Q&A with Josh Lanyon discussion

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Sandra  (Sleo) | 196 comments Josh wrote: "Thank you very much, Sandra!"

You're welcome!


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Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments Thank you very much, Sandra!


Sandra  (Sleo) | 196 comments Holy crap, I just read The Dark Horse and am still recovering. I'm almost afraid to read the second in case it dilutes the experience. Josh's writing is always genuine, but this one felt very genuine, personal, and intense! Kudos, Josh.


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Anne | 3408 comments Nice little coda. I love the fact that white socks are described as sexy. They are :)


Sandra  (Sleo) | 196 comments I haaven't read these yet!


message 107: by Antonella (last edited Dec 17, 2013 12:28PM) (new)

Antonella | 3961 comments A freshly baked coda!

http://joshlanyon.blogspot.ch/2013/12...

ETA: LOL! It wasn't as fresh as I thought, see post by Helena 10 hours ago. But she didn't give the link, that's why it went unnoticed by me...


message 106: by Salsera1974 (last edited Dec 17, 2013 09:12AM) (new)

Salsera1974 | 176 comments I think these two books might be on my re-read list for 2014, so the coda was a nice surprise this morning. I really enjoyed it -- thank you! :-)


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Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments :-)


message 104: by Anne (new)

Anne | 3408 comments Oh, I love those two books, can't wait til I get home and can revisit one of my favourite couples.


Susinok | 3061 comments Lovely! What a great way to wake up in the morning.


message 102: by Hj (new)

Hj | 2229 comments Another Christmas coda is up, this time for The White Knight!


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Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments Tharayn wrote: "Sorry to interrupt the discussion but I just wanted to be sure - is it purpose that in third-person-narration the text is just three-fourth of the page?"

Yes. The consensus was that it would be easier for readers to follow the changing viewpoints if we made the changes visual as well.


Karen | 1769 comments Josh wrote: "I think there are a lot of grown up readers in this genre who appreciate not reading about hysterical thirty year old teenagers. Just sayin'! I have the grown up demographic all sewn up. ;-D "

Yes, you do!


Susinok | 3061 comments Josh wrote: "I think there are a lot of grown up readers in this genre who appreciate not reading about hysterical thirty year old teenagers. Just sayin'! I have the grown up demographic all sewn up. ;-D ..."

Thank god for that. I don't want 30 year old teenagers either.


Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments Susan wrote: "Josh wrote: "For me, having to come up with a believable Big Misunderstanding that wouldn't be resolved in two minutes of realistic dialog is not worth the gyrations required."

Gee, I wonder if th..."


I think there are a lot of grown up readers in this genre who appreciate not reading about hysterical thirty year old teenagers. Just sayin'! I have the grown up demographic all sewn up. ;-D


Susan | 459 comments Josh wrote: "For me, having to come up with a believable Big Misunderstanding that wouldn't be resolved in two minutes of realistic dialog is not worth the gyrations required."

Gee, I wonder if that might be one of the reasons you're the best there is, huh? :)


Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments Karen wrote: "It's nice that Dan seems to take this in stride. There's no feeling that this would come back to haunt them in future arguments.
..."


I think because Sean is honest about this.

I've been thinking about the whole problem of trying to write plots that hinge on Big Misunderstandings, and the thing is, if you write grownups...grownups usually talk. Certainly the grownups I know talk, and I write grownups. Even when they are young, they are well on the way to becoming grown ups. Because hysterical adolescents don't interest me. So that pretty much rules out any Big Misunderstanding plots.

For me, having to come up with a believable Big Misunderstanding that wouldn't be resolved in two minutes of realistic dialog is not worth the gyrations required.


Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments John wrote: "By the way, I have absolutely hated that my silly job has gotten in the way of participating in this conversation. It's been so good!
..."


You and that silly having to earn a living stuff! Where are your priorities, sir?! :-P


Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments Antonella wrote: "Josh wrote: "My own question! And therein lies the short story I want to write so that I can put the Dark Horse stories into a print collection like I did with the I Spy stories. We'll see how soon..."

LOL. Well, it's probably the obvious question, but yes! I think if there's any story left between Sean and Dan, it lies in that little dramatic bit. Because Steve has been such a part of Sean's life, and that betrayal would cut so deep.


Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments Caroline wrote: "And secondly moving on to the White Knight what made you decide to set it in Wales?
..."


