Queer, historical, paranormal romance audiobook relaunch!
Thank you so much for inviting me to visit today, Lillian! I’m doing some guests post around and about to let people know the 1920s London Border Magic trilogy has relaunched in audio. The books are now available wide rather than just with Audible.
[ Banner image linked to https://shop.authors-direct.com/collections/a-l-lester ]
If you’ve never read or listened to any of my books before, I usually describe them as paranormal, historical and queer. There’s a scattering of contemporary short stories and a couple of novellas that are lacking in screaming monsters from beyond the void, but most of my books are set in 1920s England. The 1920s London trilogy features a gay couple—Lew and Alec—and a gay/non-binary couple—Fenn and Will.
I’ve heard people say that a lot of writer’s first foray into non-binary characters is with supernatural creatures of some kind; and in addition at the time I was writing Shadows on the Border with Fenn the non-binary not-quite-elf, I was finally getting my head around my own gender. I think perhaps the struggle I had with their pronouns in the book reflected my own internal workings!
Fenn sees themselves as gender neutral person. Their people, the Frem, are ambisexual--both male and female, like the Gethenians in Ursua LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkness. They don’t have pronouns to describe people as he or she, they use the first person neutral they for everyone. That was fine. It was easy to write.
What wasn’t easy to write was the way people in 1920s England perceived Fenn and how they addressed them. Lew was easy enough to pin down…he’s from 2016, so he got the gender binary address. But Alec and Will and their friends…not so much. Alec persists in seeing Fenn as female and keeps wanting to call them she. And poor Will, who ends up in love with Fenn and has always recognised that he’s as queer as a nine-bob note, is thoroughly confused by Alec’s perception of them as female. Because when Will looks at Fenn, he sees a chap. A bit of an effete chap, certainly…tall and willowy and what-not.
And because he’s a decent chap himself, Will wants to do what’s right for Fenn; and his friend Lew tells him that he should use they when talking about Fenn…and that’s what Fenn does himself, damnit, themselves. So he’s in a real pickle.
As was I by the time I’d finished the first draft.
In the end I wrote it exactly like that though—I had a few rounds trying to settle on a pronoun for Fenn to use throughout. But in the end, I changed them depending on who’s point of view I was writing from. Some readers find this easy to get their heads round and some are completely confused by it.
As always, Callum Hale, my narrator, was brilliant at pinning down the tones of each of the characters, modern, historical or fantastical. Lost in Time was out in audio before I finished writing The Hunted and the Hind and I found myself hearing his interpretation of the characters in my head as I was putting them down on the page. I have four audiobooks with him so far and fully intend to use him for future projects if I can persuade him to put up with me! Lew comes across as a modern Londoner, and Alec and Will are perfect for their class and their time. Fenn has this eerie sort of tone to them in Shadows on the Border which we toned down slightly for The Hunted and the Hind where they had more ‘screen-time’, so to speak. I felt that it would be easier for readers to identify with them if that was the case.
You can find most of my audiobooks at my Authors Direct page—all three 1920s London books can be bought for $20!—but they are also available wide at Apple, Hoopla, Scribd, LibroFM, Kobo, Chirp etc. and I think Audible have them on Whispersync—I am perpetually confused by how they work. I know some audio-library services are carrying them too. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I’ve enjoyed hearing Callum bring the characters to life!
Lost in Time
You can listen to the first half hour of Lost in Time here at Bookfunnel!
Gruesome murders taking place across 1920s London draw Lew and Alec together through the desolation of the East End and the smoky music clubs of Soho. They both have secrets that could get them arrested or killed. In the middle of a murder investigation that involves wild magic, mysterious creatures and illegal sexual desire, who is safe to trust?
Not Lew, who is struggling to get to grips with life a century before he was born. Or Alec, who wants Lew in his bed, despite liking him for murder.
#1 in the 1920s London series. Gay paranormal, historical, romantic suspense of 53,000 words, set in the Border Magic Universe.
About A. L. Lester
Ally Lester writes queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense and lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a terrifying cat, three guineapigs, some hens and the duckettes.
She likes permaculture gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy these days. Not musical, doesn’t much like telly, likes to read. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has fibromyalgia and tedious fits.