Queer fiction about queer men
I caught up with author Daniel de Lorne to talk about his latest work.
Your latest book is Embers and Echoes, what was the inspiration for this story?
From the start, Embers and Echoes was going to be part of a four-book series about cops in an outback town in New South Wales, Australia. The publisher was keen for something that had a lot of tension in it and that followed a romantic suspense story line. When we were working on plot ideas for Echo Springs, I came armed with a few. One was about a wildlife officer fighting the illegal pet trade, and the other was a cop versus a fireman.
The cop/fireman idea got the biggest amount of interest – I think the idea of two men in uniform was what did it. I also liked the idea of an unrequited love story about two gay men who’d known each other since childhood and gone through tragedy that kept them apart rather than brought them together.
How does the Echo Springs series work? You’re collaborating with other authors?
Escape Publishing had been working on series for a few years with groups of authors writing around a particular theme, such as Secret Confessions of Sydney Housewives, rock stars, or cowboys.
The opportunity came up for me to work on a romantic suspense about cops in a small Australian town so I jumped at it. The other three authors were all writing male/female romance, but mine was about two men. We met via Skype to throw around some ideas about characters, the town and the plot, and then worked via a Facebook group when we needed to clarify things.
We developed an overarching plot that the police of Echo Springs need to solve, but each story has its own standalone plot and romance.
Working with Leisl, Shannon, and TJ was great – I already knew Shannon and Leisl from volunteering with Romance Writers of Australia, so we worked well together, and TJ slotted right in. As a former police officer herself, she was a godsend when it came to getting police procedure right.
As the second book in the Echo Springs series, do you need to have read the first book in order to be able to appreciate this one, or could you jump straight into Book 2?
It’s possible to jump straight into Embers and Echoes without reading the books in order, although there’s a plot tie-up from book one that appears in my book. Of course, if you want the full experience, I’d recommend reading all four – especially as my characters also appear in the other books.
Did you need to do much research for this story?
I was a little worried about getting the details right, not just from the police side, but also for the firefighters. It’s a lot more complex than I’d originally anticipated, but thankfully I had TJ to call on for advice for the police, and a friend who’s a firefighter for the rest.
We based the town on an existing outback town in New South Wales, which made things a little easier when mapping out Echo Springs. It’s easy to get bogged down in research and want to include absolutely everything, but the point is that most readers aren’t looking for a manual, they’re more interested in the story. Getting that balance right is the tricky part.
What do you hope that people feel when reading Embers and Echoes?
I hope readers feel the tension between constable Ben Fields and firefighter Toby Grimshaw – from secret childhood sweethearts to the pain of growing up without the one you love, there’s this push-and-pull between them that I love.
I also want readers to feel like they’re in the world of Echo Springs – the heat, the danger and the thrill of the chase – but in the end, it’s about the relationship between these two men that drives the story forward and delivers its emotional punch.
What are some of your goals and aspirations for the months ahead?
Write more books! The conclusion to my Bonds of Blood trilogy, Binding Blood, is out on 20 December, and I’m hoping readers will enjoy how the series wraps up. I’ve also got a new contemporary gay romance coming out in May next year. Apart from that, it’s write, write, write. I’m hoping to get at least another two books written by the middle of the year – if not three.