Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Pelaam – Living in clean, green New Zealand, Pelaam is a multi-published author of gay romance and erotic books. When not busy writing she can be found indulging in her other passions of cookery and wine appreciation. She can be found on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/pamela.pelaamone — with an author page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pelaam/1467778320131583
Thanks so much, Pelaam, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: How long do you write each day?
Pelaam: I try to write for a couple of hours each evening Monday to Friday as I have a day job. At weekends, I aim for more.
JSC: What do you do if you get a brilliant idea at a bad time?
Pelaam: I always carry pen and paper around with me. Then no matter where I am, whether it’s out for a meal, in a work meeting, or at a wine tasting, it doesn’t matter. I can jot it down and not lose inspiration.
JSC: What’s the funniest or creepiest thing you’ve come across while researching for one of your stories?
Pelaam: While researching Victorian history for my steampunk books, I found that ‘toshers’ existed. People who scoured the sewers (usually illegally) searching for anything of value that people had lost. Toshers have featured in two of my books, Future Imperfect and Past Perfect.
JSC: How did you choose the topic for “Love Never Dies”?
Pelaam: I spotted a prompt for steampunk that included a line about pterodactyl hunting. I wouldn’t endorse hunting in any way, but the notion of taking people to see them and be photographed by them led to ‘Love Never Dies’.
JSC: Who did your cover, and what was the design process like?
Pelaam: The publisher actually created the cover, but I researched for what I felt would make an eye-catching cover for a steampunk book. As the publisher created the image, I can offer feedback as to how it needs to look (within reason).
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
Pelaam: I have a lot of friends in hospo and/or involved in the food industry like restaurant owners, chefs, or bakers. I’ve given them ideas for meals, recipes for goods to sell in their bakery, or cocktail ideas to try at their bar. I often get asked to try food they’re thinking of selling to give feedback.
JSC: We know what you like to write, but what do you like to read in your free time, and why?
Pelaam: ooh, that’s a good question. I love history mysteries. My hubby found a secondhand copy of Father Brown stories he bought for me the other day. But I’ve read history mysteries that date back to the Roman era through to Victorian times. Sci-fi, certain horror, Ric Riordan and Dean Koontz. I look for steampunk-themed books, too.
JSC: Describe yourself using… (choose one: a food, a book, a song, a movie, an animal, a drink, a place etc)
Pelaam: very dark chocolate mousse, with a hidden hazelnut centre.
JSC: Drink of choice
Pelaam: non-alcoholic it’s tea or water. Alcohol is wine, currently either rose or bubbles.
JSC: What’s in your fridge right now?
Pelaam: wine, chocolate, cheeses, fixings for salad, dressings, Cointreau, dips
And now for Pelaam’s new book: Love Never Dies:
Brother and sister team Midnight and Aurora Pendragon have a successful airship business taking clients on trips to be photographed with their pet pterodactyl. The last thing they expect is to have one such trip hijacked by the dashing adventurer Voltaire Crevin and his right-hand man Trevilian Hawke.
While his sister and Voltaire repeatedly lock horns, Midnight finds himself increasingly drawn to Trevilian. Finally, Voltaire explains they are trying to prevent a weapon of mass destruction from falling into the hands of a ruthless, secret organization, the S.O.R.
With Midnight’s help, they take the airship down into an extinct volcano to find that not only does Atlantis still exist, but the weapon is in the hands of the few remaining Atlanteans. But if Voltaire had believed the S.O.R. were ruthless, it’s nothing compared to that of the Atlanteans who seek to return to the surface and rule the world using their ultimate weapon: The Leviathan.
Midnight’s feelings for Trevilian deepen as they seek a way to stop the Atlanteans and escape from Atlantis. Danger comes in many ways and takes many forms, each more deadly than the last. Can Midnight and Trevilian survive long enough to know whether love never dies?
Once they crossed the border of France, the discussions, or perhaps even arguments, between Voltaire and Tresilian seemed to come more frequently. Midnight noticed them more because Tresilian was no longer coming to stand nearby and chat.
It seemed to him that whatever Voltaire had in mind was upsetting Tresilian. Although, I could be completely wrong. But the reason for their disagreement became apparent to Midnight as the coast of Italy approached. Instead of continuing to the mainland, Voltaire indicated the remains of a long-since dormant volcano.
“We need to go down into the volcano.” Voltaire drew out a pistol and aimed it at Midnight’s back. “I’m sorry, Midnight, but we must. Keep your hands on the wheel until we’re over the crater. It’s big enough, we can descend safely.”
With Voltaire close behind him, and the pistol aimed at his back, it was impossible for Midnight to do anything that might help his sister who was looking at him with an expression of pure horror. Instead he kept his hands on the wheel as ordered, and his attention on Aurora.
“What are you doing?” Aurora’s rage was almost palpable, even at distance and even Midnight winced. “We can’t fly the Freedom into a volcano. Extinct or otherwise. She won’t fit.”
“Your ship will be fine. Trust me.”
Despite everything, Midnight felt reassured by Voltaire’s calm and soothing tone which was the opposite of Aurora’s. Seems hardly possible that a man who sounds so composed and reassuring would have a pistol directed at me.
With a slight turn of his head, Midnight glanced at Tresilian. The other man’s expression was creased into concern, but Midnight also noticed the way he had a white-knuckle grip of the rail.
“Trust? You?” Aurora’s voice had crept up in pitch as well as in volume, and this time, Midnight even cringed. “You hold my brother at gunpoint. In an act of piracy, you attempt to take control of my vessel. There is no question of trust, sir.”
