07 February 2012

Guest Blogger!

Howdy everyone! Today's a guest blogging day here, and I get to interview the HILARIOUS Tristram La Roche, a fellow Etopia Author. The man himself needs no introduction so, without further ado, take it away Tris!

Brien: What made you want to become an author?

Tris: Years of pent up ideas finally beat me into surrender. I also fancied the idea of putting the finishing touches to my latest novel while cruising the Aegean in my 100 foot yacht. Oh, come on – let me dream!

Brien: What/who has been your biggest inspiration over the years?

Tris: The pursuit of truth and fairness has always inspired me to keep going, whatever I’ve been doing. In answer to who, that has to be my partner. He has undying faith in me – it’s humbling and a challenge.

Brien: Has being published affected the way you write, at all?

Tris: It does boost your confidence and thus gives you the ability to hone and use your own voice. I write more now and I guess that comes from the knowledge that I can actually sell my work, whereas before my first contract there was always the doubt.

Brien: Do you plan on visiting any conventions where readers will get to meet you? Or are you more of the Lemony Snicket, hide in the shadows type?

Tris: I would go meet my readers if I knew of any suitable conventions in the UK. I think you have more of them in the US. I am a private person, but I’m also outgoing, perhaps a little flamboyant. I have toyed with the idea of creating a drag act because I like being the focus of attention.

Brien: Tell me about your latest release.

Tris: It’s an historical entitled The Hun and The General. Yes, The Hun is indeed Attila the Hun, the famous – or perhaps infamous – barbarian king. The idea was actually sparked off by a fan who casually posted on Goodreads, “Oh, I wish someone would write an M/M about Attila the Hun, and make him the sub.” Well, I like a challenge so I did it. I did a fair bit of research to try and make sure the general backdrop was historically correct, but I have taken some liberties. Well, if I was going to put Attila in a gay relationship with a Roman general I felt I may as well! I’ll quote the official blurb, since it sets the scene nicely – but the story is quite hot and explicit in places, much more so than the blurb might suggest:

Livianus is bored and longs for action. His reward for serving Rome is the governorship of a quiet corner of Gaul, but as he whiles away his days at his sumptuous villa, his thoughts turn to Attila the Hun, the feared barbarian with whom Livianus once enjoyed an intimate friendship. When a desperate emperor asks him to return to Pannonia to broker a truce with Attila, Livianus’s old passion flares.

Attila is losing the will to go on. He is tired of being a tyrant but his people’s future depends on him. The arrival of Livianus renews Attila’s spirit as he prepares to march on Constantinople. Livianus has nothing to bargain with, but when the emperor’s sister delivers a proposition for Attila, a new and brighter future seems to lay directly ahead. For the people, and especially for the two men.

But the deadly hand of the emperor isn’t interested in peace, and as their plans are destroyed, only one course of action remains open to the Hun and the general.

Brien: Now that all that’s out of the way…Besides writing, what’s your favorite way to kill time?

Tris: I’m terrible because if I’m not working I find it very hard to relax. I have to keep my mind occupied. Reading works, and I read lots. When I can’t read anymore I love to watch a good film, either at home (one of my luxuries is home cinema because I live in the back of beyond and would go insane without it) or at the cinema. I love to go to concerts – I’m a big fan of opera and classical music. I also love travelling and good restaurants. Of course, the best thing of all is just to be at home with my boyfriend and a good bottle of wine, some music in the background, lots of candles.

Brien: Do you have any quirks people might consider odd?

Tris: Maybe you should ask others – like Annie Melton, our publisher at Etopia Press! I don’t know really. I’m told that I can come over as unfriendly, brusque at times. We have a TV programme here called Doc Martin – I don’t know if it’s made it across the pond because it is very, very British – but your Brit readers will know what I mean when I say I’m often compared to Martin. In reality, I’m not at all unfriendly, quite the opposite, but if I go to buy the newspaper I don’t want to have a conversation with the vendor that takes ten minutes, I just want the sodding paper!

Brien: Outside of your own, what’s your favorite genre to read?

Tris: Horror. The more disturbing the better.

Brien: If you woke up tomorrow and found out the world had ended and there were only a handful of survivors, what would your first instinct be?

Tris: To get everyone together as far as it were possible; there is strength in numbers. But always aware of the danger; from a personal point of view it could be safer to get as far away as possible, but I would want to organize and try to rebuild something.

Brien: What can we expect next from you?

Tris: I will always write gay literature. It’s in my blood, in my soul. I’ll definitely write more historicals because I enjoyed writing The Hun and The General so much. I sense I’m going to write more literary works, too. I’m feeling deep, these days.

