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Happily Ever After and all that Jazz
I know in romance novels, the focus is supposed to remain primarily on the two main characters. And I agree with that… to a point. I’m also a firm believer that characters, if we want them to be real, don’t exist in a vacuum. Where they came from, who they came from, makes them who they are when the action of a novel begins, and when they meet their other half. All of their life experiences, including their environment, are important.
In my new novel, David, Renewed (not to pitch it or anything, but it’s available for pre-order now and comes out from Dreamspinner Press on Sept. 21! Lol) David Snyder is just coming out of bad relationship. His lover, Trevor, has cheated on him and David catches him at it. Reeling from the blow, David does something uncharacteristically reckless; he buys a house. And not just any house, but a charming craftsman that’s a hundred years old and just up the street from the house where he grew up. He knows and loves the neighborhood, and he wants a place that feels like ‘home’.
The house is homey, all right. Hardwood floors, built- ins in the living room and dining room, crown molding and other unique design details that appeal to David’s interior decorator sensibilities. However, the house is also a hundred years old. Anyone who has ever lived in an old house can tell you that the dollars begin adding up. Buying and living in a vintage home is an investment in both time and money. And while David can decorate a home beautifully, repairing the heater or the wiring is out of his depth. Enter Jackson Henry, the handyman. David is expecting a fifty something repairman with a beer gut and a butt crack; he’s both shocked and very pleasantly surprised when Jackson is nothing like he expected.
A huge part of this book is the time spent in David’s house. In fact, the house is almost another character. As Jackson works on it and David loves it, the house begins to reclaim some of its original shine and its journey, as much as David and Jackson’s journey, becomes very important to the plot.
Almost every book I write takes place in the Pacific Northwest. I live in Spokane, Washington, which is about fifteen miles from the Idaho border and about four hundred miles south of Canada. We have seasons here. Summer, winter, spring and fall all have their own personality. We get a whopper of a winter once in a while, but mostly they aren’t that bad. Enough snow to let you know you’re in Washington, but not so much it stops you from doing what you need to. Spring is spectacular, and Summers are mild for the most part. Almost no humidity. Fire danger can be very real, but people here understand the risks that are inherent in living in a heavily treed part of the state. But Fall – Fall here is wonderful thing. There’s a bite in the air and the days begin to shorten. The old growth trees that dot the neighborhoods and the downtown corridor along the river put on a display of gold, yellow, orange and all of the other colors of Fall, and there is nothing to compare to the first bite of a crisp apple right off of the tree, still cold with the nights chill. David and Jackson fall in love against the palette of Fall, and I believe it will mark their ‘happily ever after’ with pumpkin spice lattes and David’s mom’s apple spice muffins.
David’s house exists. It’s about five minutes from my apartment. Jackson’s mother’s house exists. As does the building where David works, and the river where they park to talk when David is overwhelmed by events taking place in his life. The restaurant where they have dinner on their ‘first date’ is a real place, as is the movie theatre where they watch a movie neither of them remembers afterwards. Every place that makes an appearance in the book is real, near where I hang my hat. Spokane is not really that much different than other places, but it has a very real charm. There are sections of town that were built right after the turn of the nineteenth century. Homes that were built in the years between 1900 and 1935 aren’t uncommon in the older areas. Neighborhoods with giant trees that turn colors in the fall and meet in a lacy canopy above the narrow streets dot the south hill, close to where I live. There’s a very hip and rural downtown with a lot of businesses and restaurants, surrounded by bedroom communities that have a lot of character. And I guess that’s the point. They have character, which makes them interesting when described in a book. I hope.
David, Renewed is a book about characters; David and Jackson, but also their mom’s, and their siblings and friends. It’s also about the time of year (fall into early winter), and at its heart, it’s about the Inland Pacific Northwest. I hope you find it draws you in as much as has me. It can be old fashioned and straight laced, but it’s also just a tiny bit magical, like an old Disney movie or a Victorian Christmas card. Someplace where a happily ever after doesn’t seem impossible at all.
Title: David, Renewed
Author: Diana Copland
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: 09/21/2016
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
When interior designer David Snyder buys a beautiful century-old house in eastern Washington, he is reeling with heartbreak and looking for somewhere to put down roots. Unfortunately his new home comes with a laundry list of problems: electrical, plumbing, heating… things David knows nothing about. When his mother offers him the business card of a local handyman, David pictures an overweight, balding man in his fifties. But Jackson Henry couldn’t be further from that stereotype.
Dark-haired, muscular, and handsome, Jackson left a large construction firm in Seattle to take care of his sick mother. However, his hometown still has an active “good old boy” network, and finding employment in construction is almost impossible for an openly gay man. Determined to persevere, Jackson takes odd jobs as a handyman. He’s exactly what David needs—in more ways than one.
David isn’t ready for his attraction to Jackson, not considering the way his last relationship ended. But as the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear that the heart often knows best, and it rewards those willing to listen.
About Diana CoplandDiana Copland began writing in the seventh grade, when she shamelessly combined elements of Jane Eyre and Dark Shadowsto produce an overwrought Gothic tale that earned her an A- in creative writing, thanks entirely to the generosity of her teacher. She wrote for pure enjoyment for the next three decades before discovering LiveJournal and a wonderful group of supportive fanfiction writers, who after gifting her with a “”Best New Author”” Award encouraged her to try her hand at original gay fiction.
Born and raised in southern California, Diana moved to the Pacific Northwest after losing a beloved spouse to AIDS in 1995. She lives in eastern Washington with four obnoxious cats, near her two wonderful adult children.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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