Our Alan is a huge fan of Ingela Bohm… and it’s always lovely to welcome new authors to Sinfully. So we were delighted when Ingela agreed to pop in and tell us a little more about her Pax Cymrica: The True History Series and how the band came to life.
Watch out for Alan’s series review coming soon and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a book from Ingela Bohm’s backlist.
“One, two, three, four…”
A band comes to life
Release was supposed to be a completely different story. From the beginning, it was set in the 80’s, and Pax did a tour for charity. But then a movie with a similar plot came out, and I realized that I had to make some changes in order not to be accused of plagiarism.
So I did. I changed it all. I set the story in ’78, scrapped the charity thing and the hospital scenes, and introduced an over-zealous photographer instead. I waved my wand, and the scenery changed. It’s strange, really. Michael and Jamie are at my mercy. I make their bed before they lie in it. I buy the batteries for their fuzz boxes. I write their songs.
But sometimes I have to remind myself that before I wrote them, they didn’t exist. I think it’s because in a way, they did. They existed in the music I listened to, and in the delightful 70’s fashions that we laugh at now. They existed in the chemistry I saw onstage between musicians who loved to play together. They existed in all those slim and androgynous performers who were allowed to wear flowery blouses and nail polish, and who had luscious, long hair.
But even though Michael and Jamie sprang from real music, they aren’t typical rock stars. At least not the ubiquitous bad boys of the rock world. And there’s a reason: in all the documentaries and interviews I’ve watched, one thing that has struck me is how polite, intelligent and well-spoken many of them are. Dio, Bruce Dickinson, Ian Anderson, Alice Cooper… they all have something to say, and they say it well. Since that’s the soil my story grew from, you won’t find a lot of television sets thrown out of hotel windows.
Instead, you’ll find sensitive, artistic souls who care about their music, and who want to excel at what they do. People who love their little band family like their own blood. Young men who try to carve out a career at the same time that they carve out a life. An insurmountable task at times: more than once, they encounter crossroads where they have to choose between their music and their love for each other.
Sometimes I worry about it. I catch myself thinking, “These men don’t behave like they should. I need more wild parties, more drugs, more fast cars.” But even when I try to crowbar those things in, it all sort of fizzles out, because that’s not where this story wants to go. Pax can never really let their hair down, because they have to constantly watch what they say and do. If I want the parties, I’ll just have to read someone else, someone who knows how to write them. My boys are underdogs who toil in a genre that isn’t exactly cool. I mean, progressive rock – how much more geeky can it get? Like, none.
But I love it. The 70’s really was a wonderful decade in many ways. Back then, bands could make a handful of albums before they were dropped from a label. They had the time to make mistakes, to learn and grow, instead of having to produce a hit single or die. Radio DJ’s played what they liked, instead of today’s mandatory “heavy rotation” singles playlists. Bands could experiment and do really weird stuff on wax, and reach a big audience through extensive touring.
Maybe that’s coming back with the advent of YouTube and Spotify, I don’t know. But I’m still nostalgic – for a time I never knew. I mean, Pax was formed the same year I was born. I never really experienced the 70’s, unless you count being pushed around in a pram and playing with Lego in orange and brown hand-me-downs. That’s probably why I can romanticize the period. My sisters, who were teenagers at the time, certainly don’t.
But writing about a time I didn’t live through also means having to do a lot of research. Apart from all that musician-y stuff – guitar brands, endorsements, monophonic synths, time signatures, chord progressions – I had to find out whether there were TV’s in pubs back then, what was on Top of the Pops, what the free festivals at Stonehenge were like, what albums Nat King Cole had made, if it rained in Wiltshire in June, and how to describe really good bike brakes.
Gotta love the Internet.
Then again, some things I didn’t have to research. I too had a mother who made talking frogs out of Polo mints. I’ve lived in Gothenburg and smelled the wild roses. I spent my childhood summers on a bike in England. So Release has also taken me on a trip through my own memories, an anything-can-happen land where my only company has been Michael and Jamie. (Actually, that’s a lie. I have a real soft spot for Cal.)
Anyway, I’m really happy with where I’ve left them now, but I’m far from done. My boys demand two more books, and I can’t afford a law suit. This means that in the end, I’ll have painted a whole music career, just like I hoped I would when I first sat down at my laptop and typed the first words of Just Playing. Back then, I concentrated on the budding band, and on how Jamie and Michael fought their growing attraction. That was the intro, the first riffs, the hook. Then, in The Road Taken, the focus shifted to how they made their touring life work, and how it all hinged on their pretending to be just friends. That was the verse, the zigzag road to the climax.
And now, in Release, I’ve taken a look at how their career is threatened by both inner and outer demons as the ball really starts rolling. It’s the full-blown chorus, where everything comes to a head and the melody blossoms into something you can sing along to.
But they still need a middle eight. They’ve survived the 70’s, and a new kind of adventure is in sight. The next time you meet them will be in ’87, when a whole new set of problems appears. And of course, they’ll also get a spectacular outro down the road, when they’re old and grey. These two remaining books are already plotted out, and all that remains is to actually write them.
Piece of cake!
Release (Pax Cymrica: The True History Book 3) by Ingela Bohm
Published ~ 19th June 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Things are moving forward for Pax – at about 35 miles per day, actually. Their new tour may be unorthodox and their sleeping quarters less than glamorous, but they do have fans, tucked away in the backwaters of England. Besides, there are whispers about bigger gigs, interest from abroad, maybe even another album. But there's something wrong with Jamie. Michael doesn't want to believe it, but on the eve of their big break, the truth can't stay hidden anymore. Will it destroy everything, or will Jamie make it through his Purgatory in time?
Pax Cymrica: The True History Series
Book #1: Just Playing (Currently only 99c/99p)
Book #2 The Road Taken
Book #3: Release
Meet Inglea Bohm
Ingela Bohm is a sucker for music and words, and whenever the two go together, she’s on board for the long haul. Every story she tries her hand at turns into a love story at some point, but that’s just her sentimental nature making itself known. She occasionally pretends to be a human being (as long as there are no dogs present), and she spends an obscene amount of time in front of really well-made TV series, trying to riddle out how the hell the bastards do it. Her current projects include part three of the Pax Cymrica series, a twisted, darker story called Mindfuck, and a vampire dystopia.
Ingela will be gifting to one lucky reader an e-book from her backlist.