Today I am so pleased to welcome Helena Stone to Joyfully Jay. Helena has come to talk to us about her latest release, Equality (Dublin Virtues #2), which Kirsty recently reviewed and loved. She has also brought along a tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving Helena a big welcome!

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Reality in Fiction

“Lorcan! Wait a moment, please.”

The elation Lorcan had enjoyed only a moment ago vanished as soon as he recognized Father Brendan’s voice. He considered ignoring the request and just walking away, but years of having been taught to respect and obey the clergy took over and, without a conscious decision on his part, Lorcan turned around and faced the approaching priest.

“Father Brendan, what can I do for you?”

Lorcan braced himself while he waited for what he was sure would be a reprimand at best but more likely a full-scale argument.

“Nothing, son. I just wanted to congratulate you on the speech you just made.”

“You—” Lorcan had no idea how to continue the sentence, because he wasn’t sure he could trust his ears.

The priest smiled. “Yes, I guess that would surprise you.”

“Indeed,” Lorcan said, having rediscovered his tongue. “My parents have made a point of telling me how your sermons have been all about the necessity for people to vote No.”

To Lorcan’s surprise, his statement appeared to embarrass Father Brendan.

“Yes, well, that is the Church’s official stance. And us priests are expected to toe the line and share it loud and clear.”

“And my words made you reconsider?” Lorcan almost snorted. “I can’t imagine you’re agreeing with me.”

“Officially I can’t, of course, son. But I tend to think you’re right. If we insist that God’s infallible, we also have to accept that people are born exactly the way they were meant to be.”

A lifetime of Catholic indoctrination battled with Lorcan’s need to know more. Taking a deep breath, he asked the question that was burning on his lips. “Does that mean you’ll be telling people to vote Yes from now on?” He had no illusions about what the answer would be. The hierarchy in the Church was well established and strictly adhered to, after all. Still, he couldn’t deny he was curious about the priest’s answer.

“No, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” The regret in Father Brendan’s voice sounded sincere. “But I can stop demanding that they vote No. It may be too little too late, but I hope it will be better than nothing.”

The above is an excerpt from Equality. As you can tell, Father Brendan, a catholic priest who earlier in the book has been portrayed as speaking out against marriage equality, has changed his mind. I thought long and hard before I included this scene in the book. Many priests toed the church’s line and used their homily to remind their parishioners that the Roman Catholic Church does not approve off same-sex marriage. It would therefore have been very easy and not inaccurate to portray Father Brendan as a villain, the enemy.

However that would have been the obvious and perhaps even lazy approach. Everybody who pays even a little attention to the world around them will be fully aware how most ‘religious’ people feel about gay rights. And while there is of course nothing wrong with putting them and their beliefs in the spotlight, all it does is confirm the status quo.

For me it was far more interesting to provide a glimpse of the changes that are happening around us. If I thought it a minor miracle that Roman Catholic Ireland would vote in favour of marriage equality by a significant majority, I was even more delighted to discover that there were priests who would either support a Yes-vote or, in larger numbers, refrain from taking a stand one way or the other.

Change rarely happens as fast as we would like it to. Which makes it all the more important we pay close attention to those small but significant steps in the right direction. And that’s why Father Brendan got to have his change of heart.


Blurb

Copy-of-Cover-Equality_800Love is love. But what if the fight for equality gets in the way of building a relationship?

Lorcan Barratt has never considered himself relationship material. After his parents made it perfectly clear they’d never welcome a partner of his into their home, he learned to love his own company and can’t imagine sharing his life with another. After a single passionate kiss with Eric Kavanagh—the night before he travels to Canada for three months—Lorcan’s no longer sure he wants to be on his own. The problem is, he has no idea what sharing his life with someone else might entail.

Eric Kavanagh grew up in a loving and supportive family and always assumed he’d end up in a committed relationship. Sure that he’s found the one, Eric doesn’t worry about the fact that Lorcan has no experience when it comes to love and relationships. They are good together, so what could possibly go wrong?

When both men get involved in the marriage equality referendum in Ireland, it appears to bring them even closer together until Lorcan’s insecurities get the upper hand and he shuts Eric out. Will the fight for a yes-vote cost them their relationship or will they be able to find a balance between the love they share and the need for equality?


Bio

Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.

The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.

Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.

Helena can be found in the following places:


Giveaway

Helena has brought a $10 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader on her tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

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