INTERLUDE PRESS TOUR for And It Came to Pass by Laura Stone (author interview,excerpts and giveaway)

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And It Came to Pass by Laura Stone
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nterlude Press

 

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AND IT CAME TO PASS by Laura Stone

Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is very lucky to be interviewing Laura Stone, author of And It Came to Pass.

Hi Laura, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hello, hello! I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you so much for hosting me on my book tour for And It Came to Pass! This is my third novel with Interlude Press, and I just want to gush over the cover for a moment. When the book designer sent me a proof I honestly choked up. It’s everything I could have wanted. Growing up LDS (Mormon), the church’s logo on grey granite was everywhere, on our church buildings and temples, on our books and lesson guides, and the cover serves as a sort of “calling card” for other members or even ex-members to know what the book’s subject is. Sorry for detouring for a bit, but I just wanted to make sure that CB Messer, who designed the cover, gets a little shoutout.

This novel started off almost ten years ago as a short story I’d written for a cousin who was deeply in the closet because of his father. My family is Mormon—Handcart and pioneer Mormon—and the Mormon church is not okay with acting on “homosexual feelings.” (Don’t get me started on their stance regarding transpeople, or I’ll rant and rave.) The idea in the Mormon church is that you must be straight and have children. Or, you know, at least live that way if you’re not. They went so far as to state in November of 2015 that if any members are gay, they can’t act on it. Not ever. And if you have children and are gay, your children cannot be baptized as members of the church unless they renounce you after they become adults.

It’s been pretty devastating for many church members, as you can imagine. Unfortunately, it’s also led to an absolutely frightening spike in LGBTQ suicides, and the youth are particularly vulnerable to a sense of hopelessness and wrongness. Utah currently has four times the number of suicides than anywhere else in the nation, a fact that utterly breaks my heart.

I think we all agree here that love is love is love. It was important for me to write this book to serve as a beacon of hope for the many LGBTQ Mormons out there who have yet to see themselves with a happy ending or even a hopeful one. It was crucial for me to include a family who takes their son’s coming out in stride and stands behind him. As the mother of three LGBT kids, I’ve seen first-hand how damaging it is for the opposite to happen. (And if I may, I’m just so proud of my kids. They’ve given me the courage to come out, myself.)

We need diverse books, as we all know, and that includes books that show that there are those in LGBT communities who have belief in a higher power and who also have full romantic and sexual lives with a partner. It’s not crucial that you’re Mormon to understand and engage with the story, but there’s is a world that often lives in secrecy… in many ways.

I hope you’ll take a chance and follow Adam Young and Brandon Christensen on their journey to becoming their true selves: Young men of God, gay, and in love.

Summary

Adam Young is a devout Mormon whose life is all planned out for him, by both his strict father and by his church. He follows the path they’ve established for him, including going off to his mission to Spain with mission companion Brandon Christensen—a handsome, enthusiastic practitioner of Mormonism. But as their mission progresses, they both realize they have major questions about their faith… and substantial feelings for one another.

AND IT CAME TO PASS ~ EXCERPT

“You’re quiet back there,” the Mission President said, catching Adam’s gaze in the rearview mirror. “Tired?”

“A little,” Adam answered. “Mostly it’s just…” He nodded out the window. “Overwhelmed by it, I guess?”

“It’s a beautiful country. Beautiful people, too. Family-oriented, like we are. These should be two of the best years of your life, son.”

Adam smiled weakly and sank back into his seat as the two men up front continued their discussion all the transfers happening in various districts. He pushed his fist into his churning belly and strained to see the ocean as they wove through traffic.

All of his life, his friends, family and church leaders had spoken of how amazing this moment would be, how life-changing this experience was for those who answered the call to serve. His friends had been laser-focused on how much they were looking forward to becoming missionaries; Adam had always smiled and nodded but never with the same zeal. Over and over returned missionaries spoke with passion about how they were overcome with emotion the first time they heard the thousands of missionaries at the MTC singing “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” in unison. For Adam, that experience had just been a reminder that there was something wrong with him, because instead of feeling overwhelmed with the Spirit, he’d felt like a failure for not.

* * *

As Christensen walked behind Adam to switch on the clippers, Adam shivered, closed his eyes and tried to stop the repetitive battle between thoughts of how this was wrong versus how desperately he wanted Christensen to get on with it. He wanted something to happen.
All thoughts were driven out when Christensen laid a strong, firm hand between his shoulder blades to hold Adam still while he worked. Everything, every thought and feeling, and heck, the very universe was centered on those minuscule points of contact between Christensen’s hand and Adam’s bared skin. Adam chanced a look after a while but shut his eyes again when he was confronted with his companion squatting directly in front of him, squinting at Adam’s sideburns to ensure they were the same length. Christensen’s breath moved over Adam’s lips, they were so close. He kept his eyes screwed shut; his heart beat a wild tattoo in his aching chest.

