TNA: Hi, Bey, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start with the sharing part of the interview? Would you tell us a few things about yourself: hobbies, interests, odds and ends stuff?
Bey: Hmm open-ended questions… those are the ones I’ve never been good at answering. I’m still trying to figure out what people want to know about me and what is considered over-sharing. *laughs* Is emoting ok? I like to emote.
Well, let’s see… when I’m asked about hobbies, the first thing I always say is that I collect skulls – which is the truth – but it’s not like it’s an active hobby. I just have a whole bunch of them around the house.
Mostly, I like going down to the local pub for a pint with a buddy. I watch a shitload of movies and TV. I get tattooed or pierced. I draw and paint. I do pro bono web work and graphics for certain companies, associations, and dog rescues.
TNA: Yeah? What’s your favorite tattoo? What makes it your favorite?
Bey: Mm. I have a fair number of them. I’m always tempted to say that my sleeve is my favourite because it’s so colourful, but the band around my other bicep might be my actual favourite. Just because it’s a real conversation piece – it’s a funeral scene from a vase from the mid-8th century BC.
TNA: Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas is your first published novel, but how long have you been writing creatively? And how did you know Caged was “The One”? What made this story the one you decided needed to be shared with the world?
Bey: I have been writing almost eleven months, creatively. To tell you the truth, this writing thing came out of the bloody blue. I keep waiting for someone to point at me and say: “Hey you! You’re no writer… what the hell do you know about writing?”
Before last summer, I had written one (unfinished) story when I was fourteen and a few chapters of a novel about an empathic serial killer (unfinished and most likely lost) sometime in 2002. I’m very new to this.
Caged was written specifically with the intent of publishing it… if people liked it. And they did. So I did. *laughs* It was that easy.
I went the self-pub route because the submission guidelines for the publishers I was looking at were so fucking complicated and restrictive (hey, I like writing in Canadian English. I’m Canadian for fuck’s sake.). I got bored of looking and just went ahead and published it myself.
I’m glad I did. I love the story; it’s very dear to me. I’m actually getting a tattoo of the ship-in-storm on my chest to commemorate it.
TNA: That what-the-hell attitude is kinda piratey of you, you know. There are a lot of authors who’d answer this question with: I wrote my first story in the womb and have been writing every day since. To hear you say you just woke up one day less than a year ago and thought, huh, guess I’ll go write a book today, is pretty impressive. Were you nervous about getting that first review? How did it feel when you read it and discovered your impulse to publish Caged was a good one?
Bey: Life’s too short to waste energy worrying about things that aren’t going to kill you or maim you, you know? I really don’t worry about much. That being said, every time I know there’s a review coming, I get sort of nervous, yes. Or excited… I honestly can’t tell which.
Not everyone’s going to like my book… I’m not going to get my feelings hurt if someone doesn’t like it and says it loud and proud, but every time I get a good review, I feel a little high. That very first one really floored me. I think that’s what made the whole experience suddenly very fucking real.
TNA: If you’d been born a few hundred years ago, do you think you’d have been a pirate yourself? Why or why not? If so, what would your pirate name have been? Would you have been captain or crew?
Bey: I’d like to think that I’d have been able to “go on account” (which is pirate speak for becoming a pirate) without too much trouble. I love the ships and the fact that they were free men. I think Captain Deckard sounds good… no? I also like the sound of Captain Bane. And the ship would be called Virtue’s Bane. *laughs*
TNA: As a huge fan of historical novels, and the only one on my team of reviewers who loves them, I know they can be a bit of a difficult sell to a wider audience. How would you describe Caged to someone who’s still trying to decide whether or not they should give it a read? What is it about the storyline that makes it about so much more than simply the time period in which the story’s set?
Bey: I honestly wasn’t even sure how to classify it when I was faced with the “genre” checkboxes at the Amazon self-pub site. It’s historical, but it’s full of pretty graphic fucking. I sort of feel like I’m introducing erotica readers to the historical fantasy genre, but I don’t read erotica or romance so I don’t know how different mine is from the norm.
