Interview: Louisa Mae

This week, we welcome Louisa Mae to the blog. Hello Louisa! To start with, can you tell us why you’re doing this interview?

I’ve got a new release out this week, Voyeur Vol V, and you haven’t interviewed me before –so why not! OOH I’m also part of the trio of authors who run Talking RoMMance with a British Accent and we’re planning an amazing event running through December for our members!

What started you writing?

I’ve always loved reading, and found my way into the world of Fanfiction, and from there decided to have a go at writing. It was a good way to try it out with no expectations or pressure.

Where and when do you write?

Where ever the mood takes me! At the moment in my day job, I’m working from home in the space I had set up as my home office and writing sanctuary, so at the end of the working day, I  just don’t want to spend any more time in there, so at the moment, so I’m finding myself writing sat in front of the telly most days.

What do you like to read?

I nearly exclusively read MM now, but in that genre I love anything that pulls me in and captivates me from the first page. There are some tropes I just can’t get into and don’t “float my boat”, but given the amount of books out there, there’s no shortage of books to read.

What are the three books you’d take to a desert island? Why would you choose them?

Oh, this is a toughie. I’d take Don’t by Jack L. Pyke, it’s honestly a book that when I first read it really made me think and question everything I thought I  knew was happening. Knights to Remember Collection by Nicole Colville, I’m friend with Nicole and was lucky enough to be her beta reader on this. It’s a good combo of humour and angst. The final book would be Stephen King’s IT. It’s such  huge book, I’ve never got around to reading it despite loving the films.

Writing is an intrinsically solo occupation. Do you belong to any groups or associations, either online or in the ‘real’ world? How does that work for you?

I’m not, I have some really good friends who also write and we support each other.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Reading, listening to audio books. I love baking too. Writing is a bit of a rabbit hole, once you go down it, you ain’t coming back out anytime soon. I have a furbaby, Max, who’s a Syrian Hamster, he’s the most stubborn and determined creature I’ve ever met.

When I have some “me” time I end up watching films or TV. Depends what’s on, or what’s been recommended.

Tell me a little bit about your most recent release. What gave you the idea for it? How long did it take to write? What did you enjoy about writing it? What did you hate?

Voyeur Vol V, is as the name suggests part of a series. The first book was a short story for a charity compilation following the Pulse Nightclub shootings. It didn’t make it into the anthology as they were overwhelmed, so I decided to expand it, never expecting it to turn into this series.

Vol V took me about 2 months on and off, it’s a complex backstory and I had to be so careful to track back through four books and make sure everything fitted in. That was tough and I hated it at times. I also went straight on to write the final volume, so they were done back to back.

I enjoyed this one as it’s from a new POV for the series, and this person is so guarded it’s untrue. I’m hoping the readers enjoy it, and forgive me for putting one of the characters through the wringer, again!

Voyeur Vol V

Voyeur Vol V

Nathaniel plays dangerously on the edge of deceit and truth. He’s had to.

But when he walks through the door of the V Lounge and casts his shadow over Joe and Kian’s world, he knows the truth is about to hit harder than the lie. And now, after years of protecting Joe, he might just be the one who tears Joe’s world apart.

Venture once more into the world of Voyeur and watch as deep, dark secrets are played out before your eyes.

Buy Voyeur Vol V

Isabelle Adler: The Wolf & the Sparrow

Today I’d like to welcome Isabelle Adler, on the anniversary of the publication of her The Wolf and the Sparrow!

Hello all! Today I would like to talk about my latest book, The Wolf and the Sparrow. It came out almost a year ago, on November 25, 2020, and I can’t believe it’s been that long!

The Wolf and the Sparrow is a fantasy romance, full of magic, dangerous intrigue, and lots of tender moments. It focuses on two heirs of noble families that enter an arranged marriage for political reasons and are initially less than impressed with each other. But as the plot progresses and the political situation around them threatens to escalate into a full-blown war, they team up, driven by the duty to protect their subjects. Together, they must face sea-raiders, hostile magic-wielders, and old enemies, but the hardest trial of all are the dark secrets from their past that might yet tear them apart.  

