He brought us an excerpt from his first book in the Merely Players erotic romance series a while back, and now the second, The King's Captain, is out and available to buy. Ian says: "At the end of the first story, Knights Errant, Paul and Hayley become lovers. The storyline is continued in The King’s Captain, which I tried to make as stand-alone as possible."
Where did the idea for the Merely Players series come from?
It's a messy sort of mix of ideas! I started with a few ideas for flash fiction stories involving two lovers working together on TV shows. I developed these ideas into some "supporting cast" characters in a draft novel, and then used one of the scenes they filmed as a setting for part of the story.
I'm sure I wouldn't know where to start writing this series! - Did it involve much research?
I'd seen a couple of jousting shows and thought I could plausibly use a team in my story. I also had a day's training with a stunt group as a "Red Letter Day", doing jousting and combat. I've been riding for years, which is why I wanted his horse to have a real personality. All the TV stuff is purely from my imagination, at least partly inspired by the filming techniques used in 24 Hours in A&E, Air Ambulance and some of the emergency service TV series. A lot of the TV shows they'll work on are pretty obviously based on hit films and shows, but I thought making them for a family audience (eg 6pm at the weekend) would allow lots of leeway and fun.
What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
My next publication will be a story in an anthology called “Love and Lust in Space”. This is being edited by Jennifer Denys and will be published by Sexy Little Pages.
I’ve finished the first draft of the third novella in the “Merely Players” series, which now needs revision. The next one I send to my publishers will almost certainly be a “spin-off” novel about Paul’s friends Mark and Maggie, currently being tweaked. I’ve got ideas for three more novellas in this series and perhaps another spin-off. And there are three other substantial ideas rattling around in my mind, nagging me to write them. I keep getting ideas, most of which I develop as a piece of flash fiction in the hope they give me a memory jog some other day.
Have you ever had a character just “do their own thing?”
Yes, and it was a weird feeling when it happened! I was working on a draft novel and an incident occured to me, which seemed perfectly logical and plausible, but how to develop from that stumped me for ages. I’ve got some ideas now, and can use this incident as a source of tension in the relationship between the two characters in the second part of the story.
What’s your writer’s routine? Are you a plotter or do you just write and see where it goes?
I write as and when I can find time and the mental energy. It tends to be weekends at the moment, with a couple of hours on the odd weekday evening. I’ve always had a vague idea of the overall storyline, but for some reason I never want to write this out. I’ve almost always had some key scenes in mind, and have written some of these first to provide me with “way-markers”.
Now here's the excerpt:
Paul is Hayley's lover and now her leading man. But acting and portraying a hero on a period TV show takes far more than a suit of armour. He's totally out of his depth, personally and professionally.
Help arrives with dramatic lessons in leadership and courage, when strange events put him and his friends in harm's way.
Hayley's happy when her best friend Becky books hotel rooms with a bed big enough for three, which confuses Paul. Sorting out their relationships is even scarier than acting, jousting, and stunt fighting in front of the camera.
Life doesn't imitate art. Life shoulders art out of the way. Discovering a secret threatens Paul's trust in Hayley and Becky, and forces him to face his doubts and fears. He must decide if it's braver to walk away, or ask for honest answers. Even if they may break his heart.