My father was researching the Welsh branch of our family tree, and somehow those conversations led to my planning a trip (that we've yet to take) which led to my setting the story in Wales. That frequently happens -- something I'm interested in or studying finds its way into my work. I think there's a certain serendipity to tuning into whatever is happening around me at the time.


message 92: by Johanna (last edited Feb 13, 2013 09:08AM) (new)

Johanna | 6989 comments John wrote: "Karen wrote: "So play hooky a day or two? We still have a lot to share about The White Knight."

Well, actually, it's kind of what I'm up to tonight. I'm supposed to be planning projects for the upcoming six months. Maddening endevor. When I could take no more, I came here for a breath of fresh air."


Oh, I know what you mean, John. I had an awfully long day at my silly job and the next two weeks are going to be pretty crazy. I so hate it when my job comes between me and these lovely book discussions. ;)

Anyway, the minute I got home I wanted to see what you guys have been up to. And yes, I'm glad Karen pointed out the Laurie+Ralph lovemaking scene and everything that followed. :)


Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments Caroline wrote: " "Josh wrote: "After writing the AE books, I felt obliged to write a law enforcement character like Dan who does reflect(both in his self-acceptance and the treatment he receives by LAPD) the attit..."

Hi Caroline!

My research consisted of a number of things -- yes, I had access to family and friends who were in law enforcement (and yes that personal connection does probably color my view). I also did the usual research through books and web. And, yes, when all else failed to get me the info I needed, I contacted LAPD's community liasion directly.


Johanna | 6989 comments Karen wrote: "I think that Johanna and the others will join me in saying that we also hate that your (silly) job has gotten in the way of you joining in."

Yes, John, we MISS YOU!!!


Caroline (CarolineDavies) | 500 comments John wrote: "Well, y'know, it is just the other side of the Severn from Bristol; half an hour's drive on the M4..."

Sighs.


message 88: by Karen (last edited Feb 12, 2013 10:38PM) (new)

Karen | 1769 comments I've been thinking about the filming of the first Laurie/Ralph lovemaking scene. Sean and Peter are both physically aroused; they have "chemistry" as Sean has said. But Sean loses control and Peter graciously and adeptly covers for him. There's this great bit of dialogue afterwards at the pub.

I said, “I really don’t know what the hell is the matter with me.”
“It’s called biology, baby.”
“Yeah, I know. But it’s never happened like that before.”
Peter said seriously, “I think it’s Ralph and Laurie. I really do.”
Then he grinned and added, “And I think you really miss Dan.”


The drinking continues and leads to their kisses and to the infamous photo that triggers Dan's doubts about Sean's fidelity.

This could be seen as yet another Big Misunderstanding scenario, albeit a particularly well-written one. So I love that Josh takes this one further. He has Sean give Dan advance notice about what happened, but not due to some impulsive bare-all confession. Instead, it's because Sean knows Dan well enough, to know that Dan knows him enough to read his face when he views that scene in the finished film.

“Anyway, that’s all it was. Too many drinks and a few kisses. But as Laurie reacting to Ralph…there are a few scenes where I kind of got carried away. I don’t think anyone else would know the difference, but you’ll recognize what’s happening when you watch the film.”

It's nice that Dan seems to take this in stride. There's no feeling that this would come back to haunt them in future arguments.


John (Arkbear) | 314 comments Karen wrote: "So play hooky a day or two? We still have a lot to share about The White Knight."

Well, actually, it's kind of what I'm up to tonight. I'm supposed to be planning projects for the upcoming six months. Maddening endevor. When I could take no more, I came here for a breath of fresh air.


Karen | 1769 comments Josh wrote: "Karen wrote: "Funny how I was left wondering what sentence he received and how that affected Sean.
..."

My own question! And therein lies the short story I want to write so that I can put the Dar..."


Yes, please.


message 85: by Karen (last edited Feb 12, 2013 08:38PM) (new)

Karen | 1769 comments John wrote: "Antonella wrote: "Caroline: I wondered as well about Wales as location and my only explanation was that Josh had been there... ..."

Well, y'know, it is just the other side of the Severn from Brist..."


I think that Johanna and the others will join me in saying that we also hate that your (silly) job has gotten in the way of you joining in. So play hooky a day or two? We still have a lot to share about The White Knight and more new thoughts about The Dark Horse are very likely.


John (Arkbear) | 314 comments Antonella wrote: "Caroline: I wondered as well about Wales as location and my only explanation was that Josh had been there... ..."

