Character Interview with Tom Martinez of Chasing the Sun

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.

Chasing the Sun

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 Martinez

Tom Martinez

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.

How so?

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.

Why not?

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.

Well, Tom, I truly believe that nothing is impossible. With your drive and motivation, you’ll find some way to soar into the sky and kiss the sun. Thank you again for stopping by and chatting with me.

Character Interview with Gil Kelly of Chasing the Sun

On October 16th, the second book of The Provincetown Series Chasing the Sun releases from Dreamspinner Press. I can’t tell you how excited I am! Writing this series has been a labor of pure, unadulterated love, and I’ve been pleased by the reception the first book of the series When Love Takes Over has received. I’m glad to know that the characters and Provincetown have resonated as much with the readers as they have for me.

Even though Chasing the Sun is part of The Provincetown Series, however, it is a spin-off of When Love Takes Over. This means that for this book (and this book only) we leave Provincetown and the kooky characters we’ve come to love like Nino, Gary, Penny Poison, Quinn, and Tara and head back to Zach Kelly’s hometown of Victoria, Texas.

Why are we leaving Provincetown in a series titled The Provincetown Series?

Good question!

We’re leaving P-town because I just had to tell the story of Zach’s father. Those of you who’ve read When Love Takes Over already know that Zach and his dad have a complicated history. Chasing the Sun fills in the gaps readers might have had regarding their relationship, and we get to see the man Gil Kelly really is and not just what his son perceives him to be.

So to celebrate the upcoming release of Chasing the Sun, I’m going to be sitting down with the main characters from the novella spin off.

But before we get started, here’s the book’s blurb to give you a bit of a background:

As a physician and prominent citizen of Victoria, Texas, Dr. Gil Kelly took a hard fall when his vengeful wife revealed his infidelity with other men. Closing ranks around her, the town’s elite ostracized him, and his relationship with his children was nearly destroyed.

After spending his life focused on living for others, he has no idea how to live for himself. He wants to find love but now settles for anonymous sex that only further clouds his world with shame and guilt. Gil believes finding true love is an unobtainable dream, what his father used to call “chasing the sun.”

Then he runs into Tom Martinez, his son’s childhood best friend, who returned to town a grown man and offers everything Gil needs. But Gil hesitates to fall into Tom’s arms, because after his high-profile divorce, the potential scandal of loving a younger man could separate him from his children permanently.

Spin off of When Love Takes Over (1st Provincetown Series book)

ChasingtheSunORIGSo first up on my interview couch is none other than Gil Kelly, a fifty-something physician from Victoria, Texas.

Gil Kelly

Gil Kelly

Gil, I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your busy call schedule at the hospital to sit down and answer a few questions.

Gil: Not a problem at all. I was actually quite flattered that you were interested in interviewing me for your Internet show. What is it you call it again?

It’s “From Gay to Z.” And though I wish it were a show, it’s not. It’s a blog. But how fabulous would it be if I got my own show? I see myself on Bravo. Or ABC. I would love to be related to Sofia Vergara’s character on Modern Family.

Gil: (laughing) Who wouldn’t? She’s a beautiful woman. I’d love to be on that show too, but with my luck, I’d get cast as Ed O’Neill’s older brother.

Oh, please, you’re not old enough for such a typecast, and you know it.

Gil: (grinning) I know no such thing! Do you not see my silver hair? I’m old, and that’s okay. I embrace my age. There’s no reason not to.

Well, it’s my personal opinion that older and distinguished men are quite attractive. And the silver hair, well, excuse me for growling at you, but I find it extremely sexy. I think a lot of my readers will too. And we should all embrace our age. We are only as old as we feel.

Gil: Well, sometimes when I wake up, I feel every year that I’ve lived in my bones.

Let me ask you a question about that: do you think you are sometimes so bone weary because of your age or because of the great emotional stress you’ve been under the past five years?

Gil: Wow. You don’t pull punches do you?

I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be rude, but I am curious. You’ve undergone a rather messy, high-profile divorce. That had to be hard on you.

Gil: (sighing) It’s been awful. Donna, that’s my ex-wife by the way, has made it her mission to make my life a living hell since our divorce. People who I thought were my friends went over to her camp. I’ve become a social pariah. And in a town of only 60,000 that makes for some pretty lonely days and nights. But I guess that’s the price I paid for pretending to be someone I wasn’t.

You mean pretending to be straight.

