KJ Charles on Wanted, A Gentleman ~ Guest Blog Local Giveaway

Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank KJ Charles for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.

Title: Wanted, A Gentleman
Author: KJ Charles
Publisher: Riptide
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Genre: Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Historical, Regency, Romance
Release Date: 01/09/2017


By the good offices of Riptide Publishing
KJ Charles’s new Entertainment

Or, Virtue Over-Rated

the grand romance of

Mr. Martin St. Vincent . . . a Merchant with a Mission, also a Problem
Mr. Theodore Swann . . . a humble Scribbler and Advertiser for Love

Act the First:

the offices of the Matrimonial Advertiser, London
where Lonely Hearts may seek one another for the cost of a shilling

Act the Second:

a Pursuit to Gretna Green (or thereabouts)


a speedy Carriage
sundry rustic Inns
a private Bed-chamber


In the course of which are presented

Romance, Revenge, and Redemption
Deceptions, Discoveries, and Desires

the particulars of which are too numerous to impart

From Soup to Story: how ideas happen

Some people talk about starting a story as a blank page. I tend to see my writing brain as a cauldron, of the kind that contains ongoing soup. It sits there bubbling away, and you chuck handfuls of random things in as you go along. Some of them dissolve into the mass, or sink to the bottom; some flavour the whole broth; some cook and float to the top, and that’s when you scoop out a bowlful.

Wow, that is an unappetising metaphor. You probably shouldn’t come to mine for soup.

Consider me, then, with a contract and a deadline for Historical Novella (Untitled) and a head full of soup. Recent ingredients include a book on the history of Lonely Hearts advertising, a visit to the British Library exhibition on the Gothic genre, and research for a previous book that had forced me to calculate how long it would take a carriage to get from London to Cricklade. And stuff is coalescing. I have a hero embedded in the world of the Georgian professional writer. A concept of the classic chase up to Gretna Green, adapted for queer romance. A plot hanging off a lonely-heart advert—which is obviously the motivator for the road trip and the thing that brings in our scribbling hero.

But none of that is the story. I don’t have any idea of the romance, or the conflict, but most of all, I don’t know what the story is about. I have a bunch of raw ingredients; nothing worth consuming.

And then I went to an exhibition at the Black Cultural Archives in south London: Black Georgians: the Shock of the Familiar. It was astonishing. They’d got together an amazing set of prints, engravings, documents and stories of Britain’s black population in the eighteenth century. Which was large, from both forced and voluntary migration—some estimates suggest up to 30,000 black people living in Britain, mostly London and the south, when London’s total population was in the region of 750,000.

There were so many fascinating stories. Poets, radicals, sailors, soldiers, servants, boxers, greengrocers, magistrates and merchants. Enslaved people; rich and powerful people.  One of the latter was Cesar Picton, enslaved and given to the Phillips family as a child. He was a “favourite” of the family and lived with them (with the status of a free man) until his thirties, when he was given a generous sum in Lady Phillips’ will, set up as a coal merchant, and made himself incredibly rich. And he stayed on friendly terms with the Phillips’ three unmarried daughters throughout his life. They seem to have supported him using their connections, it’s likely he helped them run their estate as well as running his own business, and they all left him legacies. The exhibition noted other cases of enfranchised people staying on these apparently close, friendly terms with their former enslavers and asked, simply: How must this have felt to those involved? What was that like?

I couldn’t stop thinking about that. It’s a question with so many possible answers, that could have been written in so many ways. But I had this particular soup bubbling, and this was the last ingredient that tied together all the disparate bits in my head into a story about debt and obligation and exploitation and habit—and the ways people can love and be loved even when some of us don’t deserve it. That’s what the book’s about. The road trip to Gretna and the lonely hearts ads are just how it plays out.

That’s what I mean about soup: cooking up ideas to make a whole out of of individual parts. It’s what makes writing fun, and I hope it makes reading a more flavoursome experience too. Just don’t spill it in your lap; it may be hot.


Wanted, A Gentleman on Goodreads
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

Local Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Wanted, A Gentleman, one lucky winner will receive $20 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 14, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

About the Author

KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, and a cat with murder management issues. KJ writes mostly romance, mostly queer, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there.

Find her on Twitter @kj_charles, pick up free reads on her website at kjcharleswriter.com, get the infrequent newsletter at kjcharleswriter.com/newsletter, or join her Facebook group, KJ Charles Chat, for sneak peeks and exclusives.

Farewell Giveaway
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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Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews.  The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.

27 thoughts on “KJ Charles on Wanted, A Gentleman ~ Guest Blog Local Giveaway

  1. This is a really interesting metaphor. Bottom line you have all those ingredients and mix it together in your cauldron and added your very own special spice, and they made for tasty soup indeed! I like it; both characters are far from perfect yet they complement each other. Thank you for this story, Ms. Charles!
    puspitorinid AT yahoo DOT com

  2. Interesting how you think of your ideas for stories. I think it is quite fitting assessment. Now you have me imagining stuff being thrown into a pot and someone cackling in glee about not knowing what they’ll get.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  3. I loved hearing some of the ingredients that went in to making such a delicious story as Wanted, A Gentleman. I’m not even going to try to carry on the soup analogy or I’ll bungle it horribly given I’m not a cook. I’ll just say, there were so many bits of fun but also this serious undertone given Martin’s life, and it just all came together wonderfully. I hope everyone will try this one out!

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

  4. When I heard for the first time of this little black boy growing up in Nazi germany as only black person I was equally astonished. And because I grew up as a person of colour in the sixties in germany I know that this was not a pleasant experience.
    I’m so looking forward to reading your book 🙂

  5. K.J. is one of the most engaging and personable authors I know of and her writing is always an adventure. Thank you for another fun read!


  6. As someone who’s passionate about personal freedom, I’ve always found the many ways freedom was curtailed historically to be heartwrenching and appalling. Debtors’ prisons (how the heck can someone get out of debt if they’re locked up?), transportation, class inequality, incredible unfair legislation (A Seditious Affair, anyone?), indentured servitude, as well as outright slavery. I’d like to think we’ve improved over time, but lately . . . not so sure. I’m glad that Martin and Theo at least found their way out of bondage.

  7. That is a very original and interesting view on the creative process… I certainly liked it. Thank you, KJ, and congratulations on the release (which is already in my kindle).

  8. It’s great to see parts of history that are forgotten, or worse, ignored, brought to the forefront.


  9. I always learn about new things from your posts. And it is interesting how all the ideas percolate and then get pulled together with the one coalescing theme/idea.

    Looking forward to reading Wanted, a Gentleman.


  10. I love how you bring the elements together – am looking forward to reading the soup called Wanted, A Gentleman!!

    Littlesuze @ hotmail .com

  11. Thanks for an interesting post. I always enjoy hearing the inspiration for books. I’m really enjoying Wanted, A Gentleman violet817(at)aol(dot)com

  12. I wonder if any of the historical films will ever include information about the black population in Britain, or have them as major or main characters; I’d known that there were blacks in Britain at the time, but I’d had no idea how many. They are also mostly absent from books and movies set during this period; I can only remember black characters in two books set in this time period before I began reading KJ Charles’ works. I hope that exhibitions like the one mentioned will help to change this.

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