Will Elliott’s past dampen his new life?
Life is better with you.
As a teen, Elliott Denison grapples with life, love and sexuality. His heart had been shattered every time his parents pushed him away. Life had forced him to be strong enough to endure Stanstead’s biggest bully and strong enough to come into his own as an openly gay man.
Now he was 26 years old, and a wave of emotion invaded him as though a switch had been sparked in his mind when Chase Harrison unexpectedly crossed his path. Everything Elliott ever wanted growing up was there in front of him. It doesn’t take long for Elliott to enter into Chase’s life.
Then the ugly past rears its head. Only this time, the face is a shadowy online stalker and an anonymous hater.
Cover Artist: FriesenPress
Genre/s: M/M Romance
Trope/s: Friends to lovers
Themes: Coming out, Forgiveness, Love, Hate crime
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 60 000 words/284 pages
It is a standalone book.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always wanted to write stories but never made the time. In my teens, I would make up stories with a vision to film them with my father’s old Bell and Howell video camera. Then I would sit and write song lyrics and poems. Writing has always been a passion of mine, but I never made the time to devout myself to it until two years ago.
How many books have you written?
Only one, Stolen Heart. I’m working on my second novel.
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
Stolen Heart took me almost two years. My current book, I wrote the first draft in five months, and I’m currently revising and editing it. It depends on the story and how much research I need to do.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I am inspired by life, life as a gay man and what it was like growing up in the closet. Stolen Heart was inspired by some situation I have lived in growing up in a rural environment, being bullied and laughed at. Even though there is a sense that society has become more tolerant, bullying is still present, the rate of suicide in gay youth is still alarming, so with this novel, I wanted to say, “Hey, you’re not alone; friends can help, and you are allowed to be loved and love.
Who are your favorite authors?
Dan Brown, Stephen King, Van Barrett, Nora Roberts, Richard labonté
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The first line of a new scene. I like to come up with a captivating sentence at the beginning of each scene. Most of the time, I end up rewording the first sentence at the review stage. It’s a nice challenge.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a room with a large window where I sit and write. It’s quiet, my two dogs sits beside my desk on their pillow on the floor.
When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
I know my main characters. I usually developed them before I start writing. Although in my current book, one of my main characters started as I developed him or her but evolved as the story progressed.
Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day?
I aim at ten pages per day, but some days, I write fifteen or twenty.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
For me, it’s keeping up with my writing schedule, especially if there is a good movie about to play. I have to discipline myself, and if I decide to watch the movie, then either I write more pages the next day or write them after the movie.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
I wouldn’t say writing is easy. It’s fulfilling and satisfying.
Do you use images to develop your character’s looks?
My character’s looks are based on who they are in the story. When I develop a character, I have an image in my mind of what they look like.
Are your characters based on people you know?
No. My characters are based on the research I do when I develop a story for my book.
Do you use your experiences in your books?
For some character’s experience, I have. If the character is going through a similar situation I went through at some point in my life, I will use it and add to it.
Do you ever get writer’s block?
I do. When I get stuck in a scene, one thing that has worked for me is to walk away, run on my treadmill for twenty minutes, and the scene becomes more precise for me.
What do you think makes a good story?
A good story is when you can capture the interest of the reader. Bring the reader into the story and having the reader root and care for one of the characters.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It energizes me. When I create, whether it is a story, design a piece of clothing, it releases a feel-good sensation in me, and that boosts my energy.
What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
The research I do for a book. The knowledge I gained through those research and to see my words, my story on paper.
What do your friends and family think about you being a writer?
They were surprised and shocked because they had no idea I had a passion for writing. It wasn’t something, I talked about, so when I told them I was writing a book, they were in awe.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
My elderly father lives with us in his apartment in our house, so I care for him, run his errands and cook his meals. I like to entertain friends, not these days due to the pandemic. My husband and I like to travel south twice a year and I love watching movies.
Do you like music or silence when your write? Do you outline, or do you just write?
I prefer writing when it’s quiet. With music, I tend to want to sing with the tunes playing, LOL. Before I write anything, I outline the scene, and then I write it.
Do you prefer pen and paper or computer?
I’m a computer guy. I spent my career in Information Technology and Management. I wouldn’t say I’m a geek, but I love technology.
Do you write as routine or do you write when you feel like it?
