I’ve Got Questions for Stephanie Cowell

Editor’s Note: This exchange is part of a series of brief interviews with emerging writers of recent or forthcoming books. If you enjoyed it, please visit other interviews in the I’ve Got Questions feature.

The Boy in the Rain by Stephanie Cowell
  • What’s the title of your book? Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? Who is the publisher and what’s the publication date?

The Boy in the Rain, historical fiction. Regal House Publishing on June 1, 2023

  • In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?

In the English countryside in 1903, shy art student Robbie falls in love with Anton who is running from memories of his failed marriage and lost child, beginning a relationship that will never let them go even as they grow and change. But the penalty for love between men is prison if caught and as they struggle to build a life together, the world about them is turning to a darker place.

  • What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?

Literary historical fiction LGBTQ

  • What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?

So much it’s hard to choose! “This powerful, sensual and lyrical love story between two young men literally took my breath away ― the love is so visceral, the pain so deep, the beauty so real, and the danger so palpable!” by NYT bestseller, M.J. Rose, author of The Last Tiara or “A masterpiece of longing, love, and empathy,” by Lauren B. Davis, author of Even So.  “The Boy in the Rain is a provocative, delicious novel about a couple’s love, passion, and intimacy.” Foreword Reviews May 2023.

  • What book or books is yours comparable to or a cross between?

It’s been compared to E.M. Forster’s Maurice

  • Why this book? Why now?

I have loved this story for a long time. It began to haunt me 39 years ago when I was not yet a writer. I left my career singing opera and ballads and wrote many books, publishing several. But though I wrote many drafts of this one, it still wouldn’t come together, and various agents and editors felt my novels about great creative people such as Mozart and Monet would sell much better in the market. So I kept hiding the print-out of The Boy in the Rain away (literally!) in my closet. But a wonderful agent fell in love with it and helped me on. Then during the pandemic, I shut myself up in my apartment, finished it, and sold it. So why now? – Because I loved it more than any other and Covid was mowing down lives. I felt how precarious life was. I felt if I had time to do one more book, I would choose this one.

  • Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?

I loved my life as a singer. I remember singing the high soprano role of Gilda in the opera Rigoletto in the famous storm trio when my voice had to rise above the bass and mezzo-soprano and all the winds and horns of the orchestra and still be heard. I was singing to about 1000 people without amplification and the sense of physical stamina and joy flooded me. I sang in hundreds of places. I am writing a book about it, because I loved it so much.

  • What do you want readers to take away from the book?

I hope they love my very human and often difficult characters, struggling not only with passion and differences and wrong-headed decisions, but under the murderous prison sentence for gay men in England which ruined the lives and health of over 50,000 men including Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing before it was repealed in 1967.

  • What food and/or music do you associate with the book?

Fish and chips, whiskey and wine for food; Edwardian music hall songs, folk ballads especially sea shanties which Anton sings, and opera

  • What book(s) are you reading currently?

American Arcadia by Laura Scalzo from my publisher Regal House and, for the sixth time at least, Cather’s My Antonia.

Stephanie Cowell

Learn more about Stephanie on her website.

Follow her on Facebook.

Buy the book from the publisher (Regal House Publishing), Amazon, or Bookshop.org.

About the author

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