What is the significance of the title?

The story takes place in the imaginary realm of Ivicia, which unites many smaller fiefdoms (duchies, counties, and principalities). All the nobles of the Realm bear a heraldic animal on their family crest. Derek, the newly-minted Count of Camria, has a sparrow on his crest, whereas Callan’s family’s sigil is a wolf’s head. The symbolic animals also represent the differences in their personalities and upbringing—Derek is used to a lush, peaceful scenery of fields and forests and his manner is mild and courteous, some might even say soft. Callan, on the other hand, had known strife his entire life, being brought up on the windswept coast, where attacks by sea pirates are a regular occurrence. He’s curt and withdrawn, hardened in the way of seasoned warriors.

But as they learn to get to know one another as partners, they must also delve deeper into their own souls and find that they might not be as different as they initially thought. Derek learns to draw on his inner strength and resolve to save the man he grows to love and admire, while Callan learns to deal with the emotions he’d kept buried for years.  

Can you share something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

There is so much going on in the story, that the blurb barely touches the surface! It was actually rather difficult to choose what to put out there without spoiling too much of the plot and yet make it enticing. However, I don’t think it would be too much of a spoiler if I share that one of the main characters is kidnapped, and the other must come to his rescue—at a great personal risk. And then, of course, things go terribly awry…up until the very (happy) end!

What is the key theme of the book?

The main theme of the book is self-acceptance and how important it is to come terms with the mistakes and failures we all carry with us throughout our lives. It is only when we learn to forgive ourselves and let go of this burden that we find it easier to trust other people to be close to us, and appreciate everything life may still hold in store.

What does the future hold for the characters? Will there be a sequel?

The Wolf and the Sparrow was written as a standalone novel, and I’m quite content with how it came out. Subsequently, I’m not planning on revisiting these characters or make the novel into a series. However, I’m not opposed to the possibility of writing more stories set in the same world. So, I guess we’ll see!

What would be your main characters’ favorite songs?

The Wolf and the Sparrow is set in a fictional pseudo-medieval world, so this is pure speculation! But I think that Callan would absolutely love Warriors by Imagine Dragons! That songs really suits him to the T.

Derek, I feel, would like Skipping Stones by Claire Guerreso, and its lyrical poignancy.

If you could describe each of your main characters in three words, what would they be?

Derek – loyal, smart, compassionate.

Callan – private, dutiful, caring.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

This is always such a difficult question to answer! Of course, everyone conjures up their own mental image of the characters when reading a book, and it can differ wildly from that of the author (which is perfectly fine!). But if I had to choose, I’d go with a young Gerard Butler for Callan and Eddie Redmayne for Derek.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

I have a website where I post all the information about my books and upcoming releases, as well as some extra content for my readers. I’m also pretty active on Twitter, talking about books and posting snippets of my works in progress, so if you ever want to chat, follow me there!

The Wolf and the Sparrow by Isabelle Adler

Publisher: NineStar Press
Genre: Fantasy M/M romance
Release date: November 25th, 2019
Book length: 72,000 words
Warnings: Depictions of violence, battle scenes, physical injuries, mentions of torture, allusions to domestic abuse, dealing with grief, death of secondary characters.

Derek never wished to inherit his title as a result of a bloody battle. With the old count dead and the truce dependent on his marriage to the rival duke’s son, Derek has no choice but to agree to the victor’s terms in order to bring peace to his homeland. When he learns of the sinister rumors surrounding his intended groom, Derek begins to have doubts—but there can be no turning back from saying I do.After the death of his wife, Callan of Mulberny never expected to be forced into another political marriage—especially not to someone like the new Count of Camria. Seemingly soft and meek, it’s only fitting that Derek’s family crest is a flighty sparrow, worthy of nothing but contempt.Another war with the seafaring people of the Outer Isles looms on the horizon, and the reluctant newlyweds must team together to protect those caught in the circle of violence. Derek and Callan slowly learn to let go of their prejudices, but as they find themselves enmeshed in intrigue fueled by dark secrets and revenge, their tentative bond is all that keeps their world—and their lives—from plunging into chaos.  

