With momentum for The Summer Remains picking up even more, are you prepared for the fangirling that will be happening at your upcoming signing events? (Yes, I know there are some men who read romance novels, but the majority of people who attend signings are women.)
It’s funny that you refer to the book in that way, because I was just talking about this with someone I work with: I’ve had a little buzz, and I’m thankful for that, but in the grand scheme of things The Summer Remains is still a speck of sand on the beach. The reaction has been massive from the people who have actually read the book, but still: comparatively speaking, that number is tiny. It is hard to get people to take seriously a romance novel that was written by a male author, and that’s just the truth. So I have a lot of work to do before I even start getting confident enough to think about things like fangirling – to me, the work is only getting started. (But obviously I am eternally grateful for any of my supporters, and I will return any hug I receive with an even bigger hug. I’ve been told I’m pretty good at those.)
The poetry and lyrics you wrote for Saviour in The Summer Remains are absolutely beautiful. Were they all written specifically for TSR, or did some of them come before? If they came before, what was your inspiration? Will you ever consider recording the songs?
Thank you! They were all written for the book. I was raised singing and playing the piano, so my brain thinks in terms of music and rhythm and lyrics anyway. And no, I sing jazz and swing music, Michael Buble-type stuff, so these songs would sound awful coming from me! I wouldn’t subject anyone to that.
In TSR, Summer’s best friend Autumn could be a little mean sometimes (perhaps inadvertently), was a wee bit delusional, and had a major case of envy about everyone else’s love life. Who or what inspired her character?
Being alive and encountering humans every day, I guess. Many books feature one-dimensional characters that feel like cardboard cutouts and just don’t ring true, or if there IS a “spunky” character, all their quirks and flaws come with a pretty little bow wrapped on top. Everyone has encountered the witty, friendly, bubbly sidekick who always comes equipped with a sassy little joke, and who is always down for a vodka shot or three. To me, that’s just not realistic. People are damaged and have flaws, funny ones in particular. Funny people often come from bad backgrounds, and humor often comes from dark, desperate places – personally speaking, I had to acquire a sense of humor very early on in life, as a form of armor. I was very poor for my town and I had a rough family life, and if I didn’t make fun of myself first, someone else was going to, and it was going to be a lot meaner than whatever I would’ve said. So I don’t want my characters to feel like the sassy sidekick in a Kate Hudson comedy – I want them to feel real. I want them to have insecurities, hard edges, mean streaks, maybe a few details that don’t sit well with the reader. Because when’s the last time you met someone who DIDN’T have some pretty big things wrong with them? Flaws and discrepancies make life more interesting – in my (very flawed) eyes, at least.
Although all three of your books are firmly in the romance genre, the earlier books are very different than TSR, more erotic with a hint of danger rather than sweet and innocent. Do you have a preference for one over the other? Which should we expect from your next release?
The tone of my work just depends on the mood I’m in while I’m writing. It’s as simple as that. I was very depressed about the death of my brother during the writing of TSR, and that came out in the tone of the book. While I wrote those other books, I was…not depressed. I was exercising and lifting weights and feeling very aggressive and animalistic, and I explored that in my work. People think authors need to fit into one genre and write about one subject, and that’s bullshit. I write about humans and life and love, and often, those things involve lots of sex. And if you read my erotica, you’ll eventually realize that it’s not really about sex at all – the sex is just a manifestation of whatever issues I’m really exploring, like Catholic guilt in The Goode Fight and ageism/America’s growing socioeconomic gap in Mrs. Robinson. (But yeah, sex is hot, and people like to talk about it. I get it.) And to finish your question, my next release is absolutely nothing like anything I have ever written before. I’m not even sure it’s coming from me, but that’s a different story for a different day.
All three of your books are quite different from each other, but there seems to be a running theme of a love/hate relationship with social media in all of them – Facebook in The Summer Remains and The Goode Fight and the hook-up apps in TSR and Mrs. Robinson. Is that a general observation about our technology-ruled world, or is there something more personal behind that idea?
I think all artists, no matter the medium, feel the urge to explore, reflect, and record whatever era in which they happen to be producing art. I like to explore human nature and social dynamics and the ways in which we date and relate and communicate, and social media has thrown all that into chaos – it is literally transforming humanity in front of us. So that’s why social media comes up so often – it fascinates me, and it’s just a goldmine, anthropologically speaking. If all my work had one common theme running through it, it would be “love in the future.”
Seth King's BIO
Seth King is a twenty-five-year-old American author. He enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and spending time with his family.
And our bonus questions,
JUST BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH
I admit that I’m a nerd when it comes to continuity details (and grammar, but we won’t get into that little obsession of mine), so I have to ask this. Summer is 24, and she says she was 8 when her parents divorced; but Chase is supposed to be in fourth grade (so 9 or 10). That’s a big age gap, and Summer’s father is never mentioned in relation to Chase. So tell us, who is Chase’s father?
When Summer was eight, her father gave up on his family and put one foot out the door, and things got complicated. I think Shelly would be a firm believer in the ability of a new child to rescue a sinking marriage, even if she didn’t do so well with raising her first child.
All of the attention is focused on The Summer Remains (for good reason) right now, so some people may not be aware that you’ve already published two other books – The Goode Fight and Mrs. Robinson. Both are really good, and I am extremely anxious to find out more about Stellan and Ben. When will readers get the next parts of those stories?
My brain is a conveyor belt, and those books are currently on that belt. Stay tuned, and thanks for talking with me!