Isobel Starling, who is my guest to day, is quite correct in her suggestion that most writers have a manuscript on their WiP stack that tugs on their hearts and minds. Like Isobel’s, mine is also a fantasy saga. And it’s been with me for almost twenty years. Not quite as long as Jack, but long enough. I always feel that stories like this are like cats. They don’t come when called. They come when they’re ready to be told. Isobel’s story is clearly at that point, so I’m handing you over to her, so you can find out all about it! 🙂
My new LGBT Fantasy series The Quiet Work has been a labour of love for the past five years, and it is only now, in 2019 that the first book Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) is be ready for release.
Writing Apple Boy has been such a long journey. I’m a huge Fantasy fan, but I’ve become disillusioned over the years when reading mainstream fantasy. If mainstream fantasy includes LGBTQI characters they rarely get the guy or girl, and usually have an unhappy ending. There are some wonderful genre specific LGBTQI fantasy books, but they are as rare as needles in a haystack, and I have to search to find them.
I first started writing The Quiet Work series back in September 2014. It was, in fact, the very first book I wrote. My only other writing of note before that was some lovelorn poetry and fantasy fan-fic. I worked as an artist and never had any inclination to become a writer, and genuinely, I had no idea if I COULD write. But, 2014 was a big black hole of a year for me. I was in the midst of a bout of deep depression and to cope with it I hid in books. I read 50 books in three months, and this inspired me to think “I can do that” and so I gave it a try.
I chose the fantasy genre for my first novel. I started to write for fun and for myself. I never considered that anyone else would read it. I just needed to escape from my situation. The Quiet Work swiftly became a reality as I lost myself in the world-building of my imagined Empire. The series title comes from the fact the MC is an assassin. But also, the title has a more literal meaning because writing became my quiet work. It was a place I could go to for an escape. It was my therapy. The fantasy Empire I created, along with the characters and the magical city of Serein prevented me from losing my mind.
The first draft originally took me around three…yes, THREE frenzied weeks to write 120,000 words. It was the first book I ever wrote, and as of yet, no one has seen anything more than a couple of pages. I have never written anything else as quickly!
I sought the advice of a fantasy author/editor, and she said that I should put the book to rest and write something else, then pick the fantasy book up again, and so I did. I wrote 18 other books!
The fantasy book became the manuscript on my laptop that I always meant to go back to. Those of us who write know about those manuscripts all too well. How many of us have a manuscript we long to complete but the story is stuck, or other books are shouting louder, and there is just not enough time in the day? That was what The Quiet Work was for me. Whenever I took a look at the manuscript, I got bogged down with how I was going to present it, as there are six character stories that culminate at the end, and it did not flow in the same way as ‘regular’ fantasy formats. So, I left it alone.
Back in October 2017 I decided to write a fantasy short story. It was supposed to be 20k words, but swiftly I realized that it was set in the Empire I had already created. I’d written this Fantasy story of 120,000 words that was festering on my laptop, and it seemed foolish not to do something with it. So I use the world building for The Quiet Work, as the basis for the short story, and as my story developed I found that it wasn’t a short after all, it was the missing piece of a jigsaw. It was book #1 in the series, and the novel I’d already written was book #2. It was such a wonderful surprise for me.
So, writer friends, rest assured. Stories find their way to come to the surface in their own good time. I never finished the book back in 2014 because it wasn’t ready. Now that I have Apple Boy, with its delicious M/M couple, Winter and Adam, and a fabulous cliff-hanger ending that will have readers on the edge of their seats, or moaning at me, I can rewrite book #2, which is now titled The Dark Harvest.
I am terrified and excited that Apple Boy will soon be in the public realm. I adore this story and these characters. This book truly is one I would want to read if I had not written it!
© Isobel Starling 2019
Length: 556 pages
Genre: LGBT fantasy
This story will be released on February 15th!
You can preorder it here!
After a traumatic event, Winter Aeling finds himself destitute and penniless in the backwater town of Mallowick. He needs to travel to the city of Serein and impart grave news that will bring war to the Empire, but without a horse, money, and with not a soul willing to help him, he has no choice but to line up with the common folk seeking paid work on the harvest.
As wagons roll into the market square and farmers choose day labourers, Winter is singled out for abuse by a brute of a farmer. The only man who stands up for him is the farmer’s beguiling son, Adam, and on locking eyes with the swarthy young man Winter feels the immediate spark of attraction.
Winter soon realizes there is a reason he has been drawn to Blackdown Farm. The farmer possesses a precious item that was stolen long ago from Winter’s family, and he determines to retrieve it. He also cannot take his eyes off the farmer’s son, and as the young man opens up Winter can’t help wondering if Adam is just kind or his kind!
About Isobel Starling
Born in Germany, Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland. She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art.
The Shatterproof Bond series is an Amazon Gay Romance bestseller. Isobel has just completed her eleventh book and signed French and German and Italian, translation and publishing rights deals for the whole Shatterproof Bond series. The As You Wish translation “Comme Vous Voudrez” is a best seller on Amazon France. It was released in German in March 2017, and as an audiobook in May 2017.
Connect with Isobel Starling
Isobel Starling’s Shatterproof Bond Series
Get it here
Get it here
Get it here