Please join us in welcoming author Lane Swift to The Novel Approach today, with a guest post and giveaway of her new novel, Dormant Heart. To enter for the chance to win an e-copy of the book, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below.
And now, here’s Lane
Stuck On the Downs
Hi! I’m Lane Swift, and I’m really excited to be able to tell you a little bit about my new release, Dormant Heart. This is my first m/m novella, which I’d planned to be a light, fluffy short story. I ended up with something much longer—over 50k words! And while sweet in places, Dormant Heart also has its deeper moments. Mostly, it’s a story about loneliness, and how hard it is when you live on the margins of society to find a place, or a person, with whom to connect—particularly, when your start in life has been difficult, or isolated, or you haven’t fully come to terms with your sexual orientation.
The premise for Dormant Heart started with Callum Black, a man with a close relationship to livestock and woodland animals, due in part because of extreme shyness, and in part because he is mute. I set him in woodland very similar to that found on the South Downs—I cross-country run the terrain regularly and know it through the seasons. Once he was there, in his isolated cottage, I had to think of a way for him to meet his potential love interest, Josh Thornton. But how to meet him?
The Forestry Commission roads that criss-cross the South Downs are meant for occasional use, mainly by vehicles that can cope with some off-road, such as Jeeps. One wrong turn—which is incredibly easily done, I can tell you from experience—and you’re stuck. Josh, of course, wasn’t to know that until it was too late. And his run of bad luck got a lot worse before it got better. Things did start looking up, however, the moment he met Callum.
As spring approaches almost a year after I started writing Dormant Heart, I regularly run through the woods, the hills and the emerging bluebells that captivated Josh. As for Hartley Manor—that’s fictitious but based upon a number of stately homes scattered across the south of England that I’ve visited over the years. Many are still inhabited, if for only part of the year, by wealthy families who have lived in them for many generations. Many are now under the sole ownership of the National Trust. Either way, visitors to England have no shortage of mansions, castles and manor houses they can look around if they have an interest in English history, or the way the upper classes live(d).
I hope you enjoy Dormant Heart, and Josh and Callum, as they journey through the darkness of the woods surrounding Hartley Manor and into the bright, hopeful sun of summer.
Blurb: Amateur photographer Josh Thornton is out but not so proud. He’s estranged from his family, his boyfriend dumped him, and his job at an estate agency is in jeopardy—especially after he crashes his boss’s car in the middle of nowhere on his way to Hartley Manor.
Callum Black works at the English country estate and lives there in an isolated cottage. Left mute by a childhood accident, he’s more comfortable in the company of animals than people. But when Josh—literally—crashes into his life with his camera and his friendship, Callum realizes his peaceful solitude has been more than a little lonely.
Josh’s affection for Callum deepens even as he’s consumed by doubts over Callum’s sexuality and whether Callum could ever love him. And Callum is haunted by the secret that stole his voice—a secret that keeps him tethered to Hartley Manor. When the past comes hurtling painfully back into the present, Josh and Callum have to overcome their fears and breathe life back into their dormant hearts in order to have a chance at their own picture-perfect future.
About the Author: Lane Swift is a fiction writer, mainly of contemporary romance, sometimes featuring a mild dash of paranormal. She lives in Hampshire, England, between the sea and the South Downs, with her husband, two children, and two guinea pigs. She can often be found running the roads and trails in her local area, or at her beach hut, imbibing coffee and dreaming up happy-ever-afters for her heroes and heroines.
Over the years, she’s worked as a waitress, a lab technician, a science teacher, and a telecommunications consultant. She’s also played rugby, climbed one mountain, and run one marathon (soon to be two), but has never managed to learn how to whistle.
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