A warm welcome to author Kim Fielding joining us to talk about new release “Flux”.
Welcome Kim 🙂
One of the reasons why a lot of us read (or write, for that matter) is to escape our everyday world for a while. We have lots of legit reasons for this. The boss is an asshole. The kids are being pains. We’re sick. We’re lonely. We’re poor. Maybe we’re simply bored. Picking up a book and immersing ourselves in a fictional world is a wonderful way to temporarily forget our very real problems.
We might also read to experience things we never could in real life. One of my most popular novels, Brute, is about a maimed giant and a blind prisoner with the power to foresee deaths. I’m a short university professor who has trouble remembering her own phone number. But give me a book and I can be Brute or Gray. I can be anyone, at least for a time.
But some of the books that capture me best manage more than this. Yes, they help me escape. Yes, they let me see the world through fresh eyes. But they also help me think about certain universal issues. As a writer (and reader) of romance, my books tend to spend a lot of time exploring the nature of love, the intricacies of human relationships, the ways that other people can change the way we see ourselves.
My newest release, Flux, tackles these questions. It’s the second in a trilogy, and Ennek and Miner are working out the shape of their new relationship as they engage in self-discovery—and deal with talking birds, conniving wizards, and other hazards. But aside from the more personal concerns, this book (and the entire trilogy) deal with a problem I think about a lot: how to balance safety and freedom.
My day job is criminal justice professor, so I can tell you that safety versus freedom is the fundamental dilemma facing the justice system. And everyone has different views about where the balance should lie and how we should achieve it. I was thinking about this as I wrote these books. Ennek comes from Praesidium, a city-state in which many of the citizens are wealthy and in which crime of any kind is rare. But this has come at a great price—Praesidium is ruled by a totalitarian government that cracks down viciously on anyone who violates the rules. Even the Chief’s own son is not immune from the threat of terrible punishment. As Ennek and Miner travel outside Praesidium, they encounter other countries that are struggling with the safety versus freedom quandary as well, and our heroes think about the consequences of different political decisions.
You don’t have to think such deep thoughts to enjoy the series. You can simply enjoy the men’s adventures and hope they reach a happy ending, and that’s perfectly fine. You can escape your world to tarry a bit in theirs. But if you want to consider some of the issues that face all of us, the books invite you to do that as well.
Ennek, the son of Praesidium’s Chief, has rescued Miner from a terrible fate: suspension in a dreamless frozen state called Stasis, the punishment for traitors. As the two men flee Praesidium by sea, their adventures are only beginning. Although they may be free from the tyranny of their homeland, new difficulties await them as Miner faces the continuing consequences of his slavery and Ennek struggles with controlling his newfound powers as a wizard.
Now fugitives, Ennek and Miner encounter challenges both human and magical as they explore new lands and their deepening relationship with each other.
They shouldn’t have wasted moisture on tears. The vomiting hadn’t helped either. By the time the sun set, the bits of Miner’s exposed skin—his face, his hands—felt hot and sore, and both men were as dry as old paper. Ennek had slept most of the day, slumped against Miner’s chest, but as the sky alit with oranges and reds, he stirred.
“I’m sorry,” he said in a sandpaper voice.
“Not being… better. Stronger. Smarter.”
Miner wasn’t sure whether to laugh at Ennek’s foolishness or cry at the man’s inability to see his own worth. He ended up doing neither, instead caressing Ennek’s back under the shredded shirt, murmuring nonsense syllables at him like a parent might to a distressed child. After a time Ennek pulled away a little. His eyes were very shiny, but he wasn’t crying. “I think we’re not far from land,” he said.
“I saw a gull this morning.”
Ennek nodded. “Good. I can try to steer us to shore. I’m not sure how soon I can row us there, though—”
“You’re in no condition to row us anywhere,” Miner said, because Ennek was still pale and drawn.
“Well, neither are you.” Ennek pointed at Miner’s wrist. Then he frowned and took a closer look at the cut on Miner’s arm. “And this is beginning to fester. You’re dehydrated too.”
“So are you. So much water and nothing to drink.”
Ennek looked out over the edge of the boat and frowned in concentration. “I’ll wager I could remove the salt,” he said, almost to himself.
“You’ve already made yourself sick enough doing magic,” Miner protested.
But Ennek ignored him. He knelt and leaned over the side, scooping up a double handful of sea. Then his frown deepened for a moment and he brought his hands to his face. He sipped cautiously at the liquid and then grinned triumphantly. “It worked! Come here.”
Miner considered arguing but decided that would be pointless. He scooted around until he was next to Ennek, also along the side of the boat.
“Get some water,” Ennek said.
Miner stole a glance over the edge and imagined himself hanging over as Ennek had just done. “I… I can’t.”
Ennek gave him a patient smile. “That’s all right. It probably wouldn’t have worked with your wrist anyway. Hang on.” He leaned over again and brought up more water. “Drink it before it drips away.”
Miner leaned down and put his lips above Ennek’s palms. It was a strangely intimate thing to do, to drink from someone else’s cupped hands. But the water tasted only a bit brackish, and it felt wonderful as it moistened his tongue and throat. He drank it all, and then Ennek gave him another handful and another, and he would have kept on going, but when Miner saw him begin to sway and noticed the way his breaths became harsher, Miner stopped him. “Drink some yourself,” he insisted.
Ennek managed to drink only two handfuls before he collapsed.
“Don’t you dare throw up that water!” Miner said anxiously, moving Ennek’s head into his lap.
“Trying not to.”
Miner rubbed softly at Ennek’s temple. He didn’t know if would help, but he doubted it would hurt. He felt so useless, just sitting there like a great, timid lump. Ennek closed his eyes, and Miner thought he might have fallen asleep. But then ten or fifteen minutes later, he opened them again. “This is a stupid way to die.”
Kim Fielding is very pleased every time someone calls her eclectic. Her books have won Rainbow Awards and span a variety of genres. She has migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States and currently lives in California, where she long ago ran out of bookshelf space. She’s a university professor who dreams of being able to travel and write full time. She also dreams of having two perfectly behaved children, a husband who isn’t obsessed with football, and a house that cleans itself. Some dreams are more easily obtained than others.