Prism Book Alliance would like to thank John Wiltshire for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: More Heat Than the Sun
Author: John Wiltshire
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Mystery
Love is a Stranger
Loving a total stranger can be very hard work sometimes.
How do you love someone who exists entirely in the shadows? How do you love a man who describes himself as dead? How do you get that ghost to love you back? Ex-SAS soldier Ben Rider falls in love with his enigmatic married boss Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen, but Nikolas is living a lie. A lie so profound that when the shadows are lifted, Ben realises he’s in love with a very dangerous stranger. Ben has to choose between Nikolas and safety, but sometimes danger comes in a very seductive package.
Conscious Decisions of the Heart
Ben Rider and Nikolas Mikkelsen learn that danger comes in all shapes and sizes and often in places you least expect it.
Nikolas’s dark past calls to him, inexorably dragging him back into its seductive embrace. While he goes on an errand of mercy to Russia, Ben travels to Denmark to learn Nikolas’s language. Convinced Russia’s vastness will swallow Nikolas, Ben doesn’t see the enemy much closer to home. Thinking he has lost Nikolas, Ben then makes a terrible decision that threatens to destroy everything they have together. Focused on this very personal horror, bound by a new level of commitment, they have no idea that a greater threat is coming. And when it arrives, it changes everything—even the definition of commitment.
Warning: This story contains the violent death of a minor character and some graphic violence.
The Bridge of Silver Wings
Nikolas and Ben discover that bonds aren’t forged with blood or scars but in the hearts of men strong enough to love.
Ben discovers the truth of the adage, ‘be careful what you wish for’. Nikolas has exorcised his demons, but when they end up stranded in Russia, the monster inside needs to be let loose. Siberia in winter isn’t a place for good men. There is nothing Nikolas won’t do to keep Ben alive.
Home again, Nikolas then faces an enemy he can’t defeat: Ben Rider himself. Discovering a new family, Ben realizes he’s been living too long in the shadows cast by Nikolas’s all-consuming love. For the first time, life apart from Nikolas is possible. Is Nikolas strong enough to let Ben go?
This Other Country
Nikolas is the sanest, straightest, person he knows, so can anyone tell him, why he’s on a gay therapy course?
Nikolas Mikkelsen could make a very long list of unpleasant things he’s endured in his life. Then order it from ‘nearly killed me’ to ‘extremely horrific and don’t want to do again’. And what did it say about his forty-five years that being hit by a tsunami would be a considerable way down this list? But nothing, not torture, imprisonment, nor starvation has prepared him for what he now has to endure for Ben Rider’s sake-attendance on a residential, gay therapy course. At least he has a new contender for the top spot on his ‘my awful life’ list.
Lirtle sits down with Ben and Nik, the stars of the More Heat than Sun series.
Well, hello there to you, Nikolas and Ben, fancy meeting you here. I know, I know, I couldn’t resist. How are you?
–Ben. Hi. I think I’ll be doing most of the talking as Nik doesn’t…yeah, I’m getting the evil eye already. So, yes, hello. Thanks for having us both here.
I’m so happy to have a bit of time with you both, are you ready for a bit of brain picking?
–Ben. Absolutely. Nik…?
–Nik. Yes! I’m here, aren’t I? I have agreed to answer some questions.
Hey Ben, is it just me or does Nik have a flair for the dramatic?
–Ben. I wouldn’t say necessarily dramatic, more entirely unconcerned what anyone else thinks. Most of us tone down our responses to life’s provocations. Nik has a tendency to try and force events to bend to his will.
–Nik. That is ridiculous. I have merely learnt to adapt to circumstances.
You each can read the other very well, s’all I’m saying. 😉
–Ben. Don’t they say there’s one person out there for everyone? Perhaps they just mean there’s one person who can read you. But just because you can read something doesn’t mean you can understand its message. Stop laughing!
–Nik. I’m not laughing. I was just wondering how someone who thinks World War Z should be required reading got onto metaphor.
–Ben. Onto what? I was talking about you. How I still find you hard to read sometimes.
–Nik. Ah. Perhaps I should be required. Then someone might write Cliffs notes for you. I can read that expression very well, Benjamin. No notes required at all.
Nik, what was the moment you truly knew you could trust Ben, after you both sort of kind of admitted there was something more than employer/employee to this relationship. Same for you, Ben.
