Today I am so pleased to welcome Lisa Henry and Kate Sherwood to Joyfully Jay. The authors have come to talk to us about their contributions to the Grim and Sinister Delights series, Naked Ambition and With a Twist. They have also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Lisa and Kate a big welcome!
Hi everyone! We’re Kate Sherwood and Lisa Henry, and thank you so much for having us here today to talk about our new releases for the Grim and Sinister Delights series! We threw some interview questions at one another, and here’s what we came up with:
Lisa: What drew you to Oliver Twist out of all the classics you could have chosen?
Kate: I’ve always loved Dickens’ messages about poverty and found families. But I’ve always found his actual WRITING a bit verbose, and some of the subplots and twists and turns seem absurd by modern standards. So I loved the idea of lifting the parts of his story that I liked and leaving the rest behind!
My original idea for the story was much different than what I ended up with. I was planning to play with the idea that poor people are invisible to the rich (unless the poor people really do something big to call attention to themselves) by having a band of poor thieves who could actually make themselves invisible. It was going to be my first foray into magical realism! But as usual, when I started writing, my initial ideas went out the window and I ended up with something quite different.
Lisa: Tell us a bit about how you updated the story, and what changes you had to make.
Kate: Well, the first change, obviously, was to make Oliver significantly older than he was in the original! Dark romance is one thing, but I’m not going to write one involving a child! And then I had to bring the story into the modern age, which got rid of the workhouses and general laissez-faire attitude toward homeless orphans. And I had to introduce a supernatural element (I think this requirement was later changed, but at the time I started writing, that was one of the parameters of the project).
Basically, I imagined what would have happened to Oliver if he’d been orphaned (apparently) in our modern age. So his backstory involves foster care in bad foster families, running away, living on the streets, and being “rescued” by a Fagin who was looking for sex workers, not thieves. By the time our story starts he’s twenty-ish, jaded, and at risk of becoming as much of an asshole as the people who’ve been taking advantage of him. John comes along trying to save Oliver’s life, but he might be saving more than that, really.
Lisa: If you could make a dark retelling of any copyrighted book or movie, which one would you choose?
Kate: Ooh, so many choices!
Maybe Breakfast Club? Have the kids bond during detention, then embark on some sort of crime spree. They don’t officially “know” each other, so no one would suspect them of working as a team! And Bender has a few things to teach Claire in their off hours…
Or… ooh, Battlestar Galactica! I mean, it’s already PRETTY dark, but it could get darker. Quite a bit darker.
Top Gun? All that testosterone, the half-naked volleyball… not sure if I’m thinking dark retelling or just m/m…
So much potential! I need to go get writing!
Kate: This is my first time working on a group publishing project. Was it the first time for you, too, or do you have more experience? What do you see as the pros and cons of this approach?
Lisa: This was my first time too! So far I haven’t found any negatives at all, and I’ve really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes cheerleading that I’ve received. It’s been very motivating! Also, since I’m terrible at blurbs, my first attempts were basically ripped apart (in the best possible way) and put together again by people who know what they’re doing!
Kate: The Emperor’s New Clothes is often used as a parable to demonstrate the rarity and importance of people speaking truth about those in power. It can also be seen as having a message about mass delusions and how we may not even RECOGNIZE the truth if we’ve heard a lie too many times. Does your updated story carry one or both of these messages, or have you gone in a different direction?
Lisa: In my updated story I decided to focus on what happens when you trust the wrong people. What if the emperor wasn’t proud and deluded, what if he was naïve and trusted people he shouldn’t have? And was so isolated from the rest of the world that that those liars told him became his truth? And what if those liars held positions of power over everyone else? So in my story, even though people very much know that the emperor has no clothes, nobody dares say anything because it just so happens that they’ll lose their jobs if they do. If you’ve ever worked in a toxic workplace, I think you’ll recognise a lot of this story!
Kate: You seem to be very connected to the m/m community (at least compared to someone like me!). What’s a favourite memory you have of a time when our little niche really felt like a wonderful place full of wonderful people?
Lisa: I’ve made a lot of wonderful friends in this community, even though I’ve always felt a little on the outside mostly because of time zones and distance! Of course, whenever I’ve travelled somewhere like for GRL, everyone has been so welcoming. But to me, the greatest display of community I’ve actually seen was after my city was hit by disastrous flooding several years ago. I was lucky enough to have no damage, but two other m/m authors who live in the same city weren’t so fortunate. And the community rallied around them and fundraised for them, and it was just so wonderful to see. And, also on a local level, when the devastating bushfires hit Australia back in January (wow, was that less than a year ago? 2020 has been a wild ride!) I was immediately approached by other Aussie and Kiwi authors to take part in a charity anthology. This community helps others, and that’s just wonderful.
Grim and Sinister Delights is a dark romance series based on classic fairy tales and stories. You will find standalone tales of gay romance that range in darkness and kinks. If you dare to take the challenge, read them all to find yourself lost in a classic that you think you know. These stories are for adult readers and may contain morally ambiguous themes.
Taylor Ritchie has hated Christian Roquefeuil ever since they were both interns at the New York fashion company, House of Romano. Taylor is ambitious, talented, and a sociopath who had been nursing a grudge against Christian for years.
When Christian takes over House of Romano, Taylor sees an opportunity for revenge. With the aid of his boyfriend, he intends to not only destroy the company, but to publicly crush Christian at the same time.
Together, they begin a dangerous game of seduction where the naïve Christian is only a beautiful puppet to be toyed with.
Mike Hastings is a low-level office drone, stuck on the sidelines while Christian falls deeper and deeper into the web that Taylor has woven for him. With the make-or-break Spring collection on the horizon, it might just be down to a cheap suit in payroll to save Christian from the inevitable crash and burn.
Naked Ambition is a dark and modern M/M retelling of The Emperor’s New Clothes.
- Released- September 1st
- Buy Link- https://www.amazon.com/gp/
Oliver Twist has been taking care of himself for years, ever since he ran away from his last foster home. Life isn’t great, but at least Fagin makes sure Oliver’s clients pay him what he’s worth. And a night with Oliver is worth quite a lot.
John Brownlow has been searching for Oliver for years. He needs to be sure his old friend’s son is being taken care of, but that’s not all he wants. Oliver has inherited his father’s gift for manipulating energy, a skill that makes him as powerful as he is attractive.
Forced together to fight Monks, a government agent with similar powers, Oliver and John go on the run. If they want to survive, they have to fight back, and that means they need to stop fighting each other. Trusting each other may be the hardest battle of all.
- Releases September 4th
- Buy Link- mybook.to/WithATwist
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Yup. It’s me. Kate Sherwood, Cate Cameron, Catherine Dale… and probably a few new names, eventually. They’re all one person.
One person who’s lucky enough to get to live a bunch of extra lives through the characters in her books, and who’s trying desperately to keep all the lives organized into some sort of categories… so each name writes a different type of story.
But really, beneath the genre categories? They’ll all me. All the stories will have some kind of humour, even in the darkest times. They’ll all show characters who are far from perfect, but who are trying to be better. And most of them will have animals-wild or tame, large or small-because I truly believe animals bring out the best in people (as well as the worst, unfortunately), and I want my characters to be at their best.
Basic bio stuff? I live in Cottage Country-the water-filled world north of Toronto and the rest of the cities, the land where summers are crowded with visitors and winters are snowy and isolated. I love it here. Not that I don’t sometimes miss the city, but it’s not that far away-I can always visit when I want to. I work full time at a non-writing job but would love to shift into a more writing-centred life. There’s a five-year-plan. It might work!
Lisa and Kate have each brought a copy of their book to give away. Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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