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, Rebecca Cohen spends her days dreaming of a living in a Tudor manor house, or a Georgian mansion. Alas, the closest she comes to this is through her characters in her historical romance novels. She also dreams of intergalactic adventures and fantasy realms, but because she’s not yet got her space or dimensional travel plans finalised, she lives happily in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and young son. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and sloe gin with lemon tonic in the other.
With contemporaries, historicals, sci fi and fantasy in her back catalogue, there should be something for every taste in Rebecca’s work.
Thanks so much, Rebecca, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?
Rebecca Cohen: Terry Pratchett. I loved the Discworld growing up, they are still my comfort re-reads. And I believe my writing style and the underlying humor is all his fault. I’d love to have discussed his view on world building and how to keep it all straight in your head.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
RC: Blended and British for style but random and chaotic for genre choice. I can’t stick to a specific genre, I get bored. And while it flies in the face of the advice for how to be successful and having a ‘brand’, I jump across genres: sci fi, fantasy, historical (multiple era) contemporary, and coming soon (hopefully) PNR!
JSC: What do you do when you get writer’s block?
RC: I barely wrote 1000 words in 2020, I didn’t know how to get through it. The in Feb 2021 I returned to my Reagalos boys, they’d been dormant 7 years and I wrote the rest of the series (2 x 90k, 1 x60K novels) and then the words kept coming. Between May and Sept 2021 I’ve written 250K words. I think I was just ready to write again, there wasn’t a specific trigger, and I’m making the most of if it while I can.
JSC: Do you use a pseudonym? If so, why? If not, why not?
RC: Yes, Rebecca is one of my favourite books and Hitchcock films, and Cohen for the Coen brothers as I love their work – I added the H as a nod to my real first name. I decided to go this way as I intended (and still do) to write none romance and wanted to keep things separate… haven’t got around to it yet as I’ve so much MM plot bunnies to deal with first.
JSC: How long have you been writing?
RC: 2022 will be my 10 year anniversary of being published, but I wrote in my teens then stopped in my 20s, only to pick it up again in my 30s. I’ve always been a writer, just not always as active.
JSC: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
RC: Part-time, and I’ve no intention to go full-time. My day job, which I love, means I can write what I want and don’t have to worry about writing to market. My writing doesn’t have to pay my bills, so that financial stress does bleed into my work, and I can jump around and follow any story in any genre.
JSC: How did you choose the topic for Idolatry?
RC: About twenty years ago I had a dream about what I thought was a Roman courtesan and the general he served. That wasn’t the case, that turned out to be a dimensional version of Lornyc Reagalos … Courtesan Lornyc appears in Idolatry when Lornyc steps into his realm. But Lornyc grew and grew in my brain and now he has a 5 book (450K word) series.
JSC: Tell us one thing about them that we don’t learn from the book, the secret in their past.
RC: Originally this would have been the details of how Lornyc and Methian got together, as the series was always intended to be them as an established couple which general reference to the past. But I’ve now written a prequel – College Days (release date 13th Jan), so you can read how they went from enemies to lovers.
JSC: Who has been your favorite character to write and why?
RC: Lornyc Reagalos, he’s such an arse, but overall a good guy. He’s young, powerful and a bit of a prat. Methian, his lover then husband, has a big job keeping him stable (and Methian is a very important character… as you’ll see in Book 3!)
JSC: Are you happy with where your writer left you at the end? (don’t give us any spoilers).
RC (but it is Lornyc Reagalos talking here): Sort of… apparently she’s got a whole other series planned set 100 years after Reagalos finishes called The Emaus Protocols. Good job because I’ve got a lot of unfinished business and other dimensions to explore…
And now for Rebecca’s new book: Idolatry (Reagalos book 2):
Lornyc thought it was bad enough that the Cerulean Cult had made him a living god, but now they’ve set loose an entity that is tearing through the dimensions with the potential to cause chaos. He wouldn’t have thought it his problem but the guardians of the multiverse, the Valen, have decided otherwise.
Along with Methian and his own Valen Caveer Guards, Lornyc faces a race through multiple alternative realities if he doesn’t want to be extinguished.
Book 1: Servitude
Lornyc’s forbidden relationship with Methian, heir to Xenetra, has caused him enough grief. Ripped from his life as a student to fulfil a magical contract as punishment for his family’s past, he now has to play valet to Methian for ten years. It’ll be hell on their already strained relationship.
And with his city of Katraman under attack, Lornyc needs to connect to the powers he’s been hiding. If he can’t master his powers and find the leader of the plot, he could lose everything he knows and loves: his family, his future as High Lord, and Methian.
Buy Links (books 3-5 are preorder):
Halm Grosvenor closed the door to shut out the bickering of the novices. He leant against his office wall, enjoying the first peace he’d known all morning. Not that the bickering wasn’t good. In fact, some of the younger men were exceptional—they’d really embraced the spirit of the Solemn Squabble—but a man could only bear so much. He still had a vivid scratch on his forearm where he’d stepped in to stop things getting physical between two enthusiastic women who had been in a heated debate on the merits of Katramanian wine.
The pile of letters on his desk threatened to topple, and Halm knew he had a long afternoon ahead sorting through them. He had no cause to complain. The membership was growing by the hour with new followers desperate to join their calling, to worship The One—he who would ignite the orbs. And the donations! He couldn’t get his head around the numbers yet, but he knew they’d never seen anything like it. The Holy Profit would have been very pleased.
Halm pushed off the wall, removed his large blue hat in the shape of a ball, placing it onto its stand on the sideboard. He gave it a fond pat, plucking a strand of his own blond hair from its surface, and, smiling lovingly at the hat, gave it one final stroke.
He poured a glass of water from a jug on his desk and sipped to relieve the dryness in his throat from the dust that hung in the air from the ongoing building work. Although he wouldn’t say anything to the other priests so they wouldn’t accuse him of being negative, Halm was surprised at the progress being made. At this rate, the builders might be finished by the end of the week.
Humming under his breath, Halm lifted the lid of the teak box that sat on a pillar in the corner of his office and flicked a feather duster over the most sacred item owned by the Cerulean Cult. Not even the Scroll of Direction, handwritten by the Holy Profit himself, was as important. Taking a second to enjoy the view, Halm sighed, happiness spreading through him as he closed the box. He moved around his desk, almost tripping over the hem of the ceremonial gown he had worn every day since his appointment, even though his second-in-command had told him, somewhat snottily, that it was supposed to kept for special occasions.
Sitting at the desk, Halm ignored the stack of unanswered letters and instead focused on the important invite he had to send. He sucked on the end of the pen as he tried to find the right words. Coherent sentences refused to form. He grimaced as he reread his first attempt, then crumpled it into a ball, and threw the offending item into the bin. Several hours passed before he put down his pen, pleased with the wording. Now all he had to do was hope The One would agree to attend the Sanctification Ceremony. If he didn’t, Halm didn’t have the first clue how to break the terrible news to the congregation.