…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Hi! I’m Lisa Henry, author of Sweetwater! I’m touring the web talking about my inspiration, my writing process, and giving you a behind-the-scenes look at Sweetwater. And of course there’s a giveaway! You could win a title from my back catalogue, as well as a $20 Riptide gift voucher!
Sweetwater is set in 1870, the same year that Leopold von Sacher-Masoch published Venus in Furs and gave us the word masochism. I wasn’t aware of this neat little piece of symmetry until after I’d written Sweetwater, but it neatly sums up one of the issues I had in writing it: the terminology.
In Sweetwater, I did my best to avoid using BDSM terminology since the setting predates our modern definition of the terms. Elijah is a masochist, clearly. Crane is a sadist. And Grady and Elijah develop aspects of a D/s relationship. But in 1870, this terminology did not exist. To refer to masochism in Sweetwater would have been anachronistic. Certainly Elijah has no frame of reference for his need for pain during sex. All Elijah knows for certain is that those needs, combined with his attraction to men, mean that he is an abomination.
It wasn’t just the language of sexuality that proved problematic. It was all language. If I used a turn of phrase, it needed to be one that was authentic to the time, but also one that a modern reader would understand. Like always, it was a throwaway line that caused me the most problems. In an older draft, Doctor Carter is talking about the McCreedy boys, some miners who are having no luck on their claim. “They’re on a hiding to nothing, those boys,” he tells Elijah, something that Elijah later thinks about himself.
Not only is this phrase UK English rather than US English (an old bugbear of mine!) but the earliest reference I could find dates it at around 1910. So it was out by 35 years and half the globe. What I needed was to find a saying that fitted the place and time of Sweetwater, while still retaining the meaning I originally wanted. The McCreedy boys, and Elijah too, are engaged in an activity that is ultimately futile and will only end in failure. So now, instead of being on a hiding to nothing:
“They’re barking at a knot, those boys.”
Thanks for following the tour! To celebrate the release, I’m giving away an ebook from my back catalogue, as well as a $20 Riptide gift voucher. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for me to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your facebook or goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because I won’t be able to see it otherwise! On October 8, I’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win the prize!
Wyoming Territory, 1870.
Elijah Carter is afflicted. Most of the townsfolk of South Pass City treat him as a simpleton because he’s deaf, but that’s not what shames him the most. Something in Elijah runs contrary to nature and to God. Something that Elijah desperately tries to keep hidden.
Harlan Crane, owner of the Empire saloon, knows Elijah for what he is—and for all the ungodly things he wants. And Crane isn’t the only one. Grady Mullins desires Elijah too, but unlike Crane, he refuses to push or mistreat the young man.
When violence shatters Elijah’s world, he is caught between two very different men and two devastating urges: revenge and despair. In a boomtown teetering on the edge of a bust, Elijah must face what it means to be a man in control of his own destiny, and choose a course that might end his life . . . or truly begin it for the very first time.
About the Author
Lisa Henry lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.