#Interview with David Lawrence author of Blue Billy’s Rogue Lexicon #HistoricalFiction #QueerFiction #RomanticComedy #MacKade @cathiedunn 

Blue Billy’s Rogue Lexicon by David Lawrence released in February in the Historical Fiction / Queer Fiction / Romantic Comedy genre.

William Dempsey was a wonder among wonders.

By 18, he had risen from a gang of London street rogues to be the personal plaything of the Marquess of Argyll. Maintained in splendour, celebrated at masquerades – with everything he could wish for.

Now all has come crashing down. He is put out in the rain without patronage, his West End apartment, or a place among the ton.

So on a stormy night, he arrives at a house in Southwark. Marathon Moll’s in the Mint – the bawdyhouse he worked in during his ascent and where he earned the name Blue Billy.

But is Marathon Moll’s a place from which to rise again? For there is one in the crowd, who catches his eye. Who takes his hand and promises something better.

Or does Moll’s signify a return to his roots? For one day, a second and very different young man raps on the door. Takes his hand and asks him to return to his past.

To the cat language of vagabonds. The canting dialect of thieves.

To the schemes, and the dreams, of his youth.

Universal Link: https://geni.us/bluebillysroguelexicon

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BRL44NKZ

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BRL44NKZ

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0BRL44NKZ

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0BRL44NKZ

Author Bio:

David Lawrence is the author of two queer historical novels – ‘Hugh: A Hero without a Novel’ and ‘Blue Billy’s Rogue Lexicon’. As a writer, he loves taking a deep dive into the politics, social norms, and events of 18th century England while presenting humorous and unique coming-of-age tales. A native of the American Southwest, David has spent much of his life in Great Britain, France, and Finland.  He now lives in the American Northwest – Helena, Montana – with his Finnish partner. 
By day he loves hiking under the Big Sky of his beautiful adopted state.
By night, however, he prefers wandering the byways of 18th century London…

Robbers, Thieves, and a Magical Language

by David Lawrence

I’ll tell you a secret. It’s a suspicion I’ve had for a long time about historical fiction writers (or at least about yours truly): writers of historical fiction have an unfulfilled desire to write fantasy so they turn their attentions to times which often feel like another planet, but which are, in fact, planet Earth. 

As a writer of historical fiction, my first love is, naturally, history – it is what I find inspiring and, hey, half the story is often written for you! Yet some part of me says this is really because I am wishing I could write a great fantasy epic – invent my own world, with goblins, lost magical rings, an Elvish language, the lot.

I don’t have the talent to invent my own world, I’m afraid. However, as a history buff, I am sometimes blessed with discovering what feels like a magical ring. Or, as was the case with my novel, Blue Billy’s Rogue Lexicon, a magical language.

Blue Billy tells the tale of a young man who rose from the rough streets of London in the 18th century. He was born to a den of thieves, robbers, and pickpockets and now as a young man is seeking a more ethically-based way in the world – he must try to overcome his upbringing and make a better life for himself. Along the way he will meet two romantic interests, two very different men who offer two very different paths in life. This was the basic premise for the book, and I thought it was a good one. 

And yet. I needed… something more. A magical ring, say. Or something like it.

And here is where I got to live out that dream of being a fantasy writer (in my own somewhat warped way). Because while I was researching 18th century thieves, beggars, and rogues, I came across a book, published around 1759, fabulously entitled The Surprising Adventures of Bampfylde Moore Carew, King of the Beggars – Containing his Life, a Dictionary of the Cant Language, and many Entertaining Particulars of that Extraordinary Man. 

This was an account of a real-life beggar and thief in 18th century London. And what was that? A dictionary of a special language? Yes, indeed. As promised, the book contains a dictionary of 18th century slang used by beggars and thieves to disguise their conversations. Finding this felt like magic, and it was such fun browsing the list of terms. As you might expect, the street language used back then was eccentric and had a certain charm – a bouquet of flowers, for instance, is a smelling cheat, the mouth is a bone box

More magic came when I realized that this language might be the framework for my entire novel. Years ago, I had read The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, in which each chapter was named for a kind of knot. Perhaps I might use a term from this rogue’s language to name each of my chapters? Hey, it could work. It worked for Annie. And even if it didn’t work, it would be fun trying to find terms that would be appropriate to each chapter.

As it turned out it did work. Not only this, the language came to be a metaphor for the challenge of overcoming things in our pasts, the need to leave behind old habits and learn new ones. If he wishes a better future for himself, Billy must, in effect, learn a language different from the street language he knew as a child. And this colorful bit of history I had discovered provided the means of making that point.

As regards the thieves’, or cant, language, I’m indebted to another, and just as fabulously named book, published around 1665, entitled The English Rogue: Described in the Life of Meriton Latroon, A Witty Extravagant. This book also contains a dictionary with many more terms from the colorful, and magical, language of the rogues of bygone days. 

Both are public domain images – https://commons.wikimedia.org

Social Media Links:

Website: https://www.davidlawrenceauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/David-Lawrence-Author/100076409556304/

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/david-lawrence-f5720fa5-1e3a-47f2-9880-a3f7bc6ee286

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/stores/David-Lawrence/author/B09DP9TN3G

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21723054.David_Lawrence


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.