Jen: Welcome to day four of GLBT week and today we’re hosting Joy Lynn Fielding. Joy, will you share a short bio with us?
Joy Lynn Fielding is a sucker for happy endings. She believes, however, that if characters don’t suffer along the way, they won’t fully appreciate being happy. Not all of her characters thank her for this viewpoint, but what do they know?
Joy lives in a small English market town, but also inhabits a number of fictional worlds at any one time, reflecting what she’s writing and what she’s reading. She has a tendency to share enthusiastically with anyone who will listen the latest fascinating facts she’s stumbled across in her research for books. Thankfully she has a very patient Labrador, who has a gift for looking as though he’s interested in what she’s saying while he waits for the food to arrive.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Joy: My new book is called Riding the Whirlwind, and is the fifth book in my Strength of the Pack series. Strangely enough, when I set out to write the series, I had no intention of writing this particular book. It’s the story of an established couple, Christian and Dave, and what happens to their relationship when they investigate a mystery on behalf of their alpha. What they discover is discussed in the other books, so I didn’t see the need to write it out in detail. Christian, however, had other ideas and insisted I write their story as all the other members of the pack were getting a book!
As to where the idea for the plot came from, it just seemed to flow naturally from Christian’s character – he’s aggressive, hot-tempered, and always seeking to exert control over life. All things that lent themselves wonderfully to cage-fighting, something that Christian threw himself into with gusto, despite Dave’s dislike of violence.
“Do these taste like eggs to you?” Christian stuck his fork into the pile of yellow, leathery stuff that he was talking about and watched as it stayed standing stubbornly upright.
Dave’s nose wrinkled slightly. “Dinosaur eggs, maybe,” he confessed, and pushed his plate away. “I wish Jason was here. Not that I’d want to inflict these on him, but I miss his cooking.”
Christian missed Jason’s cooking too, but that was the only thing he was sorry to leave behind in Elk Ridge. Something had started to worry at him there, like a burr under a saddle, and if Matt hadn’t sent him and Dave here when he had, he couldn’t answer for what might have happened. The place that had once been his home now felt claustrophobic and wrong on every level. Being here was letting him breathe again.
“We should go back to the cliffs and have another look around,” Dave said as he looked dubiously at what was supposed to be orange juice in his glass before he pushed that too to the side.
Christian nodded, chewing determinedly at another forkful of those damned eggs before he gave up. He might be hungry, but he wasn’t that hungry.
Once they were out on the cliffs again, shifted and loping beside one another, he forgot about hunger. He forgot about everything except the gray wolf at his side, matching him stride for stride the way he always did.
They searched again around the houses they’d found, but there was nothing left. No scent of wolves or shifters, and no indication that anything except the wild had been here for years. The earth was slowly taking back its own. Christian shook his head slightly to clear it, because that was the sort of thing Dave would say. Dave, who was sitting on his haunches in the middle of the clearing, head cocked to one side as if listening, and breathing deeply. The way he had been for the past ten minutes while Christian had been fruitlessly pacing around.
He walked over and nudged him with his muzzle. It took a moment for Dave to lose the distant look in his eyes and see him. Christian hated it when Dave did that. He hated that there was ever a time when Dave didn’t see him, and hated even more the fear that he might one day lose Dave to wherever it was in his head he went. He nipped at his ear, determined to bring Dave all the way back, and Dave stood up and shook himself, a passive announcement that he didn’t appreciate Christian’s roughness.
They went back through the tunnel and up the path to the top of the bluff. There, they followed the line of the cliff further than they’d gone the previous day. They found another cave entrance about a mile away. This one looked natural and led into a whole mass of tunnels and caves. Once more, it felt dead and silent, but for the strangest instant Christian got an impression of how it had been when Jesse as a pup had played hide-and-seek here, pouncing out onto older wolves who indulgently let him wrestle with them.
God damn it, they had to find out what had happened to this pack. He had no sympathy for what had happened to Cale’s pack—they’d lived in violence, so it was only fair they died the same way—but if Jesse’s memories were to be trusted, his pack had been like any other. They’d done nothing to deserve the terror that had been visited upon them.
He was still burning with the need to do something when they got back to the car and shifted once more. “Forget all that subtlety bullshit. We’re just going to ask them what happened to the pack,” he said to Dave.
Dave took his time replying, seeming to concentrate instead on buttoning the butt-ugly shirt he’d chosen to wear today. It looked like someone had thrown up on it after a pizza binge, with splotches of yellow and green and red on a bright blue background. “Let’s give subtle one more try,” he said eventually. “If they’ve got something to hide and they know we’re looking for information, they’ll close ranks.”
Christian hated how Dave was always so reasonable. He yanked the car door open. “One more try,” he said, his eyes challenging on Dave’s. “But that’s all.”
“That’s enough,” Dave said, folding himself into the passenger seat.
Jen: Describe an ideal date.
Joy: One of two options: either watching a really good film and dissecting it over supper afterwards, or walking the dog in the winter countryside and coming home to crumpets in front of the fire (which is not a euphemism).
Jen: Favorite flavor of ice cream.
Joy: Vanilla with Amaretto poured over it.
Jen: Favorite place to vacation.
Joy: Right now, Canada.
Jen: Favorite outfit?
Joy: Anything that’s pretty and comfortable.
Jen: Food that you refuse to eat.
Joy: Butter beans. Yuk.
Jen: Color your hair or go natural?
Jen: What’s your decorating style?
Joy: Classic, with a weakness for Regency furniture.
Jen: What type of car do you drive?
Joy: Ford Focus. It has just enough space for all my shopping.
Jen: Most surprising item on your bucket list?
Joy: To see the prototype de Havilland Mosquito (now happily checked off my list!)
Jen: Describe your writing style in one word.
Jen: Do you have a mentor? Who is it?
Joy: My older sister. She’s amazing.
Jen: Cat or dog?
Joy: The dog would never let me have a cat.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Joy: I’ve just finished writing the story of a trainspotter, an engine driver, and a spider called Mabel. It’s been huge fun to write, not least because I’ve been visiting railway museums and questioning slightly bemused curators about train braking systems! I have done precisely no research on spiders as I’m arachnophobic.
I’m going to be editing that book for the next few weeks, but once I’ve submitted it, I hope to write the final book in the Strength of the Pack series.