More than anything, it’s a book about people. The fact that it’s set in a historical setting doesn’t mean that it’s history. It’s just a means of exploring the human psyche in a historical/fantasy setting without being hung up on “real” details. It’s an alternate universe, and you can have a lot of fun with that.
What I tell folks who ask about Caged is the basics: that it’s a story of darkness balanced with hope, and that there is a lot of angst and tension in the book… and sex.
What I write isn’t about healthy, happy relationships; it’s about trying to piece together the broken ends of a few damaged souls and hoping that the result is something that makes the night a little less dark. It’s about pain – both the kind that hurts and the kind that frees. It’s all about the lies we tell ourselves, the lies we tell others, and the bits of ourselves that we lose and gain in the process… and sex. *wolf grin*
TNA: What is it about pirates, and your pirates in particular, that you find sexy? Why do you think these men and women have come to be so romanticized over the centuries when, let’s be realistic, probably not a lot of them looked like your average Captain Jack Sparrow?
Bey: I fucking LOVE pirates. I do. I really do. They were a pretty awesome bunch – highly democratic, surprisingly fair when it came to sex or skin colour, and, while being generally thought of as thoroughly unscrupulous, they actually followed some strict codes of conduct. They were honourable… but with their own sense of honour.
Not to mention I love the way pirates spoke in metaphor.
My pirates are different from what you would have found in real history in a few ways. For instance, the captain of a pirate ship would not have held as much power as I gave Baltsaros. That was purely to give Baltsaros more of a controlling edge.
Pirates are sexy bunch because they are free. They bow to no man, they make their own rules, and they sail sexy ships (I’m a bit of a boat nut).
Why do I find my pirates sexy? Because they are gorgeous and bloody fucking dangerous. *grin*
TNA: Tom and Captain Baltsaros have what could be understated as a bit of a turbulent relationship. If they were on Facebook, their relationship status would be “It’s Complicated.” I don’t want you to give away too much about them, but can you expand on that a bit? What is the push me/pull you that bonds these two men together?
Bey: Oh man. I can just imagine Tom getting frustrated with Facebook and just throwing the laptop overboard. Then Baltsaros would beat the living shit out of him… and they would both fall asleep with smiles on their faces. *laughs*
Yes. It’s a really complicated relationship… but not everything is what it seems, which is a lesson Jon keeps learning throughout the book.
TNA: Then that leaves us with Jon, who gets stuck in the push me/pull you and becomes the fulcrum upon which everything between Baltsaros and Tom hinges. Did you always see that as Jon’s role in the storyline, the equalizer, or did he evolve that way as you wrote? Or am I just completely off base in summarizing his relationship role?
Bey: Jon is a catalyst for change, even as he himself is changing, and he’s the glue that fills in the cracks caused by his very presence… he’s the keystone, he’s the missing piece of the puzzle.
TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt from the book with us?
Bey: Sure thing. Here is Jon discovering just how complicated the relationship is between the captain and his first mate… but before the chorus of “what the fucks?” go up, I’d counsel reading the chapter following the excerpt before any minds are made up on the nature of their relationship.
Blurb: Sheltered and lonely, Jon’s life changes drastically when a strange ship sails into the harbour of his small port town one day. Trapped between the possessive pirate captain and his murderous first mate, he must learn to adapt or he will lose himself completely. An epic tale of love, treachery and revelation, this first installment of the Baal’s Heart trilogy brings you into the lives of three men so bound together by jealousy and lies that they must sail to the very ends of the earth to find forgiveness.
Deckard’s first novel is a masterful portrayal of sorrow, hope, and passion, with a narrative that twists the reader through a world set in the Golden Age of Piracy. A thrilling look into the darker side of human nature, Caged effortlessly melds serious historical fantasy with five star erotica.
A small whimper woke Jon up.
Sleepily opening his eyes, he saw that it was night. When Jon had woken up earlier in the afternoon and stood to piss in the chamber pot, it had appeared that he was, for once, alone in the room. When he had reached for the metal cup, Jon had found the twist of paper containing the pain-numbing powder the captain had given him. Gratefully pouring it into his water, he had swallowed it down quickly.
