Do you recall, if you’ve seen that movie, what Captain Kirk says in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, when asked if he’s from outer space? “I’m from Iowa. I only work in outer space.” Well Alyn Evans, one of the heroes of a work in progress of mine could say “I’m from Gwynedd. I only work in outer space.”
Yes, he’s a “Gog”, a lad from North Wales. For most of the story he’s going around being captain of a spaceship and having captainly adventures and, of course, a romance. But the story brings him in the end back home to Wales, where he takes the time to make his choices about love and life and how he goes forward.
It’s key, I think, to know about where characters come from, what kind of place they grew up in, because a person will always takes their culture with them, wherever they go, for the rest of their lives. This is true, even if they reject that culture, even if they are escaping from it when they leave. It will always shape them.
Alyn’s a man from a place of hard rock and few people. He’s tough and self-reliant. But he knows that no-one can survive alone, that his community is what keeps him going, however harsh life becomes. He takes that with him in his work, and in this story is rebuilding the community aboard the ship – the Indiaman — he takes command of.
Below is a sneak preview of a scene from the WIP. It’s a while away from being submitted anywhere yet, but I hope one day you’ll have the chance to read the book, and then the rest of the planned series! Because Alyn Evans and his lover Jarvez are not men I can write only one book about. I will definitely try to bring them back to Wales again. Maybe for the wedding…
Just so you have some idea about the story, here’s a rough blurb of Indiaman #1 – The Company Man
The Indiaman is a ship in trouble. Once the pride of the Outer Spiral Trading Company’s fleet, but now neglected and fallen from its former glory. It’s a ship in need of love – and a new captain.
Captain Alyn Evans is a man in need of a new challenge. Peace has put the ex-warship captain out of a job. A man of his experience should have no trouble commanding a merchant ship…right? But of all the challenges he faces on his first trip out, the hardest one is keeping his hands off the gorgeous and fascinating company rep, Jarvez Kashari.
Jarvez Kashari is a man with a plan. He’s determined to make a name as the company’s best trader and reviving the fortunes of the Indiaman is the perfect opportunity to prove himself. Jarvez travels light, sacrificing personal relationships to focus on his ambitions – until he meets Alyn Evans. Falling in love is not part of the plan.
Six months to Earth. Six months for Alyn to juggle passengers, prisoners, suspicious officers, a resentful crew and the intensifying relationship with Jarvez. Six months in space with a traitor aboard…
Extract from late in the story – Alyn is back home in a small village in Wales, considering his next step.
Alyn had just put on his overcoat when someone knocked at the door. He hoped whoever it was didn’t want to come in. Even after just a week back home his post-lunch walk had become a routine. He opened the door and stared.
“Could this place be any more isolated? I nearly missed it entirely and headed out over the Atlantic.” Jarvez had on his long overcoat too, carried a bag over his shoulder and wore an annoyed scowl. “Is your house so cold you have to wear a coat indoors?”
Alyn pulled himself together and stopped catching flies.
“No, I was on my way out for a walk. Why don’t you come with me? A bit of fresh air should improve your mood.”
Jarvez smiled then, shamefaced, regretting his snappiness maybe. He looked tired, Alyn noticed with concern. Maybe they should forget the walk. But Jarvez nodded. He handed his bag to Alyn who dropped it in the hall.
“Wait a second.” Jarvez raised a hand suddenly as Alyn started to step out. “Let’s start over. Hello.” He stepped into Alyn’s arms and kissed him. The touch of his lips after even only a week’s separation was like cool water to a man dying in the desert. Alyn pulled him closer, ran a hand through his hair, uncaring of the fact they could be seen by anyone passing. This was his lover. He’d hated to be parted from him even for a day. After a moment, Jarvez pulled back, short of breath, face flushed, grinning.
“Hello,” Alyn replied, feeling stunned, brain reeling from the kiss. For a second he considered dragging Jarvez inside and taking him on the hallway floor. But why rush? Jarvez hadn’t come all this way to leave again quickly. So Alyn stepped out of the door and locked it behind him. Jarvez proceeded him down the narrow path of his small garden and turned a questioning look on him at the gate.
