Author: Isobel Starling
Book: Shatterproof Bond Series Box Set
Series: Shatterproof Bond, Books 1 – 3
Page/Word Count: 45K, 51K, and 70K
Categories: Bisexual Romance, Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: August 29, 2016
The Shatterproof Bond series will clutch at your heart and leave you aching for more. Come along on a thrilling adventure with Scotsman Declan Ramsay and Englishman Sam Aiken featuring soaring M/M romance, love, laughter and sizzling lovemaking.
- Sam and Declan meet at their siblings Scottish castle wedding during novel # 1 “As You Wish.”
- The couple’s relationship deepens in novel #2 “Illuminate the Shadows” and as they get to know one another the true nature of the Aiken family business is revealed.
- Novel #3 “Return to Zero” see’s Sam and Declan up to their necks in trouble in the Scottish Highlands, and Declan has to dig deep to save the man he loves.
“Flight B-A-one-four-three-two to Edinburgh will be boarding from Gate A twenty-six.”
Sam Aiken paused and glanced up at the yellow airport signage directing that the walk to Gates A1-A26 would take ten minutes. “Shit,” he muttered under his breath. Sam’s flight to Edinburgh was also due to take off in ten bloody minutes. He shouldered his heavy rucksack and sprinted through Terminal Two at London’s Heathrow Airport, ducking and diving around fellow travellers.
It was partly Sam’s fault that he had been delayed. Initially, it was by choosing the wrong queue and getting stuck in the security check line for twenty minutes. And then, by attempting a conversation with a security guard and being given a thorough groping in response. If he hadn’t been so stressed, Sam might actually have enjoyed the attention.
Sam Aiken was over six feet tall and wore his sandy-blond hair to his shoulders. His boyish face, tanned by the Saudi Arabian desert winds, had sprouted a monstrous attempt at a beard. It looked ridiculous. It couldn’t even be called a beard, more scrub than forest! Sam had spent the past year in the Middle East, where the beard is the symbol of manhood and honour, so he’d grown it to try and fit in. It worked there, but back in the UK, it just made him look a bit grubby. Sam was dressed in knee-length khaki shorts and an over-washed, cranberry-red T-shirt. His appearance was that of your average backpacker, so why security had singled him out for the extra attention, Sam didn’t know. Maybe he should know better than to try and crack jokes with security officials, especially when they had his balls in their hands.
“Nice wand! Watch where you’re sticking that thing, I might like it!” Sam joked nervously in his soft British accent. The very well built, alpha security guard waving the metal detector wand over his body glared at him. Sam arched his brows and grinned, hoping to inspire an illicit smile from the man, but instead the security guard pulled him aside and got his friend to observe as he gave Sam a thorough feel up. He wished he had kept his mouth shut. That thirty minute delay left Sam on a knife-edge.
As he ran through the featureless, white airport corridors towards Gate A26, Sam wasn’t sure now whether he would make the flight. His mind raced with the snowball effect of that possible future event. All of his father’s well made plans would be shot to shit, and he would be the reason— in the dog house and only back in the UK an hour.
Sam turned into a wide, open-plan lounge. Out of nowhere another traveler suddenly appeared, cutting across Sam’s path, dragging a black, wheeled suitcase. Sam couldn’t stop himself from tripping. He fell forwards, and then halted in mid-air. The broad masculine hand of the traveler was gripping his bare forearm to prevent the fall. He pulled Sam to right himself. The two men glared at one another.
“Jesus. Watch what you’re doing with that thing!” Sam exclaimed, furious.
“You watch where you’re going, eejit!” the stranger retorted in a posh Edinburgh brogue. The Scotsman rushed off, dragging his suitcase, and Sam continued to run on to the correct gate, fretting internally about what idiot’s people can be.
When Sam arrived minutes later, he saw a throng of passengers milling around, and on glancing at the info board, he read there was a delay of ten minutes. Sam breathed a deep sigh of relief. He unhooked his rucksack and found a wall to slide down. He searched in the front pocket of his pack, drew out his phone, and made a call.
“Hi this is Samuel Aiken. I have a one thirty p.m. pick up from Edinburgh Airport. Well, my flight is delayed by ten minutes. I just wanted to let you know. Great, see you then.” Sam ended the call and glanced down at his left forearm. He saw the outline of red grip marks. He absently rubbed the imprints left by the Scotsman with the wheeled black case, unable to deny that being touched so roughly had made warmth flood into his gut.
About Isobel Starling:
Born in Germany, Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland. She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art. The Shatterproof Bond series is an Amazon Gay Romance bestseller. Isobel has just completed her ninth book and signed French and German and Italian, translation and publishing rights deals for the whole Shatterproof Bond series. The As You Wish translation “Comme Vous Voudrez” is a best seller on Amazon France. It was released in German in March 2017.
