Monday Meets: Kristen Slater

Kristen Slater drops by today as part of her blog tour publicizing Working It Out.


Monday Meets: Kristen Slater

Hello all, thanks for stopping by. And particular thanks to Brynn for letting me take over her blog today. I’m Kristen Slater and I’m on tour celebrating the publication of my novella Working It Out by Dreamspinner Press.

Gummy Bears and Lemon Cake

Working It Out is the story of how Peter “Cas” Caswell works out how you know you love someone. For him, it involves nearly losing his boyfriend, Joe, to a traffic accident.

I had a lot of fun writing this story. I had even more when the edits started and I thought I’d give you a peek into part of that process. One of the things I had to take into account was that a lot of terms don’t translate outside the UK. One passage in particular led to a fun discussion between me and three rounds of editors.

While Joe is unconscious in hospital, Cas talks to him, hoping he can hear and that it will help him to wake up. In three weeks it will be Joe’s birthday, and Cas makes a promise if Joe lives that long.

“I’ll do your favorite cake. With gummy bears.” I’d promise anything to bring him back. Cake’s not such a big thing.

Joe makes it to his birthday, and Cas makes good on his promise

Joe’s got the computer keyboard on his lap, and he’s checking emails and his favorite websites. He’s missed being in contact with people. I found out within days of meeting him that he’s miles more social than me. Lots and lots of friends, all of whom have written to ask how he is. There’s an inner circle of people, and Joe doesn’t know yet, but they’re coming over tomorrow for a surprise birthday party.

He’ll be ensconced on the sofa like a king holding court and we’ll all gather round him. Like I promised, we’re having cake with gummy bears on the icing. His favorite is lemon sponge cake, and I’ve had one made in the shape of a medieval castle. There’s lemon icing over it and then gummy bears climbing the walls, defending the towers, standing and lying all over the place. What? So? We both like gummy bears; it’s our favorite thing to take with us when we go to the cinema. I can put them on lemon cake if I want.

Initially I wrote this with jelly babies instead of gummy bears. They are soft jelly candies here in the UK, a bit like Sour Patch Kids (only without the sour sugar coating). It occurred to me that people outside the UK might not know what they are. So I asked the editors, of whom I had three.

KS: Do people in the US know what jelly babies are?

Ed1: I think we have gummies shaped like them here. 🙂

Ed2: We have Sour Patch Kids, which are kid-shaped gummies coated in sugar due to their sour flavor. For jelly babies, closest we have in flavor/shape are gummi bears.

KS: Sounds like I may need to change them for gummi bears then. We also have those over here, so people on both sides of the pond will know what I’m talking about if I do that. I’m more than happy to make this change because the effect will be the same. What do you think?

Ed1: You could just use “gummies” if you’d like.

Ed3: Although it’s pretty obvious it’s some kind of small candy, I think using something that will be familiar to all readers makes better sense here. I wouldn’t suggest that if you did not have gummy bears in the UK.

KS: I couldn’t believe it when I was food shopping and saw, right next to the jelly babies, sour patch kids! (Sugar’s a recognised food group, right?) I bought both, plus gummy bears, purely for research you understand, and compared them. The sour patch kids were just right and I got all excited. Then I looked for how long they’d been around in the UK and it’s only 2 years. 😦   Gummy bears it is. 🙂

As to why I decided on lemon cake, and why I decorated it as I did—that’s a story for another day.

(Just for the record―Joe loves the cake.)

During my tour I’m running a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $10 gift certificate for the Dreamspinner Press store. You can enter by commenting on any of the posts on my blog tour and then visiting Rafflecopter to tell me about it. While there you can click to follow me on twitter and follow my blog for more opportunities to win.

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Working It Out
Celebrating six months with his boyfriend has Cas in a bit of a panic. Joe’s been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas just can’t get the words past his lips. A week before Christmas, he finally says them when a nearly fatal accident almost takes Joe, and Cas faces the possibility of losing the best man he’s ever known. But whispered declarations are one thing. Through a long, tough recovery both men must work out that love is more than words.

Working It Out is available from Dreamspinner Press.

You can find me online on my blog at and tweeting from time to time as @Slater_Kristen.



  1. Hi Kristen and thank you for another insight into your writing process and the problems with differences in the US/UK language especially the food name differences. As a Brit I know what Jelly Babies are and Gummy Bears, although I cannot eat either of them, maybe you could have used Jelly Beans? I wonder what sugary British treats that would cause a similiar problem, maybe humbugs or gob-stoppers? 🙂

    I also enjoyed reading this excerpt about Cas and how much he finds out about Joe whilst he is unconscious in hospital, especially how social he is and how many of Joe’s inner circle friends he has not met yet. So he started rectifying all this by arranging a party with all of them and a lemon sponge cake with gummy bears.

    Thank you for a chance to win DsP gift voucher and I wonder what I would like to buy if I was lucky enough to be picked by the Rafflecopter, hmm?

  2. Hi Sula

    I just had this silly image in my head of a cake like a mediaeval castle and little people attacking and defending it. Of course, the little people would have to be edible too, so jelly babies it was. Until I realised people outside the UK might not have heard about them. The gummy bears work, even though they’re not people, because they still have faces and sort of arms and legs. Not that jelly beans wouldn’t work as cake decorations in other circumstances, assuming I didn’t eat them first! 🙂

  3. Pingback: I’m going on tour | kristenslater

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