New release Q+A!

The Press held a Q+A event on Facebook yesterday evening, in honour of new titles ELEVENTH HOUR by Elin Gregory and UNDER LEADEN SKIES by Sandra Lindsey. Unfortunately just as we got going, I realised I had mistakenly set up the event as private rather than public. As punishment, I have had all Cheesecake Privileges revoked until the end of the month. {woeful wail}

Meanwhile, I thought I’d copy across some of the more pertinent questions and answers. These are all from people who generally interact with us in public forums, and they are about (relatively) uncontroversial topics – but if there is anything that people would like removed from (or indeed added to) this post, please let me know!

Manifold Press: Hey everyone, how are we all? Welcome to our new release Q&A! Congratulations to Sandra and Elin on the publication of their new titles, both of which are making quite a splash with the readers!

Elin Gregory: Many thanks, Manifold. 🙂 How’s the test match going?

Manifold Press: Decently, thanks; looking at a possible declaration and setting Pakistan a target for the final day. Consensus seems to be that a draw is inevitable, depending on the weather …

Eleventh Hour by Elin GregoryManifold Press: We’re getting a lot of positive comment about the covers, both of which are absolutely spectacular. Creating covers is always a bit challenging, but this time I think our art team totally ‘knocked it out of the park’!

Tigg Cooper: Oh definitely, they’re gorgeous!

Manifold Press: I think we were extraordinarily lucky in being able to source such brilliant images – but that’s all down to hard work and diligence (and a certain amount of persuasive power) on behalf of our artists!

Elin Gregory: Super covers. And I really wish I could paint water like that.

Anna Butler: The covers are lovely.

Jay Lewis Taylor: Congrats to Shell.

Tigg Cooper: Oh, for anyone who doesn’t know, I’m Sandra Lindsey 🙂 Haven’t yet set up a FB account in my author name…

Under Leaden Skies by Sandra LindseyElin Gregory: I’ve got a question for Tigg / Sandra about Under Leaden Skies. Why Sunderlands? Why not one of the better known aircraft?

Tigg Cooper: Oh, that’s a long tale, with many different versions….

….I saw a Catalina (American flying boat) in RAF Museum Cosford, decided I wanted my airman to be a flying boat pilot, because I’ve always been rather intrigued by them myself, not having been around at the time they were operating…

…but then I found that Catalinas entered service quite late in the war, but there was another kind of flying boat, called a Sunderland, which operated for the whole war, giving me more flexibility with when the story could be set – and once I found there’d been some based at Pembroke Dock, it seemed reasonable that an airman based there could easily visit a ‘friend’ who was a miner in the South Wales valleys.

Of course, that’s not the part of their relationship I ended up writing about though!

Manifold Press: Did the RAF actually use Catalinas? I wrote some fan fiction once featuring a PBY Catalina …

Tigg Cooper: Yes, RAF Coastal Command used Catalinas – with their foldaway wheels, they’re more of an amphibious craft, whereas Sunderlands are “true” flying boats

Elin Gregory: Pembroke Dock, wow. I didn’t know that.

Manifold Press: They had mini-subs at Pembroke Dock, too IIRC.

Tigg Cooper: There’s a Sunderland on the bottom there still, which a group is raising money to try & recover & restore…

Oh, and I found out all kinds of scary-interesting stuff about Pembroke Dock during the war. One air raid hit the fuel tanks & it burned for *thinks* well over a day, maybe 2 days…

Of course, I couldn’t use any of that stuff in the story I ended up with!

Elin Gregory: I saw something about the tanks going up on Welsh tv. Scary stuff

Jay Lewis Taylor: So Sunderlands RNAS?

Manifold Press: Tigg: I read in your blog post that you’d considered ‘Make Do And Mend’ as a title but were pipped at the post on that one. It’s a shame because it would totally have been suitable, but I reckon what you ended up with was just as good – if not better!

