Today I am delighted to have C.S. Poe drop by for a chat. Poe, or Snitchy as I affectionately call her, writes detective novels in the elegant, no-wasted-words tradition of Hammett and Himes. She also sometimes writes very happy stories where good things happen, and some penguins! Today she’s here to talk about her story ‘Love in 24 Frames’ in the 2019 Advent Calendar!
C.S. Poe is a Lambda Literary and two-time EPIC award finalist, and a FAPA award-winning author of gay mystery, romance, and paranormal books.
She is a reluctant mover and has called many places home in her lifetime. C.S. has lived in New York City, Key West, and Ibaraki, Japan, to name a few. She misses the cleanliness, convenience, and limited-edition gachapon of Japan, but she was never very good at riding bikes to get around.
She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued two cats—Milo and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to distract her from work.
C.S. is a member of the International Thriller Writers organization.
Her debut novel, The Mystery of Nevermore, was published by DSP Publications, 2016.
Declan Groves is a CPA in New York City. His adult life is dictated by routine and borderline monotony. The need to express himself, in ways his career and crippling shyness have never allowed, leads Declan to becoming an amateur stop-motion filmmaker.
The one problem is that Declan is also in love with the Wandering Artist Studios receptionist Shota Watanabe. Shota has always had a smile and engaging comment ready for Declan, but even if it is more than casual politeness, Declan hasn’t been able to get out more than a tongue-tied sentence at a time. And a man like Shota surely has no intention of waiting forever.
So when an unexpected change to Declan’s daily schedule throws the two together outside of the studio, it might be the catalyst needed to explore what’s unspoken between them. But if they’re to have a future, Declan needs to find a way to tell Shota how he truly feels.
Interview with C.S. Poe
How did you come up with the idea for Love in 24 Frames?
Honestly, I had just gotten over the release of my novel, The Mystery of the Moving Image, which was a mystery-romance centered around the history of early motion pictures in America, as well as a novella called, Lights. Camera. Murder. which was a mystery-romance on a live television set. I think I was still so deeply down the rabbit hole of film everything that I wasn’t quite ready to let go and pulled out stop-motion as my finale!
Did you have to do a lot of research for the stop motion/film elements?
Not as much research as I’ve conducted for other stories. I have a Fine Arts degree in film production, and at the time, our department included the animation and stop-motion students, so I learned a lot about this particular artform and storytelling through osmosis.
You are a seasoned Advent pro at this point. Since the Advent Calendar is open to any winter holiday story, so what do you think are the two things that readers want from a seasonal story?
For me, when I look for a seasonal story, I want elements of nostalgia and comfort. I want to remember the good and feel content while reading. And those concepts are open to such incredible interpretation and really welcome readers from all walks of life.
OK, so what CAN people expect from Love in 24 Frames?
Middle aged heroes, an often overlooked age group, looking to belong and feel comfort and joy in a cold and snowy New York City.
Your favorite stop motion seasonal animation?
Is it a total copout to say The Nightmare Before Christmas? Ah, I’ll say it anyway! The Nightmare Before Christmas, final answer.
There he was.
The evening front-desk receptionist of Wandering Artist Studios and man I was madly in love with.
He was the most perfect human east of the Hudson River, with deep brown eyes, matching hair, and thick, expressive brows. He had a brilliant smile too, and the most kissable lips, beautifully shaped by a peaked cupid’s bow. The angel had no idea he moonlighted as my muse.
The front door clanged shut behind me, and Shota raised his head. “Good evening, Mr. Groves,” he said over the low hum of Scrooged playing on the flat-screen television mounted to the far wall.
I’d been renting a shared studio at the company’s Lower East Side location for the last six months. And for six months, I’d been wondering what the W stood for on Shota’s nametag. But I’d never been able to work up the nerve to ask. Now the window of opportunity had long since passed, so it was going to have to resign itself to being one of life’s great mysteries. I did not possess the social graces required to bring up the topic six months later without making it supremely awkward.
I was also considerably older than most of the clients who utilized the art space. When one thinks of a “New York City artist,” they don’t envision a forty-eight-year-old man in a three-piece suit, strolling through the door at seven o’clock after a long day of being an accountant. Yes, Shota W. was maybe in his forties too, but I still didn’t want to be the graying old guy he had to report to management for being a total creep.
As my niece would say.
“How are you?” Shota asked, his voice a pleasant tenor.
Of course, my social graces were about on par with that of a screaming opossum, so I think I came off strange no matter what I did to prevent it. There was a reason I pursued book balancing for a living. Numerical equations were much easier to handle than the human condition.
I nodded in response. “Yes. You?” I winced. Yes. You?