Title: Strokes On A Canvas
Author: H. Lewis-Foster
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Published: 16 April 2019
Cover Design: Cherith Vaughan
Length: 29,060 words/114 pages
Keywords : Historical, Romance, MM, Friends To Lovers, Overcoming The Past,
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Love and art escaping the past in 1920s London
London, 1924. Evan Calver is enjoying a quiet pint, when he notices a man smiling at him across the bar. While the Rose and Crown isn’t that kind of pub, Evan thinks his luck might be in, and he narrowly escapes humiliation when he realises the man is smiling at a friend. Eavesdropping on their conversation, Evan discovers the man is named Milo Halstead and served as an army captain during the war.
When they meet again by chance in the British Museum, artist Milo asks Evan if he would sit for a portrait. Evan is amazed that an upper-class artist wants to paint the son of a miner, and he’s just as surprised when their acquaintance blossoms into friendship. When he discovers that Milo is a man like himself, he hopes that friendship might become more. But as Evan and Milo grow ever closer, can they escape the fears of the past to find their future happiness?
Exclusive Author Chat
How difficult is it to write Historical fiction? Is research
really excited to be here for the release of my 1920s novella Strokes
on a Canvas. I’ve written a number of historical romances and I always
enjoy the challenge of creating a story and setting as truthful as possible to
the time period. When I have an idea for a story set in the past, I do
some initial research to make sure the plot line is feasible. While there is plenty
of room for artistic license, readers won’t enjoy a story if they’re constantly
thinking, “But that would never have happened at that time!” Once I’m
confident about the premise of the story, the real research and writing
begin, getting into the details of how people lived and how a particular
place would have looked, sounded and even smelled.
on a Canvas
is set in London, and there’s a wealth of images and information about the
city in the early 20th century, from reference books and online resources to
fictional recreations on page and screen. These were incredibly helpful in
creating characters and locations that cover the social spectrum at the time,
from Evan’s room in a boarding house to Milo’s small but stylish apartment.
These differences in social class are reflected in their clothing too. Most
people have an idea of what fashionable women wore in the 1920s, with their
flapper dresses and cloche hats, but it took a little more effort to find out
what men wore in different situations, whether working in a shop or on a night
out with sophisticated friends. And it was even trickier to research what
underwear they would have worn! The last piece in the historical puzzle is
making sure the actual words in the story are appropriate to the time, by checking
fantastic resources like the Online
Etymology Dictionary and the Oxford
Dictionary of Slang. It can be quite surprising to find out when words were
first used, some being centuries earlier than you’d expect—especially the
more colourful ones!
course, there’s not much point in all that research if you don’t create a story
readers will enjoy and characters they will hopefully fall a little bit in love
with. Evan and Milo are lovely characters, both looking to escape the past in
their own ways, and I do hope readers will enjoy escaping into the past
On the opposite side of the cabinet, a man was gazing intently at the Athenian amphora. Evan doubted he was having the same thoughts as himself as he scrutinized the naked athletes, but he seemed transfixed by its sporting design. The dark-haired man was wearing a brown pinstripe suit, the kind seen in newspaper photographs of famous actors and royalty, which Evan could never hope to afford. The stranger looked born to wear his stylish attire, his confident posture showing the suit’s fine cut to full advantage. Then he raised his eyes, and Evan saw the man was not a total stranger. His hair was smooth with Brilliantine, and he wasn’t wearing his gold-rimmed glasses, but he was unmistakably Captain Milo Halstead.
Evan was about to make a hasty exit when he realized the former soldier was smiling at him through the glass. He may have looked smarter than he had last night, but his smile was still as warm and kind as a Nightingale Nurse’s. Evan didn’t imagine the captain remembered him, but he smiled back, thinking it would be impolite not to, then turned to walk away. To his surprise, Evan’s action was mirrored on the other side of the cabinet as Captain Halstead moved in the same direction. He was still looking at Evan, still smiling, and as they both reached the end of the cabinet, Evan wondered what would happen next. Would words be exchanged? And what would those words be? If Milo remembered him from last night and he wasn’t the genial man he seemed, they might hint at blackmail or violence.
Evan was tempted to put his head down and make a run for it, but he didn’t want to attract the attention of the museum guards. He took a breath and stepped forward, only to find Milo standing in his way.
“Excuse me. Could I get past?”
“Of course, but…” Milo’s smile was uncertain now, but he didn’t move from Evan’s path. “It was you I saw in the Rose and Crown last night, wasn’t it?”
Evan lowered his eyes and weighed up his options. He could admit he was at the pub and ask to know what business of Milo’s it was. Or he could deny being anywhere near the place, or even knowing of its existence. The latter seemed the most sensible choice, avoiding all confrontation, but when he looked up and saw Milo’s blue eyes sparkling cheerfully back at him, Evan was overwhelmed by a longing to spend a few seconds more in his company.
With no idea of Milo’s intentions, Evan answered, “That’s right. I saw you there too.”
H. has worked with books for a number of years, and is delighted to finally find herself on the author’s side of the bookshelf. She enjoys writing historical romances, and contemporary stories too, and while her characters travel all over the world, they always have a touch of British humour.
H. has lived in various parts of the UK and currently lives in the north of England, where she’s enjoying city life as much as the beautiful countryside. In her spare time, H. loves going to the cinema and theatre, and her very eclectic tastes range from quirky comedy to ballet and Shakespeare, and pretty much everything in between.