Tigg Cooper: Haha, yes, it was literally within a week! But I think Under Leaden Skies suits the story better, because Make Do And Mend suggests a somewhat more domestic setting, rather than the way I was using it to allude to fixing up relationships from the tatters left by war…

Manifold Press: Yes, I think that’s a valuable distinction; MDAM is certainly much more domestic!

Julie Bozza: Yes, both titles are good, but I think they have each ended up with the right book… More by luck than good management! 🙂

Tigg Cooper: Question for Elin: Where did you even *start* with learning about the secret service in the 1920s? I’ve got a spy-story plot bunny which starts in the 1930s & I’ve not a clue where to start looking…

Elin Gregory: There are some very good comprehensive overview books of the history of the Secret Service. “The History of the British Secret Service” by Richard Deacon was my primer but there are many others. Once you have the names you can mine the ‘net for acnecdotes and obits. Some very good stories to be had there.

Tigg Cooper: *diverts off to Amazon*
*finds a used copy on offer for 1p + shipping*

Chris Quinton: Just done the same as Tigg 🙂

Elin Gregory: I didn’t mean to type acnedotes. But it’s funny so I’ll leave it there.

Manifold Press: I’ve just been reading about the Happy Valley set in Kenya in the 1920s and surprisingly enough the Secret Service wander through that a bit. [The Prince of Wales and his younger brother – I think the one that was killed in the air crash in Scotland during WW2??? – visited Kenya at the requisite time and got involved in the shenanigans there … ]

Tigg Cooper: Oooh, I’ll have to re-read his autobiography then. It’s an interesting read…

Manifold Press: Have you read ‘War of the Windsors’?

Tigg Cooper: No… I’ll pop it on my list of stuff to look into 🙂 (I’m not really much of royalist, but the Duke of Windsor’s book I found for 50p in a second-hand bookshop)

Elin Gregory: I sort of want to write about an Irish born spy called Kavanaugh who managed to spy on the IRA and take part in the Great Game and was a superb horseman and crack shot despite being born with no hands or feet [his mum had rubella]. Astonishing character.

Tigg Cooper: Wow, amazing. I love that you can read through history and your jaw just drops at some peoples’ achievements…

I’m going to be posting at The Macaronis next week on some of the people & events I learned about while researching ULS (mostly the ATA side of things)

Jay Lewis Taylor: Kavanaugh sounds amazing, Elin. I’d put Adrian Carton de Wiaart in a book if I thought people would believe him. (Google will find him).

Tigg Cooper: Oh yes, I learned of him from something on the BBC website, where they were doing features on less-well-known-these-days people who fought in WW1.

Jay Lewis Taylor: Did they include Richard von Meinertzhagen? (who was on our side despite the name)

Tigg Cooper: No idea… de Wiaart did rather stick in the mind (even if I can never remember his name, I always google then recognise his picture)

“Lacking the desire to make a career in merchant banking” – oh, I like him already, lol

Jay Lewis Taylor: Meinertzhagen was another one-off – completely off …

Elin, what is your source for Kavanaugh? Did you tell me when we were chatting?

Elin Gregory: Richard Deacon’s SIS history. He had some very exciting things to say about Sir Richard Francis Burton too that made it perfectly feasible for Miles to be as polyglot as he is.

Eleanor Musgrove: Question for both authors: what was it about your idea that made you say ‘yes, this is a story I need to write’?

Elin Gregory: There used to be this very tall military-looking gentleman in my town who was sometimes seen in floral frocks. I really wanted to write about someone with that poise and confidence. The 1920s were a good time because what would become the gay culture was well established and I thought that would give my character a bit more freedom. Then I started writing and Miles happened. Little bit different to my original ideas.

There’s also a song from 1926 called Masculine Women, Feminine Men, which is a bit horrible actually and it occurred to me that it might be interesting to have a man who was used to hearing that kind of thing so concealed his own needs on account of it.

Tigg Cooper: Mine started from wanting to write about a miner in WW2 – someone who risked his life every day, but never got the same recognition as men in the armed services… Why mining? Because I grew up near Gresford & Llay, so a lot of my school-friends’ grandfathers worked down the mines, and I kind of wanted to pay tribute to those men….

