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BLOG TOUR – AUTHOR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: “Think of England” by KJ Charles


Boys in Our Books is super excited to welcome back blog favorite, KJ Charles, as part of the blog tour for her new release “Think of England”

(Susan reviews the book HERE)


Enter to win one ebook copy of “Think of England” and a $25 gift certificate to your online book retailer of choice.

Link ->  ENTER NOW


BioB: KJ, welcome back! We so love having you on the blog!

KJ: Thanks for having me! I’m a big fan of this blog. And also of the BIOB mug, which is my new go-to tea provider…


BioB: We’ve had the chance to talk to you about Magpies and also collaborations for Simon Feximal. Let’s touch on your last 2 releases: “Not Stop Till Tokyo” and the new one “Think of England”…very very different books!  How do you get your ideas for stories, and more specifically, these 2?

KJ: I tend to get my ideas from a single concept – one little image or line that sets up the shape of the story. The Magpie Lord came from reciting the magpie counting rhyme to my daughter (‘one for sorrow, two for joy’) and then wondering what would happen if the magpies were right. Non-Stop Till Tokyo came from a casual remark by my husband about his time working in Japan: he’d been in an office with just two Western women, who were named Kelly and Kerry (basically the same sound in Japanese). He commented what bad luck it was for them to have indistinguishable names, I realized there was fuel for mistaken identity, or even deliberate deception, and the story of one hostess in a sleazy bar framed by another for the murder of a yakuza boss came together.

Think of England sprang from the phrase ‘lie back and think of England’, ie just grit your teeth and endure it. My boss told me to ‘think of England’ at work, which set me daydreaming about how I could use that line in a romance, and the plot was fully formed in about half an hour.


BioB:  Did you always want to write both m/f and m/m? Or were it just the ‘voices in your head’ that made the characters?

KJ: Voices in my head. I’m tending more to m/m now because I’m in that head space so those voices are loudest, but I have m/f and maybe f/f stories bubbling under.


BioB: More and more m/f authors are doing the crossover into m/m. But few have started with m/m and gone to m/f. Why do you suppose that is?

KJ: Hard to say. In some cases I imagine that it has to do with m/f being so much the larger market. I wonder if it’s also that because m/m is a smaller genre, a lot of people who wanted to read it had to write their own, so they’re much more inclined to keep their focus there.


BioB: Let’s talk “Think of England”…let me put on my ‘stiff upper lip’ face. What do you want the readers to know about this book?

KJ: Apart from ‘available for purchase now’? Ahem. Well, it’s a standalone novel (though I’m brewing a sequel), set in 1904, the Downton Abbey-type era. It was an age of massive privilege, for a few: house parties, luxury and technological advance. It was also a time of dramatic social change, and international tensions.  So Think of England is basically a spy/adventure type story, as our straightforward conservative  British hero hero Archie Curtis tries to track down a traitor. However, on the way he meets possibly the most dislikeable man he’s ever encountered: effete, decadent, modern, intellectual foreign-type poet Daniel da Silva. Archie is about to get most of his ideas thoroughly shaken up…


BioB:  What kind of research did you do?

KJ: Oh Lord, the research. It’s in the tradition of Edwardian pulp – where the writers tended to make things up wholesale and just not worry about it – so I really didn’t want it to be overburdened by detail. So that meant a metric ton of research going into things that were mentioned maybe twice. I spent a lot of time finding out how phones work, and I found a wonderful friendly gun forum to check my plotting. It’s incredible how happy gun people are to tell you about guns. Incredible, and just a little alarming.


BioB:  The characters of Archie Curtis and Daniel da Silva are deceptively complex. What you see isn’t exactly what you get. I wasn’t sure if I liked either of them in the beginning, and ended up loving them both by the end. How would you describe these two? And which is your favorite? :)

KJ: Archie is a very straightforward sort of man in a complicated life. He is, at the start, painfully lonely, unhappy and isolated, but he would tell you he’s fine, and he’d believe it.