5 Questions with Isobel Starling:
- As an author myself, I know inspiration is everywhere and can strike at the most inopportune moments (like in the shower, when you don’t have anything to write with!). So, what was the inspiration behind the Shatterproof Bond series? The inspiration behind the Shatterproof Bond series began with a story prompt. I had wanted to take part in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group ‘Don’t Read in the Closet’ event for a while. At the time I was juggling the writing of two novels and convinced myself I didn’t have a spare minute for another story. But then, author Kaje Harper put a post on Facebook, saying that a writer had dropped out and a prompt was looking for a new writer. Curious, I clicked on the link, and as soon as I saw the accompanying prompt photograph, I was smitten. I decided I would find the time, and claimed the story prompt straight away.
The photograph in question was of two men dressed in Blue Tartan Highland dress standing by the counter of a bar, captured in a celebratory pose. The man on the left was in his twenties, blond cropped hair, boyish, tall and slender, athletic. The man on the right was older, in his early thirties, dark hair with a brawnier physique. The older man had his hand on the younger man’s shoulder, squeezing. He held a tumbler of whisky and gazed mischievously at the younger man as if he had just said something provocative to him. The younger man held his own whisky tumbler to his lips and looked down coquettishly, his gaze avoiding the camera.
This delicious photograph set my mind aflame, and then, when I saw the prompt letter that accompanied the photo, there was no turning back…
“Two days before the wedding we met my brother’s bride’s family ― including her handsome, smart, funny brother. I was immediately smitten, even if I wouldn’t have admitted it. It took us some time to come together. Could have been family, friends, relationships, culture, one of us was straight (or thought he was), jobs, distance ― whatever you see.”
Immediately, I searched Google images and discovered that the tartan the men wore in the photo was Ramsay tartan, and thus my Scotsman was named Declan Ramsay. In “As You Wish”, the novel inspired by the story prompt, Scotsman Declan Ramsay and Englishman Samuel Aiken are enlisted to share best man duties at their sibling’s wedding at a castle on the banks of Loch Ness, Scotland. The images that are conjured by that line alone speak of spectacular, rugged wilderness and endless romantic possibilities. The story virtually wrote itself in three weeks, and I knew while writing the first chapter that Sam and Declan had a bigger, wonderful story to tell and that neither man was as the reader first perceived them.
Over the next two books “Illuminate the Shadows” and “Return to Zero”, not only do the characters develop and intrigue, but the love between Sam and Declan smoulders on the page. The story arc moves from lighthearted to darker thriller themes inspired by current events. I am currently finishing book #4 “Counterblow”, and with the way the world has turned on its head, there has been lots of inspiration.
- What is your writing process? (i.e. plotter or pantser, explain) I am both plotter and pantser. Initially, I’m a pantser and just write until the story comes to a halt, then I will start to plot. The deeper I get into the Shatterproof Bond series, the more I have to plot. Writing thrillers is very intricate, and there are all kinds of story threads that I have to join up and tie together, so plotting is a must. I find it really enjoyable and challenging. I love putting my characters in tricky situations and try to keep my readers on their toes and give them the unexpected. Currently, I have plots for books 4, 5, and 6 of Shatterproof Bond.
- There’s a big leap a writer takes from putting words down on paper for the love of it and actually publishing those words for public scrutiny. What was that journey like for you? My first ‘proper’ writing was Fantasy fanfic over three years ago. I’d been reading a long fantasy trilogy and was really distressed at the end because the two MC’s, who were clearly soul mates didn’t get together. And so I wrote my own fanfic about them as an m/m couple and uploaded it to AO3. I had no expectations and wasn’t even sure if I could write. The response from readers was overwhelming, and it was then that I realised I COULD write, and so set to writing my own original fantasy novel. 120K words later, I put that novel ‘to rest’ and decided to write a contemporary bi romance and self-publish it. From then on I’ve been writing and self-publishing constantly. I’m currently finishing my 10th book. My books have been translated into German, French and will be in Italian soon too. I also plan to finish my fantasy novel
- What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writer considering that leap for themselves? I can’t stop at one piece of advice! Write for the love of it, not for the kudos on social media, or for telling people you’re a writer, or even for money. Readers can tell if you are cutting corners and are just in it for the money. It takes time and hard word to become an author, and these days whether you are with a publisher or an indie author you will have to learn new skills, like marketing. Marketing is a huge shock to new authors, some of whom think it will be done for them, but no matter what, we all have to learn to self-promote.
- What can readers expect from you next? The next book in the series “Counterblow” Shatterproof Bond #4 should be ready by May 2017. Readers can expect me to pick up where we left Sam and Declan. The couple has survived a really traumatic event which has brought them closer. But now, the people who were supposed to be on their side and betrayed them must be dealt with. Sam is recovering from injuries, and on the surface, Declan is playing house husband and caring for his man. But beneath the surface, the broody Scotsman is planning payback on those who hurt Sam. I hope readers will enjoy how I achieve this payback. It was certainly fun to write.
5 Fun Quickies
- Favourite curse word: Fuckery. As in “What kind of fuckery is this?” A sentence I use all too often these days!
- Favourite dance move (video?!?): Adam and the Ants –Prince Charming. Iconic dance moves
- Over or under (toilet paper, of course): Over
- Weapon of choice: Laughter
- Evil mastermind, easily convinced partner in crime or innocent bystander: I’m probably an evil mastermind, but ‘for the greater good’ evil, rather than money grabbing nut-job evil.
Where to find Isobel Starling: