Angela recently read Painted Faces by LH Cosway. The book features a hero who is a travelling cabaret performer who performs in drag. He’s not a typical romance hero and Angela says, “This isn’t a love story you will soon forget…”. You can read the rest of what she had to say about Painted Faces in her review posted earlier today.
Fiction Vixen is pleased to welcome author LH Cosway.
FVBR: Thanks for visiting with us today! I have to say first that I absolutely adored both Nicholas and Freda. They had quite a journey and seeing them accept and find love with each other was lovely. What kind of feedback have you received since Painted Faces was released?
LHC: Thank you! I’m glad you adored them, I adore them too! The feedback I’ve had for the book so far has been quite a surprise. To be honest, I only really expected the readers who have enjoyed my previous novels to give this one a chance, but it seems to have garnered interest from a whole new audience that I never reached previously. Of course, there are always going to be parts of a story that readers like and parts that they dislike, but on the whole I’ve had a very positive response. I never thought this many people would be open to a book where the male lead is a drag queen. Life is just full of surprises like that.
FVBR: Please tell us about yourself. Is writing your primary focus? Likes? Dislikes? Hobbies? Favorite book?
LHC: Writing and editing is my day job, so the majority of my free time I dedicate to writing fiction, or reading books. It’s hard to pick a favorite book, because I love so many. Every time I get asked this question I tend to give a different answer. One of the best books I read in 2012 was Graffiti Moon by Cath Crawley. I’m also a bit of a foodie, which will be quite obvious to those who’ve read Painted Faces. I love trying out new recipes and devising my own concoctions. Other than that I like musical comedy, I like discovering strange and obscure musicians and I like going out and socializing, mainly because those are the times when you get to really study people. Being a writer means that figuring people out has become something of a strange fixation of mine. I don’t have very many dislikes, although one pet hate that I’ve developed since I started publishing is when readers mistake the Irish phrasing I sometimes use in dialogue for errors or parapraxis, lol.
FVBR: Painted Faces is such a unique story and Nicholas is such a different romance hero. He is so damaged and deals with his loss and pain in a very different way than any other I’ve seen. How did his story come to you?
LHC: There are a few things that drove the creation of the story and Nicholas as a character. I’ve always been very interested in gender identities and how we all have different ideas when it comes to defining beauty. The story basically grew from there. In a lot of books with what we call “damaged” heroes we’ll see them being completely unable to function on a normal level. With Nicholas I wanted to show how most of us have had a traumatic experience at one point or another, but we get on with it. We have our low points, but on the whole we can function. In Nicholas’ case, he uses his performances as a form of therapy; whenever he gets down about his past he finds some way to pull himself out of it.
FVBR: How difficult was it to create a male character who is both so masculine and sexy, while giving him such feminine characteristics?
LHC: To be honest, I didn’t find it difficult at all. I actually think that a touch of femininity in a man can be extremely attractive. On the other hand, I also like my alpha males as much as the next girl. So I suppose that in creating Nicholas I was fashioning a man who was appealing on both a masculine and a feminine level. I also wanted to challenge the predominant trend that a fictional romance hero has to be this completely male being. I wanted to show that a man in heels and a dress can be just as heart stopping as a big, hulking manly guy.
FVBR: Freda is so snarky and sarcastic and, in my opinion, quite fabulous. How did you come to the decision to tell the story primarily form her POV?
LHC: For some reason whenever I sit down to write a story it just always seems to feel more comfortable to write in the first person, and normally from the point of view of the female lead. I know that some people dislike the first person, but for me I have to be as close to the character as I can possibly get. I want to feel and experience every thought that goes through their head. Out of all the narrators I’ve created, Freda is perhaps the one character who closest resembles my own life and thought processes. She is my age, she lives in my city and has the same reference points. I’ve also had issues with weight, so I know how the world can judge those outside of what is thought to be “aesthetically pleasing”. I suppose this made the decision to write from her perspective quite an easy one.
FVBR: As a reader I often immerse myself in a story and find that sometimes it’s hard for me to let go to some characters. I would imagine that for an author this would be even more difficult. How did you feel once Freda and Nicholas’s story was complete?
LHC: Oh I was absolutely heartbroken. I finished writing the first draft of the book early in November last year, and I can remember wallowing for quite a few days. I guess that’s the tragedy of a stand alone novel, because there has to be a point at which you free the characters to the endless possibilities of the rest of their unwritten journey. I don’t think letting characters go is ever going to be something that I’ll be able to do easily. It’s just one of the many hard parts of being a writer.
FVBR: Are any of your characters based on people you know?
LHC: Haha! This is always a dodgy question. Generally speaking, no none of the characters are completely based on people I know. However I do find myself unconsciously taking bits and pieces of different peoples’ personalities and injecting them into my characters. I want to write stories with characters that feel real, and I find that the best way to do that is to use your experience of real people in order to create life-like fictional personalities.
FVBR: Is Painted Faces a stand-a-lone or will be seeing more of Freda and Nicholas in the future? (Please say we will) Do you have any other projects in the works?
LHC: This is such a difficult question, because I had always only intended for the book to be a stand alone novel. But, but! I would definitely consider writing something from Nicholas’ point of view in the future. At the moment I’m working on the 3rd book in my urban fantasy series, Tegan’s Blood, and when I’m finished that I have another contemporary romance in the pipeline, this one set in London. So perhaps after I finish both of those I will go back and write a book about Nicholas, but I’ll make no promises!
FVBR: Thank you for talking with us today LH.
LH Cosway would like to giveaway an ebook copy of Painted Faces to one lucky reader. To enter leave a comment on the interview.
Open to all where allowed. You have until end of day January 18 to enter, winner will be announced soon after.
This giveaway is sponsored by: LH Cosway
No purchase necessary to win. You must be 18 or over to enter, void where prohibited. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. FVBR is not being compensated for this giveaway. If the winner declines to accept or fails to claim their prize within 72 hours of the announcement, they forfeit their prize(s). Prize distribution is the sole responsibility of the giveaway sponsor. Fiction Vixen Book Reviews will not be held responsible for lost or misdirected prizes or for circumstances beyond our control. More information here.