:: Goodreads : NSP (On sale now!) : Amazon : Smashwords : Kobo : B&N : Paperback ::

About the Author

A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.

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Nell Iris: Regaining Trust

My early-morning writing buddy, Nell Iris is here today to talk to us about her new book, Regaining Trust, a story about coming back together after infidelity. You can also read her interview with me from last year, when she was the very first person to subject herself to my nosy questions!

What would you do if your partner cheated on you? Would you pack your bags and leave them behind, or would you choose to stay and fight for your relationship?

Would you feel differently for your partner after an infidelity? I mean, your trust would be shaken, betrayed, maybe destroyed, which is a huge blow and difficult to overcome. But would you stop loving them? Would it matter to you if you still loved them or would you leave anyway?

I realize that’s a bunch of hard, maybe even unanswerable, questions, but these are the things I was thinking about when I wrote my new story, Regaining Trust. I was thinking about what I would do if I were in Law’s shoes. Law says to Frankie; “I don’t just stop loving you, no matter what,”and I agree with that sentiment. But would the trust in my husband be irreparably broken or would the love I have for him be enough to heal what was broken?

I don’t know the answer to those questions. But they stayed in the back of my mind the entire time I wrote, fueling my pen, making me write so fast I feared my fountain pen nib would melt.

In Law and Frankie’s case, Law decides to give Frankie another chance, despite his trust being smashed to pieces which is devastating to Law whose background has formed him into someone who doesn’t trust easily. But for Frankie, the only one he’s ever trusted, the love of his life, he’s willing to at least try. Because no matter how hurt he is by Frankie’s actions, his love doesn’t come to a screeching halt. Even if it would have been easier.

Regaining Trust is the story of how Law and Frankie work hard to find their way back together.

Read on for the blurb, more about Nell, and an excerpt or Buy Regaining Trust.

Blurb:

When workaholic Lawrence Weller walks in on the aftermath of his fiancé Frankie cheating on him, his world shatters. Frankie’s the love of his life, the only person he’s ever trusted, and the betrayal leaves him devastated.

Franklin Ennis makes a huge mistake that he regrets deeply before it’s even over. He pleads for a second chance, willing to do whatever it takes to save their relationship.

A love that deep doesn’t just stop, so Lawrence agrees to try. But mistakes don’t happen in a vacuum. Are they both willing to own up to their part? Will their love be enough to repair what was crushed? Can trust once broken be rebuilt?

Buy Regaining Trust

Who’s Nell, then?

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.

:: Webpage/blog : Twitter : Instagram : Facebook page : Facebook profile :
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Excerpt:

“You never told me you were lonely,” I say.

“I did!” His protest is loud and takes some of the defeat from his body. “I’ve told you a thousand times. How I miss you when you’re always working late and wish we could do more stuff together.”

I knit my eyebrows together, trying to think back and remember. He’s right. He always hugs me tightly and tells me how much he’ll miss me when he knows I’ll work late. Or how he wishes we could do something together, even if it’s only watching a show while cuddling on the couch.

”I thought that was your way of showing me how you feel about me. You being sweet and caring. Not once did I think it meant ‘I’m so fucking lonely I’ll suck someone else’s dick.’ Was it even your first time?” The question is a pained scream, hurting my throat, my head, my soul. I don’t like yelling, so I take a deep breath and start counting to ten in my head to calm down, but I’m interrupted before even reaching three.

“Of course, it was the first time,” he roars. “I’m not a cheater.”

His words are a thundercrack in an otherwise dead silent apartment, and I rear back, scramble off the couch, and turn to leave.

“No. Please.” He’s pleading now, voice cracked and bleeding out on the floor. “Please don’t leave me, Lawrence. I’ll do anything. I love you so much, don’t leave me.”

I’m frozen on the spot. Undecided. The hurt, overly-dramatic part of me wants to storm off in a huff, throw some stuff in a bag, and retreat somewhere to lick my wounds, and rage and scream and curse the treachery, while wailing out my broken heart. But the other, more rational part of me won’t let me move, the part that still remembers how much I love him, still remembers his loving kisses, his devotion. His passion.