Daniel is a seething mass of pride, aspiration, and self-loathing. He’s an advanced intellectual who embraces the idea of himself as gay (as we’d now say – there was another huge area of research, attitudes to sexuality and gay identity) whereas Archie starts off unashamedly old-fashioned in his views, and has never allowed his sexual encounters with men to affect his self-image as a perfectly normal chap.

They are both desperately in need of understanding. Daniel needs someone to accept him – not just as the very intelligent and capable man he is underneath, but the whole of his socially unacceptable (queer, Jewish, foreign, flamboyant) nature. Archie needs someone to help him take a clear look at himself and learn who he is.

Favourite: Probably Daniel, because I love complicated intellectuals, but I did enjoy doing Archie’s voice. J


BioB:  You’ve always got a great mystery element to your books? Do you know ‘whodunnit’ from the first word? Or does come to you later?

KJ: Oh, I have to know that from early on. I’ve read Lawrence Block saying he writes these complicated multi-character murder mysteries and only decides who the killer is right at the end, and I can’t even imagine it. I’d be in a cold sweat throughout.


BioB: The story kinda ends with a HFN (though, you’ve mentioned that all books are a HFN, rather than a HEA!). I think you mentioned this may become a series.  If so, what’s next for these guys?

KJ: Professionally speaking, there’s a traitor to unearth, and a spy ring to deal with. Personally speaking, Archie has a lot to work through in terms of what being with Daniel means, and Daniel doesn’t find it terribly easy to trust people, and they are an epically ill-assorted couple, so it’ll be very far from plain sailing for them.


BioB:  You recently mentioned on your FB page that you’re going to start writing fulltime (yay!). How did you make this decision, what will be different for you, and what does that mean for …more books? 

KJ: I want more time to write, and more family time. I’ve been trying to do two jobs as well as parenting two small kids, and that’s just unsatisfactory for everyone and became unsustainable. Luckily my husband is very supportive. So I’ll be stepping up the writing, working on bigger projects, developing, and also editing freelance. (Years of experience, reasonable rates!)


BioB:  What’s next in the pipeline for you as far as releases go?

KJ: The third in the Charm of Magpies trilogy, Flight of Magpies, is out in October. That introduced a reprehensible young villain who caught my imagination so much that he has his own side of the story, Jackdaw, coming out in February 2015. I am hugely excited about that, in part because it lets us see Stephen and Crane of the Magpie books from the outside. That was epic fun.

Other things: I have a Regency short, ‘The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh’, coming out in a very exciting historical anthology in October. There will be a free Charm of Magpies short from me in September, and Samhain are releasing official Magpie 2.5 freebie A Case of Spirits in January 15.

And I’m planning a Christmas story, which will be from the Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal. I want to do the full sentimental Victorian Christmas thing – snow, carols, occult plots, holly, vengeance from beyond the grave, plum pudding, hot sex, and goodwill to all men. Deck those halls, baby.


BioB:  Thanks so much for coming by. You KNOW you’re welcome back as OFTEN as you like! We love having you!

KJ: Thank you, I’ll be back! And drop by to visit me any time.




magpieI’m a writer of romance, mostly m/m, often historical or fantasy or both. I also have a contemporary thriller coming out soon. I like to mix it up.

I’m a commissioning editor in my daily life and I blog about writing and editing at kjcharleswriter.wordpress.com.

I live in London, UK, with two kids, a tolerant husband and an even more tolerant cat.





Lie back and think of England…

England, 1904. Two years ago, Captain Archie Curtis lost his friends, fingers, and future to a terrible military accident. Alone, purposeless and angry, Curtis is determined to discover if he and his comrades were the victims of fate, or of sabotage.

Curtis’s search takes him to an isolated, ultra-modern country house, where he meets and instantly clashes with fellow guest Daniel da Silva. Effete, decadent, foreign, and all-too-obviously queer, the sophisticated poet is everything the straightforward British officer fears and distrusts.

As events unfold, Curtis realizes that Daniel has his own secret intentions. And there’s something else they share—a mounting sexual tension that leaves Curtis reeling.

