(*MULTIPLE SPOILERS*) I thought I’d write a little about the background of how the idea for Objects Of His Obsession came to me.
Its pre-story setup has a classic hook in m/m or m/f historical fiction – the gay/straight peer who is caught between the need to have an heir, and the need for real love and true emotional fulfilment. Not to mention, some earth shattering smexing…
And I’ve always loved stories where the main protagonists have some history between them. And opposites that attract. Love or lightning at first sight. Because if Evander were around now, he would be the epitome of cool, slick sexiness, and Benedict … hell, he’d be the sweet, obliviously sexy genius nerd.
Perfect for each other. Because in reality, Evander is the wounded one, and he needs Ben just as Ben needs him.
(**HEAVY SPOILER ALERT**) So how, in Victorian England, would those two find happiness together? Or for that matter, would Juliana and Eliza have done so? Two women living together would not have raised an eyebrow the way that Evander and Benedict would have, but both Evander and Juliana wanted children, a family. In Evander’s case, it was pretty much imperative to have an heir.
So how to bring Evander and Ben together, and how to resolve their differing life priorities and give them a HEA? Juliana and Eliza had already found their way around societies strictures. Evander and Ben’s was trickier.
It’s amazing that while some issues are universal, and defy time, fortunately others have crumbled, or are beginning to. A lot of the issues facing the protagonists then, would be either non-existent (the threat of a prison sentence for practising a gay lifestyle), or lessened, since I don’t think anyone believes homophobia is not still a very real issue.
Anyways… In other background to the story.
Lots of it was wound up in stuff I’d read, been both fascinated and appalled by for years. Fascinated by ancient Egypt, because I was raised on archaeology and, as Juliana did, I loved Anubis because as the jackal headed god of death, he reminded me of a dog 🙂 So naturally, Benedict had to be an Egyptologist.
Appalled, because for me Oscar Wilde was such a brilliant character and writer. I first read a biography of him in my early teens. The story of Wilde’s latter life is so tragic from every angle and for me his court trials were one of the defining events of the 1890’s in Britain.
So when I was writing about the time frame the story is set in (1898-99), I was very aware of just what effect those trials would have had on any gay man at that time, but especially one who was only just acknowledging his sexuality. That, and the general attitudes of society in the previous years.
Grim stuff, and since Objects Of His Obsession is primarily, first and foremost a romance and a story about a powerful, long term love and an obsession that survives the odds, I didn’t bring that literal background into the storyline too much. I wanted it to be romantic, and powerful, and move people’s hearts in the right way. There is a HEA.
In any time, people find their ways to live their lives, to be true to themselves and find real love. Evander and Benedict found theirs, and it was a very good thing to be able to write that ending and that journey of discovery for them.