Love Bytes is warmly welcoming to their blog author K.J Charles who is joining us today to talk about her new release “Spectred Isle”.
Welcome K.J 🙂
Romance in the Roaring Twenties
My new book Spectred Isle is the first of the new Green Men series set in the 1920s. This is a departure for me—I’ve previously written only the oddly specific 99-year period between 1805 and 1904—and it’s a bit of a bubbling-under period in historical romance, especially for British settings. The number of Regency romance dukes probably now exceeds the actual population of the British Isles in 1811, and the Victorians are snapping at their heels, but the 20s are sadly sparse in comparison, and those there are tend to be American settings.
It isn’t that surprising. American 1920s gives you Gatsbyesque magnates, Prohibition, speakeasies, gangsters in spats, and jazz. Plenty of fun and conflict to be had there. Whereas other parts of the world are less appealing. British early 1920s gives you cocktails, flappers, and hedonism, sure, but it’s hard to miss the other aspects: a population hollowed out by the inconceivable scale of losses in the Great War, increasingly bitter division along social, racial, and gender lines, and the Bright Young People.
(These, in case you have been spared, are the single most nauseating group about whom I have ever read. They called each other infantile names, whined endlessly about how hard it was not having died in the war like their older siblings and being obliged to grow up instead, and even had parties when they dressed up as babies in case anyone hadn’t grasped the point. They lived lives of endless whiny self indulgence, played at Art while achieving nothing, and were just utterly awful. I had a vague idea of doing a Bright Young People romance once–before I’d actually read about them, needless to say–but rapidly came to the conclusion that I would rather floss with barbed wire than spend any more time in their company. Wow, they’re dreadful. If you fancy reading an early satire/gay romance (subtext but only just) written in the 20s and set among the Bright Young People by an actually talented fringe member of their group, go get Crazy Pavements by Beverly Nichols.)
Still, it’s a period with potential. And it has massive practical advantages for a historical novelist what with cars (so much more practical than horses for getting characters from A to B) and phones (but not those horrid little plot-ruiners, mobile phones)—and most of all, showers. I cannot tell you how annoying it is when you really need your character to have a good wash, but have neglected to provide a blazing fire and several people to carry the water.
My 1920s are paranormal, set in a haunted England where folklore, history and magic collide. Randolph Glyde comes from a great aristocratic family of arcanists destroyed (like very many of the real aristocratic families) by War losses. Randolph is the last Glyde, trying to carry out all his family’s hereditary duties, staggering under the weight of responsibility in a land under threat. Saul Lazenby knows nothing about magic: he’s an archaeologist disgraced by events of the War, now scraping a living working for an eccentric. In Spectred Isle Saul and Randolph are brought together by peculiar supernatural events and, well, let’s just say the Twenties get to do some roaring after all…
Blurb for Spectred Isle
Archaeologist Saul Lazenby has been all but unemployable since his disgrace during the War. Now he scrapes a living working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Saul knows it’s a lot of nonsense…except that he begins to find himself in increasingly strange and frightening situations. And at every turn he runs into the sardonic, mysterious Randolph Glyde. Randolph is the last of an ancient line of arcanists, commanding deep secrets and extraordinary powers as he struggles to fulfil his family duties in a war-torn world. He knows there’s something odd going on with the haunted-looking man who keeps turning up in all the wrong places. The only question for Randolph is whether Saul is victim or villain. Saul hasn’t trusted anyone in a long time. But as the supernatural threat grows, along with the desire between them, he’ll need to believe in evasive, enraging, devastatingly attractive Randolph. Because he may be the only man who can save Saul’s life—or his soul.
Publication date 3 August 2017
KJ Charles spent twenty years working as an editor before switching sides to become a full-time writer. She hasn’t regretted it yet. KJ writes mostly queer historical romance, some of it paranormal or fantasy. She lives in London with her husband, two children, and a cat of absolute night.