Courtney Lux’s Small Wonders

Ever since I heard about Small Wonders by Courtney Lux, I have wanted to read this book. It sounds so beautiful. I’ve got my copy and I cannot wait to sneak some alone time to read it this weekend. Courtney stops by today for an interview that was so much fun to do. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did. After the interview read all about the book and an excerpt that makes you want to keep reading. At the very bottom enter for a chance to win an Interlude Press gift card or one of five copies of the book.

Amanda C. Stone: Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Courtney Lux, author of Small Wonders. Hi Courtney, thank you for stopping by. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Courtney Lux: Hi and thank you for having me! I am a Minnesotan-turned-New Yorker, and I am actually a part-time writer. I got my B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and I’m finishing an M.S. at New York University in Communication Sciences and Disorders, so I live a bit of a double life. While working my way through graduate school, through a series of a lot of late nights and days spent in coffee shops, I wrote my first novel, Small Wonders.

Small Wonders is the story of Trip Morgan, an individual who ran away to New York City from a hard home life in the south when he was only sixteen. Trip is living with an eclectic band of roommates and he makes a meager living working as a busker, and, at times, as a casual sex worker in order to keep surviving in the city. Trip entertains himself pickpocketing inconsequential items off people, but when he “accidentally” lifts a wallet off of Nate Mackey, a 26-year-old working in finance, he is struck by the uncanny resemblance of this man to a child in a photograph he found years before. Trip and Nate meet and form a sort of unconventional relationship and really work to navigate both themselves and one another.
ACS: It sounds like such a good book. I can’t wait to read it. If you could snap your fingers and have an invention to do anything you want, what would you want it to do?
CL: I would LOVE a machine that could somehow analyze my brain and see the story I want to write and then actually do the work of writing it all down so that I’d just have to go back through and clean things up or add a little more here and there. That would be incredible. I’d also love a machine that did my hair for me. Maybe I could get some sort of hybrid machine that analyzes the story in my head and writes it all out while also doing my hair.
ACS: As someone that cannot do her own hair I fully support a device that will do it for me. Though your combo device would be like the Pro model. I’d buy the Pro model for sure. If you could have any crazy talent (rolling your tongue, saying the alphabet backwards, fun things) what would you want your talent to be?
CL: I wish I had a photographic memory so that I could read something and just recite it off the top of my head. It would also be such a useful talent, and just kind of a cool party trick in general.
ACS: A photographic memory would come in so hand when doing research. Who would you want to have as a stripper your birthday party?
CL: Either Channing Tatum or Joe Manganiello. They’ve got the Magic Mike experience, so they’d know what they were doing, and it’s not like they’d be awful to look at.
ACS: As long as I’m invited, because DANG! What would your porn star name be?
CL: This is something I’ve actually put thought into, mostly when I’ve been sick of being a student in undergrad/graduate school and wish I could choose a career path that requires a little less educational background. If I were keeping it classy and tasteful, I’d be Courtney Luxe. If I was going to be doing some trashier stuff, Courtney Luxxx. Though, to be honest, I’d much rather remain a writer and just be Courtney Lux.
ACS: I love that you put some thought into the prospect. Though having a versatile name for the different types of porn can be fun. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

CL: If expenses were not an issue, I think I’d want FIVE places, so I could experience the best of everything. I’d want a mountain lodge in Colorado, a lake house in Minnesota, some sort of beautiful loft-style apartment in New York, a little flat in Paris and a beach house somewhere around the Virgin Islands or maybe something in California. That’s totally doable, right?
ACS: If only! I’d love to live in a few of those places as well. Thank you so much for joining me today. I loved having you and getting to ask you some fun questions.

A pickpocket who finds value in things others do not want, Trip Morgan meets and becomes involved with Nate Mackey, a down-and-out former Wall Street professional who looks eerily like a child in a photograph Trip found years before.

It’s part of a collection of stolen trinkets he’s collected since he arrived in New York. He keeps it all close and works out a life he could have if he could ever let someone keep him long enough for him to build up a treasure trove of small wonders all his own.

In confronting their own demons and finding value in each other, Trip and Nate may find that their relationship is a wonder of its own.

Today, he has encountered no southerners and only a few tourists from elsewhere, and he’d be okay with that if it weren’t for the rain. It comes fast. One minute it’s sunny and lovely and easy pickings, and the next the sky’s gone black and people are running from the park with street-vendor umbrellas popping open over their heads or shopping bags held up as makeshift shields. Trip switches to catchy pop numbers and more recent music, but it’s no use.

Some days this works. People take pity on a not-quite-twenty-something singing in the rain. Older women especially seem to take in the auburn hair stuck to his forehead and his relatively petite stature and read hungry young desperation in him. They offer him sympathetic smiles and a few soggy dollars.

Other times, playing in the rain has the opposite of his intended effect—strange boy with strange eyes playing his guitar as if he doesn’t know the rain is there. Those people see the darkness in him: a boy with a chip on his shoulder that makes them nervous. Those people give him wary looks and a wide berth. Trip’s not sure he blames them.

He’s a little put out and a lot cold, so he sells his umbrella for a few dollars before shouldering his guitar and closing the lid on his coffee can to set to work at his other favorite occupation.

He’d been a decent pickpocket in his younger years, but now, after a lot of practice, he’s a better thief and a good runner when he needs to be. Not that he steals anything of particular worth. He finds value in treasures scrounged from the bottoms of pockets.

Loose change, hair binders, halves of Vicodin, broken cigarettes, crumpled matchbooks. All of it has a purpose, a certain sense of importance. He envies women and their big purses. They’ve got whole bags of riches waiting to be exhumed. Though, more likely than not, those little trinkets will remain forgotten and neglected in the bottoms of Marc Jacobs clutches and Target sale hobo bags.

Other people don’t see it—the value in these things. Maybe that’s why he steals from them. Nothing they’d miss: a worn dollar here, a business card there. He keeps it all close and works out a life he could have if he could ever let someone keep him long enough for him to build up a treasure trove of small wonders all his own.

For now, he will live with worn shopping lists, broken crayons and ticket stubs he lifts off of others. He keeps them in a beaten-up bag that is more duct tape than canvas and lets them build up stardust. Then, in those lonely hours of the night, he scatters them across the floor and works them into constellations to which he assigns stories. Some he writes down; others, he forgets before the next day. It’s not a financially savvy task, but it’s his favorite, and it passes the time as well as anything else.

About Courtney:
Courtney Lux is a Minnesotan-turned-New Yorker whose love for the city is rivaled only by her love for wide, open spaces. She is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison and a soon-to-be graduate of New York University. When not playing writer, Courtney is an avid reader, constant dreamer, and lover of dogs, wine and being barefoot. Small Wonders is her first novel, and is the recipient of a Publishers Weekly starred review.
Facebook Author Page:
Twitter: @courtney_lux

Buy Links:
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  1. Courtney Lux says:

    Thank you, again, for having me on today! I had a blast!

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