Gil: Yes. Back when I was growing up, being gay just wasn’t an option. You were expected to find a gal, get married, and produce as many children as possible. At least that’s what my parents wanted. Especially my dad. He was pretty hard on me. Not wanting me to hope for things I couldn’t have. Definitely more of a pragmatist while I was always more of a dreamer. He didn’t support my decision to go to college or medical school. He thought I was trying to be more than I was destined to be.

What were you destined to be?

Gil: Well, according to my dad, a working class man just like him. He didn’t believe in higher education. He put faith in his strong back. A man was a man if he got dirty and worked hard. He didn’t understand that I didn’t want that for myself. That I had a passion for medicine. He said that my dreams were like “chasing the sun.” I was after the impossible and I would never catch it.

But you did. You became a doctor even though your dad didn’t support you.

Gil: I did. And by chasing my dreams, I alienated myself from him. He said he didn’t know me anymore now that I had an education. He claimed I was somebody new. Someone he didn’t recognize.

That’s sad.

Gil: (nodding) It is. But now that I’m older and a bit wiser, I think he was worried that I’d think less of him. As if I’d see him as a worthless worker bee like so many others had seen him as. I only wished I had realized that before he passed away.

So you always had a difficult relationship with your father. Were things better between you and your children?

Gil: You would think it would be, wouldn’t you? But no. Things weren’t better for me and my kids. My daughter Sami and I were close, but that was more because her mother basically neglected her in favor of our son Zach. I tried my best to make up for that with Sami, but I never felt as if I was enough. As for Zach, well, I think Kelly males are destined to forever be at odds. No matter how I tried to reach out to Zach as a child, he resented me. Nothing I did ever seemed to be right. And truthfully, I can’t say that I blame him. I was hard on him. I wanted him to be whatever he wanted, but I think my desire to have him chase whatever sun he wanted ended up with him resenting me for pushing so hard.

What about after the divorce? Did things get worse?

Gil: Boy, did they ever! After Donna got her revenge by exposing my secret, my children were destroyed. Our relationships, which were already tenuous, dissolved almost completely. I haven’t spoken to Zach in years, and Sami, well, she tries, but I can tell her heart isn’t into it. I don’t think she will ever be able to forgive me.

And Zach? Do you think he will forgive you?

Gil: Never. Not even in a million years.

I’ve got to be honest, Gil. Your life sounds like a mess. And not even a hot mess, which can be fun. You’ve lost your family and your friends. And you intimated that you basically live as a hermit. Is that correct?

Gil: Sad but true.

Do you plan on being alone forever? Is there no light at the end of your tunnel? No sun for you to try to catch?

Gil: To be quite honest, I think the sun has set for me, Jacob. At least in terms of a normal life. Maybe one day I’ll see the light again, but I think I’ve consigned myself to the darkness. It’s not like I’m lonely all the time. Thanks to the wonders of technology, there are hookup apps and websites for men like me who are unable to sustain relationships. I might not ever find love again, but when I need it, I can at least be consoled by a stranger’s touch. While it lasts at least.

I’m sorry you’re having such a tough time. I truly am. But somehow, I don’t think you’ll live in the dark forever. The sun may sometimes set, but it always rises again. Somehow. Some way. I guarantee it.

Well, Gil, that’s all the time we have today. Thank you again for stopping by and sharing a bit of yourself with me and my readers.

Character Interview with Van Pierce of When Love Takes Over

Today, I conclude my two-part interview series with the main characters from my upcoming book When Love Takes Over. If you missed my interview with Zach Kelly, click here.



Today, I’ll be chatting with Van Pierce, who lives in Provincetown, and who is most commonly known as adult film star Hart Throb from Nasty Boy Studios.

Van Pierce AKA Hart Throb

Van Pierce AKA Hart Throb

Van, thank you so much for sitting down with me today. It isn’t every day that I get a famous porn star on my blog. I’m thrilled to have you here!

Van: Thank you for inviting me. It’s always a pleasure to meet a fan. And to be interviewed. The press is good for business.

I bet! Although, I can’t believe that you need any press whatsoever. You’re one of the top performers for Nasty Boy Studios. Your last film Fucking in the Rain was quite a phenomenal success. Record sales were through the roof, and I hear there’s been talk of making you a Nasty Boy’s exclusive. Is that true?

Van: It is. I’m currently in negotiations with the studio about it. We have a few things to iron out, but if all parties are happy with the outcome, I think we might just be able to seal a deal.

