A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.
On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.
Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.
I loved this story. I got caught up in Jimmy’s stories and Shane’s too when he starts telling them. THeir relationship grows so much and goes through many ups and downs before they finally had a beautiful happy ending. I loved how much emotion was in the story. You could feel how Jimmy struggles to give Shane what he wants and needs, but still settle his wandering ways. I enjoyed the setting as well. There’s a strong sense of place in the story. Even if the town of Rattlesnake, California is fake, you feel like you could take a vacation there and see all of the places described in the story. I felt bad for Jimmy. He kept trying not to hope and wish and dream. But he falls into the habit without realizing it. Shane seems to have figured out what was wrong at some point. But he still kept trying to get Jimmy to stay. I saw the blow up happening. But the way both Jimmy and Shane reacted was so raw and real. So full of emotion.
Four and a half
Molly: Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Kim Fielding, author of Rattlesnake. Hi Kim, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us something about your character’s friends.
Kim: Jimmy doesn’t have any friends. It’s not that he’s unfriendly. He’s a genuinely nice guy. But after a rough childhood, he’s spent his life as a drifter, unwilling to put down roots and unable to form any relationships with anyone. He tells himself he’s not lonely, but Jimmy’s not always the most honest man—especially with himself.
Things begin to change for him, though, when he reaches the little town of Rattlesnake, California. It’s one of those places where everybody knows everybody else’s business—and a good chunk of the residents are related to Shane, the sexy bartender at the Rattlesnake Inn.
Molly: What is your character’s favorite meal? Favorite dessert? Favorite snack food?
Kim: Right across the street from the Rattlesnake Inn is Mae’s Café. Jimmy soon falls into the daily habit of sharing brunch with Shane, who has a strict schedule of what dish he orders on a particular day, and Jimmy follows suit. Their favorite is french toast Friday. Jimmy prefers his topped with Mae’s homemade blueberry compote.
Mae’s is the go-to place for dessert too. While Shane raves over the strawberry-rhubarb pie, Jimmy prefers the cinnamon rolls.
As for snacks, Jimmy’s very favorite is popcorn. Not so much because of the food itself, but because of the setting. It’s what he munches as he sits at the bar on slow evenings, keeping Shane company while he works.
Molly: What activity does your character absolutely hate?
Kim: Confrontations. Jimmy’s a fairly big guy, and although he lacks formal education, he’s smart. If pressed, he can hold his own in a fight. But when faced with an angry person or ugly situation, his strongest impulse will always be simply to leave. He’ll unhesitatingly abandon his few possessions and walk away. On the one hand, this habit has kept him out of trouble. But on the other hand, it’s also kept him from getting attached to anywhere—or anyone.
Molly: What other author’s book do you think your character would be good in?
Kim: I always stink at answering these kinds of questions! It’s especially hard this time because the town of Rattlesnake is such a real place—in my head—that it’s hard seeing Jimmy anywhere else. So I’m going to go with a sort of stock answer, which is that I could maybe picture Jimmy in a Stephen King or Neil Gaiman novel. Okay, that’s partly because I love King and Gaiman. But also, they’ve both done a great job of writing rootless men who find meaning (American Gods and Doctor Sleep come to mind).
Molly: What’s your favorite decade and why?
Kim: I am way too enamored of indoor plumbing, air conditioning, and the Internet to want to live very far in the past. Besides, I like this decade. It’s interesting—sometimes in an awful way but sometimes for good. I mean, just a few short years ago, who would have predicted that marriage equality would be universal in the USA?
But I’m also a history geek, so if we’re just talking about studying (or visiting!) a decade, there are many I’d love to know more about. I’m currently especially fascinated by the California gold rush era (late 1840s through mid 1850s). It was a transformative time for the region, and it also involved a lot of fascinating people, many of whom were able to escape some of the strict social mores of the time by traveling west.
Their waitress appeared beside the table. “Anything else?” she asked Jimmy.
He didn’t want to go just yet. But his belly was full, and any further conversation with Shane was probably going to frustrate him. Already Jimmy wanted to reach across the table and touch Shane’s hair, maybe run a finger across his scars. “Just the check. Thanks.”
“Mine too,” Shane said, but his thoughts were clearly elsewhere. As soon as she took their plates away, he leaned forward. “You don’t have to go, do you? I mean, you’re not, um, on the run from the law, are you?”
That made Jimmy laugh. “I’ve done some stupid shit, but never bad enough to make me a fugitive.”
“If I Google you, I won’t find you on the Ten Most Wanted list?”
“So.” Shane traced his finger through a bit of spilled sugar on the tabletop, worrying at his lip and not meeting Jimmy’s gaze. He finally looked up again. “So you could stick around here for a while. If you had a place to stay and a job.”
God damn it! You don’t hope. You don’t want. That only leads to destruction. But Jimmy felt himself nod. “I could. For a short time.”
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/KFieldingWrites
Where To Buy:
Dreamspinner Press eBook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6761
Dreamspinner Press Paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6762
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