Friday, June 21, 2013

Author Chat Friday with Karenna Colcroft, proving that inspiration comes from everywhere!

It's always a pleasure to welcome Karenna to The Naughty Pages, so let's see what she has in store for us today...

Inspiring Flight

In October 2012, I was able to attend the GayRomLit convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I really wanted to go to it, to network with readers and other authors and see who and what else was out there.

The only problem was that going required flying. I live in Massachusetts. I could have gotten to Albuquerque by bus or train, but it would have taken days, and I didn’t have days. I have kids. So flying was the only reasonable option, but I hadn’t been on a plane since 1989. Understandably, I was a little scared.

The flight to Albuquerque was okay. The flight crew was nice, and when I let them know I had some anxiety about flying, they checked in with me off and on to make sure I was handling it. The fun part came on the flight back.

The first leg of my flight was from Albuquerque to Chicago. I boarded the plane worried about the takeoff and the landing at the other end, and hoping I wouldn’t be quite as anxious this time since I’d been through it once already. And then one of the flight attendants, a tall, blond guy on the skinny side, took the mike for the pre-flight instructions and said, “Hi, I’m Chris, your flight attendant. There are others, but their names don’t matter.”

Those may not have been his exact words, but they’re close enough. And the rest of his instructions to the passengers continued in the same vein. I felt like I was at a comedy show, not waiting for a plane to take off. And I felt much more at ease.

I told Chris the flight attendant that he might show up in one of my books someday, and he did. My M/M contemporary novella Changing Planes released on June 4 from Loose Id (, and the love interest, a flight attendant named Colin Traynor, is modeled on Chris, including using the pre-flight speech as close to word-to-word as I could remember. The book has gotten mixed reviews so far; some people feel like Oliver Sheehan, the main character, falls for Colin too quickly, and others are annoyed by the fact that Oliver is bisexual and, at the beginning of the story, is engaged to a woman. (Note for those who dislike these things: There is an almost-sex scene between 
Oliver and his female fiancée in the story, but then they break up.)

Here’s the blurb and a short excerpt from the novella:

Oliver Sheehan is on his way from Boston to California to marry his fiancée and start a new 
life, but he isn't sure Sophia and Sacramento are what he truly wants. On the second leg of his flight, Oliver meets Colin Traynor, a flight attendant with a wicked sense of humor and smile to match, and the attraction is immediate. It isn't the first time Oliver's been interested in a guy, but it's definitely the most intense.

Even after he arrives in Sacramento, Oliver can't quite put Colin out of his mind, and when his engagement to Sophia unravels in the wake of her confession that she's fallen in love with a woman, Oliver turns to Colin for friendship and comfort. Although Colin refuses to start a relationship with Oliver so soon after the break-up, they can't keep their hands to themselves when Oliver crashes in Colin's hotel room for the night. Following that, a month of texting and video chats--not entirely G-rated--leads to a hot weekend at Oliver's new apartment back in Boston to make up for lost time. In bed and out, Oliver knows he wants Colin in his life; he just hopes Colin wants the same.


The plane took off, and Oliver closed his eyes and breathed deeply. The plane would go up, level out, and stay in the air all the way to California. It would probably hit some turbulence, which was nothing more dangerous than a bumpy road. He would be just fine.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome aboard flight three-seventy-five, Chicago, Illinois to Sacramento, California. I’m Colin, and I’ll be one of your flight attendants today. The others don’t matter.”

Startled, Oliver opened his eyes as the passengers around him laughed uncertainly. Colin stood at the front of the cabin, grinning broadly. “We’ll be serving snacks and drinks a bit later. I promise they aren’t poisoned, though they might taste like it.”

More laughter this time. Oliver joined in. Colin’s humor put him at ease, which was almost certainly Colin’s intention. He’d probably dealt with tons of nervous passengers. Or maybe he’d just gotten bored giving the same spiel over and over.

“In the event of an emergency, an oxygen mask may drop from the compartment above you,” Colin said. “If it hits you in the head, it will hurt like hell.” More laughter as Colin took a demonstration mask out of  the cupboard beside him. “Secure it this way, and don’t worry about how you look in it. We won’t take pictures.”

He put the mask on and took it off again. “If you’re traveling with a small child or someone who needs assistance, secure your mask before theirs. You won’t be a whole lot of help if you’re gasping like a fish on the floor.”

Oliver was laughing harder than the comments actually warranted, and he knew it was partly due to anxiety. But the guy was also just plain funny. He should have been on a stand-up comedy stage instead of wasting his talent on this plane.

“If we crash over water, your seat cushion will double as a flotation device,” Colin said. “If we crash over land, you’ll be pretty much screwed.”

At that, the passengers laughed so loudly Colin had to stop talking. He just smiled until the noise subsided, then went on to talk about seat belts, flight magazines, and the location of the restrooms. At the end, the passengers applauded. Definitely not the usual reaction to flight instructions. Then again, Colin obviously wasn’t the usual flight attendant.

“The captain’s telling the flight crew to sit down for a few minutes because we’re about to hit some turbulence,” Colin said. “Not to worry. He knows what he’s doing. We hope.”

The laughter this time wasn’t quite as loud, though Colin was still clearly joking. He smiled and nodded. “Yeah, yeah, time to be serious. Thanks, folks. You’ve been a lovely audience. Please make sure your seat belts remain fastened until the light goes out, and as soon as the captain gives us the go-ahead, we’ll come around to take your drink orders.”

The flight crew took their seats near the cockpit entrance, and the passengers turned back to their distractions, though there was a hum of conversation that hadn’t been present before. Colin’s comedy routine had put everyone in a better mood. Even Oliver, who now wished he could fly again just to listen to Colin more.