Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Musings with Keira Andrews

Where does “historical” end and “contemporary” begin?

My new novel, Semper Fi, is about two Marines who make the angsty journey from friends to lovers after WWII. The book’s present day is 1948, and it flashes back to the war. I can’t really call it contemporary, but historical seems like a strange fit. When I think of the historical genre, I think of pirates or Romans, knights and kings. Anything before the 20th century, really.

But now that we’re in the 21st century, I suppose 1948 is definitely historical. But then were does contemporary begin? Is a story set in 1993 historical? That doesn’t seem right to me somehow. I’d still think of a story in the ’90s as modern. Calling an ’80s story a historical doesn’t seem right either. But is it truly contemporary? The world has changed a lot since the days of Rubik’s Cubes, Pacman and Dynasty ruling the airwaves. (Oh, those shoulder pads!)

I feel like we need another term to describe the middle ground between the present and the past. Any suggestions? Which 20th century decade do you think marks the line between contemporary and historical?

The war is over. The battle for love has just begun.

As Marines, Cal and Jim depended on each other to survive bloodshed and despair in the Pacific. Relieved to put the horrors of war behind him, Jim went home to his apple orchard and a quiet life with his wife and children. Knowing Jim could never return his forbidden feelings, Cal hoped time and an ocean between them would dull the yearning for his best friend.

But when Jim’s wife dies, Cal returns to help. He doesn’t know a thing about apple farming—or children—but he’s determined to be there for Jim, even as the painful torch he carries blazes back to life. Jim is grateful for his friend’s support as he struggles with buried emotions and dark wartime memories. Then Jim begins to see Cal in a new light, and their relationship deepens in ways neither expected. Can they build a life together as a family and find happiness in a world that would condemn them?

Discover how love finds a way in Semper Fi:

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“I thought tents were supposed to have floors.”
Jim ducked in behind Cal, shoulders hunched, neither of them quite able to stand upright even in the center. “I guess it depends on the tent.”
“Think I should ask Tyrell for another?”
A recruit followed them in, chuckling. “I’d pay you to ask the son of a bitch. Of course he’d make you sleep outside for the next two weeks.”
“I have a bad feeling that this tent and ‘outside’ are not as far removed as we’d like them to be, boys.” Cal dropped his sea bag on one side of the tent, his shoulders sighing in relief as he slipped the pack off his back as well.
Jim dropped his stuff beside Cal’s, and the rest of the men marked their space. Not that there was much to go around. Soon they were called to the mess hall for chow, which they gobbled down. It was the same old slop, and Cal forbid himself to imagine what gourmet delicacies his parents and sister were eating at home.
In the tent at the end of the evening, Cal tried to make himself as comfortable as possible on the cold earth, spreading his rain poncho beneath him. “At least today we actually marched somewhere. Although I can’t help but feel that we took the long way around this island.”
Jim snorted. “Yeah, I got that feeling too. But it’ll be nice to actually use our rifles instead of just lugging them around, so I’m glad we’re here. ”
Heads cushioned by their sea bags, Cal, Jim and the others settled in, rough blankets pulled up tightly to their chins. Despite his discomfort, Cal quickly dropped off into a deep sleep.
It was likely a couple of hours later when he woke, shivering from head to toe in the bitter cold. When the sun shone in South Carolina, even in the winter it never got too chilly. But under gray skies and rain, it could be a different story.
The cold leeched up from the ground, taking away every ounce of body heat and leaving Cal rigid, curled into the fetal position with knees to chest. In the darkness, he could hear Jim’s teeth chattering.
Inching closer, Cal gritted his own teeth. “Christ, I thought the south was supposed to be warm.”
Shuddering, Jim whispered back over his shoulder. “Feels colder than the barn in the dead of winter when I’m up early milking the cow. I’d have some gloves and a hat on, that’s for sure. These uniforms don’t quite cut it.”
“Not quite.” Cal shimmied closer. “Maybe we can share our blankets. Two’s better than one.”
In the murk, he could make out Jim’s nod, and they edged toward each other, spreading their blankets. A warning bell sounded in Cal’s mind as he pressed against Jim’s back. Even through the layers of their uniforms and jackets, Cal already felt ten degrees warmer inside and out.
His mouth was inches from the back of Jim’s neck, his senses filled with his friend’s scent. The urge to close the final gap between them and press his lips to Jim’s fair skin was overwhelming. The other recruits were shivering together in their corners of the tent, and in the dark, shapes had to be close to even be visible. No one would see…


After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” You can find out more about Keira and her books at her website, and on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. I loved Semper Fi! For me, anything from the 1970s back seems like the past. It is funny you mentioned Rubik's Cube because my daughter and her cousin love that thing and they are 10. It cracks me up.

    1. Thanks, Jen! It's funny to think of the '70s as historical, but yeah, it was 40 years ago! It blows my mind a bit. And that's so funny about your daughter and her cousin! They are retro. :D

  2. If they are teaching it in school, it's historical. I think that's a lot more recent than the 70s.


  3. I don't feel like much after 1950 would be historical. Maybe because there are so many pictures from that time on. I feel that if I can easily see what life was like during a time period it's not that long ago.

    1. That's interesting, Allison. I'd never thought about it that way. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Aloha. Loved the sample I read of your book. I have it in my TBR. I'm like you. I think about a hundred years ago and back counts as historical for me.

    WWII is well... Not sure either. But it's still somewhat contemporary for me but not quite. Lol.

    Good blog and love the book. Thanks and aloha Meg Amor :-)

    1. Thanks so much, Meg! Hope you enjoy the book when you get a chance to read it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)