Two guys, a train, and lots of steam.
Sam Chancellor has been in love with the steam engine Old Bess since he was six years old. Well, maybe not literally, but even when he’s lost everything else in his life, he’s always had her. But now her place in his heart has been unexpectedly challenged. Her new driver, Ryan Saunders, is the embodiment of all Sam’s fantasies.
Ryan has written off Sam as just another geeky trainspotter—until the moment Ryan sees him without his usual shapeless hoodie and realizes that, for a nerd, Sam’s pretty built.
When Ryan overlooks Sam’s awkwardness long enough to suggest a hook-up, Sam seizes the opportunity—and Ryan—with both very eager hands. Finding common ground in their shared love of Bess, their time together is better than Sam ever dared dream.
But there’s a reason Ryan never talks about his past. And when Ryan’s job is threatened, Sam’s well-meaning intervention puts both Ryan and Bess in deadly danger.
Warning: Contains train geekery, bed-hogging, a hero with no experience and another with plenty to spare, and a spider called Mabel.
Pages or Words: 66,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, M/M Romance
About the author:
Joy Lynn Fielding lives in a small English market town, where she indulges her passions for vintage aircraft, horse-riding and gardening (though not all at the same time).
Joy has a tendency to wax lyrical about the fascinating facts she discovers during her research for books. Thankfully she has a very patient Labrador who has a gift for looking interested in what she’s saying while he waits for the food to arrive.
Where to find the author:
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Cover Artist: Syneca
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m essentially a plotter. I never start writing a book until I know the overall shape of the story and how it will end. That said, I’ve learned not to plot it out in detail, because once I start writing I find that the characters will often take several diversions on their way to the ending.
Do you have an image in your mind of your characters before you start? Do you use photos or character interviews? How do you bring them to life?
I rarely have a clear visual image of the characters at the start; it grows as I come to know them better, and is usually finalized when I go hunting for pictures to show the cover artist.
As to how my characters come to life (please note I take no responsibility for the process!): that’s through writing them until I learn their voices. I’ve tried various character development tools—questionnaires, interviews, etc—but they only become truly three-dimensional, independent characters when I let them talk on the page.
That’s the point at which they tend to surprise me. Just one example: I had no idea that Ryan in Blowing Off Steam would be so judgmental and dismissive about people. As I got to know him better, I realized that the reason he shoves everyone away and into a neatly labeled pigeonhole, be that old bat, geek or dickhead, is to protect himself from being hurt.
Of all your characters, which one would you fuck? Marry? Kill?
Fuck – Karl Griffin from my Strength of the Pack series. Tall, dark, sexy and dangerous… He’d probably kill me with his intensity, but it would be so worth it.
Marry – Tom Barrington from Shifting Sands. He’s well-adjusted, emotionally open, intelligent and principled. We’d find a way around the whole turning-into-a-wolf thing somehow.
Kill – Mabel from Blowing Off Steam. I’m so sorry, Sam, because I know how much you love her, but she’s a spider and I’m an arachnophobe.
Is there a character in any of your books that you didn't plan on—a character who forced their way into the story?
There’s Mabel, for a start. Believe me, I would be happy never to have written about a spider. And in the Strength of the Pack series, where there’s an ensemble cast, I have to fight hard in each book to prevent all of the characters turning up for a chance at the spotlight.
Which of the characters in your books did you have the most fun writing?
Right now, I’m going to go with Sam from Blowing Off Steam. There’s something so engaging about his enthusiasm. I kept having to reel him in, because he was so eager to tell everyone about the conversations he was having with his online fellow train geeks over tea and toast. I may be wrong, but I thought they’d be of limited interest to most readers.
When you finish writing a book, how do you say goodbye to the characters?
It’s always satisfying but also slightly melancholic to close the document for the last time. I think that, subconsciously perhaps, when I do so, I wish them Godspeed. The part of their journey that’s with me is done, and it’s both scary and exciting to know they’re going out into the big wide world on their own.
Blowing Off Steam by Joy Lynn Fielding
“You’re kind of built for a nerd, aren’t you?” Ryan said. “I guess trainspotting’s a more active hobby than I’d thought.”
Sam should have walked away because this guy was insufferable. Except there was humour gleaming in those eyes as well as something else. Something that if he wasn’t entirely losing his mind was actual, sexual interest.
In him, Sam Chancellor.
“It’s all that running alongside the engines to get the numbers down,” he blurted out before he could stop himself.
To his amazement, Ryan laughed. A true laugh that caused his eyes to crinkle at the corners. It made him even more gorgeous than he already was.
“Ryan Saunders,” he said. “I drive old Bessie.”
“Bessie?” Sam was horrified at the heresy. “She’s Bess. She’s always been Bess.”
“Given I’m the one whose hands have been over every inch of her, I guess she’s allowing me intimacies the general public doesn’t get,” Ryan said.
The low seductive voice and the thought of Ryan’s hands stroking over him the way they did over Bess meant Sam was getting hard. He clutched his satchel in front of him like some sort of shield, except that wasn’t helping at all because it was pressed against his dick and, God above, he was about to get a hard-on, here and now, right in front of Ryan Saunders.
“You haven’t told me your name,” Ryan said.
“Sam,” he choked out. “Sam Chancellor, and I have to go.”
He put his head down and fled.
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