I was asked to describe my books using only one word in the Q&A for my author profile on the Lesbian Review website.
The word I chose after much deliberation, and consultation with my wife, was: relationships.
Not a terribly sexy word but it covers a lot of territory.
The characters in the books go through different phases of relationship. In Starting Over, Ellie and Robin are struggling to maintain their long-term one. For a large part of Arc Over Time, Denise is trying to get Kathryn to commit to a relationship, not willing to suffer through a continually frustrating LDR. And Jasmine discovers something about herself that leads to happiness. In Carved in Stone, Jo finds a love interest whose lifestyle is pretty much the opposite of her own wandering one.
Some readers have commented that they don’t think Robin and Ellie are a good match and don’t hold out much hope for Kathryn and Den to succeed in their relationship either. But, as in real life, what do we know about other people’s relationships? We’ve all met couples where we’ve thought – ‘how on earth did they get together?’ – or – ‘what does she see in her?’ We make judgments all the time that generally turn out to be wrong. And that is the joy of both reading and writing. We can get inside people’s heads and in the process some things will resonate about our own relationships, both good and bad.
Bones can dream
This almost became the title of Carved in Stone because of the character who isn’t there but who pervades the imaginations and subsequently, the actions, of the other characters.
In Starting Over the bones of a long dead historical figure are discovered at Starling Hill farm. They turn out to be the bones of Cartimandua who was the chief of the Brigantes tribe in Britain when the Romans turned up in force in AD43. I hesitate to use the title ‘Queen’ because I doubt that was a title bestowed on her by the tribe. It was used by the Roman historians who wrote about the period much later. We have no written records of this time in Britain. However, for the sake of not having to ascribe other words to denote her leadership, she is generally referred to as Queen Cartimandua.
Archaeologists in this country would love to be the discoverers of Cartimandua’s final resting place. No one knows where she went once her reign ended.
In these stories, and particularly Carved in Stone, Cartimandua becomes another presence. It is her influence on their lives that brings all the characters together one way or another.
This is fiction, of course. But I hope that one day Cartimandua’s actual bones will be found to give archaeologists the chance to piece together her life and what happened to her in those final days.
(All three books are available on Kindle Unlimited for the next 3 months)