HELLO FRIENDS! TODAY WE ARE LOOKING AT THE BOOK STARS FALL, BY LOUIS J. HARRIS; THIS BOOK IS OUT TODAY, SO WE ARE GIVING YOU THE SUMMARY, AN EXCERPT OF THE BOOK, AND A LOVELY, INFORMATIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE WONDERFUL AUTHOR: LOUIS J. HARRIS! WE HOPE YOU ENJOY IT!
Keegan Mansfield is the star of the track and field team and he's destined for Rio 2016. But there are problems; he's lost, lonely and a social outcast. You see, Keegan Mansfield is a bilateral amputee. A T44 Paralympian whose life is filled with false friends and dysfunctional parents. What will it take to change his world? Love? Honour? Trust?
Conrad Smith is a fine able bodied athlete, he runs for the same team and saves Keegan from a potentially violent incident. Conrad believes in Keegan. Falls in love with him. Then breaks his heart. Keegan switches to survival mode, but will he ever forgive Conrad? And when tragedy strikes like a lightning bolt from heaven, will Keegan continue his Olympic dream? Only Keegan can change his world for the better, and he knows that if he doesn't do so soon, his Olympic dream will be in vain.
Thanks Louis for letting us preview this wonderful cover for you when it came out a few months ago, this is what got people wanting this book in the first place! Here is the cover that got everyone's attention!
Now we have an excerpt from Stars Fall for you: Let's see If this whets your appetite:
Runup to Excerpt:
Earlier on during the day, after a track event, Keegan is bullied and beaten by his nemesis, a guy called Marx. Marx won the race, and Keegan came in second place. According to Marx, athletics has no room for losers and queers. Keegan has yet to understand that he is gay. He has never slept with a man, nor a woman. He looks at men, loves their hardness, but being a bilateral amputee, he can never hold onto a relationship, or so he thinks. Conrad saves Keegan from being beaten to a pulp by Marx and he invites Keegan for dinner.
Not many people invited Keegan out. There was the time that Patrick invited him to play ten pin bowling and the time that he and Jean went to movies at Sandton City. It was difficult for him to get around. Not having a car inhibited his movements. He would dearly love to go out more often but it was no fault of his that he did not have transport. He couldn’t afford it on his bursary. Having to rely on others for transport meant that he would have to schedule lifts to and from varsity, to and from practice, to and from competitions. It wasn’t easy. It felt as if he owed the whole world favours.
The first thing that surprised him was that Conrad opened the car door for him. Nice touch. Gentlemanly. From that moment Keegan held a new respect for him. It felt like he was being courted.
‘Hey handsome, you're looking good. How’s the elbow?’ Conrad said.
‘I washed it properly in the bath and applied more disinfectant. Hurts a little but otherwise it’s just fine. You look different.’
‘Must be the hair.’
'Actually, brush-cut suits you. Brings out your brown eyes. You look like an American Marine.’
‘My hairdresser was surprised when I told her I wanted a brush cut. You know what she said?’
‘She said that such a change means that something drastic had happened in my life.’
‘She said that?’
‘Yup. I told her I don’t really think the word is drastic as much as fantastic.’
‘You said that? So what did you mean?’
‘I meant you. I never once thought you and I would be friends. I think that’s fantastic.’
Keegan’s face burned from the compliment. ‘Well, that’s…that’s…thank you. The feeling is mutual,’ he said.
Conrad shut the passenger door and climbed into the driver's side of the vehicle. ‘Your chest still hurting?’
“A little. Not much.’
‘I wish it was me that Marx beat on.’
That statement was enough to send Keegan’s mind into overdrive. Guy friends didn’t say that to each other. Well, they did, especially if there’s caring involved. And then Conrad said something even stranger.
‘It hurts me to see you in pain, bro.’
‘Believe me, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of Marx’s punches. Not cool. So where are we going? What do you have in mind?’
‘A quiet supper. Just the two of us.’
‘You don’t mind me taking you out for supper?’
‘It’s not like we’re on a date, right? I mean, we’re just two guys enjoying supper, right?’
