|Prelude to the Night|
Angela Plowman, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Prelude to the Night
Genre: Gay Romance, Victorian Vampires
Heat rating: Medium/Hot
Tagline: Victorian gentleman Christian Fitzgerald’s main passion is music - until he meets a mysterious older man. Once Christian is introduced to possibilities he never knew existed, he must decide if he is ready to enter into a dangerous duet.
Victorian England is a place of double standards and hidden mysteries. A chance meeting at the opera propels dutiful, innocent Christian into the seductive arms of an older man.
Valentine has come to England searching for a reason to live. He walks in the darkness listening for that siren's song which will recall him to life. He may have found it in beautiful young Christian but can he persuade Christian to give up the conventions of society and walk a more dangerous path?
Between the two there are perils in the London fog which could separate them forever.
The conflict of his comfortable life on one side and the dangers of loving Valentine on the other threaten to tear Christian apart. Whichever path he chooses, listening to the music of the night is likely to cost Christian his soul.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Christian “Kit” Fitzgerald - Gentleman 21
Count Valentine Basarab - traveling vampire - age unknown.
The opera was one I had seen two seasons earlier, performed by an inferior company who lacked the talent needed to bring the difficult piece to its full glory. This night’s production was far superior, taking place as it did in the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, but my attention was not fully on the music for once.
Sometime during the second act it bore in on my consciousness that I was being watched. This was no rare occurrence at the opera or theater; I think sometimes more than half the people there attended just to watch the other half and exchange gossip with their cronies.
That night, though, I felt I was the subject of more than passing attention, and it irritated me that I could not identify where the gaze was coming from. Every time I leaned a little out of our box to look around, I could detect no opera glasses trained our way. Of course, I reasoned, it was most likely Constance who was attracting all the attention.
I could not shake the feeling that it was my own person that was being subjected to intense scrutiny. Normally I would have been so engrossed in the music I would not have noticed anything else. I loved the final aria of the first act in particular, but that almost physical itch of awareness of being watched was damnably annoying. The feeling lasted until the curtain went down at the end of the act and we rose for the intermission.
The theater was rife with speculation that night. It seemed amid the usual smattering of minor nobility there was a mysterious newcomer to gossip about, a foreign aristocrat. I was not much interested and left my mother happily chatting to two of her set while I made my way to my friend’s box to finalize arrangements for that evening.
It took me a while to reach my goal, stopping and being stopped now and again to exchange polite greetings, inquiries as to health, and enjoyment of the evening.
I turned precipitously into what I thought to be the box of my friends. I closed the door behind me, stepping forward. “Save me, I beg you!” I intoned in dramatic humor, only to find myself facing a total stranger who was sole occupant of the box into which I had let myself.
I was sure my heart skipped a beat.
He sat a little back from the balcony with the curtain partly drawn. No doubt from the outside it would look as though the box were empty. He was turned away from the stage as though expecting someone to arrive, as I had done.
The light from the auditorium fell upon a face that would have been more at home on the bust of a Roman emperor. He was as pale as some of those marble visages too. Dark hair fell back in a glossy wave from a high brow to flow around his shoulders. His features were commanding, lips full beneath an elegantly long nose, but it was his eyes that caught and held me. They were the eyes of some wild animal, gleaming in the half-light, predatory. If he had licked his lips then and there, he could not have strengthened the impression more.
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
I wish I could get it finished! Seriously, the first book I started writing is still incomplete after 4 years! My Muse Years resolution is to complete it.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love the creative process; in particular creating characters. I admit I usually start with an actor’s pretty face and the character grows around that. With “Wolf in the Fold”, it was Paul Telfer who did a couple of guest spots in NCIS. Not the buffed up body but that pretty twink face. So Gabriel was born. As I worked more on the character, and he evolved as I wrote I fell totally in love with him. I am prouder of Gabriel than of any of my other characters. To think that I managed to create him - little devil that he is - in all his perfection; loyal, passionate, intelligent, devoted and an absolute little teasing rogue.
Then I got to do all sorts of naughty things with him. I actually made myself blush a couple of times and the mere mention of candles makes me come over all hot and bothered. I am not going to tell you what happened with the candle as that would be a spoiler. You’ve have to read “Wolf in the Fold” to find out. I can be a tease too…. I cannot believe I wrote that scene!
The character I most want to sweep me off my feet is Richard Rochefort, the Highwayman himself. He is totally Jeffrey Dean Morgan - that twinkling smile could only be his. And his boy is based on a young and skinny Ben Whishaw.
This time around, I have a dark and mysterious character in the form of Valentine. He is ancient, wise and yet vulnerable in his search for something to live for - some one to inspire passion in him again - some one to love.
