Book Title: You Or No One
Author: Olivier Bosman
Publisher: Rocket Man Press
Cover Artist: A Pradipta
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Tropes: Royalty/ Fairytale
Themes: Opposites Attract/Fish Out of Water/Cinderella Story
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 42 000 words
It is the first part of the Doggerland trilogy
Is the world ready for an openly gay king and his prince consort?
Joel is happy, confident and working class.
Eric is shy, insecure and a member of one of the oldest aristocratic families in Europe.
When they meet in university sparks fly.
They say opposites attract, but when Joel discovers that Eric is the crown prince and future king of Doggerland, he starts having doubts.
They want to get married. They think their greatest battle will be convincing the King and the Prime Minister to give their consent. But estranged relatives coming out of the woodwork, intrusive tabloid press, and the traditional, stifling lifestyle of the aristocracy conspire against them.
Are Joel and Eric secure enough in themselves and each other to overcome a world which is not as tolerant as they thought?
INTERVIEW WITH OLIVIER BOSMAN
Tell us a little about yourself. I’ve been writing for the last five years, mostly mystery novels with gay protagonists, but I love all genres and want to diversify. I have recently completed my first romantic novel. You or No One – the first in a trilogy about an openly gay king and his prince consort. I live in Spain and make ends meets by teaching English.
How do you relax? A glass of red wine and a good movie.
Did you always want to be a writer? I’ve always enjoyed making up stories, but for a long time I was too daunted (and also a little too lazy) to write a full length novel. I concentrated instead on writing plays and screenplays, as writing dialogue was what I most enjoyed. I did try to carve out a career for myself as a screenwriter, and I even produced my own play in a small theatre in North London, but when I found out about self-publishing, I turned to writing novels instead. It enables me to get my stories out there quicker. And after all, most of the best films are adaptations from novels.
What’s your favorite part of writing? Reading the finished product. Hahaha
Why did you choose to write GLBTQ romance/fiction? I want to write about people I relate to. I also think it’s important to have more gay protagonists in mainstream fiction (I consider my books to be mainstream fiction, rather than LGBT books)
Give the readers a brief summary of your latest book. Joel and Eric meet in university. Joel is happy, confident and working class. Eric is shy, insecure and … the crown prince and future king of Doggerland. They want to get married, but they need the consent of the king and the prime minister. On top of that they also have to content with estranged relatives coming out of the woodwork, intrusive tabloid press, and a world which is not as tolerant as they thought.
What genre does it fall in? It’s a romantic novel. The love between Joel and Eric is at the heart of it. It contains all the tropes you expect from an opposites attract/fish out of water story, but it gives them an original twist.
Share a few words about your latest book, other than the usual blurb. Every time there’s a royal wedding, my dreamy mind starts to wonder: what if I ever met a prince? What if I ever got the opportunity to join a royal family? Then I frown and dismiss the notion as silly, romantic tosh! But this time I got to thinking…. no really, what if? What if there really was a gay crown prince who didn’t want to stay in the closet, but who wanted to marry a man? How would the world react? It started me on a train of thought which led to a story I simply had to write. I’m better known as the author of dark Victorian mysteries, but I got so excited about this idea (and I’m a sucker for a good love story) that I decided to take the plunge and write it anyway.
Will we be seeing these characters again any time soon? Yes. This is the first part of a trilogy. I hope to be able to publish part two towards the end of this year and part three in the first half of 2021.
Which actor would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? I try not to think that far ahead. I know that it’s very difficult to get a book optioned by a film production company. But I did have Tom Hopper in mind when I wrote Eric. (He was most recently seen as the Luther Hargreeves, the hairy man-beast in Umbrella Academy)
What does your writing process look like? It starts with a lot of thinking. Pacing around the room, or lying on the couch staring at the ceiling, developing the idea into a story with a beginning, middle and end. Then I write that what needs to happen in each chapter. And then starts the hard part, which is getting the words down. If writing were like sculpting, then writing the first draft is akin to sitting on a muddy riverbank scraping together the sticky clay and hauling the heavy load back to the workshop. Once the first draft is completed, the fun part starts, which is sculpting and shaping the mass of words into a great little story.
What genre/s do you enjoy reading in your free time? When I was younger I mostly read classics, but that was because, prior to e-books, they were the cheapest books available. Nowadays I mostly read romance, mystery and modern literature.
What was the last book you read? What did you like about it? Last book I read was Freeform by Jack Dickson. A noir mystery set in Glasgow about a gay cop investigating the murder of his lover. Very gritty and atmospheric and tightly written.
What hobbies do you have outside of writing? I’m obsessive about films. I collect dvd’s and watch a different one every day. I watched Moulin Rouge yesterday. Such a fun movie!
