Happy Saturday morning everyone! I hope you’re having a relaxed weekend with lots of time to read… because book 3 in the Black Sheep series by author Kia Zi Shiru is live! Don’t forget to scroll to the end to read an excerpt!
The series is New adult with gay protagonists and looks amazing. I got my copies and can’t wait to read!!!
Black Sheep Trilogy (Collection)
Black Sheep follows Vic, his sister Anne, his best friend Adam and his new boyfriend Jack as they are learning to deal with Vic’s past and illness while at the same time dealing with their own lives.
Black Sheep: Letting go of the Past
Vic is struggling to begin a relationship with Jack while at the same time he is is trying to overcome the trauma of the year before. Jack knows something is wrong but can’t get Vic to open up about what happened, no matter how hard he tries.
Black Sheep: Loving in the Present
Vic seems to be overcoming another bout of depression but as he seems to be getting better the lives of the people around him are turning worse. After a clash with Adam Vic seeks help in a place he shouldn’t, unknowingly putting Jack at risk.
Black Sheep: Fighting for a Future
Vic’s bad streak doesn’t seem to be ending soon and everybody has to deal with losses of their own. Until the doctor gives Vic the worst news of all, he is dying. This finally jars Vic into action, he wants to make all his loved ones happy before that happens.
But time is running out quickly and he isn’t sure he will be able to reach his goal.
So here is Kia, ready to talk about her series and her views of the world:
Chrys: Hi dear Kia! Welcome back! 🙂 To start, can you tell us of a gay protagonist (other than your own) than you like?
Hmmm, through the time I’ve read quite a few gay books and I’m trying to think of one that really stood out to me. I think it must be When love comes to town by Tom Lennon, an Irish author. It was either the first or second book with gay characters that I read and it really influenced my own writing. The main character Neil goes through such changes over the course of the whole book, from scared about being gay to trying to accept who he is and making friends within the LGBT community. I like (what I remember, it has been a couple of years) the openness of the character to all the things that he experiences.
Chrys: Is there a book with gay protagonists or main characters which inspired you early in your career?
Both When Love Comes to Town and The Days of Bluegrass Love by Edward van de Vendel (a Dutch author) have influenced me immensely. They were the only gay books that were in the library in the youth section when I was a teen. I don’t know if it’s any different yet but these two stories really helped me not just realise about gay characters but have also greatly influenced the way I approach writing gay characters as both don’t have stereotypical gay characters. Nothing about fashion, floppy wrists or any of that stuff. These were male characters that I knew from other youth books, they were just gay.
Chrys: What would be your dream cast if your series was turned into a movie?
I always get this question during interviews and I never know how to answer it. I’m not that much a visual person, a character is often a combination of character and only a few physical characteristics like Adam’s colourful hair, Vic’s long black hair and his sweatbands, Jack’s long hair and his smile. This makes questions like this hard to answer since the cast is more about internal characteristics then external.
Chrys: What makes your protagonist memorable?
I think his strength, something that isn’t as much explored in the first two books but a lot more in the third book. Vic isn’t just a victim of his own past any more but even though his own life isn’t getting any better he is able to connect to an inner strength that has only been visible a couple of times in the first two book. That, and that he is just really caring to all the people around him, which sometimes gets him in trouble. For me what always stood out about Vic was his love. When I think of Vic I think about love, loving and protecting the ones around you.
Chrys: How is the state of YA fiction regarding gay characters? are there good books/enough books/not enough/not good?
I think the market is getting better, there have been more books coming out in the last few years and a lot of places are paying special attention to all of it. The growing amount of blogs dedicated to YA and NA LGBT fiction is a good thing and hopefully spur on more people to write in the genre but not just in a sexual way. I hope that in the coming years gay fiction will move away from the coming out story and the sex story and open up the reading world to both regular life and maybe gay fantasy heros. I’d love to see less focus on being gay and more focus on what it actually means in the same way as we look at straight characters that go through everyday struggles.
Chrys: Have you had responses from gay readers about your books?
I had a few replies to the story when it was still being ran as a serial, they were usually good replies. Since publication I’ve had reviews from both straight and gay men and they were always very positive. Which makes me both really happy and always scares me slightly, as I’m always scared to do something wrong. Which is my own fault and has more to do with my perfectionism and less with the great support I’ve had for my works since release.
Chrys: What about sex? do you think you’ll ever have explicit scenes in your books?
Black Sheep Trilogy doesn’t have any explicit sex scenes in it (or any sex scenes at all) and I didn’t intend on this, it simply happened because of the characters. My upcoming New Adult paranormal/urban fantasy series Otherkin Spirits has multiple sex scenes in it. Both because that is how the characters are and because it is written for an older age group. I had a lot of fun with exploring this.
Chrys:Thank you for stopping by! This has been very interesting for me. And I honestly can’t wait to read this series!! 🙂 And don’t forget that book 3 has just been released:
Black Sheep: Fighting for a Future
Jack is dead, Adam is back in the hospital in the worst condition he’s ever been and Vic believes it’s all his fault. That he’s the reason everyone’s hurting and that there’s only one way to end it – to end his own life.
Then the doctor bears bad news, Vic’s own condition has worsened and his days are numbered.
This is the wake-up call Vic needs. Maybe he can, for once, make people happy before he hurts them in the worst way possible. He hides his condition from everyone, not wanting anyone to worry while he’s trying to make them happy.
But time is running out. Will Vic see his wish fulfilled before the end comes?
Excerpt from book 3 Fighting for a Future:
I sit, looking around the room, waiting for Tom to be done with his placement so he’ll come over. It’s boring being on my own in the hospital. Normally I have my laptop or at least some books with me, but next to my bed there is only a bag with clean clothing, no books or anything to entertain me.
A soft knock diverts my attention to the door. Tom is standing there with a broad smile on his face and my laptop bag in his hand. He can be such an angel.
“They told me you’d probably be awake by the time I returned from my placement so I thought I should bring you something. How are you feeling?” The words keep coming as he walks around the room, putting my laptop on the table and leaning against my bed. His mouth smiles but his eyes are sad.
“How long have I been out?” I feel the stubble on my chin. “More than a night, I would say.”
“A few days. They did a couple of tests on you but they were scared your body wouldn’t be able to handle another attack in such a short time.”
“They drugged me.” It’s not a question, it’s a statement. “You allowed them to drug me because it was easier on you? Because they asked for it?” My anger flares and Tom cowers. That is wrong, Tom doesn’t cower for anyone like that, especially not for me. What has happened while I was out? Was the attack that bad?
Tom sits down next to the bed on a chair, just out of my reach, and sighs. “You almost didn’t make it. I was not going to take the chance that you’d die.” He shakes his head, the next words barely audible. “Not you. I wasn’t gonna lose you.”
“What do you mean?” I reach out, the pain on Tom’s face reflected in my own heart. I don’t know what happened in the past days but it must have been bad, really bad.
Tom looks at my hand and then at my face. He stands and pulls me in a close hug.
“I don’t know how to tell you this,” Tom whispers, his voice thick with tears.
“Tell me what?” I’m scared, scared about what is going on, what has happened.
About the author:
Kia Zi Shiru is a Dutch girl studying English and Creative Writing in the UK. Amongst her interests she finds writing, reading, doing research and learning different languages (including but not limited to: English, Dutch, French, German, HTML, Java, PHP and Assembly). Her writing and reading habits include books with Young Adults, gay themes, strong female or minority characters and fantasy elements (more often than not all at the same time).
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Thank you so much for doing this interview, I really enjoyed it.