Upmarket Espionage / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
Date Published: January 15, 2016
In 1960s London, British Intelligence agent Peter Stoller is next in line to run the Agency. But when he falls in love with cab driver Charles, his life goes off the road. Charles is accused of being an enemy spy, and Peter is guilty by association. Though they manage to escape, the seeds of doubt have been planted, leaving Peter to wonder how much he can truly trust his lover. Is ignorance bliss or merely deadly?
Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?
There is probably a message in there somewhere, but it’s not a deliberate one. I’ve often discovered messages and meanings in my work after the fact. If anything, I did actively try to depict a gay relationship that is well-rounded and genuine rather than it being all about the fact they’re gay.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Challenging for me? I’m sometimes told my characters are too aloof, that it’s difficult to care about them because it’s hard to connect with them. So in rewrites I have to go back and put in more of the characters’ internal thoughts and feelings so readers get a better feel for them.
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
You might as well ask which child is my favorite! I’ve written three Sherlock Holmes stories, a short story anthology, a bizarre rom-com novel, and this one, and each holds a special place in my heart. They all come from different times in my life, different parts of me. But Peter is special to me. I was in labor with him the longest, so to speak.
If You had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?
Actually, I had an indie director interested in turning the book into a film, and he was thinking Henry Cavill for Peter and Idris Elba for Ken Gamby. I don’t know about the other characters. I’ll leave it to the pros to figure out if/when it happens.
When did you begin writing?
I was able to read and write by the time I was three. Around age six, I was making little homemade magazines with stories for the neighborhood kids. But I still really wanted to be a director. It wasn’t until much later that I realized I wanted to write—and even then I thought I wanted to be a screenwriter. I’ve done some screenwriting, too, but it’s such a tough industry, especially for a woman. And I’m impatient, so I found more gratification in prose. Publishing still takes a long time, but nothing near as long as trying to get a movie made.
How long did it take to complete your first book?
My first book? Well, I wrote a book when I was in middle school, but I don’t remember how long that took me. On average, it takes me about a year to complete a draft and another four to six months for revisions, edits, etc. My Sherlock Holmes stories are shorter, so they take me three to six months. Peter, on the other hand, took about three years to complete.
Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
There is no one author that I looked at and said to myself, “I want to be like him or her.” There are many authors that I admire and whose work inspired me. Zilpha Keatley Snyder had a huge impact on me as a child. Later influences include Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice. Which is funny because I don’t write horror. But they taught me something fundamental about how to tell a story. And there are many, many others. I couldn’t name them all.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Finishing! Even if it’s only the first draft, there is satisfaction in completing something.
Describe your latest book in 4 words.
Gay spy investigates lover.
Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?
I bounce around quite a bit. Peter came out in January, and besides pushing the boat out on it, I’ve just finished revisions on a young adult fantasy novel that I’m hoping to find an agent or publisher for. And since both of those books were very heavy in terms of themes, I’m now writing a Regency romance just for the fun of it. But I’ll be writing more Sherlock Holmes in the future, too, and I’m contemplating a sequel to Peter that focuses on his assistant Simeon.
M Pepper Langlinais is best known for her Sherlock Holmes stories. She is also a produced playwright and screenwriter. She lives in Livermore, California.