Trip Galey is joining us today to talk about his novel, A Market of Dreams & Destiny. Here’s the publisher’s description:
Below Covent Garden lies the Untermarkt, where anything and everything has a price: a lover’s first blush, a month of honesty, a wisp of fortune. As a child, Deri was sold to one of the Market’s most powerful merchants. Now, after years of watchful servitude, Deri finally spots a chance to buy not only his freedom but also his place amongst the Market’s elite when he stumbles into the path of a runaway princess desperate to sell her royal destiny.
But news of the missing princess and her wayward destiny spreads. Royal enforcers and Master Merchants alike are after it. Outmanoeuvring them all would all be hard enough had Deri not just also met the love of his life, a young man called Owain, whose employers are using the Market for their own nefarious schemes.
Deri soon finds that the price of selling the royal destiny, making a name for himself, and saving the man he loves is dear. The cost of it all might just change the destiny of London forever.
What’s Trip’s favorite bit?
Let’s talk about London Bridge, gay assignations, and the phenomenal power of fantastical alternate history. (Mild spoilers incoming!)
My favourite part about A Market of Dreams and Destiny involves all three, so bear with me while I power through a little history, a little context, and a little dance of excitement.
First, London Bridge is known around the world, famously falling down, but fewer people realise just how many bridges have born the name and how different they were. There’s Old London Bridge, New London Bridge, Modern London Bridge, and several Roman and Medieval bridges as well. My favourite London Bridge is Old London Bridge, and I’ll tell you why: gay sex.
Yes, I promise this is relevant to my book! For one, the protagonist of A Market of Dreams and Destiny, Deri, falls into that category of young men who enjoy sex with men (or would if they could get any bloody time or opportunity to do so!). His love interest, Owain, has similar interests and challenges in this area. What’s a lad to do? Where is he to turn?
Well, there’s a time and place for everything, and at the time, London Bridge was one of many places gay men used for sex (another, incidentally, was the British Museum and its gallery of classical statuary, which makes a later appearance in my book!) and more innocent meet-ups. So, when I needed a location for Deri and Owain to have their first kiss, there was one truly outstanding option.
Old London Bridge was completed around 1209, and we have records (mostly criminal) that show evidence of homosexual activities taking place amongst its alcoves and recesses dating back nearly that far. These ‘men of ill repute’ routinely fell afoul of the law, religious fervour, and the opportunistic malice of their fellow Londoners. Occasionally, they would be targeted by larger, more organised, forces. In 1707 the City organised a mass ‘sodomite raid’ and London Bridge was one location among many that was hit.
I love historical research. There are amazing things you can discover. And
steal borrow for your own work. (You can imagine me doing a little dance of excitement here!)
Now, historically, Old London Bridge was dismantled and demolished in 1831, decades before Deri would meet Owain in A Market of Dreams and Destiny. But how could I, as an author, allow that to stand in the way of my characters? It’s called alternate history for a reason!
So I kept a version of Old London Bridge in the London of A Market of Dreams and Destiny—one based on the Gothic Revivalist renovation the bridge underwent in 1762. The houses that had stood there for over 500 years were removed, the road widened, and stone accents in the appropriate style added, including balustrades and fourteen alcoves for pedestrians to shelter in. These were to protect people from traffic as much as the London weather, and needless to say they were employed for diverse other purposes as well—including now the first kiss between two fictional young men who have been lightly drenched by an equally fictional rain shower.
These arches, incidentally, are some of the few remaining pieces of Old London Bridge. You can even go and sit in a couple of them. Two of the four surviving arches were moved to Victoria Park in 1860. They’re still there now, and as lovely as ever!
So yes, my favourite part of A Market of Dreams and Destiny is that scene between Deri and Owain (and not just because I also kissed my partner in the rain on our first-ever date—though we had to make do with a park, not a bridge alcove). It’s got so many things to love: history, layers of unexpected meaning, connection to the queer past, and an expression of current queer joy.
Hopefully none of that was a bridge too far.
Trip Galey is a debut author whose first novel, A Market of Dreams and Destiny, will be published in September 2023. His interactive novel, Faerie’s Bargain, was published in 2021 and is set in the same world. Trip has degrees in English and Theatre, Shakespeare, Acting and Creative Writing. He works as a lecturer and was published in the Lambda, Ignyte and Locus award-nominated Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of A World That Wouldn’t Die. He lives in London and can be found digitally at http://linktr.ee/tripgaley