Hi! Kim Fielding here, and I’m so excited to share my newest release—my 21st novel!—with you. Blyd and Pearce is a noir private-eye gay romance in a medieval fantasy setting.
Wait. I can almost hear you asking it. “A noir private-eye gay romance in a medieval fantasy setting? How the heck does Fielding thing she can pull that off?”
The answer is, with only a little bit of twisting and pulling.
As it turns out, noir pairs beautifully with other genres. Some of my favorite films are sci-fi noir, like Blade Runner. So putting noir into a medieval fantasy setting is not a problem. My fictional city, Tangye, may have wizards and river wraiths, but it also contains the squalor and bleakness so common to noir. Instead of cops we have the city guard. And I’m not the first author to stick a detective into a preindustrial setting.
Of course, fantasy and romance go together like ice cream and chocolate sauce. I’ve written quite a few fantasy romance stories in the past. One thing I like about doing this is that you can create a world in which nobody cares what genders lovers are. You can also think up alternate sexual practices if you like; Tangye has Finches, sort of mystical tea-shop owners who provide quasi-sexual experiences to customers who want them.
Okay, but what about the third side of our ménage à trois? How well do noir and romance get along? This one’s a bit complicated. On the one hand, the archetypal noir story has a romance of sorts built in as the femme fatal (or, since I’m writing m/m, homme fatal) seduces the hero, thereby bringing disaster upon the hero. Although the hero is perfectly aware that he’s being seduced and that giving in is a Bad Idea, he’s too enchanted to resist. That may be a somewhat twisted relationship premise, but we can play with it.
On the other hand, a hallmark of noir is that it’s bleak and pessimistic. Our bitter hero operates out of grim necessity rather than hope. Usually, nothing ends well for anyone. Romance, however, must have happy ending. At least an HFN if not a full HEA. That’s one of the few set-in-stone requirements of the genre. So how can we reconcile this?
Well, we can fudge. Just a little. It’s not as hard as it seems, because romance is perfectly willing to take on a wagonload of angst and redeeming the lovers—the hero from his nihilism and the homme fatal from his deviousness—works well as a romance theme. So as long as the romance part of our triad is able to accept protagonists who are somewhat more flawed than the norm, and as long as the noir part can handle giving our guys some happiness after dragging them through hazards and despair, it’s all going to work. We’ll end up with a balanced relationship. And perhaps a talking severed head, but that’s another issue altogether.
That’s how I ended up with Blyd and Pearce. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope you enjoy reading!
Do you have a favorite blend of genres? Please leave a comment!
Check out Blyd and Pearce today!
Born into poverty and orphaned young, Daveth Blyd had one chance for success when his fighting prowess earned him a place in the Tangye city guard—a place he lost to false accusations of theft. Now he scrapes out a living searching for wayward spouses and missing children. When a nobleman offers him a small fortune to find an entertainer who’s stolen a ring, Daveth takes the case.
While Jory Pearce may or may not be a thief, he certainly can’t be trusted. But, enchanted by Jory’s beauty and haunting voice, Daveth soon finds himself caught in the middle of a conspiracy. As he searches desperately for answers, he realizes that he’s also falling for Jory. The two men face river wraiths, assassins, a necromancer, and a talking head that could be Daveth’s salvation on their quest for the truth. But with everyone’s integrity in question and Death eager to dance, Daveth will need more than sorcery to survive.
The narrow stairway rose steeply, each step creaking under our feet and taking us into increasing darkness. I smelled onions and fish—a bit strong, but better than my apartment’s odors—and blindly held on to the banister. It occurred to me that Pearce was in a good position to attack me, since I’d have trouble defending myself in the blackness of unfamiliar territory. But I wasn’t afraid of him. Maybe some of his enchantment lingered.
We climbed four flights to the top floor, where he unlocked another door. A few scattered spiritlights flared to life at once, but he lit two lanterns as well.
It wasn’t a large apartment, and the roof angled steeply on both sides so that he had to stoop a little when he hung his lute and midnight-colored cloak on a hook. Bright fabrics adorned the walls—silks and embroidered cottons—and a thick mat and pile of pillows were heaped in one corner. Rag rugs and pillows for seating covered the wide floorboards. The apartment held little else other than a dry sink, a few shelves, a little stand with a chamber pot, a painted wardrobe. But it was a cozy space, and two pottery vases of flowers squatted on the windowsill.
“Do you want some wine?” he asked.
It wasn’t what I expected, so I didn’t answer at once. “Uh, yes. Sure.”
He took a green glass bottle from the shelf, pulled the cork, and poured a red liquid into a pair of plain clay cups.
He was no longer wearing the gauzy silks he’d performed in, but his current outfit was hardly understated. Embroidered snakes—matching the bright blue of his chausses—trimmed a sunshine-hued tunic, and instead of sensible boots, he wore scarlet stockings and yellow slippers with curled, pointed toes. On another man, the clothing would have been gaudy, but it suited him well.
I remained near the closed door. With a tiny quirk to his lips, he prowled closer. He held out one cup of wine, which I took, and when I hesitated to drink, he took a dainty sip of his own. “It’s mediocre, I’m afraid.”
Not being able to distinguish good wine from bad, I swallowed a mouthful. It tasted fine to me.
“What shall I call you?” he purred, standing quite close. He was older than I’d thought, but the fine lines at the corners of his eyes didn’t make him any less beautiful.
“It’s a pleasure, Citizen Blyd.”
“I’m not a citizen.”
He tilted his head. “Oh?”
He wore a scent—something spicy and warm—that made my head swim. And his voice….
When I was newly signed on as a city guard, my duties had included carting my captain’s soiled uniforms to the laundry. It wasn’t one of my favored tasks. But she’d been a showy woman and had her capes trimmed not with dyed wool but with velvet. I’d rarely felt anything so soft, and I used to give the velvet surreptitious little pets as I carried her clothes.
Jory Pearce’s voice was like that velvet: soft and rich and plush. And, I reminded myself, expensive.
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.