Greetings everyone and happy Sunday.
There is no official Six Sentence since that site is down for maintenance but, that doesn't mean we don't have something planned.
Today, I'm spotlighting Jay Bell, a gay fiction author, well respected in the genre. His book, Something Like Summer, I highly recommend to those who just want a love story with lots of twists.
Greetings viewers and welcome to the author spotlight!
I'm happy to have Jay bell next in line here on Taboo.
His book Something Like Summer was one of the best I've read. His portrayal of two young men that struggle with their identities, falling in and out of love, is exactly the kind of tale I'd like to write myself.
Already done by him but oh well. I love the tension and this book was very emotion and gripping. More of a romance, no erotica. In fact, barely any sex is in it but when their is, its more sensual than hardcore which absolutely fit the story.
I really enjoyed it!
Recently, I emailed Jay and asked him a few questions. Please enjoy this little sitdown!
Jay, I'd like to thank you for answering these questions for me.
Just how descriptive are you in your sex scenes?
All of my stories have romantic elements, and all of them have sex, since that’s a normal part of life. How graphic the sex gets depends on the needs of the story. The Cat in the Cradle is about surviving, so there isn’t much room for sex except in flashbacks and idle thoughts. Something Like Summer is about every detail of a relationship, and that includes sex. That book gets more detailed, because it’s important to see how the characters interact in that arena. Hell’s Pawn takes place completely in the afterlife, so of course I had to go there. How would that work? What would the experience be like? I try answering that question a few times in that story.
Something Like Summer covers a lot of years, was that your intention in writing it?
I always wanted Something Like Summer to span many years. Romance often treats two people getting together as the grand finale, as if that first kiss or roll in the hay is the ultimate experience. For me, the real fun of a relationship comes later, through all the victories and challenges that follow. Those early days together are still important though, which is why I focus so much on them. That’s when we get to know the characters. Later, the pace can pick up since we know who we’re dealing with, and are more interested in seeing what happens. The second half of my novel moves much faster as time flies by, just as it does when one gets older and starts juggling an education or career along with a relationship and family. Wasn’t Christmas just last week? I could have sworn it was.
Were there models for Ben and Tim?
Many models, actually, but never just one single person. I guess you could say I borrow from here and there to create each character. At their heart is truth, but they’re strutting around in cloaks made of fiction, which is probably for the best. I don’t want any angry exboyfriends knocking down my door, no matter how cute I once thought they were.
Without spoiling, the book had a lot of twists and turns, was it part of the outline or did the characters create the havoc?
The characters really do take on a life of their own. Outlines are only good up to a point before the personality of the characters start dictating the decisions. The ending of the story was very different in the planning stages, mostly because Tim was a very different person. When I put him and Ben together, Ben’s love and encouragement made Tim stronger than he was ever meant to be, and the growth of that character changed everything. Interestingly, the end is easily the most controversial aspect of the book, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Something Like Summer is a strange beast in its pacing and conclusion, but I think it works for most people.
Is there one subgenre that you haven’t tried that you see yourself doing in the future?
I like to try a little bit of everything, but my biggest temptation right now is writing a historical. I think that would be a huge challenge, partly because of the research involved, but also when finding that balance between fiction and reality. Much like with my fantasy novel, I would want the story to primarily be about the characters and their interaction. If you bog the readers down with too much detail, they’ll feel like they’ve been teleported straight back to history class, which I suspect not many of us would enjoy. Fantasy novels and historicals shouldn’t have a learning curve. The reader should be able to slip right in and feel comfortable. So yeah, I’d love to give that a go.
Do you think it’s time for publishers to begin calling gay fiction/erotica what it is instead of m/m? Why or why not?
I think there is frustration among the readers, since some just want to get turned on and others are looking for something more emotionally engaging. It’s frustrating for authors too, to get a bad review because a reader didn’t find what they were looking for. I do think it’s time that a distinction is made between gay fiction and gay erotica, and that those are the only two terms needed. All these heat levels that publishers have come up with are too varied. Either a story’s main purpose is to be titillating or it isn’t. I think m/m fiction could safely be renamed gay erotica while gay fiction would encompass the rest. Readers are smart, and can find further details on genre, style, or fetish by reading the summary and reviews.
Have you attended a pride parade? If so, where you inspired when doing so?
I went to the Christopher Street Parade in Berlin some years back, which was massive! I was amazed by how many gay people there were, and also that public nudity isn’t a big deal in Germany. Or does silver paint count as clothing here? Regardless, I always feel excited to see so many gay people in one place, while being a little off put by how strangely many choose to dress for such an occasion. I’d love to see more pride parades where people wear their work clothing. Then the world would see how many gay doctors, dentists, mechanics, and burger flippers are out there. We’re everywhere!
Do you feel that celebs who are gay or bi should come out the closet?
I feel this is critical, and that celebrities should do so at the peak of their careers and not after their star has fallen. People often ask if a celebrity’s orientation matters, and I think it does to the young people lacking in role models. They need to see that their options are open, and that they can be who they are and successful at the same time.
What is it about gay fiction and or romance that pleasures you to write it?
Being able to put something on paper that makes sense to me, and hearing from others that it resonated with them too. Growing up surrounded by straight media leaves a gay person feeling a little detached. For me, reading a gay themed book is a lifeline that makes me feel a little less lonely and a lot more loved.
My website is: www.jaybellbooks.com and I guess the book we should have a buy link for is Something Like Summer: http://www.amazon.com/Something-Like-Summer-Jay-Bell/dp/1453875042/
Below is the blurb and cover for Something Like Summer. If you need anything else, just let me know. Thanks for the opportunity!
Love, like everything in the universe, cannot be destroyed. But over time it can change.
The hot Texas nights were lonely for Ben before his heart began beating to the rhythm of two words; Tim Wyman. By all appearances, Tim had the perfect body and ideal life, but when a not-so-accidental collision brings them together, Ben discovers that the truth is rarely so simple. If winning Tim's heart was an impossible quest, keeping it would prove even harder as family, society, and emotion threaten to tear them apart.
Something Like Summer is a love story spanning a decade and beyond as two boys discover what it means to be friends, lovers, and sometimes even enemies.
It is a great book.
Hope you enjoyed that spotlight.