King of New York fashion and editor-in-chief of the prestigious Couture magazine, Miles Brodeur loves his demanding job and a routine that means he always knows what’s coming next. Deeply involved in the magazine’s content and culture, Miles doesn’t have the time or the desire for a relationship.
Alexander Mackenzie is a former model turned magazine editor who is just learning about the politics that exist at the intersection of high fashion and publishing. He’s always dreamt of turning Miles’ head and one night, at a glamorous party, his fantasy becomes reality. But Miles’ workaholic nature conflicts with Alexander’s belief that “there’s more to life than what’s printed on the pages of a magazine.”
Despite their fundamental differences, Alexander can’t help but follow Miles back to New York, and once there it becomes clear their association could be addicting–and possibly life-changing.
Set in a world where the beauty of art and the written word collide, Miles is confronted by a fundamental question: is someone ever worth slowing down for?
Publisher: Ink & Smith Publishing
Cover Art: Daisy Jennifer Foster
Categories: Contemporary M/M Romance
What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Give yourself a weekly estimate of how much you are going to write. Doesn’t matter if it’s bad, or you hate it next week, it will create a routine and you will write easily and with less blocks and struggles as you go.
What comes first for you, the plot or characters?
Characters. They have a voice of their own, and basically chose their own plot. When I first started writing, I didn’t have the plot figured out at all. I knew my characters, and they took it to the next level.
Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
It’s heavily fashion influenced. It’s sort of an ode to the fashion industry. I wouldn’t say it praises it, because it shows the weaknesses of those who work in the industry as well as the good sides of it, but it is heavily reliant on that world. It’s also very current, very suited for the new readers, those who read their books on transatlantic flights and daily commutes while clutching their lattes.
Describe your writing space.
Well, I have written everywhere. My bedroom, at my regular day job, at my friend’s house, in cafe’s, on the train.
How do you do research for your books?
Well for In Vogue, I did a lot of digging. Past runway shows, editorials, talked to a few friends who could help with some input, did a lot of google searches.
What is your biggest fear?
The book not getting anywhere… and by that I mean completely going under the radar as if it was never published.
“Is that why David Beckham has been featured multiple times on the pages of your life’s work? Does your criteria seriously consist of one thing—a man’s ass?”
“Well the ass is a man’s best asset,” Alexander smirks, holding the martini glass up. “And don’t call the magazine my life’s work. There are far more important things in life, Miles Brodeur, than what’s printed on the pages of a magazine.”
“And what might those be?” he presses, although whatever Alexander comes up with will never convince him. He already feels the arousal slightly leaving his body, even though Alexander is looking at him the way he hasn’t been looked at by anyone in a very long time.
Pages of a magazine. And this man called himself an editor. No wonder Miles skipped London Fashion Week. It seems to be made out of cotton candy fluff.
“Love,” Alexander shoots back, his eyes wide and sincere. Staring directly at him, as if Miles’s whole life story was written behind his eyelids.
“Ah, the classic answer.” After letting out an audible sigh, Miles slightly bows his head, signaling the end of the conversation, an act he mastered years ago. He feels like someone’s poured ice water over his head. He should have realized Alexander would be the kind of person who looks for a partner who will reach for the stars with him.
“If you’ll excuse me, I see my friend waiting for me. Thank you for the interesting conversation, Alexander.” His smile doesn’t quite reach his eyes when he looks at the young man before him. Zia, Miles’s longstanding best friend and Couture’s creative editor, has been lounging by a different bar, waiting patiently for Miles for the duration of this conversation. Miles shouldn’t use him as an excuse, but he does anyway.
Confusion is crystal clear on Alexander’s face, but that doesn’t stop Miles from turning on his heel and making his way toward that bar, Zia, and relative sanity.
Miles’s mind races, droplets of sweat forming on his forehead. The blue lines of his suit form a beautiful contrast to the ivory color of the floor as he strolls elegantly across the enormous hall, avoiding the tables filled with people interested to hear him speak. It’s not that he feels bad; only too much. His brain is in overdrive once again, and the alcohol he consumed not making it any easier for him to physically process it all.
Love was Roberto Luciano’s spring couture collection for Dior in 2009, which Miles oversaw Zia shooting in the gardens of Versailles.
Love was the thousands of hours of work that went into producing a one-of-a-kind bustier beaded with ivory pearls and a full skirt, evoking the classical romantic femininity of Dior’s silhouette. Miles still remembers the words Roberto said to him after he had shown the collection.
“It is our job to make people dream.” His Italian accent still rang bells in Miles’s mind, as if he was hearing him say it for the first time.
And to fall in love, Miles always added to the quote whenever he recalled that moment. Hopelessly, foolishly in love.