And I wanted him to fall in love with an airman because… well, to be perfectly honest, the RAF is my favourite of the armed services (if I can phrase it that way – hopefully I won’t be in trouble with my good friend Andy for admitting that). If I had signed up to any of the services, it would have been the RAF. I would have loved to play with aircraft all day… but my parents weren’t keen, and I’m not entirely sure I would have passed the fitness test as I’m a rubbish runner!

and then, of course, there were the Bevan Boys – I did consider writing about one of them at one point… but at the time I couldn’t afford to make the requisite trips to Big Pit (South Wales) & National Coal Mining Museum (County Durham), which I really need to do before writing about mining in serious detail

But then, of course, it’s a different thing to later say “This is a story I need to share with others” – that came more out of the way the story ended up, and seeing so many people who declare “I could never forgive x/y/z”. Because life isn’t always that straightforward, especially when you end up in a high-stress situation that’s not of your own making…

Elin Gregory: This antagonism to cheating, I reckon, stems very much from m/f romance. Faithful unto death on ten minutes acquaintance is a lot more than I can swallow about any relationship.

Tigg Cooper: Yes! Not that I planned for it to happen in ULS – I’d been struggling to get into it, and decided to try a bit of freewriting from Teddy’s 1st person POV. Suddenly, I was right in the flow and meeting Cheeks for the first time. “Oh, that’s good,” I thought, “introducing a new person to the crew will be be good way to get the reader into understanding what’s going on…. hang on, why is he flirting? Why is Teddy flirting back? What are they…? WHAT? TEDDY HOW COULD YOU?!?”

…but of course, the answer is that that’s just how things go sometimes… take your chances at happiness…

Manifold Press: It’s a rather idealised/unrealistic POV but the mass media version of romance really does seem to think happy-ever-afters are the norm. Mind you, no hero or heroine is ever truly flawed, either; they may have interesting little character traits but they’re never shallow, unpleasant etc. even for a moment. And even villains have redeeming features, sometimes.

RJ Scott: Question for all of you guys… Manifold is getting a reputation for quality stories and editing… did you write your books with Manifold in mind?

Manifold Press: I will say that Elin pitched her book to us informally a very long way in advance. Sort of “If ever I finish it … ?” and we did the ‘grabby hands’ thing like a kid that’s seen a sticky bun …

RJ Scott: I’m not surprised, i love the book 🙂

Tigg Cooper: Slight admission here, but mine was originally started for a very-long-ago Riptide submissions call… but the story I ended up with was utterly unsuitable for them. I left it a few years, then when Charlie Cochrane badgered me to pitch *something* to *someone* at UK Meet, I dusted it off & realised that I might be in with a chance if I pitched to Manifold Press, and that if I was successful I could be as sure as can be of ending up with a high quality book I could be proud of…

RJ Scott: I’m pleased you did… 😉

Tigg Cooper: Long story short… I didn’t write it with Manifold in mind, but once it was complete, they seemed an obvious choice – especially after meeting them at Queer Company last year

Manifold Press: Bless your little cotton socks – but you did all the hard work. We just wrapped it up in pretty paper and tied it with a bow!

Tigg Cooper: Oh, I dunno, some of your questions on the content edits made me double-check my research and really shore up my understanding of the era.

Charlie Cochrane: Result!!!

Elin Gregory: Manifold didn’t exist when I started my book, OMG 2011!!! But I’m so glad it does now. I couldn’t see it fitting comfortably anywhere else.

Manifold Press: Calumny! We’ve been in business since May 2010, but admittedly we were a bit slow getting off the ground! (Tries to think of a Sunderland analogy, fails, hangs head in shame…)

RJ Scott: LOL… some thing are better with time

Elin Gregory: LOL, I didn’t know that. I had only just dipped a toe into the water with “British Flash”.

RJ Scott: 2010 was my first published book… wow… we share an anniversary

Manifold Press: And both growing better with every passing year!

