Ep:048 Born to Dutch parents and raised in Colombia and England, Oilvier Bosman is a rootless wanderer with itchy feet. He’s spent the last few years living and working in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sudan and Bulgaria, has every confidence that he will now finally be able to settle down among the olive groves of Andalucia.
He’s am an avid reader and film fan (in fact, his study is overflowing with my various dvd collections!)
Olivier did an MA in creative writing for film and television at the University of Sheffield. After a failed attempt at making a career as a screenwriter, he turned to the theater and wrote and produced a play called ´Death Takes a Lover´ (which has since been turned into the first D.S.Billings Victorian Mystery). The play was performed on the London Fringe to great critical acclaim.
He currently lives in Spain where he makes ends meet by teaching English.
The Mystery of the Garish Garage by Jeffrey Sacks
Simple Justice by John Morgan Wilson
expand/collapse Brad Shreve 0:01 Justene 0:27 Brad Shreve 0:49 Justene 0:55 Brad Shreve 2:05 Justene 2:10 Brad Shreve 2:21 Justene 2:23 Brad Shreve 3:26 Justene 3:28 Brad Shreve 4:31 Justene 4:33 Brad Shreve 6:51 Justene 6:54 Brad Shreve 6:56 Justene 7:02 Brad Shreve 7:13 Justene 7:19 Brad Shreve 7:21 Justene 7:23 Brad Shreve 7:35 Justene 7:38 Brad Shreve 8:54 Justene 8:57 Brad Shreve 9:01 Justene 9:05 Brad Shreve 9:12 Justene 9:14 Brad Shreve 9:17 Brad Shreve 9:40 Olivier Bosman 10:13 Brad Shreve 10:15 Olivier Bosman 10:24 Brad Shreve 10:25 Olivier Bosman 10:39 Brad Shreve 10:56 Olivier Bosman 10:59 Brad Shreve 11:38 Olivier Bosman 11:47 Brad Shreve 11:49 Olivier Bosman 11:56 Brad Shreve 12:52 Olivier Bosman 12:56 Brad Shreve 13:00 Olivier Bosman 13:05 Brad Shreve 13:42 Olivier Bosman 13:47 Brad Shreve 13:59 Olivier Bosman 14:02 Brad Shreve 14:05 Olivier Bosman 14:17 Brad Shreve 14:33 Olivier Bosman 14:41 Brad Shreve 16:39 Olivier Bosman 16:45 Brad Shreve 17:00 Olivier Bosman 17:12 Brad Shreve 18:43 Olivier Bosman 18:51 Brad Shreve 18:54 Olivier Bosman 18:57 Brad Shreve 20:02 Olivier Bosman 20:04 Brad Shreve 20:10 Olivier Bosman 20:19 Brad Shreve 21:38 Olivier Bosman 21:55 Brad Shreve 22:33 Olivier Bosman 22:51 Brad Shreve 24:02 Olivier Bosman 24:16 Brad Shreve 24:16 Olivier Bosman 24:24 Brad Shreve 26:34 Olivier Bosman 27:00 Brad Shreve 27:08 Olivier Bosman 27:11 Brad Shreve 27:23 Olivier Bosman 27:29 Brad Shreve 28:23 Olivier Bosman 28:38 Brad Shreve 29:29 Olivier Bosman 29:32 Brad Shreve 29:35 Olivier Bosman 29:42 Brad Shreve 29:44 Olivier Bosman 29:53 Brad Shreve 29:55 Olivier Bosman 29:57 Brad Shreve 30:03 Olivier Boseman 30:05 Brad Shreve 31:16 Olivier Bosman 31:42 Brad Shreve 32:28 Olivier Bosman 32:32 Brad Shreve 32:33 Olivier Bosman 32:51 Brad Shreve 33:26 Olivier Bosman 33:30 Brad Shreve 33:33 Olivier Bosman 33:37 Brad Shreve 33:40 Olivier Bosman 33:45 Brad Shreve 34:02 Olivier Bosman 34:09 Brad Shreve 34:50 Olivier Bosman 35:14 Brad Shreve 35:42 Olivier Bosman 35:44 Brad Shreve 35:46 Olivier Bosman 35:53 Brad Shreve 36:10 Olivier Bosman 36:23 Brad Shreve 36:24 Olivier Bosman 36:34 Brad Shreve 36:47 Olivier Bosman 36:55 Olivier Bosman 37:03 Brad Shreve 37:42 Olivier Bosman 37:47 Brad Shreve 38:18 Olivier Bosman 38:20 Brad Shreve 38:23 Olivier Bosman 38:34 Brad Shreve 38:38 Olivier Bosman 38:46 Brad Shreve 38:48 Olivier Bosman 38:54 Brad Shreve 38:56 Olivier Bosman 39:06 Brad Shreve 39:09 Olivier Bosman 39:13 Brad Shreve 39:38 Olivier Bosman 39:41 Brad Shreve 39:43 Olivier Bosman 39:49 Brad Shreve 39:50 Olivier Bosman 39:55 Brad Shreve 41:14 Olivier Bosman 41:24 Brad Shreve 41:48 Olivier Bosman 41:52 Brad Shreve 41:53 Olivier Bosman 42:03 Brad Shreve 42:08 Olivier Bosman 42:11 Brad Shreve 43:15 Olivier Bosman 43:20 Brad Shreve 43:23 Olivier Bosman 43:36 Brad Shreve 43:58 Olivier Bosman 44:04 Brad Shreve 44:17 Olivier Bosman 44:28 Brad Shreve 44:42 Olivier Bosman 44:45 Brad Shreve 45:16 Olivier Bosman 45:22 Brad Shreve 45:23 Olivier Bosman 45:25 Brad Shreve 45:30
Welcome to Gay Mystery Podcast featuring interviews with renowned LGBTQ authors, and up and coming talent of mystery, suspense and thriller novels. I’m your host Brad Shreve. And Justene is here with her weekly recommendation. Before my interview with Olivier Bosman, we’re going to hear from Justene and see what she has to say. Hi, Justene.
