Today, I have author K.L. Hiers in the interview chair. We’re discussing her latest release Acsquidentally in Love, a m/m paranormal romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
1. Hi, K.L. First off, readers have an idea of the writer you, but what about the everyday you? Can you share about your personal life?
K.L.: The everyday me is busy, busy, busy! I drive about forty-five minutes to work, bust my butt all day for eight to ten hours, and then drive back home to be promptly tackled by my three wonderful children. We play and hang out while my husband cooks dinner, and I try to get some chores done around the house. Once everyone has eaten, it’s times for baths and then maybe a few wrestling matches to get teeth brushed before bedtime. I try to finish cleaning up the dinner mess and soon enough, it’s time for me to go to bed so I can get up for work the next day. And by go to bed, I actually mean stay awake writing and editing and doing just about anything except sleeping. Alarm goes off before I know it, and it’s time to do it all over again!
2. I’ve been perusing your Goodreads page and see you are drawn to m/m romance. Why this genre?
K.L.: When I was a kid, I didn’t have any understanding of what being queer meant. I knew that boys always married girls and anything else was a one-way ticket to hell, and that what I was feeling was wrong. All the stories I wrote in my youth were fantasies with the brave hero marrying the princess at the end, that kind of thing. It didn’t matter that I secretly thought the princess marrying her handmaiden or the brave hero running away with the dragon would make a better ending. I felt very alone, and I had no one to talk to about what I was going through.
It wasn’t until I found slash fiction in the 90’s that it all finally began to click – it was okay to be attracted to the same sex, the opposite sex, even both at the same time, and it was okay to feel like you were in the wrong body, too. I freakin’ loved being able to finally write characters that I could really connect with on a personal level, and it was the first outlet I had for expressing who I felt like on the inside. That fantasy princess could finally have her handmaiden, the brave hero could marry his dragon, and all of that was okay. It wasn’t wrong – it was just different, and different was wonderful.
When I first tried to get published, however, I only tried to query traditional romance publishers. Looking back now, I think there was a part of me that was still scared of writing something “gay”, and I fell back on writing M/F couples to make my dreams of being a writer come true. I was rejected many times, and went right back to writing M/M slash and original M/M stories for comfort. When I did finally try to get published again with my M/M work and then actually succeeded, it felt like everything had come full circle. Being my authentic queer self is what I should have been doing all along, and heck, there’s no going back now.
3. You have started a new series. Acsquidentally In Love is the first book. Can you tell me what inspired you to create this series, and provide a series blurb for us?
K.L.: All of things, it started as a smutty birthday for a very good friend of mine. She wanted something naughty with tentacles, and I was happy to write something up for her. I was also really excited to try something new. I think it was only a few thousand words, but I was absolutely hooked. I wanted to write more tentacle stories and write a lot of them. I was stumped as to what I would write, though. A lot of authors use aliens or sea creatures in order to create a scenario where people can get it on with tentacles, but I wanted to do something different.
Drawing on my childhood love for fantasy and magic, I decided to give my new world a godly twist and came up with my own pantheon of tentacle deities. There is a film called Cast A Deadly Spell based on H.P. Lovecraft’s works, and it’s a lovely little detective noir film – but with magic. It was a very big inspiration for the society that I wanted to create, where magic was actually quite common, but the ancient gods who had given it to mankind had all but been forgotten. That sets the stage for the start of the series where Sloane Beaumont, our hero, comes face to face with one of these gods that he didn’t even think were real.
Unofficially, I would say the blurb is going to invite readers in to explore this new world full of magic and monsters and lots of tentacles. Not every book features a tentacled lover, but most of the couples are quite unique – whether it’s godly possession or horns or hemipenes, there’s some interesting anatomy going on for these characters because they’re not all human. The overarching plot is Sloane and his friends trying to save the world from cultists obsessed with waking the slumbering god, Salgumel, who is said to have gone mad in his dreaming and will destroy everything if he is disturbed. As always, I promise that there will be a happy ending for everyone, but it’s gonna be one hell of ride getting there!
4. Can you share your writing process through Acsquidentally In Love?
K.L.: With most of my books, I usually have the ending in mind first. No spoilers, ha, but the final battle scene in Acsquidentally was stuck in my head for weeks. I actually listened to Disturbed’s “Sound of Silence” on repeat every day driving to and from work because I was just obsessed with it. I wrote that entire scene with that song in mind, like as my own mental soundtrack. Whenever I was having a block or feeling uninspired, I would just turn on that song and remember what I was working toward.
