Friday, October 7, 2016

Author! Author! DAL MACLEAN

If you're a lover of mysteries and have not read the absolutely brilliant Bitter Legacy by Dal MacLean, you're missing out on a delicious and deadly morsel of Male/Male mystery-romance.

Here's the blurb:

Detective Sergeant James Henderson of London’s Metropolitan Police Murder Investigation Team is no ordinary police officer. His remarkable gut instincts and relentless detective work have put him on a three-year fast track to becoming an inspector.
 
When the murder of barrister Maria Curzon-Whyte lands in his lap, he finds himself drawn back into the insidious world of London’s privileged elite―where men like James’s father possess wealth and power enough to hold the law in contempt. As James navigates the promiscuous, secretive and corrupt spheres of the rich, the murderer strikes again.
 
Soon James begins to fear that these crimes lead dangerously close to his own heart and home. And now, he risks losing everything he’s made of his life unless he can expose the sordid truths that have bred this bitter legacy.

Dal and I go way back. We first met whilst singing waulking songs and fulling (or cleaning) the wool for the Harris tweed jackets we were making to sell in--okay, no. Actually we met over our mutual darenotspeakitsname love for a certain 1970s gritty UK crime show. We corresponded a bit (mile long letters that I still have archived somewhere in my mailbox) and then sort of lost track of each other for a couple of years. When she popped up again--bored and lonely and desperately in need of a pen pal while living in an exotic foreign clime she seriously needs to write a book about--I was delighted. And I remain delighted because there's nothing lovelier than rediscovering long lost friends.

Anyway, allow me to present the wicked lovely Ms. MacLean.

JL - So remind me where we first met. Live Journal, wasn't it? What were you doing there? Is it true you were in the Witness Protection program? 

DM - I think I wrote you a gushing appreciation of Adrien and Jake demanding you get rid of the Professor immediately. (Which you did and I take full credit) Yes, I was in the witness protection program (with you) and our bodies were being guarded closely by Bodie and Doyle.


JL - LOL. I suspect it was probably the other way around. I recall being quite in awe of you (and still am). In fact, I should link this blog to LiveJournal because I know there are some long lost fans of yours who would love to know what you're up to. Anyway, next question! Last piece of music you listened to? Did you sing along? 

DM - A Lyke Wake Dirge by Andrew Bird and Matt Berniger. Its a medieval dirge. Yes I sang along. It was very jolly.

JL - It sounds ever so jolly! Next question. Why mystery? What attracted you to the mystery genre.

 DM - Mystery’s my go-to genre to read for fun, and I’ve found writing it is fun too, in a deeply masochistic kind of way.  Its a real challenge, trying to lay enough clues, but not too many, when you’re well aware your readers are smart as hell.  Teaming it with romance makes it even trickier too, doesn’t it? What are we thinking?


JL - We are genetically programmed to embrace lost causes. ;-)  Do you know how to fence? Would you like to learn? What's your favorite sport?

DM - No, I don’t know how to fence (have you been drinking? Please may I have some?). Actually, I’d love to learn to fence.  Its so melodramatic — the mask, all that lunging. My favourite sport to watch is football (soccer), but to do, cycling. 
 

JL  - What was it like working with editor Nicole Kimberling of Blind Eye Books? I've heard she's fantastic to work with.

DM - No! She’s a monster. Stay away! Nah, actually she’s the way I'd hoped and imagined a professional editor would be - involved, experienced, super clever.  She has great ideas but she’s also very ready to listen and accept alternatives. And she’s kind, which is a much underrated virtue.  Other than that though, she has brilliant chat, which is the highest possible compliment in Scotland (= great fun to talk to). (She made me say all this by the way).


JL - Speaking of Nikki, who is your all time favorite villain? (I'M KIDDING, NIKKI!!! YOU KNOW I ADORES YOU.)