It’s what Miles always took for granted, knowing better than to question it. The Earth’s population might as well be divided into dream makers and dreamers. And dream makers don’t get to experience dreams. Artists don’t get to see happiness, because for them regularity isn’t optional; it is to be avoided at all costs. The list goes on in Miles’s head, always ending with the same conclusion. Some get to choose love, some get to choose their dreams. Only the lucky few get to have both. Miles has never been one of them.
Review by Christopher Stone
Originally fan-fiction, In Vogue has morphed into a novel by Lucia Laurent. I am unfamiliar with its fan-fiction incarnation, but, as for its full-length novel version, I can only award three “disappointing” stars.
The first offering from Beth Bolden and Liz St. Vincent’s freshly minted Ink & Smith Publishing is a frequently stiff, jerky, start-stop affair that occasionally waxes smooth and shiny as polished silk, but not frequently enough.
I wanted, and I expected, to love this novel grounded in the high energy, mercurial world of international fashion journalism. Let’s face it, how hard is it to be entertained by glamorous characters that act, look, and dress, on the fabulous side?
In this instance, I found it plenty hard.
Miles Brodeur is the dashing Editor-in- Chief of Couture, America’s preeminent fashion magazine. No longer a spring poulet, this fashionista is still the cock of his walk. But he is an isolated capon – his crow originating from the top perch of the gilded cage that is Manhattan’s fashion scene.
Miles relishes his exalted professional status with its attendant perks and power, but career trappings are curtailing the depth and scope of his personal life, most especially his spectrum of expressible feelings. As Dorothy Parker might have described him, “Miles Brodeur runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.”
Infrequently he longs for a wider emotional bandwidth, but mostly he’s a self-satisfied creature of habit and privilege.
And then along comes Alexander Mackenzie, a devastatingly handsome, young Miles Brodeur in training. The beautiful, talented youth is a fashion model cum fashion magazine editor who lacks Miles’ prestige, experience, and political savvy, but this irresistibly sexy bantam has what it takes to become a heavyweight.
Miles and Alexander’s first meeting is all fire and music. Overseas for a major fashion event, they initially blend as perfectly as peanut butter and jelly – or in their privileged cases – as palatable as caviar and champagne.
Eventually, Alexander follows Miles back to New York, where they become far less than a “steady as she goes” twosome.
Alexander’s youth and inexperience make him spontaneous, unguarded, and impetuous. On his own turf, Miles is totally set in his ways as the top banana of Gotham fashion journalism – he’s rigid, immalleable.
Consequently, the younger man finds himself in the role of irresistible force to Miles’s old immovable object. As the Great American Songbook warns, “When an irresistible force meets an old immovable object, something’s got to give!”
But who gives what – and to whom?
An emotional vacuum, Miles finds change impossible – as is, he has little to offer his pistol-hot boyfriend beyond his fit physique, and the posh perks of his professional status. He lacks the real stuff in life that Alexander craves.
So the something that gives is their combustible relationship. They separate, with Alexander returning to the UK, and Miles remaining on the top shelf of his Bryant Park-adjacent, Manhattan gilded cage.
Through everything, Zia, Miles’s best friend and Couture’s creative director, bolsters and inspires the boss, largely by tossing off canny insights and bon mots with gusto and zest. Sabine, his loyal assistant, also helps the boss navigate the choppy seas of his post-Alexander life.
Across the pond, the former model has his own support system, consisting of Kane, a celebrity DJ, and Dylan, the sports editor for Cut, the lesser fashion magazine of which Alexander is editor-in-chief.
Author Lucia Laurent has more than a passing familiarity with the fashion world about which she writes, and In Vogue’s one hundred eighty pages are saturated with her savvy. The authors “creds” are present in spades. It is her “showmanship” – the ability to entertain, gluing the reader’s eyeballs to the page – which I question.
True enough; Laurent paints some compelling, fun, and sexually charged scenes. But too many other interludes are stiff and overly long.
The truly fashion-obsessed may succumb to In Vogue, and by no means do I imply that the book is without its charms.
But its lures surface only intermittingly. Rather than riveting me, In Vogue had my attention seesawing up and down, back and forth, my feelings alternating between ennui and entertainment.
Meet Lucia Laurent
Lucia Laurent lives in Europe, often switching it up between cities and people. She’s a fan of all things fashion, music and pop culture as well as a firm believer in studying your way to excellence.
Lucia thinks she’s a really good organizer when in fact her apartment is way messier than she’d like to admit. She spends way too much on shoes and plane tickets. Her soft spots are desserts, but a good meal of any kind will always get a “yes, please.”
In Vogue is Lucia’s first novel. Hopefully, it won’t be her last.