Here is the second of my author interviews with authors who have contributed to the fantastic anthology, A Summer’s Day – Shakespearean stories with a twist.
My guest today is Louise Lyons, a fellow Brits whose previous works I have really enjoyed.
What led you to pick your source material for your story?
The first Shakespeare play I studied in school was Romeo & Juliet, which I loved, and I also love the movie, Letters To Juliet, so this was the first idea to pop into my head when I heard about the anthology. Why not write a modern-day Romeo and “Julian” story? I’m usually a pantser when it comes to writing, although I make a timeline as I write to try and avoid continuity errors. I had the idea of the two young men having parents who hated each other, with a bit of a twist as to the reason. But when Romeo is forced to rescue Julian from drowning, the pair consider why they’ve been conditioned to hate each other, and realise actually, they find each other very attractive indeed! I threw in a few vague events from the original storyline – parents trying to keep them apart, etc, but of course my star-crossed lovers don’t die. They do get their happy ending eventually.
Shakespeare definitely has a way with words. What is your favourite insult/endearment/inspiring passage? Which bit do you wish you had written?
Well, that would have to be Hamlet’s famous soliloquy. I studied Hamlet at school as well, and my class went to see the play at the theatre. I memorised the soliloquy from beginning to end, but the only part I can remember now is: “To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…” Actually, I’m amazed I can remember that much after 25 years, haha.
What are you working on now?
A couple of things. I’m working on a new novel, of which I’ve written about 10,000 words so far. It’s called The Power of Will and is a paranormal love story, about a young guy called Tyler Marsden, newly broken up from a three-year relationship, who moves to a new town to escape the memories of his ex. In the ancient tumble-down cottage he moves to, he finds a journal written a century earlier, by a young gay man, William Bartlett, who was shunned by everyone, including his lover, when his secret was discovered. The last year of William’s life is detailed in the journal and as Tyler reads his story, strange things happen and he becomes convinced William is more than just a memory.
I’m also writing a light-hearted rock band story called Thirteen Black Cats, which I’m publishing weekly in the Wednesday Briefs group. It’s written from the point of view of singer, Ash, who reluctantly admits to his band mates that he’s gay, which does not surprise them at all. However, sleazy manager Jackson is less than impressed that his efforts to get Ash to “entertain” groupies to sell records won’t work. Ash and drummer Billy pretend to be in a relationship together to lend authenticity to Ash’s claims that he’s seeing someone, but he fights his growing attraction to Billy the whole time, not realising that Billy actually thinks he’s bisexual and wants to use the opportunity to test this out with a friend he trusts. You can read the short chapters on my blog each week.
Can we have an excerpt?
This little teaser is from my latest novel, Cervena, released July 22nd. Main character Joel Jones joint-owns a Prague nightclub with business partner Karel. When homeless Russian Sasha stumbles across his doorstep, soft-hearted Joel offers him a job as a dancer and home, and falls for him along the way. But their budding relationship is fraught with problems when Joel returns to London because of a death in his family, and later has to deal with his business partner gambling away the clubs profits, leaving him in a precarious position and in danger when the men Karel gambles with come after Joel for the debt. The excerpt is from Chapter 3, when Joel blurts out what he’s thinking and is surprised by the response.
I wondered what his answer would be if I asked him on a date the way I’d thought of doing a hundred times. I imagined trying to sound casual as I blurted out what was in my head: “Would you like to have dinner with me tomorrow?” Would it really be so bad if I tried dating him? My excuses about the age difference, Sasha perhaps feeling obligated to say yes, and my previous failed relationship with a dancer had worn thin. Sasha wasn’t a child. He’d be twenty-one in a few weeks and was perfectly capable of making his own decisions. As long as I could control my jealousy when he was on the podium, it could all be fine. Then again, it was more likely he wasn’t interested in me in the slightest and would say no. Too long on my own had made me think I wasn’t much of a catch.
“Yes. That would be great. Thank you for asking.”
“Huh?” My mouth dropped open and I snapped it shut.
“I said yes, thank you. I’d like to go to dinner.”
Fuck, I said it out loud. It took me a moment to register that he’d accepted my invitation. I blinked and pulled myself together. “Good. What type of food do you like?”
“Anything is fine. Why don’t you choose what you like?”
“All right. Italian, then. We’ll go to my favorite restaurant. Do you have something smart but casual to wear? A shirt and pants?”
“Yes.” Sasha nodded and smiled.
“I’ll meet you here at seven.” I shouldn’t have been so excited over a dinner date. Although I’d known him a month, I knew very little about him. But the evening would be an opportunity to learn and I couldn’t wait.
Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.
Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favorite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.
Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.
Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.
Release Date: 12th of August
Cover Art: Jay Aheer Simply Defined Art
Genre: MM Mixed*
We have modern retelling of some plays, interpretations of others and one of the sonnets, and delightful referencing of anything Shakespeare.
There is gentle YA romance next to very hot 18+ stories and all kinds of relationships – first love, May/December, interracial, second chances, happy endings and even a tragic one.
We’re travelling from Ancient Rome through Renaissance England to modern day UK, Venice Beach and other places in USA, Vancouver and Havana.
There’s fun, drama, tears, angst, joy and, above all, lots of true love.
Note: All proceeds of this collection go to the It Gets Better Project™.