Today’s Featured Author: Adam Fitzroy

Joining me today on my blog is author Adam Fitzroy to discuss his latest book, The Bridge on the River Wye.

Interview

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

Quite a lot, I think.  Many of my characters have my slightly peculiar sense of humour, and a lot of them are self-reliant and/or calmly resigned to living in less than ideal conditions – these are definitely aspects of my own personality.  On the other hand I’ve managed so far not to inflict my unpleasant temper on any of them; I suspect that would be far too uncomfortable to write, as well as pretty unattractive to read.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

What I enjoy most is the research, particularly where it’s something I didn’t really know much about beforehand.  For example, with BETWEEN NOW AND THEN I had a wonderful time ‘driving’ around Northern Europe on Google Earth and inventing hotels and so forth.  For other books I researched paint-balling venues, how to make vinegar, and forgotten stations on the London Underground.  Research can often take a story off in unexpected directions, so in my opinion you can never really do too much!

The worst aspect of writing I think is deadline pressure.  Like many people I seem to need a proper schedule before I can really buckle down to working at a reasonable rate, but when the deadline is looming closer and the characters are taking their own sweet time to co-operate it can be very stressful indeed.  (There’s usually a certain amount of un-writerly language to be heard from me at such times!)

Please tell us about your current release.

THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER WYE was published on 1 February 2014.  It’s the story of Rupert, a chef who’s just escaped from a bad relationship and returned to his native England from Australia.  Picking up the pieces of his previous life, he meets up again with Jake – a former market trader now trying to run his family’s organic smallholding in rural Wales under increasingly difficult circumstances.  Rupert gets caught up in trying to help Jake, and as their relationship progresses they also begin to unravel the mystery of exactly how Jake’s brother met his untimely death.

How did you come up with the title?

For most of its life the book had the working title OFF THE GRID, because there’s a lot in it about self-sufficiency and treading lightly on the land – and also because I wanted the characters to be living in a relatively isolated place without mains services or decent mobile phone reception.  However the area I chose was a bend in the River Wye, which forms part of the border between England and Wales – and since Jake’s brother appears to have died as a result of falling into the river from a derelict railway bridge it wasn’t long before I was jokingly referring to the book as THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER WYE.  After that, a formal title change seemed pretty much a necessity – and, luckily, it also made for a far better cover design!

Which of your characters is your favourite?  Do you dislike any of them?

It often happens with me that a minor character will come along and turn out to be surprisingly interesting; in THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER WYE it was the police officer, Sharon Holt, who looked completely ordinary and unthreatening but was remarkably effective at her job; she was based on an off-duty police officer I encountered on a bus – another passenger was causing trouble, and she quietly got out of her seat, showed him her identification and told him to behave or she’d have to arrest him.  It was all done so beautifully and with such a minimum of fuss that I felt I had to put her in a story!

Of all my characters the one I like best, I think, is Callum in STAGE WHISPERS.  He’s a true golden boy, a talented young actor heading straight for the top, but at the same time he’s got a sort of Labrador puppy-like naivete and clumsiness which gets him into any number of awkward situations.  In fact he’s a little bit like Frank Churchill in Jane Austen’s EMMA …he makes a lot of poor decisions and disrupts the lives of everyone around him, yet somehow he still seems to emerge smelling of roses!  Reader response to Callum has been delightful – a lot of people say they ended up wanting to slap him and he really got on their nerves, but that he’s not a one-dimensional character; he learns lessons and gradually morphs into the sort of person anyone would be glad to have as a friend.

The one I dislike most is Thomas, in MAKE DO AND MEND, who was described by one reader as ‘a gigantic tool’.  Thomas hasn’t got a motive of any sort that isn’t ulterior; he’s completely self-centred – although he could also be described as ’emotionally damaged’ – and harbours resentment towards his older brother, Harry, because when Harry escaped the stifling burden of family expectations the weight all fell on Thomas’s shoulders.  Some people feel Thomas is a bit of a caricature, but I can only say that he’s very squarely based on someone I know; everything Thomas does or says is definitely something that person would do or say in the same circumstances.

Have you started your next project?  Can you share a little bit about your next book?

