I have long admired this author’s books which are unflinching, tough and credible. If you enjoy stories about the military you won’t have far to look because Marquesate has the technical knowledge, experience and writing credentials to make reading her books a pleasure. Her co-authored series Special Forces with Vashtan is, without a doubt, epic and not to be missed.
It’s my pleasure to profile Marq to North American and global readers who don’t know of her and haven’t read her books. She also has many fans who I know will enjoy this profile.
I live in Scotland, where I moved to from the South East of England (the very setting and location of the Royal school of Military Engineering in Her Majesty’s Men). Unsurprisingly, the move to Scotland coincided with the creation and development of Dan McFadyen from Special Forces. My first – and definitely not last – Scotsman.
Having been associated with the British Forces for many years, I specialise in contemporary gay military fiction. There is nothing I find more fascinating than to delve into the mindset of many types, ages and ranks of soldiers, and will never tire of writing about military men.
I am one of the least prolific writers. While I keep wanting to apologise for that, the fact is that my professional life is very full and will remain like that, and I do have many other creative interests. Besides, when I’m writing with my dear co-author TA Brown, we are located on literally the opposite sides of the world. Makes for some interesting time difference, and for very few overlapping hours.
You can find me at Marquesate’s Gay Military Fiction: http://www.marquesate.org
Special Forces epic
I co-authored Special Forces with Vashtan, who has since changed pen name, between 2006 – 2009. Special Forces is the story of a Scottish SAS soldier and a Soviet Spetsnaz soldier. The epic consists of three cycles: Soldiers, Mercenaries and Veterans. Two enemies who meet in the line of duty during the early days of the Soviet Union’s last war in Afghanistan. The story spans across more than twenty-five years of their lives. It’s harsh and violent, but life is cruel and they do what they need to survive.
I’ve never talked about what happened at the end of the authoring partnership of Special Forces and I never will, because I consider the airing of dirty laundry as unprofessional. However, it’s been quite a few years now and not only does time heal many wounds, it also makes things a bit blurry and soft around the edges. With the hindsight of four years, I can firmly say that it was one of the most amazing creative writing partnerships, but that with many highly creative people and partnerships, it was also highly volatile. But look at it that way, if it hadn’t been, and consequently hadn’t ended as it did, then we wouldn’t have written Special Forces. As it is, Special Forces is in the past for me, and while I host the original version of all three parts, and will always ensure they are available for free on my website, I will never return to it. It stands as it is and will remain so. I am glad I had the chance to co-write the epic.
I wrote Her Majesty’s Men in 2003, long before even starting on Special Forces in 2006. But this novel lay dormant for a few years until I finally got back to it five years later, and mercilessly edited it for publication in 2008, with a short sequel following in 2010. Her Majesty’s Men is the story of two soldiers in the British Forces and of a friendship taking unexpected turns. The two Royal Engineers, Sgt Tom Warren and SSgt Alex Turner, learn to understand the real meaning of loyalty and strength. Their fight for survival cuts through all the discipline and rules, to tie them together in a unique bond of companionship and trust.
Her Majesty’s Men takes place exactly where I used to live, with Tom and Alex’s pub being the one I frequented. In fact, the inspiration for the whole story started with a spark, namely that of seeing a hot squaddie one morning on my way to work. It’s funny how these things go sometimes.
I still have a very soft spot for these two characters, especially Alex, and one day I might actually put my idea for a proper sequel for them ‘down on paper’ and publish it.
Basic Training was also written much earlier before it was published in 2011. I’d finished writing it in 2009 and if MLR Press hadn’t been so patient, I’m not sure it would have seen the light of day.
Platoon Sergeant Col ‘Bulldog’ Wilson’s world of work, gym, exercise and discipline is heaved out of its angles when the new recruits arrive with Chris Thompson amongst them. Twenty-one, handsome, tall, university graduate, triathlete, and … openly gay in an environment of institutional homophobia. Col finds himself thrown into turmoil that is nothing like any conflict he’d ever encountered, nor any operational theatre he’d ever fought in. When this particular battle becomes personal, he has to ask himself who is the enemy.
It’s a lighter story than many of the others, still with conflict, but a thoroughly satisfying happy end for these two Royal Marines. One has to have an HEA now and then.
TA and I published Deliverance in 2012. It is a multi-layered foray into the future – and partially into the past – of Hooch and Matt’s lives. Deliverance is the story of Hooch, a US Delta Force soldier and Matt, his former-Jarhead lover. It is a spin-off from Special Forces and spans the years 1998 to 2011. Nothing in life is ever simple, especially if you are a Delta Force instructor and an ex-Marine trying to make a new life together – not when you live under the constraints of ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’, the shadow of nightmares, and a darkness that will destroy you unless kept in check.
I created these two characters during writing Special Forces, and as sometimes happens, they took on a very determined life of their own, growing in importance and depth. The novel tackles some issues such as extreme BDSM (not a surprise with Hooch). If anything, I fell head -over-heels with my character Hooch once more while writing this novel with TA.
I published several short stories in a variety of anthologies, such as For Queen and Country, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Friendly Fire and Code of Honour. For more info about the stories and the anthologies they are in, take a look at my website.
I do plan to only publish future short stories in my own themed story collections.
What am I currently writing?
I do still have quite a few old WIPs from before 2009 (I did not write a single word between 2009 and 2011, I was not able to), but it’s debatable how many of those I will finish.
As of this month, TA and I are currently in the end phase of writing Pas de Deux, the (for me unusual) story of a ballet dancer and a squaddie, which we thought we had finished but then inspiration struck TA and it is now turning into a two-parter.
We’ve started writing The World to Come last month, and are currently around the 20K mark with lots of tough storyline to unfold for the main characters: two extraordinary officers in a secretive unit of the special forces. This one is going to be definitely novel length and will take place in every current major crisis area in the world. One can never say that I don’t push my characters through their paces!
The Future of Marq
So there you have it. I’m still writing and will never stop doing so, and hope that I’ll be writing together with TA for a long time to come. The military men will certainly never leave my creative brain.
Marquesate’s Contact Information