Used to luxurious, high-profile city life, Chris’s world is shattered when tragedy takes his husband and young son. Seeking a life free from pain, Chris returns to his grandfather’s cabin on the shores of Wolf Thorn Lake, Maine.
When Chris meets Jake, the earthy young man who resides across the lake, Chris faces his most challenging decision yet. Does he continue his life alone, or does he risk his heart and the potential of love he sees illuminated in Jake’s warm eyes?
A young man running from pain, a rural free spirit with the ability to heal, and a wolf who haunts the shore-line of Wolf Thorn Lake illustrate the endurance of the human heart, the capacity to learn how to love again, and the heart’s ability to restore even the most wounded of men.
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This was a lovely story though it was heart wrenching to see the pan Chris went through in this story. There’s also a bit of mysticism throughout that adds an interesting dynamic. I enjoyed how it was woven into the story. I enjoyed seeing how the changing of the seasons and Chris’s stages of grief and growth paralleled each other.
Chris was fascinating. He was so hurt at the start of the story that I wondered if he and Jake were going to make it. But I loved how Eleanor made him look at himself and didn’t let Chris hide when he wanted to. I loved the scene towards the end where he tries to run away. It’s sweet and melancholy and the perfect way to bring everything around.
I really wanted to get to know more about Jake. There’s enough of him that you can get the sense of him. But there’s more to his story that I wanted to see. He’s a really open and honest person and I liked how he wasn’t afraid of what others though. He is who he is and doesn’t really care too much about material things in life. It was lovely watching him fall for Chris but it was hard watching him get hurt.
I loved the ending. Seeing Chris and Jake happy together at the end was the best way to bring everything together. It was a very touching scene and I loved how it was written. I would enjoy reading more about these two in more stories. Though they are solidly together at the end so I’m not sure what’s left to tell.
Molly: What music, if any do you listen to when you write?
Daniel: What a cool question! However, when I write, it is always in silence. I find our lives have become inundated with sounds, lights, signs, so many distractions. So when I write, I really appreciate the silence around me. We live in a small rural town in Bucks County PA, so finding silence is pretty easy. It’s not that I demand silence when I write. It’s simply that I appreciate that kind of stillness.
Molly: Are you a full time writer, or part time writer?
Daniel: I am a part time writer. I teach Contemporary Gay and Lesbian fiction and Victorian Literature at a mid-sized university in eastern PA, a job I love. Part of that job is research and academic writing. My specialty is Victorian Sensation Fiction. This genre flourished in the 1860s and can be called the beginning of what we call today, the best-seller. Sensation fiction novels were mysteries, thrillers, pot-boilers and romance. These books thrilled their readers with tales of madness, intrigue, crimes, and passions- much like todays best-sellers. Novels like Mrs. Henry Wood’s “East Lynne” and Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s “Lady Audley’s Secret” kept Victorian readers up all night reading for sheer pleasure. I am currently researching Victorian Spiritualists of the 1870’s- their rise in popularity, and looking at why and how so many middle class women became spiritualists. The research is incredibly fun. So, With that in mind, I never intended to become a romance novelist, but I’m glad I did! Four years ago I took a slight break in academic writing to pursue creative fiction. I primarily toss ideas around in my head during the school year, and write in the summers.
Molly: Do you have a word count per day you try to hit?
Daniel: During the summer, I try to write for three hours a day. I don’t look at word count at all. Instead of word count, I think of writing in terms of ‘beats’- trying to create and express a specific moment or scene, whether short or extended, for each writing session. Generally, during the first hour of writing, I review the pervious day’s work. I enhance moments, cut scenes, create more mood and tone, focus the scene, brainstorm etc. Reviewing the previous day’s work warms up my creative spirit so the next two hours tend to flow better.
Molly: When you finish writing a book, how long before you begin writing the next one?
Daniel: I start right away. At the moment I have two books in progress: one gay and one str8. The str8 romance is a continuation of a romance I wrote in 2014, under the pen name Frances DeleCourt Winters, called “The Fortune Teller’s Garden”. Its a sweet romance that takes place in the fictitious seaside town of Cobweb Corners New Hampshire. The gay romance, written under the name Daniel Stephens, is a contemporary romance that takes place in Greenwich Village NYC. Hopefully, both drafts will be finished this summer. I have a few more plots I’m churning over in my head as well. Oh! And that’s when I listen to music! I have pretty long drive to work in the mornings, so I listen to a lot of music and I find that it really helps me to create plots in my head. Joni Mitchell especially. On her double CD, she is backed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and it blows me away- plots swirl through my head listening to that music. By the time I get to work, I jot down notes and ideas for the next romance.
Daniel Stevens teaches Victorian Literature and Contemporary Gay and Lesbian Literature at a wonderfully hip university in Eastern Pennsylvania. Besides writing contemporary romances, he has written critical editions of several Victorian sensation novels. He specializes in Victorian Working Class literature and Penny Dreadfuls.
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