What can we expect from the Lionhearts series?
Hot lion shifters and the men who love them! It’s not a series where every book is a sequel to the previous one and has the same main characters – someone who only plays a small part in one book will become the focus of the next, which allows me to set each story in a new part of the world. But the central idea will always be the same – a shifter learns that his destined mate is human and must deal with the consequences of that discovery.
I’d written a couple of novellas about werewolves for another publisher, and I’m fascinated by the idea that someone could have a literal beast lurking within them, or that paranormal creatures could be living unnoticed alongside us. Throw in the male/male element and if you wanted to read more into things, you could also see the idea of someone who’s different trying to find acceptance and tolerance as some kind of metaphor for homosexuality – but I don’t look that deeply.
Why did you choose to set this first book in Amsterdam?
It’s a city I love – I’ve just celebrated a big birthday by spending a few days there, relaxing and recharging my batteries. It’s also the place where I got the idea for the storyline – I saw a plaque featuring a stylised image which was half-man, half-lion and that was the lightbulb moment.
Kees and Arjan have an encounter on Millennium Eve and do not see each other for another 15 years. Do you like to write about love stories that can stand the test of time?
This is the first time I’ve written a book which spans that length of time – usually, the characters either make a connection straight away or they’ve been friends for a little while and they finally realise they’re right for each other. But I do believe that there are people, whether those are friends or lovers, who you’re destined to meet at some point in your life. And the strongest loves and friendships endure.
You have a variety of pairings and genres in your back-list. Which is your favourite?
I honestly don’t know if I could choose a favourite, which is why I can’t stick to one genre. Some ideas just seem to suit a particular genre and it just felt right to make the Lionhearts books male/male. But I have plans to take some of the secondary characters from one of the books and give them their own paranormal adventure, which will be an m/f story.
Is it important to you as a writer to give your characters a HEA?
If they don’t get an HEA, at the very least I like to give them an HFN. If I was deliberately setting out to write a book with a sequel, then I’d probably leave the first one on a cliff-hanger, but sometimes that can feel like you’re cheating the readers of a satisfying ending. If you’re writing a love story, you do want things to work out well for your characters as you invest so much in them.