–Nik. It is ridiculous to throw the word trust around so lightly. Trust him to do what? And besides, if you are strong enough you shouldn’t have to trust other people—that’s weakness.
–Ben. Ignore him. I think it’s the strong who trust the most. They are self-confident enough to realise they can let go and let someone else take the reins, so to speak.
–Nik. You can trust no one in this life. Everyone will eventually betray you given enough incentive.
–Ben. Thank you.
–Nik. Obviously, I did not mean you, Benjamin.
–Ben. So…you do trust me?
–Nik. Of course! I would not be here if I did not. You would not be in my…here either, if I did not.
–Ben. Which is what she asked? Which is what I said? Hello?
–Nik. Another more sensible question maybe?
Ben, do you consider yourself a romantic? I think you have a romantic streak as wide as the Thames. What about Nik, is he romantic?
–Ben. After that last answer I feel distinctly less romantic. Bloody hell. I don’t really know. I think if you asked my ex, Kate, she’d say…actually, I’m not sure what she’d say. What is romantic? Huh, does that mean I’m not because I’ve had to ask that?
–Ben. Well if romance means buying flowers and chocolates then—
–Nik. Good God. Just admit it, Benjamin. You are the world’s greatest romantic. You would have us permanently handcuffed to each other.
–Ben. Uh huh. Well I think we’ve just proved who isn’t the romantic one. Handcuffs. Seriously.
–Nik. You are being deliberately obtuse. You know very well what I mean. And besides, romance means having an idealised view of reality. Who would want that?
Ben, this faith you have in Nik, it shows in gestures big and small. How does Nik demonstrate his faith in you? Yes, Nik, you have faith in him, it’s easy to see. I think it’s yourself you sometimes have trouble finding faith…
–Ben. I think I’ll let him answer that.
–Nik. I believe in letting actions speak for themselves. I have tor—interrogated hundreds of people who have sworn blind to me that they did not do something or that they did—it’s doesn’t really matter which. Their words were meaningless. I could say many things about Ben Rider to satisfy this insatiable need people appear to have to vocalise their every trivial thought. Ben is here with me. No one else is. I think that speaks for itself.
This is a terribly typical but necessary question: if a movie about the life you share were ever made into a film, which actor would you like to see play each of you. To make it interesting, answer for yourselves and then answer for each other. ☺
–Ben. Hah! Who is that actor you were watching the other day? The one with the hair?
–Nik. I have no idea what you are talking about. I don’t watch—
–Ben. Danish bloke. It was in a mortuary. He was called Nikolas, too
–Nik. Nikolaj. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
–Ben. That’s the one. He’s the one I’d get to play you. Except he smiles too much.
–Nik. I was thinking more along the lines of Mads Mik—
–Ben. Cannibal. That figures. I guess if I had to choose someone to play me it would have been Andy Whitfield.
–Nik. Don’t look at me. I have no idea about these celebrity things. For some reason though I am thinking about the model Ben Hill.
–Ben. Huh, you think I look like Ben Hill?
–Nik. Not at all. I’m merely planning who would look good next to me in the photographs.
Tell me your future, the big picture, what do you see… what do you want to see?
–Ben. I want us to be together until we’re old. Which won’t be that long for Nik, of course.
–Nik. Thank you. I was going to say we cannot know the future, but I am now fairly sure what yours will consist of as soon as this interview is over.
–Ben. Seriously though, I do think fate controls our course. I’ve always felt that. Even Nik says he feels there’s a strong hand at our helm sometimes. Sometimes it’s best just to sit back and take the ride.
–Nik. I’ve been telling you that since we met.
–Ben. I meant life.
–Nik. Oh. That ride.
Going the opposite way, when you look back on everything you’ve been through together, everything you’ve survived, what’s the first word – or three – that comes to mind, and why… the why being the important part.
–Ben. Roller coaster. Sometimes I feel like I’m on one. It’s all plummet down and then slow climb back up, but it’s only afterwards you realise how much fun it was, how…I don’t know, exhilarating?
–Nik. Ben. That’s what comes to my mind. He’s the eye of the hurricane—the still, calm place where the buffeting stops. What? That is not romantic. That is an entirely pragmatic and logical expression of the reality of our situation.
–Nik. Oh, yes, I agree. Bollocks come to mind as well.
In your wildest fantasies, about love, about finding love, it finding you, did it ever come close to what you have with each other now? Did you dream about it… did you not allow yourselves to dream about it?
