Winner of the 2013 Global Ebook Award for Best LGBT Novel.
Background about the novel:
The partially finished manuscript of “The Agony of Joy” had been “on pause” on my computer, in a folder within a folder. I do that occasionally when I have a story or idea I’m still meditating on, yet don’t want to see each time I log on. Why? Because for me, that’s like forcing a thought, and I want the inspiration to “come upon me of itself.”
Sure, I plan or outline some my work to a degree, but I try not to be too detailed because this holds me back. It’s like being told you can walk anywhere within a beautiful park, but there are still guard rails bordering the sidewalk. You are not forbidden to walk, run or sit on the grass, but more people would be psychologically less likely to do so because of the “fenced off” imagery. I consider that the same with my work and outlines.
“The Agony of Joy,” whose title was the only really definite thing I had decided about the work from the beginning, had sat at 32K words for almost three years. I knew what my characters looked like, where they were from and the personal struggles they would be dealing with, and even how I wanted all of it : the parents, the family, the crises, to evolve…but I was having difficulties with motivation, with continuing their story. Every time I felt the urge and started writing, writing the way I wanted the story to go: it wasn’t working.
I took a break. A long break.
And in the interim, my personal life, the up’s and down’s, the memories, and so many things of myself began to reach a climax, and I discovered the crescendo building in me reflected the complexity of Adrian and Alexander’s co-existence and development. As I strove to work through my own dilemmas, they helped me find a way to present them at their most honest and sincere in all their pained needs, desires and admissions. And so, in just three months (a minor miracle for me) I added almost 70K more words to their story and completed my first full-length novel.
Blurb: “The life, love and struggle of two men to overcome their separate past agonies and allow themselves to experience the full joy of true love. From London to Berlin, to the frozen seas of far east Russia, The Agony of Joy takes you on a journey you’ll never forget.”
Part of the story takes place in my adopted town, Berlin, Germany, and in the neighborhood and streets I’ve roamed, and the wonderful flat I used to share with a friend. The little quirks of Wilmersdorf near Bundesplatz, the volkspark nearby, the exquisite little restaurant we used to visit late nights when they probably wanted us to leave so they could go home, yet they were still cordial…. These were all settings I used in “The Agony of Joy,” and recently I took a walk back through the old neighborhood, which was both a personal reminiscence and the images Adrian and Alexander viewed in their novel. More photos of the flat’s interior are here, and others in the area here.
So I’ve added some photos I made of that journey, after the full description of this work of contemporary fiction, hopefully releasing in 2012. Those who have consented to read the ARC version, here’s hoping my descriptions helped you to visualize these scenes.
“Your story does what good fiction should do. It makes me think, makes me feel, allows me to visit different places, and connect deeply with the characters. It explores real issues that people face….”
“I love descriptive stories that enable me to travel to different places without leaving the comfort of my easy chair. I love using all my senses while reading and getting so totally immersed in a story that the sound of the phone ringing makes me jump. And I love characters so deep that I think about them during the day and dream about them at night.”
“A love story, but not a romance, definitely a gothic feel and one of the most positive portrayals of bisexuality I’ve ever come across in fiction.”
–Nancy Ferrer, Outlaw Reviews
“It is an incredible work! You have been able to channel your memories and experiences, create vivid real characters and make something so beautiful out of pain and struggle is the highest meaning of what I believe art is: transforming hurt and becoming healers.
I’ve never read anything like Agony of Joy. There has never been a story that deals with some of the personal issues you are presenting in such an open way. It is inspiring and liberating and needed.”
–Ana Christina Caelen, Sound therapist, Musician and Composer
“A well-told story…I admire your tact, and am enthralled by these characters and the world they live in.”
–M. Daniel Nickel, Author and Entertainer
The video description for the novel:
Description: “Former model turned actor Adrian Lee can barely list age range ’23-29′ on his resumé anymore nor stand his life of empty social events and appearances, meaningless roles and casual partners. When he meets Alexander Skizetsky by clever arrangement of his agent, the enigmatic yet infinitely attractive Russian kindles a little light of hope in his aching heart. Yet even the beginnings of a romance beyond his wildest dreams cannot assuage a life spiraling out of control.
The long estrangement from his devout Irish parents and family and the dark secrets they all share combine to drive him to the brink of despair though Lexx is determined to stay by his side. After locking away his own memories of betrayal and loss, Lexx had decided never to love again but something in Adrian spurs the noblest intentions in his formerly jaded heart. Returning in pilgrimage to his homeland, he brings Adrian along on a journey of rebirth, revelation and redemption.”
Starting off at Bundesplatz, Detmolderstr. side:
Interior of Zwiwwel (mine would not turn out well, flash on or off but here it is:)
And THE door, the entranceway to Alexander’s building:
And into the volkspark where Adrian and Alexander took their walk after a momentous night:
7 thoughts on “Photos from Berlin & Scenes from “The Agony of Joy””
Comments are closed.