In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.
By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children.
When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.
A trilogy. A trilogy. Wow. Can I really write a trilogy? Oh my God, I’m going to write a trilogy!
Those were my thoughts the spring of 2012 as I considered the story that had come into my head while I walked around the lake with my friend. I knew my story was far too big to tell in one book. It felt more like a journey than a sprint, so the word trilogy fit much better than series. The three stories are intended to be read in order, and while there is an over arching storyline that continues all the way through, each book is a story in and of itself.
Spark, the first book in my North Star trilogy, covers two time periods of Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus’s life. The first is while they are in high school and the second is after their meeting again in their mid-thirties. They are different than they were as teens but somewhat the same. Although their attraction is immediate, they have the complexities of adult lives to consider now.
I didn’t want to skimp on their high school romance when I wrote Spark, but I also wanted to give Hugo and Kevin considerable time to get to know each other again as adults. Throw Kevin’s kids into the mix, Hugo’s insecurities from years of dating jerks, and secrets, and you have a lot to untangle in just one book. Luckily, I didn’t have to unravel all of it. I got to leave some knots to untie in Fusion (expected release November 2013) and Flare, books two and three.
While I wrote, I didn’t stop to edit Spark before moving on to Fusion. I just kept on writing and writing and writing, so to me, it is very much one very long tale. The editing took place over the next several months.
North Star is Kevin and Hugo’s story, but there are many other players in this trilogy: Kevin’s children, Erin (the children’s mother) and Kevin’s weeks-away-from-being-official ex-wife. Just in case you are concerned, Erin and Kevin have both agreed to date other people before the divorce is finalized because their marriage has been over for years. There are also many friends in Hugo and Kevin’s lives throughout the trilogy, not to mention parents, and even a few not so friendly people. I had spreadsheets to help me keep all of this straight, and it is still staggering to me how much information I had to research.
In the end, I had three stories that wove from one to the other. I hope you’ll read them. Here’s a little taste from Spark, Chapter 3. Hugo has just seen Kevin at a party and recalls their first kiss. You can also read Chapter 1 here.
Even though Kevin and Hugo had very different problems, Hugo saw the similarities. They both wanted to be respected by their fathers. Respected, loved, and accepted for who they were. If Kevin didn’t have that acceptance, then Hugo decided he could give it to him. Everyone needed a soft place to fall.
As Kevin stood there in the woods thinking about his own father, his anger painted his face with spots of pink high on the apples of his cheeks. Hugo smiled at him, ready to be his soft landing spot.
“I like your hair, Kevin. You have years and years before you have to become a corporate drone. We’re young.” Hugo kicked at the tree behind him as he thought about the future. “We have freedom now. Hell. Isn’t this supposed to be the best time of our lives? Isn’t that what adults keep telling us? Why not have long hair and fuck around and experiment to figure out what we want out of our lives now? You have to live your life. Your father has to live his. So do what makes you happy, at least for now, even if you do have to go to college where he wants and study what he thinks you should. Maybe if you do a few things just for yourself now, you can look him in the eye and eventually tell him you don’t want to be a businessman but something else instead.”
Kevin studied Hugo’s eyes from across the wooded clearing, and the redness on his cheeks started to fade. “Listen to Mr. Philosophical,” he teased.
“I’ve had a lot to be philosophical about over the last few years, I guess,” Hugo admitted with an embarrassed shrug.
“What does that mean?” Kevin asked with no heat despite the challenging words.
Hugo shook his head, looking down at his shoes, suddenly wishing he’d kept his mouth shut. He had no interest in bringing up his own father. He knew he was different than most kids his age. The way he’d seen his father suffer over the last years and the responsibilities gently placed on his shoulders out of necessity had forced him to grow up. His classmates didn’t get him. He seemed far too serious to many.
“No, really?” Kevin wondered. “What?”
Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, Hugo debated what he wanted to say to Kevin because he had meant more by his statement than the struggles he’d had with his dying father.
“I’m just not…. I’ve never really fit in here. I know I’ll leave Austin and probably never look back.”
“How do you not fit?”
“I just don’t, and I know I have to leave to find a place where I do. I know there are places where I will fit in; it just won’t ever be here.”
“What does that even mean?” Kevin asked, taking a few steps closer and resting his palm against the tree trunk where Hugo leaned. It could’ve felt intimidating, but the gentle look and genuine curiosity on Kevin’s face showed that he simply wanted to better understand his friend.
“Let’s just say I’m not your typical red-blooded Midwestern boy and leave it at that, okay?”
Kevin studied Hugo’s face, focusing primarily on Hugo’s eyes.
“So blue.” Hugo thought he heard Kevin say it under his breath, just barely a whisper.
Then his gaze trailed down Hugo’s nose and landed on his mouth. Hugo couldn’t help his response, tongue darting out to wet his lips and blood rushing south where he felt his pants tighten.
Kevin’s eyes drifted shut as he leaned forward, and Hugo started to panic. What was going to happen?
But rather than fight it, Hugo let things go, let them happen how they were meant to be.
Kevin’s full lips met Hugo’s, covering them for only a few seconds before pulling away. He looked at Hugo as if looking for permission, and Hugo swallowed loudly in the quiet of the woods. Kevin leaned in again, this time pressing a bit firmer, opening and closing his soft mouth in gentle caresses against Hugo’s lips. Hugo could hardly draw breath but pulled Kevin’s body closer so he wouldn’t back away or stop.
A wet tongue licked across the seam of Hugo’s mouth, and he willingly opened, tentatively exploring another boy’s tongue with his own for the very first time.
Hugo’s mind went blank, and the world around him seemed to fuzz out, sounds drifting away as the sensations along his skin increased. The only other thing he was even aware of—he wasn’t even sure if he was still breathing—was the flicker of dappled sunlight through his closed lids. And then he was kissing back, opening his mouth and chasing the taste of Kevin around, trying to get more, loving the velvety slide of their tongues.
And now, nineteen years later, Hugo’s breath was taken from him again. The world blurred except for a halo of clarity surrounding Kevin as he stood across the fire pit with a lemon bar pressed against that mouth. That beautifully full mouth.
Gray eyes pierced through the haze, and Hugo watched as recognition spread across Kevin’s face in slow motion.
Posy Roberts lives in the land of 10,000 lakes (plus a few thousand more). But even with more shoreline than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined, Minnesota has snow—lots of it—and the six months of winter makes us “hearty folk,” or so the locals say. The rest of the year is heat and humidity with a little bit of cool weather we call spring and autumn, which lasts about a week.
She loves a clean house, even if she can’t keep up with her daughter’s messes, and prefers foods that are enriched with meat, noodles, and cheese, or as we call it in Minnesota, hotdish. She also loves people, even though she has to spend considerable amounts of time away from them after helping to solve their interpersonal problems at her day job.
Posy is married to a wonderful man who makes sure she eats while she documents the lives of her characters. She also has a remarkable daughter who helps her come up with character names. When she’s not writing, she enjoys karaoke, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.
Read more at http://posyroberts.com