Friday, February 7, 2014

Meet Rhavensfyre, author of Switching Gears

Good morning everyone and welcome.  Today I am featuring Rhavensfyre
author of Switching Gears.  In case you don't know, Rhavensfyre is a pen name and is a team, KL and Roxy.  They have been partners for over 13 years and have been married a year.  Switching Gears is their debut novel and one that you don't want to miss.   In fact it has been nominated for this year's Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) awards.

“It is an unfortunate truth that people are destined to repeat the same patterns in their life over and over again, unless something happens to wake you up, makes you open your eyes to new possibilities. It is also true that it is easier to see these patterns in others, while remaining blind to your own.”  Micah Connolly.

What is Switching Gears about?
Switching Gears is about two women who almost made a connection a year ago, but circumstances and personal decisions made them miss their chance. Olivia Holden found she regretted her decision to keep Micah Connolly at a distance due to self imposed rules, so when a second chance to bring her back into her life happens she jumps on it in a heartbeat. The problem is, Micah is no longer the same woman she was a year ago. What happened to Micah after she left is something that has to be learned and revealed to Olivia over time and through a great deal of patience. Micah has a lot of demons to deal with, and she isn’t ready to reveal things to the one woman who could unravel her carefully crafted armor. We like to think that there is one person in the world that you know is your one, but that perfect love comes with the risk of losing it all. You can’t hide parts of yourself from them, and you have to learn to trust and take that leap of faith with them. 
Micah learned the hard way that when bad things happen to you, you can let it destroy you or you can decide to step back and take a really good look at yourself and find that you aren’t living the life you want and you aren’t being the person you want to be. Micah remakes herself, and in her own way, she is happy with who she had become. Now, it is up to Olivia to decide if she can be the woman that Micah needs as well. This story isn’t your simple lesbian romance, the characters tell it like it is, bringing with them all their fractured pasts. It is about two women who love each other and have to find their common ground to make it work, discovering aspects about themselves they didn’t know along the way.
 Switching Gears is a story about discovery, acceptance and yes, a bit of healing as they explore the sexual aspects of their relationship. It is also a story about balance, where two dominant women have to learn how to give and take a bit, carving out a relationship that works for them. We wanted the characters to be surprised at what they learn about themselves along the way.

What traits were you looking for when you were creating the main characters in your story?
We wanted to write a darker, edgier character, especially with Micah. We didn’t want a contrived “issue” that seemed too easy.  We wanted something that was completely visceral, a past that would be difficult to talk about in real life, let alone get over. When Micah left the first time, she was the woman everyone else wanted her to be, soft, compliant and always letting others make her decisions for her. Despite her outward appearances, being that person took a heavy toll on her psyche. It is true, some of Micah’s traits may be a bit disturbing to some readers, but we wanted a real three dimensional honest to life person.  We didn’t want to write a character who enjoyed being in power, who embraced her dominant personality and  then make that all she was,  a one dimensional caricature of a real person. Micah feels deeply, she has an artists soul, and she wears her leathers to keep those aspects of herself that can still be hurt safe from what she has learned can be a very cruel world. Olivia is her weakness. But, where Olivia’s power comes from her position and place in society, she finds that she has to learn to follow and not lead when it comes to this new Micah. Most people you know carry a bit of baggage around with them, things in the past that have scarred their souls and marked them in some way. It is not so easy to be open and honest about the dark things hiding in your past, they leave you open and vulnerable. We wanted our characters to have to work through those fears and find the strength to take that risk.  

            Did you do any types of writing while you were in school.  If so did you receive any awards or recognition for your work?
Roxy: Oh, Wow. School for me is so far from the now. For a long time I focused on my artwork, painting and drawing and such. I did write in college and one of my short stories made it into an anthology, as well as a poem or two, but I never pursued writing in earnest until I met my wife, KL.

Was there anyone, in your life who was an inspiration for you to write.   If so what did they do?
KL: Roxy inspired me to write. I started jotting down ideas for a book on a notepad and probably wrote about 50 pages before I showed it to her. That story became Switching Gears. Please understand, this book is very personal to me, and it took a lot to write it. When I first showed it to Roxy, she looked at me and asked me, are you absolutely sure you want to put this out there. She never doubted the story, she was more worried that I was putting bits and pieces of myself out there for the world to see and perhaps judge.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?  Can you elaborate on what has worked for you.
Collaborating with another person is a unique experience. When that other person is your spouse, it can be quite interesting. Sometimes it is scary, realizing how deep inside their head they are. Nuances that each other wanted just seemed to flow easily between the two of us, and it made the book all that much easier to write. Don’t get us wrong, there are always creative differences and arguments along the way, but other than saying it works for us, we would like to keep just a  little bit of mystique in the process we use.