That’s great news for you, the studio, and your fans, who adore you as I’m sure you are quite aware.

Van: (laughing) It’s hard not to be aware of it. I can’t even walk down Commercial Street without my fans surrounding me, wanting photos or autographs. And I’ve been asked to autograph some pretty interesting things.

Well now, you’ve got to tell me. Just what have you autographed?

Van: Let’s see. I’ve autographed life-sized posters of me, jockstraps, dildos, Flesh Jacks, and I even signed one guy’s cock. He just whipped it out right there in the middle of P-town, asking me to sign it.

Oh my God! Really? What did you do?

Van: What else could I do? I signed it. It was a nice cock too. Good girth to it. I told him he could have a promising future in porn.

What did he say?

Van: He said he wanted to do a scene with me. But not on camera.


Van: Well, it was a really nice cock. I would’ve been stupid to turn down a free ride.

Does that happen often? Do your fans try to get you into bed?

Van: Not really, no. The guy whose cock I signed was actually the first and only one to ever try.

Why is that? I would think the guys would be lining up to have a chance at Hart Throb.

Van: I know, right? But I’ve found that hasn’t been the case. Nino, who’s my best friend, thinks that my job intimidates them. Which I could certainly see why. I mean, I have sex with hung, hot, muscled studs for a living. I’m sure most guys think they can’t compete with that.

I think that’s a fair statement. But is it true? Could an average guy compete with your costars? Would you ever date someone who wasn’t in porn?

Van: Those are two very different questions. Sure, an average guy could compete with my costars. Sex isn’t about having a perfect body or a ten inch cock. While I enjoy a nice body just like every other gay man, it’s not like a requirement or anything. Nobody’s perfect. We all have flaws. It just might not look that way in the adult film business because we have film crews and lighting that make sure we always look our best. That doesn’t happen in real life.

That’s true. Although, how awesome would that be? Having someone follow us around to make sure we are always in the best light or covering up all flaws with makeup? I could use that.

Van: I don’t know. All that lighting and makeup is good for the set. Because a good porn is all about fantasy. But there’s something to be said for reality. Besides, perfection is overrated. I’d take a good hot mess over perfection any time. It’s just more true to life.

Really? I find that a refreshing and endearing comment. Especially since I’m far from perfect and far closer to a hot mess. 

Van: (laughing) Aren’t we all?

Too true! So how about answering my other question? Would you ever date a man who was not in porn?

Van: No. But that’s just because I don’t date.

What? Don’t date? How is that possible?

Van: Dating’s too much trouble, so I don’t do it.

Is that because you are Hart Throb? Do guys have trouble seeing past your porn persona to the person you are?

Van: Again, you ask two different questions. No, I don’t date because of my job, but yes, I think most people don’t see Van Pierce when they encounter me. They only see Hart Throb.

Okay we’ll get back to this “no dating” thing in a bit. I want to talk about Hart Throb. Does it bother you that Van is being lost to Hart?

Van: Honestly? It does. Don’t get me wrong. I have the greatest fans in the world, and I really love them. But it would be nice if they saw the real me sometimes. Not just the fantasy I’ve created.

That must be tough on you. I don’t know how I would handle that. But I’m sure your friends see who you really are.

Van: That they do, and they are some of the best people I know. I don’t know what I’d do without them. They’ve seen me through some truly tough times in my life.

Since you bring it up, would you care to elaborate on that? And do your tough times have anything to do with why you don’t date?

Van: Yes, they do. I’ve been hurt a lot in my life by guys who I’ve fallen in love with. I don’t know why. Maybe I wear my heart too much on my sleeve or something. But my heart’s been broken too many times. It’s one of the reasons I do porn instead of dating. There’s no chance in hell of having my heart broken on set. Porn is about sex. That’s it. There’s no danger in being hurt, and I truly like that.

But that must make life quite lonely? Not dating, not opening yourself up to anyone, and having most people only see Hart instead of Van.

Van: It does. But I’m a big boy. This is the life I’ve chosen, and I’ll deal. Besides, it’s not like I want a relationship or anything. I live in P-town for crying out loud. This place is all about getting off, and right now, I’m quite content with that.

Do you think that will ever change? You might just meet the one man who might make putting your heart on the line again worth the pain of heartbreak.

Van: Never. No one’s worth it. I’ve been there and done that. And that’s the reason I’m Hart Throb now.

Well, you know what they say in Provincetown, don’t you?

Van: They say a lot of things in P-town.

