Tia Fielding on *Technically Dead* and how shifters belong in Finland

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When Brandon Roland’s parents kicked him out for being gay, he turned to prostitution to get by—something that almost cost him his life when he was attacked by strangers. Bran was saved by a vampire named Heath, and during their year together, Bran’s life was good—but then Heath sent him packing for reasons unknown.

That was twelve years ago, and Bran’s come a long way since then. He has an education, a job as a social worker at a vampire/human youth shelter, friends, and a tattoo he adds to annually to commemorate another year without the love of his life.

The trouble with being a very old vampire is that the older you are, the less you feel. Heath is over nine hundred—he was sure he’d never experience emotion again, but he never counted on Bran. When Heath accidentally stumbles back into Bran’s life, it changes more than either man thought possible—and then history literally catches up with them and turns their lives inside out.

Tia Fielding is a Finnish M/M-author, published by Dreamspinner Press. She hails from a middle-of-nowhere town surrounded by nature and dislikes cities with vigor. Because of this, she’s writing a shifter-series with the forests of eastern Finland as the backdrop. While she hasn’t picked one sub-genre within the genre, it will always be vampires that have her heart. When she’s not writing, Tia likes to read, watch her shows (but no soaps, please!) and she’s always ready to try out a new computer game.

Website and blog: http://www.tiafielding.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tiafielding
Twitter: @tiafielding

The Interview
Q: How important are character names, to you, and how do you go about naming them? What about titles?
A: Character names are important, I tend to name characters after people or based on meanings. Sometimes I pick a name at random, oftentimes the characters pop up in my head with “Hi I’m X.” It sounds crazy, but a lot of characters do that for a lot of writers. Story titles are different. Sometimes there’s a name that just pops up while I write, other times I ask the editors if they have ideas. For example “Technically Dead” was purely my title, while Tiglon By The Tail was a collaboration between myself and the editing team.

Q: In what locale is your most recent book set? How compelling was it to set a story there? Do you choose location the same way every time? How?
A: I’ve been writing my shifter series lately, so the locale is dear to my heart in so many ways. The series takes place in eastern Finland, which is basically where I live myself. I know the place, I have special insight to it, and it was clear that if I ever wrote shifters I’d want to have them live here. Now, writing book 3, it’s pretty much obvious readers are enjoying the setting as much as I do.

Locations just click. Occasionally I write about places I want to know more about and research to satisfy my curiosity, but mostly I grab hold of settings I see online or have been to. That said, I’ve never been to the US, so I do have to research a lot!

Q: How much power do you give your characters in steering the story line?
A: Pretty much all the power is theirs. It won’t work if I try to pressure or steer them. They keep surprising me quite often. For example, recently I was writing something and suddenly one of the main characters blurted out he had a son. I hadn’t known about that and it totally added a new element to the plot! Sometimes I have to say things like “You’re so not having sex yet!” or stomp my foot when they try to cut corners, but yeah, I have to admit 95% of the story comes from the characters.

Q: What is the most satisfying element for you in writing gay relationships, and why?
A: Probably the fact that I’m GLBTQ myself and since I don’t care about writing M/F or F/F, it still gives me a way to write something that’s close to my heart, stuff I’ve at least partially lived through at some point or have seen friends go through around me. It also gives me a way to set things straight with the universe if I think something that was “done wrong” to me just because who I am can be used in a good way in a story. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else, but it does to me! ^^

Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction—do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read?
A:Sometimes. I love reader feedback so much that I try to listen to it. If it’s constructive in any way, I try and remember what they said and while I don’t write to meet people’s expectations, I do think it’s always important to listen.

Q: Describe the ideal relationship between author and readers.
A: As an author I’d love to get more emails from people who enjoy my stories. They give me a boost to write much more than the random positive review does. I would also like to add that readers should always rate the books they like either on Amazon or Goodreads (or wherever they bought the book) just because it adds to visibility. Oh and readers actually buying (and not pirating) the books makes us authors happy.

Q: What do you find useful about reviews?
A: Constructive criticism. If the critique is made in a way that doesn’t seem mean or petty or just outright bullying, then it’s useful.

