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About Lorraine Devon Wilke
Author, photographer, singer/songwriter, Lorraine Devon Wilke, brings the sum total of her creative experience to her compelling contemporary fiction. Pulling from every chapter of her eclectic background, she creates characters and plots that are sharply original yet reflect universal themes, with dialogue that jumps off the page. Her first three book covers were designed with her photography, and her debut novel, AFTER THE SUCKER PUNCH, includes a free download of one of her songs.
A longtime contributor to HuffPost and other news and media sites, Devon Wilke's trademark "sass and sensibility" infuses her work with candor, provocative themes, and, whenever possible, wit and humor. But whether exploring issues of family, faith, love, or tragedy, her stories always embrace an elemental mix of heart and soul. Along with AFTER THE SUCKER PUNCH, her dramatic short story, "She Tumbled Down," and second novel, HYSTERICAL LOVE, are also available at Amazon. Her third novel, THE ALCHEMY OF NOISE, was published April 9, 2019, by She Writes Press, and is available here and in bookstores globally.
You can follow her commentary, cultural perspective, and updates on various creative adventures at www.RockPaperMusic.com, with all other links and information available at www.lorrainedevonwilke.com.
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2019 Best Book Awards Finalist in Fiction (Literary)
2019 International Book Awards, Finalist, Fiction (Multicultural)
2020 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award Fiction Finalist in Multicultural
2019 Foreword Indie Finalist in Adult Fiction: Multicultural
2019 Nautilus Book Awards Silver Winner in Fiction
“Infused with beauty, humor, and pain, The Alchemy of Noise is a modern American love story that asks if love can bridge the distance between two Americas.”
—Laura Nicole Diamond, author of Shelter Us and Deliver Me
In a world so full of lonely people and broken hearts, Chris Hawkins, a black sound engineer from Chicago’s south side, and Sidonie Frame—white, suburban-raised, the head manager of one of the city’s most elite venues—meet by work-related happenstance and fall quickly in love, convinced that by that act alone they can inspire peace, joy, and happiness in the world around them. The world, however, has other ideas.
Their meeting is serendipitous. Chris, who owns and runs his company, largely spends his time surrounded by members of his own community; Sidonie, conversely, is rarely outside the environs of work and its predominantly white staff and clientele. But when the club’s sound manager goes AWOL on the night of a big event and Chris is hired to come in as a last-minute replacement, their destinies collide.
Immediately drawn to each other, they fall quickly into an unexpected and thrilling relationship, inspiring myriad reactions amongst family and friends on both sides of the racial divide. But even as their love story evolves, day-to-day tensions, police disruptions, and the microaggressions Chris constantly encounters as a black man in the gritty environs of Chicago become a cultural flashpoint, challenging Sidonie’s privileged worldview and Chris’s ability to translate the unfolding events. After a random and gut-wrenching series of police encounters shakes their resilience, it’s the shattering circumstance of a violent arrest—one in which Chris is identified as a serial vandal and potential rapist—that sends their world into free fall.
He claims his innocence; she believes him. But the forces pushing against them are many and oppressive. With a looming trial, the dissipating loyalties of key allies, and unforeseen twists triggering doubt and suspicion, Sidonie and Chris are driven to question what they really know of each other and just whom to trust, leading to a powerful and emotional conclusion.
Lorraine Devon Wilke’s third novel, The Alchemy of Noise, ventures beyond the humor and pathos of family drama explored so cleverly in her first two novels to dig deep into the politics of contemporary culture. At its heart a love story, it explores the complexity of race in a suspenseful drama driven by issues of privilege, prejudice, police profiling and legal entanglements, and the disparities in how those provocative themes impact the various and diverse characters involved.
Every child, no matter what age, wants to know their father loves them, and Tessa Curzio – thirty-six, emerging writer, ex-rocker, lapsed Catholic, defected Scientologist, and fourth child in a family of eight complicated people – is no exception. But just as she thought her twitchy life was finally coming together – solid relationship, creative job; a view of the ocean – the one-two punch of her father’s death and posthumous indictment proves an existential knockout.
