Finding happiness between the cracks
Thank you so much for inviting me to visit today, Nell! (You’re always welcome here, my friend ❤️) I’m doing some guests post around and about to let people know the 1920s London Border Magic trilogy has relaunched in audio. The books are now available wide rather than just with Audible.
If you’ve never read or listened to any of my books before, I usually describe them as paranormal, historical and queer. There’s a scattering of contemporary short stories and a couple of novellas that are lacking in screaming monsters from beyond the void, but most of my books are set in 1920s England. The 1920s London trilogy features a gay couple—Lew and Alec—and a gay/non-binary couple—Fenn and Will.
Writing Lost in Time seems aeons ago now. I finished it during NaNoWriMo in 2016-the only thing I’ve ever managed to get to the end of during the month and then only because I’d already written a lot of it! It really was a labour of love; and looking back now with a few more books under my belt I think it does show that it’s a first book. When I finished it, I felt I’d brought things to a satisfactory happy-for-now conclusion with Alec and Lew. Shadows on the Border is in effect a second volume of the same story and then begins another with Will and Fenn that is brought to a conclusion in The Hunted and the Hind.
My personal opinion is that you can’t ever have a happy-ever-after with a story that ends any time in the first half of the twentieth century. You’ve got two world wars looming there that foreshadow everything. All you can do with your historical characters is show them finding happiness in the cracks.
I think a lot of my stories tend to have that sort of vibe about them, because that’s the sort of life I live. Those of you who follow my newsletter etc will know Mr AL and I have a life-limited teenager. When she was born we never thought we’d get this far with her, but here we are. She turned thirteen this month! Our life revolves around her care—she’s very severely disabled. And the thing they say about parenting a disabled child is you live your life in the cracks. I think a lot of people live like that, whether they’re in our situation or not. People are just jogging along, trying to get through the day at work, scrape up the cash to pay the electricity bill and fill up the car, remember to buy some more potatoes on the way home, remember wash the kids’ PE kit and buy a birthday card for their mother-in-law.
All those day-to-day things we do in real life braid around our more abstract thoughts and feelings.
That’s what I try and show in my stories—extraordinary things happening to ordinary people, who have to deal with them regardless of what else they have going on in their lives. I sometimes think I have too much plot…my characters tend to have complicated lives and then whoops, magic is real! What do they do about that! ends up being another plot-strand I have to weave in.
In 1920s London everyone is trundling along dealing with their residual trauma of having fought a terrible four year war…and suddenly, bang, into the middle of all of that is Lew, who is from 2016 and completely skews everyone’s perceptions of reality. Even the people who already knew about the border and magic, because no-one realised you could travel through time. And of course Lew is completely off balance as well.
As always, Callum Hale, my narrator, was brilliant at pinning down the tones of each of the characters, modern, historical or fantastical. Lost in Time was out in audio before I finished writing The Hunted and the Hind and I found myself hearing his interpretation of the characters in my head as I was putting them down on the page. I have four audiobooks with him so far and fully intend to use him for future projects if I can persuade him to put up with me! Lew comes across as a modern Londoner, and Alec and Will are perfect for their class and their time. Fenn has this eerie sort of tone to them in Shadows on the Border which we toned down slightly for The Hunted and the Hind where they had more ‘screen-time’, so to speak. I felt that it would be easier for readers to identify with them if that was the case.
You can find most of my audiobooks at my Authors Direct page—all three 1920s London books can be bought for $20!—but they are also available wide at Apple, Hoopla, Scribd, LibroFM, Kobo, Chirp etc. and I think Audible have them on Whispersync—I am perpetually confused by how they work. I know some audio-library services are carrying them too. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I’ve enjoyed hearing Callum bring the characters to life!
Lost in Time
You can listen to the first half hour of Lost in Time here at Bookfunnel!
Gruesome murders taking place across 1920s London draw Lew and Alec together through the desolation of the East End and the smoky music clubs of Soho. They both have secrets that could get them arrested or killed. In the middle of a murder investigation that involves wild magic, mysterious creatures and illegal sexual desire, who is safe to trust?
Not Lew, who is struggling to get to grips with life a century before he was born. Or Alec, who wants Lew in his bed, despite liking him for murder.
#1 in the 1920s London series. Gay paranormal, historical, romantic suspense of 53,000 words, set in the Border Magic Universe.
About A. L. Lester
Ally Lester writes queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense and lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a terrifying cat, three guineapigs, some hens and the duckettes.
She likes permaculture gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy these days. Not musical, doesn’t much like telly, likes to read. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has fibromyalgia and tedious fits.