–Ben. Love? Huh. I’m not sure I ever thought about it. I loved being in the army. Does that count?
–Nik. I have a sneaking fondness for smoking. There have been many times in my life when I’ve dreamt about cigarettes.
–Ben. I may not be in the army any more, but it’s still my entire life. It defines who I am.
–Nik. Yes, exactly. I am addicted to smoking. I admit it.
–Ben. Sorry. Does that answer your question?
It’s been beautiful and excruciating to witness you two becoming such a formidable team, becoming one. (Yes, you are, it’s true.) What are the things that help you both to maintain this relationship, in all its forms, what makes it work for you?
–Nik. I’ve always thought being a billionaire has helped the process.
Raise your hand if you never want to see snow again?
–Ben. Put it down. I love snow.
Want to live in Denmark, aka snow central, again?
–Ben. Stop it! Who knows what fate has in store for us? Maybe there is a lot of snow on our horizon.
–Nik. Then I suggest it stays there.
Nik, this is another vital question: is Ben an excellent tickler? And have you learned a thing or two from him in this area? Told you, vital.
–Nik. Yes, I used to ask people such vital questions, too. They often seemed to find them puzzling as well. No, he is not. He is very annoying and very childish. I have learnt nothing from Benjamin Rider except some irritating expressions. Get stuffed, comes to mind. Poke off. I can see you are chuffed to bits with this answer.
So much has happened over the last couple of years or so, what are you looking forward to most in this life you’re sharing? How about just for tomorrow, what’s on for tomorrow… actually, how about today?
–Ben. What? Sorry. I was thinking about the tickling…
–Nik. Yes. How odd. I was thinking about that, too. In fact…
–Ben. I think we’ve just answered that question then. How much longer is this going to take?
Here’s a bit of a lightening round, and you can either answer for yourselves or try to outdo and answer for the other. Ready? Go!
Tea or coffee:
–Ben. Tea! Both of us.
Lobster or Duck:
–Nik. I don’t eat anything that is supposed to fly.
–Ben. Huh. I didn’t know you thought that.
–Nik. See? You are entirely unromantic, Benjamin. You should know such things.
Favorite color, c’mon:
–Ben. Brown. Well, amber sometimes. Chocolate. Brown, anyway.
Hot tub, outside or inside:
–Nik. I have been banned from hot tubs for some reason.
Dagger or sword:
–Nik. Dagger obviously.
–Ben. I was going to say sword. It’s way better for projection of force.
–Nik. Maybe, but if you want to kill an enemy stealthy then you need a covert weapon.
–Ben. What if I don’t—want to kill someone stealthily? What if I want to stick them hard with something big and brutal? What? What did I say?
Lightsaber or phaser (What?):
–Nik. Yes, sorry, what?
–Ben. Ignore him. Phaser, obviously.
Sunrise or sunset:
–Nik. Why should I prefer one of those to the other?
–Ben. Sunset. I know what comes next.
–Nik. Yes. Sunset. Definitely.
Blueberry or strawberry:
–Nik. Does she have a fixation about food?
–Ben. Shush. Just answer. Most people like talking about food.
–Nik. Blueberry. They are sharp and disagreeable.
–Ben. Strawberry. My mum’s favorite thing was to do pick-your-own in June and we’d eat the strawberries off the plant when no one was looking.
Briefs or boxers (What??):
–Nik. Oh, yes, I prefer neither on Ben, too.
For both of you, what’s one thing about the other about which you want to world to know and remember?
–Ben. Do you know? I think I’ll let Radulf answer that. He’s the best example of what I’d like the world to remember about Nik.
–Nik. Radulf is blind and stupid. I hardly think that dog can speak for me.
–Ben. He does. Being here—he says everything there is to say about you.
–Nik. In that case, I’d say me—that I’m still here, that I’m sitting here willing to answer your questions and that I’ve only lied in one or two. Or three. That probably says more about Benjamin Rider than anything else.
Thank you both so much for spending some time with me and sharing a bit more of yourselves with all of us. Come back anytime, y’hear? 😉
–Ben. Thank you. It’s been fun.
–Nik. So, is it nearly sunset yet?
About the Author:
John Wiltshire has kindly offered 1 Lucky Commenter their choice of books form the More Heat than Sun series.
Locally held contests will end 7 days from original posting date at 8pm CDT. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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