Now how about an excerpt from The Hun and The General?
Gaul, Western Roman Empire
Livianus dismissed the women. There was a limit to how often he could screw them in one day, and when he wasn’t up to the balls in one of them they bored him almost to death. Their twittering voices and silly small talk, worrying about mirrors and makeup and which of the new slaves had the biggest cock—it all annoyed him. It made his teeth ache.
He launched himself off the edge of the pool and swam to the far side where six lion-headed pipes spewed crystal spring water from their gaping maws. The cascade massaged Livianus’s tense neck muscles and drowned the fading chatter of the women.
His villa in Gaul had been a gift from the senate. A reward for leading successful embassies to the barbarian hordes, time and again averting costly wars the failing empire could ill afford. From here, retired from his position as army general, he acted as governor of this imperial outpost. If the truth be told, he had little to do but add his seal to bureaucratic decrees, read his vast collection of scrolls, eat, drink, and fornicate. Many a man would kill for it, but this life was no good for one who had walked with giants.
He swam the length of the pool and reclined on the semi-circular steps, looking out beyond the curved colonnade of porphyry columns, across the undulating fields of crops, vines, and orchards, to the hills that rose like a blade to scratch the skies. He longed to leave this place and cross that distant ridge, to return to his homeland and feel the buzz of life again.
Livianus snapped his fingers, and a male slave appeared at the top of the steps to wrap a toga around him as he emerged from the water. The heat overpowered him immediately, and he sat down on a seat of carved stone. “Bring me wine, Publius.”
The slave bowed and hurried down the pergola toward the main hub of the villa. Livianus wiped himself with a towel and squinted at the sun as the first chirp of cicadas announced noon. Soon he would be called for lunch. Today he’d make the women eat in their own dining room; any more of their chattering, and he’d have one of those headaches that lasted an entire lunar cycle.
He rubbed his temples with his fingers. The problem was a total lack of intellectual stimulation. The minor bureaucrats that Valentinian sent out here were those unfit for higher office. None could match Livianus’s quick thinking and wit. While his muscles softened, his brain rotted in his skull. Life had become one long blur of gluttony and debauchery. And if he continued to fornicate like this, his cock would wither and fall like a leaf in the autumn.
The slave returned with a jug and a gold goblet. He set them down on a table, which he drew close to Livianus.
“Leave me. Just go.” He dismissed Publius with a wave of a hand and poured himself some wine. His mouth tingled as the cool wine swept across his taste buds like the rising tide on a dry shore. Not as good as he’d produced at home, but not bad. Given time, this Gaulish wine might win favor. Now all he needed was someone to share it with, someone to engage his rusting mind.
He laughed. Of all the people he’d met, it was the barbarian who came most often into his thoughts at times like this. Attila, King of the Huns. The empire viewed Attila as a sub-human warmonger who lived only to murder, pillage and rape, a hideously ugly creature with a deformed skull, flat nose and eyes that could see into your bones. A killing machine, without even a hint of intellect.
Livianus rose, sipped his wine, and strode to the end of the terrace. How wrong they were. When he’d been sent by Theodosius and Valentinian to meet with the Huns, Livianus imagined that he might never return. He’d heard the stories of outsiders being impaled, a horrific reprisal the Huns had perfected that involved the careful insertion of a sharpened stake up the rectum and through the body without damage to the internal organs. The spike would exit through the chest, just below the collarbone, and the victim’s legs and arms were then lashed to the stake to prevent slippage when it was erected in the ground. Death, they said, could take three days. If they felt kindly, they crucified you.
Livianus winced and rested against the balustrade. His worries had proved unfounded. Although he’d been met by a fearsome barbarian horde that showed little kindness as he was led to their leader, Attila himself disproved all that Livianus had been taught.
Taller than legend said and with a strange, uneven beard, Attila had a face that, though scarred, was a match for any Roman noble’s. His nose had been broken, yet this somehow lent a sculptural air to his whole appearance. But the eyes captivated Livianus on that first meeting, as green as precious stones and with a depth that betrayed a soul such as no animal on earth could possess. Livianus liked the barbarian leader instantly, and something in those eyes seemed to reciprocate.
Livianus sighed. Attila would liven this place up. He smiled at the impossible thought and drained his goblet. As he turned to reach for the jug, a blur caught his attention far away beyond the orchards at the limit of his estate. He leaned on the balustrade and raised a hand to shield his eyes from the glare of the sun. A dust cloud rose in the still air. Ahead of it, something approached at great speed. As it grew nearer, the unmistakable thunder of horse’s hooves announced a visitor.

Well, indeed! Thanks for dropping by, Tris! Everyone you can find Tristram online at:

And you can buy The Hun and The General from


  1. Great interview guys! Doc Martin - I thought they were boots! Have to check this out...

  2. Really enjoyed the interview!
    Heh, have to check out that TV show (xD) but I really know what you mean. LOL! Ugh, I hate it when I go to the store or wherever and there is that perky person talk, talk, talking when I just want the stuff I'm purchasing. I didn't pay for the excess chatter, Move it! lol...
    Anyways, I'm look forward to any future releases. :D