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🌟 Please join me in welcoming author Alex Beecroft to Stories That Make You Smile! Alex is here today celebrating the release of the latest book in her fabulous Trowchester Series, Seeing Red. They’ve provided a lovely excerpt and good-naturedly submitted to an interview. Pull up a chair and read on to learn about Alex’s writing methods, her tattoos, and more! 🌟
Seeing Red by Alex Beecroft
Can the love of a compassionate man soften a predator’s heart before it’s too late?
Series: Trowchester Series (book #5)
Release Date: May 12, 2019
Length: 298 pages
Pairing / Genre(s) / Keyword(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Bad boys don’t tame easy.
Victor is a bad man. Is there anything he won’t do for power and money?
Destroy a local business so he can buy it cheap? Kick out its owners and turn it into a cash cow? He relishes the chance.
Idris is a good man in possession of a renowned tea-house. He’s put his heart and soul into the place. It’s everything he has and wants…
Except for Victor.
He wants Victor too.
Can the love of a compassionate man soften a predator’s heart before it’s too late? Or is Idris doomed to lose his life’s work, and his heart with it?
A contemporary mm romance, Seeing Red is a long-awaited new installment of the critically acclaimed Trowchester Series. Each book in the series is a standalone, and can be read in any order. Feel free to start here and work back!
☆ Author Interview ☆
Welcome, and thank you for stopping by! Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.
Thank you for having me! I’m delighted to be here today.
What are my writing goals?
I suppose, essentially, I just want to entertain my readers. I’ve been a reader myself all my life. I grew up as an only child and books were my friends and role models and entertainment all in one. I’d like to give that back to the next generation of keen readers and future writers.
Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?
Thank you! I enjoy writing the Trowchester novels because I got to make up Trowchester (pronounced ‘Trosster’) from scratch. It has everything I like in a little English town and…
I was about to say ‘nothing I don’t,’ but then I remembered that I don’t actually like murderers and arson and predatory businesses, and Trowchester has those. But only for the drama. I enjoy a good villain too.
I have to admit that Victor is my favourite in this book, because it was fun as a writer to do that balancing act of making him bad enough to do what he does, but good enough so the reader hoped for his redemption.
I’m not going to say any more for fear of giving away part of the plot 🙂
Are you a planner or a pantser? How much do you know about your story before you start writing? How often does your plan change? Why does this work best for you?
I’m a plotter, but a very basic plotter. I start off by coming up with the two main characters. Then I get out sixty note cards and lay them down in a grid. Each card represents a scene, or approximately 1,500 words.
That’s the organized bit.
Then I write down on each card what is to happen in that scene.
That requires a mixture of logic and pure invention. For example, say my characters are a pirate and a starship captain, how do they meet? Perhaps the pirate attempts to board the captain’s starship – that would make scene one a scene where our hero was in some sort of boarding pod, and they burned through the hull of the starship only to find the most dashing and handsome captain on the other side, who made them question their decision to get into this lifestyle…
Now scene two can logically be a number of things, but it’s probably going to be something like (a) the captain captures the pirate and throws him in the brig, or (b) the pirate captures the captain’s ship and throws the captain in the brig, or (c) the captain repels the boarding party, but the pirate ends up back on his own ship and finds he can’t stop thinking about this guy, or (d) they are both attacked by the villain and team up.
Pick one of those possibilities, and then the next set of possibilities will develop from that.
So I just go through that process for all 60 cards until I have a story where lots of exciting stuff happens and it all follows on from each other in a logical fashion.
Then I start writing the first draft.
Sometimes things change at that point because characters develop a mind of their own and refuse to do the things you want.
When that happens, I replot to take account of it, and I make a note to revise what I’ve already done to make sure my new knowledge of who the character is/what they’re likely to do is foreshadowed from the beginning.
Did your story turn out as you’d originally planned, or did it veer off in another direction?
Seeing Red was mostly very well behaved, up until the point where the villain, Jack, protested that he wasn’t being villainous enough. He was mostly being petty and nasty, and he wanted to do something more hardcore. I agreed with him, but I decided that if Jack was going to be more hardcore, Victor was going to be wary enough to have a house with a panic room.
Do deadlines motivate you or block you? How do you deal with them?
Ugh, I hate them. If I have a deadline I will do the thing right now. It won’t matter that I’ve got two years to do it in, and several other projects to finish first. The thing with the deadline gets bumped to the top of the queue, because deadlines give me anxiety, and I have to get that thing done now if I’m to have any rest at all.
I suppose you could say that they motivate me, but at what cost?
What do you find to be the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Nothing. I firmly believe that men and women are not essentially different in any significant way. The way we’re raised and socialized is different. The expectations put on us are different, but these things are external and visible. Character is more or less the same in both cases. Both men and women get angry, get upset, can be timid or bold, honest or deceitful, are capable of great love and tenderness, but the ways they are socially encouraged to express or repress those things are different.
The intersection between who they are inside and the social mores about how someone of their gender ought to act forms most of what makes your character unique.
If you think about it, you already know how men are supposed to react to things. Now all you have to ask yourself is whether your shy nerd of a character would manage it, would try and fail, or would not even try at all.
Describe your book in one tweet!
A redemption arc with puppies! What’s not to like?
Do you have any tattoos? Tell us about them!
The top one is an Anglo-Saxon vine-scroll – the vine represents Jesus, from where he says in the Bible “I am the vine and you are the branches.” The Anglo-Saxons liked to depict all the animals in the world coming to feed from the vine as well. I got the cross and then this one first because I wanted my first tattoo to be for God.
The second one represents my family – my children’s names are Rose and Reed, and my husband’s name is Andrew. St. Andrew’s sign is the anchor.
I want to expand both of them, but I haven’t yet decided how. Maybe I’ll keep one arm black and white and the other for colour.
Thanks again for having me!
Meet the Author
I was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. I studied English and Philosophy before accepting employment with the Crown Court where I worked for a number of years. Now a full time author, I live with my husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and try to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.
Asexual, agender and mother of a transgender son, I still feel like my place in the LGBT community is perhaps peripheral. But it’s very important to me nevertheless.
I’m only intermittently present in the real world. I have lead a Saxon shield wall into battle, I can be found most weekends practicing an eight hundred year old form of English folk dance, and recently I’ve been getting into Steampunk, with a character who’s a cross between Evie from The Mummy and Indiana Jones.
I write queer romance – that is, my main characters are typically gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual or asexual men. Best known for historicals, I also write Fantasy/SF and contemporary romance, all of which tends to be on the sweeter side of the heat spectrum.