Vicktor Alexander’s Groom Of Convenience
If you haven’t read Vicktor Alexander’s Groom Of Convenience yet, go and buy it. Now. Because it is an amazing book. You will thank me when you’re done reading. I was able to talk with Vicktor today about everything that went into the creation of this book, the world, and the series. Don’t skip it because you’ll understand a bit better where Vicktor was coming from with the book. After the interview, read all about this amazing book along with an excerpt that will make you want to keep reading. at the very end enter for a chance to win a gift card!
Amanda C. Stone: Good morning Vicktor! I’m glad I’ve got a chance to interview you today. Where did the idea for this alternate reality where gender was completely different come from?
Vicktor Alexander: I totally pulled it out of my ass. LOL. No, I’m just kidding.
I wanted to write a gay romance set in the Regency period (one of my favorites, next to the Medieval period and the Victorian era), I also wanted to have a little more creative liberty with certain aspects of the lifestyle of members of the peerage. I wanted to be able to give my male characters the opportunity to have children, but I also wanted to give my female characters the chance to impregnate their partners, female or male. I wanted a world where that was possible without making them all aliens with tentacles and five eyes, so I created an alternate universe. I live in a perpetual state of “what if?” and I love history. I can remember thinking to myself: “What if there was a world that looked just like ours, history was exactly the same, everything happened just like it happened here, except, men could get pregnant and women could impregnate their partners, male or female?” “And what if, the men that could get pregnant weren’t actually called men they were called women? Oohh! Male women! And then what if the women who could impregnate their partners were called Female men?” “How would that make the Regency period different?” “With all of the arranged marriages, I bet there would be a lot of ‘same-sex’ marriages but not same-gender marriages, because that would still be illegal.” And it just kind of grew from there.
ACS: I love that your brain works that way and goes down the “What if” rabbit hole. What was the pull to write this as a historical story instead of another planet with aliens and things like that?
VA: What? Like 3rd Rock From the Sun? Uh. No. As much as I love aliens, I mean I’m a sci-fi nerd with the best of them (Trekkie for life!), I’m a historical nerd first and foremost. I wanted to write a historical. I’ve always wanted to write a historical. The first full-length novel I wrote was an interracial, M/F historical novel (that’s unpublished because I lost the original) called “I’ll Meet You There.” I’ve never lost my passion for history. I still love listening to the History Channel, still love to read all about history. I’m a nerd that way. Still all alpha, but a nerd just the same. So, when I got the idea for this book/series, I couldn’t see it taking place anywhere but in the drawing rooms, ballrooms, manors, and the glittering, dazzling, scandalous environment of London or Tlondon society. It had to take place among the ton. It’s what my characters called for and I had to listen.
ACS: It works so well how you wrote it. I enjoy alien mpreg books as much as the next sci fi nerd. But the world you created is just amazing. How much research did you have to do into the time period?
VA: A LOT. There were months of research put into Groom Of Convenience and into the Scandalous Whispers of the Remmington Realm series.
ACS: Why do all of that research if you were going to make it an alternate Earth? You could have written it however you wanted.
VA: I wanted it to be accurate down to the most finite detail. Historical buffs and nerds catch the smallest thing, I know I do, and it throws you out of the story. I didn’t want someone to be reading the book and come across one of the characters riding in a carriage or using something or even saying something that hadn’t even been invented or used yet. For me it’s all about authenticity. Yes, I know that reading is all about escape, fantasy, etc. But there’s always a nugget of truth in the fantasy. Always. And even if I were setting it in an alternative Earth, it was still Earth. Besides one little change it followed Earth exactly. That was the rule I’d given myself. That was the rule I’d given my series, my characters. That was the law. And so, because of that, it required research of this Earth to make sure that my Tearth was accurately formed. And there are one or two things, as I said, that don’t conform with this Earth, but for the rest? It required extensive, extensive research. To the point where I’d be writing and have to stop in the middle of a sentence, and go and do hours of research just for a word, phrase or name (sometimes it was hours just because I got caught up in the intriguing historical aspect, but other times it was just because it took that long). And that’s bad when you’re writing the book during NaNoWriMo and trying to meet a certain word count daily. LOL.
ACS: You accomplished hours of research while still winning at NaNo? That’s amazing! I know you have a whole series planned for this world, but why did you have so many characters in Groom of Convenience?
VA: Well, Amanda, a lot of that was introduction. Here’s this person, this person, this person. Some of it was because there is going to be a series and I thought I knew who the next book was going to be about when I first started writing the book but it wasn’t until I got to the epilogue that I got a surprise and realized that I was completely wrong!
ACS: *snort* Gotta say that was a good wrong to be though.
VA: Then there is the fact that I don’t think people realize how extremely important it was for people of Heathcliff and Lucien’s station and position to remember names, titles, etc. and to interact with that many people. I actually didn’t put as many instances of meetings as I should have. There should have been teas had in the drawing room with women of the ton with Lucien. Heathcliff would have met with his man of business, and gone to Jackson’s, the gentleman’s club, where he would have spoken to a number of men within. A lot of it too was to show the variation of the genders, the relationships, and to give hints at other possible scandals. For instance: Lady Octavius York, son of the Duke of Cornwall, whom we meet at the country-house party. It is obvious that he has a history, a rather salacious one, with Leonidus, a half-Tafrican (African) servant who works for Heathcliff. I could have not placed anything about their meeting in the book, not said anything about them, however, their meeting caused speculation to grow inside of Lucien and Heathcliff, therefore it grew inside of the reader. And not only that, they were supposed to be my 3rd couple in the series. Supposed to be. They’re not any more. LOL. Thanks to Chester and Orley’s story the whole series is now rearranged. Lovely. But, I wanted the readers to see how much scandal and gossip was rampant in the ton, and also see the different variants on genders within the world, as well as build up anticipation over who the next couple was going to be.
ACS: I’m excited to read the next book so you definitely achieved your goal with all of the characters. Did you set out to push the boundaries and make people think about how they view gender? Or did that just kind of happen on it’s own?
VA: Well, I’ve been told that I’m always “Domming” my readers and pushing their boundaries through my writing, so I think my subconscious did set out to push boundaries on the way people viewed gender. That wasn’t foremost in my thoughts when I started writing the book or got the idea for the series, however. I just wanted to write mpreg/fempreg in the Regency era. However, I think that my philanthropic, world-changer, history-maker, mindset is always thinking, always plotting in the background when I’m writing, no matter what it is. So there were small nuggets being dropped and deposited throughout the book that I didn’t see until long after the book had been published and I was talking about it to my friend Taylor Law. I knew the book was different. I even knew that it was a transgender/intersex novel. I just didn’t know why I was classifying it that way. I didn’t know why I’d told Dreamspinner Press to classify it that way, didn’t know why they’d chosen to listen to me and label it that way. LOL. It wasn’t until I was actually thinking about the book because it was going to be submitted for something that I actually realized that I’d subconsciously written a book about transgender people. I’d written that I’d done that in my Author’s Note, so I knew that I had, it just wasn’t completely clear to me how so many of the characters: the male women, the female men, were indeed transgender people. I thought it was only the ones who dressed like their female or male counterparts, but no, it was all of them. Once I realized that I was showing people that just because someone looks like a female on the outside, that doesn’t mean they identify as a female, they could, in fact, identify as a man. Or just because someone looks like a man, that doesn’t mean that they identify as one, they could, in fact, be a woman. And it’s not up to us to tell them they have to wear “gender appropriate” attire to be labeled as such, we should accept them as they are, well I finally got my own series. It was humbling. It was exhilarating. And it almost made me cry. And I finally realized why my friend Taylor and my editors and my other friends were telling me they enjoyed the book so much, and why they were telling me they were so proud of me. I realized why I was so nervous about it. I hadn’t set out to make such a statement, hadn’t set out to make people think about how they gender that way, but I’m so glad I did.
ACS: I have to say even though you didn’t set out to push boundaries, you did it in a way that’s non threatening to those that are uncomfortable with the idea of gender not being as either/or as they want it to be. I hope those places you’re submitting the book to see how amazing it truly is. Thank you so much for joining me today Vick. I love having you as always!
VA: Thanks for having me, Amanda!
In an alternate universe, in the country of Angland, 1814, the gentry live lives of culture and class. It is a time of courtships, marriages of convenience, and titles, where scandal can ruin an entire family. Gender lines are blurred, and making a good match is of utmost importance. Children are born to men and women, which has led to the acceptance of same-sex marriages.
Lady Lucien Timothy Hawthorne is shocked and angry when he is betrothed against his will to Lord Heathcliff Eddington, III, the Duke of Pompinshire. While drowning his frustration at a popular gentleman’s club, he meets “Robert,” a gorgeous older man whom he sleeps with as “Timmy,” regardless of the potential damage to his reputation.
After their liaison, Lucien corresponds with Robert via letters left at Remmington, and they decide to elope. Before they can get away, Lucien meets his betrothed, Heathcliff, who he is surprised to discover is also his beloved, Robert. Both men desire a marriage of the heart, but they find out that sometimes a marriage of convenience can turn into love under the right circumstances. But Lucien has a secret, and Tlondon isn’t as safe as they once thought.
Lucien inhaled deeply and then began to softly sing “Ae Fond Kiss,” a popular Tscottish ballad written twenty years prior, sliding his eyelids closed, afraid of any negative reaction from his betrothed. His mother used to sing it to him every night before leaving for a ball or party she was obligated to attend. Rosemary would sing the song and then kiss the top of his head. Annabelle would be waiting at the door, and when Rosemary finished, thinking that Lucien was asleep, she would meet Annabelle at the door, and the two of them would share a sweet kiss and then leave. Lucien loved those late-night lullabies by his mother, cherished them, and when he went to bed, even at his advanced age, he would sing the song to himself until he would fall asleep.
Finishing the last note of the song, Lucien opened his eyes and looked at Heathcliff, expecting to find him asleep, only to find him looking at him in wonder. “What?” he asked. “You have a beautiful voice, Lucien,” Heathcliff told him. Lucien blushed and ducked his head. “Thank you,” he whispered. Heathcliff’s fingers under his chin brought his face back up, and he found himself looking into Heathcliff’s eyes. “Don’t do that. Don’t hide from me. Never hide from me,” Heathcliff told him. “You have a beautiful voice. One that has obviously been handcrafted by the very touch of God. The beauty of your voice is rivaled only by the beauty of your face, which does not compare to the beauty of your spirit.”
Vicktor “Vic” Alexander wrote his first story at the age of ten and hasn’t stopped writing since. He loves reading about anything and everything and is a proud member of the little known U.N. group (Undercover Nerds) because while he lives, eats, breathes, and sleeps sports, he also breathes history and science fiction and grew up a Trekkie. But don’t ask him about Dungeons & Dragons, because he has no idea how to play that game. When it comes to writing he loves everything from paranormal to contemporary to fantasy to historical and is known not only for being the Epilogue King but also for writing stories that cross lines and boundaries that he doesn’t know are there. Vic is a proud father of two daughters one of whom watches over him from Heaven with his deceased partner Christopher. Vic is a proud trans* and gay man, and when he is not writing, he is hanging out with his friends, or being distracted by videos of John Barrowman, Scott Hoying, and Shemar Moore. Vicktor has published numerous bestselling novels and has a WIP list that makes him exhausted just thinking about. He knows that he will be still be writing about hot men falling in love with each other, long after he is living in an assisted living facility, flirting with the hot, male nurses.
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorVicktorAlexander
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5542
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Always great to be here, Amanda! Thanks for having me!