be talking more about “All American Boy,” including a full preview of all nine books.
Jeff: And part of that preview is going to include three, mini author interviews as we talked to Elle Keaton, Shane K. Morton and Miski Harris to talk about their books in the series.
Will: On behalf of Jeff and myself we want to thank you so much for listening, and we hope that you’ll join us again soon for more discussions about the kind of stories that we all love, the big gay fiction kind. Until then keep turning those pages and keep reading.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find more shows you’ll love at frolic.media/podcasts. Production assistance by Tyson Greenan. Original theme music by Daryl Banner.