Well, y'know, it is just the other side of the Severn from Bristol; half an hour's drive on the M4. :)

By the way, I have absolutely hated that my silly job has gotten in the way of participating in this conversation. It's been so good!


Antonella | 3961 comments I read ''The White Knight'' last night. Great! Somehow I remember that when I read it the first time the mystery part seemed a bit weak to me. Now I found it perfect, also because IMO the mystery is absolutely in the background, the real mystery being the relationship between Dan and Sean.

At page 54 (PDF) I found this bit:
He stood in the doorway, tall, tanned, vital, and totally out of place in this sterile and bleached environment. His dark hair glistened; wet freckled the shoulders of his raincoat.

It reminds me of the scene in ''The Charioteer'', when Ralph comes and fetch Laurie at the out-patient department of the hospital (page 178 of the standard edition): The contrast was dazzling. His energy and precision stood out among the sick, worried people, slumped on the benches waiting their turn, as bright steel stands out in a heap of scrap iron. ((...)).

Caroline: I wondered as well about Wales as location and my only explanation was that Josh had been there...


Antonella | 3961 comments Josh wrote: "My own question! And therein lies the short story I want to write so that I can put the Dark Horse stories into a print collection like I did with the I Spy stories. We'll see how soon I can make that happen."

I wanted to come here and propose this. You are so good that you even foretell the wishes of the readers ;-))


Caroline (CarolineDavies) | 500 comments "Josh wrote: "After writing the AE books, I felt obliged to write a law enforcement character like Dan who does reflect(both in his self-acceptance and the treatment he receives by LAPD) the attitudes of a new generation...
Karen wrote: Dan is a wonderful character, "


Well it worked then. Am I allowed to ask my research question?

Did you do research by talking to LAPD officers or do you know your local police force well enough to be able to write them anyway? I don't think I'd have the confidence to put the British coppers into a story without doing my homework first.

And secondly moving on to the White Knight what made you decide to set it in Wales?


Caroline (CarolineDavies) | 500 comments "Karen wrote: "Funny how I was left wondering what sentence he received and how that affected Sean.
..."

Josh wrote:My own question! And therein lies the short story I want to write so that I can put the Dar..."


Karen you must be psychic. It would be a short story well worth reading and a test of Sean's character. I'm pleased we're agreed he's not weak. He doesn't believe there's a safety net though does he - once he slips that's going to be it.


Caroline (CarolineDavies) | 500 comments Josh wrote: "Caroline and Karen, I'm sorry both of you had to deal with such experiences. It's an unpleasant thing to be on the receiving end of someone else's mental illness. Even as an adult, it's hard not to feel that somehow the fault is your own...."

No worries mate. I never thought it was my fault and I don't think he was mentally ill - sad yes, lonely definitely and in need of help. Now I rather wish I'd handled it differently and seen to it that he got help instead of backing away but there you go...


Johanna | 6989 comments Josh wrote: "Karen wrote: "Funny how I was left wondering what sentence he received and how that affected Sean.
..."

My own question! And therein lies the short story I want to write so that I can put the Dar..."


Yay! That would be awesome. :)


Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments Karen wrote: "Funny how I was left wondering what sentence he received and how that affected Sean.
..."


My own question! And therein lies the short story I want to write so that I can put the Dark Horse stories into a print collection like I did with the I Spy stories. We'll see how soon I can make that happen.


message 76: by Karen (last edited Feb 11, 2013 10:29PM) (new)

Karen | 1769 comments Josh wrote: "After writing the AE books, I felt obliged to write a law enforcement character like Dan who does reflect(both in his self-acceptance and the treatment he receives by LAPD) the attitudes of a new generation. It seemed only fair to acknowledge the effort at change that has been made."

Dan is a wonderful character, smart, caring, and vulnerable in his way as well (hmmm... this is sounding very Ralph). It was really nice to read a story with this recognition that things are changing, efforts are being made. I also appreciated that Sean saw Dan as a real life hero, that Sean defied stereotypes of the self-important actor, just as Dan defied the stereotypes of his job.


message 75: by Karen (last edited Feb 11, 2013 10:23PM) (new)

Karen | 1769 comments Josh wrote: "Caroline and Karen, I'm sorry both of you had to deal with such experiences. It's an unpleasant thing to be on the receiving end of someone else's mental illness. Even as an adult, it's hard not to..."

