Uncial Press

The Uncial Letter

September2023

Avery Easton Reminds Us That "You never forget your first love."

Well, that's not true. I have. And the second. And the six...in fact, my friends and I have a running joke about our exes. "Oh, so sad that they died. Too bad."

(It's not malicious, I promise. We don't actually wish for them to be dead. We just believe that exes should not get to exist in the world, especially if they dump you for a dumb reason, like they just don't like you anymore. It's rude.)

I don't think much about my exes, and I never talked to any of them again. It wasn't a rule or anything. But they either broke my heart or didn't make much of an impression, and I never saw the point in staying in touch regardless of how it ended. I saw each of them as a learning experience. They came into my life for a reason, and left for a reason, too. So goodbye, exes!

When it seemed inevitable that I was going to write Dion's story as a second-chance romance, I surprised myself. How unlike me! But for Dion, it just seemed right. He'd been a small part of the first three books in my Hearts of Broadway series, and it was his story that I needed to tell next.

I also wanted to write about the hometown I left twenty years ago. I wanted to go there in my head, explore the feelings I would have if I were in the same boat as Dion is: wondering where his life, his career, and romance will take him next.

My hometown was a wonderful place to grow up, and much of my family still lives there. I left it because it was not the right fit for me. I never really felt like I belonged there. But Peoria still holds a special place in my heart. It was a wonderful place to be a kid, but the life I've made in Chicago fits me like my favorite sweater.

I wanted to write about Dion Hart having that experience. I wanted to explore the feeling of not-quite-rightness while you're trying to grow up and do the right thing: the right thing for you, the right thing for your family, and the right thing for your heart. What would it be like to go back to the place where he'd had his first heartbreak, his first trauma, but also experienced so much love?

If my first three books were my love letters to Broadway, Not the Boy Next Door is my love letter to the community theatre I grew up performing. Dion decides to spend his what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life summer back home, doing a show, just like every summer he'd spent before moving to New York City at eighteen.

It was a joy to return to that space in my mind. I loved remembering all the details of rehearsal in a church basement and all of the wonderful people I used to perform with (some of whom got little tributes in the book). It's there in the basement that Dion finds some answers, a few more questions, and of course, his first love, Henry. Henry sees Dion for who he really is, both when they fall in love for the first time, and when they reconnect as adults, with all the passion and heart they had at eighteen.

Would that we could all remember our exes so fondly. Gee, it's too bad they're dead!

~*~

If Avery's words don't bring back memories of your first love, of at least a few of your exes, we'd be surprised. We admit to more than a few nostalgic moments as we read Not the Boy Next Door.

When Dion returns to his hometown, it's not as a victor, a celebrity. He's a loser. Or so he almost believes. Rejected by his lover, unable to find a good role on- or off-Broadway, he faces an uncertain future. Until he sees an announcement posted on a bulletin board, announcing auditions in a local musical production.

Not the Boy Next Door cover

It's more than an opportunity to find his balance as a performer. It's the open, inviting gateway to a glorious future, if only he has the courage to grasp it. For the director of the community theatre production of Kinky Boots is none other than Henry, the boy--man, now--he'd loved so long ago. Before life led them in opposite directions.

Will they get it right this time? You'll have to read Not the Boy Next Door to get the answer. We promise you that you'll find it a tender, engaging love story as you share Dion's and Henry's exploration of present possibilities. (ISBN 978-1-60174-265-0, $6.99)

Don't forget that we have a wide assortment of ebooks for your pleasure. Check our website for more about them.

Be well. Keep reading,

Star & Jude