Hi guys, today we welcome new author Courtney Lux and her debut novel Small Wonders, Courtney graciously answers some questions for us, she also lets us have a peek at an excerpt, there’s a fantastic giveaway and we have Cat’s review, so enjoy the post and click that rafflecopter link <3 ~Pixie~
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 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.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I feel like my development/planning process looks a little like a Jackson Pollock painting; it’s all splatters kind of thrown out there, but they’re intentional and they do come together in a nice final product, but it’s definitely a messing, crazy process. Typically I start with developing characters first and then work to parse out their stories until I have something I can work with.
Who doesn’t love a good hero? Tell us about your protagonist. Was there a real life inspiration behind them?
Trip Morgan is my very favorite kind of protagonist: a complicated one. I’ve never been particularly partial to sparkling, perfect main characters, and Trip is far from that. Trip came from a rough background, ran away from home when he was sixteen, and a lot of that has really shaped him. Trip is angry, wild, prone to speaking whatever he happens to be thinking, and he’s really struggling to figure out what he’s doing with his life, but he is, at his core, a good person, but he’s very rough around the edges. I didn’t have any real life inspiration behind the entirety of his character, but I think his struggle to understand himself as an individual and as someone in a relationship is something a lot of twenty-somethings have experienced.
What real-life inspirations do you use when world building?
Small Wonders is set in New York City, which I am very fortunate to call my home as well. I like working with places I know or at least somewhere I understand the energy of, so I had a blast picking story locations and going to visit them either before or after I wrote them.
Did you learn anything from this book and what was it?
I learned the East River is not actually a river but a strait. No really, I went to look up which way it flowed, and it was a complete surprise to me when I found out it can go both ways.
It’s your last meal on earth. What do you choose?
If I knew it was my last meal, I’d probably feel too sick to eat! If I had to choose though, I think I’d want black linguini with lobster and a really good glass of wine.
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.
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.
Win a $25 Interlude Press gift card for one winner and five others receive a copy of ‘Small Wonders’!
Title: Small Wonders
Author: Courtney Lux
Length: Novel (282pgs)
Publisher: Interlude Press (Sept. 22nd 2015)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Blurb: “I am Trip Morgan, the would-be miracle who’s got something the matter with his eyes, and I am meant for greater things.”
A pickpocket who finds value in things others do not want, Trip Morgan keeps among his collection of treasured, stolen trinkets a photograph of a child who looks eerily like Nate Mackey, a down-and-out former Wall Street analyst Trip recently met and became involved with.
The photograph is part of a collection of stolen trinkets he’s amassed 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.
Small Wonders is Courtney Lux’s debut novel of a Southern boy escaping his roots and unexpectedly finding hope in his future.
Review: Trip is a runaway living in New York with three others. An Artist, a stripper, a baby, a druggie and a pickpocket…he is the pickpocket, though, he doesn’t do it for stealing but to collect his small wonders. When he isn’t playing his guitar or reading minds to make his share of the rent he likes to sit and make up stories about his collection. His favorite piece is a photo he found the day he ran away. One day he runs into a man (literally) that he believes to be the boy from his picture.
Fate seems to have a way to keep pulling these unlikely men together…but which one needs the other more?
Stars of the Show–oops– I mean book: I think Trip is one of my favorite most unusual characters. He is cocky, stubborn, charming, and he won my heart immediately. Nate is charming yet sad. He is very neat, obsessive and the polar opposite of Trip. Indeed, a match made in story heaven.
Characters that stole my heart: I also loved all of Trip’s roommates. I would love to see Devon, Jude or Liam’s story. Hint, Hint.
Memorable event: One of my favorite scenes was right after Trip and Nate began seeing each other( if you could even call it that). Instead of a goodbye kiss Trip leans over and licks Nate’s cheek. I nearly died laughing. It caught me off guard as much as it did Nate I think
The one thing that I didn’t like so much: The story is told in both first and third person. That took me a few chapters to get used to, but I liked that as well since it made it easier to tell what was actually happening and what is back story. I will definitely be looking for more from Courtney Lux.
Small Wonders is such a beautiful story. I was hooked from the very beginning.
The story is complex with lots of twists, some angst, but enough humor mixed in to lighten it up. There were parts my heart ached for both man and parts I laughed so hard my belly hurt.
If you like sweet romance with a touch of angst, a healthy dose of humor, strippers, musicians, babies, wealthy men, and pickpockets I highly recommend. This one.