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
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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
The prized possession you value above all others… Not so into possessions. All possessions are replaceable. I’m more of an experience person. I treasure experiences and memories more than anything else.
The unqualified regret you wish you could amend… I don’t believe in regret. I’m a firm believer that the right things happen to you at the right time. And the things which don’t happen, or don’t work out, simply weren’t meant to be.
The temptation you wish you could resist… I have tried cutting out alcohol all together, but that glass of red wine at the end of the day is one of those treasured experiences I mentioned earlier.
The book that holds everlasting resonance… When people ask me about my favourite book, the one that keeps popping into my mind is The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I suppose that’s because it covers many genres. It’s part fantasy/science fiction, part romance, part mystery, part noir – all the genres I love, and so well written.
The priority activity if you were invisible for a day… to travel for free to all the places I’ve longed to visit, and to stay and eat at all the luxury hotels that I’ve always wished I could afford.
The film you can watch time and time again… I never tire of E.T. Every time I watch it I’m reminded of the first time I saw it when I was about nine. The thing that most impressed me was the amount of fun toys Elliot had in his room.
The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity… For someone who never much cared for science subjects at school, I am now strangely fascinated by anything to do with astrophysics and space exploration
The poem that touches your soul… Not Waving But Drowning by Stevie Smith. So sad and profound and perfectly put.
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
The event that altered the course of your life… My decision to write full time (although I do teach some English to make ends meet) For the first time in my life I feel passionate about my job.
The song that means the most to you… Oh, there’s way too many, but my most recent discovery is “She Used to Be Mine” by Sara Bereilles. I listened to it on the radio while I was walking my dog and it brought tears to my eyes.
Your early recollections of writing fiction… I always used to make up stories in my head, but was too lazy to write them. It wasn’t until I was about nineteen that I first started putting pen to paper. The stories were awful, but a seed was planted, and many years later here I am, trying to make a living out of writing.
The way you would spend your fantasy twenty-four hours, with no travel restrictions… Relaxing on a sunny green field, where no people ever ventured, with some nice music, a good book and a bottle of wine.
The character you enjoyed writing the most… The character I most enjoyed writing in “You or No One” was definitely Joel’s mother. She’s so kookie and funny. She was only supposed to be in one scene, but I had to bring her back. I have great plans for her in book number 2.
The character you found difficult to write… No one. If a character is difficult to write, it’s because you don’t know them well enough. Put down your pen and go through the character’s history. From childhood to present day. Once you know your characters, their personalities just spill easily onto the page.
The book you enjoyed planning/writing the most… All of them. Every time I write a new book, it’s as if I’ve never written before. I feel the same thrill, but also the same insecurities.
And the promo… 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? Silly, romantic tosh, I know. But then I got 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 now that it was legal? How would the world react? It started me on a train of thought which led to 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.
The first part of the trilogy deals with the meeting between the two protagonists: Joel, a confident working class Welsh boy – the first of his village to go to university; and Eric – the closeted crown prince; insecure, aloof and introverted. A relationship between such opposites is always going to be a bumpy ride.
The subsequent parts will deal with the ups and downs of the first openly gay royal couple in history.
THANK YOU FOR SHARING WITH US, OLIVIER
Excerpt from You or No One
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.
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