Pups and Prague with H. E. Kollef

March 24, 2016

Pups & Prague

Hello! My name is H. E. Kollef, and I’m here to tell you a little bit about my new book, The Danger in Bohemia, which came out from Dreamspinner yesterday!  I’d also like to say thank you to Dreamspinner Press for taking a chance on me.

The Danger in Bohemia is a love story about Max Knight, an American on the run, and Hadrian Walls, the British bartender he falls in love with. But there’s another love story weaving through the novel, one with the city itself. I spent nearly two years there living as an English teacher, like Max, and Prague sunk her hooks into me. I hope I was successful in working my love for the city—its food, history, and people—into the story. Maybe it will inspire you to take a trip of your own.

City herself aside, The Danger in Bohemia is populated with a lot of characters, almost none of who are based on real people (sadly, because I would love to get a beer with Hadrian and hear some of his war stories). The one exception is Vaclav the dog.

Prague in real life is an incredibly dog-friendly city; people bring their dogs into pubs and restaurants, to the grocery story, and even to work. Some of the sweetest sights you’ll see in the city are big Czech men, often very macho in appearance, walking tiny Minpins and Chihuahuas. And because dogs are so prominent in Czech culture, you quickly begin to recognize them just as you’d recognize your human neighbors.

Vaclav was named for my favorite dog in Prague. I never got his name, but he used to sit outside a coffee shop near my apartment on the Jiřího z Poděbrad square. He was big—as big as the Newfoundland I had when I was growing up—with short, course white hair and perky ears that stuck up like small sails on the top of his head. He usually had a few friends with him too—a Minpin that would sit tucked into his front legs and another small dog of indeterminate breeding that liked to sprawl out near his head. I loved walking past them on my way to work, especially on a warm day when they really seemed to be lapping up the sunshine.

If you want a visual for Vaclav, imagine this guy but bigger:

Wgsd_walking2

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Shepherd#/media/File:Wgsd_walking2.jpg

Book-Vaclav lives in U Medvídků, the subterranean pub where Hadrian works as a bartender. Like his inspiration, Vaclav is a massive white dog, tall enough that his head is level with most men’s hips. He’s a sweet, friendly dog, for all his size, and loves nothing more than curling up by the fire (or sneaking a few treats from Hadrian).  He’s also very smart, which comes in handy when [Note: plot spoiler involving arson has been removed].

Hopefully, everyone reading Dreamspinner’s blog is an avid animal lover and will be won over to The Danger in Bohemia purely on the basis of having a great animal character. Or if you’d like to read more about Max and Hadrian, you can check out this guest post I wrote for DivineMagazine.net here.

***

Still not sure this book is for you? Wondering at the steam level of The Danger in Bohemia? Maybe this excerpt from Max and Hadrian’s first kiss might persuade you to pick up a copy:

“It’s okay, lad. That’s fine. Would a restaurant do?”

“Well….” Max took a deep breath while Hadrian held his. “I still haven’t tried goulash,” he said, carefully.

“That can be arranged,” Hadrian said. He moved closer, going slowly, letting Max see every move he made.

Max shivered but didn’t move, instead looking up at Hadrian through half-lidded eyes. His lips parted slightly, and Hadrian saw how full they were.

“Can I touch you, lad?” Hadrian asked, voice low.

“Yes,” Max whispered.

Gently, carefully, Hadrian lifted a hand and laid it against Max’s cheek. His skin was cold and soft.

Max leaned into his touch. “This is a bad idea, you know. I—”

“You’re dangerous, you’re trouble, you’re complicated,” Hadrian interrupted, rubbing his thumb along the ridge of Max’s cheekbone. “I know. I don’t care.”

“I’m just trying to be honest,” Max said, and Hadrian could hear that truth in his voice. “There are parts of me that are broken. I don’t know if they can be fixed. I don’t know what you’re expecting, but I probably can’t give it to you.”

“I. Don’t. Care,” Hadrian repeated, voice gentle but firm. “All I want is the chance to know you better.”

“Really?” Max asked, and the surprise—the genuine surprise, almost shock—pushed Hadrian the extra step he needed.

He leaned down, pressed his thin lips against the softness of Max’s mouth, and felt Max trembling beneath him. Hadrian held himself very still, rubbing thumb over Max’s cheek, trying to say with his body what his mouth could not: You’re safe. Let me know you.

Slowly, Max yielded to him.

 

Thanks for reading this far, if you didn’t run away already. And if you like this story, check out my previous short story, “One Cold Night in Prague,” published in Dreamspinner Press’  Random Acts of Kindness anthology.  You might recognize the main characters in the short story…including Vaclav!

Now, it’s my turn to ask y’all a question. Let’s pretend you’re the proud owner of a romantic, gothic pub in the heart of Prague. You can pick one animal to live in your pub—what do you choose? And why?

 

Best,

H. E. Kollef

 

PS: If you’d like to know more about my writing, follow me @HEKollef or on my website, HannahKollef.com.

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press ebook
Dreamspinner Press paperback
Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
All Romance e-books

Blurb:

“Will Mracek is forced to flee to Prague when he witnesses his boyfriend, powerful security magnate Jean Claude la Bête, commit murder. On the run, and with help from his cousin John, Will becomes an English teacher named Max Knight and does everything he can to blend in. Meeting Hadrian Walls, however, changes everything.

Max falls in love with the grumpy ex-RAF, now bartender, and Hadrian finds himself doing the same, despite not knowing the secrets of Max’s dangerous past.

But trouble has a way of coming home, and Max and Jean Claude will face each other one last time in a confrontation that sends both of them over the edge….”

Author Bio:

H. E. Kollef currently lives in the UK, where she splits her time between her latest novel, tackling her MSc in Library Science and attempting to pet every dog she comes across. She loves Prague and romance almost as much as a well-organized library, and hopes to incorporate all three in her next novel. You can learn more about her work at HannahKollef.com, or follow her on Twitter @HEKollef

2 Responses to “Pups and Prague with H. E. Kollef”

  1. Susan says:

    While I like dogs, I confess to loving cats, especially black cats, so that’s who would live in my pub. I would have an Alphonse Mucha/art nouveau type poster made with my cat on it similar to Chat Noire.

  2. Susan says:

    P.S. I’m planning on buying your book based on the title if nothing else!

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