Miracle on Mistletoe Lane is an enchanting tale of the magic of Christmas, but when I first conceived the idea of this book, it wasn’t going to be a story about the holiday season.
The main characters of Joe Koehler, his son Joey, and Sidney Maier were pretty much well defined when I set out to write their story. Joe is an unemployed construction worker taking care of a medically complex six year old who recently, father and son, become homeless. Sidney is a Special Education schoolteacher who recently inherits his grandparents Tudor Style home, which is in much need of repair.
It was the development of the character Emily which turned this story into a Christmas-themed tale. Originally, I was going to write Emily as a retired nurse who coordinated the Northminster Church Food Pantry, but very soon Emily revealed her actual identity to me, and that is when my book took a pivotal turn. That is when my novel transformed into a Christmastime story.
I believe during the Christmas season people think about family or the remembrance of family. How I incorporated this belief into my story is that Sidney inherits his grandparents home, where he had a lot of fond childhood memories. Sidney’s grandmother really enjoyed Christmas and decked her home with festive decorations. There is a scene in the book where artifacts of his grandmother’s past love for Christmas are used to celebrate the holiday spirit.
Joe Koehler and his six-year old son, Joey, are down on their luck. Currently, Joe is unemployed due to a bad economy and taking care of a medically complex son. Recently father and son became homeless due to their apartment catching on fire and Joe being without any insurance. They are forced to live in Joe’s old red pick-up truck. Eventually father and son take refuge at Hope House, a local homeless shelter, which is run by a kindly, yet mysterious, elderly woman named Emily.
Sidney Maier recently inherited his grandparents home but the house is in desperate need of repair. Skills Sidney greatly lacks. He befriends a fellow church member Emily who is the Interim Director at Hope House. Sidney tells Emily that he needs help with remodeling his new home. Also, he confides in her, that he is lonely and wishes he could meet someone special.
Emily and her assistants orchestrate for Joe and Sidney to meet where an instant attraction forms between both men. Joe and Sidney embark on a journey of courtship, but soon a negative force learns of their budding romance and wants to stop it at any cost. Emily and her assistants must all use their special talents if Joe and Sidney are meant to live happily ever after.
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Excerpt: When Joe lifted his head, he saw the man he had been fantasizing about since Joey was discharged from the hospital. He quickly stood up then nervously swayed back and forth. Partly because he was nervous seeing the man whom he secretly desired, but also because he did not want Sidney to know that he was living here at a homeless shelter. He did not want Sidney’s pity.
“Oh, I…” Joe struggled to find the right words.
“The church hired Mr. Koehler to finish remodeling our library,” Emily said smoothly. “We needed someone right away and by the Lord’s work Mr. Koehler was available. My assistants and I think he is a Godsend.” Emily’s cell phone began to ring. “I need to take this call. It’s my husband.” She looked at Joe. “Would you be willing to give Mr. Maier a tour of Hope House while I take this call?”
Before Joe could respond, Sidney interjected.
“I would like that very much.”
The excitement in Sidney’s voice did not go unnoticed by either Joe or Emily.
“Good,” Emily said, taking her husband’s call as she walked away.
For a few moments Joe and Sidney just stared at each other, both men wanting to say something but too afraid. Finally, Joe mustered up the courage to start the conversation.
Author Bio: Derrick Knight was born and grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin to a father who was a middle school teacher and a mother who was a local real-estate agent. Derrick earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration from University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. For the last seventeen years, Derrick has been employed as a neonatal nutritionist in a neonatal intensive care unit at the largest teaching hospital in Illinois outside of Chicago.
Growing up Derrick was an avid reader of mystery novels. Agatha Christie was his favorite author. Ever since childhood Derrick dreamed of becoming a writer. He planned on writing mystery novels until a couple of years ago he read his first gay romance novel. He became hooked on the genre. He decided he was going to write a gay romance novel. The Rekindling of Love is Derrick’s first novel.
When Derrick is not writing, he is working on restoring his Arts & Crafts home, tending to his garden, and being an advocate for improving infant nutrition. Currently. Derrick resides in Peoria, Illinois with his two cats Iris and Madison Grace.
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