Hi, how are you? I look forward to this interview with Olivier. I like his books, especially the D.S. Billings book, and also his Gay Noir anthology. All of his books are really wonderful. And I like them. And I have recommended the D.S. Billings books on this show about you know when we first started,
yeah, I don’t remember when it was but I definitely remember that you did. And he was very charming to talk with.
Oh, good. I’m looking forward to that. So let me tell you what I have today. Now Listen, everything I recommend on this podcast is a five star review. So I don’t consider myself reviewing books. I just consider myself recommending them. But this book that it has some caveats. So listen, listen to what I tell it in for you. If you think that is your cup of tea please go out and buy it. This is called the Mystery of the Garish Garage. It came up as a new release, Graeme Cheater posted it in the Gay Mystery Group. Graeme does a lot of postings, all new books and he maintains a catalog out of Australia and it’s written by Jeffrey Sacks. So let me tell you one of my my first. Well let me tell you why I picked it. The Mystery of the Garish Garage, sort of the title that you get from a Nancy Drew book mystery, hidden staircase, or on say on Perry Mason or Murder, She Wrote, just kind of that simple title of mystery of
I love. I love the title because I’m trying to picture what a garish garage would look like.
Yes, and I don’t I don’t think I’m going to tell you what a garish garage looks like because it comes up later in the book and it’s a clue and you’re gonna have to just wait and read the book.
Oh, you’re cruel.
I am and knowing how long your to be read pile is a pretty short, this is gonna disappear for a while. But that’s okay. Perhaps our listeners will get to it sooner. So the first the first caveat I have is that he seems to break the first rule of writing. He tells he doesn’t show, but he tells it in the most charming engaging manner. It really is the kind of story where you sit down and somebody’s telling a story that transpires. I don’t know, if you you read those various like Reddit posts, these long Reddit posts telling some twisty tale or you know, the Twitter things that you know have messaged one out of 420. And you just get, you know, next thing you know, you’re it’s a half hour later and you’ve been sucked into the story. And that’s how this goes. I mean, I picked it up. And by about two three pages in I was hooked.
But rules are made to be broken.
Rules are made to be broken. While in the prologue, he says, Look, I’m going to tell you a story. I tell you, it’s real. I retired and I settled down, I was bored. And then I responded to something on Facebook. And this is what transpired, you know, it certainly sounds like it’s real. I’m and I and it sounds like the author really is somebody who has retired and is doing this. I don’t think the rest of the story ever happened but you know, you never know the tale starts He’s, you know, retired and bored. And he looks on Facebook. And somebody is developing this idea of a writer’s group, where seven people will write the story consecutively. And one person will write one, two pages one day, and then the second person. And so it’s just going to be one day a week. And then you have to read the pages up till now and then write your own page and supposed to have a 24 hour turnaround on your pages.
I know of a group that does that.
See, that’s why you get the feeling that maybe this really did happen in this book. Because that’s kind of like whatever everyone’s like, Oh, yeah, that sounds for me. So then he joins this book, and one of the writers starts writing episodes of crimes that happened in the area. These local coffee coffee shop owners are the two Steve’s and they’re been nailed With money laundering, and their coffee shop is shut down. And in the thing that the guy writes, it’s all the same, but the guys are called the two Mikes and they change the name of the coffee shop. And then a couple weeks later, he does the same thing. And he seems to have foreknowledge of these crimes. So then our hero sits down and tries to like, sorted out, he ends up connecting with a another group, another member of the group, even though they’re all supposed to be anonymous, and not supposed to talk to each other. He finds another member of the group, and they get together and they start trying to figure out what this what how this guy knows about these crimes, then they all of a sudden end up completely amazed at trying to find out how this guy knows because they want to find who this guy is trying to figure out who the other members of the group are, and then they come home to one of their apartments and they find a dead body on the floor. And then it just takes the book into a whole different direction. So you get to about halfway into the book though. And he kind of screws up a little bit, he starts talking about himself in the third person. And then he switches to somebody else’s point of view and says, so and so told us when the main characters elsewhere, and these are kind of little slips that show not a lot of editing, and they bring you out of the story. So if you’re a purist on that kind of stuff, then this is not book for you. Now, I used to be a purist on that kind of stuff until about yesterday morning, when I started reading this book, and I said, Oh, well, doesn’t matter. I’m just going to keep reading because the story was so good. And the characters were that likable, and the characters were realistic. So it was really it was really a great book. I’m actually giving it an intriguing recommendation.
Another intriguing. We’ve been getting a few of those.
That’s all we had a few fun in a row.
I thought intriguing. Again, we need to start new. We need to start making a list.
Right? Because none of our listeners have sat down and made a list for us. Yep. And I’m keep asking, and they keep not coming through. But that’s all right.
Come oon, you almost have it’s just almost 50 shows you have to go through and just give a list.
I’m not holding my breath.
No, no, I can see that. So this is a great book. I really I enjoyed it quite a bit. And I’m and it’s supposed to be the first in a series and I hope that he writes more.
Do you have anything from ReQueered Tales this week?
I gotta say it’s been an exciting week for ReQueered Tales. We had a feature article at the Lambda Literary site, lambdaliterary.org. And we’ve been getting just a great response from that article. And next week we are coming out with Actually no, this week. It’s today. Isn’t it coming out today? No, no, it’s not Next week, oh, you know Brad, I have no idea. But at some point soon, Simple Justice by john Morgan Wilson is going to come out with a foreword by Christopher Rice, and if it’s not on sale, you can preorder it, if you are inclined to buy it, I we ask you to preorder it, because you know that really, that really gets the book to the top of the charts and gets other people to know it. If you’re gonna borrow it on Kindle Unlimited, you know, we’d really like you to borrow it that first day. You don’t have to read it that first day. And you don’t have to, you know, whenever you read it as one will get paid for it. But we want you to borrow on that first day because somehow Amazon’s algorithm counts the book when it’s borrowed, but doesn’t pay till it sread. And all that interest on the first day really helps and I think that people will really enjoy this
And it’s currently available on pre order.
Yes, it is Simple Justice. John Morgan Wilson,
and it’ll come out somewhere around the middle of September.
Yes, it may even be out today or it’s gonna be out in the next week. It’s coming out on a Tuesday.
Okay, folks, just go and hit that pre order button.
Okay, that’s it for today.
All right, well, thank you a lot Justene. Interact with other crime fiction fans and authors in our Gay-Mystery-Thriller-suspense fiction group on Facebook. Link is on our website, gaymystery podcast.com.
Born to Dutch parents and raised in Columbia and England, Olivier Bosman is a rootless wander with itchy feet. He spent the last few years living and working in the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sudan, and Bulgaria, but he has every confidence that he will now be able to settle down among the olive groves of Andalucia. He did an MA in creative writing for film and television at the University of Sheffield. He currently lives in Spain where he makes ends meet by teaching and English. My pleasure to have you on Olivier.
It’s a pleasure to be here.
What before we begin, I wanted to let our listeners know that while your name is spelled what some people would frequently call Olivier, you do go by Oliver.
That’s right. Yes.
I don’t want them gritting their teeth or through the whole show thinking I’m getting the pronounciation wrong. Okay. Now, before we get to your book, you’ve traveled through much of the world, but sounds like you’re planting your feet firmly in Spain.
Well, I bought a house in Andalucia here and I you know, I am getting older, not old by any means, but I’m trying to but I still get itchy feet and I still daydream about moving somewhere else. I’ll be it temporarily.
Okay, so why Spain at this point?
Spain is part of the European Union, I have an EU nationality so I can live anywhere within the European Union. Spain is much cheaper than other countries. I speak fluent Spanish because I was born and raised in Colombia. So you know, the weather is nice here and yeah, the quality of life is better because it’s cheaper. So I can I can afford to I can afford to more or less live off my level my writing and work as an English teacher a few hours a week and concentrate on writing. I can afford to do that here in Spain. I couldn’t do that in England. I needed it full time job there. So yeah.
I see definitely why you would want to stay. That’s great. Yes. And I’m currently trying to learn Spanish So you and I might do some zoom calls.
Oh, well, I’d love to help you.
Now other than Spain, what country do you find the most fascinating and why?
Well, and I guess Britain really is it Is the country that I feel most at home with. Most at home in. I moved to Britain when I was 11. So I grew up there, so to speak, I mean, I spent my childhood years in Colombia but my teenage years, which I guess is when when you personality develops, I spent that in England. You know, I love the English language and I know a lot about English history, English culture, so that’s a country where I feel at home I just also like, I mean, I mentioned the nice weather in Spain, but actually I quite like the rainy weather in England. I like the green fields. So I do like Britain in general well Britain in general. I’ve also lived in Scotland, and I’ve also lived in Ireland. So those two islands, Britain and Ireland. They’re the countries that I most attract me.
Your list of places you been goes on and on.
Oh, yes, yes, yes, there’s more than than I mentioned in my my website. is
Where do your itchy travelling feet come from? Did your family travel?
Well, yes, I mean I was I was born in Colombia because that’s where my parents were living at the time. prior to going to Colombia they lived in Curacao and in the Caribbean and they went Nicaraguan they lived in Belgium. I guess it it is hereditary. My mother likes moving houses a lot. She actually likes the idea of moving to you know, redecorating the house and I don’t know it kind of moving. It gives you a new breaze of new breeze of life, I guess. Have you have you lived in one place all your life?
I have moved all over the United States. But I have not moved out of country now.
Yeah, okay. It’s the same. It’s the same idea. You move to a new town. It’s a new life. You can start all over again. It’s that feeling of having a fresh beginning. I guess. That’s what appeals to me.
I am envious because it sounds wonderful.
But it was it was wonderful. Yes.
Well, before we get to your most recent novel, A Glimpse of Heaven, I’d like to talk with you about your D.S. Billings novels. And I believe there are four novels and a novella, is that correct?
That’s right. There are four novels and a novella. And A Glimpse of Heaven is actually the continuation of that series. It’s got the same protagonist except in the same same world. It’s really it’s a continuation, but I can explain later why it’s a way to spin off series.
Yeah, I noticed that online. So I am going to ask you about the spin off, but right now tell us about D.S. John Billings and his story.
So the D.S. Billings Victorian Mysteries they set in the late Victorian period, in the 1880s and 1890s. As John Billings I describe him as a gay Quaker detective with a morphine addiction. kind of sense makes him sound a bit more interesting. He is he is gay, but he is not comfortable with being gay. He’s had a religious upbringing. So that’s partially it. Also at the time, of course homosexuality was was illegal. He grew up. His parents were quaker missionaries, and he grew up in Madagascar where they had their mission. But he was stranded in England, aged 13. When he became orphaned his first his father died in Madagascar. And then his mother died shortly after they arrived in England. So he’s been, he’s had a lonely childhood, and he’s still a lonely man is a man with many demons. He is a lapsed Quaker. So he’s not religious anymore, but he still has that Quaker sensitivity where he feels for people where he feels great empathy and sympathy for people and wants to help people and often at his own cost. He’s a Scotland Yard detective, but he finds his job. very stressful. His He’s a nice person, but you need to get to know him. He’s very aloof, most people think is arrogant. And he’s not very popular as a result. He is a loner, but he’s also lonely. He wants to make contact with people, but at the same time he pushes people away is a very contradictoray character. And I think, you know, from what I read the reviews of the people who read my books, the reason they love the series is because of him is because he is such an interesting and complicated character. And he’s slowly throughout the course of the books, getting to terms with his demons.
Being a Quaker and working in law enforcement, I can definitely see where that would be difficult.
Yes, yes. He’s constantly dealing with people who have had unfortunate lives have fallen on hard times and reduced to crime and instead of trying to capture them, he wants to help them
Again back to A Glimpse of Heaven, and that was published in July. This John Billings again is the protagonist. But as you mentioned, it’s not part of the D.S. Billings series.
No, it isn’t really. Um, I mean, it is it is really, if you’ve been reading the D.S. Billings series, then this is just the latest book it continues on. But there is a reason why I turned it into a spin off series. Start with the last book in the D.S. Billings Victorian mysteries Anarchy. I can’t tell you what, how it ends because that would be giving it away. But the ending of that book at the ending of that book, there is a turn there’s a change in in Billings life. I’m kind of using that opportunity to start a new series with a slight change of tone, slight change of cover, where I mean his life continues. He continues to be a detective who continues to solve mysteries. It’s very hard to talk about it without giving anything away. There’s a change of tone. There is a change of setting a lot of the characters from the from the previous series continues. But I was hoping it’s a difficult balancing act. But I was hoping that with this new spin off, I might be able to reach a broader public. I think people might be put off by having the fifth book in the series because they feel like they would need to read all the other books in the series. So it was kind of like a fresh beginning to have book one in a new series and market it differently to the other books. Now, I’ve learned a lot about marketing from publishing the other books. So that’s partially also the reason why I started a spin off series.
Well, I don’t want to spoil the end of your book Anarchy. So I’m going to skip the part about asking how is it different. You explained that well enough.
That that that’s good.
Can you share a bit about the story or would that be..
Yes. Well, yes, I mentioned, John Billings is a detective and in A Glimpse of Heaven, He gets caught up in the world of mysticism and spirituality and the occult. This was a big thing in the late Victorian era people were very much into seances and and into the occult, and there were occult societies like the Golden Dawn, etc. and the many people who wrote about it, including Alastair Corley, a famous occultist. The book is largely based on Alistair Crowley. So if you know anything about Alistair Crowley, you will you will find a lot of it in in A Glimpse of Heaven. Yeah, it’s about the occult. Basically, it’s about a cult scientists who, who look for hidden hidden meaning in religious texts. And that’s also where the title A Glimpse of Heaven comes from. So they’re studying religious texts like the Bible and the Torah, and trying to find hidden messages which gives them a glimpse to heaven. glimpse of heaven
sounds very interesting.
Oh, yes. Well, it was I mean, they I really enjoyed doing the research for it. It’s very interesting.
All of your Billings novels take place in the 19th century. What is it about the Victorian era that interests you?
I’m interested in history in general. I’ve tried writing books set in present day and I don’t enjoy them as much. I guess. Even when I’m walking down the street, I’m always imagining what the place would have looked like 100 years ago, or 200 years ago. I’m just fascinated by the history, my history. So I stumbled upon 19th upon the 19th century, by accident, really, when the novella which is the the first book that I wrote with, with this character, it’s called Death Takes a Lover. I wanted to write a play on Death Takes a Lover was a play initially. And I was inspired to write that play. After reading Wilkie Collins, The Woman in Waits, a famous Victorian novel, kind of dark, Gothic, Victorian novel, that inspired me to to write a dark, Gothic, Victorian play called Death Takes a Lover there. And after I finished that, I thought it would be a good idea to turn it into a series of detective stories. So that’s why I chose that particular that particular century, but I don’t, it’s not that I have more of an affinity with Victorian times. And I have to say, with the 1930s, and the 1920s, or, or any other time in history, just history in general that appeals to me.
Well, one of the nice things about writing historically is that you can put real events in there, That’s a little bit harder to do when you’re writing current day. Are there any special ethics that you have to be concerned about when you’re writing historical characters?
Well, I don’t write historical characters. I write characters maybe which are based on historical characters like, as I mentioned, in A Glimpse of Heaven, I, I researched a lot of Alistair Crowley and I have a character which is based on him the based on him so I can make any changes that I want, because it’s not him much changes in, it’s not him, but it doesn’t matter if people who knows a lot of Crowley, will see a lot of Alistair Crowley in in that character that that doesn’t matter, but it’s not him so. So I don’t have to make any I can make any changes that I want. I don’t write about real historical figures.
Well, you may know the answer to this question. It came to my head and I’m curious because you may be able to answer this. You mentioned that during that time period, being gay was illegal. But it’s also during the gay 90s was, even though it’s illegal, was it accepted at all in society?
Well, it’s it so depends what class you were in. I mean, amongst the upper classes, it was relatively accepted. I mean, Oscar Wilde was from that same period, and he was largely openly gay. I mean, everybody knew that he was gay, even though he was married. Everybody knew that he had he had lovers, that, you know, there was a famous court case against him. But that was because Oscar Wilde sued somebody else for calling him a sodomite, saying that it was slander. And because he sued the person for slandering him that he did, that he a sodomite, the onus was on the other person to prove that he was right that he really was sodomite. That’s how you know he, Oscar Wilde dug a hole for himself. If he hadn’t done that he could have continued leading a relatively open gay life, but that’s only amongst the upper classes and also amongst the artistic people. You know, he was a theatre person, I think, amongst the middle classes and the lower classes. It wasn’t accepted. No. And and people were persecuted and put in prison for it.
You’re not the first of my guest that is pursuing novels now. But you have a master’s in film and television and pursued a career in screenwriting. And as I said, that has come up quite a few times.
And then you later change to theater. Yes. Yeah. Tell us that story about the changes and how they came, how and why they came about.
Well, film is my great love. I mean, I love reading and I and I read a lot, but film is really the thing that I love the most. And I love writing dialogue. So that’s why I initially wanted to write plays and screenplays, I wrote plays and screenplays at the same time. I wanted to Yes, I wanted to initially be as a screenwriter. And I studied it and I had an agent for a while it was just very difficult to get into it, especially in Britain. We’re not that many films are made is not produced. Britain or with British money. There’s a lot of American films made in Britain, the British film industry doesn’t actually produce that many films. It was very hard to get into. Also, I realized while I was pursuing it that actually a screenwriter doesn’t make up a story and then writes a screenplay in about, the story that he wants to screenwriters are hired to write other people’s stories or to improve other people’s scripts, or to adapt other people’s novels. And what I enjoyed the most was creating my own story creating my own characters. Also, a lot of the best films are adaptations from novels. So I just thought the kind of kind of story that I wanted to write, were better suited to novels rather than, rather than than screenplays. So but as he wasn’t going very well anywhere else, and I wasn’t really getting anywhere, as in my screenwriting pursuits, and self publishing had come about. So I thought I’d give it a try at least that way. If I write a novel and I publish it myself, it will be available people can read it the problem with screenplay places you can’t really enjoy reading a screenplay. Reading a screenplay isn’t the finished product. The finished product is the film in which a lot will change between the screenplay and the film that actually gets that actually gets screened. With a novel. you publish it, it’s available to people people buy it, they can give you feedback on it. It’s a finished product. It’s a much shorter length, you know, from conception to, to publication, in like you can write a novel in six months. It takes years to make a film. So it’s much more satisfying really.
What you feel about film reminds me of a story about Stephen King. I can’t remember the name of the movie Fire, uh, Firestarter. So right after that film came out, he was at a political rally and a friend of mine sat next to him and said, I heard your movie Firestarter is a really good film. And his response was, that isn’t my book. What they have changed. They changed that so much. Please don’t please don’t go see that. movie.
Oh, yes. Yeah, apparently he hated The Shining as well. Yeah, I heard that was such a classic. He hated it.
Yeah, I heard that as well.
Yeah, I mean, you know, producers they know what kind of film they want and they want the screenwriter to write the film that the producer wants producers are the ones that make the films screenwriters are just hired hands.
You mentioned that you took your screenplay for Death Takes a Lover and made that into the novella.
But it was a stage it was a stage play. And I produced it. I produced it in London, I hired a French theatre there. And they got a group of actors together. It ran for three weeks. And then I got the idea of doing a series with this detective. I just thought it was a very interesting detective and it could be a series. So I wrote a full length book, which was The Ornamental Hermit. And then I published the Ornental Hermit and then I published then I adapted The play into a novella, just to have another book. Next, if you just have the one book, it’s kind of hard to, to, to sell. And, you know, people who are looking for writers with more books before they commit to a particular writer, so I just wanted to have something extra while while while I was busy writing my second book, so I adapted my play and released it as another novella.
What I’m curious is writing for stage and screen is a lot different because it is for lack of a better word, much cleaner, I guess, I would say, whereas you have to fill in the blanks on the novel. Did you find that a difficult transition?
Yes, I found it very difficult. And I had to write it several times because obviously, a theater is taught through dialogue. Everything’s in the dialogue. And my first draft was very, very claustrophobic, just people talking all the time and saying things which could be shown so I had, you know, initially first I’d just wrote what I had, you know, but written in prose written in a different way, then then I had to really change it. And I struggled with it for a long time to try and get it right. Because I didn’t want to use I didn’t want to lose too much of a dialogue. So it was great dialogue. But I didn’t want to be all dialogue. You know, I added scenes which didn’t appear in the play. I cut some scenes, which, which one is not necessary. So yes. There was a lot of adaptation, as well.
Now it’s time for awkward questions that authors get
And I think you’re familiar. I spin the wheel. Yes. And you get a question. Sometimes they’re hard to answer. Sometimes they’re rude or
All right, well, let’s see how that goes.
Okay, hold on a second while I spin the wheel. Okay, yours is kind of blunt.
Are your books any good?
Are my books any good? Yes, they are. Absolutely.What else am I gonna say?
Why would you say so?
Well, I think they’re good. I mean, you know, I write the kind of books that I enjoy. And they’re atmospheric. There are interesting mysteries. You know, they’re not. There’s all different kinds of mysteries than just murder mysteries. It’s not just a person dies, there’s a group of suspects and you have to guess who it is. There’s people disappearing. There’s You know, there’s, there’s a variety of mystery but the mystery itself leads you into a world which is in like a foreign country. It’s, it’s a historical novel. So there’s a lot of the atmosphere of late 19th century Britain, the character is very compelling. All of the characters are very compelling. I tried to flesh out the characters as much as possible, and that’s the thing that really interests me. It’s not just a mystery, but it’s also it’s also a drama really in in that the characters are very multi dimensional, and they all have their demons and, you know, the main character John Billings he isn’t squeaky clean either. He know his is? What was the word? A character with flaws. He’s a flawed character. And I find that much more interesting than, than just a good hero.
I can tell you from the comments I’ve heard in Facebook groups, many times, people would agree that your books are good. Actually, more than more than good is what I generally hear. Yes. You’ve written two books that are not part of the Billings mysteries. I’m especially intrigued by Gay Noir the novel titled Gay Noir. I’d like to hear more about that.
So again, what they are three, three different novella length stories separate from each other, but they are all noir stories, and they all feature gay protagonists. The idea was to write more of these and I would still love to do that. Some points but they just haven’t gotten around to it. But yeah, they are they’re short stories with gay protagonists to them. Two are set in Britain one of them is set in California but with a British character. And yes, it sir, you should read it. It’s you know, they’re they’re very good stories that they’re a bit rough that I mean, you know, they’re they’re a bit edgy. Not cozy mysteries by by any means but it’s noir so it wouldn’t be cozy.
Well I will tell you it is in my Kindle and I’m going to move it up to towards the top.
That’s because I knew I was going to jump into it and then I got distracted. I’ll definitely look into it. You mentioned earlier that you are a film buff. And I know you collect DVDs. Any idea how many you have in your collection?
I have I’ve never counted them but I have loads. I have a whole bookcase full of them in there now because I’ve moved so much had to throw away a lot of the covers. I’ve got a whole lot of DVDs in special DVD bags, you know, like this CD carrier cases. So I’ve got a whole stack of those. And I’ve got a whole bookshelf full of DVDs. I don’t really know how many I have, but it’s several hundred. And and I watch, watch a DVD every night and I watch many of them over and over again. They’re not just things that I only watch once.
Yeah, good movie. I could watch over and over again, many many times.
Well, you got many DVDs as well.
Yes. And I’m changing that to buying online, though.
I’m a little more comfortable with their DVDs.
I guess I don’t have nearly as many as you do. I can’t give you the number but it sounds like you have a whole lot more than I do.
Yes. Yes. And I’m worried that they might stop making them because I don’t want to buy online. I’d like to have to come I’d like to have the I like to have them on maybe on my display on my display case.. So I want to keep on buying DVDs. I didn’t stop making.
Well, that sounds very much like people that prefer a hardcover book compared to those that like a Kindle.
Well, I mean, I do to really do I mean, I’ve got Kindle and it’s just very useful to have a Kindle. You can buy a book, can you have it there immediately and you can have store a lot of books in them and you can carry it everywhere you want. But there is something romantic about flipping pages and the smell of a new book, and having having something to show people. This is the book that I’m reading and then you show them the cover and people get intrigued. It’s just nicer than but yes, I mean, Kindles are very useful. I read I mostly read ebooks also because I’m living in Spain and it’s harder to buy books in English, where I live. But yes, I understand why people prefer paperbacks to ebooks.
Appreciate that. You said that you have had to cut back on some of the DVDs because of your your moving in your travels. As I said, I’ve always been here in the States but I’ve moved quite a bit throughout the United States this, I’ve had to give up a lot a lot. I don’t get real connected to things for that reason. I’ve also lost a lot of things in my moves.
I’m absolutely with you. I don’t actually have any possessions. This is the first house that in I bought this house where I live in it’s the first house that I own. Previously, I’ve always rented furnished places. So I didn’t even when I moved here, I didn’t even have any furniture on the house came with something during it and then bit by bit so I’ve been buying furniture. This is the first time I’m actually I actually own things other than DVDs, or DVDs were my only possession.
Well, that makes it easy to move.
That’s right. Yes.
I’m curious as far as historical. Do you enjoy historical movies as much as you do in novels?
Yes, I do. Well, period movies, you know, put in not necessarily historical there’s a difference between historical and period. Yeah, you’re set in a different in a different era. I enjoy historical movies. I enjoy if they are accurate, but mostly they’re not.
I think I’ve shared this on the air before that I’ve been reading a novel novel or novella written during the Victorian era. And the young lady said that she was on her way to a cocktail party.
Oh, okay. Yes.
And I, I don’t usually stop a book, but I did stop at that point, because I guess they missed something in the research there.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, I mean, it’s, it’s easy to make a mistake, but you have to have a bit of an affinity with, with the period that you’re writing in. So it’s easy to assume things that exist now existed then.
That is true. That is true. Now for our listeners. What are some great mystery movies that you believe are required watching?
Oh, golly, am wells I like a lot of the old.
You know the old. We’re talking about about gay noir. I like a lot of the old noir films, like the Maltese Falcon, for instance. Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart, that’s a great one. That’s a tough it’s a tough one. If people ask me to recommend films, I’m always lost for words, because there are so many that I like. So why I would say I would say that a Maltese Maltese Falcon, there’s a film called The Grifters and other Noir, a great noir film directed by Stephen Frears. It was released in the 90s with Angelica Houston and John Cusack. Do you know it The Grifters?
I believe I have seen it but it was a long time ago.
Yes, it was long time ago since I saw it but it really impressed me. I thought that was a great mystery as well. Of course, I don’t know. I think when it comes to mysteries, best mysteries that I know the ones that that really impressed me with books rather than films. Mm hmm. So things like Wilkie Collins The Woman in White or you know Margaret Atwood books. They have some mystery in them as well. They’re very good. Like The Blind Assassin. That was an excellent book. I don’t know.
Oh, that’s fine. You didn’t fine there.
What would you What would you recommend?
Well, I would definitely recommend the Maltese Falcon. Like a wonderful film. I I’m having a hard time thinking of others. I did enjoy. I did enjoy the recent one Knives Out.
Yeah, I haven’t seen it looks like a spoof.
And not really, it’s not, but it’s, there is humor in it and definitely give it a try. I think you’ll enjoy.
I’ve hear al ot of good stuff out of it. Yeah.
Okay. And it has Chris Evans in it, which I always enjoy looking at him
there is that.
Now back to your writing that John Billings Mystery is number one in a series, A new one. So you obviously plan to do more of those.
But as I’m, I am, I mean, I’m in the process of writing another one.
Do you have any other series in mind for the future?
No, no, not not for the moment. So I’m concentrating on this one. As I mentioned, before I am I would like to write two more noir novellas, but there would be standalones and and I would probably publish them like I did Gay Noir. You know, three, three novellas in one book, like an anthology. But I’m not contemplating any other series. No.
Nothing, nothing in the plan that the right now?
No, not right now.
So I presume writing historical novels is probably a large amount of research involved.
Of course, yes.
What is one of the most surprising things you found in your research?
And well, the this book that I’m writing now, which is the second one in the jumbling semester, It’s setting Egypt. So in the lead Victorian period in England, there was this thing called Egyptamania where people were just mad about Egypt in ancient Egypt and with the archeological discoveries that were made. And you know, people traveled to Egypt a lot and what the, the rich ones they would travel to Egypt and buy souvenirs and I was amazed to ask what kind of souvenirs they could buy because a lot of the great treasures from ancient Egypt know that that people found in in the tombs they were just on sale on the streets like I came across a photograph of a boy on the street selling mummies selling mummies on the streets to European tourists. So I was surprised about how little control there was in in archeological discoveries in Egypt at that time. It was a bit of a scandal at the time because somebody did then regulated decided to regulate it then because a lot of treasures were being lost were being sold. to tourists, no extravagant tourist who wanted to have something like a lovely sarcophagus to display to their to their dinner guests in the dining room. So I was amazed that they even sold mummies on the streets.
Well, yeah, I’m thinking of a boy on the street selling mummies and then hysterical to me, but I imagine a lot of great information has been lost because of that.
Well, yes, exactly. But then there were a lot of mummies. I mean, there was a lot of treasure in Egypt. You know, the Egypt did mummify a lot of things not all mummies were kings or princes or important people’s ordinary people got mummified as well. So I guess the ones that the way we’re selling on the street will probably not important on this, but yes, a lot of information is gone by now. That’s absolutely true.
Well, if I’m buying a mummy, I better get somebody that’s in Royalty
I don’t want to discount money. No, no, exactly. Would you say have a union quirky writing habit.
Oh, I don’t really know what kind of habit of style
Well, you either one go with style.
Yeah, habit my habit I don’t have a writing habit I have to force myself to write I’m a lazy writer, I have to force myself to write at least 500 words every day. And even that I don’t always manage. stylewise I like to, I like to write. I don’t spend a lot of pages describing things. A lot of the atmosphere just comes from dialogue, the way people speak. And dialogue is what I enjoy writing most. And if I’m working on a dialogue scene, I could write like 2000 words in one go. When I’m writing a descriptive scene that just takes its toll. I could spend three hours just writing 500 words if I have to write a descriptive scene. So yeah, I guess That’s my that’s my style. My my, my quirk is that I like to put information regarding atmosphere and descriptions in the dialogue rather than in the narrative.
Well, writing dialogue is for enjoying it. That’s actually good for screenwriting.
Well, exactly. That’s why initially I wanted to be a screenwriter. Yes.
You and I are very similar. I absolutely love writing dialogue. I could just spew out the whole day. But then I have to force myself to write the description. So yeah, that’s a lot of fun.
It is, it is. Yes. No, and I read, I read your book, I read the first the first book of your series, and you had some, some really great, great characters in there. And I really enjoyed the dialogue that you wrote in those, those books. So you can see you can tell you can tell that you you really enjoy the character that you’re writing.
Well, thank you. Yeah. I have to. All of them I have to enjoy them. Whether I love them or hate them
Yes. Sometimes the villains are no that the horrible villains that they’re just fun to write. Yes, certainly fun to write in A Glimpse of Heaven. There is a very horrible villain in that book. And I really enjoyed writing him.
Olivier, our time is up, and I really enjoyed our conversation. So did I yes, it was great fun. And let’s plug your most recent novel again.
It’s called AGlimpse of Heaven. It’s the first of the John Billings Mysteries. And it’s about a detective getting into the world of the occult in the late Victorian England
And where again is the best place to find the book.
And well the best places to go to my website, oliverbosman.com and click on the link and that’ll, and that’ll take you to all the shops that it’s available on so I’ve gone wide with this book. It’s available on on all of the major shops. Barnes and Noble Kobo, and Apple, Amazon Smashwords. everywhere, everywhere where you can buy books, it’s there. But if you go to my website and you click on the link, it’ll take you to a link in it. You can choose the store of your of your choice.
I’ll make sure I put the website in the show notes so easy for people to find you.
Well, thank you again for your time. Thank you.
Thank you for having me.
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