Today, I conclude my interview of the two main characters from my upcoming release, Chasing the Sun, which is the second book of The Provincetown Series. If you missed my interview with Gil Kelly, click here.
Today, I’ll be interviewing Tom Martinez, who is a thirty-year old restauranteur, who is returning to his home town of Victoria, Texas.
Tom, thank you for stopping by. I know you’re an extremely busy man these days.
Tom: That’s putting it mildly. But when I got your call, I was intrigued. So I just had to come. Besides, any publicity is good publicity. Especially since I’m trying to grow my parents’ restaurant into what I’ve always seen it to be.
What’s the name of the restaurant?
Tom: Tequila Sunrise. Not very original I know. But it’s been a pretty popular Mexican food restaurant here in Victoria for years. Lots of locals know about it so I can’t change it’s name now. Even though I’d love to.
So if your parents’ restaurant has been so popular over the years, why do you want to change things up so badly? I assume it’s been doing pretty good business. It’s been open for how long?
Its doors opened in 1994 so almost twenty years now. And I can’t deny that it’s done a steady business, but the customers who typically frequent the restaurant are aging. I’ve got to find a way to appeal to a younger demographic. It’s not because I have anything against the older generation. I think they’re great. Believe me! But in order for the restaurant to survive, I need to attract a new generation of customer. Otherwise, my parents’ legacy won’t last, and that’s something I’m intent on achieving.
You seem like an extremely motivated man. Have you always been that way?
Tom: (laughing) All of my life. I don’t know if I’ve ever acted like a child. Even when I was one. I’m not saying I had an awful childhood or anything. My parents were awesome. I really lucked out there. And I had tons of friends so I wasn’t some lonely kid eating lunch by himself all the time. To be honest, I’ve been blessed. But I’ve always known who I was and what I wanted out of life. I guess having that clear sense of direction for as long as I can remember has helped motivate me. It’s kept me focused.
And what is it that you want out of life? What has been your motivation for all these years?
Tom: Well, this is gonna sound really sappy, but I swear it’s true. I’ve only ever wanted to be true to myself.
What do you mean by that? Were you ever not true to yourself?
Tom: I’ve always been true to myself. You see, I’ve known from a very young age that I was gay. I heard the way kids at school called each other “queer” or “fag,” so I knew liking boys was not something others readily accepted. Not even some people in my extended family. It’s hard realizing you’re gay when friends, family, and the media tells you it’s wrong. But I never believed any of that crap. I was who I was. No one was going to change my thinking on that or make me doubt myself. I was simply me, and that wasn’t wrong.
Wow! That’s quite an adult approach for a child. I won’t lie but I’m a bit floored. There are some grown men who don’t possess that level of confidence or self-esteem. And you’ve had both since you were a kid!
Tom: I know, and I find it quite sad that most people don’t love themselves enough to believe the same things about themselves. We get so caught up with being just like everyone else. And that’s just a recipe for disaster. We can’t live for what our neighbors think is right or wrong. As long as we’re not hurting someone else, it’s really nobody else’s business.
Truer words have never been spoken.
Tom: Sorry. I tend to get on my soapbox. Sometimes you’ve just got to shut me up.
Don’t apologize. This is something you obviously feel strongly about. But I did want to ask: who was the first person you came out to as a child?
Tom: My best friend Zach.
And how did Zach take it?
Tom: Quite well actually. He was a bit stunned, but it wasn’t the fact that I was gay that freaked him out. It was that I was so okay with it. Zach’s always had these personal demons he’d been battling. His family life wasn’t great, and he had a hard time getting along with his father. So I think it threw him to learn that I was okay with who I was. Even though it might cause me problems. Zach wasn’t that way at all. He believed he had to be what everyone else wanted him to be. I tried to help him, but I couldn’t change Zach. I could only be there for him when he needed me. That was really all I could do.
Are the two of you still friends?
Tom: Yes. We’re not as close as we used to be. He’s moved to Dallas and a lot has been going on in his life recently. So he just hasn’t had the time to reach out to anyone. But I’ll be here for him when he needs it, and I’ll always will.
I have to say: you sound too good to be true. Not only are you a fine-looking man, but your confident without being cocky. You’re motivated in life. You have a good head on your shoulders and a kind heart. You are quite possibly what others might describe as the “perfect” man.
Tom: Ha! I’m far from perfect.
Tom: Well, for starters. I’m pushy and opinionated. That’s been problematic in some past relationships. Although most guys think they want a man to stand up for himself, they really don’t. Most men prefer to get their way and have the final say. I’m not saying I have to have things my way all the time, but is compromise such a bad thing? For some of my ex-boyfriends, it has been. It was either their way or the highway. Which is why I’m single.
Are you really? I find that hard to believe.
Tom: It’s true. I’m single, but I’m hoping not to be for much longer.
Now, you’ve piqued my interest. Who has caught your eye? Tell us about him.
Tom: (shaking his head) Sorry. That’s not gonna happen.
Tom: Because I don’t know if it will ever happen.
That sounds rather ominous and self-defeating. Especially for such a confident man as yourself.
Tom: I may be confident, but I’m also a realist. It keeps me grounded and my head out of the clouds.
What’s wrong with flying through the sky in search of a dream that others might call impossible?
Tom: Just ask Icarus. He wanted to fly, so he made wings out of wax. Unfortunately, he flew too close to the sun. Impossible dreams are sometimes just that. Impossible.