Please welcome Anna Veriani with
The Winter Quarters
a Dreamspun Desires title
While most of The Winter Quarters takes place in rural Japan, at an idyllic hot spring inn, the hero, Kai Ledging, comes from New York. That’s also where I come from, and I am well-aware of the abundance (overabundance?) of stories set there. In order to justify writing about New York (even if only a little bit!), it was important to me that I represent the city truthfully. So while the book is a cozy holiday romance, I needed the New York bits to be New York.
There are many “New York” stories that could be set in any other city. For example, my favorite sitcom, Brooklyn 99, is not filmed in Brooklyn and does not feel remotely Brooklyn-ish. Cue lots of books and even songs (sorry, Taylor Swift) that never get past the "lights and crowds" of Times Square.
Writing about specific places is really important to me, and thinking deeply about setting became even more important when I relocated to rural Japan. For me, Kai's journey from New York to rural Japan was reflected in my real life, and so it was natural to use memories from my last months in New York. In the book, Kai is dealing with a sad encounter he had months before with a homeless man in the city. That encounter is based on real life, and writing about it was my way with reckoning with something heartbreaking that I had witnessed.
New York City might be the most special place on earth: it has the world’s best pizza for .99 cents a slice, suggested admission to some of the best museums in the world, and your favorite author always happens to be visiting your favorite bookstore. It’s diverse like nowhere else, and everyone contributes their creativity, from some of the best fusion food trucks to one of its boroughs being the most multilingual place on earth. But at the same time, it's a city with teeth. A city with a lot of indifference, especially from the people in power. Homelessness is increasing, and the wealth divide is real and brutal. While living in New York, I knew many privileged people, and they were more—not less—outrageous than The Winter Quarters's villain, the spoiled and arrogant James Duffy.
In the end, although I may not have written according to the collective fantasy we have of New York, what I wrote was true to my experiences. I found the city contrasted well with rural Ishikawa. In Ishikawa, life was easier on its residents, and people were quicker to connect because of it. I was surrounded by small luxuries that I had never even known to yearn for before: I was hugged by constant mountain views, surrounded by luxurious hot spring baths, and I had plenty of time for soft moments filled with hot tea and sweets. My book is filled with those things, too. I sincerely hope you enjoy traveling to both places, if only through the written page. <3 font="">3>
Snow, steam, and a second chance.
Reluctant socialite Kai has thirty-five days before his family starts shooting the next season of their reality TV show, revealing a life he’d rather keep private—and one that feels increasingly scripted. Desperately needing a break, Kai escapes to his childhood best friend Hiro Asada’s inn in rural Japan. He finds peace in the thousand-year-old hot springs, but his yearning for Hiro resurfaces at the worst time: Hiro is about to inherit the inn, and his parents expect him to marry within the year.
Hiro’s traditional family loves him for who he is, but they can’t imagine two men running the inn. Meanwhile, Kai has a TV contract his lawyer insists can’t be broken. Hiro and Kai need to think outside the box—and solve their problems before Christmas Day, when Kai’s show shoots its annual holiday special.
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About the author:
Anna Veriani was born with a deep love of queer lit and .99¢ New York pizza slices. After graduating from NYU with a degree in East Asian Studies, she set sail for Ishikawa, Japan. Now she spends her days writing by the river and dreaming of opening an expat pizzeria.
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Promotional post. Materials provided by the author.