Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Alex Beecroft for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: Trowchester Blues
Author: Alex Beecroft
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
Michael May is losing it. Long ago, he joined the Metropolitan Police to escape his father’s tyranny and protect people like himself. Now his father is dead, and he’s been fired for punching a suspect. Afraid of his own rage, he returns to Trowchester—and to his childhood home, with all its old fears and memories. When he meets a charming, bohemian bookshop owner who seems to like him, he clings tight.
Fintan Hulme is an honest man now. Five years ago, he retired from his work as a high class London fence and opened a bookshop. Then an old client brings him a stolen book too precious to turn away, and suddenly he’s dealing with arson and kidnapping, to say nothing of all the lies he has to tell his friends. Falling in love with an ex-cop with anger management issues is the last thing he should be doing.
Finn thinks Michael is incredibly sexy. Michael knows Finn is the only thing that still makes him smile. But in a relationship where cops and robbers are natural enemies, that might not be enough to save them.
Middle age is a funny thing. And by funny I mean unsettling and sometimes tragic. A lot of romances are set in early life, in which our innocent young protagonists find their soul mates and settle down to live happily every after. Which is great – I’m certainly no stranger to the lure of innocence and first love, and the hope of launching out as a new partnership, ready to take on the world. After all, everything is new and strange and exciting at that age, and it doesn’t hurt that we are at our most energetic and beautiful.
So why would you choose to write a romance featuring a couple who were on the other side of forty and rapidly accelerating onwards?
Well, firstly, why not? Our culture has a fixation on and a fascination with youth which tends to leave us feeling like nothing interesting can possibly happen to anyone over thirty, but that’s not true. The fact is – and I can attest this myself – that after youth there is a long period of maturity in which you think you’ve got it cracked and your life is set on its smooth course forever more. And then you hit your forties and everything changes.
You’ve established yourself. You’ve got your job, you’ve had your children and they’ve grown up and left. You’ve had your first long term relationship and it fell apart, or your partner died or you realized one day that all those things that you’ve been ignoring about yourself can’t be silenced any more and you acknowledge that you were gay or bi or ace or trans all along.
Maybe you’ve reached the pinnacle of what you can achieve on the track you were on, and it’s become apparent that this will never satisfy you. You begin to experience a sense of dissatisfaction approaching despair. Is this all there is to life? Will you just go on like this forever, until one day you drop dead, never having achieved anything noteworthy? You start wondering if you can recapture the glory of your youth – but this time with the advantages of knowing how things work and that bit of extra assertiveness and fuck you attitude that comes with having two decades of experience under your belt.
This is the point where people start having affairs, or ditching their steady jobs to buy a sports care and travel around the world in search of themselves.
It’s actually quite an exciting time – where by ‘exciting’ I mean ‘terrifying’. It’s a new chance to start again, wipe the slate clean and try to get it right this time, if there is such a thing as right.
Which makes it a second chance for true love. It means a romance between two people who have already had full and complicated lives – who have developed strong personalities and strong preferences, who have regrets and secrets and habits that a new lover will have to grapple with and overcome if they are to root themselves in an already full, already wounded heart.
In Trowchester Blues, Finn finds himself alone after the early death of his partner. Losing Tom has made him reject his exciting existence as a high class fence for London’s illicit antiques market and retire to a quiet small-town existence running a bookshop. But he’s not really living, he’s waiting – waiting for grief to let up, waiting to be ready to move on.
Michael, on the other hand is a divorcee who has lost the job that defined him all his life, who has been forced to finally stop running from his childhood home, and the father who’s emotional abuse has never quite let him go. He is literally having to go back to the beginning and start again, confronting his memories and his anger, wrestling with his demons, with Finn’s unreliable help.
There was a great joy for me in watching the two of them deal with each other with the maturity of men who know something about the stupidity and fragility of the human heart. It made the points where they royally fucked everything up somehow more touching. There’s a worn quality to the pair of them, like a good pair of jeans that’s become soft with hard use. There’s a great deal to be said for the knowledge that when you think everything is over, it might just be the clearing away and sweeping of the ground to make way for something better, something new. As they say, ‘life begins at forty’, and for Finn and Michael at least, that seems to be true.
About the Author:
Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.
Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City Paper, LA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.
Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.
Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.
She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for an e-book from Alex Beecroft’s backlist (excepting Trowchester Blues). Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 15. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
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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