Small Wonders, by Courtney Lux
Publisher: Interlude Press (September 22, 2015)
Page Count: 282 pages
Genre: Gay (M/M) Romance
Welcome to the blog tour for Small Wonders, the first novel by Courtney Lux! Not only is this a gorgeous book with gorgeous cover art, but it also received a starred review from Publishers Weekly! I’m also joined by Courtney today, and she’s taken the time to answer a few questions for us.
So keep reading for an excerpt from the book, my interview with Courtney, and your chance to win a $25 gift certificate for Interlude Press’ website, or one of five e-copies of Small Wonders!
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.
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.
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Courtney Lux, author of Small Wonders. Hi Courtney, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
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.
Why do you write?
Writing, for me, is almost like running. Sometimes, it’s hard to get myself going or I have a session that just feels like a disaster. Most of the time, though, it keeps me healthy in a lot of ways, I love pushing myself toward some greater point, I love the journey and the end point, and the euphoria of finishing something is so incredible.
Which of your books was the most difficult to write?
Small Wonders is my first novel, so it’s been both my easiest and hardest novel to write. I made a decision to make a major change to the novel that required a huge overhaul of over half my manuscript very, very close to my deadline, which was a ton of work and a little crazy, but, because it was my first novel, everything was so new and fresh that even during that, I was still having so much fun.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Trip is resilient. He grew up in a rough place, he ran away from home at a young age and his life in New York is not an easy one, either. Despite all of this, Trip tends to land on his feet and if he doesn’t, he’ll kick and claw his way back up.
Nate is steady. In the face of obstacles or the unexpected, it’s hard to really rock his boat, and he tends to steady out other people as well.
How much research do you do for your books?
It depends on the story. For Small Wonders, there were some areas I needed to research more than others. I’m originally from Minnesota, I spent a short time living in the south and I currently live in New York, so my settings were places I knew well. For those subject that I don’t personally have experience with, I have a huge fear that, even if I’ve done my research, the energy I get around a topic will be wrong, so I like getting my information from first hand sources as much as possible. I harassed a lot of people who work in finance to tell me about their jobs so that I could understand Nate Mackey’s work background better.
Who designs your covers?
Interlude has the most incredible art team. Becky Shepherd is the queen of the art department, and she delivered my beautiful cover to me. Equally amazing was the artist who did the beautiful watercolor, Elizabeth Vest. The attention to detail is so incredible; everything from the Washington Square Park setting to the use of color in a way that plays into the actual story is just amazing to me and it all came together so beautifully. I never get tired of that pretty cover!
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:
Rafflecopter Giveaway! Click on the image below to enter to win a $25 Interlude Press gift card, or your chance at one of five ebook copies of Small Wonders!
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