Today, I have author Kristian Daniels in the interview chair. We’re discussing his latest release Stolen Heart, a m/m romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
Kristian: I’ve been with my husband for twelve years, married him three years ago. Even though I had retired from work two years ago, my workplace retained my services two days a week as a contractor. I don’t mind since my husband is still working. I lead a quiet and fulfilling life. I take care of my ageing father, who lives with us. I’m not an exercise addict, but I like taking care of my health and myself. We like to travel south once or twice a year, it’s an opportunity for us to be by ourselves, reconnect and enjoy each other’s company without having to think about what we have to do each day. I’m not your typical guy, maybe typical gay guy, everything I wear has to match. I’m very trendy, more so than my husband, I love clothes and changing hairstyle and colour.
2. I’ve been perusing your web site and see that Stolen Heart is your first book release. Why did you choose the trope of friends to lovers for your first book?
Kristian: STOLEN HEART is my first book. I wanted Elliot to be the complete opposite of me. I’m the type of person who has fallen in love at the bat of an eye in the past. It caused me many heartaches and many crying myself to sleep. In this book, I wanted to write about knowing someone first, developing a friendship as the basis of a relationship that evolved into a more serious relationship. I chose this trope because I secretly fell in love with some friends and never pursued it any further.
3. Can you tell me what inspired you to create this novel?
Kristian: 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.
4. Can you share your writing process through Stolen Heart?
Kristian: When I got the idea for STOLEN HEART, I already had an idea of what my main character was going to be and his evolution throughout the story. I developed an outline for my novel, created the four main characters not so much about what they looked like outside but how they were inside, their emotions, thoughts, pain, and joys. I make time to write every day, one chapter at a time. WhenI got stuck on a plot or what would happen next to a character or event, the inspiration came when I ran on my treadmill. As I ran, I thought about the scene that I had a block, and nine times out of ten, the idea came. Once my manuscript is written, I go through it two to three times, editing as I go along. To get readers’ perspective, I sent it to three of my friends and asked them to critique it, and I adjust my manuscript based on their review.
5. Let’s talk about the main characters for Stolen Heart. What do you love most about Elliot, and what makes you want to shake him?
Kristian: I love his enormous heart, compassion and strength. Even though his life is full of ups and downs, he can find it in his heart to forgive, love unconditionally. I would like to take Elliot by the shoulders and tell him to fight back, you are beautiful inside and out, to believe in himself to shake him up.
6. The same for Chase. What do you love most about him, and what makes you want to shake him?
Kristian: Chase hid in the closet because of his love for his parents and did not want to disappoint them. What I love about Chase is he is always ready to help someone else. He puts others ahead of himself. Because of this quality, he forgot himself, lived for his parents and not himself and this is the shake-up he needs.
7. Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favourite scene to write?
Kristian: I have several favourite scenes, but one, in particular, is when Elliot returns home to talk with his parents after several years apart. Elliot poured his heart out, which he never could before.
8. What makes Stolen Heart different from other m/m romances?
Kristian: My M/M romance takes the reader on a journey from youth to adulthood through love, heartbreak, hate crime, rejection and compassion. STOLEN HEART touches every emotion one could feel.
9. If a reader asked you why they should read Stolen Heart, what would you tell them?
Kristian: It is a powerful story and journey interspersed with violence, conflict and devastation in the life of four people. It is a modern tale told with heart and soul – A book with strong and sympathetic characters.
10. What can we expect from you in the future?
Kristian: I am currently working on my second novel, for which I have finished my first draft. This story will be about two eighteen years old and a twenty-six years old whose lives have been turned upside down by their parents. My inspiration comes from life, life around me, what I see and hear. The stories close to my heart are about homophobia and hate crimes and how much suffering comes from being bullied, laughed at and ostracized. But I will also write about happy relationships and families. I like to interject mystery in my stories as well. The next book is entitled “The sins of our sons.”
11. What do you enjoy most about writing?
Kristian: The creative process. The research that goes into each book. The evolution of the story scene after scene.
12. What do you enjoy least about writing?
Kristian: Starting a new scene. It’s not that I don’t like it, I’m excited. It’s to come up with a captivating sentence at the beginning of each scene. Most of the time, I end up rewording the first phrase at the review stage.
13. I enjoy doing random questions, so humour me:
- What’s your favourite movie?
I love musicals. I saw Prom recently with Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman and loved it. My favourite movie is Yentl with Barbara Streisand.
- What book is currently in your e-reader?
Seven Nights by Van Barrett.
- Who’s your favourite musical group?
- What song puts a smile on your face?
Circles – Post Malone
14. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Kristian: In my teens and growing up, arts have always been a big part of my life. I took ballet and Jazz lessons, I’ve acted in several local plays, whether musical or non-musical. I sang in a gay choir for several years, and I took a fashion design course.
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
Will Elliott’s past dampen his new life?
Blurb: 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.
Note: This is a standalone book.
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?”
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.