Ignatius is about to be seduced by a legend.
During a time when even the most educated of folk believe in ghosts, Ignatius Swain arrives in the quiet town of Ville sur le Fleuve to act as pedagogue to the adult daughter of Gregoire Delacroix. There he encounters the enigmatic Jacques Bouchard, who appears to view him as a rival for Desiree Delacroix’s affection. Nothing could be more misconstrued. Even if Desiree’s gaze were not able to freeze water, Ignatius has set aside hopes of love hereabouts. He satisfies his desires with the ‘helping hand’ of ghostly fables, tales of terror that walk shivery traces and fiery passion up his spine...until one night when Jacques’s behaviour breeches barriers, and the pair encounter the most famous of resident spirits on the road.
Hi Sharon, do you have a process for coming up with character names and book titles?
Not particularly. What will work for one story won’t for another. Some I just instinctively know. Others take hard thinking and research. In the case of names, I use baby-naming books and websites, and research into the meaning of a name. Meanings are often important to me. My involvement with Space 1889 involved inventing names that suited a whole series I didn’t create, but that would fit in with the time period and pre-existing character names. Book titles...sometimes I’ll start a project based on nothing more than a title idea, which surprises some people. One of my favourite things about A Not So Hollow Heart, a novella of mine from Loose Id, was the title. It’s a m/m romance set during a zombie apocalypse. I ran through numerous variations on words like zombie, soulless, and dead, until I settled on Hollow, and then Hollow Heart. That suited my main character’s emotional state so well, and with some more thought I came up with a title that fitted the whole theme of the book.
|The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane by John Quidor (1858)|
What inspired your current book?
My love of Sleepy Hollow and all things Halloween. It was also an opportunity to write a m/m romance using a different style. No one should read this and assume they know my work. My style varies by genre. The ‘classics’ of today were part of my childhood; reading those and working with steampunk for the last couple of years helped me choose the tone for this, but I hope I retained the fun side of that style for a modern audience. I was delighted when this story made my editor laugh.
What is your favorite book genre? Who are your favorite authors?
I honestly don’t have one. I often say I write as I read meaning anything and everything. I used to love horror, but adored fantasy for a long time. Now I have a soft spot for books that often fall between or overlap categories. Authors...the list is long. Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Mervyn Peake, China Mieville, Storm Constantine, John Connolly, Angela Carter, Alice Hoffman...and these are just a few. I have a to-be-read mountain, and I’ve not even touched on romance authors, which I read selectively.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? Who is it and why?
I love Ignatius from Seduced by a Legend, and there are many I think of as beloved, but I guess one who always comes to mind is Ryanac. He’s a character from my first ever published novel, Uly’s Comet, part of my Swithin fantasy romance trilogy. The story dictated we never get into Ryanac’s head -- not until a roundabout way in book three -- so we don’t see much from his point of view. He wasn’t supposed to be part of the main love story, certainly never a triangle, but I quickly realised so many other characters wouldn’t be who they were without him. Sometimes writers say a book or character wrote itself and can be criticised for saying so, but I had intended Ryanac be a background character, and mean it when I say he simply refused. My editor loved Ryanac. I loved him. Most of all he loved himself. I let him loose. He manipulates, dominates, and always gets his own wonderful way.
Tell us something strange or interesting about yourself.
I collect too many bits and bobs, not isolated to, but often including dragons. My home is a bit of a menagerie of the strange or wonderful, depending on your point of view. And books, of course. I own too many books. In my husband’s words, we have bookcases where other people have furniture.
Is there anything else you'd really like our readers to know?
I never intended to write m/m romance. It all began with an idea that nagged me to write it, and from there the publishers and readership took off. I’ve also written some m/m/f. I’ve learned that every author working with these genres have their own reasons for doing so. For me, these pairings often create a different dynamic, and variations on plots. I may write m/f in time. I also write non-romance and have numerous short stories in print and online magazines. Anything from fantasy, crime, noir, horror, gothic...and I’ve more recently become involved with steampunk. It’s why I call myself a multi-genre writer, not an easy task in which to be successful.
• Favorite food? Cheese.
• Favorite color? Red.
• Favorite animal? Dog.
• Biggest pet peeve? Stupidity/ignorance/bigotry -- may count as three but often found hand in hand.
• Dream car? One that never breaks down.