“Left,” Alyn said, and they fell into step as they walked side by side up the street. The locals greeted them as they passed, some with curious glances at Jarvez who cut a rather exotic figure here. Alyn led him out of the village and onto a path up the hill. He’d better stick with an easy path. Jarvez was fit, but Alyn didn’t know if he was an experienced walker, and he wasn’t wearing appropriate shoes for anything too steep and muddy. He probably didn’t own appropriate shoes for steep and muddy.
“Take a lot of walks, do you?” Jarvez asked.
“I have been. It helps me think. Walking up the mountain clears my mind.”
“This, my friend, is not a mountain.”
“I beg to differ,” Alyn said, Welsh pride wounded. “It’s part of the Snowdonia range.”
“These are hills. I know mountains when I see them. The fact we can walk up this one, arm in arm, proves it’s no mountain.”
“We’re not arm in arm,” Alyn said, a half smile on his face, knowing what the follow-up to this remark would be. Jarvez moved closer and slipped his arm through Alyn’s. They went on their way, making slow progress like that, but enjoying it immensely.
As they got out of sight of the village Jarvez went quiet, looking around the landscape.
“It’s beautiful, Alyn. So green.”
“It rains a lot.” He glanced up at slate grey clouds moving slowly towards them. It would rain again soon.
“I didn’t think it would be possible to feel so alone here, This country is so small, I thought you must all live on top of each other.”
“There are still many wild places.” They paused to take in the view into the valley. No sign of man’s intervention beyond a few walls to pen in the sheep that dotted the valley sides and floor. “Why are you here, Jarvez?”
“I couldn’t be there any longer. My grandfather doesn’t agree with my choice to follow you back to the Indiaman. He wants me to take that head office job or failing that, a ship with more prestige than the Indiaman. You, ah, you haven’t changed your mind about going back have you?”
Did he have hope in his eyes? Was Alyn being selfish to ask him to potentially damage his career this way, not to mention making him fight with his family? But his mother’s words came back to Alyn.
“I’m not finished my work on the Indiaman. You know there’s still a lot to do there. I don’t want to leave before the job’s done. I’m not saying the only way I’ll leave that ship is in a box. I’m sure one day I’ll move on. But not yet.”
They set off walking again, Jarvez silent. He wasn’t changing his mind was he? Had his grandfather persuaded him to put his career first after all.
“Your grandfather objects to me too doesn’t he? You being with me I mean.”
“Yes. But I learned to ignore all of that nonsense a long time ago. Between my father and my uncles and aunts he’s got a dozen grandchildren and I’ve lost count of how many great-grandchildren there are now. He’s not going to make me feel guilty for not adding to the hoard.”
Alyn took his hand, the going too difficult to walk arm in arm now, but still wanting the contact. He pointed at the path ahead of them. “Let’s just walk up to that ridge and then go back. You can see the ocean if it’s not too misty.”
“Do we get to see any dragons?”
“No, but I’ll take you to see the kingfishers tomorrow. If you’re staying.”
Jarvez squeezed his hand. “I’m staying.”
“Good.” Yes, it felt good to have him here. He looked strange and a little out of place in this landscape. His elegance and sophistication were at odds with the unrefined nature and simplicity of the village. But strange could be beautiful. And Jarvez was very beautiful.
They reached the ridge and spent some time there. They couldn’t see the ocean, the sky not clear enough, but they wouldn’t have seen much of it anyway, since as soon as they got there and looked out over the view they almost fell into each other’s arms and became lost in all the kisses they hadn’t exchanged for a week.
Only some big, fat raindrops distracted Alyn from the man in his arms he never wanted to let go of again. He looked up. The cloud was right over them now, and they were about to get soaked.
“We’d better head back,” he said. Jarvez shook himself out of the dazed trance he appeared to be in and cast the sky and the raindrops a dark look.
“It’s no wonder you people are all so pasty.”
As if it heard him the cloud let go and the rain began to pour. Alyn grabbed his hand and led him back down the path to the village.
You’ll just have to wait to see what happens when they get home and have to get out of their wet clothes…
Higher Ground from Loose Id