Christensen’s hand suddenly cupped the side of Adam’s neck, and, at the shocking sensation of a thumb sweeping softly over Adam’s pulse point, he let out a tiny gasp.
“Oh, my gosh,” Christensen said, his voice worried. “Did I nick you?” “Hmm? Oh, no, no, sorry. It’s fine. You’re fine.” Christensen laughed. His voice was still soft as he teased, “Oh! So, you’re just afraid I’m doing a bad job?” “N-no?” “Then relax. You look like you expect me to punch you.” He patted Adam’s shoulder and gave him a squeeze. “Just need to taper this bit in the back and you’re all done.” Christensen rubbed the palm of his hand over Adam’s head to dislodge any hairs. The friction centered itself in Adam’s skull, radiated in sensual ripples down his spine, then settled low with a pulse to match Adam’s heartbeat when Christensen leaned over to blow a few pale blond strays off the backs of his ears. Adam’s skin stippled with goose bumps. Was he imagining it? Was Christensen making an extra effort to get things just right, making sure every possible stray hair was carefully blown away or brushed off his neck and shoulders with the flat of his hand, merely in order to keep touching Adam? Or did Adam just hope so?

* * *

They pulled up to a low-slung, nondescript building in what appeared to be the business district. The Mormon Church usually bought apartment buildings in lower-rent areas for their missionaries to live in, so it was about what Adam had expected. It was nicer than some of the run-down apartment buildings in the older part of Provo, for sure. He climbed out with his backpack and duffel bag and blinked up at the bright blue sky; the spring sun was warm on his face. The driver grabbed Adam’s rolling suitcase from the trunk, handed it off and gave him a nod and a “buena suerte” before climbing back in the vehicle.

He’d always envisioned traveling his mission city on a bike—the stereotypical Mormon Missionary image—but they didn’t ride bikes in the Barcelona mission. A bicycle was too dangerous and cumbersome. He and his companion would walk almost everywhere, and he’d been told to be prepared to walk up to twelve miles a day, all in their suits and dress shoes.

The Mission President shook his hand curbside. “Well, welcome to Barcelona. Christensen will fill you in. We’ll touch base tonight, Elder. Do your best.”

“Yes, sir.”

Adam watched as the car pulled away, then jostled his gear in his arms just as the front door swung open, revealing a large, well-formed young man. He was about the same muscular build as Adam’s six-foot-two inches, except instead of Adam’s baby-fine blond hair and skin so fair his cheeks were perpetually ruddy, the new guy had inky black hair and deeply tanned skin. He almost looked Spanish himself. He was visually arresting and had an aura of confidence; his resting face radiated joy and optimism instead of the sanctimonious authoritarianism Adam had anticipated.
¡Holá!” the young man said with a bright grin on his face that made Adam’s stomach twist in a completely new way. It was all so unexpected to find… this waiting for him. Adam had imagined a younger version of his father, a ham-fisted tyrant with the aura of perfect obedience pouring off him in waves—a far cry from this young man’s happy, relaxed charm.

“So, I’m Elder Christensen. Eh, but you can call me Brandon when it’s just us.” Christensen took Adam’s duffel, hoisting it with ease, and they shook hands. “You’re Young, right?” Adam found himself tongue-tied, then managed to blurt, “Um, yeah. Yes.” When their hands met, an electric shock ran up his arm and straight to his fast-beating heart. He dropped Christensen’s hand and fumbled for his other bag. Christensen jerked his head toward the building and led the way through the interior courtyard to their apartment.

Blinking away the after-image of his new companion’s smile, Adam snapped his eyes to just over Christensen’s shoulder. This had happened once before, this intense reaction to another person. Adam, after careful and fearful prayer had attributed it to a prompting from the Spirit, to the strength of the other man’s faith making itself manifest. His prayer and scripture study led him to understand that it was how God helped His followers find each other. Church history was full of stories like that. In fact, it was how people described their first meeting with Joseph Smith, the Church’s founder and prophet.

* * *

And It Came to Pass will be published by Interlude Press on May 18, 2017. Connect with author Laura Stone at laura-stone.com; on Twitter @StoneyBoBoney; and on Facebook at facebook.com/9LauraStone.

About the Author

Laura Stone, a descendant of pioneer polygamists from the early days of the Mormon Church and a former Gospel Doctrine teacher, now keeps busy as a media blogger, ghostwriter and novelist when she’s not raising her youngest child.

While the majority of her family still lives in Utah, she resides in Texas because it’s where the good tamales are. Her first novel, The Bones of You, was published by Interlude Press in 2014 and was named a finalist for a Foreword Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Award. Her second novel,  Bitter Springs, was published by Interlude Press in 2015.

* * *

And It Came to Pass will be published by Interlude Press on May 18, 2017. Connect with author Laura Stone at laura-stone.com; on Twitter @StoneyBoBoney; and on Facebook at facebook.com/9LauraStone.

Giveaway

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Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of And It Came to Pass // Five winners receive AICTP eBook

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One thought on “INTERLUDE PRESS TOUR for And It Came to Pass by Laura Stone (author interview,excerpts and giveaway)

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me on my book tour! And good luck to y’all entering the giveaway!

    Like

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