THANK YOU FOR SHARING WITH US
I got up early that morning. I entered the breakfast room five minutes after it opened. I wanted to beat Eric to it. I wanted to be the one to tell him to fuck off when he pulled up a chair at my table. I sat at my table at five past, sipping coffee and nibbling on a croissant. I was engrossed by that croissant. How did they make them so delicious? I was busy dissecting the different pastry layers when a voice suddenly spoke to me.
“Mother never taught you not to play with your food?”
It was Eric, towering over me. His rosy face looked freshly scrubbed, his hair tightly combed, his white silk shirt freshly ironed, his beige chinos pressed. Before I could do anything to prevent it, he pulled up a chair and sat down before me.
“Where is Petra?” I asked.
“She’s gone to her friend’s hen do. Probably won’t see her again till Christmas.”
He lifted his arm and clicked his fingers at the waiter. “Coffee, please. Black. And… um… eggs. Scrambled.” Then he shooed the waiter away with his hand.
How rude, I thought. This was a side of Eric I hadn’t seen before.
“How was your little drive yesterday?” I made no attempt at hiding the bitterness in my voice.
“It was good. We drove along the coast and had a long good chat.”
“About you, as it happens.”
He sat up and cleared his throat. “I… um… I want to ask you a question. I wanted to ask you last night in your room. But you were sleeping.”
“What do you want to ask?”
He hesitated for a few beats. Then he blurted it out. “Would you like to marry me?”
Well! I don’t need to tell you that I was shocked. I gaped at him silently. Perplexed..
“This isn’t a proposal, you understand,” he added hurriedly. “I’m not asking you to marry me. Not yet. I can’t without the permission of my father and my government. But I’m asking you whether marrying me is something you would consider.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes. I had a long chat about it with Petra. She said she talked to you last night. She likes you. She said you’d make a good partner for me.”
“But we only talked for about ten minutes.”
“Well, she’s a good judge of character. She saw the same good qualities in you as I did.”
“What good qualities?”
“Your confidence. Your self-assuredness.”
“But I have no confidence.”
“Of course you do. I mean, look at you. You’re poor, you’re Welsh, you’re not particularly good looking, and yet you’re sitting here in the smartest hotel in Brighton as if you had every right to do so.”
“Wow! You really know how to sweep a boy off his feet!”
“No, you don’t understand. These are things that I like about you.”
“That I’m not particularly good looking?”
“What I meant was…” He shook his head. “This conversation isn’t going at all the way I planned it. What I mean was that you’re grounded. You’re down to earth. You don’t care what people think of you. Otherwise you wouldn’t be wearing that.”
“That hoodie. This is the Pavillion Hotel, not a hip-hop bar in Brooklyn.”
“Do you want me take it off?”
“No. You don’t understand. I like that about you. I like that you snubbed the nice clothes I bought for you and chose to wear your council estate gear instead. I like that you come down for breakfast without even bothering to comb your hair. I like your ordinariness. Your earthiness. You’re a working class kid with the balls and intelligence to break out of your environment and compete with us rich kids. And you outshine us. Not with your clothes, or your wit, or your family name, but by being yourself. That’s what I like about you. And that’s what I want standing beside me when I’m king. Petra thinks so too, and she’s an excellent judge of character.”
I was flabbergasted. Never had I felt so insulted and complimented at the same time! I’d read Petra wrong.
“Well?” Eric asked.
“What?” I’d long forgotten what the original question was. I was still reeling from his speech. You outshine us. That was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to me.
“Would you consider marrying me?” he said. “Or rather, what I’m asking is whether you’d be willing to be my right hand man. We’d be the first gay royal couple in history. We’d do all those things that you talked about in the car. Be ambassadors to gay rights and so forth. But it won’t be easy. We’ll be hated by many. There’ll be insults, ridicule, maybe even death threats. And that’s only if our marriage is approved by King and parliament, which will be a whole battle in itself. But one I’m willing to fight if you are by my side. So what do you think? Will you consider it? Will you be the next Prince Consort of Doggerland? Will you be my husband?”
About the Author
Born to Dutch parents and raised in Colombia and England, I am a rootless wanderer with itchy feet. I’ve spent the last few years living and working in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sudan and Bulgaria, but I have every confidence that I will now finally be able to settle down among the olive groves of Andalucia.
I am an avid reader and film fan (in fact, my study is overflowing with my various dvd collections!)
I did an MA in creative writing for film and television at the University of Sheffield. After a failed attempt at making a career as a screenwriter, I turned to the theater and wrote and produced a play called ´Death Takes a Lover´ (which has since been turned into the first D.S.Billings Victorian Mystery). The play was performed on the London Fringe to great critical acclaim.
I am currently living in Spain where I make ends meet by teaching English.