If you could choose anyone to be your mentor, who would it be?
Saki - his ability to create these sparkling, so alive characters and to paint a scene with just a few descriptive words. And his versatility - he can give you the creeps and having you laughing a moment later. The fact that he is firmly entrenched in my favorite period - gay Victorian England. Actually I would like one of his characters - the devilishly charming Reginald to be me mentor. He moves through any society with such grace and knowledge and cares not a jot what people think of him.
What is your work ethic when it comes to writing?
Ha ha! Don’t make me laugh. I don’t have one. It is a total miracle anything ever gets written at all. Firstly, I can never come up with ideas. “Wolf in the Fold” came from an idea from a short story by Saki. “The Highwayman” is a retelling of Alfred Noyses poem of the same name - only with a lead character getting a sex change. “Prelude to the Night” was from an idea I had in a dream.
I make Douglas Adams look like a dedicated speed writer. Do you remember his quote about how he loved deadlines - the noise they make when they rush by? Well, thank all the gods of writing I don’t have deadlines or they would never be met. About once a year, I get a sudden rush of urgency and write solidly for two weeks. I’m driven, it flows, and I love it.
The rest of the year I think it would be great to do some writing, and so I tidy up my desk, and then start tidying the rest of the room. My house is really tidy - It’s why I can only ever write novellas. I have several Olympic medals in procrastination.
How do you cope with stress as an author?
Valium. No seriously - I cope very badly with stress of any kind. I fret and procrastinate so much I let it build up until it overwhelms me. That ought to be the competition. Leave a comment with or with out a stress busting tip for authors and I will pick one at random to win the title of their choice from my extensive catalogue of three books. Can we do that?
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
Blimey! I hope not. I don’t have any friends like that.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn't normally read your genre, and why?
“Wolf in the Fold” from LooseID. It was my first published book and it has many faults I wish I could go back and clear up but it also has Gabriel in it and I love him so. I’m not sure many people got that it was meant to be a comedy too - or at least deeply tongue in cheek.
What do you wish I had asked you? Please ask and answer it now.
What other titles have you come up with for your books?
“Wolf in the Fold” will always be “Buggering heights” for me. Emily Bronte with gays.
“Prelude to the Night” had the most alternative titles. “There’s a Vamp in my Pants”, “Buggerers Opera”, and “Capre Antinouse” (Seize the gay).
I have hell coming up with titles. Comic ones - no problem.
What was the proudest moment of your life so far?
When “Wolf in the Fold” came out with LooseID I was off on holiday with my dad. We decided to have one big posh holiday before his passport expired and it gets too expensive to get insurance for him. We went on a Nile cruise and it was amazing. A very small party of people on the tour - and I came up to breakfast to find my dad talking about me being a published author.
Okay - I also nearly died of embarrassment. Dad knew it was a romance but not what sort of romance…
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview. What will you take with you and where will you go?
Love this question just because it makes me think. - That would be so liberating. No anxiety, just an hour to pack. Actually, can I have just ten minutes? I know where everything is.
Knickers - because I am a practical girl.
Nighty - am modest too.
Bedsocks - my feet get cold.
Pashmina - always take a pashmina. It’s like a HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy thing but more chic than a towel.
Spare contact lenses - because I hate wearing my glasses.
Glasses - because sometimes you have to do what you hate.
Moisturizer - because I am a lady of a certain age.
Shampoo - hotel ones always make my head itch.
Netty my trusty netbook which has all my extensive e book collection on it and my works in progress.
Credit card - because with only an hour to pack I will now have the excuse to buy lots of stuff while away.
Destination? One of those places with the silver sand, blue sea and palm trees. I’m not sure where it is but I can just see Sean Connery stepping out of the waves in his blue swim trunks. Nowhere too crowded, and with stuff to explore - preferably historical.
Please complete the sentences
I love pizza with my partner.
I'm always ready for trouble.
When I'm alone, I feel sad.
You'd never be able to tell, but if you cut me open I would have “GEEK” written right though me.
If I had a halo, it would be slipping.
If I could, I would.
Wolf in the Fold with LooseID
The Highwayman with Liquid Silver Press
Books Coming Soon
I’m straying out of the Victorian era and into SF next. I’m currently doing battle with what is actually the first book I ever wrote. Set on the desert planet of Dendera, Professor Edwards is looking for the link which joins the people of Earth with colonies of humans seeded across the galaxy by an alien race. Utterly devoted to his work he has no time for a love life until his young protégée is attacked and left for dead. The only way Will can save the beautiful young man’s life is by claiming him as his husband.
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