At the moment I’m working on a short story entitled A ROOTED SORROW which I’ll be submitting for Manifold Press’s A PRIDE OF POPPIES – an anthology of modern GLBTQI fiction of the Great War.  When I’ve finished that, I’ll be getting to grips with a book currently entitled FANDANGO in which a ghost-writer, sent to work with a notoriously secretive rock musician, learns more about the man than he could ever have imagined possible.  I also have a half-finished project entitled BOUNDARIES which I want to return to before the end of the year if I can; it’s about two teachers in a tough area of London in the 1960s who bond over trying to start a cricket team from scratch … and thereby incorporates two of my all-time favourite subjects, London and cricket!

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

Hmmm.  This is a tricky one – but thank goodness you didn’t specify living authors!  Top of my wish list would be John Le Carré and Jane Austen, both of whom I admire for their plotting.  Although Le Carré’s books take place on a world stage and Austen’s have a more intimate domestic setting there is a lot of common ground in the intricate way the strands of their plots interweave and overlap – and in the logical development of action and consequence.  Their world-building also has a similar richness; you know there are other people just over the edges of the page into whose lives the story may only give a single glance, but their existence makes the whole structure feel much more solid and secure.  If you stepped into an Austen or a Le Carré book, you could travel a very long way before you ran up against the limits of their imagination!

This breadth of vision is something I would very much like to be able to achieve myself, and it’s definitely what I’ve been aiming for with my own writing.  After all, if you’re going to emulate anyone, it should surely be someone at the top of their chosen profession – and there’s no shame attached to aiming high and falling short; it’s failing to aim at all that’s the real pity.

Tell us a random fact about you that we would never have guessed.

I adore cheesy Hong Kong action movies from the 1980s/1990s, preferably with their original soundtracks and really bad subtitles.  If I’m having a rough day, there’s nothing that cheers me up quite so much as watching Andy Lau, Chow Yun-Fat or Ti Lung outwitting bad guys.  They haven’t managed to find their way into any of my books just yet, but I have no doubt they will at some point in the future!

Book Description

Bridge OnChef Rupert’s picking up the pieces after a catastrophe; he’s lost his love, his business, his home and even his dog, and he’s trying to make a fresh start. Linking up with Jake almost on a whim he soon finds himself involved in a strange tale of organic farming, migrant workers, greed and even possibly murder – in the midst of which the attraction is still there, but Rupert’s not sure whether the feeling’s mutual or if he’s ready to try for a proper relationship again just yet …

About the Author

Imaginist and purveyor of tall tales Adam Fitzroy is a UK resident who has been successfully spinning male-male romances either part-time or full-time since the 1980s, and has a particular interest in examining the conflicting demands of love and duty.

You may find out more about him on his blog or follow him on Twitter.

You can purchase The Bridge on the River Wye on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Smashwords or his publisher’s website.

 

Today’s Featured Author: DP Denman

Today I have author DP Denman on my blog sharing an excerpt from her book, Dancer’s Heart.