Before you go on, come view KL and Roxy's interviews on the Liz McMullen show:

Lizzie's Bedtime Stories is short erotic story.  It is based on the characters from Switching Gears.  

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Both of us, KL and Roxy are very active. We love to bike on the local trails and find places that feel a little less trod on than most. We take a lot of photographs, and Roxy still sketches and does some artwork when she needs a break from writing. The cover of Switching Gears was actually photographed and done by us.

We also enjoy our horses and other furbabies. We have a small farm on the east coast where we stay as often as possible. If you notice, we will include a lot of things we love in our books…the horses, art, biking, just being out of door, period. Oh, and tattoo’s. Tattoo’s are a hobby, both drawing and getting them.

What was your fave movie of 2013 and why?
Star Trek Into Darkness. Yes, I am a trekky fan…I will admit it. But I think KL liked it because it had Benedict Cumberbatch in it, who is the most delightfully creepy and interesting looking actor we have right now. Plus, she is a huge BBC fan.  I personally laughed my butt off when they switched out Kirk for Spock when he yelled that famous line...KHHAAAAAANN! It was divine.

           What has been your favorite part of being an author?  The least fave?
Hmmm. Interesting question. I have to say that the transition from art to words has been amazing. I find that the process in my head is not that much different, but getting it across to the reader is completely different. KL is quiet. She is not a big talker, but she sure can find her dialogue when it is on paper. She gets to be involved, and she has a lot to say through her characters. We always say that the relationship between authors and readers is symbiotic, when a reader tells us that she or he cried, laughed, or just plain wanted to knock the block off of a particular character that means we did our job. We love interacting with our readers, and since we are writing within such a small genre, you tend to meet the same people. We consider our readers a part of the same journey, although it constantly surprises me what each person carries away from a story. Everyone filters it through their own eyes, and it is new every time.

Least favourite thing? Well, I would have to be obvious and say biting nails over reviews…will they be good, bad…will the reader love it, hate or just plain not get it. Learning to accept that some readers will find a certain resonance within your work means that you also have to learn to accept the fact that some readers will be the total opposite.  Switching Gears was a tough one as a debut novel, it covers a lot of hardcore issues, including an abusive father and self-harm. That can be difficult to deal with for some readers.

Where would you go for your dream vacation?  Would you ever use that location as the main location in a future story?
Dream vacation? That’s a toughie. I (Roxy) have had the chance to see quite a bit of the world while I was in the Navy, but KL hasn’t. When I asked her this question, she immediately jumped on New Zealand. I mean, who wouldn’t want to visit Middle Earth-slash-Xena land? Right? Plus, it is absolutely gorgeous. I would have to agree with her, but visiting Britain and seeing Stonehenge is high on my list, and yes, I would definitely find something to write about if we were able to go there!
If one of your books was made into a movie, who would you like to cast for the main and supporting roles of your characters?
Another toughie, we have several books in the works, but Switching Gears is the only one out there. Someone told us she saw Jodie Foster as Olivia…I could see that working. Tough lady, that one. Now, Micah? She’s a harder one…I would have to say we would need to go with an unknown. Unless anyone out there has a specific hot butch in mind?

What is in the works next for you?  If you can’t share, I totally understand and respect this.
We are almost finished with our next book. It is a modern fantasy and I think we have stumbled on a unique twist. It is, of course…still a love story…but who doesn’t love a bit of Fae magic tossed in the mix? I can’t give any more up as yet, but from the reactions of our Beta Readers, it is a compelling story that keeps them impatiently waiting for the next chapter. It should be out this spring.

Before we go onto the excerpt for Switching Gears take a moment to check out Rhavensfyre's awesome review:

Switching Gears Excerpt:

        Stretching her legs out before her, Micah slouched insolently against the soft black leather. Intent on out waiting the other woman, she said nothing. The tension between them thickened into something almost palpable, practically crackling like ball lightening within the shaded confines of the town car.

           “Where are your sunglasses?” Olivia asked suddenly, unwilling to broach the real subject yet. She filled the silence with the first thing she could think of, and Micah's signature shades were conspicuously missing.