She tries to “just let it go,” as her sister suggests, but life viewed through the filter of his damning words is suddenly skewed, shaking the foundation of everything from her solid relationship and winning job to the truth of her family, even her sense of self. From there, friendships strain, bad behavior ensues, new men entreat, and family drama spikes, all leading to her little-known aunt, a nun and counselor, who lovingly strong-arms Tessa onto a journey of discovery and reinvention. It’s a trip that’s not always pretty – or particularly wise – but somewhere in the twists and turns, unexpected truths are found.
In her debut novel, author Lorraine Devon Wilke takes an irreverent look at father/daughter relationships through the unique prism of Tessa’s saga and its exploration of family, faith, cults, creativity, new love and old, and the struggle to define oneself against the perceptions of a deceased parent. Told with both sass and sensibility, it’s a story wrapped in contemporary culture but with a very classic heart.
"Wilke writes with razor-sharp wit and radiant flair, and the prose's high quality is the novel's principal strength. She also sensitively portrays how real love and affection can survive and even flourish in an otherwise dysfunctional family." ~ Kirkus Reviews
“A realistic and profound journey of realization and forgiveness…a solid novel that admirably explores the fragile, fraught relationship between parent and child.” ~ Publishers Weekly/BookLife
“A keenly executed character study. The novel is tightly structured and holds its complex elements with a sure and skillful grip. The dialogue pops…a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable read.”—Junior Burke, author of Something Gorgeous (farfalla press/McMillan & Parrish)
“With bare-bone honesty and fiery dialogue, Wilke explores the loaded relationship between parents and their adult-children, examining the brave and lonely journey of self-discovery, reinvention, and healing…raw and brave—a great read.”—Tracy Trivas, author of The Wish Stealers (Simon & Schuster)
Cover design by Grace Amandes.
Cover photographs by Lorraine Devon Wilke.
"Fair warning….do not read this in public. There are places you will laugh out loud!”
Dan McDowell, a thirty-three-year-old portrait photographer happily set to marry his beloved Jane, is stunned when a slip of the tongue about an “ex-girlfriend overlap” of years earlier throws their pending marriage into doubt and him onto the street. Or at least into the second bedroom of their next-door neighbor, Bob, where Dan is sure it won't be long. It's long.
His sister, Lucy, further confuses matters with her “soul mate theory” and its suggestion that Jane might not be his... soul mate, that is. But the tipping point comes when his father is struck ill, sparking a chain of events in which Dan discovers a story written by this man he doesn’t readily understand, but who, it seems, has long harbored an unrequited love from decades earlier.
Incapable of fixing his own romantic dilemma, Dan becomes fixated on finding this woman of his father’s dreams and sets off for Oakland, California, on a mission fraught with detours and semi-hilarious peril. Along the way he meets the beautiful Fiona, herbalist and flower child, who assists in his quest while quietly and erotically shaking up his world. When, against all odds, he finds the elusive woman from the past, the ultimate discovery of how she truly fit into his father's life leaves him staggered, as does the reality of what’s been stirred up with Fiona. But it’s when he returns home to yet another set of unexpected truths that he’s shaken to the core, ultimately forced to face who he is and just whom he might be able to love.
Lorraine Devon Wilke, author of the acclaimed novels, AFTER THE SUCKER PUNCH and THE ALCHEMY OF NOISE, brings her deft mix of humor and drama to a whip-smart narrative told from the point of view of its male protagonist. HYSTERICAL LOVE explores themes of family, commitment, balancing creativity, facing adulthood, and digging deep to understand the beating heart of true love.
"Wilke is a skilled writer... a well-written, engaging, sometimes-frustrating tale of reaching adulthood a little late." — Kirkus Reviews
“This is one of those books which exceeded all my expectations. I was expecting a romance with a couple of twists to the tale but what I got was something far deeper and more satisfying.” — Ali Levett, A Women's Wisdom Book Blog
Cover design by Grace Amandes
Cover photograph by Lorraine Devon Wilke