A big welcome today to fellow Kiwi author, Gillian St. Kevern.
Thank you, Anne, for inviting me to talk about my upcoming release, The Wing Commander’s Curse, on your blog.
The Wing Commander’s Curse is a bit different. For a start, it has its roots in a true human tragedy. Back in April, the news about the Chechen government abducting gay men or even men suspected of being gay and subjecting them to torture started gaining international attention, I like many members of the online M/M romance community were moved to help. A group, Readers and Writers for LGBT Chechens was formed (https://dalecameronlowry.com/lgbt-chechnya/). Many authors and publishing houses donated their royalties for the month of May or all proceeds from certain books to charities devoted to helping at risk Chechens escape. I donated an original story to an online auction intended to raise funds.
The winner of my original story got to choose what their story would be about. Kathleen requested a story about a magic user crushing on a barista. The kind of magic user was up to me. The only things she required were coffee and magic.
As you can see, this left the possibilities wide open! I came up with a cute contemporary story about a wizard trapped in a tower, whose only means of interacting with the world was a door in his tower that opened into the coffee shop my magic-oblivious barista worked in. They meet, click and flirt, only for the wizard to discover that barista’s last boyfriend left him craving normal. He’s about to give up all hope when his cat takes matters into his own hands, turning himself human to extol the virtues of his master to a bewildered barista. It was cute, it was going to be so much fun—
And before I could even write the opening paragraph it got hijacked by an alternate universe where WWI was replaced by a magical uprising of monsters and humanity is still trying to get to grips with the fact that life will never be the same. The setting shifted from New York to Glastonbury. The wizard is a Wing Commander in the Wizard’s Battalion, the fighting force that formed to prevent London being utterly destroyed by a dragon. He’s a celebrated war hero, whose dark past and arrogant belief in himself and his mission have isolated him from all but a handful of friends.
And the barista, a fighter in his own right, ignores social mores, common sense, the future of the war effort and all my carefully laid plans and plot outlines, to crush on him. It’s an alternative-universe historical paranormal featuring a sweet romance, two stubborn leads, and a cat who does what he wants and only what he wants.
It’s really hard to balance the excitement of a new release against the acknowledgement of the atrocities that led to its creation in the first place. I’ve got all the usual new release jitters, along with the knowledge that little has changed in Chechnya. My hope is that by sharing the story behind The Wing Commander’s Curse’s creation, readers will be moved to either donate to one of the charities involved in helping LGBT Chechens, or add their voice to those of organisations like Amnesty International in calling for an end to the systemic abuse and murder of a government against its own citizens (For more information on how you can help, Dale Cameron Lowry lists a variety of options of the Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens page: https://dalecameronlowry.com/lgbt-chechnya/).
Kathleen has very generously allowed me to share The Wing Commander’s Curse with members of my mailing list. It will be made available for free from July 31st. If you’re interested please consider signing up. I use my mailing list to give subscribers news about my new releases and occasionally share news of sales.
An unbreakable curse.
England overrun by monsters.
Two men locked in a losing battle.
Jonah Valliant longs for active service, but is stuck making coffee for the local officers. A year ago, the world erupted into magical chaos. No one knows why Britain is overrun by fearsome worms, magical creatures whose gaze turns men to stone, or how to stop them. When Jonah loses his temper with Wing Commander Mallory, he has no idea that picking a quarrel with the wizard may lead to Britain’s salvation–or its destruction.
Augustus Mallory carries more than the weight of the war effort on his shoulders. He’s the last of the Mallory wizards, feared for their power, arrogance and the dark family curse. He knows losing his heart to Jonah endangers everything Mallory cares about—but Jonah may possess the key to defeating the worms once and for all. His only hope: staving off his doom long enough to learn the secret behind the Quickening.
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Gillian St. Kevern is the author of paranormal romance series Deep Magic and Thorns and Fangs series, and the contemporary holiday shorts collection For The Love of Christmas. She is back in New Zealand after eleven years in Japan, and is enjoying to get to know Christchurch again.
As a chronic traveller, Gillian is more interested in journeys than endings, with characters that grow and change to achieve their happy ending. Her stories cross genres, time-periods and continents, taking readers along for an unforgettable ride.