Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Welcome, welcome Anne Brooke, author of The Heart's Greatest Silence

I am very excited that Anne Brooke is visiting Bitch Factor 10 today with a guest post and a blurb from The Heart's Greatest Silence (loved that story, btw). Plus Anne is having a giveaway for one commenter on Bitch Factor 10 , and another giveaway that includes all of her stops on this Riptide Publishing Blog Tour (details are below, after Anne's contact info)

 Without further ado, here is Anne Brooke's post.











Why This Story?...

or what’s my big hang-up with sex and religion anyway? – which was actually the question that loomed largest in my head while I was thinking about drafting this post.

Well, I’ve been writing for a good few years now, and much of my fiction, both short stories and novels, has included the twin themes of sex and religion, at least in some measure. I can trace their parallel journey through the novels – from A Dangerous Man, by way of The Bones of Summer and coming to a temporary rest with The Gifting, and everything else in between.

A Dangerous Man, for instance, has a main character, Michael, who’s a hooker as well as being a very good artist, and who struggles to gain the artistic recognition he longs for. Art is a way of connecting to his inner, more spiritual self, but his previous sexual history acts as both an impetus to further spiritual exploration and a barrier to his artistic (read: spiritual) aims. So, here sex is more evident and the religious journey takes second place, albeit subtly.

In The Bones of Summer, however, the impact of religion on Craig’s relationship with his boyfriend, Paul, is more hard-hitting. Craig’s background has been steeped in evangelical religion (a subject which I have prior experience of, though I am a great distance from being an evangelical now), and his journey to selfhood includes a rejection of that mindset and a recognition of who he is. Here the two aspects take almost equal billing. On the other hand, in fantasy novel The Gifting, the sexual experiences of Simon, my hero, are less important than the spiritual mission he is required to undertake. At the same time, his relationship with Ralph, his lover and also his enemy, is a key one.

Meanwhile, the short stories I write include erotic as well as biblical ones. I like to think the erotic stories also include aspects of faith I’m interested in – for instance the concept of sin and forgiveness in Two Christmases, the effect of an out-of-world mysterious other in A Stranger’s Touch, and, perhaps most importantly, how the whole issue of domination and submission in erotic m/m literature (some of which I’ve written: For One Night Only, Give and Take, etc) does, to my mind, echo the relationship between God as Master and ourselves as His servants within the world of faith. If I dare even make such a connection!

Which brings me, finally, to the reasons for writing The Heart’s Greater Silence. Here, for the first time in all my work, I include a priest as the secondary character in the narrative who is, indirectly, a man facing a choice between his vocation and what may or may not be love. In addition, Mark, my deeply confused hero torn between two men, is someone who goes to church, whose faith in the past was far stronger but who is struggling with it, and with life’s complexities, now. It’s the first time I’ve ever made one of my erotic heroes into a man of some faith, or perhaps of greater doubt.

In fact then, I suppose Mark is something like me, and indeed the reasons most authors, myself included, write any story is as a way of expressing their own struggles and concerns, delights and hopes. So I’m human and have the same sexual desires and needs as everyone else, and I’ve been a churchgoer for well over twenty years (sometimes less so than at other times) so faith and doubt are a vital part of my make-up too. All this boiling pot of sex and religion has to greater or lesser extent always been present both in my fiction and poetry, and has at last found a kind of joining place in the writing of The Heart’s Greater Silence. In some ways it feels like progress.


Blurb from The Hearts Greater Silence:

Mark isn’t sure he believes in love, especially when he finds himself torn between two very different men: his reliable boyfriend, Craig, and his illicit lover and priest, Richard.
Mark knows what he should do, but he can’t bring himself to give Richard up. The sex with Richard is unlike anything he’s ever known with Craig, and he hungers for it as much as—if not more than—the truer intimacy he finds in his boyfriend’s arms.
When Craig discovers his betrayal, Mark is forced to look at his life more closely, but the path to self-knowledge is never an easy one. Richard seeks the way back to God, but Mark finds no solace there. Can he ever discover the truth of his own soul, or is he too afraid of what he will—or won’t—find inside his heart?

 Read an excerpt and purchase The Hearts Greater Silence here.

Email address: albrooke@me.com


 

Anne's contest and prizes:


1. I have one contest per stop - with the prize being a backlist ebook giveaway for one commenter.

2. I also have a cumulative competition throughout the blog tour involving answering 3 questions from HGS - with the prize being 3 backlist ebooks for one commenter from the tour as a whole. The questions are
  • (a) What item of his trade is Richard wearing when Mark sees him in church? 
  • (b) When Craig discovers Mark and Richard together, what does he do just before leaving? 
  • (c) What action does Mark take at the end of the story?
3.  One signed cover flat and magnet for one commenter per stop - with this NOT being the winner of Item 1 (see above)

4. One gift certificate to be drawn at the end of the tour - with this NOT being the winner of Item 2 (see above).

5 comments:

  1. Thanks, Emme - great to be here! :))

    Anne
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't really have a touchy subject when reading. I like to think that I enjoy all the books I do because I don't really mind what I read, whether it touches Religion, Abuse, dubious-con, Rape, BDSM or otherwise, I don't mind it in the least.
    Most author's NEVER 'trespass' on the religion aspect in any of their works because religion is and I think will always bee a 'touchy' subject with readers.

    I LOVE that you entwined this story in religion like you did. It was... refreshing. Satisfying.

    Heh, I enjoyed reading the post! :))

    Judi
    arella3173_loveless(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I share your sentiments, Judi, on religion in HGS. When I read the story, I wondered if it resonated with me because I come from a religious background, and what people who don't come from that perspective would think of the story. For me it was a wholly satisfying experience, in spite of the fact that I was dying for it continue so I could make out what became of the three characters in the story.

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Judi!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I come at it from the other side. I'm an atheist (and have been for a long, long time), but I do find religion fascinating. I think there's a part of me that envies people who can have that kind of faith, it's just not something I'm capable of myself.

    I think in terms of fiction - all good stories are driven by conflict and how the characters deal with it and overcome it (or not) and, it seems to me, that religion and homosexuality are an obvious source of conflict. It surprises me that it's not seen as a topic more often (or when it is, it's glossed over). I think it's a shame that it's not, because for some gay people it's a very real conflict that they have to deal in their lives. It must be incredibly difficult for some people to resolve a conflict between two such fundamental parts of their lives.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Many thanks indeed for the comments - much appreciated :)) Religion is certainly fascinating, no matter what you think about it - I suspect the whole topic will find its way into my fiction again, especially bearing in mind all the current focus on it. Sometimes, I really despair of the attitudes of the Anglican leadership, deeeeep sigh ...

    Hugs galore

    Anne
    xxx

    ReplyDelete

 
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