Julie Bozza: As an author, I certainly appreciate Manifold’s attention to detail and reputation for high quality. I also like that we publish ‘fiction’ as well as ‘romance’. Though I fear the downside to that is that we’ll always be a small fish in a large sea.

Tigg Cooper: Small, but with an outstanding reputation….

Jay Lewis Taylor: Small but very shiny 🙂

Coins Not AcceptedChris Quinton: Coins Not Accepted was started with Manifold in mind, solely because Mr Pickle took the photo that inspired it 😀

Jay Lewis Taylor: I did write Dance of Stone with Manifold in mind, chiefly because An Editor said, “Could you write something medieval for us?”

Tigg Cooper: Oh, I wonder which editor that might be, lol

Jay Lewis Taylor: And once I’d written Dance of Stone I kept having Ideas.

Manifold Press: Which in my experience is pretty dangerous …

Jay Lewis Taylor: Especially to one’s sleeping habits.

Anna Butler: Elin and Tigg – the very best of luck with the books!

Tigg Cooper: Thank you!

Anna Butler: BTW, I was going to post this at *least* ten minutes ago, but I went off hunting for pretty nekkid men holding up a “good luck!” card. Didn’t find any, but boy, was it fun looking.

Julie Bozza: Any excuse… 😉

Tigg Cooper: Aww… gap in the market there for any photographers reading!

Elin Gregory: LOL, thanks Anna, and don’t worry about the nekkid men.

RJ Scott: Chris, what is next for you?

Chris Quinton: I’m still attempting to get somewhere with Coins not Accepted, which will be offered to Manifold. The other WiPs have had to go on the back burner.

Elin Gregory: You know that I’ll keep prodding about that, don’t you? And the cats! 🙂

RJ Scott: Same question to Julie, a lady I adore… what is next for you?

Julie Bozza: {swoons a little}

Thank you, RJ! I’m just polishing up our anthology set in the Austen-verse for publication on 1 November. I have a story in it, but also edited – which as you’d no doubt no is a ‘novel-sized’ chunk of work.

RJ Scott: oohhh…. can’t wait… are you at UK Meet?

Julie Bozza: Yes, indeed! Looking forward to hugging you there!

As for my own writing, I’ve just started a novel that’s set in and around a performance of my favourite piece of theatre ever: The Knight of the Burning Pestle. I am having so much fun with it.

Eleanor Musgrove: I love that play – but nobody I know apart from you has read it! I’d love to see a production one day.

Julie Bozza: The productions at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre were what got me into it. The most hilarious few hours of my life!

Tigg Cooper: Sounds good fun!

Julie Bozza: Thanks, Tigg! 🙂 I hope it will be.

Elin Gregory: I’ve never heard of it. I just automatically started chanting the “chalice from the palace and the vessel with the pestle”

Manifold Press: I love Danny Kaye. One of these days someone needs to make a film about his ?affair? with Larry Olivier …

Elin Gregory: I didn’t know that!! I’m still reeling from finding out about Randolph Scott and Cary Grant.

Manifold Press: I forget who I was discussing it with but we decided Jim Carrey could play Danny Kaye …

Elin Gregory: Ooh and who’d play Larry. Henry Cavill?

Manifold Press: He might be a bit young, but not a bad idea!

Julie Bozza: Ellie, what’s the story behind you reading The Knight of the Burning Pestle? As you point out, it’s not well-known.

Eleanor Musgrove: I found it in a second-hand book shop I love (if anyone finds themself in Brighton, it’s called Colin Page and it’s a little labyrinth) – it was a 50+ year old book and I liked the title, so I picked it up and quickly realised that the foreword introduced it as a sort of Shakespeare satire poking fun at the typical Elizabethan audience… Sold. I love that stuff, and I always think you learn more about the time from its satire than from its news! When I got it home, I discovered that page 83 had never been cut 🙂 The only time I’ve ever cut the leaves of a book myself!

