In For Men Like Us, the heroes, Preston Meacham and Benedict Wilmot, are suffering the aftereffects of their individual traumas caused by their experiences in the Napoleonic War. These effects are long lasting and color their relationships and their individual view of the world and their place in it.
As a reader, I have a preference for broken heroes—those men who have all the qualities it takes to fulfill many dreams, but part of him is damaged. It is in the slow climb out of a deep hole, whether caused by melancholia, physical injury, or grief, that the appeal lies for me.
While I started my writing career with a historical m/f series, the Sapphire Club, I have been a reader of gay fiction/gay romance for a very long time. The third in the Sapphire Club series is a ménage, with very strong m/m interaction, and even more so in the rewrite which will be out in the spring.
The first hero in Chocolate, Tea, and the Duchess, now named Thornhill’s Dilemma, Phillip Allard, the Duke of Thornhill, is a strong peer of the realm. He carries with him a secret, one he fears could end him, since, in 1817, a preference for men was a hanging offense.
I have written a couple of contemporary gay romances and while they were fun to write, my first love is in historicals. Contemporaries aren’t my favorite reading, as they tend to skip to third base a lot sooner and I like a slower buildup, which posed a problem for me in Free Me, given the constraints of the submission’s call. Oftentimes in contemporaries, the characters circumvent the niceties and one-night stands are offered up as romance.
For me, I prefer the long way around, so to speak. With Ben and Preston in For Men Like Us, the course they take is years in the making. Neither feels worthy to live, not to mention insert himself in another man’s life.
When I started writing, I wasn’t sure how the path would wind, as I usually let the characters dictate the course of the story. Sometimes, I got to a scene and literally asked them to show me the way. Characters tend to be quite intuitive about their lives (crazy, but true).
Preston is a male whore at a time when the profession was extremely dangerous. That concern is what compels Ben to “stalk” Pres, to sometimes hang in the shadows and act as guardian angel, unbeknownst to Preston. Through horrible circumstances, Ben feels responsible for Pres, though Pres doesn’t know the man is there or even exists, for that matter.
One night, Ben shifts his foot in the alley outside the molly house where Pres works, and Pres, who had just passed by, hears the noise, looks back, and sees a rather downcast man in a greatcoat and tall beaver hat. This scene is depicted brilliantly on the cover of the book, thanks to Anne Cain. It is a poignant scene, because they come face-to-face for the first time and in that moment, Ben is lost. He acts in a way he never intended and from there, the story truly begins.
Each man has suffered great losses, of their loved ones, and of their pride and dignity. Anyone can imagine what that is like for proud men. Their sexual preference has isolated them, has caused them tremendous pain due to other’s actions, and yet, they seek out each other’s company as salve for the wounds of the past.
In that context, they are very real to me. Loss damages the way we think about the world and ourselves. Each successive loss chips away at who we are and what we feel. Ben and Pres have lost perspective and once their lives converge, the path is long and arduous, fraught with dips and crags that at times seem impossible to navigate.
Ultimately, I hope readers think of For Men Like Us as a triumph of the human spirit over all that’s wrong with the world. Sometimes it truly is man against the world and man, on occasion, comes out on top.
You can find For Men Like Us at Dreamspinner Press. Just click the title to be magically transported.
Blurb: For Men Like Us: After Preston Meacham’s lover dies trying to lend him aid at Salamanca, hopelessness becomes his only way of life. Despite his best efforts at starting again, he has no pride left, which leads him to sell himself for a pittance at a molly house. The mindless sex affords him his only respite from the horrors he witnessed.
The Napoleonic War left Benedict Wilmot haunted by the acts he was forced to commit and the torture he endured at the hands of a superior, a man who used the threat of a gruesome death to force Ben to do his bidding. Even sleep gives Ben no reprieve, for he can’t escape the destruction he caused.
When their paths cross, Ben feels an overwhelming need to protect Preston from his dangerous profession. As he explains, “The streets are dangerous for men like us.”
My most recent release:
Serenity’s Dream is book one of my Regency historical Sapphire Club series. It originally came out in June of 2010. I recently revisited the series and rewrote the books. My editor re-edited them and seemed please with the additional thirteen thousand words I added to Serenity. I hope readers will be as well.
You can find Serenity’s Dream here.
Blurb: Serenity Damrill has returned to her husband, Lucien after a ten-year absence. She carries with her a secret that could destroy her life and possibly all that Lucien has built.
Lucien was quite happy in his life running the Sapphire Club and has no need for the frigid wife who deserted him the day after they were married.
Can Lucien teach Serenity that her fear of the marriage bed is unfounded? Will Serenity’s secret be the death knell for their marriage?
Born in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. Brita’s home is a happy place, where she lives with her real-life hero, her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.
She writes, for the most part, erotic historical romance, both het and m/m, which is an ideal fit, given her love of British and American history. Setting the tone for each historical is important. Research plays an indispensible part in the writing of any historical work, romance or otherwise. A great deal of reading and study goes into each work, to give the story the authenticity it deserves.
As a reader, Brita prefers historical works, romances and otherwise. She believes herself born in the wrong century, though she says she would find it difficult to live without air conditioning.
Brita and her husband love to travel, particularly on cruises and taking long car trips. They completed a Civil War battlefield tour a couple of years ago, and have visited many places involved in the American Revolutionary War, with more to come in September of 2013. In May, 2013, they are going to England for two weeks, to visit the places Brita writes about in her books.
A bit of trivia – Brita pronounces her name, B-Rita, like the woman’s name, and oddly, not like the famous water filter.
Please visit my website for more information on my books.