Book Title: Stolen Heart
Author: Kristian Daniels
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.
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.
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?”
Q & A With Kristian Daniels
Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.
I’ve been with my husband for twelve years, married him three years ago. I don’t have any children, my husband has a wonderful son and daughter. I take care of my ageing father, who lives with us. I’m not an exercise addict, but I like taking care of myself. We like to travel south twice a year, we welcome the opportunity to be by ourselves, reconnect and enjoy each other’s company away from our busy life. I’m a new author. Stolen Heart is my first novel. Creativity has always been a significant part of my life, I studied Fashion Design for many years, I designed wedding and bridesmaid dresses for local clients and friends. I studied ballet and jazz and performed in local musical theatre as a dancer and actor. I’m very trendy, more so than my husband, I love clothes and changing hairstyle and colour.
My writing goals are to write as many books as I have a story to tell, and my stories touch the heart of my readers.
Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why?
Thank you. Stolen Heart tells the story of an eighteen-year-old guy who struggles with life, religion and sexuality. He is surrounded by people who support him, victimize him and shun him. All he ever wanted was to be accepted and to find love in return.
My favourite part of the story is when he comes face to face with love as if faith planned it that way.
My favourite character is Elliot. Elliot is sympathetic. He has this vulnerability that makes you want to help him and protect him from the start.
Are you a planner or a pantser? How much do you know about your story before you start writing? How often does your plan change? Why does this work best for you?
The very first story that I wrote before this one, I wrote as I went along. I wrote as a pantser—that story I never published. When I wrote this story, I had a very good idea of Elliot’s story before writing it. I then developed the other characters, their story and their role in the story. Once my story and characters have been planned, and my research is done, I start writing. My plan or storyboard evolves as I write from my original idea, but I would say that changes often happen in the review stage by either adding to the story or taking something away that I’m not happy with.
Planning everything about my story before I start writing helps me with writer’s block and the flow of the story.
Do deadlines motivate you or block you? How do you deal with them?
Deadlines motivate me. When I write, I set myself a number of pages that I need to write per day, and I try to follow that schedule. I am used to deadlines because I was faced with many in my job as a manager. So if I’m under a deadline to deliver a manuscript by a particular date, I will create a writing schedule to meet my deadline.
I schedule a certain amount of pages that I need to write each day. It’s a method that I like and works well. While my husband is watching his favourite television programs, I used that time to write.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book? Why?
Writing a compelling story that takes the reader through a powerful journey. There are scenes in the story that required some research to write it realistic in context and action.
How do you develop a story idea? Do you always use the same method? Specifically, which do you develop first in your story building, the characters or the plot?
I develop the foundation of my story, what the story will be about. Then who my characters will be and a brief description of each character, such as their occupation, lifestyle, age, and emotional issues. Then I will describe the bad guy’s relationship with the main characters, his or her interference in achieving the main character’s goal. Then I will add the secondary characters or the cast and their relationship with the good guy or bad guy, where the story takes place and how it will end.
What are your favorite genres when it comes to your own pleasure reading? Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?
If I’m a passenger or travelling I’ll read from my ebook. At home I prefer print. The books I like to read aside from Gay romances are Mystery and Suspense books such as Dan Brown, Science Fiction stories and spirituality, inspiration and meditation books.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Whether I write a story, design and sew a piece of clothing when I’m done creating or imagining I feel energized. It the same sensation I get from a good workout but without the sweaty part, LOL.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I’m easily distracted. I do my browsing on social media, internet and check emails before I start writing, and I need to close the application before I begin writing; otherwise, I will check every email that comes in. Internet not so much, I will browse the internet if I need to check something while I’m writing.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Start your writing passion now, don’t wait for the perfect time. The ideal time is when you make the time.
What is the best money you ever spent as an author?
Having my manuscript edited by a professional editor.
What is your favorite underappreciated novel?
I read a book by Shirley Maclaine several years ago, and I still have it in my library, Dancing in the light, and I loved it. I still read it once in a while. I also read other books of hers. I love her as an actress, singer and dancer.
What do you find to be the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
How they would react in a particular situation or act. In those instances, I either ask friends of mine how they would react or research this particular situation. When I write characters of the opposite sex, I try to put myself in their shoes, try to feel what they feel.
What did you edit out of this book?
A scene that didn’t add anything to the story and didn’t seem plausible after reading it. It was a scene about a tattoo that an EMT would have noticed, but it would have been too dark for anyone to see a tattoo on a dim-lit street after thinking about it.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I have no specific methodology. I name my characters after I have described them in my storyboard or template. Once I have detailed their physical and emotional state, I choose a name that fits their persona. If a character is, let’s say Jewish, or of German descent, I would search the internet for names and family names for the ethnicity or where they come from.
What were your goals for this book? Did you achieve them?
My goal for this book was to write a story about young gay men who face bullying, harassment, familial strain and sometimes become victims of hate crimes. I also didn’t want the story to be too depressing and only about the hurt and pain, I also wanted the story to show love, friendship, support and happiness. I believe I have achieved my goal with this story.
What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
Most of the time, when I’m in my car, I sing. My best thinking for my writing happens when I’m exercising.
What were you like in high school?
I was like my character Elliot. Shy, reserved and a loner. I always felt that I didn’t fit in with the rest of the guys my age. They liked sports, I preferred plays, books and music.
What are the three best things about you?
I’m a great listener
I care a lot about others
I don’t judge
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
If you could time-travel, where would you go and when?
I would travel back to my teens. I miss out so much because I was afraid of what people would say and do because I was gay. I was a late bloomer, but I have no regrets, though.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Thank you for this opportunity. Kristian Daniels
About the Author
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.
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