The MCs in the book I was reading were child abuse survivors. I was especially struck by the vividness of my own memory, because it brought home how incredibly difficult memories must be for real life survivors, compounded by the insidiousness of being made to feel responsible for the abuser's actions.


message 74: by Karen (last edited Feb 11, 2013 10:06PM) (new)

Karen | 1769 comments Johanna wrote: "I couldn't agree more with you two. The way Steve uses their friendship, their long history together, the intimate knowledge of Sean and Sean's troubles and vulnerabilities for his own cruel purposes is absolutely bone-chilling. And the fact that Steve doesn't seem to feel much guilt or remorse about the things he has done is disturbing."

Caroline wrote: "It seems to me that Josh has got it spot-on with how it gets more un-nerving the closer it comes to home. And Johanna I agree with you about the deft touch of just including two everyday things that Sean knows about Steve even as he's realising he doesn't know him at all."

Very well said, both of you.

Interesting that three of the characters have mental illness experiences or issues.

Hammond is obviously mentally ill. Sean fears that he may relapse into mental illness. He's still not fully confident about the reverse diagnosis. Steve appears to be just self-centered and manipulative at first, but his kind of moral displacement/extreme egocentricity seems also to be a form of mental illness. I doubt that the jury saw it that way. Funny how I was left wondering what sentence he received and how that affected Sean.


Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments Now that I think about it, Sean is probably one of my most vulnerable characters. He's not weak, but he doesn't have enough defense mechanisms.


Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments Caroline and Karen, I'm sorry both of you had to deal with such experiences. It's an unpleasant thing to be on the receiving end of someone else's mental illness. Even as an adult, it's hard not to feel that somehow the fault is your own.


Josh (JoshLanyon) | 13178 comments Caroline wrote: "Sorry to hear about your experience too Karen. Thank goodness your aunt was close by and able to intervene even if she couldn't quite save you from the horrible feeling. I do hope you've managed to..."

After writing the AE books, I felt obliged to write a law enforcement character like Dan who does reflect(both in his self-acceptance and the treatment he receives by LAPD) the attitudes of a new generation. It seemed only fair to acknowledge the effort at change that has been made.


Caroline (CarolineDavies) | 500 comments Sorry to hear about your experience too Karen. Thank goodness your aunt was close by and able to intervene even if she couldn't quite save you from the horrible feeling. I do hope you've managed to leave the guilt well behind even if you felt it as a child. At least I was an adult when something similar happened to me although judging by the lack of sleep last night I maybe wasn't as calm about it as I pretended to be at the time. Ah the power of literature.

It seems to me that Josh has got it spot-on with how it gets more un-nerving the closer it comes to home. And Johanna I agree with you about the deft touch of just including two everyday things that Sean knows about Steve even as he's realising he doesn't know him at all.

Another aspect of the book that intrigued me was the glimpses and insights into how the LAPD functions. A openly gay officer as a poster boy. Wow. I so hope that it is true reflection of how they operate. I cannot imagine any police force in the UK doing anything like that. The other thing that struck me was the assumption that LAPD officers are likely to be heroes and that the audience will buy into that idea. I found that I did for your guys but if I look at our equivalent - the closest being the Met (Metropolitan police in London) well I wouldn't trust one of their officers as far as I could throw him or her...
I so enjoyed that conversation between Sean and Dan about how 'I've never been ashamed of being gay' Dan came out and his easy acceptance of opting for counselling. to help with the process. Quite a contrast to the other LAPD officer that Josh has written about although I don't particularly want to discuss him until I've finished with the AE series (so no plot spoilers Ok?). I assume that LAPD can easily contain officers from across the spectrum. I'd be interested to know how much was based on research?


Johanna | 6989 comments And thank you, Caroline and Karen, for sharing such personal and traumatic memories with us, even when the experiences were not the kind you want to spend time remembering.


Johanna | 6989 comments Caroline wrote: " But what was even more creepy was that someone close to Sean and who he trusted then used his fears against him by sending cards even after Hammond is safely dead…"

and

Karen wrote: "I think that's what is truly so horrible about Steve's actions, that he is using his intimate understanding of Sean's weaknesses, and Sean's shame that he looks/feels weak, as an abusive weapon to undermine his confidence and exploit his fears."

I couldn't agree more with you two. The way Steve uses their friendship, their long history together, the intimate knowledge of Sean and Sean's troubles and vulnerabilities for his own gruel purposes is absolutely bone-chilling. And the fact that Steve doesn't seem to feel much guilt or remorse about the things he has done is disturbing.

