Ironically enough, even though Somebody to Love is the seventh book in my Montana Romance series, the character of Phineas Bell was one of the first characters in the entire Montana Romance series to pop into my mind. The funny thing about characters is that, as a writer, you don’t sit down and think in advance about the kind of character you want to create. They’re kind of already there, and you just get to know them.
Phin is actually sort of based on a very dear friend of mine from high school. As I was writing the first novel in the series, Our Little Secrets, I knew that I wanted my hero to have a steady and reliable best friend. I wanted him to be kind and generous, always available with good advice and a shoulder to cry on, sort of like my high school friend. And so Phin came into being out of the nicest and purest ideas of friendship and support. He’s someone you can truly rely on. The fact that he is a gay man living in a time and place where that was a serious problem made him all the more special to me.
I knew for years that I wanted to give Phin his own story. I mean, he’s such a decent human being and totally deserving of love. The thing about Phin, though, is that he’s never shied away from who he is, even when it has brought him trouble. So of course I knew that the right man for Phin would be a man who is ill at ease with himself, who wants to hide who he is, and who is pretty much the opposite of Phin in a lot of different ways.
Enter Elliott Tucker. Elliott is a war hero and a lawman. He has sworn to protect the innocent and to maintain order. But he knows that at any moment, the people who he serves could turn on him. He’s a happy-go-lucky guy by nature, forced to be cautious way beyond what he’s really designed for. I had a lot of fun having him get Phin into all sorts of trouble. And that’s why they’re perfect for each other. Without Elliott, Phin might very well sit around at home knitting doilies and growing old and dusty. Elliott comes along at just the right time and makes a difference in his life. But it isn’t smooth and easy. Not by any stretch of the imagination!
What made this story especially fun to write for me is the fact that it’s set in 1900. The turn of the last century was an incredibly exciting time in America and around the world. Technology was advancing by leaps and bounds, everyday life was unrecognizable from the way it had been only a generation before, and social justice was making some serious strides forward. I think a lot of people misunderstand the mindset of the people of that time, assuming they were a lot more conservative than they actually were. In fact, attitudes at the turn of the century were more liberal than they would become in the middle of the century.
The same was true for attitudes about homosexuality, believe it or not. No, this wasn’t an age of enlightenment where everyone was treated equally. Homosexuality was definitely looked on with suspicion at best…when it was looked on at all. The thing was, very few people actually knew or had any sort of understanding of what homosexuality actually was. Which meant that gay men and women could almost get away with living their alternative lifestyle. As long as they didn’t live it out in the open.
And that’s where Somebody to Love really struck me. I wanted to write a love story that is just like any of the other love stories I’ve written with the exception of the fact that the lovers involved can never let their love be known. It’s sort of a happy-sad ending, in a way, but I think I’ve managed to find a way to give Phin and Elliott the happy ending they deserve.
Somebody To Love is the fourth full-length novel in Merry Farmer’s highly acclaimed, historical Montana Romance series. In this novel, which has already found a home atop Amazon’s LGBT romance lists, she writes about the love between two men, Phinneas Bell and Elliott Tucker, and the issues that surround them as they try to make their way in 1800s Montana.
“This is a moving tale of friendship, lust, sacrifice, family, perceptions, existing vs. being happy, being seen as a “normal” man, wanting something seemingly impossible to obtain, being true to one’s self and not being afraid to love.” –Deirdre, Amazon reviewer
About Somebody To Love
For Phineas Bell, love has not only been out of reach, it has been impossible. In a world where men who love other men are anathema, he has poured his love into his work, his town, and the friends who accept him as family. But when a handsome new lodger takes over his home and his heart, breaking all his careful rules, Phin must choose between playing it safe and letting love in.
War hero Elliott Tucker is the answer to Cold Springs’s prayers for a sheriff worth his salt. But with every single woman in town throwing themselves at him, Elliott has eyes for only one person: Phin. The sparks are hot between then, but in spite of Elliott’s best efforts, Phin’s heart proves the toughest nut to crack. A love that starts with fire threatens to burn them both…
… until a shocking abduction throws Phin and Elliott together on the trail of ruthless kidnappers. Will their efforts to save a child wrench them apart or will it prove that at last they’ve found somebody to love?
Genre classification: M/M LGBT Western Historical Romance
About the author
Merry Farmer is an award-winning author of Historical Romance and what she likes to call “Sci-Fi for Women.” She lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats and enough story ideas to keep her writing until she’s 132. Her second novel, The Faithful Heart, was a 2102 RONE Award finalist and her unpublished futuristic novel A Man’s World won first place in the Novel: Character category at the 2013 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. She is out to prove that you can make a living as a self-published author and to help others to do the same.