Thank you so much for hosting me today with my new release, The Elder Man. This story is very close to my heart, and to my life!
Over two years ago I made a drawing of my favorite model as an antlered forest god. It sat quietly in my album for almost 12 months, but it kept pushing invisible roots all over my soul, until suddenly last year, this story began to write itself. It was light and sexy and full of humor (poking fun at city people baffled by the countryside is my revenge for how befuddling the city is to me!) but I soon became aware that there was more to it than met the eye.
In fact it became a tapestry of all the things I love most in my life, my barely tamed garden and my woods, my animals, my sculpting and natural building, my simple, off grid lifestyle, and the beauty and antiquity of the Dordogne, the region in SW France where I have been living for almost 10 years. I wanted to give a face to the bone-deep magic that I see and feel in all this.
My forgotten but still powerful forest god is the form I chose to express all that is wondrous, healing and grounding in my life.
Or maybe *he* chose me, and did his own thing. My characters notoriously tend to do that.
I did a number of illustrations, at different times, for this story, and I am delighted that one of them found its way to the cover of the book, thanks to Jay Aheer and Evernight Publishing. You can see them all on my blog, here: https://katherinewyvern.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-art-of-elder-man-coming-tomorrow.html
Q) Please tell us about your book. This is your chance to tell us what made it special for you to write it.
This book is special to me for two reasons. One is that it’s very close to my life. It is very autobiographical. The world where the main character lives, his off-grid property in SW France, is very much like my own, but written big! He’s also a natural builder, like I am, and I was able to pour a lot of personal experience in his work and his art, and his day to day life. It was like writing myself. If I were male, and a god, and immortal, I’d be this. 😊
The other special thing for me about this book, is that all the books I wrote since 2017 were very angsty, with very broken, conflicted characters facing lots of personal drama. Both for creative and personal reasons I needed to write a grounding, healing story, and this is exactly what this book is. It deals with grief and loss and drama. But the focus in on the healing, not on the pain.
Q) Is your book part of a series? If so, can you tell us about it?
No, The Elder Man is a stand-alone. 😊
Q) What was the hardest (or easiest) scene to write?
The easiest scenes (and funniest) were the scenes where Armin, who is very much a city-person, finds himself confronted with the oddities of off-grid life. His first walk to the outhouse on a toad-strewn path wrote itself, or his bloodcurdling encounter with a vixen (an actual vixen) in the middle of the night.
The hardest scene to write was when one of Van’s two secrets is revealed… No spoilers, but I wanted to give Van a lot of back story, and to do so without weighing down the narrative too much. So I introduced a third point of view, Allie’s, an old friend. I wanted to add older threads to the plot, and an outside perspective on Van, and make a more textured tapestry. This a little experimental in the genre, but I hope it works!
Q) What type of research did you do for your book?
Mostly folklore and mythology. Once Cernunnos, the ancient Celtic god of the forest, became part of the story, I became fascinated with how many different horned gods exist in Indo-European cultures, and I wanted to make this also part of the picture. It seemed to me that perhaps all these horned gods are faces of one god… that he may have been in lots of different places at different times. This too became part of Van’s back story, although it is only hinted at.
Q) Do you have a writing quirk, or habit when you write?
I tend to rehearse dialogues a lot. I write very literary, lyrical prose, but I like my dialogues to be snappy and lively. So I talk them out. In voices. Either aloud or muttering to myself while I do garden work, or take long walks, or... I am Italian. Hands are involved. All of this tends to upset the husband a little, when he is not forewarned, but hey. A writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do, right?
Q) What do you think is your strongest asset as a writer? …what is your weakest factor as a writer?
All my books have some autobiographical element, some more, some less. This makes for very detailed world-building usually. It is both an asset and a weakness, because the things that interest me are usually too odd for lots of readers, so it makes for somewhat love-or-hate reactions!
Q) Do you have a favorite book you’ve written?
A Muse to Live For, definitely. Although it is not autobiographical in the plot, the main character, a Victorian painter, is very much my alter ego. I poured my love, heart and soul in that story. The Elder Man is a close second 😊
Q) Do you write in a linear fashion or do you jump from scene to scene and then go back and “fill in the blanks”?
Oh, I jump, I jump, I jump so much! I usually write about half of each book in a sort of “stream of consciousness” fashion, just seeing what’s going to happen, often just following the beauty of language, of certain sentences and images.... I am as surprised as anybody else by what my characters will come up with, at that stage, and many of the best scenes usually get written with no plan or plot in mind. After that I am left with this fantastically interesting puzzle, and I have to figure out how to put it all together.
Q) Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A bit of both. Some of my books are interconnected. Some are stand-alones. The only thing that they all have in common, across all subgenres, is that they are all set in Europe, or alternate versions of Europe. I love this old continent like my skin.
Q) What are your upcoming projects?
There are a few stories I’d love to write, in particular The Storm’s Daughter, which would be the book in between my two fantasy novels Spellbreakers and In the Eye of the Wind. It will be a high fantasy with wars, and magicians, and dragons and great deeds, and my antlered god might put in a little cameo appearance. But for the moment this story still needs to simmer in my brain for a while.
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Uncovering and divulging an outlandish conspiracy will put a hard bump into any journalist’s career, and Armin can only blame himself when he’s dispatched from Frankfurt’s skyscrapers into the depths of rural France on the unglamorous job of writing about a cobbing workshop.
Natural building is messy, dirty and sweaty work, but it has its consolations. For example, Van, the greying but undeniably hot master cobber teaching the workshop. Sure, the man is a hopeless tree-hugger, with embarrassing notions about ancient folklore and religions, but he’s still worth a week-long fling, right?