So I sink back down on the couch. Rub my palms over my face and swallow. “I don’t know what to do here, Frankie. I’m hurt and betrayed, but at the same time I just can’t turn off my feelings for you. But how can I be with you if I can’t trust you?”

“You can trust me. You can.” He’s so sincere, so heartfelt, leaning forward—hands twitching so he shoves them between his knees—begging, willing me to believe him. And I want to. I really do.

“How?”

“I’ve never done anything like this before, never kissed anyone, hardly ever looked at anyone like that. It was a huge mistake and I regret it. So, so much. I know I can’t prove it, but I was going to tell you. That’s what I was worried about when you walked in. How I would tell you. How you’d react. If you’d hate me.”

I must look skeptical because he hurries to continue. “I know. It’s easy to say when there’s no way of proving intent. But I’m not a liar. You know I’m not.”

“Do I?” I push out the question around the lump in my throat.

He slides to his knees on the floor in front of me, sits back on his heels, and tries to catch my gaze. I give in to his silent pleas and meet his eyes.

“You know me, Lawrence. You know you do. You know what kind of person I am. I’m only human and make mistakes like everyone. This one was huge and more stupid than most, I know that. I’m not perfect, but I’m not a liar. I’m not disloyal. And I own my mistakes.” His face is open. He blinks away tears, but his gaze never falters. His hands rest on his knees, palms open and turned up, and everything about him invites me to see the honesty in his heart.

And maybe I can see it. The slight tremble of his hand and the pulse fluttering visibly in his neck betrays his anxiousness, but he doesn’t move. Doesn’t squirm or fidget, doesn’t look away from me. Nothing indicates that he’s lying.

There’s no way he’s that skilled a liar. He’s always been open and honest and prone to blurting his emotions as soon as he experiences them. That thought deflates me and I fall back against the couch.

“Yeah, I know. I believe you.” And I do. At least my head knows. I’m not sure about my heart. Or my gut, rather.

His eyes well up and a tremble racks his body, but it’s the sight of his wobbly chin that finally cracks me. I hold out my hand, unable to not touch him anymore. “Come here.”

Buy Regaining Trust

Come and chat to me!

As I may have mentioned in passing (SNORT), Taking Stock is out tomorrow. I am dropping in to chat to a few places over the next day or two, so please do come along and say hello!

8.20 to 8.40pm BST (15.20 EST): Bryce Winters’s Wildflowers. Bryce also has a release, today! So I’m popping in there for a bit to chat.

9 to 10pm BST (4pm EST) I’m at the Talking RoMMance with a British Accent group! I’m considering doing a reading. Maybe. If the kids have gone to bed. Perhaps.

Tomorrow the 19th, I’m at QueerRomanceInk from 9pm BST (4pm EST) for an hour for a chat. Sarcasm and prizes!

Plus, I have five copies of Inheritance of Shadows to give away to celebrate! Join up here!

Anne Barwell: Family & Reflection

Today I’d like to showcase Anne Barwell’s re-release, Family and Reflection! It’s a 76k word story, part of The Sleepless City, a shared world with Elizabeth Noble.

When a rebel werewolf and a vampire thief fall in love, only one thing is certain—trouble.

For as long as Lucas Coate can remember, werewolves have been taught to mistrust vampires. Lucas is an exception—he has close friends who are vampires. The werewolf pack in Boggslake—and their leader, Jacob Coate—have made it clear that Lucas’s association with vampires is barely tolerated, and another transgression will be his last. When Lucas finds out about the plague of werewolf deaths in the area, he wants to help even though his own life may already be in danger.

Declan has been away from Boggslake for ten years, but he isn’t surprised to learn that the internal politics of the Supernatural Council haven’t changed for the better. When a series of burglaries hit close to home soon after he arrives, Declan—a vampire and professional thief—is their prime suspect, although for once, he isn’t responsible. With the council keeping secrets, no one is safe. Time is running out, and for Lucas and Declan, everything is about to change.