5. The novel touches on tentacles. Can you explain this to readers who are not familiar with tentacles in romance?
K.L.: It involves a person being intimate with a creature that has, ahem, tentacles. There are so many different incarnations for this genre, and the creature or humanoid whatever who actually has the tentacles can vary greatly. As I mentioned before, some authors use aliens or sea creatures to supply the tentacle shenanigans, sometimes they’re caused by spontaneous mutations, or it could be something else entirely. There’s so much room for creativity out there, and it’s so much fun to read and write.
The function and ability of tentacles also vary a lot depending on the author’s preferences. Generally speaking, tentacles are prehensile and can grab limbs, and they can be used for some good ol’ fashioned tentacle bondage. Having the receiving lover get all wrapped up with tentacles is pretty much guaranteed and part of the appeal for a lot of people. Most tentacles also have the ability to, ahem, penetrate, and can be used for double and triple penetration and so on up, testing the physical limits of the lucky person receiving. Some tentacles have ‘mouths’ and can also perform oral shenanigans such as sucking on certain bits and many can also ejaculate, so basically we are talking about all the fun of a full-out orgy with only one character.
The obvious appeal is highly sexual because you’re able to give a very intense physical experience that a normal human being wouldn’t be able to. There are so many possibilities, and as a writer you can just let your imagination run wild. In my book, for example, Azaethoth is able to use his tentacles in the human body he’s possessing. Of his many tentacles, only three are actually used for sex. The others are just the grabby kind, but then he has those particular three that are very special. Two of them can both give and receive pleasure, such as a blowjob or penetrative sex, and the third is made for giving pleasure only… and it’s a real monster.
I know it’s weird, and that’s part of what makes it so much fun! It’s different and naughty and I really hope people give it a chance. Who knows – if someone wasn’t into tentacles before reading this book, maybe they will be after they meet Azaethoth and all of his monstrous tentacles!
6. Let’s talk about the main characters for Acsquidentally In Love. Why do you think readers will find Sloane interesting to read about?
K.L.: Sloane is such a brave and bright soul, and I hope people will find him relatable. I know it’s a world of magic and monsters, but Sloane has some very normal problems. He’s lonely, frustrated, and struggling with his personal religious beliefs. Most of us have felt lost and hopeless before – for whatever reasons – and I didn’t want to write this perfect person who has all of their shit together. Sloane is doing his best to get by, and he’s very stubborn. He still has these moments of emotional weakness, but he has this fire inside of him that keeps him going – not from his friends, not from his family, and not from any comfort in gods he doesn’t believe in. He’s had to fight so hard on his own not to let everything get him down and even when he’s faced with an actual living god, he’s not taking anyyy of his crap.
7. The same for Azaethoth the Lesser. Why do you think readers will find him interesting to read about?
K.L.: I really hope that readers will love him as much as I loved writing him. He’s a god who’s been sleeping for thousands of years and wakes up to find the world that once loved him and his family is all gone. The gods have been reduced to dorky ol’ party decorations, cheesy souvenirs, and anyone who still worships them is considered pretty eccentric. It puts him in a very vulnerable place, but it doesn’t stop from being a total brat. He’s spoiled, irreverent, and he’s so determined to bend this new environment to his will. He fails, most of the time, and usually it’s because Sloane is not immediately tripping over himself to worship him. Azaethoth finds his disrespect both infuriating and equally alluring. Like, here is this mortal who is gonna mouth off and disobey him, and Azaethoth can’t help but be impressed with it.
8. Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favourite scene to write for Acsquidentally In Love and why?
K.L.: The final battle. I mentioned it earlier, but ah, it was my favorite scene. I always get very excited for the endings because I usually have them planned out so far in advance, and this one was very special to me. I can see it playing in my head like this fantastic movie, and I did everything I could to transfer my vision on paper. I really hope readers enjoy it.
9. What makes your new series different from other m/m paranormal romances?
K.L.: Tentacle gods! I think I’ve written something very unique, something very original, and created a brand spankin’ new magical world for people to explore. Beyond even the tentacle gods, there are so many other monstrous and exciting characters for readers to meet and lots of crazy love stories to be told. I already have ideas for another series set in this same world once this one is complete, but it would focus on an entirely different set of characters. It would actually move back from the gods and take a look at some of the other monstrous creatures that are introduced throughout the series. Spoiler – Fish Boy is real!
10. If a reader asked you why they should read Acsquidentally In Love, what would you tell them?
K.L.: I would say that it’s like nothing else you’ve read before. It has tentacles and gods and magic and it’s such a crazy adventure that I cooked up. I spent weeks planning out this universe and building the religion, and I think it feels very real and will hopefully just suck readers right in. I love the main characters so very much, and their relationship is fun, sexy, and it’s full of so much passion.
