[Note from Frolic: Frolic contributor Sarah Smith had the chance to interview self-published romance author Avery Kingston. Be sure to check out Avery’s Fire And Fury series.]
Sarah: Avery! Congratulations on your romance series Fire And Fury! Tori and Scott have been such a hit with readers. What compelled you to write this series?
Avery: In an effort to maintain connected to my hubs during his military leave, we wrote sexy snippets back and forth about this couple who were friends with benefits. It was a fun hobby so I kept at it. With his help (mainly on the military stuff I “f-up”), over the course of two years, I took these snippets and Chasing Fire — my first book baby and book one of the Fire And Fury series — was born.
Did you set out wanting to self-publish from the get-go or were you at any point considering the traditional publishing route? What do you enjoy about self-publishing?
I started writing as a hobby and honestly never intended this to go further than that, but after I’d written five books and fallen for these characters, I figured I needed to do something with it. I thought maybe a blog or Wattpad. My husband looked at me and said, “No. You NEED to publish this. Not on a blog, not on a website. You need to make these into novels. You have something special here.” So, I started looking into my options. Self-publishing was always my first choice. I tried a few queries (just to get my feet wet and see what the process was like), but I never really put my heart into them. I kept coming back to the fact that I knew I could do this with my graphic design background. I wanted complete creative control over my teasers, promos, covers, etc. So after about half a dozen queries, I backed out and went back to my original plan to self-publish. I don’t regret it for a single moment.
Both of the main characters become disabled due to events that happen in Chasing Fire (Tori becomes blind in an accident and Scott loses his leg in combat during a military deployment). What compelled you to highlight disability in your writing?
I’m a military wife and a sucker for a good wounded hero story. As a fan of the wounded hero/heroine genre, I was tired of how the marginalized community was displayed in fictional movies and television shows. I set out to write stories where the leading characters were smart, sexy, confident and strong, and just living day-to-day life. SO MUCH research went into my book. I spent countless hours reading and researching to make sure I got it right. I spent sleepless nights in panic-ridden sweats praying I did the disabled community justice.
What character in your series is the most similar to you and why?
It always helps every time I give a character — especially a heroine — a little of myself. I need to be able to connect with them on a deep, emotional level. There are traces of me in all my characters. People tend to think that I’m a lot like Tori, and yes, she’s got a lot of me (I spilled, like, half the can of rainbow sprinkles into her when I created her). Tori got my foul mouth, my twisted sense of humor, my artistic ability, but she was MUCH more confident than I’ve ever dreamed of being. Girls with huge IDGAF personalities have always inspired me, because I WISH I could be more like that. I’ve gotten better over the years (with age and maturity comes the ability to care less about what others think).
I’m a lot like Brandi (Scott’s ex-girlfriend and a main character from book #4 Fighting The Blaze) deep down. I care too much what others think. I always went for the wrong guy, and got hurt every damn time (until I met the hubs, who I call the “real Scott”). Brandi got all my fears and insecurities, and the need to please others. She, like me, only has a few close friends that REALLY know who she is deep down. I still think Tori is the most like me, but Brandi is a close second.
Scott’s time in the military is a big focus in your books. How does your personal experience as a military spouse influence your writing?
Because I’ve lived the military life, I understand it inside and out. I understand what it’s like trying to have a relationship with someone who is gone so much. It’s damn hard. That’s why I started writing the sexy stuff — to keep the fire stoked with my military man while he was gone. So it was a no-brainer that I’d be writing about a soldier.
The heroes in my books talk exactly like military men would, because I wanted to keep it as realistic as possible. They’re crass, foul-mouthed alphas and they will say and do things that make you cringe at times. But they’re good, honorable men. Heroes through and through.
On the flip side of that even though I’ve lived it, I don’t always get it right. (You have NO idea how insufferable it is watching any military movie with my husband and listening to his running commentary about terminology and tactical stuff). Thankfully, he tells me when I “f-it up” in my writing and sets me back on track.
If your books were being made into a movie, who would you cast as Tori and Scott?
One day my oldest daughter (who is of age to read my books) sent me a YouTube video of Julianne Hough doing Lip Sync Battle. She said, “Mom. You have to see this. It’s SOOO Tori.” And she was right. She reminded me so much of my character Tori, it was eerie.
I’ve yet to find an actor that fits exactly what I’ve got in my head as Scott. Maybe that means I’ve created the perfect man, and nobody can live up to the standard? I kid, I kid. In my head I see him with Jason Momoa’s eyes and physique, especially that brow line and sexy smolder. Henry Cavill’s chiseled features remind me a little of Scott’s profile. If only he had the whiskey-brown eyes! Joe Manganiello may come the closest. He has the physique, smolder, humor, and expressive face. I think he could pull off a great Scott.
We are pumped to hear about what you’re writing next! What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
I’ve got two more full novels of Scott and Tori written, so I’m in no way done with them. But I’m taking a break to tell some secondary character stories. I just released Fighting The Blaze in April, which is the love story between Blaze, Scott’s best friend, and Tori, Scott’s ex-girlfriend.
I’m currently working on Keith’s (Tori’s best friend) book — readers have been begging for his love story with his boyfriend Jonathan. I’m probably breaking all kinds of Romancelandia rules by throwing an M/M romance into an M/F series, but like Tori, I’ve never been one for following the rules. I’m hoping that readers who wouldn’t normally pick up an M/M romance book will read it because love is love, and love always wins.
I’ve also got a couple spinoff series planned in my head that will run parallel to Fire And Fury. I’ve got a rowdy motorcycle gang down in Texas that Scott’s brother Chad is tangled up in. And of course there are still more characters that have some “maturing” to do. In my best Doc Brown from Back To The Future impression I say, “Something has gotta be done about those kids!”
About Avery Kingston:
Avery is a military wife and a sucker for a good wounded hero story. She set out to write stories where the leading characters were smart, sexy, confident, and strong. Avery began writing the type of romance novels she would want to read. Stories about real couples, wounded either physically or emotionally, with an open door into their steamy bedroom.
Find her here: