Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Small Wonders by Courtney Lux

I am excited to have Courtney Lux on the Book Blog today!

Hi and thank you for having me! I am a Minnesotan-turned-New Yorker, and I am actually a part-time writer. I got my B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and I’m finishing an M.S. at New York University in Communication Sciences and Disorders, so I live a bit of a double life. While working my way through graduate school, through a series of a lot of late nights and days spent in coffee shops, I wrote my first novel, Small Wonders.
Small Wonders is the story of Trip Morgan, an individual who ran away to New York City from a hard home life in the south when he was only sixteen. Trip is living with an eclectic band of roommates and he makes a meager living working as a busker, and, at times, as a casual sex worker in order to keep surviving in the city. Trip entertains himself pickpocketing inconsequential items off people, but when he “accidentally” lifts a wallet off of Nate Mackey, a 26-year-old working in finance, he is struck by the uncanny resemblance of this man to a child in a photograph he found years before. Trip and Nate meet and form a sort of unconventional relationship and really work to navigate both themselves and one another.

1)     Do you have pictures that you use for your characters? Can you share them with us?
Trip has a fairly unique set of features in terms of his hair and eyes, but overall, I think he has a bit of a young River Phoenix look to him, something like how he looks here:

Nate was always just someone who existed in my head and I could never quite pinpoint who it was I sort of pictured him looking like, but my sister read through part of my manuscript and immediately said, “All I see is Ryan Gosling”, and now that’s all I can see, too!

2)    What kind of book would you like to write that people would see as a huge departure for you?
I’m not sure that I would call it a “huge departure”, but I would love to write a YA novel. I read so many amazing books as a teenager, so I’d love to write toward that audience.

3)    Have you ever killed a character? Was it traumatic for you? If you haven’t killed one, would you ever consider it?

Yes, but surprisingly, it wasn’t all that traumatic. It was sad and it was heavy material, but I also tend to kind of enjoy working with heavier material. For me, it was a really great exercise in terms of exploring some really big emotions and reactions, so the payoff seemed worth it in a lot of ways.

4)    Favorite location you’ve ever written about?

Writing New York for Small Wonders was so much fun. I always loved visiting the city when I was younger, but getting to live here and write it at the same time was such a special experience.

5)    What’s your favorite season and favorite activity for that season?

I’m torn. I absolutely love going to the lakes in northern Minnesota in the summer to spend time at our family cabin, but I’m also a total sucker for autumn in New York. My favorite fall activity is just adventuring around the city in a cute jacket with a cup of coffee enjoying the colors of the park and the cooler weather and just everything about it feels kind of special.

A pickpocket who finds value in things others do not want, Trip Morgan meets and becomes involved with Nate Mackey, a down-and-out former Wall Street professional who looks eerily like a child in a photograph Trip found years before.
It’s part of a collection of stolen trinkets he’s collected since he arrived in New York. He keeps it all close and works out a life he could have if he could ever let someone keep him long enough for him to build up a treasure trove of small wonders all his own.
In confronting their own demons and finding value in each other, Trip and Nate may find that their relationship is a wonder of its own.
Pages or Words: 282 pages

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

Today, he has encountered no southerners and only a few tourists from elsewhere, and he'd be okay with that if it weren't for the rain. It comes fast. One minute it's sunny and lovely and easy pickings, and the next the sky's gone black and people are running from the park with street-vendor umbrellas popping open over their heads or shopping bags held up as makeshift shields. Trip switches to catchy pop numbers and more recent music, but it's no use.
Some days this works. People take pity on a not-quite-twenty-something singing in the rain. Older women especially seem to take in the auburn hair stuck to his forehead and his relatively petite stature and read hungry young desperation in him. They offer him sympathetic smiles and a few soggy dollars.
Other times, playing in the rain has the opposite of his intended effect—strange boy with strange eyes playing his guitar as if he doesn't know the rain is there. Those people see the darkness in him: a boy with a chip on his shoulder that makes them nervous. Those people give him wary looks and a wide berth. Trip's not sure he blames them.
He's a little put out and a lot cold, so he sells his umbrella for a few dollars before shouldering his guitar and closing the lid on his coffee can to set to work at his other favorite occupation.
He'd been a decent pickpocket in his younger years, but now, after a lot of practice, he's a better thief and a good runner when he needs to be. Not that he steals anything of particular worth. He finds value in treasures scrounged from the bottoms of pockets.
Loose change, hair binders, halves of Vicodin, broken cigarettes, crumpled matchbooks. All of it has a purpose, a certain sense of importance. He envies women and their big purses. They've got whole bags of riches waiting to be exhumed. Though, more likely than not, those little trinkets will remain forgotten and neglected in the bottoms of Marc Jacobs clutches and Target sale hobo bags.
Other people don't see it—the value in these things. Maybe that's why he steals from them. Nothing they'd miss: a worn dollar here, a business card there. He keeps it all close and works out a life he could have if he could ever let someone keep him long enough for him to build up a treasure trove of small wonders all his own.
For now, he will live with worn shopping lists, broken crayons and ticket stubs he lifts off of others. He keeps them in a beaten-up bag that is more duct tape than canvas and lets them build up stardust. Then, in those lonely hours of the night, he scatters them across the floor and works them into constellations to which he assigns stories. Some he writes down; others, he forgets before the next day. It's not a financially savvy task, but it's his favorite, and it passes the time as well as anything else.

Buy the book:

About the author:
Courtney Lux is a Minnesotan-turned-New Yorker whose love for the city is rivaled only by her love for wide, open spaces. She is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison and a soon-to-be graduate of New York University. When not playing writer, Courtney is an avid reader, constant dreamer, and lover of dogs, wine and being barefoot. Small Wonders is her first novel, and is the recipient of a Publishers Weekly starred review.

Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/CourtneyLLux
Twitter: @courtney_lux

Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Cover and Interior Illustrations by Elizabeth Vest

Tour Dates & Stops:

Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Interlude Press gift card for one winner and five others receive a copy of ‘Small Wonders’

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