Q: I’m well known for demanding to know an author’s opinion about which of their characters is the sexiest, and I’m making no exception for this group. Who, how, and why?
A: Oh no… this is a bad, bad question…. I’d have to say Heath first, my vampire in Technically Dead. He’s hot because I know him so well in my head. I also think Thom in By Any Other Name is a total sweetheart and sexy as hell. But I tend to find all my characters hot one way or another so this is a tricky question!

Q: What are the fifty hottest words (approximate the word count) you’ve ever written, in your opinion. (Be sure to include citation).
A: This is the beginning of my favorite scene (which is later mirrored in the book as well, so it has a lot of meaning) from Technically Dead. It starts from page 33 in the book. As such, this isn’t much as I tried to keep it short, but what happens after this bit… 😉

An hour later, Bran was pleasantly buzzed, very turned on, and he had a twink rubbing his ass against Bran’s crotch on the dance floor. So maybe Bran was a bit older at thirty-two, but this guy didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, if there hadn’t been layers of leather and denim between them, Bran would have been inside the kid by now.

Q: What are you doing now, what do plan to write next?
A: I’m struggling through the third Finnshifters book at the moment. It’s been something I’ve worked on for a while now and my depression likes to mess with my creativity. The next hurdle will be NaNoWriMo, and I’m going to write outside my element (although still M/M) and that should be fun! We’ll see if anything publishable comes out of it this year, but at least I’ve tried. 🙂

An Excerpt from Technically Dead

An hour later, Bran was pleasantly buzzed, very turned on, and he had a twink rubbing his ass against Bran’s crotch on the dance floor. So maybe Bran was a bit older at thirty-two, but this guy didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, if there hadn’t been layers of leather and denim between them, Bran would have been inside the kid by now.

“Shit,” he hissed, feeling the leisurely roll of the firm bubble butt against his cock.

The kid tossed him a cheeky look over his shoulder, then stepped away and headed for the back rooms. Okay, then…. He didn’t bother adjusting himself—the leather was tight enough not to be comfortable before he actually got rid of the boner, and he had no intention of letting it wait for much longer.

Bran followed the twink into the back room and saw him leaning on a wall near the back. It was a spot surrounded by mixed couples, vampires and humans. Well, if the twink got his rocks off by seeing some bloodsucking happen, who was Bran to deny him?

In less than thirty seconds, he found his back pressed against the wall, his leather pants opened, and his cock being sucked very enthusiastically by the kid. A male vampire sucking a guy’s neck only an arm’s length away from Bran finished his feeding just as the human came almost violently all over the vampire’s fingers.
Bran knew why the guy looked so dazed. He knew so well…. The rush you got from the bite was what led people into trouble. It had led Bran to trouble and heartache.
The boy moaned around his cock and made Bran’s thoughts snap back to the action happening below his waist.

The vampire and the human turned to look at them, smiling just a little. The human looked like he was having the time of his life, while the vampire licked his lips, the tips of his fangs still showing. There was a bulge in the vampire’s jeans, and for a moment Bran thought he was going to approach him. Instead, the vampire stepped closer and took a whiff of his scent, and the invisible barrier formed between them.

Bran sighed, turned his gaze away, and tried to concentrate on the warm mouth instead of wishing that the cool fingers and cock were at his disposal. Fucking hell….

“I wish I could,” the vampire suddenly whispered into his ear, his cool breath, although warmed by the blood he had just been drinking, sending sudden chills through Bran’s system. Maybe he wasn’t that good at hiding his true emotions, like the fucking omnipresent pain he felt that he couldn’t have a vampire when he craved one’s touch more than air. Bran looked at the vampire, trying to keep the pleading from his gaze; he wasn’t going to beg. Not again. He’d never sink that low again….
With a pointed look, the vampire blew cool air against Bran’s neck, and suddenly Bran came so hard only the vampire’s cold palm pressing him to the wall held him upright.

“Wow….” The man at Bran’s feet blinked up at him. “Damn, I’m good.”

Bran opened his eyes, noticed that the vampire and his human were gone, and forced a smile at the twink. “Sure, thanks…. Eh, did you…?” He was a gentleman, after all.
“Oh, yeah, man, you’re hot when you come.” The boy grinned, digging a tissue from his pocket and then wiping his hands clean.

Bran thanked him again as he did his fly up, and then headed back to the club. He didn’t have heart to tell the boy that despite his skills in cocksucking, the best orgasm Bran had had in years wasn’t due to him but the vampire whose whisper reminded him of another cool breath on his neck.

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