Julie Bozza: Fantastic! Ooh, I’ve never cut a page… Thanks for the tip about the bookshop. One day soon I’ll get down there… My excuse is researching a holiday for Hilary and Tom. 🙂

Jay Lewis Taylor: I may be the only person I know who’s seen two different productions 😉

Manifold Press: England 414-5 at close of play!

Manifold Press: Tigg, since this was your first full-length publication, what was your overall impression of the submission/editing/production side of things? Relatively pain-free? About what you expected? It’s something we’re very keen to get right so all feedback is appreciated.

Tigg Cooper: Yes, I’d say relatively pain-free. And in some places (such as cover art) rather a lot more pain-free than I’d expected! There were times when I only kept going because I’d made the commitment to delivering to you, but that’s a personal thing, and is part of the reason why I chose to work with a publisher rather than leaping straight into self-publishing…

Manifold Press: Yes – it’s always useful to have someone waiting for the finished result; much easier to keep going that way!

Tigg Cooper: I think I’d say “harder to give up” rather than “easier to keep going”, lol

Chris Quinton: I have a question for Elin and Tigg – why choose WW2 as a time/setting?

Elin Gregory: That inter-war period had some fantastic stuff going on. I want to write an Orient Express adventure for my boys. And involve them in the Battle of Cable Street!

Tigg Cooper: I’ve always been interested in it, as it was a very formative period for all four of my grandparents. And it was always quite noticeable, even as a child, that some of them talked about it more readily than others…

…and, as I said in answer to one of the other questions: the origins of this story lie in a very old submissions call for WW2 stories! But I think it was my interest in the era that pulled me through to the finish line.

Chris Quinton: I agree that it’s a fascinating time, and my own fascination with it, WW1 and the years between was largely fuelled by my love of Capt. W.E. Johns and his Biggles books. I had them all at one point…

Elin Gregory: Stories from people who were actually present at an event are so much more immediate and inspiring than writing about something one has read.

Tigg Cooper: definitely. And you often get a completely different perspective too… The number of accounts I read on the People’s War archive of people who never experienced an air raid, whereas from secondary sources you get the impression *everyone* did…

Manifold Press: I persuaded my mum to contribute to one of those ‘people’s war’ things – it may have been the same one. She told a story about her mother putting her and her sister to bed in one of those shelters that went under the kitchen table, and a bomb fell nearby and all the soot from the chimney fell down on top of them. (Closest she ever got to being bombed, I think.)

Tigg Cooper: if it was the BBC project, it should be in the archive:
(warning: the PoW stories will probably make you cry)

Manifold Press: It was organised by the local library, so it may well have fed into this. I’ll take a look later – thank you.

Elin Gregory: I got WW1 stories from Grandpa and WW2 stories from my mum. Some amazing material, hough I think my favourite grandpa story was ‘the day the Blackshirts held a meeting in East Ham town hall and wouldn’t leave when I told them to so I turned all the lights out and left them to blunder round in the dark’.

Eleanor Musgrove: Again, to both Elin and Tigg: Both of your stories are set before being gay (or acting on it, at least) was even legal, never mind accepted. Were there any particular challenges related to that aspect, and if so, what were they?

Elin Gregory: Years ago someone said to me “I love historical novels but there are never any with feel good happy endings for men like me”. I thought that was sad. So I tend to pick historical periods where the prejudice against such relationships weren’t quite as stringent as others. Ancient Greece – well there were pressures to do with respecting the other man’s masculinity but the relationship was not threatened unless it appeared abusive. Pirates/buccaneers had matelotage, an early same sex union with a nice bit of paper to go with it. In the 1920s there was a thriving gay culture in London, not that it was called that, and you could get away with a lot if you kept your head down. That means I don’t have to write about persecution and can concentrate on adventures.

That said it HAS to be acknowledged. You can’t just ignore the awfulness, but you don’t HAVE to dwell on it.

