Guest Post – Robyn Elliot – The Last Winter of Lonely
Today we’re featuring relative newcomer, Robyn Elliot, and letting her take over with a bit of insight into herself, and her just released book, The Last Winter of Lonely. She’s the author of three currently available books (the others being The Spanish Captain and The French Lesson. She also has a fourth book, The Blood Red Cardinal, in the works and set to be available this summer. Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for a blurb and excerpt from The Last Winter of Lonely.
Now, before y’all go bug-eyed, I already asked: She did not write and publish a book a month for the past three months. Nope, she took her time and wrote these four over a year and a half, but just recently was able to take the time necessary to rewrite and edit.
I’m Robyn, and I live in the county of Northumberland in northern England. I’m lucky enough to live in a very beautiful place, near the wild Cheviot Hills and forestland. My garden overlooks rolling fields, and every morning I am amazed and filled with gratitude when I first look out of my window. Naturally, living in such a landscape serves as a source of great inspiration for me as a writer. I have, like most writers, written from a very early age. In my case, I didn’t allow myself to be serious about my writing until around 2-3 years ago. Since then, I’ve more or less not stopped and the result has been four books to date:
The Spanish Captain The French Lesson The Last Winter of Lonely
and coming soon, The Blood Red Cardinal (Click covers to open Amazon page in new tab)
All of the books are within the M/M romance sub-genre, two of which are historical, the remaining are contemporary. Various ideas and concepts inspire me to create challenging characters. Once I’ve got an angle on my characters, I proceed to put them through hell before allowing love, as it must, to conquer all.
And why the M/M genre? Apart from its increasing popularity, this sub-genre is interesting for this writer who has written M/F for several years [ie several uncompleted manuscripts] because there was, for me, a ‘been there and done that’ sense of distraction to the writing I created. I read a few M/M romance books, equipped with a few preconceptions, and was lucky enough to read several very good books that gave me the confidence to make my own contribution. I had intended to ‘suck it and see’ [I know, cheap], and really enjoyed writing about extending the limits of the romance genre without the M/F formula to see where it took my writing. As a result, four or so books later, I am evidently enjoying myself! I’ve read various discussions on blogs as to why M/M romance is so popular now, with writers and readers both, ranging from psychological impulses and reasonings to just the plain old nicety of appreciating the adage, two handsome guys can be better than one! I opt for simplicity and apply the latter.
As a writer, I’ve got my own approach to this craft and craft it certainly is. There’s only one piece of truly objective advice I can offer and it’s this; just write. Write anything. That’s what first, second and more drafts are for, because the essential component of a writer’s life – this writer, anyway – is to write something. Writing can be changed at any time, but the key is to do it. The more the writing muscle is flexed, the better a writer can be, in my opinion and it isn’t referred to as a craft for nothing. I think I’m more or less suggesting that practice might not necessarily make perfect, but it’ll certainly make something, ideally a few pages of words that can be molded and developed into bigger things.
I have learned, and am still learning, through a hell of a lot of trial and error; but the crucial thing I’ve learned is to write what I want, or specifically, I write what I find interesting. Personally, as a history graduate, it includes history, as well as exploring the complexities of human nature, and making characters reflect real-life in terms of unpredictability of action and reasoning. I am currently reading the amazing Alex Beecroft’s False Colours, whilst recently finished the excellent The King’s Tale by Rowena Sudbury. There are so many talented authors out there.
Certainly, my rural home provides me with ample food for creative ideas. The Last Winter of Lonely is set in north Northumberland, during a particularly harsh, you guessed it, winter. Conversely, The Spanish Captain is based partially in the swelter of a Castilian summer, and the temperate coolness of medieval England. The French Lesson was born of my Francophile tendencies. I love France and all things French, which is saying something considering that I am a dedicated vegetarian. Still, when I rent my château, I will endeavour to make full use of the local markets for vegetables, cheeses and wines. Ah, formidable! Last but most decidedly not least, is The Blood Red Cardinal. Curiously enough, this was the first book I wrote. However, I decided to leave the draft on the creative shelf, whilst I moved on to other writing projects. Now I know why. This book, in some respects, is a culmination of my writing experience with my other books, to the degree that I have removed it off my ‘shelf’ and am now doing considerable re-writes. When it makes its appearance to the world [likely summer 2014], I will be happy to introduce my ridiculously handsome, rebellious, Catalan Cardinal to anyone interested!
Beyond summer of 2014, I will be working on further writing projects, the ideas of which are currently fermenting like a good wine!