Authors Note: This story was originally released in 2015 by another publisher. This edition has been re-edited.


Excerpt:

“If someone had told me twenty years ago I’d be having a conversation about something like this with a vampire, I’d have told them they were crazy.”

“You’re having this conversation with a friend,” Declan corrected him. “It doesn’t matter what we are, but who we are.”

“Do you really believe that?”

“I want to.” Declan thought for a moment, wanting the right words. Why was this so difficult? He’d given advice to Jonas and Simon many times without any trouble.

“We’re both as bad as each other, yeah?” Lucas seemed sad.

“Why do you say that, and about what?” Declan let go of Lucas.

“I’m a werewolf, and you’re a vampire—”

“You’ve only noticed that now?” Declan interrupted dryly. He walked back to his chair, adjusting it so he was opposite Lucas and could see his face.

Lucas laughed, but this time it sounded natural, not forced. “I’ve gotten used to living at the castle. I love it here, and the guys are my friends. Most of the time I forget we’re different. They’re family. I don’t care what they are. It’s like you said. The important thing is who they are.” He sobered. “Then crap like this goes down… Why do I suddenly feel as though I’m a part of the pack again and need to follow their stupid rules?”

“You’re a part of whatever family you want to be, Lucas.” Declan knew what he wanted—needed—to say now. “One thing I’ve learned with having a long life is that family is who you choose. I didn’t get on with mine that well. I had a father who had expectations too.” He pulled himself up sharply before he went anywhere near those memories. Very little of what he’d done had pleased his father. “We might be different, you and I, mon ami, but in many ways we’re the same.”

“I kind of get the expectation thing with you guys.” Lucas paused and looked apologetic before continuing. “Simon’s not said much about his past, but I get the impression his father expected him to do stuff he didn’t want to do as well.” He scowled. “Be a good son and carry on the family name and traditions. I’m guessing Forge went through the same thing, but he’s never said anything about it. At least not to me.”

“Why do you get it with us?” Declan figured he already knew the answer but wanted to be certain he and Lucas were talking about the same thing.

“You’re a lot older than I am. I can understand this stuff going on a hundred, or even two—”

“Closer to three hundred,” Declan said.

“Yeah, that. You’re old. No offense.” Lucas waved one hand.

“None taken.” Declan couldn’t help but smile. “I know I’m old. But you know what they say about fine wine?”

“Yeah, and, hey, I’m not complaining.” Lucas took a long drink of coffee. “You interrupted my flow. I was making a point here.”

“Sorry.”

“So you’re old, so I expect that kind of stuff from you guys. It was a long time ago.” Lucas growled low in his throat. “But us… the pack… we… they’re carrying on like we’re still living in that society. I’ve told my father that he needs to move with the times or the pack will be left behind. Sure, they use technology, but for the rest of it, you’d think we’d only just gotten off the Mayflower or something.”

“It takes a long time for some people to accept change.” Declan leaned over and brushed a lock of hair back from Lucas’s forehead. “Some never do.” He’d seen vampires who couldn’t move past what their lives had been like as humans. Most of them hadn’t survived.

“Yeah.” Lucas swallowed. He shook his head when Declan started to move his chair farther back and away from temptation. “I don’t mind you touching me like that,” he said softly.

“I should…” Declan hadn’t thought, just reacted. He’d meant what he’d said about flirting and had no intention of leading Lucas on. “We’re friends,” he said finally.

“I wouldn’t be talking to you about this stuff if we weren’t.” Lucas looked like he was about to say something but cleared his throat instead. “I know you’re kind of touchy-feely and all that. So am I. So—”

A loud knock sounded at the front door.

“Now what?” Lucas muttered.

Boggs materialized in front of them. He looked annoyed. “There are two gentlemen at the door,” he said. “I don’t know who exactly they are, but I heard them talking before they knocked. They’re from the council.”

“I already apologized about that weird stuff in the garbage,” Lucas said.

“Not that council.” Boggs rolled his eyes. “The other one.”

About the Author:

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Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with Kaylee: a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning.

In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes.  She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ.