Happy Sunday! Hope you’re having a great weekend. I’m thrilled to have the fab Donovan J Brooks visiting today. He’s chatting about his new release, A Dame to Die For, which takes us to the fabulous 40s era -film noir, detectives, burlesque. What’s not to love?
Thanks so much for being here, Donovan. So, let’s start with you telling us a bit about yourself.
Inspired by characters such as Captain Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter, black and white films, and vintage burlesque, I seek to capture the forbidden and erotic side of a decade rich with vibrant hues. I have an affinity for the 1940s, parboiled detectives, murder mysteries, and sexy, sultry dames. Erotic moments can be triggered by a brush of the fingers, a heated glance, or a daring confession. My goal is to capture these scenes and paint them with words. Romance varies but should never be limited, especially when the characters speak in authoritative tones.
I will admit to a bit of an Agent Carter obsession at the moment, there really is something about that era. Was there a specific moment where you first knew that you wanted to be a writer?
I never had an ‘ah ha’ moment, no. I just started writing and my friend who also writes said to keep going. So I did. She had faith in me. I still harbor doubts. But I enjoy writing, so I’ll keep doing it.
Aww, it’s lovely to find that support and faith from someone, isn’t it? Do you have a particular writing routine, or any special rituals?
Visual stimulation. I like to watch fan-made videos and scan through Tumblr for inspiration for my stories. I have a serious obsession with the 1940s and noir. So I gravitate toward noir and detective films. Also Captain America and Peggy Carter. I’ve said it more than once, but I’ll say it again. Those two inspire me in many ways. As does Bucky and Cap…just read ‘Til the End of the Line and you’ll see what I mean.
Don’t need to sell me on Bucky *drools a bit* er, yes, so where were we? Tell us about the genre you write in, and what drew you to it.
I write historical erotic fiction. At least that’s what I call it.
My first story, ‘Til the End of the Line, wasn’t a romance, but it had a lot of erotic elements. Both m/m and m/f. A Dame to Die For had a very different tone. Much more a historical romantic erotica with mystery and suspense.
Every good action movie has its sexy scenes and romance. My stories are no different. I enjoy seeing these elements combined, so I write it. Simple and straightforward.
Are there any particular authors or books that have really inspired you?
I love Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. A good mystery can never go wrong. I hope to venture into that territory at some point, but of course it’ll have a bit more spice in my books.
Hmm, I could get on board with a sexy Agatha Christie-style 😉 What five things could you never do without?
A good book, hearty meal, cold drink, a willing woman, and a soft bed. I’m a simple man, as I’ve said before.
Hey, nothing wrong with the essentials lol! Tell us a bit about your new release.
A Dame to Die For is a detective story in the noir style set amidst the backdrop of New York City in 1946. Jack Hunter has returned from the war and taken on the hardship of detective work. The woman he left behind suddenly draws him in, requesting his help to find her missing sister. Add a little burlesque, a bit of intrigue, an estranged sister, a complicated relationship, not to mention a shady past, and you have all the makings of an adventure toward disaster.
Do I have your attention yet? *grins*
Hehe, yup, I’m definitely intrigued! Where did your inspiration for it come from?
Chris Evans and Hayley Atwell. My friend I told you about earlier. She’s got the hots for Evans. I kinda have a thing for Ms. Atwell. After finding some fantastic pictures of both of them, my characters just fell into place and took on lives of their own.
Heaven help me if either of them ever read this story. I may die of embarrassment at my confession.
Lol, surely that will mean you’ve made it ‘big’ though – and hey, they might be flattered 🙂 What did you find most enjoyable about writing it?
Uncovering the story as I wrote. I’m a pantser. So I went into this story completely blind. Every detail was revealed to me as I wrote, some parts making me pause in surprise. Not knowing what was going to happen next made the journey interesting.
That is always my favourite part about writing – having no idea what’s going to happen and being taken along on the journey with the characters 🙂 What was the hardest part about writing it?
Keeping Kelley and Steve quiet. They’re the main characters from ‘Til the End of the Line. They do make an appearance in A Dame to Die For. Several times they nearly took over the story for themselves, but I set them straight.
Hehe, yup pesky secondary characters can be a real pain! Speaking of – who’s your favourite character in it? (I know, I know, favouritism!)
I love all my characters equally. Lily has to take that spot as my favorite though. Because I modeled her after Hayley. Strong and sassy with a hint of snark.
She sounds like someone I’d want to meet 🙂 So, just in case we’re not convinced already, why should we run out and buy it right now?
For the burlesque performance scene alone. Picture Jack standing in the center of the stage with the spotlight blazing on him as Lily slowly performs her dance using him as a prop. Oh, it’s sinful and delicious. That scene alone is worth it.
The snarky banter is also totally worth it. These characters are a riot. You should check it out.
*fans self* well I’m off to buy it 😉 The book details are here:
1946, New York City
I missed her. Five years in the army and I wanted her more than I had before I left. When she sent for me, I should have said no. Maybe I’m still a dumb kid with a soft spot for dames in a jam.
Lily knew it. When her dancer sister went missing from the Burlesque joint on 52nd, she banked on me coming to her rescue. But the past caught up and pulled us both under. I keep asking myself—is she worth dying for?
You can get your hands on a copy here:
And don’t forget to follow Donovan on social media to stay up to date on his news and releases:
Have a great weekend x
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