Sunday, July 29, 2012

Guest Author : Kim Fielding Talks About Communication and is holding a Book Contest

Hi! I’m Kim Fielding, and today I’d like to talk about communication. It’s a subject that’s dear to my heart because I communicate professionally, both in my day job (I’m a university professor) and as an author. Of course, the most obvious way we communicate is with words. I do love words, as any of my long-suffering teachers would have attested to. But words aren’t the only way we talk to each other, and sometimes they’re not even the most important way.

I guess I was always vaguely aware of nonverbal communication, but it wasn’t until last year that I truly realized how rich it can be. Last year I spent five months living in Croatia—and I speak only a few words of Croatian (although I’m pretty fluent in Croatian food). Fortunately for me, most young people there speak excellent English, and they’re very patient with those who don’t speak the local language. But older people often learned German as their second language instead. That meant that when I had business to conduct at the post office or supermarket or police station or newsstand, when I wanted to buy train tickets or discuss an issue with my building manager, we had to get creative. I learned very soon that enormous amounts of information can be exchanged without either party understanding a single word the other says.
It’s a marvel, really, how much we can convey by context, by gesture and facial expression. Even when we share a language with someone, what goes unsaid can often be more telling than the words that are uttered.
I’ve explored tricky communication issues in some of my books. In my newest novella, Speechless, one of the main characters was in an accident that left him with aphasia. This means he can understand everything but can’t speak or write—an especially troubling affliction for Drew, who used to be a writer. I had to find ways to help readers and the other main character—a lonely lathe operator named Travis—understand Drew as a person.
In my novel Good Bones, Dylan and Chris both speak perfect English, but they aren’t very good at communicating. Not only that, but Dylan is afraid to tell Chris that he’s a werewolf, while Chris tries to hide his insecurities with a sometimes prickly temperament. In my fantasy trilogy that begins with Stasis, my heroes travel far abroad in their quest for freedom, which sometimes raises language barriers. And in my newest novel, Brute, which will be released this winter, one of the main characters has been cursed with a nearly incomprehensible stutter.
Communication—and the problems associated with it—is a fascination of mine. I hope my readers find it interesting too!

I’m giving away one e-book version of Speechless. All you have to do to enter is comment here and include your email. I’ll randomly choose a winner on August 3. Good luck!

Title: Speechless
Release Date: July 18, 2012
Author: Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link:
Genre : contemporary m/m romance
Blurb: Travis Miller has a machining job, a cat named Elwood, and a pathetic love life. The one bright spot in his existence is the handsome guitar player he sometimes passes on his way home from work. But when he finally gathers the courage to speak to the man, Travis learns that former novelist Drew Clifton suffers from aphasia: Drew can understand everything Travis says, but he is unable to speak or write.

The two lonely men form a friendship that soon blossoms into romance. But communication is only one of their challenges—there’s also Travis’s inexperience with love and his precarious financial situation. If words are the bridge between two people, what will keep them together?
Drew was there the next day, and Travis again sat beside
him and monologued. Drew did a pretty good job of
communicating with his hands and body, with bits of song,
and with his face. He had the most expressive face Travis
had ever seen. But still Travis talked a lot, more than he’d
talked since he’d arrived in Portland, and that was fine.
Drew didn’t seem to mind, at least. Travis hinted at his
shitty parents and the problems he’d had in school, as well
as his general state of loneliness.

“I’ll bet you’d never guess this, the way I’ve been
running off at the mouth at you, but I’m actually kinda shy.”

Drew raised an eyebrow.

“No, really!” Travis said. “I don’t make friends very
easily. I mean, there’s the guys at work, sure, and we get
along okay, but we don’t seem to have much in common.” He
sighed as a young family—mother, father, preschooler—
passed by on the other side of the street. “I have one really
close friend. Sara. She’s been my BFF since junior high.”

Because Drew seemed interested, Travis told stories
about Sara, who was back in Bakersfield, working in human
resources for a medical practice and slowly plugging away at
an MBA. After Travis mentioned her for the zillionth time,
Drew held a hand up to stop him. Then, eyebrows raised,
Drew held the thumb and index finger of one hand together
in a circle and poked the other index finger in and out of it.

Travis blushed. “Uh, no. Sara likes girls. And, um, I
don’t.” He glanced nervously at Drew, but instead of having
some kind of silent homophobic snit, Drew gave him a slow,
pleased smile.

Travis grinned back.

H.C. It's great to have you here today.

Don't forget to comment to go into the contest guys :-)


  1. you are right, so much of our communication is non-verbal. Body language, gestures, facial expressions are much more spontaneous than words and sometimes tell a lot that hasn't been said.

    No need to enter me in the contest, I already bought Speechless and loved it - as I loved all your stories so far

  2. Thanks so much for hosting me, H.C.!

    1. You are always welcome :-)

      I really enjoyed your post.

  3. Ooh, Ooh, pick me, pick me! *jumps up and down with hand raised* I've loved this story in both of it's incarnations and the thought of winning a copy just thrills me to death!

  4. Kim Fielding is a great author, and she knows her stuff. Her work is amazing. I <3 her.

  5. This sounds like a wonderful book! I really enjoyed your blog post as well. Communication is so much more than words and I think we forget that in today's world of texting/emails/messaging. I'm glad you pointed that out.

  6. Thanks for the post. Your books are awesome!! Thanks for the giveaway!


  7. I love Kim Fielding's other books, and it would be wonderful to win a copy of Speechless. Thank you for the competition.


  8. I enjoyed both the post and the excerpt; they were great reads. I am adding this to my wish list.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  9. Thanks for commenting, everyone! The winner is arcadii! :-)