Sharon is a writer from the UK. Her worlds are vivid, unexpected and sometimes intensely magical. Sharon writes whatever her warped mind can come up with. Although her longer works to date mostly involve a variety of wonderful men finding true love…or at least some loving, she’s quite capable of writing something darker, grittier, and even outright twisted. She was propelled into the universe of Steampunk as one of the writers for Space, 1899 and beyond, winning the approval of series creator and award-winning game designer, Frank Chadwick, with two books in season two, one of which was co-authored with editor (and writer) Andy Frankham-Allen. She currently lives in a house with a few art-Deco original features and a Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs. Watch one of the films -- that's her cupboard. Sometimes she dreams of clearing it out and hiding away in there, seeking some magic and ‘sinspiration’.
Learn more about Sharon Bidwell:
“Open,” Jacques insisted, and Ignatius discovered he had parted his lips without thinking. “Wider.” Once more, he declined.“’Tis any passing the old crossroads at night who needs be most on their guard.”Naturally, Ignatius had to walk the crossroads to reach his hovel. One part of his mind was listening to the story. The other was unconcerned with mysticism and more taken with the spectre of Jacques Bouchard blocking out the light and all avenues of escape.“Aye, the crossroads. Such a pretty sight in sunlight, with the old brook bubbling down through the glen. But at night—”“Bite!”Ignatius blinked and blinked again. Jacques waved the chicken leg under his nose. Ignatius’s mouth opened, half in question, half-gaping, and Jacques moved the meat closer to his mouth.“Bite, or I’ll feed it to you forcefully.”Wondering if the meat were poisoned, Ignatius hesitated.“Most sightings of him happen there.”“Aye, every spirit has his favourite stomping ground. ’Tis best avoided.”“And who is this old spirit and what if one were to encounter him?” Desiree clearly knew the story but was relishing the moment.Ignatius opened his mouth, Jacques pressed the meat home, and a moment later, Ignatius’s teeth pierced the flesh, salty, succulent juices flooding his mouth, easing over his tongue.“There’s not many lived to tell the tale. A few, though, they say they’ve seen him as a skeleton in livery or flames. Some say they’ve rode or walked alongside him until he went back to whatever hell he came from, but I don’t believe it.”Ignatius couldn’t believe he was chewing, and Jacques’s dark eyes watched his lips while he did so. The look in the man’s eyes was one of fever or fire. Perhaps hatred, perhaps…desire?“Fools,” Jacques muttered, offering Ignatius another bite of chicken. Rather than face another threat, Ignatius ate. He didn’t know what Jacques meant by the comment.The story continued, mostly one of warnings about how not to go out late at night, and not alone, and never travel by the crossroads: the very thing Ignatius was shortly going to have to do. He took a last bite of chicken and flinched when Jacques tossed it somewhere over his shoulder regardless of whether it landed on the table or the floor, and someone found it in the trifle or stepped on it and slipped. Ignatius was very aware of the grease from the meat glazing his lips.Those dark eyes studied him, seemed to search Ignatius’s gaze, and no matter how the young tutor strove to look away he could not do so. Jacques leaned in and Ignatius would have pulled away if there had not been a wall at his back as steadfast and solid as Jacques himself.The man tilted his head. Ignatius, frowning, did his best to sink into the unyielding surface behind him wondering what manner of torment Jacques was about to perpetrate upon his person. Jacques’s tongue flicked out and licked the juices that surely glistened on his lips before closing their mouths together.
SEDUCED BY A LEGEND is a homosexual paranormal novella set in France during the Renaissance. (Does anyone say "slash" anymore?) I don't read very much M/M fic, but OMG, if it were all this well written! I'd be reading a whole lot more.
There's disconnect between the cover, which says "folklore", and the powerfully erotic nature of the prose. The author has a strong style and uses sophisticated language to create a rich retelling of the legend of the headless horseman. I really enjoyed the story, which was the perfect length for a tale of ghostly seduction.
Ignatius Swain is the newly hired tutor for the daughter of a gentleman farmer. He is intelligent, well-educated and doesn't talk like most people. His student, Desiree, is vain, self-indulgent, and beautiful, and not much of a student to boot. She provides a romantic distraction and serves as a device for building tension between Ignatius and his real romantic interest—Jacques Bouchard. Jacques is a local hero: a tough, brawny man. He is a startling contrast to the effeminate Ignatius.
The pair shares sizzling HOT chemistry, which just oozes off the page. The threesome between Ignatius, Jacques and the restless spirit of the title was just mind-blowing.
I loved the use of language to build mood, especially this, which made me giggle:
“He does seem rather taken with you,” Jacques said, almost sending Ignatius off bleating with laughter. The man sounded quite perplexed and put out that the horseman had chosen another over him.
“The same could be said of you,” Ignatius reminded him, thinking of a forced seduction by chicken.
I was thrilled to win SEDUCED BY A LEGEND in a drawing during the Long & Short Reviews Halloween. I offered to write a fair review.