I live in a small cottage with owls and buzzards for neighbours. I have the mandatory feline companionship, in my case two cats of ancient years and in possession, potentially, of the secret to immortality. In general, I’m a hugely obsessive animal lover, and have been a vegetarian for several years now. I’ve never longed for a bacon sandwich, but I do regularly opine for red wine. However, I apply my three day rule; no alcohol, and steady on the four.
Whilst writing is my major creative interest, I also like doing research of the most essential sort on You Tube, seeing friends and being generally very happy. Oh, and I can chop wood most quickly, a skill I learned recently, after purchasing my wood maul. I’ve named the maul Percy, because he’s such a wonderful chopper.
The Last Winter of Lonely blurb:
A bitter, entrenched winter in Northumberland sees Steve Hunter, former Army captain and currently dealing with post-traumatic stress, holed up in his remote cottage with a dog for company and several bottles of drink-to-forget malt whisky. Battening down the physical and emotional hatches in the face of another snowstorm, Steve finds his life thrown into chaos by the appearance of a desperate young man called Joseph, who is out of luck and chances. Steve’s hemmed-in existence the safer option than confronting his Army experiences and harrowing family secrets, his narrow world is compromised by the presence of Joe, who is open hearted despite past abuse, generous spirited and inconveniently attractive. Brought together by the unrelenting elements, Steve and Joe’s relationship intensifies as each must acknowledge the pain of their troubled pasts if there is a chance of any future together for two such different, damaged men. Both Steve and Joe find themselves facing stark choices about confronting their former lives and laying to rest their personal ghosts. When Joe’s old life finally catches up with him, it’s for Steve to decide whether one final struggle is worth the price of love, or if this will be yet another lonely winter…
Excerpt from The Last Winter of Lonely:
With a final glance at the weather about to close in on Fenebrae, Steve shut the door and followed Cara into the kitchen.
Around 1.30pm Steve had showered, walked Cara briefly but they’d turned back because of the weather after fifteen minutes; eaten some toast and marmalade, swigged down coffee, and was sitting in the kitchen, scanning his emails. A couple from guys he’d served with, one from Gavin asking him why he hadn’t come to Berwick on Friday to fuck him; a spam email for penis enlargement, another one asking him to screw a girl called Vanya, and an email from Andrea inviting Joe and him for dinner, seeing as she couldn’t get through on either the land-line or mobile. Steve rolled his eyes. He switched off the ringer on the phone as a matter of routine and had forgotten to put it back on again. As for the mobile, well, Steve’s lay on a bookcase, the battery flat as a medieval earth.
Switching off the laptop, Steve listened to the silence. Joe was sleeping late. Unusual for him. Was it so soon for Steve to notice his habits? But then he noticed everything about Joe; the brightness of his smile, the grace of his lean limbs, an exuberance to him that was beautiful without being overpowering. Because Joe was beautiful. Steve saw the pain in him, that old mirror reflecting into himself over and over, and where at first he’d resented Joe for what he was doing to him, now it was all Steve could think about.
Thinking about him. Day. Night. Night. Day. Looking at Joe without trying to make it obvious, wanting to drink in the sweetness of his features, absorb in every pore of his own body Joe’s essence for life and love. A wave of pure joy washed gently over Steve. Joe loved him. That beautiful, infuriating, emotional, scarred young man loved him. The knowledge was more than Steve could bear; and all that he wanted. Why the hell didn’t he just cross that line? He knew Joe trusted him now. He understood that Joe knew he wasn’t using him or manipulating him. There had never been a time when Steve had experienced the headiness, the soaring excitement and ecstasy of being in love. A couple of possibles, but they were in the past now. Steve sighed, not used to the feelings of contentment swirling around him; his eyes moved to the clock on the wall, 1.45pm. Then, to the envelope, pinned neatly to the cupboard where Steve kept his whisky. Only today, there was no need to open that cupboard, because there was Joe…
Steve leapt from his chair, cursing loudly, ripping the envelope open. All mellow thoughts and their heady distraction evaporated, pissed upon by cold, drenching terror. His heart reverberated in his ears, pounding with an almost accusing rhythm that told him…you’re too late, you’re too late, you’re too late.
Publisher and Publication Date: Firehouse Publishing, February 26, 2014
Purchase URL: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Winter-Lonely-Robyn-Elliot-ebook/dp/B00IORHUYK/
Formats Available: mobi
Length: 360 pages
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