             “They went missing when I hit the pavement the other day,” Micah answered, her eyebrows drawing down in a confused frown. “I didn’t realize they were gone until I got home. They were probably scratched or broken, anyways,” she added, shrugging her shoulders at the loss.
              The conversation faltered then and the enclosed interior of the car left no room for uncomfortable silence.
             “Look Olivia, is that what you came down here to ask me? If it is, I’m leaving, I have work to do.” Shifting in her seat, Micah grabbed the door handle, making her intentions known. If Olivia didn’t have something important to say, she had no reason to stay.
            “Micah, please, sit back down,” Olivia said, patting the leather seat next to her. The “please” did it for Micah. She settled back down next to Olivia, curiosity marking her gaze as she waited for her to continue. Micah’s short hair was casually tousled, its shaggy cut falling forward into her eyes. The wavy black locks were a weak substitution for the solid black shield of her Ray-Ban’s mirrored reflection.
            Olivia looked over at Micah, taking in the casual slouch that was unable to hide the sleek muscularity of the younger woman. Micah hadn’t abandoned her baggy cargo shorts. They were a frustrating barrier to Olivia’s longing to see more than a perfectly formed set of calves emerging from the shadows of the heavy cotton cloth. But her t-shirt, form fitting and snug against her biceps, accentuated her upper body perfectly. A pair of trim leather bracers graced each sinewy wrist. The overall picture was very appealing to Olivia, so much so that she was finding it hard to think clearly around this new Micah—androgynous, slightly dangerous looking, and so sure of herself. Olivia made the mistake of taking in a deep breath to calm herself and give her time to think about what she wanted to say. In the close confines of the car, Micah's scent, clean and earthy, practically overwhelmed Olivia and threatened her composure.
“I didn't mean for you not to come back, I just wanted you to take a day to rest.” Olivia spoke quietly, her hands betraying her nervousness. She could barely look at the woman across from her, and that was so unlike her. She forced her fingers to relax as she willed herself to look up. Micah’s hazel eyes looked at her levelly, waiting patiently, assessing her words.
 “You were supposed to rest and come back in today, or at least let me know if you couldn’t.”
“You told me to leave, I left. You never said to come back,” Micah explained, a self-deprecating smile ghosting across her lips.
“Well then, come back,” Olivia stated, as if it was as simple as that. Watching the younger woman debate with herself, those hazel eyes shifting to almost golden brown in the dim lighting of the town car, Olivia felt a small twinge of nervousness. Remembering what Jonathan had told her, she worked diligently to temper her normally impatient nature.
 “Please come back,” she practically pleaded. On unsure ground, Olivia found herself in an uncharacteristic position, one where she wasn’t the power player. It was unfamiliar territory, and her request shocked her as much as it shocked Micah.
“I don’t know what you want from me, Olivia!” she growled, her confusion darkening her tone and making the words come out rough and angry.
It was Olivia's turn to be confused and angry. She had pleaded with the younger women, opening her heart and letting it rule her behavior.
“What do I want?” she asked incredulously, her voice raising an octave in response to Micah's tone. “What I want,” she continued, her voice firm, no longer a question but a statement. “What I want is…”
Trailing off, she let her actions speak for her.


Leaning forward, she wrapped her hands around Micah's neck, drawing her in for a passionate kiss. Anger and desire wrapped up together in one confused mess within the heated exchange. Micah stiffened at the sudden onslaught of emotions, the unexpected physical contact, and the sheer intensity of Olivia's kiss. The feeling of those soft lips on her own chased her anger away, and left her wanting more. Leaning Olivia back into the soft leather, she removed the other woman's hands from her neck, holding them down for a moment before lacing her fingers in pale blonde hair. In control now, Micah deepened the kiss. She opened her mouth slightly, allowing her tongue to run along Olivia's bottom lip, coaxing her to open her mouth to her, to let her in. Seeking entrance to the sweet interior of the other woman’s mouth, she teased and enticed Olivia's tongue to dance alongside hers. A moan travelled up and through the two women. Unsure of who originated the sound of want and desire, it ignited Micah's arousal.
Breathing heavily, she broke away from Olivia, retreating to the farthest corner of the back seat. It was almost humorous, making out in the back of a car like a teenager. Micah gathered her wits and pushed down her body’s demand to continue what they had started. Ignoring the sensation of an electrical storm rumbling deep in the pit of her stomach, she watched as Olivia worked just as hard to compose herself.
“What just happened?” Olivia’s voice was a pale reflection of itself, breathless and full of wonder.
“You tell me, Olivia, you kissed me,” Micah retorted from the relative safety of her corner. Her heart was pounding almost painfully inside her chest. She had envisioned kissing Olivia many times in the past year, but she had never expected Olivia to be the one kissing her first.
“Does it matter? No, don’t answer that,” Olivia corrected herself, making a cutting motion with her hand.
“So, where do we go from here?” Micah asked.
“I still want you to come back, will you please come back?”
“I will, but if you tell me to leave again, it will be forever. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, Olivia, but it’s how it has to be.” Micah relented. The “please” hadn’t hurt, but the intensity of that kiss had sealed the deal. She would take the risk, but not without a safety net in place.
            The air shifted in the cab, followed by a solid thunk of the front driver’s door closing as Robert joined them. The two women looked at each other, the conversation over for now, but not finished.

I want to thank Rhavensfyre for stopping by to chat.   Their book, Switching gears is now available and one that I highly recommend.   Before you leave, take a few moments to check out their links and don't forget to follow them on Twitter and Facebook:

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