Manifold Press: I believe that in every era of history there have been men who lived together or enjoyed romantic relationships and nobody’s given a toss about it. I’m not really in sympathy with readers who complain that “it’s all too easy” in books – for some men it actually *was* relatively easy; nobody actually cared who they slept with. Personally I’d rather read about the ways they created their lives than have to slog through some overdrawn artificial peril.

Eleanor Musgrove: I’d never heard of matelotage, but it does explain the (old and rather pejorative) Navy slang ‘double-breasted matelot’ for a Wren…

Tigg Cooper: One of my concerns about ULS is that someone might read it & decide it’s a load of tosh because there’s not enough prejudice or homophobia in there… I didn’t want to include scenes like that, and thankfully found enough first-hand accounts which said “people looked the other way. It was wartime” that I felt I could justify writing the story that way… there is of course an underlying fear of discovery, because any of the admissions or half-admissions Teddy makes could be his downfall… so I’m glad the people he trusted turned out to deserve that trust…

The one which concerned me most was whether Grandfather would figure it out, and how he would react – until I got to writing the crucial scene, and the character completely surprised me with the perfect solution!

I’m not sure Teddy’s father would have reacted the same way… so maybe it’s a good thing (awful as it feels to say that) that Teddy never knew him

Tigg Cooper: Years ago, I read Helen Forrester’s books which tell her tale of growing up in poverty in depression-era Liverpool (starts with Tuppence To Cross The Mersey). One of the later ones (I think it mentions Lime Street in the title) is about her experiences during WW2, including her friendship with a serviceman who is recovering from injury in New Brighton (on the Wirral). He tells her about his particular friend, and later he proposed to her. She turned him down, because she knew the kind of marriage he was offering (even though there was, as I recall, a suggestion that she would be free to take lovers and they would share the house with his friend). That stuck with me, and is something I use to refute people who try to tell me about what marriage “used to be”…

Elin Gregory: Matt Houlbrook’s book “Queer London” has plenty of comments about men who lived together, picked out curtains together and all the things we are told are imposing heteronormative standards on gay lives. The thing is ther were men who WANTED that, just as others wanted to pay a Guardsman a pound for a good no strings rogering.

Manifold Press: Exactly. I think there are/were as many ways of being gay as there are gay individuals, and now two of them will ever be exactly the same.

Julie Bozza: I always relied on Stephen Fry in this regard. He always said he wanted love, just like anyone else. Another gay guy pointed out that there are certain tropes and expectations (in real life) about what dating and romance and relationships mean look like and how they work; it’s hard to just make up an entirely new version just because you’re not a neat fit with the ‘expected’ genders. I like to think the whole shebang will evolve and broaden in scope, for all of us. We can help that by imagining the possibilities via our stories… 🙂

Also, I think Elisa Rolle has done us terrific service with her blog and books, which demonstrate that people have been quietly (or not so quietly) working out their own HEAs for themselves across all recorded history.

I was criticised for writing Hilary Kent as having internalised society’s prohibitions too deeply… I think that was the right choice for the character, but it’s something I’d want to explore in a sequel as / when I get going on it properly. Some people must have let it limit their lives, but others didn’t, and I want to honour them all.

Manifold Press: I had a gay friend who was part of a group (not unlike some of Liam Livings‘s characters in ‘Escaping From Him’) and when some of them had been dumped by their partners they formed themselves into a ‘First Wives Club’. He absolutely felt he was a wife, and he would have no truck at all with society telling him he and his partner were ‘husbands’.

Julie Bozza: If there isn’t already a novel about a gay male First Wives Club, there should be! What a brilliant thing that would be.

Manifold Press: There was loads of great gossip … and a dotty old father who refused to accept that his son’s partner was called ‘Eric’ rather than ‘Erica’ …

Elin Gregory: I tend to write characters with those prohibitions deeply embedded but that’s because I really don’t enjoy writing sex scenes and it’s a great excuse not to have to until a solid relationship based on mutual respect has been established. Then on the other hand there ar characters like Falk who would write their own sex scenes, and a lot more of them, if I didn’t intervene.