Never say never, Van. Because in Provincetown–

Van: Anything can happen.

Exactly! Thanks again for being here, Van, but that’s all the time we have for today. I wish you and Hart good luck for your futures, and who knows? Maybe this summer, someone will trip his way into your life. It is Provincetown after all.

Character Interview with Zach Kelly of When Love Takes Over

Next week, on August 5th, my latest book from Dreamspinner Press, When Love Takes Over, releases. I’m SO excited. As many of you know, Provincetown is one of my favorite places on this planet, and that is why I’m so thrilled to finally be able to share the first book of this series with the readers.

I want to provide readers, who have never experienced P-town, with a sample of what life on the tip of the Cape is like. To experience the beauty of Provincetown, to meet the eclectic characters who live and visit there, and to see how the town can foster love even amid the obstacles the carefree environment can provide.

To start off the pre-release celebrations, and to help orient the reader to the Provincetown world and its characters, I’m going to be sitting down with the two main characters from When Love Takes Over, Zach and Van, and interviewing them.

To get us started, here is the blurb for the book:

Zach Kelly’s life is a shambles. His boyfriend of three years dumped him, and his writing career is going nowhere. On a whim, he heads to Provincetown, Massachusetts, to nurse his broken heart and figure out his next step. He’s expecting to find rest and relaxation on the sandy beaches of Cape Cod. Instead, Zach meets a hunky porn star during a chance encounter at a leather shop he mistakes as a place to buy a belt that is definitely not for whipping.


Van Pierce is smitten when shy and inexperienced Zach crashes through a shelf of fetish gear. Though Van’s got an insatiable appetite for men on and off the set, his porn persona, Hart Throb, hides a broken heart. He’s struggling to find the reality the porno set doesn’t offer, and Zach is fighting to find the fantasy that will set his writing on fire. The odd goofball and the suave beefcake may either find love amid Provincetown’s colorful pageantry where summer never seems to end—or more heartbreak than either can imagine.

WhenLoveTakesOverORIGFirst up on my interview couch is Zach Kelly, who lives in Houston, Texas. Zach is a college English professor as well as a struggling author.

Zach Kelly

Zach Kelly

Zach, thanks for agreeing to stop by today for this interview. I’m so glad you could make it.

Zach: Well, thanks for asking. I’m not really sure why you want to interview little old awkward me. But, hey, this could be fun.

That’s my hope too. And you do have some time on your hands, don’t you? You are visiting Provincetown for the first time. Isn’t that correct?

Zach: It sure is. It’s been an adventure already, and I’ve only been here one day!

Well, that’s P-town for you. I just love this place. Besides it being an adventure, what do you think of it here so far?

Zach: Honestly, it’s taking some getting used to. I’m not the kind of person who just goes places by himself, so it was a bit of a jump for me to fly all the way to Massachusetts and vacation somewhere I’ve never been before. Much less a place like P-town, where there are tons of hot men and lots of parties. So far, though, I’ve been pleased. The guys who I’m renting the condo from, Gary and Quinn, have been really great. They are going to take me to something called the “tea dance” later. Whatever that means! But they’re good guys. In fact, everyone I’ve met has been pretty great so far.

That’s not unusual. Most of the people I’ve met in Provincetown have become lifelong friends. I think making lasting friendships here just happens naturally.

Zach: I can see that. Which is weird for me. I’m not someone who makes friends very easily, so it’s been a nice change of pace.

Why is it so hard for you to make friends? Are you super shy?

Zach: Super shy isn’t the right term. I’m more of a shut-in. At least that’s what my ex-boyfriend used to say about me. I’m quite happy staying at home and having nights in. That’s typically how I spend my time after work. I come home, attempt to write, and just veg on the couch.

That can be good on occasion, but every night? Really?

Zach: Yeah. Pretty sad I know.

And what do you mean “attempt to write”? I thought you were an author.

Zach: I am. Or at least I’m trying to be. I’m not very good at it apparently.

Really? Why do you say that?

Zach: (shrugging shoulders) I’m not really sure. Maybe I don’t devote enough time to my writing like I should. I’ve got a full-time job teaching English, and there’s lots of work that goes along with that. Grading papers, serving on committees, and doing a lots of other things that comes with the job. It takes a lot out of me to just find the time to write.

Well, I did find the books you self-published online, and I noticed that some of your reviews weren’t exactly spectacular.

Zach: That’s being very kind. They were awful. You can say it.

