The Breakfast Octopus is proud to present an interview with KJ Charles as part of her blog tour for A Seditious Affair, out this Tuesday, December 15th. You can check out my A+ review here.
Title: A Seditious Affair
Author: KJ Charles
Release Date: December 15th, 2015
The Breakfast Octopus’ rating: A+
K. J. Charles turns up the heat in her new Society of Gentlemen novel, as two lovers face off in a sensual duel that challenges their deepest beliefs.
Silas Mason has no illusions about himself. He’s not lovable, or even likable. He’s an overbearing idealist, a Radical bookseller and pamphleteer who lives for revolution . . . and for Wednesday nights. Every week he meets anonymously with the same man, in whom Silas has discovered the ideal meld of intellectual companionship and absolute obedience to his sexual commands. But unbeknownst to Silas, his closest friend is also his greatest enemy, with the power to see him hanged—or spare his life.
A loyal, well-born gentleman official, Dominic Frey is torn apart by his affair with Silas. By the light of day, he cannot fathom the intoxicating lust that drives him to meet with the Radical week after week. In the bedroom, everything else falls away. Their needs match, and they are united by sympathy for each other’s deepest vulnerabilities. But when Silas’s politics earn him a death sentence, desire clashes with duty, and Dominic finds himself doing everything he can to save the man who stole his heart.
And now, on to the interview! Thanks for being here today!
- Real historical events play an important part in both A Fashionable Indulgence and A Seditious Affair. As an American, I’d never heard of either the Peterloo massacre or the Cato Street conspiracy. Did you intend for your Society of Gentlemen books to be a historical source for your readers?
Well, I hope they’re a start. And a fun read, of course, since they’re romances. But Peterloo is an incredibly important event in English history that’s being quietly obliterated. If people learn about reform at all it’s in the context of the Great Reform Act of 1832—the previous generation of radicals failed and were forgotten. But we should remember the people who died to bring us the vote, and how important it is. It terrifies me when people don’t vote because they don’t think it’s important or ‘it won’t change anything’. Shelley wrote a poem about Peterloo as a call to action:
Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number.
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you—
Ye are many—they are few.
So if even a few people think about how much others sacrificed for the vote and get out there on election day because of my books, then I’ll have done something worthwhile.
- Will there be a similar historical event in Lord Richard and David Cyprian’s story?
Sadly no. By the time the Cato Street Conspiracy was done with, the government had basically won. The radical leaders were silenced or gaoled; the fight was lost for a generation. But they paved the way for the next generation of reformers, who started the process that led to the democracy we now have. Meanwhile, Richard and David have other problems…
- Dominic is, as Silas puts it, “the most dyed-in-the-wool Tory he’d ever met in his life”. You, the author, are not. What did it feel like to get in his head?
Um. It’s all too easy for everyone to believe that people who don’t think like us are basically wrong, evil or stupid. Left-wingers have a tendency to assume that right-wing views are all ‘screw the poor, pass the champagne’. But that doesn’t get us anywhere and it’s not true. Take William Wilberforce. He was profoundly conservative, he opposed an enquiry into Peterloo, supported the repressive Six Acts, was absolutely against giving workers any right to combine in trade unions or fight for improvements to their appalling lives. Yet he led the British fight to end the evil of slavery, and he believed passionately in the duty of the rich to help the poor. He gave away most of his income to the needy and kept on all his servants when they became old and sick, where it was commonplace to sack them without a thought. Basically, he believed in the social order as it stood, but he also believed in the moral obligation of the rich to the poor. That’s Dominic’s conservatism, and I can respect it and understand it even if I disagree profoundly. (And you have to remember, before you get too down on people who feared change, that the French revolution and subsequent war in Europe had devastated a generation. People had reason to be fearful.)
- An important part of Silas and Dom’s relationship is the trust they have in each other. I loved seeing that they could separate their bedroom games from how they treated each other afterwards. Do you think there would be hope for a couple with the same sort of differing beliefs in today’s politically divided society?
God, I hope so. If we can’t listen to each other, if we can’t find common ground, we’re screwed, and not in the good way. What’s important in Dom and Silas’ relationship is that they respect each other’s wants and opinions and duties. They don’t share any of those things, or agree about them, but they respect that they’re honestly held and that the other has the right to differ. If we can do that, there’s a chance.
- Really? A sub called Dom? How did that come about?
Many thanks to KJ Charles for stopping by, and don’t forget to check out the giveaway of 3 copies of A Seditious Affair below!
About KJ Charles:
KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.
KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.
To celebrate the new release, I’m giving away three copies of A Seditious Affair. If you’ve already pre-ordered it, you can an e-copy of A Fashionable Indulgence or The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, both by KJ Charles. The giveaway runs through 12:00 AM EST on December 15th, ending just in time for the release date.