Eleanor Musgrove: I think there will always be people who struggle with internalised homophobia despite ‘knowing better’ – I grew up in a very homophobic environment (not that long ago!) and still sometimes catch homophobic/biphobic thoughts about myself creeping in, despite having been out as bi for… about 12 years now? So it’s definitely a thing worth covering – and the way you wrote Hilary really worked, it was challenging to read because it was realistic.

Elin, be careful, characters who write themselves and are awesome get pestered for whole books of their own. Ask Jay (about Jack)!

Jay Lewis Taylor: That Jack. *shakes him*

Tigg Cooper: I keep getting Cheeks pestering me to write his story, from his perspective… somehow, I don’t think I’ll do that. But I did realise he could fit in as a secondary character in another story that’s been in my head for a while, so if anyone else cares about him, you might at some point learn a little of the past he’s so close-mouthed about

Julie Bozza: Ellie, thank you for the vote of confidence in Hilary! Also for pestering Jay about writing more Jack. I loved Jack.

Elin Gregory: I’m all for Jack. And would love to know how Cheeks got that film star to send him Californian coffee?

Julie Bozza: Elin and Tigg: What are you each working on now…?

Elin Gregory: I haven’t actually updated anything since 4th July – all kinds of stuff going on in real life. But I have a story set in the last months of the Great War with 2 injured soldiers having a romance under the uncomprehending eye of family members. A sister is the POV character, so not really a proper m/m romance. That’s almost finished – maybe 25k ish – and I have half a novel that’s book 2 in a series set in a small ton on the Welsh border. Book 1 is about museums, housing developments and archaeology, book two is about rural crime, barber’s shops and dog napping.

Julie Bozza: Ooh, I remember you telling me about the Great War one. I’d very much like to read it! And the others sound marvellous! Are you likely to do more with On a Lee Shore? That really was rather brilliant! ♥

Elin Gregory: I really hope to get Calon Lan, the Great War one, finished this summer. I’ve got a few scenes for OALS2 and SO MUCH research to do. I want to do all the cliches including swinging from ship to ship on ropes and buried treasure etc. Not sure when I’ll fit it in though.

Eleanor Musgrove: More OALS??? That’s made my year 🙂

Elin Gregory: 🙂 thanks lovely, just – um – don’t hold your breath, eh? I’m a really slow writer.

Eleanor Musgrove: I can wait. For more OALS, I can have the patience of a saint.

Tigg Cooper: I’m currently working on a comtemporary m/m romance, one of a series of interlinked stories set in & around the area where I live. I’m hoping I’ll be able to pitch them to you as Espresso Shots, but… don’t hold your breath just yet, as today I realised that I’d made some rather incorrect assumptions about one of the main characters so I need to go back to basics on research there…

I’m also doing preliminary research for the sequel to Under Leaden Skies, I’ll hopefully be working on that towards the end of the year…

Julie Bozza: That all sounds very promising indeed. 🙂

Tigg Cooper: Now I have to make sure it comes to something, lol

Elin Gregory: OMG people are having a barbeque next door and I’m getting kippered. I’m cheering myself up by drowning out their electro-pop with 1920s hits. Here you go. It’s not a proper playlist but as close as I could get. Tigg, did you have one for your book?

Tigg Cooper: No, I didn’t… I’m one of those boring people who prefers quiet, lol

Elin Gregory: so do I when I’m writing but I’m quite enjoying listening to this

Tigg Cooper: Thanks for the link, listening now 🙂

Tigg Cooper: Question for anyone: biggest surprise you’ve had while writing? I know I got a few surprises from my characters while writing Under Leaden Skies…

Manifold Press: Had a good one when I was writing fan fiction; I went to Liverpool Public Library to look up Pope Julius II and nearly got myself and Morgan Cheshire ejected under a cloud when I discovered he had a reputation for having affairs with younger men. That was in the days when libraries were quiet, serious places of course …

Tigg Cooper: Liverpool library reminds me… I wrote an essay about the history of the flute & its music for my A levels. Did a lot of the research in Liverpool library. Came across a lot of mention of a flautist named Quantz, who seemed to be the toast of Europe in his day. …

Many years later, driving along listening to R3, I learned that this was because he was Frederick the Great’s lover as well as his chief flautist (and Frederick the Great was an amateur flautist)!