It wasn’t that he had been in any real pain on waking; he had simply wanted to be free of thoughts of his death. At least that’s what he had tried to tell himself. It wasn’t that Captain Baltsaros’s touch had brought out an unexpected reaction in Jon that had eclipsed any fear he felt, and that he’d wanted to hide from the truth in the dreamless sleep that the drug afforded him.
There was another whimper, a little louder this time. Jon slowly lifted his head and looked around, freezing when he saw movement on the bed across the room.
“Please… Da…” said a voice that was unmistakably Tom’s; it was filled with pain. Jon was aghast when he heard Baltsaros’s low laughter. There was a hiss of pain and then a groan of pleasure. In shock, Jon pressed the heel of his hand against his mouth; he quickly closed his eyes and put his head back to the pillow.
“You’ll obey me, Tom,” Jon heard the captain’s voice say, rough with desire. There was a low moan that ended in a whimper; it was followed by gasp.
“Yes… yes, Da. Please… please fuck me. Fuck me and I’ll ob—” Tom yelped as Baltsaros did… something to him.
Oh god… oh god
Jon’s face burned as Tom started murmuring terribly scandalous things, the sound of skin smacking against bare skin punctuating his words. In dismay Jon felt himself growing hard in response, and he shifted on the bed, trying not to encourage his treasonous erection. Pressing the coverlet hard over his ear, Jon tried to slow his breathing as he prayed for an end to the wanton depravity across the room.
TNA: I know this is sort of like asking you to name your favorite child, but of the three men—Baltsaros, Tom, and Jon—who’s your favorite, and why?
Bey: Tom. Hands down. He’s a gorgeous brute who has far more depth and complexity than he lets on.
TNA: If you could bring one of your characters off the page and into the real world, whom would you choose, and why?
Bey: Again – Tom. Can you tell I’m just a little in love with my own character? Ah, if I could just snap my fingers and make him real… We’d get shitfaced drunk, get into a fist-fight, and then fuck until we couldn’t walk. And then do it all over again.
TNA: Speaking of fucking… Nope, I don’t even have a follow up to that, except to say your guys get a lot of bang for the buck. I really just wanted to say it because we talked about the beauty of the potty mouth. What are some of your favorite swears?
Bey: Cock. It’s so satisfying to say, no round sounds, just a short vowel bracketed by twin hard consonants. You can use it for anything. I often use it in place of “whore” eg: son of a cock, cock on a cross, what the cock… you get the idea. On its own it’s often said in dismay. Like when I knock my beer over. Second to cock, it’s tabarnak which is French for “tabernacle”… Québec French swearing is made almost entirely of religious words. Mon ostie, de crisse, de tabarnak means something like “That goddamn, motherfucker” but which literally translates to “My host of Christ of the tabernacle”
There. A lesson in swearing. Imagine you’re seeing the “The More You Know” rainbow.
TNA: Would you care to share a little bit of information on any of your current WIPs with us?
Bey: One WIP is the sequel to Caged. I’m about at the halfway mark now, hoping to publish at the end of the summer if I can keep up my pace. The working title is Beyond the Spires and it takes up right where Caged left off. It’ll introduce new characters, a new POV, new lands…
The other is a novel called Sentenced to the Sword. It’s a book about gladiators in Ancient Rome – where Pozzuoli is now in Naples. But there’s a twist – the main protagonist is from our own century. It’s going to be an m/m romance/erotica like Caged and so far it’s shaping up to be a fun story. (pssst… I am looking for beta readers)
TNA: And finally, would you share with us all the places we can find you on the internet?
Bey: ALL of them? Shit. I’m all over the place. The best place to find me is at my website – http://www.beydeckard.com. There’s a list links to social media sites where you can come poke me, or tweet at me, or whatever folks like to do… I’m friendly. There’s also a link there to my blog that I update fairly regularly and which has progress bars for both Spires and Sword… and of course some links to where you can buy Caged both digital and paperback.
I just want to say a big thanks again for the great review you gave Caged and for having me on the site! It’s been a pleasure.
TNA: The pleasure’s been all mine, sir.
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED