Summer Love is the first collection of short stories published by Duet, the young adult imprint from Interlude Press. These short stories are about the emergence of young love of bonfires and beaches, of the magical in-between time when young lives step from one world to another, and about finding the courage to be who you really are, to follow your heart and live an authentic life. The contributing authors have written stories about both romantic and platonic love featuring characters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, pansexual and queer/questioning. The authors also represent a spectrum of experience, identity and backgrounds.
SUMMARIES & AUTHOR BIOS
A campaign volunteer is assigned to assist his high school’s Gay Straight Alliance for the Pride Parade, forcing him to face the students he had previously avoided, and the truth about himself.
Author: Rachel Davidson Leigh is a writer, educator, and small town native who tells stories she wishes she could have read as a teen. Beautiful Monsters is her first published work of fiction. She lives in Wisconsin with her family and two dogs who are spoiled out of their tiny minds.
The Willow Weeps for Us
Jack, the young son of a grocer, falls for a charming piano teacher at the dawn of World War II.
Author: Suzey Ingold is a writer, linguist and coffee addict, currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Brought up in a household where children's books are quoted over the dinner table, literature has always had a strong influence on her life. She enjoys travelling, scented candles and brunch.
The Fire Eater’s Daughter
When a traveling carnival comes back to town, Ruth must choose between caring for her mother and a life with the beautiful and mysterious Constance, the fire eater’s daughter.
Author: Amy Stilgenbauer is a writer and aspiring archivist currently based in southeast Michigan. She is the author of the novelette series, Season of the Witch, as well as the Young Adult novel, The Legend of League Park. When she isn’t writing, Amy enjoys all things bergamot and tries to keep her cats away from her knitting.
Logan just wants a summer where he can be anonymous and fit in without labels, but that all changes when he meets out-and-proud Dave at summer camp.
Author: Ella J. Ash is a lawyer by day and an author by night. She has been a writer in online fan communities since 2006. She also enjoys dance parties with her family and cooking experimental vegetarian cuisine. She lives in Toronto with her partner, three daughters and four tropical fish.
My Best Friend
In a letter to his best friend, a young gay man reminisces about their relationship.
Author: H.J. Coulter lives in Winnepeg, Canada, where she works as a respite worker and studies music, in hopes of one day becoming a musical therapist. My Best Friend is her professional writing debut.
What the Heart Wants
A young student discovers attraction and desire through her experience drawing figures in her summer art class.
Author: Naomi Tajedler was born and raised in Paris, where art has always been a part of her life—including painting, restoring books, and working in auctions. She started writing in online fan communities in 2009.
The Most Handsome
Carter, a Cape Cod boy who recently came out as transgender, meets and falls in love with a college student visiting for the summer.
Author: S.J. Martin lives with his partner and their cranky, rotund cat in Washington D.C. He’s a barista by day and a writer by night. He makes a mean cappuccino and lives for good coffee, good books, and good company. The Most Handsome is his first published story.
Something Like Freedom
A boy finds a safe space from which to imagine a new future after leaving his conservative parents’ home, thanks in part to a new friend.
Author: Caroline Hanlin is a full time statistician, a part time stage manager, and an avid sports fan. She currently resides in Boston, where she enjoys writing during her commute. Something Like Freedom is her first published short story.
On the Shore
A young woman retreats to her parents’ beach house to nurse a broken heart, but instead meets a vivacious girl who helps her find joy again.
Author: Rachel Blackburn is a writer, musician and librarian based in central Ohio. When free from work, she enjoys cuddling with her cats, drinking tea, and baking more cupcakes than necessary. On the Shore is her professional writing debut.
Excerpt: (From Beautiful Monsters)
By Rachel Davidson Leigh
“Glad to see you could join the party,” Terrence deadpans, pressing a rainbow bandana into André’s hand. André grabs a second bandana out of the bag, stuffs one in each of his back pockets, and then goes in for a third.
“Cody was checking out the parade route,” André replies, in a smooth lie. “It turns out we’re still walking six blocks through absolutely nothing and then calling it a day.” Terrence laughs, and, as he turns away, André presses a handkerchief into Cody’s hand. “Use it wisely,” he whispers into Cody’s ear. “You’re one of us now.”
One of us. He’s never been part of an “us.” Cody stares down at the lines on the handkerchief and then at the two patches of color on the back of André’s jeans as he walks toward the arriving cars.
Cody expects panic, but it doesn’t come. Maybe he isn’t ready to be Gay with a capital G, but if “us” can mean being one of these idiots, then maybe he’s ready to have people of his own. As he watches the sharp sway of André’s hips, the heat rising up his neck doesn’t feel like fear. It feels like... clarity, as though the run put everything in perspective and now he can’t stop seeing André in crisp, dazzling color.
Someone presses a sign into his hand and guides him toward the parade staging area with the rest of the crew. Once again, he can’t hear himself think over the din, but it’s different now. At the meeting, and for years before that in the hallways, he felt like an invader locked out by a wall of sound, and now he’s somehow wandered inside.
Interlude Press web store: store.interludepress.com
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Rachel Davidson Leigh author of “Beautiful Monsters” in the Summer Love anthology. Tell us something about yourself.
Hi! I’m a teacher, a writer, and a Midwesterner who would probably live in coffee shops, given the opportunity. My story in the Summer Love Anthology, “Beautiful Monsters,” centers on Cody Markhausen, a teenage campaign volunteer forced into organizing a Pride parade, and his unwilling collaborator, Andreas Furneaux, who brings him to terms with a few unexpected realizations.
1) Tell us something no one else knows about your characters.
Don’t tell my two leads, but I completely fell in love with two of my minor characters during the writing process. A large portion of “Beautiful Monsters” takes place in and around a high school Gay Straight Alliance and these two young women, Maddie and Juliet, absolutely refused to blend into the crowd. After resisting (and writing reams of backstory for both of them), I finally caved and gave them bigger parts. Their friend-chemistry was just too much fun to keep for myself.
2) Have you ever written something that made you cry?
Actually, I have. A little while back, I wrote a short story, which centered on a funeral. It wasn’t autobiographical by a long shot, but I did pull in my own emotional experience when I was writing. Long story short, this is why my friend found me on the couch, in the dark, staring at my open laptop, and crying. It’s also why I waved her away and insisted that, yes, I really was having a very good time. Behold, the joys of creative writing!
3) Have you ever co-written with someone before?
I’ve tried. It turns out I’m not very good at it. I love reading for other authors and asking talented friends to read for me, but when we are co-authors I turn into a Midwesterner at a four-way intersection. For readers not in the United States, that means I sit there, waiting for the other person to move and apologizing for my own delay. I’ve been told it’s delightful.
4) What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
I tend to sit on ideas for a long time before a word ever gets onto the page, so the hardest part is that first sentence. By that point, I’ve done the research, I’ve planned out the entire project in my head, and I can no longer come up with any other excuses not to actually start writing. On my most recent project, I literally assigned myself to write ten words a day for the first week. I got to feel accomplished for doing next to nothing, but it got the ball rolling and, with each word, the job got a little easier.
5) Name your four most important food groups.
Cake: Apple, vanilla, chocolate, coffee . . . I’m not picky. However, I am lactose intolerant, so when I found a nearby bakery that make an incredible vegan cupcake, I was pretty sure I’d died and gone to heaven.
Bread: The more dense, chewy, and homemade, the better. If the loaf is roughly the size and weight of a small dog, you’re probably on the right track.
Sushi: I also live in the Midwest, so my ongoing love affair with raw fish is somewhat unfortunate. Luckily, I did grow up right near a great sushi restaurant built into the side of a gas station. And no, I’m not kidding.
Coffee: This one counts both the drink and the environment. While I like coffee, I adore coffee shops. It’s where I’ve gotten my best writing done for the last decade.
Where to find more information:
Twitter: @duetbooks, @interludepress
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25375979-summer-love
Publisher: Duet, a Young Adult imprint form Interlude Press
Cover Artist: BuckeyeGrrl Designs
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