Friday Favourites # 15: Joanna Chambers00:00
My guest in the Author Spotlight on the blog today is the fabulous Ms Joanna Chambers, author of Enlightenment series (review) of historical MM romance. I was late reading this series but I read the three books one right after the other and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed them all.
Ms Chambers shares her Friday Favourites - a curious mix of Scottish, British, French and American favourites. Make sure to read her great recommendations for queer historicals (I haven't read any of them yet, but I'm adding most of them to my TBR list right away).
Interview Q&A with Joanna Chambers
1. Favourite place
I love to visit new places but my favourite place remains the city I live in, Edinburgh. I feel a romantic attachment to it. It's not just that it's beautiful with wonderful architecture, a dramatic landscape, and a fascinating history. To me, it's so much more than that. When I first moved here, at seventeen, it was from somewhere I didn't want to be, a place that I longed to escape. So Edinburgh is freedom to me. Sanctuary. And I love it with all my heart.
2. Favourite food and drink
This is too hard!! I love to eat. And drink. Okay, so, one of our family games is to say what we'd pick to eat if we could only have one meal for the rest of our lives, so I'll answer it along those lines. My pick would be a perfectly cooked (rare) steak with green beans and bearnaise sauce. And a nice glass of red wine.
3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song
These questions are hideous, Ellie! I adore music of all kinds. I can't pick one genre or one artist! I do have a tendency, though, to obsess - I will listen to the same thing endlessly for a couple of weeks before moving on to the next thing. My current obsession is the music of Jacques Brel (performed by him and others). His songs are super dramatic and filled with emotion (which I love!) - rage and longing and crazy happiness. And they have this extraordinary poetic sensibility. I'm presently trying to find the very best versions I can of all my favourites.
4. Favourite movie/TV series
I don't watch much TV - maybe 1 or 2 hours a week, less now that Great British Bake Off has ended - but I like This Week with Andrew Neil, especially when he's got Alan Johnston and Michael Portillo on. I love movies too but don't watch as many as I'd like to. I prefer the big screen but with kids rarely get to the cinema. I recently loved a Swedish film called Force Majeure.
5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby
Easy. Reading. I feel bereft if I don't read at least a little every day.
Favourite books - please list at least 5 books you'd recommend to everyone....
Ellie, you're killing me! OK, I'm going to pick 5 queer historicals (not necessarily romance) that I love because of how immersive they are:
1. As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann - to me, this is the gold standard of historical fiction. It's set at the time of the English Civil War, when there was no real concept of sexual orientation and eternal damnation was an ever present danger. This is NOT a romance, be warned. What it is, is wonderful and wrenching and fierce. It wrecked me. Took me days to recover from reading this one
2. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - my favourite Waters book is probably Tipping the Velvet, but in terms of historical immersion, this earlier Victorian piece is a very rich broth indeed.
3. The Only Gold by Tamara Allen - turn of the century New York. Allen has a wonderful ear for this time and this fabulous story, set in a bank, and looking at themes of honour and responsibility is typical of her. Rich and beautifully structured.
4. Captain's Surrender by Alex Beecroft - age of sail perfection.
5. Maurice by EM Forster - I'm really shoe-horning this into my self-styled parameters because this was a contemporary-set piece when first published. Now, it's a period piece. Set in Edwardian England, this is the story of a man redeemed by his queerness. Doomed by birth and nature to a stodgy, narrow-minded, middle-class life, Maurice is forced to question and examine his nature by his homosexuality and thereby redeemed.
Author Bio and Links
Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. In between studying, finding a proper grown up job, getting married and having kids, she spent many hours staring at blank sheets of paper and chewing pens. That changed when she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna's muse likes red wine, coffee and won't let Joanna clean the house or watch television.
Joanna Chambers' latest book, Unnatural, a spinoff of the Enlightenment series, releases on Nov 24. I was lucky to read an ARC and I can tell you it's one truly beautiful, very romantic and passionate story.
Captain Iain Sinclair. Perfect son, perfect soldier, hero of Waterloo. A man living a lie. The only person who really knows him is his childhood friend, scientist James Hart. But they’ve been estranged since Iain brutally destroyed their friendship following a passionate encounter.
Iain is poised to leave the King’s service to become an undercover agent in India. Before he leaves his old life behind, he’s determined to reconcile with James. An invitation to a country house party from James’s sister provides the perfect opportunity to pin the man down.
James has loved Iain all his life, but his years of accepting crumbs from Iain’s table are over. Forgiving Iain is one thing—restoring their friendship is quite another.