Saturday, June 4, 2011

Taboo Tens: Day Four Erastes

Greetings fans and welcome to day four of the Taboo Tens!

Today, I have a writer I respect a great deal. Erastes writes gay historical fiction which has got to be tough to do. Her books are well received everywhere and I look forward to enjoying them myself.

Please enjoy her post and comment for the giveaway.

All winners for the last few days will be announced Monday.


Hello all, and thank you Mere Mortals is my fourth published novel and it’s the one closest to home, as it were.

I moved to the Norfolk Broads about ten years ago, and have no intention of moving away if I can help it. I fell in love with the area when I was a kid and we always came up here for holidays once or twice a year, hired a boat and pooted around the hundreds of miles of rivers and the lakes (known as Broads and Meres)

They are an almost alien landscape, and the odd thing is that the view of the world when you are in the rivers, looks nothing like the Norfolk that you see as you drive around in your car.  There are spooky fogs which creep at ground level like dead fingers, reed beds which still provide thatch for the county, holding amazing wildlife like the water vole, the cormorant and the bittern. There’s nothing like the ominous sound of the bittern “booming” through the reeds which sends shivers up your spine.

So when I was considering this gothic novel I wanted somewhere remote and spooky. I had originally planned to set it on Dartmoor, but then I realised that Dartmoor has been done so many times in literature, and the Norfolk Broads get woefully underused. Plus I could do the research right here—rather than driving ten hours to get to Dartmoor!

Norfolk,like all English counties has its share of terrible tales and legends, from witches seeking revenge to headless ghosts of manor houses. Setting a gothic here seemed just right. The claustrophobic atmosphere, with a house on an island where no escape is possible was perfect for my purposes. Horsey Mere, where this book is set is a real place, although sadly, there’s no house on an island there.

I hope—if you try the book—you’ll find it interesting, and please let me know one way or the other!

I’m giving away one signed copy of Mere Mortals to one commenter, so please ask me anything you like. I hope you enjoy the foray into one of the most beautiful and alien places in England. (If you already have a copy, you can win any of my back catalogue, simply state that in the comment.)


Thank you for reading and thanks to Michael Mandrake for letting me play.

Erastes is the penname of a female author. She’s owned by 3 cats and lives in Norfolk. She writes gay historical fiction and runs “Speak Its Name” the only place on the planet for gay historical fiction reviews. Her second novel “Transgressions”—set during the English Civil War was a finalist for the 2009 Lambda Awards for Romance. Check out her website on where you can read lots of excerpts and keep up with her latest news.


Great post! Please comment so you can win. We'll pick winners from Thursday-Sunday on Monday!

Thanks much and join us tomorrow for the Author Spotlight on Jay Bell


Rawiya said...

Thank you for being here! Great post

Angel Martinez said...

Hi Erastes! Lovely pictures - so haunting (unabashed pun intended.) I'm one of those folks who hesitates to read historicals because I hate to see it botched. But when it's good, oh, joy! That said - I loved the complete immersion you achieved in Frost Fair. So impressed. Now the question, since I went around the long way - romance writers seem most drawn to the period between Regency and Victorian. Why do you think that is?

luciatea said...

Thank you for showing Norfolk Broads, it looks beautiful. It must have been great to write about an area you fell in love with :)
Lucia *google acount refuses to post a message*

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I have to say your photographs and description of the area is amazing and beautiful. That these images are your inspiration for your book makes me belive that your book is going to be a fantastic read.
All good things to your corner of the universe.

Rawiya said...

TY all for visiting!


Erastes said...

Thank you, Rawiya, I shall be back again in July! What a friendly place!

Erastes said...

Hi Angel and thank you! I hope you do try this - and enjoy it-- I think it's even more immersive than FF, but then I'm biased. :D I'm always writing about the cold - and I HATE the cold! LOL.

I Think it's because they are more "civilised" than the times slightly previous--and cleaner! The gentility in Regency times could afford baths and toilets and lots of warm water, whereas even the rich didn't bother much in Tudor times!

Erastes said...

Hello Lucia and thank you for commenting!

It is an amazing place. It gets very busy during the summer but if you go on the water in the other 3 seasons it's almost completely empty and therefore wonderful.

Erastes said...

Thank you, Sarah, and I hope you like it if you give it a try!

Maureen said...

Oh my word, do I see the words "gothic", "historical", and "gay romance" in this summary!? That alone was enough to get me excited, but I have to admit the audio clip was the most eerie and intriguing. I rather liked Transgressions by this author, so I'm hoping I'll enjoy this one as well. I'm sure I'll buy it regardless of whether I win. (Although god it would be cool to have a *signed* copy!!)

Erastes said...

Thank you Maureen how kind! There does seem to be a dearth of gay gothics, Master of Seacliff is one, and of course Gaywyck being another. But I love the gothic genre, have to admit it! :D

Hope you like it--even if you don't win my dear!

lusiology said...

Your photographs are stunning. I've never really seen the attraction of the Broads before because I like hilly landscapes, but I rather like the idea of creeping fogs, copious wildlife and empty landscapes.

My question is really an enquiry: how are you doing with Fleury Does America?

She said...

Beautiful pictures. How difficult is it to find historical documents portraying lifestyles of gay men or women? Do you rely on diaries or histories of the period? What resources are available from your time periods that you use?

Erastes said...

hi lusiology, thank you for dropping by! it's quite unique, I think, but then i'm biased. :D

Well, I have a chapter or two written and I know how it's going to end...Hopefully I'll get on with it next year!

Erastes said...

Hi, She - thanks for commenting.

There is a good amount of resources out there, but you have to be prepared to buy a lot of text books! Rictor Norton's wonderful website is the primary source online ( and that's where I started out, particularly for my research on Standish.

Memoires are very useful, but there aren't many homosexual ones, for obvious reasons--Byron's family destroyed his, and that's probably the same for many many memoires. Love letters are precious resources, fragile things that have survived andpeople are now able to reveal without fear of imprisonment.

Basically, I read a lot of dry facts about the numbers of gay men, the places they frequented, etc etc - and then I formulate "what must have happened" because we know there have always been gay men, and people are people, they've always wanted the same things, companionship--not just sex--and with a world as varied as ours, everything must have happened, somewhere!

L said...

Neil Gaiman cited 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields as a big inspiration through writing American Gods. Stephen King listens to classic rock while writing his novels and short stories. What CDs/artists/bands/singers helped you through writing Mere Mortals?

Erastes said...

Hi L, thanks for dropping in!

I'm a real classical maniac, I'm afraid that I don't know any music really after the 80's (blush) once hip hop and rap started taking over I hopped off. I listen to a lot of Schubert and Mozart but love Beethoven too and many many others. My hard drive is stuffed with the stuff!

S. E. Ward said...

I miss the Norfolk region. My wasband *spit* is from the border of Norfolk and Cambs--a wee place called Wisbech--and I really grew to love the whole region in the time I got to spend there. The ghost legends are fantastic, and I agree, get out into the broads or even on a fen, and you might as well be trapped beyond the Unseelie Lands. I'd dearly love to go back someday, albeit on my own terms.

Erastes said...

Hi S.E!

Oh, Wisbech, yes, the fens are a very odd place, even odder than the Broads, in a way! Shame you had to come over this way for a bad reason! :D Thank you for commenting and good luck!