As the house party’s elegant facade cracks to reveal treachery, blackmail and murder, Curtis finds himself needing clever, dark-eyed Daniel as he has never needed a man before…



Barnes & Noble

22 comments on “BLOG TOUR – AUTHOR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: “Think of England” by KJ Charles

  1. Hannah B.
    July 2, 2014

    Hi KJ, thanks for sharing how you get your ideas for your books. Congratulations on your latest release. Thanks for the giveaway.


  2. Majken
    July 2, 2014

    Great interview :-)

    I found the comment about guns a bit scary O.O


  3. jenf27
    July 2, 2014

    I enjoyed the entire interview, but my favorite part was finding about all the wonderful books KJ has coming up in the future! And, I agree, the guns part was scary.


  4. Bodi L.
    July 2, 2014

    Like Jen, the best part of this interview was learning about about all the future books. (Can’t wait for another Archie/Daniel story – they’ve got a lot to work through.) And about the voices in your head :)


  5. Dawn
    July 2, 2014

    I’m looking forward to more in th Magpie Lord series! I’m just getting into the historical romance genre and have only read Magpie Lord and the Whyborne and Griffin series by Jordan Hawk. I plan to read the crossover book Remnant.


  6. Antonia
    July 2, 2014

    Thanks for a great interview! I loved reading about your inspiration and what books are coming next.


  7. Lisa
    July 2, 2014

    Enjoyed the interview and I’m really looking forward to this one. Congrats on being able to write fulltime. Thanks for the giveaway!


  8. KJ Charles
    July 2, 2014

    Thanks all! The gun people were very very kind and helpful but really *intensely* committed to the whole thing. They worked out *exactly* how the guns needed to be sabotaged to give Archie his injury. And then I didn’t go into anything like that detail, but hey, I knew it worked, so that helped.

    Someone once said, ‘If you want to know if anyone is reading your book, make a mistake about guns’, which I suspect is probably true.


  9. Idamus
    July 2, 2014

    Oops, used the wrong name to comment earlier

    Still think it’s a great interview :p


  10. Vicky Golar
    July 2, 2014

    Ok, I’m obviously missing out on another awesome author… What am I waiting for? Someone please push me!


  11. Jbst
    July 2, 2014

    In the interview, I like getting to know more about the characters in the book beyond the blurb.


  12. H.B.
    July 3, 2014

    Wonderful interview. It’s always fun to better get to know the characters and the author.


  13. Carolyn
    July 3, 2014

    I’m never one of those readers who wonders where an author’s ideas come from, but I loved the little background tidbits on what sparked the books. I started Think of England earlier (I know, why aren’t I still reading it? It’s that “having to check one thing online and getting sucked in to everything else,” or I’d definitely still be reading), and it’s already wonderful. Thanks for the enjoyable Q&A and the chance at the giveaway!


  14. Allison
    July 3, 2014

    I enjoyed hearing about all the books to come!


  15. sula22
    July 3, 2014

    What an interesting interview, I love finding out what inspired a books creation, be it an image, a personal experience, a set phrase or reading a child an old saying. Once that idea has got hold then the research begins and yes it is quite strange how gun people love talking about their guns. But then anyone who is passionate about something love to talk about. I was also intrigued to know that a second part is to come out for this story and that many other books are in the pipeline – hurray :)


  16. Shirley Ann Speakman
    July 4, 2014

    Great interview I’m really enjoying readiing Historical M/M books



  17. Pingback: KJ Charles: my big news | KJ Charles

  18. Trix
    July 5, 2014

    Really fun interview!


  19. bugetta
    July 5, 2014

    Great interview! I always love hearing about the writing process and I’m also happy to learn about your upcoming books. Thanks for the giveaway!


  20. Kirsten
    July 6, 2014

    Oh, I love the idea of traitors and spy rings. I’m looking forward to that part!


  21. DebraG
    July 6, 2014

    Intriguing information in the interview. Thanks


  22. Serena
    July 6, 2014

    Great interview! So excited with what’s comming next.


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This entry was posted on July 2, 2014 by in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Historical, Interviews and tagged , .

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