DM - Tom in Tom and Jerry. Yes, he was the villain, but he had Reasons and Pathos and you couldn’t help rooting for him to win just once, even though he was trying to ruthlessly slaughter a small animal. He was the perfect bad guy really. He may be doing the wrong thing, but he leaves you feeling conflicted. I never got over the one where he was guillotined. Do you think I possibly took T & J too seriously?

JL - I...think I must have blocked T getting guillotined. Or maybe we weren't allowed to see that on US TV! Sooo what do you love most about writing? What do you like least?

DM - I love when it flows, when you can’t get the words out fast enough. I love when an idea is fighting to be written. I hate when no idea is fighting to be written.


JL - I usually ask my interviewees if they've ever broken a bone, but you contracted Dengue fever last year and that's SO MUCH MORE interesting. Did you break any bones while recovering from Dengue fever? Are you going to use your experiences with exotic illness in a story? 

DM - This is where I tell you my fevered hallucinations drove me to dive off the roof and break every bone in my body. Unfortunately though, I’d be lying. It’s like very bad flu. Very, very, very bad flu, just passed along by particular types of mosquito which adds the exotica. Basically I was too weak make it to the roof. I could write a story detailing very high temperatures and long bed rest. Do you think there's an audience?

JL - *Nervously clears throat*  You KNOW there is. Which brings me to...Doyle or Bodie? Support your answer by showing us your arithmetic.

DM - Bodie and Doyle. B+D=X (that's algebra but who’s counting?)

JL - I admire the diplomatic dodging there. So what do you think is the most important thing to remember when creating fully realized main characters?

DM - I think giving characters actual human flaws and sticking with that. Plus trying to give them internal consistency — basically making sure anything they do follows from who they are. Actually Adrien and Jake are absolutely brilliant examples of that.

JL - Whisht, lassie! Is it true your native tongue is Gaelic? What's your favorite Gaelic proverb?

DM - Where I grew up, Gaelic was spoken everyday but I wouldn’t call it my native tongue - English is my first language. It was my grandparent’s native tongue I’d say. I do have a  working knowledge of it though.

My favourite Gaelic proverb.  Hmmm.  Well a lot of them go big on humility. My Granny’s favourite when given a compliment was “Glòir mhilis a heallas an t-amadan” which means “Sweet words beguile a fool.” All right then. 

JL - Oh! Timely perhaps, given all those sweet (and very much deserved) words right now with the release of Bitter Legacy. ;-) But that was yesterday. What are you working on now?

DM - A murder mystery set in London, involving models. Sort of. If I sound shady it’s because I’m still making it up. As you do.

JL - Hey!!! No spilling professional secrets. :-D Is there any genre you'd like to tackle but you're kinda sorta afraid? 

DM - Historical. I would love to try (history was what I studied) but the minutiae of the research terrifies me. You really need to get the details right for it to work, but I'm so anal I could spend years making sure the forks are correct. Other than that, Fantasy.  

JL - Speaking of fantasies: All time favorite dessert?

DM - Oh, brutal question. I love them all. I have such a sweet tooth, I’d live on dessert given the chance. Ummmm Creme Catalana’s nice, with berries.


JL - Tell us something surprising. Anything. Go on. Surprise us! 

DM - I was once offered a job as a dominatrix. At least I think that’s what she was offering me.

JL - Hahahahahaha. Dear Dal, you've just won Most Interesting Job Ever Offered to a Person Interviewed on This Blog Award. I was I had a suitable prize for you.



To find out more about Dal, you can visit her website or pop over and friend her on Facebook.