When Van is revealed in all his majesty and power as a long forgotten forest god, however, the week-long fling might well become entangled with eternity, on the edge between life, death, madness, and immortality.
OFFICIAL TEASER (graphic sex alert):
Armin started undressing there and then and pulling at Van’s clothes.
“Um, can I brush my teeth at least?” asked Van, laughing.
Van found himself dragged bodily toward the bedroom. He was still wearing his jeans, which were unbuttoned and sliding down to his knees. He couldn’t stop laughing.
“Okay, okay, I’m right here,” he said between kisses. He tried to either shed his trousers or hold them up so as not to fall flat on his face on the hard stone steps, but he didn’t manage to do either because Armin was all over him like an octopus.
They finally stumbled up the corridor and through the bedroom door and into the bed, and Van found himself pinned down with his ankles tangled in his jeans and Armin’s hand in his crotch, inside his boxers, and his head lodged awkwardly between two pillows.
“Look, honey,” he said, “I’m all yours. But I need to … let me…” He writhed about under Armin’s panting body and finally managed to kick off those damn trousers and then get rid of his underwear.
“Shit, things were easier when we wore nothing but a loincloth and a bit of paint.”
Armin sank his face into his neck, laughing.
“You say these stupid things all the time. Like you are twenty thousand years old or something.”
“Um, well, give or take…”
“Shut up,” said Armin, kissing him deep and long, rubbing the front of his body on Van’s. Armin was buck naked and already hard and ready.
Goodness me, what have I done to this young man? he thought.
Van had a passing recollection of the day Armin had arrived, so downcast and subdued and almost paralyzed with shyness. He smiled in the dark and arched to meet Armin’s body, feel his cock on his own.
Van knew that if he got another rough ride like yesterday, he’d need painkillers to get through the next day.
He was on fire to love Armin again, to share everything, every ounce of flesh, to the bone, and if it had not been a workshop week, he’d have let himself be fucked blind again and spend the day in bed tomorrow, come hell or high water.
But with the last day of the workshop looming, he thought this eager young buck needed to be steered in a different direction.
Hell, am I really growing old? he thought. He didn’t feel old, least of all with Armin’s quick young body in his arms, but perhaps he was not quite as supple as he used to be. That’s the trouble with a middle-aged human body. Damn this mortal flesh.
“Would—you—let me…” he whispered in brief bursts between hungry kisses, and he ran a finger deep in the crack of Armin’s butt. The young man arched into his arms, his back quivering.
“Yes,” he said, half word, half breath, before pushing his tongue into Van’s ear, as if words were not enough to express his longing.
“You can suit yourself if you like,” Van whispered, lying down flat on his back, inviting Armin to straddle his body.
“Oh, I like, I like a lot,” whispered the young man, smiling and palming Van’s cock to gauge his erection.
He was quite happy to fuck or be fucked, but he had never done both with the same man. He was amazed and enchanted and almost a little humbled. Jonas had been an absolute bottom, and it was at least two years since Armin had had anything in his ass not made of steel or silicon.
He fumbled around, switched on a bedside light, and opened that little surprising drawer again. He rolled a condom down Van’s cock and slathered it with lube.
Armin kissed him and stroked Van hard again and lowered himself by degrees onto his lap, moaning softly as that warm, slippery living glans parted his ring by degrees and then slithered inside his body, such an intimate intrusion that he almost wept with emotion. It was so easy to fuck and be fucked that one could easily forget what an incredible disclosure of love and trust it could be. He took a long breath, and another, pleasure and pain and emotion clashing for an almost unbearable minute. Then the pleasure washed over him in mounting waves at every careful, deepening thrust as he filled himself with Van’s length and his own cock grew stiffer and bounced softly on Van’s stomach. After the crazy hurry and urgency of just a few minutes earlier, he had to pace himself, give his ass time to adjust around the girth of Van’s cock, and move slowly, with infinite tenderness, for himself, and for Van. It was really, really difficult.
Van seemed quite happy though.
“Oh, honey,” he said, dreamily. He lay quite flat, his arms over his head and a lazy smile on his lips.
He was not so much fucking him as letting Armin take his own pleasure out of him, offering himself to Armin’s need. Armin wondered if he was always so … not submissive exactly, but giving.
He went a little crazy inside as he worked his ass in waves and tight circles on Van’s hard cock, rooted onto his body, spread wide and full inside and hard in front, all at the same time. It was so much pleasure all at once, almost too much, and yet still not enough. He wanted to say something absurd like, Take me hard, please yourself, fuck me like a whore, but he had never gotten the hang of delivering dirty talk with any panache, and the mere thought made him laugh a little. Van stirred and smiled tenderly, caressing his thighs and gently digging his thumbs at the base of his cock, kneading, so that Armin’s erection stiffened and rose a little higher.
“What’s funny?” he asked softly.
“Nothing,” said Armin, but he was still smiling, delirious with happiness
Find it here on AMAZON (free sample available):
Or (with 25% discount and a hot excerpt) at EVERNIGHT PUBLISHING
Plus all the usual e-book retailers.
A Muse to Live For:
Rainbow Awards, Best Transgender Romance 2018-2019 (tie with Spice & Vanilla)
Raibow Awards, Best transgender Book 2018-2019
Evernight Readers' Choice Awards, Best Gay Romance 2019
Spice & Vanilla:
Best Transgender Romance 2018-2019 (tie with A Muse to Live For)