Kristi Lee’s Irish Surprise

April 29, 2015


Hey there! My name is Kristi Lee. It’s not a pseudonym, that’s really my name. I’m thrilled to announce the release of my first completed original fiction work, Surprised at Nothing, published today by Dreamspinner Press. I started writing it a year and a half ago intending for it to be a Harry Potter/Secret of Kells crossover story of all things, but then I realized that essentially all of the characters were original characters, so I challenged myself to do my own world-building and here we are. :) I knew from the beginning I wanted the story to be set primarily in Ireland, a country I haven’t yet visited but have been somewhat obsessed by since I was a child. I also have an obsession with red-haired men, so the protagonist in Surprised at Nothing has a head of beautiful red hair.

This is a ‘how they get together’ story, introducing Reggie (the protagonist) and ’Kelp’, whose real name is Ian, and the small cast of characters around them. Reggie is a magus archeologist, and Kelp is ostensibly a historian and lecturer, though he drifts rather like seaweed on the tide in this story. There’s also a dragon egg, or perhaps it’s just a fossilized rock- you’ll have to read to find out. ;) I had a very interesting moment while writing it— I was driving to a workout and had a sudden vision of a climactic, dramatic incident that needed to happen. The image and scene was so vivid in my mind that I nearly turned left on a red arrow into oncoming traffic! Thankfully I didn’t suffer a car crash while writing this story. :)

I wrote slash (m/m) fanfiction for over a decade, and am most comfortable writing male/male stories, exploring male relationships in their myriad forms. I’m also used to immediate feedback, so while writing this, I sent sections to a couple of fandom friends to hear what they thought since this was my first time relying on my own world-building. Like me, and Reggie, they all fell for Kelp pretty hard. Since Surprised at Nothing is from Reggie’s point of view, we get to learn a lot about him, including a particularly challenging handicap Kelp has: he’s an Unfortunate. That means that while he’s born of magus parents and lives primarily in the magus world, he can’t perform any spellcastings or other magic himself. He copes remarkably well despite that, but Reggie is witness to some comments and an emotional storm that indicate Kelp has had to deal with a lot in the past— and still does.

As I was writing this, I had sequels in mind already, and that’s what I’m working on now: sequel #1, as of yet untitled. The editing process for Surprised at Nothing really helped me hone in on Reggie and Kelp’s motivations, to flesh out their backstories in my mind, and to let my imagination run wild in what they could get up to next. I love to do research, and did a lot of searching to decide where to set the next story. The small town of Letterfrack features in Surprised at Nothing, selected both because it’s by the water, but also because I loved the name. The sequel-in-process is primarily in the Boyne Valley, featuring the Neolithic passage tombs of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. Irish legend and the power of myth are prominent in these stories as I’m personally drawn to Celtic mythology— and it’s a perfect backdrop for these two young men to begin to fall for each other.


Symbolic tattoos make an appearance in Surprised at Nothing, and that thread continues on in the sequel I’m writing now. As a reader, do you find yourself visualizing tattoos described in the stories you love, perhaps even drawing them yourself? Where on the male body do you think they are potentially the sexiest? And so near and dear to my heart: who here thinks that red haired men are particularly compelling? ;)

Please reach out to me— I’d love to hear from you!


5 Responses to “Kristi Lee’s Irish Surprise”

  1. Susan says:

    I dated a red-haired guy who just stopped calling, leaving me wondering what went wrong. So now I’m off red heads for good! I’m not a huge tattoo fan, but I like an arm band, but not a full sleeve.

  2. Trix says:

    In my area, I’m one of the few people with *no* tattoos, so the novelty factor isn’t there for me. I might be intrigued by something subtle that I’d have to search to find…

  3. Waxapplelover says:

    Congrats on the release! I don’t have any artistic talent, so it’s a no on the drawing of tattoos, but I do think they can look good on the shoulder or back. I’m equal opportunity on the hair color. :)

  4. H.B. says:

    I’m not really into tattoos but I do think they look good on people sometimes. Just the other day on my hour walk home I saw a guy who had tattoos on the back of his arms that said safe on the left and sex on the right.

  5. Kristi says:

    So glad to hear from all of you!
    @ Susan- I’m so sorry to hear about the red-haired guy who wasn’t at all kind to you. :( I’ve never dated a redhead, though back in my youth I had a *huge* crush on my cousin John, who has red curly hair. :)

    @ Trix- I wonder if you’re near me, in Portland, Oregon! Tattoos are totally the norm here. I like the idea of more hidden tattoos myself as well. Mine is on my back left shoulder blade, so even I don’t see it very often.

    @ Waxapplelover- Thank you!! I’m so, so excited to have this work published by Dreamspinner. I think the great irony in my life is that while I’ve had a lifelong obsession with redheads of both genders, I’ve never managed to date one myself. :P

    @ H.B.- Thanks for commenting! People can express a lot about themselves with tattoos, and certainly safe sex is a great message. I waited until I was 37 to get a tattoo and have been very content with the one, which I understand is rare. But even I am now considering another one after being inspired by someone in my workout class who has a tribal lizard on her left hand.

Leave a Reply