Excerpt

Drew stood a few feet from the stage, arms folded across his chest watching the rehearsal of the act that made Glitters famous. They were the hottest drag club in town and that routine had a lot to do with it. However, his attention wasn’t on the choreography. It was on the man at the center of it. Simon Leander had the sort of beauty hours in the gym couldn’t manufacture. Dark blonde hair flowed to the shoulders of a wiry, toned body that came with dancing for a living. Sparkling blue eyes held something sweet and almost innocent and then there was his smile. He wanted to kiss that smile. He watched the other men on the stage pass Simon from hand to hand with graceful gestures as they simulated thrusting against him. Hands slid across his body that looked almost naked in the flesh-tone costume petting him, folding him, bending him as they pretended to take him in time to the music. The act was both hot and disturbing and he scowled at the display. He knew it was just an act but it bothered him anyway. Simon deserved better. He could imagine the way it should have looked, tender kisses and gentle caresses, loving that body the way Simon deserved. He jerked the fantasy to a halt and shifted his attention somewhere else. That wasn’t going to do him any good. “Hold it. Just stop!” Marshall bellowed over the music, waving his arms to get the attention of the kid running the sound. An instant later, the song died in mid note and movement on the stage ground to a halt as Marshall stalked up the steps. “What the hell are you people doing up here? Positions are wrong. Steps are late. Is everybody on their period or are you all just hung over?” “We’re hitting our marks,” one of the dancers argued as he puffed for air, a hand on his hip. “Oh really? Because from out there,” Marshall jabbed a finger to the almost empty room, “you look like a bunch of buffalos doing the goddamn nutcracker!” Marshall liked to yell and it didn’t take new dancers long to figure that out. They had all learned not to take the volume too seriously but that day he had a valid reason to scream. The last rehearsal before a performance shouldn’t look that rough. “Simon, honey, you and Val are fine. You three,” he turned a scathing glare on the others, “are going to do it again and again and again and if we have to stay here all night we will.” He waved in the air, confident the sound guy would see it. “Again,” he demanded. The music started and the dancing continued from where they’d left off with Marshall screaming and clapping out the beats all the way through it, focusing his attention on the newest dancer in the group. It was his first attempt performing in the show’s pre-eminent act and it wasn’t going well. “Stop!” Marshall waved at the sound kid again and the music cut off. “Alright, that’s it. Out.” He pointed off the stage. “What?” The dancer panted. “Out. Off the stage. Out the door. Go find another club.” “I’ll get it,” he insisted. “I just need a little more time, an hour.” “You’ve had the same amount of time as everyone else. Get off my stage and go find something that requires a bit less talent,” Marshall huffed. The kid huffed right back at him and stalked off the stage, snatching his bag from a spot near the wall and bursting out the door. “Will someone go after the drama queen and get the costume back?” Marshall said with a put upon sigh and one of the other dancers milling around the room dashed out the door after him. Drew cast a glance at the owner where she stood at the back of the room and watched Dinah drop her gaze to the floor, shaking her head. If she had any objections to the decision, she didn’t say so. It wasn’t the first time Marshall had fired someone during a rehearsal, not even the last dress rehearsal before the live performance. Glitters wasn’t an average drag club and neither Dinah nor Marshall put up with average performances. They wanted quality and in a city with an immense talent pool there was no reason to settle for less. Not even in a drag show. Every open audition saw a hundred people lined up at their door. Marshall could take his pick and the performers knew it. They either kept up or they were out on the street looking for a new job and someone else was wearing their costume at the next show. The music started again and they did the routine beginning to end making adjustments for the missing dancer, this time with a lot less screaming. One more time his gaze floated to Simon. “Drew, honey, can you fix this? It’s coming loose,” Jared invaded his thoughts and he welcomed the interruption. He wasn’t supposed to be mesmerized. He was supposed to be watching the routines to make sure the costumes worked with the lighting. Besides, he was done with relationships and making an exception for Simon would be a mistake. Rumor had it he was already taken and falling for someone else’s man was a bad idea. Falling for anyone was a bad idea. “What’s the matter?” “Nothing,” he shook his head and shoved the annoyance away. “One of the costumes needs adjusting.” It was only half a lie. Simon’s costume really did need adjusting. “What’s coming loose?” He turned his attention to Jared. “This little thing right here.” Jared brushed fingers against a piece of fringe that had come undone on one side. Drew plucked a needle and thread out of his box and sewed it back in place while the act finished.

Book Description

Dancer's Heart Cover 640x960Simon Leander is living a lie. He hides the truth from his partner in a relationship he’s determined to tolerate…jealousy, rants and all. Michael was supposed to be the love of his life and he’s not ready to let go of that dream even though the romantic has turned tyrant. When Drew appears, Simon’s determination begins to waver. Drew is everything Michael used to be but isn’t anymore. Drew also knows his secret. When the truth he works so hard to hide bursts from the shadows he must decide whether he can trust Drew and if love deserves a second chance.

About the Author

DP Denman is an M/M (gay) contemporary romance author from the soggy splendor of the Pacific Northwest. She is an eclectic reader, obsessed writer, and determined LGBT rights activist who lives with her fur babies and a pair of hyper-caffeinated muses. 25% of royalties for all books go to LGBT charities. You can follow DP on Twitter or check out her blog or website. You can purchase Dancer’s Heart on Amazon.