Let’s just say they were constructive. Do you mind if we talk about the reviews?

Zach: (groans) Do we have to?

Yes, but only because I’m a pushy bitch.

Zach: (laughing) Okay, fine. Let’s do it then. Since you’re a “pushy bitch” and all.

Great! I promise to make this as painless as possible. Besides, an author can sometimes learn from negative reviews. Like this one for example. This reviewer says, and I quote, “Zach Kelly’s book is filled with one-dimensional characters, who evoke no emotion from the reader whatsoever.” Another reviewer said, “The plot for this book was predictable, and the manufactured angst was over-the-top and unrealistic.” Do you think these reviews are warranted or is there some truth to what these reviewers have said?

Zach: At first, I thought it was just the reviewers, but after a few more reviews, which all said pretty much the same thing, I can’t pass the buck to them, can I? The problem is with me. I’m obviously not very good.

I disagree. I’ve read both books. You have promise. Your writing style is actually quite good, and your prose is sometimes quite beautiful.

Zach: Why do I feel there’s a but coming?

How about a “however” instead?

Zach: (smirking) Isn’t that just a fancy but?

Perhaps. But I like fancy buts!

Zach: I like butts in general.

I think you’ve switched buts on me. Haven’t you?

Zach: Maybe.

We can talk about your butt fetish later. Let’s deal with the issue at hand right now, shall we?

Zach: I’d much rather talk about my butt fetish.

Based on what I’ve read, you seem to have some trouble with characterization and plot development as the reviews have picked up on. You can obviously write very well, but when it comes to people and situations in life, you fall just a tad short. Why do you think that is?

Zach: Well, that’s probably because I’m pretty shy and withdrawn. Like I said earlier. I don’t just jump into life feet first. I take a more casual approach. More of an observer really. People make me uncomfortable and nervous, so I tend to just fade into the background.

Why is that?

Zach: Learned behavior I guess. My father was pretty hard on me and my sister. He’s a successful doctor who climbed his way out of middle class to make something of himself. He expected my sister and me to do the same thing. Make lives that were even better than the one he provided. I sometimes think he wanted us to be perfect, and I could never be what he wanted me to be. I tried, but I never really succeeded. At least I never felt that he saw me as any sort of a success. Especially since I was a pretty clumsy kid. Still am really. I can trip and fall down at the drop of a hat. It used to drive my dad crazy. Falling down all the time. Breaking things. The look in my dad’s eyes was typically one of disappointment. At least that was the way it always looked to me. Seeing that look in his eyes made me quite a rebel there for awhile, but doing things my way never got me anywhere. Just in hot water. So I just go with the flow now. I do whatever people expect me to do. It’s a lot easier, and it saves time.

That sounds like you live your life for other people. Would that be an accurate statement?

Zach: Yes, I guess it would be.

That doesn’t sound very healthy if you ask me. Sure, we have to consider other people in our lives, but we also have to live for ourselves. If not, then we aren’t really living, are we?

Zach: Maybe not. But it’s worked for me so far.

Has it? What was it that brought you to P-town again?

Zach: I was waiting for that question. My boyfriend dumped me, and I needed to get out of town. So I left.

And how long were you two together?

Zach: Ben and I were together for three years.

And do you think you lived your life for him? Like you used to do for your father?

Zach: (nodding) Yes, I did. We did things Ben’s way. If we didn’t, there was hell to pay. It just made life tons easier to give in.

I see. So, your boyfriend of three years dumped you, your writing career is going nowhere, and you are so unhappy with your life that you’ve fled your home to Provincetown. Do you really think living for others is working for you?

Zach: (flinching) Well, when you put it that way, I guess not.

But seeing that is a good thing. In order to grow, we all have to see what’s not working for us. To change whatever we need to change in our lives so we can find happiness. We all want to be happy. We all want to be successful. I think that’s why you’re in Provincetown. To find yourself.

Zach: I can’t argue with that. After Ben dumped me, I needed a change of pace. To get away from all the shit that seems to keep raining down on me. Maybe I’ll find what I’m missing in Provincetown. I don’t know. I’m hopeful. Provincetown is a beautiful place, and with people like Gary, Quinn, and Tara here who’ve taken me under their wings and offered me their friendship, well, it’s been what I’ve needed. It’s been good to connect with people. It’s really the first time I’ve made friends in quite some time.

That’s because you’re living for yourself finally. Making friends on your own. Without anyone else. And in Provincetown, there are many friends to be made. And hot men to meet.