“Madam.” Voltaire’s voice deepened in timbre, but nothing more. “This ship remains yours; I assure you. As to my reasons for this…let me ask this of you. Are you loyal to Queen Victoria?”
“What? Of course I am.” Aurora stood with her hands on her hips and glowered at Voltaire. “What has that got to do with anything?”
“I am in pursuit of a man who, like me, believes he has found the location of the Magnus Opus. It’s a weapon. One which, in the wrong hands, not only places the British Empire at risk, but imperils the world itself. I believe it was the cause of the destruction of the city of Atlantis. We must find it first. My vessel wasn’t merely damaged, it was deliberately sabotaged and Tresilian and I barely escaped with our lives. I’ve paced out the dimensions of your ship. I believe she’s several feet smaller than mine all around, so there’s no danger.”
“Paced the ship.” Aurora looked heavenward. “No danger.”
“We must try. We have no choice. Humanity itself is at risk.” Voltaire sounded so impassioned that Midnight couldn’t help but be certain that it wasn’t an act.
For a moment, Midnight closed his eyes. Setting aside the pistol in Voltaire’s hand, he focused on what both Voltaire and Tresilian had said since coming aboard, and how they felt to him. There had been no mistaking the look of anguish on Tresilian’s face when Voltaire had pulled out the pistol. His mind set; Midnight took a deep breath. She’s not going to like this.
“Aurora. I believe him.” Midnight called out.
“What?” Although Midnight couldn’t see him, Voltaire had spoken in unison with his sister and even Tresilian looked shocked as he stared at him. Midnight nodded.
“I believe him.”
“You really want to try and fly this ship into the crater of a volcano? On his say so.” Aurora asked, and Midnight was certain she’d spoken each word through gritted teeth.
“All I have to do is level out the ship over the crater and reduce the volume of inertium in the balloons. We’ll sink slowly, and in a controlled manner. We can keep a check on the hull, make sure it’s not getting too close to the rock. I can always re-inflate and take us back up.”
“Mad.” Aurora threw up her hands. “You’re all bloody mad. I’ll have no part in this.” She stomped away and sat down, her back ramrod straight, and purposely looked away from them.
“Well, if it’s to save the Empire, then we should help.” Dru stood, then hurried over to Aurora.
“Um, er, thank you, Midnight.” Voltaire shrugged, then lowered the gun with a wry smile. “It isn’t loaded. I could never have harmed you. I didn’t realise just what an Amazonian your sister was. I hope she’ll find it in her to forgive me.”
There was such a tone of admiration in Voltaire’s voice that Midnight couldn’t help but laugh.
“My sister’s the equal of any man, sir. Once you accept that, it’ll make life much easier.”
“I had no wish to endanger any of you, but time is running out.” Voltaire scrubbed at his face with his hands, and for a second or two, the brash, confident, devil-may-care man was gone. It was the briefest glimpse of the real man before Voltaire’s mask was back in place. “I didn’t want to take you, any of you, with me, but there’s no time, no choice. Your ship is nowhere as swift as mine, and the more time that elapses between my nemesis and me, the worse the situation becomes.”
“She may be agreeable, but I am not.” Dryden stomped over, snatching the gun from Voltaire’s hand and aiming it at Midnight again. “You may have been fooled by his golden tongue, but all I want is to be taken to the nearest city so that we may leave. This has been a nightmare from the moment I stepped on board.”
“Go and sit down, Dryden. No one wants to hear you whining.” Tresilian wrenched the gun from Dryden’s hand.
“You will not descent that volcano.” Spittle sprayed from Dryden’s mouth as he launched himself at Voltaire. But a second later he lay sprawled on the floor, unconscious, while Voltaire rubbed at the knuckles of his right hand.
“Take him downstairs, Tresilian. Tell his servant what’s happened and to care for his master. Midnight, are there weapons down there?” Voltaire asked.
“Well, there is silverware, and glasses of course.” Midnight remembered the items in the galley that included butcher’s knives. “I think I should go with you, Tresilian, and I’ll secure the galley. You may want to check the picnic basket, too.”
“I knew he’d be trouble.” Voltaire sighed. “But so long as he can’t hurt himself, or anyone else, I’ll be happy. You can all stay on the ship while Tresilian and I search for the Magnus Opus. Even go and leave us there. We’ll find a way out.”
“No!” Midnight was scandalised Voltaire would even consider being abandoned. “If this is so crucial to the Empire, then we’re duty bound to help. Even Aurora will agree. Once she comes around, that is.”
“The Tailor and the Prince” was Evernight Publishing Readers’ Choice runner-up for Best Gay Story 2020.
“Strawberry Fields” was runner-up and received an Honourable mention in the 2019 Rainbow Awards in Gay futuristic/sci-fi.
“Smoking Mirror” was a finalist in 2017 Rainbow Awards in Gay futuristic/sci-fi.
“Stranded” was the Evernight Publishing Readers’ Choice winner 2016 for Sci-fi.
“The Avian Emperor” was runner up and received an Honourable Mention in the 2016 Rainbow Awards Gay futuristic/sci-fi.
“Future Imperfect” was a finalist for the 2015 Rainbow Awards in Gay futuristic/sci-fi.
“On Dragon’s Wings” was LR Café 2014 winner for Fantasy.
“Breath of the Feathered Serpent” was a finalist for the 2014 Rainbow Awards in Gay futuristic/sci-fi.