character sketch: Fenn of the Hunters

The Hunted and the Hind, Fenn of the Hunters. Coming 30th December.

Fenn of the Hunters is a reluctant traveler from their world to London. At the beginning of Shadows on the Border, they are sent by the Council of Ternants to recapture and bring home an escaped carnas, on of the creatures that feed on magic the Ternants use to police the border between the worlds.

Fenn is a magical worker. The Frem call the energy they use to manipulate time and space kias. Fenn and their family are all very strong natural users. One of their special skills is to track strong sources of kias–in people, things or animals. That’s why they’ve been sent after the carnas. Fenn’s not sure what the carnas is doing lost in London; but it’s their duty as hunter to bring it home.

Will Grant’s London is very different to the Underhalls of the Frem that Fenn is used to and they are grateful for the help that Will and his team provide. Their growing connection with Will Grant himself is something that they didn’t expect and are not quite sure what to do with.

Fenn is tired of being manipulated by the Ternants. They want to finish this job, in this busy, crowded, mechanical world and return to their family.

Previously in Lost in Time character sketches… Will Grant, Lew Tyler, Alec Carter, Ella Fortune.

character sketch: Will Grant

Cecil Beaton and Gary Cooper, some time in the 1930s.
Cecil Beaton and Gary Cooper.

Detective Sergeant William Grant is in all three of the Lost in Time 1920s London books. He is Alec Carter’s second in command. He was invalided out of Military Intelligence (“Contradiction in terms, old chap!”) after he got caught out in a gas attack in 1915. Before that he was working in the Middle East–Palestine and Egypt. He’s in his early forties by the time The Hunted and the Hind begins.

He comes from a wealthy family who were bemused by his decision to go into the police when he came out of the army, but he really didn’t feel like he wanted to do the Foreign Office thing he’d been offered. Boots on the ground and not too much responsibility seemed like a good plan for a while.

He’s always known he wasn’t attracted to women and has reached his own internal peace with that. When he meets Fenn at the beginning of Shadows on the Border, he’s a bit confused because Fenn is so androgynous and that’s not the type of chap he’s previously been attracted to.

Oh. And he’s a worker, or in his boss, Alec’s, terms a bloody magician. It runs in the family. His grandfather was apparently a skilled worker who disappeared some time in the 1860s whilst involved with the Regent’s Park group. So his father never learned all that he should have. He passed on as much as he could to Will, so Will’s not entirely ignorant, just not as well prepared as he’d have liked to be when all these peculiar things start to happen in London.

The picture I’ve included is of Cecil Beaton and Gary Cooper, some time in the 1930s. In my mind’s eye, Will is Beaton, on the left. Cooper is pretty similar to Alec, although they never flirt like these two are.

Previously in Lost in Time character sketches… Lew Tyler, Alec Carter, Ella Fortune.

Coming 30th December 2020!

The Hunted and the Hind, coming 30th December 2020

Finally, I hear you say! On December 30th, the third and final book in the Lost in Time 1920s series will be published!

Lost in Time was my debut novel. Initially I self-published it, without professional edits, and the faults got deservedly called out in reviews. I had no idea what I was doing and was learning as I went along.

After a few months, Mr AL suggested I withdraw it and submit it to publishers for consideration. I was lucky enough for JMS Books to pick it up despite it’s previous release, and it came out with them in January 2018. I’ve always felt that it had a satisfactory ending–a happy-for-now, which is about the best one can hope for in a historical set in London in the early 1920s with the second world war looming.

But…I ended up writing a sequel, Shadows on the Border, which I think brought more resolution? However, it also introduced a new character, who then ended up with a love-interest of their own.

The Hunted and the Hind finally ties up all the loose ends and resolves Fenn and Sergeant Will Grant’s story. It’s had two rewrites, I’ve gone through months of loathing it; but I’ve now got to a place where it all feels right. I have honestly never felt so relieved to type THE END in my entire life.

For this weekend, Lost in Time is $1.99 (or your equivalent currency) across all the major ebook platforms: you can find it here!

Lost in Time Audiobooks!

I have been very remiss blogging about this… but there are now three Lost in Time audiobooks available from Audible!

Lost in Time and The Flowers of Time came out last month… and today… we are proud to introduce Shadows on the Border, the sequel to Lost in Time.

Both Lost in Time and Shadows on the Border are narrated by the inimitable Callum Hale. I cannot emphasize enough wonderful and on-point his interpretation of the characters is and how brilliantly the foggy, war-tired atmosphere of post First World War England comes across in his narration.

I am currently working on the third book set in the 1920s, so look for that in both ebook/paper and audio some time next year.

Back in the 1780s, Zoe Brookes has done a wonderful job with the The Flowers of Time and has struck just the right note with Edie and Jones… in particular Jones, who as a non-binary character is very close to my heart.

Again, look for more Jones and Edie next year, if I can get my works-in-progress ducks in a line!

I am so pleased with all three audiobooks. I feel very lucky to have found narrators who ‘got’ each of the stories and brought their own expertise so brilliantly to bear.

character sketch: Ella Fortune

“Ella and I met in France. She was driving an ambulance and I was stringing for the Picture Post. We decided that after the war we’d strike out on our own. I was fed up with the censorship and she’s always been a bit wild as far as I can make out. She’s the Duke of Walton’s eldest daughter, always had her head. Oxford, Bloomsbury and all that.” He coughed again. “Don’t think Walton knew what to do with her. She married Fortune without her father’s consent a couple of years before the war. He went West pretty early on, Mons I think. She’s a good lass. Flying from Cairo to Cape Town at the moment. Trying to set a record.” Another harrumph. “Supposed to be sending me back pictures.”

Callum McGovern, speaking to Alec Carter in Lost in Time

Ella Fortune is a shadowy minor character in both Lost in Time and Shadows on the Border. She’s the co-proprieter of the Pictorial Examiner, the paper where Lew Tyler works.

When I started writing Lost in Time, I thought Ella was going to have a larger role than she does. However, after helping pull Lew out of the Thames and setting him up with a flat and a job at the paper, she went off in her aeroplane to fly down the spine of Africa. I think she’s actually now going to have her own adventure.

She’s a thoroughly emancipated woman with a background in the Suffrage movement who drove an ambulance for the Red Cross in France during the First World War. She’s lucky enough to both have money and be an ‘Honourable’… the daughter of a Peer. So she can pretty much do as she likes, particularly because she’s a widow. I’m not sure yet whether her marriage to Oliver Fortune in 1912 was a marriage of convenience or whether they were truly attached to each other. She’s in her thirties and has no children by design.

She flies an Avro 504k (as a lot of people did after World War 1- more than eight thousand of them were built during the war), but her long distance flying takes place in a Vickers Vimy, which has been specially modified to take bigger fuel tanks. She’s her own mechanic and navigator but she does sometimes fly with a co-pilot.

I’m not sure what sort of adventures she’s going to have yet, but watch this space!