One of the coolest aspects of doing narration is getting to work with the incredible authors behind the writing.
Sometimes, I’m extra lucky in that they’re even willing to answer a few questions…
When and how did you first get the idea to write Dark Horse, White Knight?
I wrote The Dark Horse with the intention of it being a standalone novella. I’ve always enjoyed the falling-in-love-with-your-bodyguard trope, but I wanted to explore what might happen to such a relationship after the big threat was over. What would normal life be like for such a couple?
Of course, being a mystery writer, I couldn’t just leave it at that. I had to introduce a new and bigger threat. Which is kind of how the idea of The White Knight came about. A lot of readers were demanding the prequel to The Dark Horse. They wanted to see the story I had hinted at actually play out. And I still wanted to explore what would happen after all threats had been vanquished. So I came up with the idea of a prequel/sequel.
Except once again I couldn’t really leave it at all threats being vanquished…
One of the things that most impressed me with this piece was the way in which – largely through the timeline of the story – it brilliantly breaks from the formulaic norms of romance while still retaining the defining elements of the genre. What inspired you to write Dark Horse, White Knight in this way?
I’ve probably already explained this one, but really much of the inspiration came from listening to readers and then finding a way to give them the story they were really asking for. And what they were really asking for was the romantic arc of Sean and Dan’s relationship from start to well, not finish, but…to their Happy for Now.
How long did it take, from the first word to final manuscript, to write Dark Horse, White Knight?
They were written as two separate novellas–and at different times. I think each novella took about a month from start to final edits.
What was the toughest part of writing Dark Horse, White Knight?
The White Knight novella was the tough one. Finding a way to blend the past with the present without relying on huge chunks of flashback was tricky. I tried to find a workaround by having Sean work his way back through memory loss by utilizing techniques he had learned in therapy. I think–I hope–it gives a sense of immediacy to those parts, which is something flashbacks generally lose.
What was your favorite moment or character to write, and why?
There’s a scene in The Dark Horse where Sean and Dan are having dinner on the deck of the beach house and the scene goes from slightly tense to a feeling of real hurt and betrayal on Sean’s part. I think that’s the moment in the story where the characters realize it’s going to take a fair bit of work on both sides to make the relationship last. The honeymoon period is over.
Aside from entertainment, is there anything particular you hope readers/listeners might walk away with?
I think a common theme in all my stories is that romance is only the starting point. The real work begins after two people decide to try and be together, to live together.
Some readers may not know this, but multiple narrators auditioned to perform your work. What about Derrick’s audition made you feel he was the best fit for Dark Horse, White Knight?
Well, it always makes a difference when you’re working with a narrator who reads. I don’t just mean a narrator who appreciates the pleasures of reading,
I mean a narrator who can understand what the writer is saying *between* the lines. Who picks up the subtext. That’s actually not as common as you might think. Derrick seemed to have an instinctive feel for the characters. But here’s something interesting. The Dark Horse is also in the Male/Male Mystery Suspense box set–but of course it’s a different production company and a different narrator. What I hadn’t expected was what a very different sensibility two very talented narrators would bring to the characters and the story. Derrick’s Sean is younger and more vulnerable. His Dan is assured and suave, which is really my own take on the characters.
What most surprised you when you listened to Derrick’s narration of your book?
That deep, assured “Dan voice” coming out of such a youthful, even boyish-looking man!
What did you like most about Derrick’s narration?
I think one of the big challenges for a narrator in this genre is to come up with two equally attractive but distinct male voices–and to hang onto them in the sometimes brisk back and forth of dialog. I thought Derrick did a great job with both of those.
A distinct voice in gay fiction, Josh Lanyon is the multi-award-winning author of nearly seventy stories of male/male mystery, adventure and romance. Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews Award for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, and the first recipient of the Goodreads M/M Romance group’s Hall of Fame award.