‘Yes. On both counts. Just two guys enjoying good food. Guy bonding. Bronding. Nothing more.’ Conrad laughed at the word he had just coined.
‘Then why would you ask if I mind?’
Keegan found out very quickly why Conrad had asked him that question
The restaurant, settled in a neat suburb just off the main highway, was dressed in warmth and the smell of Italian cooking from the kitchen. Their small booth had been set with a candle lit table and a violinist played Moonriver for them as they entered. Keegan smiled at the maître d’ as he invited them to be seated.
'I’ll leave you for a moments, Conrad,’ the maître d’ said.
‘Thank you, Simon.’
As Keegan sat down, he said, ‘You’ve been here before?’
‘My favourite restaurant would you guess?’
‘Never have guessed.’ Keegan laughed.
‘Simon is my aunt's husband. They own this place.’
‘I guess it’s always better to have a connection in the restaurant business. This is nice, Conrad. Too nice. I can’t afford to eat in a place like this.’
‘Who said anything about paying?’
‘I can’t expect you to pay for this, bro.’
‘I asked you out. It’s on me. All I want is for you to enjoy.’
Keegan smiled at him with a softness in his eyes. An appreciation. ‘Next time it’s on me.’
‘Yup. And I don’t mind KFC.’
Both of them laughed and from that moment the evening turned into one filled with music, wine and good Italian cuisine.
Getting to know a person is always like finding a new product. That may sound beaten and clichéd but it’s true. As the evening wore on, they spoke about life and the universe, and special friends and what friendship meant to them.
‘Do you have a special lady?’ Keegan asked.
‘A special lady, you mean as in girlfriend?’
‘No. Nothing like that. I can’t afford a girl. That’s not to say that I haven’t ever had a girlfriend. I have. Didn’t turn out well at all.’
‘Sorry. I’m prying here.’
‘Not at all. We had a so-so relationship right from the start. My brother asked us to babysit for him once. That night we had sex. Embarrassing for me, but not for her apparently. I was a virgin. Had no idea what to do. I know I didn’t cum inside her. So when she told my family that she was pregnant, I almost married her. She didn’t tell me first. She ran to my mom and told her instead and before I knew it I was hauled over the coals by everyone. But my mom insisted that she be tested before I committed. Thankfully the test came back negative. I wasn’t ready for a family. Damn, at 18, who is? Anyway, we went on a last date. It was then I told her that we weren’t ready for each other. She asked why and I told her the truth.’
‘What did you tell her?’
‘I told her I had feelings for guys. I simply wanted to sleep with her to see if I could sleep with a woman.’
‘You said that? Selfish, don’t you think.’
‘No. I knew I would never marry her. But at the same time I felt as though she tried to trap me.’
‘What did she say when you told her you're gay?’
‘She cried, she said all of her boyfriends had told her that they were gay.’
‘You’re not serious.’
‘In a way it was so funny. In another it was damned sad, but that ended our relationship. Now, what about you? Tell me about Jean.’
‘She looks after me, there’s no doubt about that. Helps me whenever she can. Transport that kind of thing.’
'You have any special feelings for her?'
'You mean is she my girlfriend?'
'I could have asked if you sleep with her.'
'I do not sleep with Jean. We don't have that kind of relationship. It's platonic. All platonic.'
'Maybe from your side, but from what I've seen, I think she wants more than just a friendship.'
'It's not going to happen.'
‘And what do you think of me?’
Keegan sipped at his wine. ‘I think you’re amazing. And this….all this…is very special. You care. You’re a fine guy, Mr Smith, and I’m happy that you and I are friends.’
Conrad responded by turning away from Keegan's gaze. The sadness in his face caught in the light.
‘Wanna tell me about what you’re thinking?’ Keegan asked.
‘I…I was kind of hoping that….I don’t know, I’m being very unreasonable…’
‘That you…that you were attracted to me in some way. I’ve watched you since you were a freshman and always been too scared to approach you. Now that we’re finally friends, I’ve gone and fucked it up.’
