Hello guys! Today I am so excited to welcome back the fabulous Josephine Myles to the blog. Jo is here to talk to us more about her new holiday release, Merry Gentlemen (which I reviewed here and really enjoyed). She answered some questions for me about the book, and has also brought a great giveaway.
Hi Jay, and thank for inviting me over. Mind if I heat up a pan of mulled wine? I’m feeling festive 🙂
Merry Gentlemen is my first longer Christmas story, and it’s got an old flames reunited theme, which for some reason feels very festive to me. It’s also about city vs. country: a conflict I’m always interested in exploring as I need both in my life. I love living out in the Somerset countryside, but without my regular trips to larger cities I think I’d go stir-crazy!
It is set during the holiday season at a busy Christmas market. What made you decide to write a holiday book? And I loved the market. Was there a particular inspiration for that?
I’ve written a couple of holiday shorts before, so I thought it was about time I attempted a longer title. I do love Christmas, and although I get a bit tired of the over-commercialisation of our midwinter festival. To me, the important things are the food and drink, getting together with friends and family, and decorating the tree!
The market is taken directly from the real Bath Christmas Market, which is one of those events I both loved and dreaded when I lived in the city. It’s a wonderful market in a stunning setting, but it gets phenomenally busy and everything is so expensive! It’s a shame my Junk Amazon royalties won’t come through till the middle of December, because I would have enjoyed shopping for everyone’s presents there.
Merry Gentlemen features Stan and Riley, two very different men. Riley is a city guy, working his way up the career ladder. And Stan is much more of an outdoorsman and likes the peace and solitude of nature. I love an opposites attract theme. Can you tell us more about how you came up with these guys?
I always enjoy writing confident, exuberant characters but I realized I’d never written a longer work from the first person perspective of one. My narrator characters—Ben in Handle with Care and Josh in The Hot Floor—have always had a good dose of insecurity. There isn’t a trace of insecurity about Riley, though! He’s the kind of man who will happily break into song at the drop of a hat, and who gets along with just about everyone, so long as he isn’t busy putting his foot in it.
I love writing opposites attract, but I didn’t want Riley’s counterpart to be in any way insecure or screwed up as there just wouldn’t be room to deal with that in a novella. Stan is another confident character and a true alpha male, but he’s much more reserved than Riley and enjoys his own company. I love the way they sparked off each other when they were together. It reminded me of the banter between characters from the golden age of Hollywood. Riley denies in any way being the sassy heroine, though!
Stan works building and creating out of wood. In fact, he has built his house himself. The descriptions of Stan’s work and particularly his home were really fascinating. Is that something you had seen before, or just a product of your creativity?
There was one point when I was mildly obsessed with the idea of becoming a woodland coppice worker like Stan, and I read up about the subject. I was inspired by an episode of a British TV series called Grand Designs, when they visited the home of woodland worker Ben Law. I freely admit to drawing heavily on Ben’s beautiful home when describing Stan’s! You can see a short excerpt from the programme on You Tube: http://youtu.be/WgduN7uNGOY
However, in the end I realized I was more of a Riley type and wouldn’ t have what it takes to make it out in the depths of the countryside. I do like the idea of having a working holiday in the woods one day, but only if I could go “glamping”!
The whole book Riley is taunted by a pesky seagull, though they eventually make peace with each other. So what is up with that gull?
Ah, Scrappy! Bath has an awful lot of urban gulls—they’re more of a problem than the pigeons, because they’re so large and aggressive. I’ve seen them take food off small children before, and after getting sprayed head to toe by one while crossing a busy street, I vowed revenge. Then I decided not to when I read a newspaper article about a gull who had taken a dislike to a man and was stalking him, throwing things at him and showering him in shit whenever possible. What a nightmare! It was the perfect starting point for the conflict in the story, and illustrates the whole tension between the city and country. Like Stan, Scrappy is a wild creature out of place.
Riley and Stan had previously dated and in Merry Gentlemen are reunited for a couple of weeks during the Christmas market. How do you think it is different (or similar) writing books featuring men who are rekindling an old relationship versus meeting for the first time?
It’s wonderful for a shorter book like this, as it gives you a huge amount of built in back-story. It also means there’s instant attraction and emotion when the characters meet again. I do love writing about the discovery of a new attraction, and this is my first go at writing “the one that got away”, but I know it won’t be my last. I loved the poignancy of Riley and Stan’s interactions, when they remembered just how good it could be between them.
Can you tell us what us you are currently working on and what we can look forward to coming up?
I’m currently finishing off Stuff, the next in the Bristol Collection series, which is Mas’s story. That will come out from Samhain in May 2014. Between now and then, I’m hoping to write and self-publish a novella-length sequel to Tailor Made, where Felix explores his cross-dressing kink, and then I’ll get going on an absolutely filthy BDSM romantic comedy. I also have a sci-fi novel called Storm and Lightning which is already written, but which I still need to polish up and send off to a publisher. 2014 should be a busy publishing year for me!
If my readers want to learn more about you or your books, where can they find you?
I have my blog hosted on my website, so you can always find me over there at JosephineMyles.com. I also hang out on Twitter as @JosephineMyles, or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/josephine.myles.author. I love chatting to readers in all those places 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by today!
Thanks for having me over! It was great to chat, and I look forward to doing it in person in New Orleans at RT Booklovers 2014 😀 Hurray!
Jo is offering up a $10 gift credit to an e-book retailer of the winner’s choice. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest closes on Sunday, November 17th at 11:59 pm EST.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
- By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
- Void where prohibited by law.