Having counted down since November, it is now nearly time. Time to formally launch the third book in the Devan Coultrie Peace Series Saga. Time to formally launch it all in the middle of the United Kingdom.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Three years ago, I became involved in the Peace Series of Novellas. A group of more than a dozen authors, all writing stories set in the fictional town of Peace. Montana.
Montana, somewhere in the American Mid-west.
‘Punam, have you even been to Montana?’
Not yet, but hold that thought
Anything is possible.
Having scanned the shelves of the Mills and Boon’s in a library in Warwickshire, I felt a little perplexed. Well, intrigued, actually. Whilst the shelves all contained pure-fantasy, where are the books that had characters of South-Asian ascent? And, was it really necessary to have a cover where there was a bare-chested fella, woman in lingerie and the central premise of country squires bodice ripping?
(Actually, there are quite a few rich millionaires, penthouse apartments, quivering lips, and some really strange gender politics. From lots of different places on the globe too, actually. Europe features quite heavily.)
I had questions, and lots of them.
I also had a book to write. I was trying to rise to a challenge; that of stepping outside of my comfort zone, I had just finished Fragments, there were two gardening books.
Retreating to Peace, opens with sheet fluke. Devan sticks a pin in the map of North America.
(This map does exist, long story.)
Devan. A dual-heritage former banker in the City of London, who used to live in Rugby.
The name bothered me. How to use an Anglo-Indian-esque name. He’s got some vague Scottish Ancestry; that was echoed in his surname. For six months, he was faceless. I didn’t have a clue as to what he might look like. I wrote him blind, in that respect. As a figment of my imagination, I wasn’t the one who was supposed to fall in love with him.
(Mates, maybe. I’d buy him a pint; perhaps tolerate him. We’d have a mutual acknowledgment of one another. I don’t think for one moment, he’d be within my universe, Oh, the irony….)
Sheer fluke. Retreating To Peace, was written trying to avoid the rules, the tropes. I sulked a the prospect of a Happily Ever After. Thankfully, S.H.Pratt, the Godmother of Peace, reassured me.
‘How about a Happy For Now?’ she wrote, in correspondence.
That, I could deal with.
Retreating to Peace, is experimental. I’m throwing things together, to not follow the rules.
A year later, I’d got a restless pen. Devan Coultrie had got his happy for now. But he wasn’t done. I’d written a few short stories; seasonal ones mostly. There was a massive great big Christmas Day one, a couple of Diwali ones. There was a world to be filled, created; jumped into to flesh out a life. I was also having fun; that helps.
Postcards from Peace, a collection of short stories, saw a year/eighteen months in the life of Devan Coultrie. His universe filled out, we got to see more of who he was, and the people in his world.
Most, if not all, of the stories in that book, are dedicated to the important people in my world. Some of them, have crept into the books, as muses, characters. They are immortalised, and probably haven’t a clue!
I still wasn’t interested in Happily Ever After. Happy For Now, was still the main motive.
Then I had a conversation, with a fellow Peace Author, Sandra Hurst. I had an idea, or she had an idea; I don’t actually remember. A huge light bulb went off, I remember giggling with some menace. Postcards from Peace, had a kicker.
The kicker, was Peace Betrayed.
Oh, my. How I wanted to smack the figment of my imagination. I sulked, he sulked. This book was a fight to write. For once, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do with the guy.
(I won’t give anything away, you’ll have to read it.)
Devan Coultrie’s story, was conceived to be different, to not follow the traditional tropes. In Peace Betrayed, there is character development, there are changes to a sense of being. There is also the underlining of the notion, that no, you don’t have to fall in love with characters. As with life, there are people you like, people you don’t; people, who you have no idea, as to what is going on in their heads.
Three years later; three books later. There is a book launch in the pub.
Yes, a pub, in Birmingham, several thousands of miles away from Montana.
(Peace, is fictional; no point googling it.)
I have a brown stetson. There’s even a pink boa.