Keegan held his glass to his lips for a moment while Conrad's brown eyes searched for an honest answer. Keegan had observed his directness earlier that day; he had displayed humility, subtlety and tact. Coming to Keegan's rescue earlier required an impulsive, positive and self-confident nature. Keegan was attracted to that.
Keegan reached for Conrad's hand and held it gently. ‘No…no… don’t think like that Conrad. I just have to discover what it is that’s stopping me from having a relationship. It’s bugged me for years.’
Conrad held his hand tighter. ‘I'm hitting on you and I don't want to scare you and if you think I'm coming on too strong, just say so and I'll back off. Can I be perfectly honest with you?'
'I wouldn't expect it any other way.'
'I looked at you today in the locker room when I helped you fit your prosthetics, and I noticed that…'
'What did you notice?'
'I could have sworn you had a semi hard-on.'
A moment of silence followed.
'I did?' Keegan knew he had had a semi hard on. He played it coy.
'I would like to think that I can make you feel that way again.'
'I need time for this to register, I had no idea you felt this way about me.'
'Then time I will give you. But, I'm not going to stop thinking about you, and I'm not going to stop touching you.' Conrad said, his hand slid over Keegan's gently, and when Simon approached to take their order, he didn't remove it.
'I think I can handle that.' Keegan said breathlessly, his heart throbbing. The fullness of his cock wanting escape.
I bet you thought we were done! Not quite people! This is an interview with the author Louis J Harris! I had a lot of fun asking Louis these questions, and I think he had fun answering them! Thanks Louis for talking so candidly about yourself and your book!
Hello readers! We are here today with the lovely Louis J Harris to talk about his new book Stars Fall, coming out tomorrow. Thanks so much for joining us Louis, lets get to it shall we?
1. I love how passionate you are about writing Louis, has it always been a passion, and how did you discover it?
Hope you are well. Let's start with a huggle and a cuddle...
I've always had a passion for writing even through the lean years. I stopped writing for many years whilst mentoring young writers, I simply didn't have the time. A couple of years ago, I started writing again and shelved all my stories. From 2006 I felt the need to be published and the South African Short Story Publishing Association published my first novel. This novel introduced South Africa to her first gay literary detective. I wrote short stories, had them published in California and Australian online magazines, and also began rewriting the novels that I shelved. There were periods when I couldn't even afford an old typewriter, and used a pen LOL. Still by far the best way to write by the way. Writing was never a discovery as much as a feel-the-need-to kind of thing. I read John Steinbeck and Robert Bolt and Shakespeare at school and so wanted to be like them.
However, I was making a huge mistake by writing about things I didn't know about. I was writing thrillers with heterosexual protagonists, very little sex involved. It was only two years ago that I discovered a whole new world by writing what I know best, writing about gay men, and this was a real eye opener for me, because suddenly, I was comfortable with what I was writing and I hope it shows in my work.
Bec- I love that you realized that you were better off writing what you feel, and that reflects who you are!
2. The build up to your book Stars Fall has been amazing! I know I can't wait for everyone to read it, what is the one thing that you hope people take away from this book?
Thanks Bec. I hope a lot of people do read it. You know, we all have a handicap of sorts, whether it be social, political, religious, mental or physical. I write about love, loss and tragedy, but I always keep in mind that through loss and tragedy, there is always hope. Hope underlines all my work. I want readers to walk away feeling that they have come out of a relentless journey feeling uplifted. I want readers to feel that no matter how significant and vulnerable they may feel about their own handicaps, there is always a way out. It really doesn't matter if there is no love in your life, the motivation must come from within the soul. Transtibial amputees like my protagonist Keegan Mansfield, usually don't have the resources to afford protheses, they feel vulnerable to things we, as able bodied people, take advantage of and are comfortable with. Amputees feel inhibited.
Bec- I have an Aunt who has polio, so I love that Keegan has a fighting spirit, that is very important when you have a handicap. I love that he takes control, and doesn't let himself be defined by his disability.