11. You can only recommend one of your novels to a reader, which would you choose from the books you’ve written so far, and why?
K.L.: I’m going to say this one. I love all of my books, but this book – this entire series – is like my child. I’ve invested so much time and planning and emotion into this world, and it’s all so very special to me. Especially as a callback to all of the fantasy worlds I treasured so much as a child, it’s personal for me. It may not be the high sort of fantasy I always dreamed of writing all those years ago, but it’s as close as I will likely ever come – and I am so okay with that. I absolutely love what I’ve created here, and I can’t wait to share it.
12. Which novel was your personal favourite to write, and why?
K.L.: This one! For all the reasons I just listed above, haha! Though it isn’t the classic elves and dragons brand of fantasy that I had envisioned myself writing when I was a kid, I think it’s a perfect combination of everything I love the most to write – rich plotty plots, hot love affairs, and a blend of magic with a contemporary setting. Just like my very first book where a little girl traveled into a world of goblins and unicorns, I’ve always enjoyed having a modern twist with fantasy. Although this isn’t the classic “fish out of water” trope as all of these characters already know about magic and all that, there is a touch of that same idea how I wrote in Azaethoth the Lesser. After all, when he wakes up, he is navigating the world around him, and it’s nothing like what he remembers. So, yeah, it was nice to bring all of those things together for the first time, and I can’t wait to continue this series.
13. What can we expect from you in the future?
K.L.: More exciting tentacle adventures, for sure! There are nine books planned for this series, and the next three of them are already done – in various stages of submission or editing, but they are complete! Before I move on to book five, I’m going to go back to my erotica stories to give my BDSM fans some new treats to nibble on. Most people know me for my Cold Hard Cash series, and I have a collection of short stories for those characters that will hopefully be out by the time this interview posts! I’m also starting a brand spankin’ new book about a lonely undertaker and a very dominating florist that will be released by the end of the year!
14. What do you enjoy most about writing?
K.L.: I love connecting with my characters. As someone who struggled with their gender identity and sexuality for most of their life, writing these stories is so very liberating. I also really enjoy being able to weave a big ol’ story together and then have an awesome ending where everything falls into place. It’s so very satisfying.
15. What do you enjoy least about writing?
K.L. Editing. Definitely editing.
16. I enjoy doing random questions, so humour me:
- What’s your favourite movie?
Ah, these are always so hard because it depends on my mood! How about a top five? I think I can narrow it down to maybe a top five: Clue, The Thin Man, Silence of the Lambs, Arsenic and Old Lace, Candyman, and Labyrinth. Okay, that was more than five. I can’t count.
- What book is currently in your e-reader?
“Public Enemy, Undercover Lover” by Amanda Meuwissen!
- Who’s your favourite musical group?
This is another one where I can’t possibly choose one. I’m gonna try to only name five: Queen, Dead Kennedys, Ghost, Mindless Self Indulgence, Placebo, and Billy Joel. Ha, I did it that time! Wait, no, crap. This is impossible.
- What song puts a smile on your face?
“I’m Gonna Be” by the Proclaimers, “You Think You’re a Man” by Divine, “Crank It” by John 5 and the Creatures, “Dig Up Her Bones” by the Misfits, “Break Free” by Queen, “LA Devotee” by Panic! At The Disco, aaand so many more. I love songs that move me, that make me want to get up and dance.
17. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
K.L.: Thank you so much for having me! This has been fun! 😊
Book Title: Acsquidentally In Love
Author: K.L. Hiers
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Genre/s: Paranormal M/M Romance, Mystery, Tentacles
Trope/s: Solving Your Own Murder, Boy Meets God, Hidden Villain, Consentacles
Themes: Restoring Faith, Seeking Justice, Self-Sacrifice
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 60 000 words/ 188 pages
Nothing brings two men—or one man and an ancient god—together like revenge.
Blurb: Private investigator Sloane sacrificed his career in law enforcement in pursuit of his parents’ murderer. Like them, he is a follower of long-forgotten gods, practicing their magic and offering them his prayers… not that he’s ever gotten a response.
Azaethoth the Lesser might be the patron of thieves and tricksters, but he takes care of his followers. He’s come to earth to avenge the killing of one of his favorites, and maybe charm the pants off the cute detective Fate has placed in his path. If he has his way, they’ll do much more than bring a killer to justice. In fact, he’s sure he’s found the man he’ll spend his immortal life with.
