Eight Fun Facts about The Gentleman's Book of Vices
A lot of weird little things go into the writing of a novel. Here are a few fun tidbits about the creation of The Gentleman's Book of Vices.
1) It was the 14th book I wrote, but the first romance
Sometimes I'm asked why I started with historical, because it seems harder than contemporary. But I really like reading historical. And anyway, I was used to writing fantasy; after recreating physics over and over for years, historical research didn't scare me.
2) It was originally much darker
Miles's backstory was originally quite a bit more horrible, and Charlie was a whole lot more fucked up (and not quite as cute about it). But I was depressing myself, so with every draft, things got a little lighter. I still wouldn't call it light, but trust me, it's lighter.
3) The working title was A Curious Collection.
And the series was going to be "The Curious Clubmates" instead of Lucky Lovers of London. I liked those working titles well enough (I am really quite a slut for alliteration), but when the Carina team came back with the final title, I loved it instantly. I think it's so much fun, and serves as a reference to the 1860 manners book, The Gentleman's Book of Etiquette. I did come up with the new series name (as you may be able to tell by the alliteration), and I like that it reflects the Dickensian little twists that keep the characters out of trouble.
4) The Miles fancast has been Hugh Jackman since day one
Many thanks to The Greatest Showman screenshots, which were very helpful for character inspiration. I don't love the movie, but I do love Hugh Jackman in a waistcoat.
5) Charlie is from Manchester because of Davy Jones
I never did find my perfect Charlie fancast, but he has a vocal inspiration. Have you ever seen the 1960s television masterpiece The Monkees? There was one glorious year where it played on Nick at Nite's Block Party Summer, and I was obsessed. I am still obsessed. It's wacky, hilarious, and has some decidedly queer vibes that left an impact. Davy Jones was the first British man I ever paid any attention to, and I have always adored his accent. He was from Manchester, and I wanted to imagine that Charlie had the same lovely accent as my beloved Davy Jones, and so the Price family is also from that industrial city up north.
6) The kink dynamic is "Fuzzy Handcuffs."
I approached the steamy aspect of this project with fuzzy handcuffs in mind. You know what I mean, yes? They're faux-fur-lined, often hot pink, and don't actually lock -- the fun is in the fantasy. I liked the idea of a relationship where the actual sex is fairly straightforward, but the dirty talk and fantasy sharing is outrageous. I worked in a Hustler adult toy store for a while and encountered this a lot. I thought it would be fun to bring the idea back in time to see what it might look like juxtaposed against the very dark and violent porn they were putting out in the late 1800s.
8) There is a character cameo from projects past
When I was 14, I wrote my first full-length novel. It was about a rather grouchy vampire (I referred to him as "emo" though he wasn't related to the emo scene. We just used that word very casually circa 2004). I eventually realized it was a pretty ridiculous story, but I loved the overwrought little guy, so I started throwing parodies of him into nearly every story I've written since. In his last iteration in the mining-era fantasy novel I wrote before Vices, he reappeared as a spiritualist in a dilapidated top hat. This fellow can be found perusing Miles's shelves around the middle of the book.
That wraps up some fun facts about The Gentleman's Book of Vices. Anything else you'd like to know about it? Ask in the comments!