3. Keegan, your main character in the book, is a bilateral amputee, can you tell the readers who may not know who you got the inspiration for him from?
Readers will know immediately and come to their own conclusion. This story began long before Oscar Pistorius got into trouble but I couldn't stop it, I was too far into it. I hope readers will understand that Keegan is really modelled on the "Common Man" principle, he embodies the soul of all T43/44 athletes, not just a single person. I hope I succeeded in that.
Bec- I really think it comes through in the story that Keegan is his own person. Well done!
4. What is the most important message in this book that you want readers to take with them after they read it?
In many instances bilateral amputees rely on family to take them shopping, or visit family, go to a movie or a picnic or fishing. Many have wheelchairs and walkers and prefer to stay at home even if family do offer to help them out. They have little hope for themselves, many don't want to fall in love because they feel they are only half human, not whole, this is the saddest thing, because there are amputees who have not allowed their disability to overwhelm them. I have seen the most stunning female and male models on the internet who have risen above their handicap. We all need to rise above adversity. But there's also the message of dedication and perseverance. I hope the reader finds these messages in Stars Fall.
I love that your purpose was not just to throw this book out there, but to educate people about the actual handicap, and help them see that just because someone is different, doesn't mean they are less.
5. It is so easy to feel down and defeated sometimes, what do you do as a remedy when you start feeling that way?
Bec, I am fortunate in that my brain blocks it out and after a couple of hours I'm fine again. usually I turn to writing, because it's therapeutic and takes my mind off things like house budget and work. Yes, I work in the auto industry and write on weekends or at night. I might take a quick shower and think of a way out. There are many solutions. I think of those times when a lover hurt me, and the solution was quick and simple, there are other guys out there who won't hurt me, I just needed to find him. Or if I've gone over budget for the month where the solution is simple too; cut down on spending on luxuries, just get the necessities. So I think of solutions. And often the simplest solution works just fine.
Having said all this, I am fortunately married to my best friend, and we sit and chat about the problem. I find that talking about the issue is a great way to wash it down, and then it doesn't feel so bad.
Bec-It is wonderful to have an outlet for times like that, and being married to you best friend so you can talk things out is a blessing for sure!
6. Love is something that Keegan is seeking in this book, and the right to be seen as a whole person, and good athlete, I think you conveyed the emotion in this book so well, how do you do that as a writer?
I go into this void and pull emotion from my own experiences and so there's a lot of me in all the characters I create. I'm a highly emotional person. I remember crying at the airport once when my mom left for a holiday in the United States. Hubby jokingly said they could employ me as their professional cryer...LOL. I try not to tell emotion. I try to show it by using the senses of touch and sight, that usually does it for me.
Bec- That is an awesome answer Louis! I love that you pull from your own emotions for your writing!
7. Last one I promise Louis! Is there a certain writing style you have adopted? A certain music or something like that you have to have on while writing?
My writing style is different for each story. In Stars Fall I adopted a straightforward, no frills style. Rather minimalist.When writing emotion, less is usually more. In the original version I wrote long emotional paragraphs, and in the editing stage I pulled it back. In other words, I wrote it hot, but revised it cool. I made use of the First to Third Flip. I originally wrote this in the first person as seen from Keegan's point of view, and hubby slapped me and said it would work much better if it was done from the third person point of view, with Keegan as the central focus.
In all I'm generally comfortable with a lot of different styles. I don't usually listen to music when I write. I do need background noise though, like a TV set or the voices of hubby and son. I don't really like being alienated from the world when I write. However, when I read, that's different. If I read a western for instance, I listen to country.
Bec- That is a neat way to read, I usually adapt to whatever surroundings I have when I am reading. I love how your style varies with each story!
Thanks so much for joining us today Louis, and for these wonderful, heartfelt answers! We hope to do this again very soon!
Alrighty folks, that is our look at Stars Fall and so much more! I am ending this post with a link to Louis's website where you can find out more about him and what he does, and you can purchase Stars Fall from there as well! I have also included the Smashwords link where you can also order the book. Thanks Louis for letting us do this for you! <3