Sloane’s resolve is crumbling under Azaethoth’s surprising sweetness, and the tentacles he sometimes glimpses escaping the god’s mortal form set his imagination alight. But their investigation gets stranger and deadlier with every turn. To survive, they’ll need a little faith… and a lot of mystical firepower.
Note: It is the first book in the series.
“I’m sorry,” Loch said suddenly, his attention stolen away from the television and focusing intently on Sloane.
“What?” Sloane turned his head, staring in shock. He didn’t think gods were much on apologies.
“I obviously caused you great discomfort with my actions earlier today,” Loch explained, his hand reaching for Sloane’s, “and yes, while I am a trickster… I don’t aim to always be a complete bastard.”
“Loch,” Sloane murmured softly, surprised by how genuinely sorry he sounded.
“I got this for you,” Loch said, a tentacle reaching over to present Sloane with an incense bowl. “It upset you, but… it also brought you joy. I thought you might like to have it.”
“This is from the museum!” Sloane gasped, recognizing it immediately as the one that had reminded him of his mother’s. “You stole this? Loch! How did you, it, it was in a glass case! We need to take it back!”
“Technically, the museum stole it from my family,” Loch said smugly. “It was an offering for my aunt, and I was merely making an effort to return it to its rightful owner. Since she’s asleep, it’s my responsibility to liberate it on her behalf. I am now giving it to you.”
“I can’t… I can’t accept this!”
“Don’t you like it?”
“Then please take it,” Loch urged, “with my most sincere apologies.”
“Thank you.” Sloane was touched and looked over the bowl with a helpless smile. It was as good of an apology as he would likely ever get from an immortal being, with or without the well meaning theft. Suspicious, he added quickly, “I’m still not going to have sex with you.”
“We’ll see.” Loch laughed, giving Sloane’s hand a playful tug.
“No, we won’t,” Sloane said despite a big grin creeping onto his face. He didn’t pull his hand away, letting their fingers tangle together even after he put the incense bowl aside. It felt nice.
A few more sips from his drink and Sloane ended up cuddling against Loch’s side with his arm around his shoulders. That was nice too.
“Do you… uhm… do you want something to eat?” Sloane asked quietly as the hour grew late, and he realized that sandwich was the only thing either of them had had all day.
“I don’t require sustenance,” Loch replied, smirking fondly down at Sloane. “Immortal, remember?”
“Would you like… something?” Loch asked innocently, his tongue swiping slowly over his lips to indicate he was definitely not talking about food.
Sloane’s cheeks flushed immediately, his attention drawn to Loch’s mouth as he stammered, “N-no, I’m actually pretty good right now.”
Loch shifted, using his arm around Sloane’s shoulders to pull him closer. He cradled Sloane’s face, fingers running into his hair as he purred, “Are you absolutely sure?”
No one had ever looked at Sloane the way Loch was right now, with such heat, such adoration and raw desire. It made his blood pump excitedly and his breath catch in his mouth before he could properly inhale.
“Not really,” Sloane replied weakly.
Loch nosed along Sloane’s cheek, sighing, “Why are you so afraid to let yourself experience pleasure with me?”
“I don’t just go around ‘experiencing pleasure’ with people!” Sloane protested even as his voice cracked when he felt Loch’s tongue slide along the edge of his ear. “Fuck….”
“Why not?” Loch asked, his breath hot and husky in Sloane’s ear.
“Because… because….” Sloane couldn’t think straight, stammering to think of an answer. It was impossible to gather his thoughts with Loch’s tongue at his ear and his fingers curling so sweetly through his hair.
“Because?” Loch pressed, calm and perfectly innocent.
“When I’m with someone, I want it to mean something,” Sloane said finally, his head foggy and trying to remain firm. “I want something that will last.”
“It can last all night,” Loch promised, his lips lightly pressing against Sloane’s jaw. “And the night after that… and the night after that….”
“Fuck it,” Sloane hissed, dragging Loch into a hot kiss, shoving his tongue into his mouth with a loud moan.
K.L. “Kat” Hiers is an embalmer, restorative artist, and queer writer. Licensed in both funeral directing and funeral service, she’s been working in the death industry for nearly a decade. Her first love was always telling stories, and she has been writing for over twenty years, penning her very first book at just eight years old. Publishers generally do not accept manuscripts in Hello Kitty notebooks, however, but she never gave up.
Following the success of her first novel, Cold Hard Cash, she now enjoys writing professionally, focusing on spinning tales of sultry passion, exotic worlds, and emotional journeys. She loves attending horror movie conventions and indulging in cosplay of her favorite characters. She lives in Zebulon, NC, with her husband and their six children, three of whom have paws and one who sometimes thinks he does.
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