Well, we continue our backwards review of the Comfort series with the second book, Caressa’s Knees! Rather than hunt up an excerpt, I thought it would be fun to revisit this interview of Kyle Winchell that I did in conjunction with Michelle R. at The Romance Reviews. It’s been over two years now since the interview was originally posted, so many of you may have missed it the first time. Enjoy!
Michelle R: **grinning like the Cheshire Cat**
Welcome dear readers. I am more than a little relieved that you will be joining us via transcript as opposed to in the flesh. Up close and personal, my giddy pre-teen excitement is a frightening thing to behold. I’ll admit, I’ve been stalking Annabel Joseph for a while now hoping to get a little one on one time with a man of mystery and intrigue I met in COMFORT OBJECT, Kyle Winchell. Thank goodness his story is finally being told in her new book, CARESSA’S KNEES, and she is allowing me to drag him out into the limelight so I can have my wicked way with him!!
Hi Kyle, I’m so thrilled to finally have you here. Jeremy was quite the man in Comfort Object, but you were the one I kept craving to learn more about. *pours Kyle a glass of sweet tea* I had this initial plan to get you drunk in hopes of uncovering some of your deep dark secrets. Now, having read your story, I get why Annabel wasn’t very forthcoming with the introductions earlier. Protective much? Would you like to share with every one about what happened in your life after Jeremy and Nell left for the east coast?
Kyle: After Jeremy and Nell went to Boston, I actually kept working for him for another year or so. I logged a lot of air miles, yeah, but that was nothing unusual. It was mainly setting up meetings and managing his L.A. affairs for him so when he came into town every couple weeks, we could get things done quickly and efficiently and get him back on the plane to Boston ASAP.
Michelle: *raises eyebrow to give Kyle the evil eye* Well, from what I hear it wasn’t quite that pretty. I can understand you want to keep the down and dirty private, but admission is the first step, my dear.
Kyle: Oh, you mean…oh. Yeah. You’re talking about the alcohol, cocaine, and loose women. Okay, yeah, that part of it was pretty ugly. I was fighting a lot of demons during that time. Unsuccessfully. I was working through the trauma of watching Nell and Jeremy ride off into the sunset, and then the guilt about shooting Nell’s assailant, and guilt about a lot of other stuff I did as his assistant. It was a lot to deal with at once.
Michelle: *puts hand over his and pats in comfort* Hun, why didn’t you fight for Nell? Why did you just sit back and watch her be swept away?
Kyle: You know, I think even then I knew there was no point in it. It was obvious from the start that she was lovesick for Jeremy, and Jeremy…well…I knew him better than anyone, and I knew how much he loved her even before he did. He would have fought me tooth and nail for her, and he would have won. They belonged together. A lot of the arguing and sniping I did with Nell was just my frustration about that fact.
Michelle: What about your family. I assume you are close to them. You left Nell and Jeremy during the holidays to be with them in Texas. Why not crawl back to Texas instead of a bottle?
Kyle: Guys in my family don’t pine over women. They just don’t. I could never have explained the whole sordid situation to them anyway. And you know, even when I was hitting the bottle for solace, I wasn’t admitting to myself the real reason I was doing it. I convinced myself I was just partying, living the lifestyle, because in a way I was ashamed I couldn’t get over her.
Michelle: What made you leave the great state of Texas and move to Hollywood in the first place? Seriously, I didn’t know there were Texans who willingly left.
Kyle: Heh. I don’t know. I guess it’s the whole small-town-boy syndrome. All you think about your entire childhood is getting away. Anywhere. People told me I could make it as a model and I believed them. I got to L.A. and realized a million other guys there could also make it as a model. If Jeremy Gray hadn’t hired me as his assistant, I would have been back on the bus to Spur within a couple weeks.
Michelle: Ok, I want the real skinny. Why in the world did you put up with that man’s crap, err… I mean narcissism? Sure, now that Nell’s got a hold of him, he’s all sweetness and sugar (well, sometimes) but he had you doing some pretty out there things before they hooked up. I mean, I know assistants to the famous are abused, but come on. *shakes head*
Kyle: At first I put up with his narcissism because it was either do that or give up and go home. Plus I just assumed all stars acted that way. It wasn’t until a few months down the line that I started to recognize the human being under there. And then it was still a few months after that before I realized the narcissism-asshole thing was a total act and that Jeremy was actually hurting. I was slow. Nell realized it right away.
Michelle: So, the whole Dom thing… I know it was an unspoken job requirement to participate in the topping of Jeremy’s subs, but did you…do you… identify yourself as a Dominant?
Kyle: I do identify myself as a Dominant, but like most Dominants, I have my own style and preferences. I watched Jeremy dom girls many times, and while I admired his intensity, he was much more into sadism and humiliation than I was. Which is another reason Nell wasn’t right for me–she was into that stuff too, and I really didn’t have the steel for it. I’d say my preferences lie more along the lines of control than sadism. I love having a girl shaking and begging under me. I love being able to demand something, and have those demands fulfilled without a lot of lip and emotional games. I just love being in control of a willing, horny female. Nothing better.
Michelle: *nods towards her laptop* I was lucky enough to have a peek at your story, CARESSA’S KNEES. I noticed you signed on to be the famed cello prodigy’s assistant. Sugar, you went from the frying pan into the fire. That girl is more of a mess than Jeremy ever was. What is up with her?
Kyle: Caressa is an oddity in that she’s never had an actual normal life. Even as a child, there were practices and performances. She’d never gone to a regular school or been around regular people her age. The world went on around her unnoticed while she focused completely on her talent and her musical career. Needless to say, she wasn’t happy when I met her, and she wasn’t real easy to get along with.
