Today is release day for Flirting with Disaster, the third installment in my Camelot series. Yay!
I feel as though all discussions of Flirting should begin with the phrase “And now for something a little different…” RT Book Reviews agrees: RT made Flirting with Disaster a “Top Pick” for the month of June, and reviewer Morgan Doremus leads her assessment (4.5 stars out of a possible 4.5!) with the declaration, “You have never met a romance hero quite like Sean Owens.”
Indeed, you have not.
Flirting with Disaster is the book I fondly refer to on Twitter as the “stuttering hacker” story. Our hero, Sean, is a reformed computer hacker who speaks with a stutter.
Well, okay, he kind of speaks with a stutter, and he kind of doesn’t. It all depends on who he’s talking to and where we are in the story. In fact, at first, he won’t talk to the book’s heroine, Katie, at all. She is convinced he hates her. Not so, Katie!
Sean is also only kind of reformed of his old college hacking habits. He still occasionally winks at the dark side when it suits him. Hackers tend to be curious people, and Sean is curious about everything. You can’t just turn that off, ladies.
So. By way of offering you a guide to what to expect from Flirting with Disaster, I asked my Twitter followers to lob random questions about the book at me. Here are seven of them, with answers and everything.
Why not stuttering? It turns out that I have something of a fondness for fictional stutterers. There’s K-k-k-k-ken from A Fish Called Wanda, Stuttering Bill from Stephen King’s It, and let’s not forget the glorious Colin Firth in The King’s Speech—a movie that I wouldn’t allow myself to see until this book was completely done and dusted, lest I accidentally end up writing what was essentially Colin Firth / Geoffrey Rush / Helena Bonham-Carter / Guy Pearce fanfic. (Which, is that a thing yet? And if not, why not?)
Seriously, though, one of the first things I knew about this hero was that he wouldn’t speak to the heroine. Why? He had a terrible stutter in high school that rendered him effectively mute, and he’s terrified that speaking to her will bring it all back. Which it does. But it’s worth it. You’ll see.
Did you actually do research on people who stutter?
You bet. I read several books on stuttering and stutterers. Fascinating stuff.
There is a sense in which fiction necessarily flattens any kind of experience of difference and imposes artificially neat arcs of recovery and transformation, and my own work is no exception. But I nonetheless tried my best to do a realistic and respectful job of writing Sean’s character and representing the mentality of a man who struggles with a stutter.
How did you pick the characters’ names?
Oh, fun question. I can’t remember naming Katie—she’s been named that for a very long time. Sean was named something else in an early draft of Along Came Trouble, but I kept having these mental visions of young Sean Bean when I was developing the character, and in the end, this hero pretty much insisted on being called “Sean.” Which is funny, because Sean Bean isn’t really my type, and I have never liked the name Sean very much. Only now I do, of course.
And there’s a third party in this story—Judah Pratt, the man Katie thinks she’s driving to Louisville to sleep with. (This prospect makes Sean contemplate cutting off his own balls.) Judah was the most fun to name. I wanted it to be clear from the get-go that he wasn’t the hero of the story, so I originally named him “Judas,” figuring one really can’t get more obvious than that. But maybe one can? Because then I gave him the last name “Pratt.” (A “prat” is not a nice thing to be in UK English.)
Then I decided that was a little too obvious and I renamed him “Judah” after a friend’s spectacularly awful former boyfriend.
Katie would be the “upside down tree” on the lawn of the Episcopalian Church in Camelot. In fact, an earlier draft of the story ended at this tree. It’s a weeping beech whose canopy forms an almost solid enclosure of green, rustling leaves in the summer. Katie used to love to sit in the tree branches with a popsicle and read books when she was a girl. Or was that me? Now I can’t remember. Either way—world’s best tree.
What does Judah’s voice sound like?
Judah is described in the book as a “singer-songwriter” who’s past his prime but still very much in the public eye. Is it awful if I reveal that my starting point for Judah was John Mayer? Probably. I am a terrible person. At any rate, I imagine Judah’s voice sounds a lot like Mayer’s, but a bit lower. Also, he’s a better guitarist.
Who would win in a game of Words with Friends: Katie or Sean?
Sean. No contest. But probably they would never get to the end, because Katie would get bored and wander off, or if they were playing in different rooms of the same house she would just play sex words until Sean gave in to her blatantly obvious seduction attempt and rewarded her with a good rogering.
Also, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say “rogering” on the Internet. Note to self—inquire with Marketing re: suitability of rogering references.
Read more about Flirting with Disaster on Ruthie’s website
Also a Giveaway! – Winner announced below – Congrats KimH & thanks all for stopping by!
I’m giving away one autographed paperback copy of Flirting to a randomly selected commenter. To enter, tell me about one of the following things:
(a) a stutterer you have or once had a crush on, real or fictional;
(b) the worst character name you ever grew to love despite yourself;
or (c) your favorite pseudonym for sexy shenanigans. (My vote goes to “rogering,” obviously.)
Comments will remain open to entries until 12 midnight on Wednesday, June 12, and I’ll announce the winner in the comments here on June 13, as well as contacting that person by email.
About the author:
USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. After training to be a British historian, she became an academic editor instead. Then she got really deeply into knitting, as one does, followed by motherhood and romance novel writing.
Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-set romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award. Her four-book series about the Clark family of Camelot, Ohio, has won accolades for its fresh, funny portrayal of small-town Midwestern life.
Ruthie moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia. She’d love to hear from you, so visit her website at www.ruthieknox.com and drop her a line | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads