On my blog today I’ve got fellow Brit Josephine Myles. Welcome back Jo! Jo’s got a new novel out, a Christmas themed story, called Merry Gentlemen, which is loads of fun. I’ve asked Jo a few questions about the story. Keep on scrolling for more info about Merry Gentlemen and comment for a change to win a book from Jo’s backlist.
You always have a great feeling of authenticity with your stories, whether it’s about narrowboats or the plumbing business! In this one you include lots of detail about Bath Christmas Market, where Riley and Stan meet up again. Is that direct experience or thorough research?
Thanks, Becky—I do appreciate it when people notice those details! This time around there was a bit of both. I’ve certainly attended the Bath Christmas Market many times, although not in the last few years, I must admit. Because my memories were a little stale I went to their website for research, reminding myself of which streets the stalls spread down (it seems to be growing every year!) and looking at photos of the little wooden chalets. I did take a field trip and had a wander around that area by the Roman Baths and the Abbey while writing, and ended up having to change my original plan of where Riley was going to do his rooftop “performance” as it just didn’t look safe in reality!
Riley and Stan are very different people, with apparently conflicting ambitions in life. Would you say their relationship works out in the end because they’re also able to make compromises for each other?
Absolutely! But you can’t compromise on the really important stuff, so it came down to Riley figuring out how to find a way of fulfilling his needs in Stan’s world. Stan does have to compromise too, but I think it’s probably fair to say he doesn’t make as big a change as Riley does. Sometimes, though, that’s just the way it has to be. I have it from Riley, though, that he’s very happy with the way things are.
You have a very British sensibility to your stories and your characters are very down to earth, very real, with normal jobs and lives most people can relate to. In a genre dominated by U.S. set stories, and lots of characters with glamorous jobs, what do your American readers make of all these working class British guys?
My American readers (and those from other parts of the world) seem to find the down to earth Britishness rather charming. I made a decision very early on in my writing career that my voice was too British to write US set stories, and so I knew I would have to play on the Brit angle as part of my “brand”. It helps that I adore British slang and I’m familiar with some iconic British settings. I must write more set in my neck of the woods, though. I live fairly near Stonehenge and Glastonbury but have never been particularly excited by either place, but tourists all want to go there for some reason. Perhaps I should write a book playing with all those hippie-dippie West Country locations. The hero would have to have long hair and drive a camper van covered in daisies and CND signs. Hmmm…
Riley has a nemesis in this book, in the shape of a seagull. Is that bird trying to give him a message?
Originally the seagull was merely a plot device allowing me to have a gratuitious comedy birdshit scene, but after feedback from my beta readers I realised she needed to come back into the story later and help Riley figure some things out. The later balcony scene worked out just perfectly, and I’m just so glad I have wonderful critique partners who prompt me to make my stories stronger.
Thanks for inviting me over to chat, Becky! Hope you have a wonderful festive season and don’t get any crap from the seagulls!
Merry Gentlemen is available from the following retailers:
Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks:
’Tis the season of goodwill to all men…even the one who dumped you.
Riley MacDermott’s ambitions are simple. Managing the annual Bath Christmas Market—which involves long hours in the cold and a whole lot of hassle—will secure the promotion he needs to afford to move out of his noisy, top-floor flat. Where not even his balcony is safe from an aggressive herring gull.
The last stallholder he expects to see is his ex. Riley never recovered from their break up, and five years on the old chemistry still sparkles. So does their habitual head butting.
Stan never wanted to leave the love of his life, but the pull of the woods was too strong—and Riley was firmly planted in the city. Reconnecting is painful, but Stan still jumps at the chance to stay with his old flame during the Market. And damn the consequences.
As the weeks pass, the two grow closer than ever. But despite scorching sex and cozy intimacy, they both know they face a cold and lonely future. Unless one of them can compromise.
Warning: Contains sex in a shed, a seagull with a grudge, glamping, awful Secret Santa underwear, misuse of an Abba song, and as many wood-related puns as the author thought she could get away with.
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. She blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.
Jo is also one of the organising team behind the UK Meet, an annual event celebrating GLBTQ fiction. She publishes regularly with Samhain, and has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish on occasion, although she prefers to leave the “boring bits” of the book creation process to someone else.
Website and blog
Jo is giving away a title from her backlist to one lucky commenter. Comment here by 30th of November (09:00 UK time) to be in with a chance of winning.