Jay Lewis Taylor: There’s a story!

Mine, most recent (obviously): Jack.

Dance of Stone: after I theorised that maybe the Abbot of Glastonbury was moved to the diocese of Worcester specifically to make room for the next Abbot – checking them both in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and finding that that genuinely was what happened. Plot on a plate, is history.

Tigg Cooper: love it!

Julie Bozza: My most recent writing-related surprise was finding out that I really love / identify with Elinor Dashwood most of all Austen’s main characters.

Tigg Cooper: oooh, looking forward to your story in A Certain Persuasion!

I was surprised by which book ended up inspiring my story – I had been convinced Persuasion would kick off a naval story!

Julie Bozza: Thank you, hon! Yes, I think that was a fair assumption of yours, but it’s great to see you defy expectations. I expect twists from Tigg now. 🙂

Elin Gregory: That’s a nice question. I had a bit of a surprise when I realised that Miles was one of Jonty Stewart’s dunderheads. But hands down the biggest surprise ever was geographical and archaeological coincidence. My 2011 Nanowrimo is based on Y Gododdin – sort of the Welsh version of 300 only with horses and more clothes – that has the refrain “Men went to Cattreath”. Cattreath is usualy taken to mean Catterick in Yorkshire but in welsh cat treath means battle of the beach. I was looking for a beach with a broad flat beach and fast tides, but it needed somewhere where some of the survivors could be beseiged. I looked on the north east coast and found Saltburn which has the right kind of beach and a crumbly cliff up which you could clamber if desperate. then to my absolute delight I found an archaeological report about a Roman light house station on the cliffs above the beach that shows signs of brief violent occupation including a couple of dozen decapitated skeletons thrown down the well at almost exactly the time I was looking for. There is a God of historical writers!! I’ve got 70k of that story. I’d love to finish it.

Tigg Cooper: Oooh, lovely!

Julie Bozza: Brilliant!

Jay Lewis Taylor: Please finish that!

Julie Bozza: Well, I think this has been a success, as we have at least managed to sell two three copies of “The History of the British Secret Service” by Richard Deacon. I’m sure he’s beaming, wherever he is now.

Tigg Cooper: LOL!

Jay Lewis Taylor: Don’t know whether he went Above or Below alas

Marianne McDonald: sorry tigg, i was on a plane 🙁 but do you know what happened to teddy’s mother? or us that a story for another book?

Tigg Cooper: Died soon after Teddy was born 🙁 Spanish flu, I think

Manifold Press: Well, folks, time’s just about up – and me and my cup of tea are going downstairs to watch ‘Full Steam Ahead’, which is nothing whatever to do with how fine Peter looks in corduroy trousers. Thank you all for joining in and helping to launch Tigg and Elin’s books so thoroughly; good luck to both authors! you now get precisely a week to rest on your laurels before I start nagging you for your next book(s)!

Tigg Cooper: Oh yes, Peter Ginn & Ruth Goodman are very good at breeding plot-bunnies…

Manifold Press: Not to mention Alex Langlands. Did you see the one with the straw-bale house?

Tigg Cooper: can’t remember… his chickens on Edwardian Farm did influence me to get Light Sussexs when I got mine though 🙂 

I love how Alex & Peter are like an old married couple these days!

Eleanor Musgrove: Thanks for a great chat, everyone 🙂

Julie Bozza: Goodnight, all! ♥

Jay Lewis Taylor: Glad I got here in time.

Elin Gregory: Love that programme.

Thank you all so much for coming to speed our books on their way *kisses and cwtches*. I’m looking forward to seeing more titles from Manifold Press in the next few months.

Goodnight!! ♥

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