Zach: (laughing) That’s true. There are hot guys everywhere. In fact, I met one today. His name is Van. God, he is probably the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. But he would never be into someone like me. I’m far too goofy and imperfect for someone so confident and attractive.

You never know, Zach. It’s P-town. Anything is possible.

Well, Zach. That’s all the time we have for today. I wish you the best of luck in Provincetown, but somehow I have a feeling that you’re not going to need it. 

Character Interview with Gabriel of The Gifted One

Today, we conclude our two-part character interview of the main characters from my soon-to-be-released novel The Gifted OneIf you missed part one of my interview with Matt Westlake, click here.

The Gifted One


Today, I’ll be sitting down with the archangel Gabriel, who is currently residing in Houston, Texas, which is a loooooong way from his home in Heaven.

Gabriel, I must first thank you for actually coming to the interview. When I sent the request, I was uncertain if you would come. I know you are extremely busy and have many other more important tasks. So, once again, thank you.

Gabriel: It is true that sitting here answering questions is a frivolous activity, especially considering the magnitude of my heavenly duties. However, Matt requested that I accept the invitation, so I’m here at his behest. Therefore, you have him to thank for my presence. I, of course, will communicate your appreciation to him.

Um, thank you.

Gabriel: Once again, you are welcome.

So, why don’t we just get started then?

Gabriel: That would not only be wise but an efficient use of both of our time.

Okay, so I gather you’re not much of a talker. You seem far more task-oriented.

Gabriel: Indeed. I’m not an angel of words. If you want one who prattles on endlessly, then I’d be glad to see if my brothers Uriel or Raphael are available. They are certainly more lax with their time and how they spend it. I, however, am not. There’s a great deal Father has charged me with accomplishing. I see no need to chatter idly when there is a task to be completed.

And by Father, you, of course, mean God?

Gabriel: Naturally. God is the mortal word for our Father, but to me He is simply Father.

I hope you don’t think this silly, so please forgive me, but chatting with a heavenly being is not an every day occurrence. When you speak about God and the other angels, your references make you sound like a family. Is that the way you would describe your relationship with the other archangels as well as with God?

Gabriel: Most definitely. We are a family, and Father sits as the head of our family.

I have to admit that I find that rather intriguing. How would you describe your heavenly family? Do you share meals together and talk about your days? Are there disagreements or do all the angels get along?

Gabriel: First of all, we don’t eat. As immortal beings, we do not require sustenance or sleep, so no, we do not share meals together. We do, however, gather in the Throne Room upon occasion to discuss matters of great importance. My brothers and I, the archangels, are Father’s messengers in the world. We are charged with carrying out important duties as ascribed to our various functions. If the task requires mercy, love, justice, wisdom, healing, peace, or vengeance, one of us is dispatched to bring the matter to its appropriate conclusion, and sometimes, how each of us deals with the matter at hand can lead to disagreement.

My brother Michael and I are constantly at odds. Though I love my brother dearly, his tendency toward mercy and leniency is sometimes a slap in the face of vengeance. Not every situation is brought to resolution through compassion and forgiveness. Sometimes, the sword of retribution is the only appropriate answer.

So you prefer reprisal to rehabilitation?

Gabriel: Not at all. For those truly repentant of their sins, mercy brings justice and healing. However, Michael feels as if all are worthy of a second chance. That is not always the case. True evil walks the earth in various forms, and for those who embrace only the dark, I stand in wait to greet them.

I would assume the true evil you are referencing has something to do with the task Father has sent you to complete. Since you’ve been seen in close proximity to Matt Westlake in the past few days, I shall assume that the task is somehow linked to him. Is Matt the evil you must eradicate?

Gabriel: (extremely upset) Of course NOT! Matthew Westlake possesses a strength of character and soul that I’ve not had the pleasure of encountering in untold centuries. I’ve been sent to protect Matt from the evil that swirls wretchedly about him, and I would sacrifice my immortal soul to guarantee him but one more second of breath upon this earth.

I must admit that your reaction took me a bit by surprise. I hope you can forgive me for saying this, but you sound as if you’re in love with Matt. Are you?

Gabriel: (visibly shaken) I love all members of Father’s flock. It is my sworn duty to protect them.

I have no doubt about that. However, when you spoke of Matt, I couldn’t help notice how your eyes lit up. For most of our interview, you’ve been emotionally reserved, but with one mention of Matt, you’ve become someone else entirely.