Michelle: How do you go about helping someone like Caressa? How did you make it work?
Kyle: Well, in a way it was Jeremy all over again—only I realized the syndrome much more quickly this time. You know, that the angst and aggression and rudeness was a front for the turmoil she was experiencing inside. Once I realized that, I was able to come up with strategies to help her. Getting her out into the world, trying to engage her emotionally. It was a process, trial and error. We had some bad moments, like any couple. But it got to a point where I realized I was helping her because I loved her, and not just because it was my job. After that there was no real question of making it work. I was in it for the long run.
Michelle: I had such a great time going to Spur, Texas with the two of you and meeting your family. You all seem pretty close, tell me about them.
Kyle: My family are pretty simple people. Born and bred Texans, who live for country, family, and friends. My dad works as a tree surgeon, and he’s known to be a little reckless. My mom is calmer, kind of the yin to my dad’s yang. She was always a rock, always super dependable. I think all of us kids ended up with the best of both worlds, because we learned my mom’s organization and fortitude, and got a good dose of daring and recklessness too from my dad’s side.
Michelle: Your great-grandmother cracked me up! She is one honest woman and I hope she never starts editing what she says. What did Caressa think of her?
Kyle: It was actually really endearing the way Great-Grandma and Caressa hit it off. I think Caressa was afraid of her at first, just because Great-Grandma can be so random and weird, but in the end I think both of them realized they were kindred spirits. Impulsive, sometimes strange, and often judged. They had that common experience they shared.
Michelle: If the two of you settled down and had kids, would you want to raise them in Spur?
Kyle: It depends on where Caressa goes professionally in the coming years. If she wanted to settle down and raise kids in Spur, that would be fantastic. If she wanted to keep performing and recording, we might need to live closer to New York, but even then, I think Spur would be home base at least a couple months a year.
Michelle: Have you realized you are in a polyamorous / menage relationship with a cello and the cello is getting more time in between Caressa’s legs?
Kyle: I am insanely jealous of the cello.
Michelle: Caressa has been all over the world, but she hasn’t really seen the world. Where would you like to take her? You seem to be quite the romantic. I don’t want to give it away, but the place you took her to in Spur was unforgettable. So with the world to explore, where to now?
Kyle: Honestly, I have a constant compulsion to take Caressa away from civilization and people and pressure and just let her be wild. I picture taking her to a deserted island somewhere and letting her run naked with flowers in her hair, making sandcastles and scaling trees for coconuts. She’d do it, too. Or I picture taking her out to some expansive moor in Scotland or England, and watching her run across the field with her hair streaming behind her and the wind at her back. Or taking her out to some remote mountain cabin somewhere with a wonderful view and just keeping her naked and horny there among the trees. I guess that’s not really allowing her to “see the world” so to speak, but, I mean, she’s seen the world already. What she’s missed is all the little, everyday experiences of being alive and carefree.
Michelle: You really have had quite a journey the last few years. What have you learned? Or maybe I should ask how has it changed you?
Kyle: I’ve learned that people are endlessly complex, and that life is what you make it. I’ve learned to put my foot down about some things, but to let other things go. I’ve learned that love and sanity don’t always go together. But sanity is overrated.
Michelle: As I read CARESSA’S KNEES, I decided you must be one of the most romantic men on the planet. Women all over are going to be swooning for you. Is there any little romantic gesture you’ve done for Caressa that isn’t in the book that you would be willing to share with us? Maybe something that has happened since the story ended or something that might have ended up on the editing floor?
Kyle: I’m that combination of being romantic and a huge planner. I never make little romantic gestures, always larger, intricately planned romantic gestures. That’s one of the things I do when I’m sitting in the wings watching her play, plan stuff to do for her. And to her.
Anyway, every day with Caressa is romantic. Little romantic gestures? Well, I kiss and hug on her constantly, does that count?
Michelle: How about some of those short, fun questions they like to do on talk shows? It will be painless, I promise. Favorite song?
Kyle: Okay, it’s really sappy, but Amazed by Lonestar. I belt it out to Caressa at the top of my lungs every so often. She runs away until I’m done.
Michelle: Favorite food?
Kyle: Salad. Is that not a masculine answer?
Michelle: Greatest weakness?
Kyle: I can be a little bossy. And OCD.
Michelle: You have an afternoon to yourself and one wish, what would it be?
Kyle: Exclusive spa. The whole shebang. Rubdowns, soaks, mani, pedi, facial, grooming, more rubdowns. What can I say? There’s a raging metrosexual inside me.
Michelle: If you could change one thing in your past without changing the rest of the future, what would it be?
Kyle: I would have skipped the year I spent blitzed out on drugs and alcohol. In hindsight I’m lucky things didn’t turn out so much worse for me. I’m lucky I ended up where I am.
Michelle: * extends hand to Kyle* Kyle, thank you so much for sitting down and helping to clarify the man behind all the fame. You were such an enigma in COMFORT OBJECT. It’s been a joy to get to know you better in CARESSA’S KNEES as well as during our time together today. Your life has been quite the journey. I hope you, Caressa, Jeremy and Nell continue to be blessed. And thanks again for letting Annabel share your story with us.
There you have it readers, from small town Texas boy to a salad luvin’ dom and assistant to the stars, Kyle Winchell has finally stepped into the limelight to let us get to know him a little better. He and Caressa have the sweetest tale I’ve read in a long, long time. Certainly there were challenges as I am sure you can tell, but isn’t anything of value that way?