Somebody To Love†is the fourth full-length novel in Merry Farmer’s highly acclaimed, historical†Montana Romance series. In this novel, which has already found a home atop Amazon’s LGBT romance lists, she writes about the love between two men, Phinneas Bell and Elliott Tucker, and the issues that surround them as they try to make their way in 1800s Montana.
I have Merry Farmer sitting in our Author Spotlight today for an interview about writing, her story and the muse behind Somebody To Love:
Why did you choose to write M/M stories?
Merry Farmer: It wasn’t so much that I started out to write an m/m story as much as I knew from the beginning of the series that I needed to write a love story for the character of Phineas Bell. He was part of the Montana Romance series from the start, and I always felt as though he deserved to find love too. So it was only natural to write that story of Phin falling in love.
STRW: Where do you find your inspiration?
Merry Farmer: You know, I find inspiration in the strangest places. History itself has always been a source of wonder and stories for me. So many of the actual people and events of history are fantastic stories in and of themselves that it takes just a little imagination to spin them into a complete book. I am also inspired by those quirky little questions that pop into my mind for no apparent reason, like “How were animals originally domesticated by the earliest humans?” That simple question inspired my entire Grace’s Moon science fiction series as I went on pondering how civilizations are born.
STRW: What is for you the perfect book hero?
Merry Farmer: Ah. Here’s something that makes me a little different from other Romance writers. I’m madly in love with beta heroes. I love the intelligent, clever men who might not be as macho or hunky as an alpha hero, but who love the heroine with their whole heart. I love the sidekick who never gets the girl and absolutely adore writing books where the nice guy wins.
STRW: When you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head or is it built progressively?
Merry Farmer: I usually have a general idea of where I’m going with a story before I start and maybe one or two important plot points, but I certainly don’t have everything figured out before I start typing. In fact, I learn so much about my characters and their world and the story of what happens to them as I write that a lot of times I need to go back and rewrite the beginning once I finish so that it matches the end.
STRW: Do you pay attention to literary criticism?
Merry Farmer: Sometimes. It’s important to take criticism with a grain of salt. Occasionally you can learn something from the faults that readers see that you were unable to see yourself. It can help you to write better in the future (or revise that book after publication). But a lot of the time reading criticism will just get you down.
STRW: What inspired you to write your first book?
Merry Farmer: Well, I’d been dating this guy for a while. I was certain I was going to marry him. Then suddenly, he broke up with me. I was devastated. Even more devastated when, six months later, he got engaged to someone else. I fell into a horrible, horrible depression. I’d been writing since I was ten years old, but in the depths of that break-up depression, something just clicked in me and I knew I had to WRITE. I sat down and started writing The Loyal Heart and it pulled me right out of that depression. The rest is history.
STRW:Do you have a specific writing style?
Merry Farmer: I think I do. I would be hard-pressed to define it, though. I’ve been told by people that know me that they can hear me speaking when they read my writing, so in terms of prose, I think I write like I speak. As far as subject matter and theme, I have always been more interested in the underdog and people who had had to struggle in life more than the alpha heroes and standard heroines of much of Romance fiction. I would like to be known for writing romantic stories about the non-dukes and the middle class characters of the world.
STRW: How do you come up with the titles?
Merry Farmer: Titles are HARD! I struggle with them through the entire process of thinking about and writing my stories. I spend a lot of time (especially when I’m driving) thinking up word combinations, possible titles, shifting things around, counting syllables, all sorts of weird tricks. Ultimately, something just pops into my head and I know that’s it. Sometimes it’s song lyrics. Somebody to Love comes directly from the Queen song of the same name because it fits my characters and their journey…and because it came on the radio as I was driving.
STRW: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Merry Farmer: Be true to who you are, even if it’s not popular, even if it’s difficult, even if it’s dangerous. You can stand to lose material things, but integrity is more valuable. If you stay true to yourself, true love will find you against all odds.
STRW: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Merry Farmer: I guess I have a problem with saggy middles. But I have that problem in real life too. 😉
About Somebody To Love
For Phineas Bell, love has not only been out of reach, it has been impossible. In a world where men who love other men are anathema, he has poured his love into his work, his town, and the friends who accept him as family. But when a handsome new lodger takes over his home and his heart, breaking all his careful rules, Phin must choose between playing it safe and letting love in.
War hero Elliott Tucker is the answer to Cold Springs ís prayers for a sheriff worth his salt. But with every single woman in town throwing themselves at him, Elliott has eyes for only one person: Phin. The sparks are hot between then, but in spite of Elliottís best efforts, Phinís heart proves the toughest nut to crack. A love that starts with fire threatens to burn them both until a shocking abduction throws Phin and Elliott together on the trail of ruthless kidnappers. Will their efforts to save a child wrench them apart or will it prove that at last theyíve found somebody to love?
Genre classification:†M/M LGBT Western Historical Romance
About the author
Merry Farmer is an award-winning author of Historical Romance and what she likes to call ìSci-Fi for Women.î She lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats and enough story ideas to keep her writing until sheís 132. Her second novel, The Faithful Heart, was a 2102 RONE Award finalist and her unpublished futuristic novel A Manís World won first place in the Novel: Character category at the 2013 Philadelphia Writerís Conference. She is out to prove that you can make a living as a self-published author and to help others to do the same.