Monday, December 5, 2011

Find Freedom with Guest Blogger: Xavier Axelson

Win a copy of The Birches and meet author
Xavier Axelson today at the Boost!

He's here to discuss themes in writing and here's what he had to say...

The Theme is the Thing

I just wrote a blog about writing and how it is a journey of discovery. I have been shocked at what I have learned about myself from my writing. More shocked when people tell me what they’ve learned about me through my writing. I’m not an introverted person so I find it interesting when I reveal something about myself I didn’t know was a secret.

What is the theme of your writing? I know I’ve been asked this more than once and I can’t remember what answers I’ve given, maybe because I wasn’t really sure what the answer was. I asked someone close to me who has read all my work if they noticed a theme and without missing a beat, they said, “freedom.”

It made total sense. Each story is about personal freedom, achieving, fighting for, and maintaining ones personal freedom and identity. My first story Christmas Eve at The Powers That Be Café taught me more than to shorten my titles. It was two men struggling to be set free. One from guilt, the other from a doomed future in battle, they begin to overcome these burdens by finding one another.

In A Valentine for Evrain, Evrain is struggling to remain free from love. He confuses lust with love and lives caged by his passions only to find it is love that leads to freedom.

Next, was Dutch’s Boy and if there was ever a story I’ve written about personal freedom this is it. His family, by duty and most importantly, his father are holding Henry back. He is fighting every step of the way to make a life for himself as his own person out from under the sticky paws of his father. His journey is all about being free to be who he really his.

The Incident is so full of struggle and the need to break free you really have to read it instead of having me explain it. But, suffice to say, Michael, my tortured cop is chained by so many shackles he can barely stand. I think of him as Prometheus on the mountain chained and forced to have his liver eaten just as it grows back. How awful can we be to ourselves? The Incident really is about finding your way through a chained darkness to the light.

Finally, The Birches is an ode to the pursuit of perfect things. What a deadly journey that can be, talk about deliberate cruelty. Leo is so hard on himself he has turned his passions into a self-hating need to be perfect. It is only after meeting Dock, a casual and passionate opposite, that Leo discovers the key to his cage is right in front of him.

So what does it all mean? Am I caged? I’ve never thought so. I know I’ve fought to be the man I am and struggled to be open and hate to see other people caged and chained by their own doing. I hate injustice, and unfair treatment of those who can’t fight back and don’t have a voice. If my stories are about the pursuit and desperate need to be free then I am fine with it.

The theme to never stop searching for a way to let go and be what you really want to be.

Writing is my freedom and I do it everyday.

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us today, Xavier. Well spoken words and a powerful theme indeed! Please tell us more about your latest.


Perfection isn’t everything, although it’s everything Leo wants. His desire to become the perfect chef may keep him at the top of his class, but it drives his friends and family crazy while keeping love and passion on the back burner. That is until he meets Dock, owner and chef of the new and popular restaurant, The Birches.

Although Dock isn’t a trained chef, Leo finds the food he cooks delectable and the man behind the food irresistible. The lessons taught at the hands of an untrained cook may be just what this uptight chef needs to let go.


He pulled into the parking lot of The Birches and sat on his bike a minute. He felt nervous, like he was about to meet a celebrity and the self-doubt that plagued him made him queasy.

“You gonna sit outside or come in?”

Leo jumped at the sound of the man’s voice. He pulled his helmet off and looked around, but didn’t see anyone.

“Over here.”

Leo looked just past his left shoulder and saw a man emerging from the nearby woods that surrounded the little restaurant.

“Oh, hey,” Leo called out, his voice cracking.

“You looking for something to eat?” the man asked, coming closer.

Leo was shocked to find himself riveted to the spot, staring at the man who came towards him.

The man offered Leo a rough, calloused hand. “I’m Dock,”

“Hey,” Leo managed weakly.

“I was out back, picking blackberries, they grow wild around here. I thought they’d make a great dessert. Don’t know what kind of dessert, but how can you go wrong when you have stuff like this?” He said as he offered up a large, wooden bucket half-full of dark, purple black berries.

There were purple smears across Dock’s white tank top that seemed barely able to contain Dock’s impressive chest. There were several brown freckles on Dock’s shoulders, next to where the strap of tank top clung to his body.

"Lucky berries,” Leo said under his breath.


Sweat ran down Leo’s back, he felt so nervous. For a brief moment, he thought of hopping on his bike and taking off. Instead he said, “Um, nothing, sorry, I just wanted to come by and--”

“You want to come inside and have an iced tea or something?” Dock asked, “It’s hot as hell out here and I know I need to cool off.” He swiped a hand across his face and left a smudge of blackberry juice across his cheek.

Leo’s heart was pounding, what was it about this place, this man?

“You coming?” Dock asked.


Dock laughed, “You coming inside or you just gonna stare at the ground the rest of the day?”

Leo was still staring at the spot where Dock had been standing. Something was happening inside his head. He felt spellbound and excited. He didn’t know where this sensation came from, all he knew was he wanted more of what he was feeling. He followed Dock, who was still talking about black berries, the sun and something else that sounded perfect, into the restaurant. When Dock stopped suddenly by a booth at the back of the restaurant, Leo almost crashed into him.

“Take a seat. I’ll be right back with some tea.” Dock said, a smile lingered on his lips.

He knows he makes me uncomfortable, Leo thought once Dock left and was sitting down. It was this realization that held him glued to the seat. He wouldn’t give this man the satisfaction of getting the better of him.

“So, what’s your name?” Dock asked when he reappeared and set a jam jar full of iced tea in front of Leo, there were several blackberries floating in it along with some ice and a sprig of mint.

“Leo,” he replied, taking a sip of the tea.

“You know we’re closed, right?” A woman’s voice called from behind Dock’s perfect shoulders. Leo decided right then and there he would trade his ability to beat an egg for a chance to touch those shoulders and kiss the freckles that lived there.

What was he thinking?

He wasn’t thinking, that was just it, there was something about the place and, more noticeably, about this man that seemed to block Leo’s ability to think rationally. Where there was once thought, there was now an incredible amount of feeling. He was stunned into a stupor by this realization.

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Debby said...

Is there a way to write without a them? Does there not have to be some sort of purpose?
debby236 at gmail dot com

Xavier Axelson said...

I agree all writing has a theme and purpose. Or should. It was interesting to have my theme revealed to me by a reader, one I didn't pick up on right away.