Beneath The Stars By Lynn Charles
Sid Marneaux puts his fashion career on the line when he returns home to care for his ailing father. When he meets the new fire chief Eddie Garner, their romance sparks hot, but Eddie harbors burdens of his own. Through the wisdom of a child and the connection of mothers-now-gone, the men redefine family, career, and most importantly, love.
Category Contemporary Fiction, LGBT Romance, Interracial
FIC027020 FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
FIC027190 FICTION / Romance / LGBT / Gay
FIC027230 FICTION / Romance / Multicultural &
ISBN (Trade) 978-1-945053-17-7
ISBN (eBook) 978-1-945053-30-6
Publication Date February 16, 2017
Trim 6×9 Trade
Pages 308 (86,500 words)
Price $17.99 print/$6.99 multi-format eBook
Publisher Interlude Press
Cover Design CB Messer
Beneath the Stars By Lynn Charles
Director, Marketing & Communications
Fine Print Literary Management
jacqueline@ f neprintlit.com
About the Author
Lynn Charles’ love of writing dates to her childhood where thoughts, dreams, frustrations, and joys poured onto the pages of journals and diaries.
She lives in Central Ohio with her husband and adult children where a blind dog and his guardian cat rule the roost. When she’s not writing, Lynn can be found planning a trip to New York or strolling its streets daydreaming about retirement. Her previous novels include Chef’s Table (2014) and Black Dust (2016).
“How is he doing?”
Sid began with a prepared answer, the one he used for old neighbors and family acquaintances. “He’s doing okay. Day to day, you know,” but when he stopped fidgeting with his food and looked into Eddie’s eyes, his breath caught in his throat. Eddie wasn’t making small talk, wasn’t being generically kind. He was tuned in, with an understanding and patience at peeling away the complicated layers of caring for an elderly parent that went beyond what Sid had felt from anyone—even his closest friends.
And so, with Eddie’s unrushed attention, Sid began to unpack the emotions and frustrations he hadn’t yet allowed himself to express. He talked about Anna’s overbearing control and her lack of understanding as to why that would make Lou lash out and became belligerent. He talked about Anna’s calendars and charts and the daily schedule she kept Lou on. About her refusal to let their dad do much of anything. “It’s like she’s already put him in the ground,” he finally said, feeling almost winded after exposing so much of himself, of his family.
“It’s hard on the caretakers,” Eddie said. “It completely takes over your life.”
“It’s hard on the patient too. Dad lived, you know? Just last year, he rode his bike five miles to the park and back almost every day. This is the man who threw on a backpack with a bunch of college buddies and hiked the fucking Hippie Trail. He didn’t stop until he found what he was looking for. He doesn’t stop. And now he has no choice.”
“What was he looking for?”
Sid grinned with memories of his mom and dad and their great love. “He didn’t know until he saw her.”
Eddie met his smile, and a blush crept up his neck. “Sometimes we don’t know what we’re looking for until it’s sitting across the table from us.”
“No,” Sid said, unable to pull his gaze away from Eddie. “We don’t.”
What is your character’s name? Does the character have a nickname?
My main characters are Sidney Marneaux, and Eddie Garner. Sid’s nickname, given to him by his mother while he was still in utero, is Zico, named after the famous Brazilian soccer star and coach because of his intense kicking. When he was a small boy, the name continued on because of his proclivity to kick things when he was angry. His dad set a soccer ball in front of him, “Kick this,” and he ended up being a champion soccer player in high school. His family and home town friends still call him Zico in adulthood.
Who are your character’s friends and family? Who does he surround herself with? Who are the people your character is closest to? Who does he wish he were closest to?
When our story begins, Eddie is longing for some new friends as he has just moved to Connelly. As the chief of the city’s fire department, he is closest to Lieutenant Parker, but of course, his closest friendship is also the new romance he falls into with Sid Marneaux. He remains close to Sharon, his son’s mother’s mother as well—a surrogate mother-in-law of sorts.
Sid’s family features heavily in Beneath the Stars. His mother passed when he was a boy, but he is close to his dad. Being many years younger than his brother and sister, the relationship isn’t as close as he’d like—filled with animosity when it comes to his brother—but he and his sister Anna do work together in care for their father. Sometimes. Usually. His close friends are Rue, who is his assistant in Chicago, a queer woman with a quick tongue and a great mind for business and taming their main investor, Mitchell. At home, his best friend Dottie smooths the edges of his crazy life.
Where does your character go when he’s angry?
Eddie folds up into himself when he’s angry, and while it’s not in the book, I imagine him going out to the fire station’s basketball lot and shooting some hoops to let off some steam. Sid has a couple management techniques. When the anger is quiet and unidentified—more anxiety than anger—he sits at his machine and sews for himself. He reminisces on the times doing so with his mother and is able to calm and face whatever is on his mind. When Sid’s anger is on the surface, bubbling and hot, he takes to the soccer field and kicks hell out of a string of soccer balls.
Fun & In-Depth Questions:
When your character thinks of his childhood kitchen, what smell does he associate with it? Why is that smell so resonant for him?
Sid’s mother worked full time, so meals were quick, often made with fish and any number of spices. Her favorite weekend cook, however, was a simple roast chicken and the savory smell of it still takes him back to those lazy evenings after day-long soccer events.
Eddie’s mom wasn’t much of a cook, as she typically worked in diners and was “up to here” with the kitchen once she got home. Food came from cans and boxes, but to this day, he still can’t turn away from a hearty plate full of Hamburger Helper—stroganoff thank you—as that was always their chosen meal when they’d take an evening and watch movies after homework was complete.
Your character is doing intense spring cleaning. What is easy for him to throw out? What is difficult for him to part with? Why?
Eddie has no problem throwing out broken things: crayons, toys, ripped books, tools, furniture. Following Maggie’s lead, he saves about 1/3 of Adrian’s drawings in a box in the garage. He needs to buy a new box soon. In the guest room closet, he has saved boxes of paraphernalia from Maggie: incense and burners, a few favorite pieces of clothing, a couple head scarves and some of the pottery pieces she’d made. He can’t bring himself to display them yet, afraid with the craziness of a five-year-old, they might get broken.
Sid files receipts and invoices relating to Bastra and gets them out of his house and back to Bastra. He tosses carry-out menus he’s not used since his last cleaning, and after a few years, he finally tosses his father’s medical bills and informational pamphlets that his sister shoved into his “you take it” box. What he can’t and won’t part with are the broken field glasses his father used, the chest of fabric that still has swatches from his mother, and of course, her mandir that still fills the corner of his sitting room.
It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. If he’s eating breakfast, what exactly does he eat? If he’s stretching out in his backyard to sun, what kind of blanket or towel does he lie on?
It’s a Saturday after we say goodbye to our guys at the end of the book. It’s likely Sid’s at the studio either working with some semblance of quiet, or he’s with Eddie at the sidelines of the local youth soccer game where Adrian is tiny and fiery and having trouble staying in position because he wants so desperately to be good, good, good. Once the game is over, they head to Montrose Beach sprawled out on one of Sharon’s quilts. Sid and Eddie listen to Adrian replay every moment of the game and knock a ball around to relive some of the best moments to make them even more memorable.