Lorraine Devon Wilke
Lorraine Devon Wilke – writer, photographer, singer and songwriter – started early as a creative hyphenate. First, there was music and theater, next came rock & roll, then a leap into film when a feature she co-wrote (To Cross the Rubicon) was produced by a Seattle film company, opening doors in a variety of creative directions.
In the years following, she wrote for and performed on theater stages, developed her photography skills, and accrued a library of well-received feature screenplays. She kept her hand in music throughout—songwriting, recording, performing—leading to the fruition of the longtime goal of recording an original album (Somewhere On the Way). Accomplished in collaboration with songwriting/producing partner, Rick M. Hirsch, the album garnered stellar reviews and can be found at CDBaby and iTunes. She continues with music whenever she can (which, she maintains, is never, ever, enough!); a collection of her recorded material is available at SoundCloud.
Devon Wilke’s current life is split between Playa del Rey and Ferndale, California, and is shared with her husband, Pete Wilke, an entertainment and securities attorney, and son, engineer and web designer Dillon Wilke. She curates and manages both her fine art photography site and personal blog (RockPaperMusic.com), is a regular contributor at The Huffington Post, and writes a monthly column for the award-winning northern California newspaper, The Ferndale Enterprise. She invites you to access an archive of her essays and journalistic pieces @ Contently.com.
Most recently, both her debut novel, After The Sucker Punch, and her short story, “She Tumbled Down,” were 2014 publishing successes, with 2015 seeing the launch of her new novel, Hysterical Love. You can follow her “adventures in independent publishing” at her blog AfterTheSuckerPunch.com.
After the Sucker Punch
They buried her father at noon, at five she found his journals, and in the time it took to read one-and-a-half pages her world turned upside down… he thought she was a failure.
Every child, no matter how old, wants to know their father loves them, and Tessa Curzio – thirty-six, emerging writer, ex-rocker, lapsed Catholic, defected Scientologist, and fourth in a family of eight complicated people – is no exception. But just as life was finally coming together, the one-two punch of her father’s death and posthumous indictment proves an existential knockout.
She tries to transcend, but his damning words skews everything from her relationship to the truth of her family, even her sense of self. It’s her little-known aunt, a nun and counselor, who lovingly strong-arms Tessa onto a journey of discovery and reinvention, a trip that’s not always pretty – or particularly wise – but one that leads to unexpected truths.
After the Sucker Punch takes an irreverent look at father/daughter relationships through the exploration of family, faith, creativity, love, and the struggle to define oneself against the inexplicable perceptions of a deceased parent. Mixing sass and sensibility, it’s a story wrapped in contemporary culture but with a very classic heart.
Sample After the Sucker Punch
She Tumbled Down
Short story, crime/psychological thriller
New Year’s Eve. It's late, well past the midnight hour. A woman looking for respite from noise, champagne, and tensions with her boyfriend steps out to clear her head. She calls out that she’ll be back shortly and heads down the quiet neighborhood street... and never comes back.
A man with too much to drink and too fast a car roars by on that same darkened street and, in a flash of motion and impact, is stunned to see the face of a startled woman smash into his windshield. When the car stops he shakes in silence, waiting for... something. But when no one approaches, no cars go by and no inquiring lights flick on, fear and panic take over and he makes the unfathomable decision to drive away... and never look back.
“She Tumbled Down” is a short story that follows the ripple effects of this tragic hit-and-run, attempting to answer that unanswerable question, “Who could do such a thing?" From that first fateful moment through the months and years that follow, the narrative weaves through the lives of seemingly disparate characters, threading the initial event into another story, a love story, that ultimately links to the tragedy in unexpected ways.
Sample She Tumbled Down
Contemporary Literary Fiction
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 debut novel, After The Sucker Punch, 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.
Cover design by Grace Amandes @ www.gracemandes.com
Cover photograph by Lorraine Devon Wilke
Sample Hysterical Love