“Have you ever talked to your dad about your mother’s death?” Charley asked.
Xander shifted to face Charley. “What’s that got to do with anything?”
Charley shrugged. “It seems like maybe you have to deal with the elephant in the room before you can move on to other things.”
Xander’s blue eyes studied her for so long she dropped her eyes momentarily.
“We’ve had years in which to talk about it so it’s reasonably safe to assume no one wants to. He’s never asked how I felt. Not once.”
This time, he looked away from her steady gaze.
“I don’t think you’re desperate for your father’s approval. I think you’re desperate for his love. I feel guilty because I’m not sure I loved my parents enough when they were here. And I feel sad because I’m not sure they loved me enough.”
“You have to stop concerning yourself with that. What we have has to be enough.”
“I know. But what if you don’t know how much you have? And you can still find out?”
The Wallace House of Pain is a portrait of troubled family relations, modern social justice issues and deeply personal choices.
Activist Xander Wallace and his straitlaced father do not have an easy relationship. Jim’s views on race, immigration, gender, sexuality and even millennials alienate his son no matter how hard Xander tries to find common ground. Toss in Jim’s second marriage ten months after Xander’s mother died and it’s a volatile cocktail. How, against this backdrop, will Xander dare to bare his soul and reveal his greatest secret?
Social justice issues have touched the life of every American in some way over the past few years. The Wallace House of Pain explores the differences in generational attitudes toward these social justice issues, in parallel with exploring a difficult father-son relationship. The novelette delves into that age-old question: Can two people meet in the middle without sacrificing their own beliefs and convictions?
As a novelette, it is longer than a short story and shorter than a novella.
About the author
Stevens began writing fiction during back-to-back health crises: a shattered pelvis and ovarian cancer. Her books include the novelette The Wallace House of Pain, full-length novel Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (both Contemporary Adult Fiction), Shannon’s Odyssey (Middle Grade), and the Bit Players series (Young Adult) for musical theatre-loving teens. Her forthcoming novel, Beautiful and Terrible Things, addresses social justice issues and will be published by TouchPoint Press in early 2023. When not writing fiction, she provides marketing and PR for solar energy companies.
Beautiful and Terrible Things features the same cast of characters as The Wallace House of Pain. The novelette presents one of the key story lines cut from the full novel for length reasons. So if you like the characters, you can spend more time with them when the full novel is released.