A warm welcome to author Alex Beecroft joining us today to talk about new release “Foxglove Copse”.
Welcome Alex 🙂
It was my editor, Sarah Lyons, who first came up with the idea of a series of books set in the fictional town of Porthkennack in Cornwall. She handed it over to me to come up with the bare bones of the town’s ‘Bible’ – a reference that would be shared with all the other authors. As a result, Porthkennack got a lot of things that I love. Stone Age monuments? Check – it has standing stones and stone circles aplenty. (This is true of real-life Cornwall also. You can’t throw a cat in that county without it landing on its feet on a henge.)
Not content with a standing stone, I also added a fogou, both of which come into play in Foxglove Copse. Deciding that that was enough for the Stone Age, I also gave the town a ruined castle from medieval times, an Arthurian legend, a park full of plague ghosts and a Victorian mad scientist’s mansion.
Yet despite all of this I was unprepared when Sarah said she was looking for stories set in this locale to have a ‘Gothic feel.’ The trouble for me was that I am not entirely sure what a Gothic feel is. I personally associate Cornwall with summer holidays, ice-cream, sunshine, the sea-side and sitting watching the sun go down over the ocean while eating chip-shop fish and chips.
I associate ‘Gothic’ with dank castles, storms, madwomen in attics, ghost hounds on the moors. Maybe vampires. So it was a bit of a strange mental exercise to try to bring dark, brooding, semi-supernatural threat to a location I associate with bathing huts and bunting.
“How can I make this windswept peninsula on the edge of a clear sea seem grimmer?” I wondered. The first step was obviously to change the season. Even Cornish people themselves admit that the county is wilder and stranger and harder to live in in the winter. The sea that in the summer is blue-green and almost warm, in the winter howls as well as any storm.
Adding the element of the eerie was harder, because if I actually added a giant infernal hound or the ghost of a plague doctor, that would move the genre out of contemporary. So what I had to do was find a way of adding something that looked creepy, but was not actually supernatural. Hence a plot that revolves around curses and the ritual sacrifice of sheep.
I still don’t know whether I managed to achieve Gothic, though. I feel that my innate fluffiness kept escaping my control, as though I just couldn’t curb my tendency to offer the spectres hot chocolate, or suggest the spectral hound might like to come in and lie by the fire.
There’s a persistent part of me that says (presumably with CS Lewis’s approval) ‘if it’s winter, it must be Christmas.’ So the creeping terrors of my tale keep being undercut by the frightened characters finding their bravery and the lonely characters finding a clan. The need for a happy ever after has only increased since I started writing this in 2016, and I would rather the book bring joy than make you shudder. (Though I would not complain if it managed to achieve both.)
About Foxglove Copse
After a massive anxiety attack, Sam Atkins left his high-powered job in the City and committed himself to life on the road in a small van. Six months in, he’s running out of savings and coming to the conclusion that he might have to go home to his emotionally abusive family.
Needing time to think, he takes a walk through a copse by the Cornish roadside, only to stumble upon the body of a ritualistically killed sheep. As he’s trying to work out what the symbols around the animal mean, the sheep’s owner, Jennifer, and her nephew, Ruan Gwynn, come upon him.
Ruan is a kind-hearted young man with a large supportive clan, and since he and Sam feel almost instant attraction, he doesn’t want to believe Sam is a sheep-killing cultist. In fact, the moment he lays eyes on Sam’s miserable solitary life, he wants to rescue the man. But as the killings escalate, he and Sam need to stop whoever is actually to blame before they can concentrate on saving each other.
Now available from:
About the Porthkennack Universe
Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.
This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.
About Alex Beecroft
Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.
Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City Paper, LA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.
Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.
Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.
She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.
Connect with Alex:
- Website: alexbeecroft.com
- Blog: alexbeecroft.com/blog
- Facebook: facebook.com/AlexBeecroftAuthor
- Twitter: @Alex_Beecroft
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/Alex_Beecroft
To celebrate the release of Foxglove Copse, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card and an ebook of their choice from Alex’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 9, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!