44 comments:

  1. I just want to say a huge thank you to Josh for all her support and kindness (btw of which have been phenomenal) and for inviting me onto her blog. Josh's many friends here will know that she's had a bit of a family crisis, which thankfully looks very likely to resolve happily, but still, terrifying. All my prayers are with you J. XXX

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    1. Thank you for the good wishes, Dal! I'm so happy the book is finally out and is being well received. :-)

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    2. J! What are you doing here you nut? You need some sleep and/or some strong drink! Though the JJ drinks cabinet IS open -- you should never have given the key. Thank you so much for doing this even with all that was going on with you. You're a belter! As they say in Glasgow :)

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  2. PS if anyone has any comments, questions or just wants to hurl abuse, please feel free! Just for today, I have temporary possession of the keys to the Just Joshin' drinks cabinet. Which is very well stocked. ;)

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    1. Like I said, you shouldn't have given me the key... ;-p

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  3. OK, pour me one. It's noon somewhere - or is that supposed to be five o'clock?

    Loved hearing how Dal and Josh go way back, and discovering so much more about Dal. Dal, your take on arithmetic is spot on - I knew we were twins. If you do write historical (and oh, please do!) the level at which I've stalked, er... praised you for Bitter Legacy will seem like nothing.

    Read Bitter Legacy everyone, as Josh said, it's brilliant. Continued success to you Dal!

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    1. Honestly, it's 6:53 in the morning and I COULD use a drink. What a month to have given up Irish coffees! WTH was I thinking??!!

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    2. Its 3pm here so that covers that. Name your tipple! You like historicals? I think the problem would be that I could take 7 years to produce one book, though as I said, the cutlery will be impeccable. Thank you so much for our good wishes for BL Dianne. You've been so kind!

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    3. J - I think this could be a fine time to pretend the month of Irish coffee abstinence is in fact over. 6.53? I repeat...you're a nut :)

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  4. Oh! In that case, could you pass the gin please? I think I saw limes here somewhere...

    :-D

    Thank you for this great interview, Josh and Dal. Let's see — I'm at 39% in Bitter Legacy and I'm absolutely loving it to pieces. All the gushing (yes, I'm looking at you, J) about this book has been spot on. Dal, your writing is so solid and beautiful. So extremely tangible and gripping. With Bitter Legacy I often find myself pausing just to go back, to breath and to taste the sentences again and again, and to think: "Wow. This person REALLY knows how to use words. Like... SERIOUSLY knows how to do it." I mean, I'm not even half way through your debut novel and you're already one of my favorite authors!! :-)

    So, Dal... THANK YOU for the raw feelings you've already given me and the intriguing characters I'm getting to know. Thank you for the sharp-eyed glimpses into the complex human nature, and thank you for the mystery that is definitely keeping me on my toes page after page. I'm off to savoring your wonderful book, Dal. You're a brilliant author — I hope you know that!

    And Josh, you and the SO continue being in my — and Petri's — thoughts. Warm hugs and LOTS of love coming your way.





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    1. DID I TELL YOU OR DID I TELL YOU? ;-D

      (And thanks for the warm thoughts -- right back at you.)

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    2. YOU DID TELL US and then YOU DID TELL US some more. :-D

      And AS ALWAYS you were right. :-D :-D

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    3. Gin! I brought the gin drip of blessed memory! Im so relieved you like it Johanna. I hope you stick with it (it does get bumpy!)

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    4. Bumpy is good! (You're talking to Josh Lanyon fans, remember?) :-)

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    5. :-D Josh Lanyon fans are the best! Lots of intestinal fortitude. :-p Actually I think Ben and Jake should set up a mutual support group. :-p

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    6. Soooooo, by bumpy you mean more like taking a hike in terribly arduous terrain with the worst kind of heartache...? :-D I finished reading Bitter Legacy and I'm IN AWE. I'm taking a small breathing break before writing a review, but oh boy, you really know how to write, Dal! And how to torture your readers in best possible ways. :-) You must have learned from the best mentor ever, hu? ;-)

      It was SO DIFFICULT to put this book down. I only remember two other reading experiences when I felt physical, absolute NEED to abandon all the other fields of my everyday life and just continue reading. Those other two equally wonderful and intense reading experiences were Josh's Adrien English series and Ginn Hale's The Rifter series.

