December 12, 2013

Gay Historical: A Valet's Duty @HLewisFoster #RLFblog #GLBT

A Valet's Duty 
H Lewis-Foster, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, A Valet's Duty.
Genre: Gay historical
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Cover artist: Reese Dante
Length: 34 pages
Heat rating: Sensual
Tagline: Sexual favors and emotional ties cross the class divide in Edwardian England.
Blurb: At the turn of the twentieth century, Henry Simpkins is a valet at Taverslow, the Earl of Wayshaw's Somerset home. When the Earl's younger brother, Rafe, arrives from his villa in Italy, Henry is given the task of caring for his mischievous dogs, Pepe and Paolo. As part of his valet's duties, he also goes to Rafe's room each night to tidy away his clothes.
One night, Rafe tentatively asks Henry to go beyond his valet's duty to relieve Rafe's sexual tensions. Henry enjoys their increasingly intimate encounters, but he's soon disturbed to find he feels more for Rafe than mere physical attraction. Henry faces a difficult decision, as he knows he cannot remain in the same house as Rafe if his affections are not returned.
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What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Henry Simpkins is 29 and is valet to the Earl of Wayshaw.
The earl's younger brother, Rafe, is a 28-year-old gentleman.


What do you enjoy most about writing?
Unlike some writers, I really enjoy sitting in front of a blank screen and putting down my initial ideas. I like getting to know the characters and working out where the story is going. While I have a rough idea of plot when I start writing, sometimes a character or a crucial piece of action will completely change, and it's very satisfying to complete that first draft. I must admit, I also enjoy going back over my work, improving it line by line. For that reason, I'll never be the quickest of writers, but I like to make my stories the best they can possibly be.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Start writing sooner! While I always had ideas for stories, I never had the confidence to write them down. It took quite a few years for me to put pen to paper, then to finally send my work to a publisher. I'm just so happy I got around to it eventually.
What is your work ethic when it comes to writing?
I try to spend my mornings writing, before I go to my 'ordinary' job. However, as I've had so many stories published over the last few months, this time has more often been spent checking edits, corresponding with publishers or doing promotional work. I do enjoy that part of the writing process, but I'm really looking forward to doing some actual writing again.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
Not consciously, but I suppose the odd phrase or incident might end up in a book without me realizing. I genuinely don't base my characters on people I know, or even famous people. I think you have much more freedom as a writer if your characters come totally from your imagination. Fortunately I have a very vivid imagination!
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
I've worked in libraries and archives for a while now, mostly in universities. It's amazing how much libraries have changed in only a few years. They are no longer the silent, dour places they often were, but are more relaxed and welcoming. I'm lucky enough to be able to work part-time, and to spend the rest of my time writing, which is an ideal combination.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn't normally read your genre, and why?
I would probably recommend an early story of mine, Counting Parakeets, which is about a doctor, a performance artiste and a pet parakeet named Ollie—an interesting combination, I'm sure you'll agree! While there's plenty of simmering sexual attraction between the two main characters, Counting Parakeets is a sweet and funny story which I think anyone would enjoy, whatever their usual reading tastes.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
I know most people like going to the coast or the country on holiday, but there's nothing I like more than a city break. I had a gorgeous holiday in Paris a little while ago—it is an amazing city. The architecture is stunning and the food is wonderful, of course. I love taking a vacation in London too, as I adore going to the theatre. There's such an array of plays and musicals to see, it's my perfect place to visit.
What good book have you read recently?
I've recently discovered the novels of Mary Renault. She was an English author who started writing gay romances in the 1950s. Most of them are set in Ancient Greece, which means they haven't dated as some books do. They aren't as graphic as some modern gay fiction, but they perfectly combine historical detail and tender love stories. One of her earlier works The Charioteer is a love story about three men during World War II, written only a few years after the end of the war. Considering the social and legal situation at the time, it was an incredibly brave thing to do.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
I honestly can't remember the last time I was bored. Within a matter of months, I've had my debut novel Burning Ashes and three shorter stories published, as well as moving to a new city and a new job. If I do get a spare moment, I like watching a good film. I have very eclectic tastes, but my favorite film of recent years would have to be Weekend, a British film about two young men who spend an intensely romantic weekend together. There are no special effects or big stars, but it's beautifully written and acted.
Counting Parakeets
Please underline which statement is more like you:
"I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and relaxed."
"I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because I do things as fast as possible."

Please complete the sentences

I love pizza with goat's cheese.
I'm always ready for chocolate cake.
When I'm alone, I like listening to music – especially Rufus Wainwright.
You'd never be able to tell, but my first pet was a goldfish called Fred.
If I had a halo it would be glowing all the colors of the rainbow.
If I could cook like Jamie Oliver I'd open a fabulous restaurant.
I can never stop writing because I've got too many stories I want to tell.

Previous Books

Burning Ashes (Dreamspinner Press)
Northern Relations (Amber Allure)
To Protect the Heir (JMS Books)
Ballet Nights (JMS Books)
Betting on Snow (Dreamspinner Press)
Counting Parakeets (JMS Books)
Secret of the Code (JMS Books)
Balancing the Books (JMS Books)

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