Gabriel: Yes, well, I am charged with protecting Matthew Westlake. I take my duties extremely seriously. Your question attacked his character by assuming such a wonderful soul like Matt might be evil. I had no choice but to come to his rescue and defend him.

And that’s it? There’s nothing more to your feelings for Matt?

Gabriel: I will only say this. While I’m alive no harm will come to Matt from any creature whether it be from heaven, hell, or earth. On that, you have my word.

Okay, then, since you’ve brought it up. Why is Matt in such danger from creatures from heaven, hell, and Earth? 

Gabriel: That is a question I’m not free to answer for a multitude of reasons. However, I can say this: Matt is an extremely special man, both to the future potential of the world as well as to those who love him. His unlocked potential makes him a target, and my physical presence in his life has…complicated matters. As a result, Matt is carefully scrutinized from above and below as well as locked in a dangerous dance with earthly agents intent on doing him harm. It is my job to see to it that he survives it all unscathed so that when destiny finally opens the door for Matt, he shall be able to walk through it. To accomplish that task, I stand ready to sacrifice all that I am for all that Matt promises to be.

Thank you, Gabriel. I appreciate everything that you’ve shared with us today, and I can tell by the sudden look in your eye that you have to leave.

Gabriel: I must. A storm is brewing outside, and I must make my way to Matt at once!

Good luck, Gabriel. To you, to Matt, and to whatever the future may yet bring.

*blog post image from

Character Interview with Matt Westlake of The Gifted One

My latest novel, The Gifted One, is slated for release on April 5, 2013. I wanted to kick off the celebration by asking my two main characters, Matt and Gabriel, to stop by “From Gay to Z” for an interview. This will give the characters a chance to tell us a bit about themselves prior to their grand debut.

As a bit of background information, here’s the book blurb:

As his birthday approaches, Matthew Westlake fears more than just growing a year older. He fears never seeing another year at all. Each birthday brings a close call with death, leaving holes in his memory, recurring nightmares, and one more glimpse of his guardian angel. This birthday Matt must stand against ancient evils that have hounded him since birth, because he is a Gifted One—a seventh son of a seventh son.

Within Matt rests the unlocked potential of a force for good, but it also makes him a target. Being the Gifted One and dodging demonic attacks aren’t Matt’s only problems, though. He’s fallen in love with his protector, the Archangel Gabriel, and Heaven will condemn that love to save Matt’s soul. But Heaven doesn’t count on Gabriel loving Matt in return, defying divine law, and placing them in danger from demons and angels alike.

The Gifted One

Today, I’ll be kicking off the interview with the Gifted One himself, Matt Westlake, who works as an intensive care nurse in Houston, Texas.

Matt, I’d like to thank you for stopping by “From Gay to Z,” especially since I know you have a lot going on right now.

Matt: Not a problem. Thanks for having me here. Although I feel kinda silly sitting down for an interview.

Why’s that?

Matt: Well, I wouldn’t think anyone would be interested in reading anything I had to say. I’m just a normal guy, trying to live my life. There’s really not that much about me that’s interview-worthy. You know what I mean?

I have to say that I completely disagree with you. You’ve led a rather interesting life and survived a great deal of tragedy for someone so comparatively young. And despite what you’ve been through, you seem to be a rather well-adjusted, grounded individual. 

Matt: Well, you’re very kind, but who I am is really more of my grandmother’s doing than anything else. She’s raised me quite well and is one of the most remarkable people I know. I owe everything I am to her.

Would you mind telling us a little about her?

Matt: Gladly! I could talk about the Duchess for hours!

The Duchess? Is that what you call your grandmother?

Matt: (laughing) Yes, I do.

How’d that unique nickname come about?

Matt: Well, besides the fact that she’s a unique woman, the nickname actually started with her friends, so I can’t really take credit for it. I overheard them discussing something once when I was a kid. I really don’t know what it was, most likely some society event my grandmother was chairing. But anyway, she became quite upset at one of their comments. When my grandmother’s cross, you better watch out. Because that’s when the sweet, kind, and gentle Joanna Westlake transforms into a brick wall of hard emotion. I had never seen her act that way before, but her friends obviously had. They started referring to her as the Duchess, and I’ve been calling her that ever since.

Does she mind the nickname?

Matt: She used to at first. She didn’t find it half as funny as I did at the time, but she’s grown used to it since then. Now, she likes it. It’s become my term of endearment for her.