I write regularly. When I’m writing a book, I set the number of pages that I need to write per day. When I’m not writing a book, I’m searching for my next story.
What do you love best about your current book?
The array of emotions and life situations Elliot goes through to find love and acceptance.
What is your next project?
My next project is a story about two relationships, two teenagers and two adults living in different cities whose lives have been blemished by their parents. The book will take the reader into what conversion therapy does to a person. How far would a religious parent go to get their way and the poisoning to their entourage by a spoiled and manipulative schoolmate. The title of it will be “The sins of our sons”
I got back home a few hours later. “Hi, I’m back,” I said. As I headed towards my room, my father asked me to join him in the living room. I did.
My father was sitting in his chair with my mother by his side. Something didn’t look right.
“Are you a homosexual?” my father asked calmly but sternly as he turned my laptop around. I hadn’t even noticed it there.
My worst nightmare was staring at me. Ah, shit. “How come my laptop is down here?” I asked.
“I asked you a question,” my father said.
My eyes started darting around as if looking for a place to hide, but I finally looked at my father and answered, “I don’t know.”
“This is a sin!” my father yelled, slamming the laptop shut. He approached me, pointing his finger at me. “This behaviour stops now, you hear? I will not have a sinner in my house! We didn’t bring you up like this, and no son of mine will partake in such disgusting, perverted activities! If you don’t change, I will send you to conversion therapy.”
I looked at my mother for some support or compassion, but she stood there and did nothing. My father stormed outside and slammed the door behind him.
“Mom,” I said, “I’m sorry you had to find out this way.”
“You are a sinner,” she said, slapping me across the face. “You are a disgrace to this family. I would rather have a criminal for a son than a pervert. If you want to remain part of this family, you will cease this deviant behaviour immediately; otherwise, I want you out of this house.”
“Mom, please… Don’t say that. It’s not my fault. I tried to resist these feelings. Believe me, I tried.” My eyes were starting to tear up.
“You didn’t try hard enough,” she said.
“This is how God made me, Mom. I can’t change that.”
Her eyes became dark, and her pupils dilated, “Don’t you take the lord’s name in vain! Why do you insist on hurting us like this?”
“I don’t want to hurt you! Do you think this is to hurt you?”
“Liar!” Her face was so close to mine that I could smell her breath. Then she walked out.
I ran outside, slammed the door behind me, and sat on the front steps, trembling. I couldn’t stop sobbing. I called Chad and asked him if I could crash at his place.
“What happened?” Chad asked.
“My parents found out I was gay! They saw the video on my laptop. The things they said to me were so hurtful. I can’t live here anymore! All that matters to them is what the bible says! They’re ready to throw me out! I don’t mean anything to them!”
“Calm down,” Chad said. “I’ll come to pick you up. Pack your things.”
I went inside, grabbed all that would fit in my duffle bag, and stormed back outside to wait for Chad. I didn’t bother telling my parents where I was going; they wouldn’t care anyway. Chad drove up the driveway, I got in, and we left.
“What did you tell your parents?”
“I told them what you told me,” Chad said.
“Are they cool with me coming over?”
“Yes, they’re fine with it. How are you holding up?”
“I’m not sure. I don’t know what to think. I feel so ashamed.”
“Don’t. It’s not your fault.” As we pulled up the driveway to his house, Chad suggested that I see a school counsellor next week. “Maybe they can help.”
“Yeah, maybe. Thanks for everything,” I said.
As we walked in, Chad’s parents met us at the door. His mom said, “Hi, Elliott, welcome. I want you to feel comfortable here. Consider this your home now. Chad told us a bit of what happened, and we’re so sorry you had to live that.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Hardwicke.
“Come, I’ll show you your room,” Chad said as we walked up the stairs. “Rest up. If you need anything, I’m just across the hall. It will be alright, I promise.” Chad hugged me and went back downstairs.
I sat on the bed, hunched over with my head in my hands, rocking. “What am I suppose to do now? Am I such a bad person?”
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Kristian Daniels writes coming of age, gay romance and gay love stories. His stories are about the life and tribulations of the LGBTQs community, their fight to be accepted and loved. It’s also about their struggles, rejection and their suffering. Writing a novel was always a thirst for him, and with Stolen Heart, it became a reality.