      THANK YOU, Dal. ♥

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    7. Oh, Ben and Jake should DEFINITELY set up a mutual support group. In fact, I think the first meet up should happen here on Josh's blog... *hint, hint*

      :-D

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    8. Oh wow Johanna. Thats beyond kind. Im so glad you liked it because you've been lovely from the start- before you read BL! I wish I could get close to the genius of Josh or Ginn. But Im genuinely thrilled that you found the book worthwhile .As for the torture... er...yes... I was just saying to someone that it feels as if some readers are being stretchered out- and sorry about that people... :p But responses like yours make everything worthwhile. You're spot on that I've learned so much from Josh who's been staggeringly generous with advice and support and without whom I would never have considered trying this. And also from Nicole who's been incredible. I dont know if many publishing houses give the kind of intensive support and help that Blind Eye do, but I'd honestly recommend to anyone to try to find an editor like Nikki who really cares about... writing! A Ben and jake meet up? We'd need security. A think a number of people would rather like to part them from specific bits of their anatomy. :-o Thanks again Johanna! XXXX

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  5. Tom was guillotined!?!?!?
    Please allow me a moment to recover....
    Tom was a lovely cat, though a wee preoccupied with the mouse. I like to mix things up with the occasional bird or lizard.
    I also enjoy solving mysteries with Miss Butterwith. We look forward to tackling the mystery of Bitter Legacy together.
    Congratulations on your release. Would you like a kipper? I've saved you one from tea.
    :-)

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    1. Ha! Yes he was, Mr Pinkerton! Well, it was shown in shadow, but it scarred me forever. Thank you for your good wishes, and Im sure you and Miss Butterwith will make short work of the mystery of Bitter Legacy. I feel though, that you may enjoy the kipper... rather more than I, so please don't feel you have to share. Do give my regards to Mr Holmes. I'm very glad he got his act together with that lovely Mr Moriarity (which spellcheck keeps trying to change to Morality. Everyones a critic). Thank you for commenting Mr P. It was an honour to meet you :-)

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    2. Meow..... my spell check changed it to Mortality....which one must always be aware of in a good mystery.

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  6. Indeed. Mortality and morality both... Maybe spellcheck is wiser than we know... :D X

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  7. Thank you Josh and Dal for an awesome, fun, informative interview. Really enjoyed it.

    I loved the book! Johanna and Dianne said it so well and captured what i also felt while/after reading the book. Besides enjoying the solid mystery, what stood out for me was the brilliant characterization and all the raw, human, heartbreaking, complex emotions that i experienced along with the characters, especially James. Can't wait for your next book! :-)

    Dear Josh, all the best to you and the SO. I hope things get better soon. Lots of hugs!

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    1. Thank you so much KC! That's just so kind! Im so glad that you liked the fact that the characters had flaws; I know that can be hard. Josh's fans are pretty amazing :)

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  8. Thank you both for this interview. I am looking forward to read your book, Dal. I trust Josh more than me. Sounds like a book, I can love.

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    1. Yikes Sabine! Wordpress sabotaged my reply (thats my story and Im sticking to it) so its at the bottom under Nikkis. Im having sharp words with Wordpress. *glares and shuffles off*

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  9. Hey! I'm not a villain...much. :-P
    Usually only 2 days a week. The rest of the time I am a guardian angel. Hear that? It's the flutter of my flappy little wings.

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    1. I can barely hear. All my attention is going on shielding my eyes from the radiance of your halo.:-O You actually are a guardian angel, N. A sort of ... alternative one... the kind that roughs you up every so often. :-p Seriously -- thanks Nikki X

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    2. Booyah! Alternative Angel! (Kinda sounds like a porn site...)

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    3. Or a girl group. Or an underwear line. See, I have a cleaner mind. How frightening is that?

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  10. Thanks Sabine! I really hope you enjoy the book -- and that it lives up to Josh's rec for you (I don't want to spoil her rep!). Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

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  11. I really enjoyed your book, Dai, thanks.
    You say one day you might write a historical and your style would fit well for that. Which time would you choose and are there any m/m historical novels you particularly like?

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    1. Hi Mymymble! (Thats a great name btw) Im so glad you enjoyed the book. Whew! :-p And thank you for coming by. Well, Ive always been fascinated by the medieval/Tudor/Elizabethan period. I think its the meeting of familiar and totally strange to us. I personally think *people* are basically the same everywhere and in every time, in that basic things motivate and drive us - survival then love, sex, power, money, spirituality/religion. But how culture moulds those drives -- thats the fascinating thing. The way medieval people saw the world was very different to us because their world was very different But they were still recognisably...people? If that makes sense? Its a hellishly hard time to get right though in writing fiction becasue we dont know that much about it. Have you ever read 'A Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England?'. Thats a brilliant insight into how different things were - things like attitude to time and... chickens. :-p (seriously though!) My favourite Historicals? Thats tricky because (given historical attitudes to homosexuality) its hard (for me) to find believable happy endings. So I dont read *all* that many MM historicals for that reason. But I really admire KJ Charles' work and Joanna Chambers too. I also enjoyed the Captive Prince series though its not historical its kinda-maybe-ish-if you look through your fingers...:p In any era I like (genuine) romantic conflict and (genuinely) flawed believable characters.. so if you have any recs, I'd love to hear them!? Thanks again M! X

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  12. Argh Justjoshin has eaten my reply twice. Thanks for yours. Just finished Captive Prince last night. You're right, it has less in common with, say, GoT than with the historical novels of Stanley Weyman. Who is my favourite historical ever. I can see how much research would hafta go into an Elizabethan novel - most of it offline too. Don't want to wait 7 years for your next. Recs? Phillipa Gregory's Earthly Joys and Maria McCann's As Meat Loves Salt. Both 17th century.
    Back to yours. My favourite bit was when James realised that "the chain of command had degenerated into girly gossip" and just didn't care, he was so in love. The whole office team was great. Even though flawed, they worked so hard.

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    1. Oh thanks for that - Ive read both those and loved both books very much though of course they ended in tragedy. Thats what I meant -- I love realistic happy endings. Earthy Joys especially stuck with me. It bore little relation to the reality in that the characters ages wouldnt have worked, but did I care? That portrayal of devotion and talent in one, and overwhelming, blind charisma in the other... wonderful. Im glad you liked that bit of BL! Though I will say - that was a daft moment.:-D The MIT lot grew on me a lot through writing the book. I miss them already, especially Alec and Ingham. XX :-)

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    2. I just remembered M, I do have a ghost story in my sock drawer that involves a bit of historical stuff but hacking that into shape would be a mammoth job (I kid you not). One day maybe!

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    3. Live in hopes. Ghost story wheee!

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  13. The relationship between James and Alec was specially subtle because they were so close they knew what each other was thinking but yet not close at all, really. Which showed more about James than his pov ever could.

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    1. I love that you got that. :-) Because its such a tight POV and so an essentially unreliable narration I try to seed clues to whats actually going on through other characters and details. But it doesn't always work. The kind of relationship James had with Alec was meant to help illustrate his emotional isolation at the start. Alec was a kind of professional mirror/friend but also he could see and feel concerned about James's emotional vulnerabilities.As you say though, he wasnt close enough to do anything about it, even though James at the beginning, thought of him as one of his closest friends. Yikes. I put poor Jamie through a lot didn't I? :-p

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  14. Just finished Bitter Legacy, and am sitting her in awe of your staggering talent. And I'm frickin' exhausted. And out of Kleenex. I wait impatiently for your next story!

    KathleenC

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    1. Haha! Im sorry about the kleenex. And the exhaustion.:-p But Im absolutely delighted that you enjoyed it. And thank you SO much for coming to tell me! XXX

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