I can see how much you obviously love your grandmother. Have you always been close to her even as a child?

Matt: I’d like to think so, but I don’t remember much about my childhood prior to my tenth birthday.

That’s when your adopted parents were…taken from you?

Matt: Yes. When they were murdered.

I know it’s a topic you don’t often talk about, but what do you remember about them?

Matt: Not much really. I recall what they look like but not much else. My psychiatrist Dr. Owens believes that I’ve suppressed my childhood memories as a way of dealing with the trauma of that night. That’s why I’m working so hard to recover those lost memories. I want to remember the people who took me in when no one else wanted me. I owe it to them and their love for me to remember. It’s very difficult to look at pictures of my parents and me together and not feel any emotion. It’s like I’m looking at strangers, but I know they aren’t strangers at all. They’re my parents.

I can’t even imagine how difficult that is or how hard it must be for you to have had their deaths occur on your birthday.

Matt: Yeah, it’s tough, and it doesn’t make it any better that awful things always seem to happen to me on my birthday.

Like what?

Matt: Like almost dying. Every year, like clockwork, something bad happens. When I turned sixteen, my grandmother bought me a car. I took it for a spin, and this idiot swerves into my lane and comes barreling down the highway at me. I don’t know how I survived it, but it was like the steering wheel took on a life of its own. I swerved and spun the car around, which made the idiot miss me by inches. He slammed through the guardrail and down to the street below. He didn’t survive.

That’s awful!

Matt: Tell me about it. But that’s the way my birthdays usually go, which is why I don’t really celebrate the day. My grandmother and my best friends Dee and Shane know how I feel about my birthday, so they usually expend lots of energy trying to cheer me up every year. I love them for it and for how much they care about me, but no matter what anyone does to make me feel better, something awful happens that ruins the day. If I didn’t know better, I’d think something was out to get me.

And just what would that “something” be?

Matt: Who knows? But that’s just the way I feel. I know it sounds paranoid and maybe I am, but after all the things I’ve been through, it’s kinda hard not to feel like the universe is out to get me.

I can’t argue with that. Like I said earlier, you’ve been through a lot. How do you think the tragedies you’ve endured affected the man you are today?

Matt: I think they’ve made me appreciate my life more. I’ve seen a lot of bad, so I try to focus on the good as much as possible. It’s one of the reasons I became a nurse. I like helping people, making them feel better, and I’m pretty good at it. The doctors and nurses at the hospital call me Flo as a nod to Florence Nightingale. They also claim I have “healing hands” as they call it.

Interesting. Why do they say that?

Matt: (shrugging) They say it’s because my patients always seem to recover or that I just know what they need. I think they’re just being silly, but I like the compliment. I don’t have healing hands at all. I just listen to my patients and my intuition. When I do that, things just seem to work out.

Well, despite the more difficult events in your life, things seem to be working out so far in terms of your career. You love your job and are extremely good at it, but let’s talk about your romantic life for a moment.

Matt: (groans)

What’s that for?

Matt: Because romance is the biggest disaster in my life.

From what I’ve heard from my sources, that’s not entirely true. 

Matt: Your sources, huh? I bet that would be Dee and Shane, my two former best friends. I’m going to have a little talk with them about speaking out of turn.

A good reporter never reveals his sources, so I can neither confirm nor deny, but from what I hear, you’ve got two men who seem to have taken an interest in you recently. Would you mind telling us about them?

Matt: Well, your sources are both right and wrong. There are two men who’ve suddenly appeared in my life, and where any of this is going, if it’s going anywhere, it yet to be determined. What’s weird, though, is that I met both of them on my birthday, after I was almost killed yet again. Craig is an awesome guy. A police officer with a nice body, beautiful green eyes, and an amazing smile. He’s not only wicked hot, but he’s also gentle without being soft.

That’s a pretty tough combination to beat.

Matt: I know. Then there’s Gabriel. Now, he just suddenly appeared when I needed him the most. It was pretty magical, and when I first laid eyes on him, I just couldn’t speak. His eyes are an amazing shade of blue. They look like patches of sky, and I have a hard time not losing myself in them. But he’s very mysterious. He comes and goes pretty much at will, which makes him difficult to get to know, but what’s even funnier is that I feel like I’ve known him my entire life. Which I know sounds pretty weird considering I have a ten year gap in my memory.

I don’t find that strange at all. Maybe you’ve known Gabriel in a past life.

Matt: Maybe. