My guest today is Cameron Lawton – a Scots-Irish, French citizen, ex-RAF, ex Merchant Navy, ex- teacher and all round fascinating person.
Cameron’s latest M/M romance, Cancel Christmas, was published on 15th December.
It continues the story of Captain Rory Sumner and his colleague Sgt Jack Jones who continue to deepen their relationship while investigating the death of a soldier in Germany.
Elin: Thanks for visiting Cameron.
Cameron: My pleasure, Elin – thanks for inviting me.
Elin: Short vs long – which do you prefer to read?
Cameron: Either and both. What I really don’t like is a tale that would have been a great short story or novella but has been “padded out” to make it a novel. I usually start out with a short from an author I don’t know, just to get a taste and then go for their longer works once I like them.
Elin: Would you say that a short story is harder to write than a long one?
Cameron: Both have their constraints. It is possible to convey a world of feeling and relationship in a short story but it’s harsh. Every word that isn’t working its hardest has to be cut. In a novel the author has the luxury of being able to develop characters, play interaction, deepen relationships (or break them) which can be difficult to keep up. I usually hit half-way point and want to gabble on til it’s finished, The End.
Elin: Are there any places that you love that you feel the urge to immortalise in your fiction?
Cameron: I always write about places I’ve been. Having travelled extensively, I’m lucky to have a lot to draw on. My big wish is to write about the French village where I live – perhaps with a murder mystery attached. It would be wonderful to “disguise” my neighbours and take my readers walking around my favourite places here.
Elin: Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. What sort of villains do you prize?
Cameron: Exactly the sort of people who get up my nose in real life. In Cancel Christmas the boys come up against a lot of homophobia, some deliberate, some completely unconscious but both very irritating. There is also the sort of totally amoral money-obssessed thug of the kind I’d run a mile to avoid.
Elin: What are you reading? Something to be clutched to the bosom or tossed aside with force? Fiction or non-fiction?
Cameron: I’m a total book-whore – I read most things and especially if they are written by my colleagues from the same stables or on-line friends. At the moment I’m devouring some stories from ancient Rome that I grabbed as a set from Riptide. I’m loving them but they will be read-once books. I very seldom continue with a book that has irritated me from the start. By chapter Two I have closed it gently and put it away.
Elin: Put together your ideal team of men – drawing from all and any walks of life, fictional or non-fictional – who you would want to come to your rescue if menaced by muggers, alligators or fundamentalists.
Cameron: I’d like to think I could handle it on my own but in this wonderful imaginary situation, I’d have my big dog Titch who would disembowel anyone who laid a hand on me. Jack and Rory of course, who would stick up for their “mum” and an entire gang of French firemen (yes, sterotype!) but because over here they do all the same things as other firemen but they are also the ambulance, paramedics etc. So if it all went wrong they could rush me to the hospital. From fiction I’d want Jordan C Price’s Wild Bill so he could bite a few people and give me one of his cigarettes;
Elin: “Had we but world enough and time” and no other commitments, is there anything you would write that you’ve been eyeing and putting off because it’s just too big a project? Anything else?
Cameron: I’d love to write a novel (or collection of short stories) where I take Rory and Jack back to different periods of time where they would still be lovers but in completely altered situations, relationships etc. I can think of so many that it would end up a historical encyclopedia!
Elin: Can you name any author/authors, past or present, who have been a great influence on your work?
Cameron: In this genre? No, not really. I dived into m/m and just went for it. As far as romance goes, I suppose subconsciously I’ve been influenced by the fact that as an unreconstructed tomboy I read every Biggles book (Capt. W.E. Johns) which could be why my boys are military. The masculine camaraderie between Biggles and his chums always appealed to me … maybe Bertie Lissie was his lover, who knows?
Elin: When you have been writing a scene, have you ever scared yourself/upset yourself so much that you decided to tone it down a bit?
Cameron: No, I don’t scare easily. I’ve upset myself to the point where I’ve burst into tears and I still can’t read the epilogue of Cancel Christmas without filling up!
Elin: Of all your characters, who have you enjoyed writing most – least – whose voice was the most troublesome to catch?
Cameron: Enjoyed most? Well although they don’t appear much in the book I absolutely LOVED writing Jack’s family because they are an idealized, wonderful bunch who accept him for what and who he is. I suppose they are the family I wish I’d had. Rory can be very difficult for me because I’m very demonstrative and touchy-feely but Rory had a terribly tough childhood and is introverted. He adores Jack but finds it very hard to express his feelings. So sometimes I had him say something very loving and then get terminally embarrassed about it.
Elin: What are you working on at the moment? Or don’t you like to talk about WIPs while they are still in progress?
Cameron: No, that’s fine, I’m a blabbermouth about my work. I’m working on three WIPs at the moment (glutton for punishment).The third in the Yours To Command series which will see the boys travelling abroad a lot. I’m running a competition for readers to suggest a witty title for that on my blog and when I blog on Guys Like Romance Too where you can also win a free copy. I’m also working on a novel with a trans gender person as the main character. Being trans myself I feel there isn’t enough fiction (not purely sexual) with trans people centre-stage. I’m also writing book two of a trilogy in another genre.
Elin: Could we please have an excerpt of something?
Cameron: Sure – this comes from the beginning of the book where Jack and Rory are in the shower but are disturbed …
The Military Police boys are back and this time it’s murder.
A fast-paced murder mystery featuring the two Military Police investigators from “Yours To Command”. Plans for the holidays are scrapped when a body is found on an Army base in Germany. Still firmly in the closet at work, they stay in a hotel and indulge in some midnight room-hopping but will Rory be able to cope with his assistant’s newly discovered dominant streak? Who killed the translator and why in such a grisly way? Is there a connection to a recent suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan? Killing doesn’t stop just because it’s Christmas, especially in the British Army.
“Goddamn and sodding blast it!” Rory recognised the sound. It was his “squawk”, a special cell phone to be used only in emergencies. This meant trouble. He blundered out of the shower and answered the call.
“Sumner! Yes. Where? Okay. I’ll be right in. Call them back now. I want a complete lock-down in that area, nobody in or out and nothing, I mean NOTHING is to be touched, especially the body. The MO can determine time and cause but nobody else goes near it. Get hold of Sergeant Jones would you? I expect he’ll be off-base by now but get him to meet me in the office. Tell him to pack a bag.”
Jack had trailed forlornly into the living room and was dripping water on the carpet. He held out a hand to his captain and whispered,
“I’m sorry, Rory.”
“Not half as sorry as you’re going to be, Joachim. Cancel Christmas, there’s been a murder on-base in Mönchengladbach. As the unit involved is the MPs, they need outside investigators to handle it. They have to be seen to not be involved. Impartial policing, is the phrase. Sorry, laddie, that’s us.”
“But I’m on leave!”
“Not til midnight you aren’t, laddie, and it’s only seven thirty. You’re working.—I’m going to need a German-speaker with me…and don’t look at me like that. Come here, Joachim.”
They were still kissing when Jack’s cell phone started to ring.
Many thanks, Cameron, for agreeing to appear on my blog.
Website – http://www.cameron–lawton.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/CameronLawton
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/cameron.lawton.372