Keep Me In Mind: M/M ~ If I Were Fire by Heloise West ~ (Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Author Name: Heloise West
Book Name: If I Were Fire
Release Date: September 16, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Buy The Book:
In 18th century Siena, Count Salvesto Masello has returned home to find the family villa and his father's estate steeped deeply in debt. In order to save it, he has been selling off valuable family heirlooms, but he is running out of silverware. Somewhere in the villa his deceased father had hidden the art treasures that will pay the debt, but Salvesto can't find them anywhere.
Amadeo Neruccio has been on the run from the vicious pimp, thief, and pawnbroker Guelfetto, but his toughs finally catch him and bring him to the cellar where Count Masello is selling off his silver. When the count learns what fate Guelfetto has in store for Amadeo, he intervenes and trades the last of his mother's dowry for the young man's freedom.
Salvesto had left home over ten years ago to live the life of adventure he craved. He had also hoped to leave his broken heart behind. When he rescues young Amadeo, he did not expect to find love again, or that his adventures had yet to end.
Pages or Words: 19,000 words
Categories: Fiction, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance
Everyone knew everyone’s business in the small hilly honeycomb town of Siena. The house the Masello had once occupied for short periods during the year belonged to a rich merchant now. The eldest Masello had died in a hunting accident in the countryside, and his father, it was said, died of grief a year later. This event had brought the new conte home to the villa with the leaky roof, the broken-backed barn, and massive debt. Yet perhaps Conte Masello was not as bad off as they said, for he had paid Amadeo’s debt to Guelfetto.
Likely Amadeo was wrong about that, too, as the conte had traded for his freedom with silver dishes and spoons. Amadeo swallowed hard but could not dislodge the lump in his throat, a combination of gratitude and resentment. Life in a Florentine bathhouse and sexual slavery to the traditional enemies of Siena was no life at all. He shuddered. He had meant it about throwing himself on the tender mercy of the river.
What kind of master was the new Conte Masello? He glanced at the man beside him and found warm hazel eyes gazing down at him. His new master’s hair was as brown as chestnuts and touched with gray strands. Whatever he’d been doing while the family fortunes dwindled—soldiering, sailing, perhaps even tramping about in the New World—had made him a man with a face weathered by the sun and muscles that strained the seams of his fine clothes. He was broad-shouldered and a forearm’s length taller than Amadeo, who felt like a willow tree beside such an oak.
“We have another stop to make,” the conte whispered. “Finish your prayers.”
The hard press of the conte’s velvet-clad shoulder and the intimacy of his warm breath on Amadeo’s neck sent a small shock through him, and his cock stirred restlessly in response.
Oh no, you don’t. You are not to ruin this chance for me either. Pardon me, dear Saint Catherine. I pledge to you I will stay away from the gaming tables and this man’s bed.
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Heloise West author of If I Were Fire.
Hi Heloise, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
- Tell us about your book.
It’s a romance mixed with adventure and suspense set in
18th century Tuscany. The novella started life as a short story for a Dreamspinner anthology, but the editors wanted more, so there you go.
- How difficult was it to get into the main character’s head?
For historicals, you have to do your homework. Writing historical anything isn’t for the faint of heart. Once I have a character in mind, I read everything I can that’s written about the period and try to see how the character will fit in and how the period affects the character.
- Is this book a standalone or do you plan on visiting it again?
As it is, it’s a standalone. I’m aiming for more with these two once I get the decks cleared. I like the novella length—it’s a break from 80,000 word goals!
- Why did you choose to write M/M stories?
One of the reasons I write is because I’m inspired by what I read and that eventually became true for writing M/M romance, too. I love historical mysteries and big adventure romances like Outlander or historical adventure like Dorothy Dunnett’s. For me, writing gay romance meant breaking out of the old gender role models and exploring and digging deeper to find these historical threads and narratives. It’s the challenge, too. A lot of time and effort has gone into the research, into unearthing the voices and influence of people besides those of straight white men.
- Where do you find your inspiration?
In my historical readings of both fiction and nonfiction. There are some periods I’m more partial to than others: medieval, Prohibition, the Renaissance. For If I Were Fire, I followed a vague little thread picked up somewhere and came up with the evil bandit for the story and the scenario. I had some other ideas unrelated to this story for 18th century Tuscany and had been doing some reading, so this plot just slid into place. From my love of medieval I added the poem by Cecco Angliolieri (a contemporary of Dante’s) and a slight knowledge of Renaissance art for the treasures hidden in the villa. The 18th century says adventure to me, global expansion and the horrors that go along with that. After awhile, the inspiration for the story is the story and the characters as they develop and come together, especially when it comes out better than I’d hoped.
About the author:
Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mahem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance of all flavors. She travels and gardens with her partner of 10 years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.
Where to find the author:Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/heloise-west
Tour Dates & Stops:
6-Oct Prism Book Alliance
20-Oct MM Good Book Reviews
27-Oct Divine Magazine
3-Nov Love Bytes
10-Nov V's Reads
17-Nov Emotion in Motion
24-Nov Parker Williams
1-Dec BFD Book Blog
8-Dec Amanda C. Stone
15-Dec Inked Rainbow Reads
22-Dec Molly Lolly
29-Dec Jessie G. Books
Rafflecopter Prize: One of three copies of ‘If I Were Fire’
a Rafflecopter giveaway