Exploring my Day Job: The story behind Horsfall

A number of years ago I wrote a story about the background of one of my books, and I thought it would be fun to dust it off and use it as the first in a “the story behind…” series here on my website. Hope you guys like the glimpse at how my mind works LOL!

Have you ever wondered what the world would look like if there were supernatural explanations behind the very ordinary things that happen in our day-to-day lives?

The majority of the books I’ve written have been complete fantasies, drummed up out of some quirky — or kinky — corner of my mind. Horsfall is a bit different, in that it’s not as much of a fantasy world for me. I’m not saying I’ve ever found an abused Shire horse that shapeshifted into a burly, dominant and sexy man (although I keep my fingers crossed that it’ll still happen one of these days) but the rest of Horsfall is actually a lot closer to my life than alien catmen, bloodletting vampires, shy and curious fauns, or shapeshifting frogs.

I’ve often brainstormed stories while I’ve been waiting in line somewhere or stuck on the bus. Laithe’s Pride was originated after a nasty trip to the dentist, and the basics of All Wrapped Up: Bound to Please occurred while I was at my bus stop staring at the broken down playground across the street.

When I’m not exploring life on other planets, dreaming of a faun with a smooth plumber’s crack where his fur ends or wondering whether a frog shapeshifter would need to use lube, I’m a Safety Management Consultant working for clients in a variety of industries in Western Canada. Yes, I know, my life is fascinating.

So what does this all have to do with sexy horse shapeshifters and the delectable man caught between them, you ask?

I became a certified Occupational Safety Auditor in 2007 and my very first clients were a horse ranch and a manufacturing company. After completing the first day of work auditing the manufacturing plant, I was sitting in my hotel room trying to relax and recharge after a long day of looking at documents, interviewing workers and touring the plant.

My bare toes were wriggling after being cooped up in steel toe boots all day, and was not looking forward to the hard hat, safety glasses and hearing muff look I was going to have to sport again the next day. Not exactly the sexiest outfit I’ve ever worn.

Despite my fatigue, I was still kind of riding high. Actually getting to do hands-on work, and get out of the office for once, was a complete thrill. Walking through the plant and seeing all the machinery and the chains and the very dirty men with their scruffy beards and strong bodies as they manipulated the heavy iron pipes, their asses tight in their coveralls when they shifted to… Ah, hmmm, right… yeah, it was… ahem. Okay, so the reality wasn’t exactly like the fantasy I’d started to build in my mind but it was my prerogative to drool now that I wasn’t working.

I thought back over my week, at how weird it was for me to go six years pretty much sitting at a desk and then, boom, I’m out touring ranches and iron plants and staying in hotel rooms and getting to drive through some of the prettiest scenery.

I remembered the awe of cresting the hill to get to the ranch and seeing the Rocky Mountains in the background and the horses grazing in front of me. The thrill of learning something new about industries I’d never even thought about working in. I started thinking about the chains that were rattling along the walls in the manufacturing plant, the iron surrounding me. About horses that are more than they seem. Men who have a drop of fey magic within them and iron chains wrapped around someone descended from fey blood, preventing them from escaping.

I started to wonder about the personality of a man who would find himself trapped in iron and unable to get out. Maybe he had a brother waiting for him. One that was calm and cool and as steady as the mountains that marched across the horizon behind his home.

I dreamt of dominant strong men and a cute little auditor who gets into a situation ripe with possibilities. From there, the story practically wrote itself!

Bayard and Marshall seem like opposites at first, both so very different to Oliver when they first appear. He’s drawn to them both, they each have aspects of their personalities that he falls in love with. Oliver became the link between them, someone they realize is worth any amount of compromise. Both Bay and Marsh fall in love with the smaller man and are willing to do whatever it takes to make him happy.

Finally, I thought about the reasons why a man would be desperate enough to chain up a Shire horse, after stealing it from its owner, unaware of the fact he was tying up a shapeshifter. At least, to all intents and purposes unaware of the magical blood running through both brothers…

It’s always thrilling to be able to find inspiration around me, and it’s even better when it happens in the most unexpected of places. Now, whenever I go to a new company, or find myself driving along country roads I’ve never been on, I stop and wonder what stories are waiting to be written next.