Work in Progress, 2022 Edition
Two new historical romance novels
It’s over a year since my last two releases (Beck and Call and Free Climb, both published in May 2021), so I thought it was past time I posted an update about what I’m working on in 2022.
First up are two more historical romance novels, set in the same time period as Beck and Call: the late 1790s in England, at the height of Pitt’s repressive “Reign of Terror”. I’ve been planning these as a series of loosely linked novels that can be read in any order.
In Sixpenny Octavo, an F/F romance, two women are drawn together while fighting to secure a friend’s release from gaol. Clockmender Hannah Croft loses her best friend and her livelihood at the same time when her business partner Molly is arrested. Her one hope to free Molly is the testimony of housemaid Lucy Boone. Lucy is more than willing to help, and not only because of her growing attraction to Hannah. But the two of them quickly find themselves a target for the same sinister forces that put Molly in gaol.
It’s been a pleasure to write, though not always easy to research. Illiterate working-class women, by definition, didn’t leave any written trace of their own lives. Similarly, it’s difficult for us to know how queer working-class women in the 18th century saw themselves, their identities and their place in the world. So some of the story is speculation, and some of it is my conviction that culture and mindsets have changed, but human nature hasn’t. And that queer people managed to find happiness for themselves throughout history.
Sixpenny Octavo is at the line-editing stage, with publication slated for August 2022. I’ll make ARCs available on BookSirens, LibraryThing and BookSprout.
Meanwhile, The Oak and the Ash is an M/M Regency romance about a surgeon and a valet whose tentative relationship is cut short when they find themselves testifying on opposite sides in a murder trial. It will probably come out towards the end of 2022. In this one, I get to indulge my geeky interest in the history of medicine and meteorology!
In an entirely different genre, I’m also working on Cut Off, the fourth novella in the Mont Blanc series. I’m changing things up a little this time: the story is told from Oakes’s point of view, which has been a blast to write.
Cut Off is my take on a “country house” mystery, in that it has a limited list of suspects, cut off from the outside world. Yohan and Oakes are not actually in an English country house, of course, but rather in an isolated Alpine refuge, trapped by a snow storm with other hikers. When a dead body is found in the snow, Yohan takes charge, and it’s a lot of fun to write that from Oakes’s POV. Oakes definitely has a competence kink!