Our books are like our children. We conceive them, which is a whole lot of fun, we gestate, which is a whole lot less fun typically, and then they are born, by metaphorical C-section, thank God. And then we must let them be who they are.
Today my second novel, Openly Straight, is born. I don’t have a scale right here, but I believe he is about five ounces, give or take, and he has the sweetest baby blue cover. He is my world, and I am so, so proud of him.
Today, his life begins for real.
What becomes of a young adult novel that has universal appeal and a gay protagonist? How does a flawed protagonist prevail in a world that is so judgmental? How do you save a blog post from an extended metaphor that wasn’t too great to begin with?
I suppose I will do so by saying one thing about this novel, and then allowing the protagonist of the book, Seamus Rafael Goldberg, aka Rafe (he was a victim of Naming While Intoxicated), to say a final word.
What one thing do I want to say about this book, other than I could not be more happy with how it turned out? OK, that’s one thing right there. The second thing I’d say is that my favorite thing about this book is that it hasn’t been written yet. How could it be that no one had really written about a kid like Rafe yet? A kid who was “comfortably out” with good, kind parents and a supportive school system, but who is tired of being thought of solely as “the gay kid?” A book about how labels define us, but also don’t come close to defining us?
I was lucky. As I began to write this, I found out that i was a 39-year-old kid who often felt this very same way. And I never really got that before writing this book.
I think Rafe said it best. On Page 211. Through all of the great pre-publication reviews and feedback, no one has yet mentioned my favorite paragraphs of the book, which I was sure we’d use to market the book. Shows what I know.
“What was I doing here? Who was Rafe, really? Can you just put a part of yourself on hold? And if you do, does it cease to be true? Straight people have it so much easier. They don’t understand. They can’t. There’s no such thing as openly straight.”
Until today, that is. Now there’s a novel with that very name! I hope you’ll read it! If you do, I truly believe you will enjoy it!