Our favorite  MM authors a.k.a. castaways are asked, what books, songs and luxury item would they take to a desert island?

This is a monthly series inspired by LezReviewBooks.com’s ‘Desert Island Books’, which in turn is based on BBC’s ‘Desert Island Discs’.

The rules are fairly simple:

List up to ten books, a playlist and one luxury item that you couldn’t do without on a desert island.

Any type of book can be selected, but I ask that at least half are LGBT+ books. Choices should be justified in a paragraph or two. Any number of songs and any type of music is allowed. The luxury item must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside.

Let’s welcome our July castaway, David Lawrence!


Book inspirations for Blackmailer’s Delight:

Kidnapped by the Pirate – Keira Andrews

I’ll be honest, I don’t read a ton of modern lit, but KBTP showed up in my Audible recommendations and I just couldn’t resist (I admit, it was the cover). Turned out to be one of the best escapist novels I’ve ever read and the most fun I’ve had with a book in recent memory. Something about the ‘captive’ dynamic between Nathaniel and Hawk inspired what I thought could be a similar dynamic by way of blackmail. Kidnapped takes place in the 1700s, so it was right up my ‘historical’ ally – the Luke and Daniel characters developed from there, as did the more intimate sex scenes (which were a somewhat scary first for me but which were absolutely integral to their story).

Kidnapped by the Pirate was such an inspiration for Blackmailer’s Delight, that I reached out to Cornell Collins (who narrates KBTP) and asked him to narrate Blackmailer’s Delight. I am, er, delighted to say that he accepted and is currently recording my novel.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Austen is the biggest influence on me overall, and when I read P&P last year, I began imagining a queer brother for the Bennet sisters. What if this queer brother was interested in that wealthy, new-to-town gentleman who is intended as a match for one of his sisters? My own warped imagination took the story in quite a different direction from P&P. Nevertheless, P&P was an important starting point, which is probably most obvious in Chapter One of BD.

Maurice – EM Forster

Such a brave and honest early queer novel. It isn’t the easiest book to read, there is a lot of pain and unhappiness here, but I admire it so much. I know William di Canzio wrote an actual sequel to Maurice in Alec, but I also found an (obscure) inspiration in the Maurice/Alec relationship which inspired that between Daniel and Luke. There is a certain dynamic energy between Maurice and Alec I found very exciting – the relationship also felt unfinished, which is very inspirational for a storyteller.

She Stoops to Conquer – Oliver Goldsmith

This, of course, is a play, but I’ve never seen it performed – I’ve only ever read it, so for me this counts as a ‘novel’! This classic from the 1770s is a comedy-of-errors, and the misunderstandings inspired this aspect of Blackmailer’s Delight. I love the lightness and humour throughout She Stoops and I tried to capture some of this same energy in my book.

The New Life – Tom Crewe

An absolutely sensational queer historical novel, based on actual events. The central storyline about the research and work before publishing an early scientific book on homosexuality inspired an aspect of my novel. In Crewe’s story, the scientific book gets nearer and nearer to publication, nearer to coming before the eyes of the public, and for me this felt like an analogy for coming out. This is an important part of Daniel’s story in BD, and if you read my book and Crewe’s, there is a parallel there (at least to me). What happens to the book in Crewe’s novel was so moving it stayed in my head and so got translated into Daniel’s coming-out journey in my own book.


I’m a huge classical music fan (I was a music (piano) major my first two years in college). So, for a playlist, I would have to have Bach’s keyboard works as well as his Brandenburg Concertos. I would also need to have Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits – I understand that might seem a very jarring combination for some, but not for me!


Any device (cell phone with no service, even an MP3 player) that could play my audiobook collection. I really think I could be OK on a deserted island so long as I had my audiobook collection to listen to!


I was born in Pasadena, California. at the age of twelve I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where I more or less remained until I was an adult.  The move at twelve was a somewhat traumatic one for me, as I was raised in quite a sheltered environment. Once i had adjusted, however, i understood a great passion for traveling which has been with me ever since.

Since then, I have lived and traveled in France, Great Britain, Sweden, and (thanks to my partner, Mika, whom I met while attending university in Las Vegas) Finland, where I lived, worked, and attended school for about three years.

In 2017, my mother had a massive stroke and I returned to the US from Finland to handle her affairs. She now lives with Mika and me in our new home in Montana where my family works in shifts giving her care.

It was during this time of change in my mother’s health that all the pieces came together in my writing life. I’ve always been an avid reader and have been writing stories since the age of fifteen – a few novels and shorter stories which will never see the light of day. After the stroke my lifelong passion for Jane Austen became a kind of refuge for me and I began working on Hugh

Now a confession: I do almost all of my reading via audiobooks (I refuse to say I consume novels on audio, it does (fittingly) make me gag) and one of the treasures of my reading life are old recordings of Jane Austen’s works by an American narrator, Flo Gibson. Perhaps it is because these recordings were all that were available in my library growing up, and they were the first to open me to Austen, but I simply adore them.

Yet it is a confession because, when it comes to British literature, I feel I should be devoted to British narrators. On the whole, I greatly prefer British narration to American, unless we are talking about William Faulkner etc. Over the years, I have listened to countless British narrators performing Austen’s works, and, with the exception of Donada Peters/Nadia May reading Emma, I haven’t found one I like as much as my friend Flo.

The energy and tone established in Flo’s narrations created a world in my head which I’ve never wanted to leave, and it is in this world that my writing has taken shape. It’s where I wrote Hugh and Billy, and where I go for inspiration on my newer projects. My finished product bears little resemblance to Jane Austen, but she is almost always the starting point.

Website | Goodreads

A big thank you to David Lawrence for joining us on this month’s Desert Island Castaways!

Check out our other Castaways:
Natalina Reis
V.L. Locey
 J.P. Jackson
A.E. Wasp
Elle Keaton.
Elouise East
J.K. Jones
Colette Davison
B.A. Tortuga
Casey Cox
Amanda Meuwissen
A.M. Johnson
Becca Seymour
Alexa Piper
Rick R. Reed
C.P. Harris
K.L. Hiers
A.E. Lister
S. Rodman
Kaje Harper
M.A. Church
Karenna Colcroft
Aiden Ainslie
J. Hali Steele
Kristian Parker
H.L. Day
D.K. Girl
Jackie Keswick
Crea Reitan
Beth Bolden
Chloe Archer
Paulina Ian-Kane
Sam Burns

Hope you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to check out next month’s Castaway.

What books would you take with you to a desert island?
What’s on your desert island playlist?
Who would you like to be the next Castaway?

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