There is a heartbreaking moment near the end of The Dark Horse (87%) when Steve confesses what he has done. This is Sean thinking:

I stared. I knew Steve so well. I knew everything from how he took his coffee to the sounds he made during sex. And it turned out that I didn't know him at all.

It's a... schoking way to say it. Josh reminds us how throughly these two guys knew each other and he does it simply by listing those two everyday things — but also very personal things — in the middle of Sean's thoughts about knowing Steve so well and on the other hand not knowing him at all. And what could be more intimate than to know the sounds he made during sex?

Maybe my mind is kinda wondering here, but I just realized that those personal sounds that we all make during sex are one of my turn ons also in books I read. And I don't mean the "Oh my God, Oh my God, OH MY GOD, that's it, yeah, yeah, YEAH!" kind of thing, but the small gasps and grunts and words that sometimes even surprise the speaker himself. :) This kind of details are something that Josh doesn't overlook in his writing... and that's something I really appreciate. :)


message 67: by Karen (last edited Feb 10, 2013 05:28PM) (new)

Karen | 1769 comments Caroline wrote: "Johanna wrote: The postcards were creepy and the Hammond guy was REALLY creepy in the beginning of The White Knight when it was described how he "visited" Sean's home. ..."

Hammond is definitely u..."


I'm also very sorry to hear that this sort of thing happened to you. We can't always know what we'll find in books that trigger our memories, unpleasant, pleasant, or bittersweet.

In one of the books I read this week, a character described a childhood experience of answering the phone when home alone. The caller first pretended to be a family friend, then became abusive/obscene. This happened to me when a was maybe ten, but I wasn't alone. An aunt was visiting, walked by and saw my face and intervened. The thing is that this small incident, something that happened in a very short period of time decades ago, is still quite vivid.

What the child in the story felt, what I felt as a child, was shame. Shame to have been duped into something that I didn't fully understand, but somehow knew was wrong. A standard tool of the abuser. I think that's what is truly so horrible about Steve's actions, that he is using his intimate understanding of Sean's weaknesses, and Sean's shame that he looks/feels weak, as an abusive weapon to undermine his confidence and exploit his fears.

I just realized that Dan would take issue with the term "weakness." Vulnerabilities?


Caroline (CarolineDavies) | 500 comments Johanna wrote: The postcards were creepy and the Hammond guy was REALLY creepy in the beginning of The White Knight when it was described how he "visited" Sean's home. ..."

Hammond is definitely unnerving – Sean’s tougher than he might seem isn’t he coping with three and a half hours talking to him. But what was even more creepy was that someone close to Sean and who he trusted then used his fears against him by sending cards even after Hammond is safely dead…

The anonymous postcards sent to me stuff was a weird experience that’s for sure. It was a long time ago though and I’d managed to forget all about it until I picked up Dark Horse again today. Not unlike giving yourself an electric shock. Am feeling distinctly ruffled now.


Johanna | 6989 comments Caroline wrote: "I had forgotten until I picked it up again this morning to re-read (Thanks for reviving this thread Johanna) how electrifying I found the opening with the arrival of the postcard. But then having been on the receiving end of an anonymous postcard sender myself I could fully relate to Sean’s fear and his impatience when Dan just dismisses it."

The postcards were creepy and the Hammond guy was REALLY creepy in the beginning of The White Knight when it was described how he "visited" Sean's home.

Caroline, I'm so sorry to hear that something like those postcards has happened to you!


Caroline (CarolineDavies) | 500 comments Dark Horse was the first book by Josh that I read and I discovered it via the reviews of The Charioteer by obsess....enthusiasts who seemed to mention Dark Horse in the same breath as TC. It’s a completely different style of writing to Mary Renault’s of course.
I had forgotten until I picked it up again this morning to re-read (Thanks for reviving this thread Johanna) how electrifying I found the opening with the arrival of the postcard. But then having been on the receiving end of an anonymous postcard sender myself I could fully relate to Sean’s fear and his impatience when Dan just dismisses it.


message 63: by Johanna (last edited Feb 09, 2013 04:17PM) (new)

Johanna | 6989 comments Calathea wrote: "They're making it really difficult to resist... I want to jump in and re-read. :)"

Well, I'm quite happy if we come across more alluring than scary obsessed... ;)


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Dark Horse (other topics)
The White Knight (other topics)
A Ghost of a Chance (other topics)
Come Unto These Yellow Sands (other topics)
The Charioteer (other topics)
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