Renae Kaye just celebrated her first year at Dreamspinner Press and I have to tell you I am impressed. I knew within a few pages of her submission to A Taste of Honey with her story Bear Chasing that I wanted it and had to have it. Bear Chasing is a wonderful story!
And now I have no doubt that The Shearing Gun, her new novel, will be so as well. I personally am running off to buy a copy!
And so now without further ado, let me present the sweet and wonderful and quite talented Renae Kaye. I bet you’ll be running off to buy something by her when you are done!
Why I wrote The Shearing Gun by Renae Kaye
Soon after I’d finished writing The Blinding Light, I was looking for inspiration on what to write next. I wanted something uniquely Australian, something that readers were not used to getting in their books.
One thing that I see a lot of in m/m romance is cowboys – and hell-yes, why not? They are a sexy breed of man! In Australia, we have vast tracts of land we call stations (which Americans call ranches) where we run cattle and thus we have our lovely cowboys. But near Perth where I live, the land is greener and so farming is more intensive. The land usually runs dairy cows or sheep.
Suddenly I had a brilliant idea. Why couldn’t I make one of my characters a shearer? My father was a shearer, as well as two of my brothers, two nephews and (yes!) even a sister-in-law. It was Australian. It was unique. But would readers go for it? I decided that they would and opened my imagination.
Within hours Hank had materialised in my mind. A big guy – handsome and fit, but devoted to the land. Deep, deep in the closet and too scared to peep out in case he has to give up his beloved farming land and sheep. Salt of the earth, hardworking and just trying to make his father proud.
Then, the wheels turned and Elliot materialised – a fish out of water in the rural farming town. A doctor from the city, stuck in the country for a year. One who’s attracted to Hank, but really just needs a friend. Caring and so smart, but willing to muck in and learn when he needs to.
So I put them on the page together and watched them sizzle.
Don’t be afraid! Yes – there is shearing and farming, but really, this is just a background setting to the romance of these two guys. Being a Renae Kaye novel, you can be assured that you get to laugh and smile as you read the story. (I tried to write without humour once. It wasn’t pretty.) You also get a bunch of secondary characters, who sometimes help, and sometimes hinder our guys.
Then I needed a nickname. If you ever meet an Australian, you will soon find we don’t always use our given names. Nicknames are a part of our culture, and we all (especially men) have at least one bestowed on us by a friend. Sketty because his father owns an Italian restaurant, Brownie because his last name is Brown, Milko because he works in a dairy, Gonzo because he has a big nose, or Flip because he once (thirty years ago) did a backflip off a diving board and hit his head. We find humour in everything.
If you’re a doctor, you’re a Quack. Quack Elliot. Quack Ell. Quackle! And thus Quackle was born… or rather hatched.
So I invite you all to take a journey with Hank and Quackle. It is a journey of how two men, hiding who they are, became friends, then lovers, then something much much more.
The Shearing Gun:
At twenty-five, Hank owns a small parcel of land in Australia’s rural southwest where he supplements his income from the property with seasonal shearing. Hank is a “shearing gun”—an ace shearer able to shear large numbers of sheep in a single day. His own father kicked him out when his sexuality was revealed, and since no one would ever hire a gay shearer, Hank has remained firmly closeted ever since.
Elliot is the newbie doctor in town—city-born and somewhat shell-shocked from his transplant to the country. When a football injury brings Hank to Elliot’s attention, an inappropriate sexual glance and the stuttered apology afterward kickstarts their friendship. Romance and love soon blossom, but it’s hard for either of them to hope for anything permanent. As if the constant threat of being caught isn’t enough, Elliot’s contract runs out after only a year.
Renae Kaye is a lover and hoarder of books who thinks libraries are devilish places because they make you give the books back. She consumed her first adult romance book at the tender age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since. After years—and thousands of stories!—of not having book characters do what she wants, she decided she would write her own novel and found the characters still didn’t do what she wanted. It hasn’t stopped her though. She believes that maybe one day the world will create a perfect couple—and it will be the most boring story ever. So until then she is stuck with quirky, snarky, and imperfect characters who just want their story told.
Renae lives in Perth, Western Australia, and writes in five minute snatches between the demands of two kids, a forbearing husband, too many pets, too much housework, and her beloved veggie garden. She is a survivor of being the youngest in a large family and believes that laughter (and a good book) can cure anything.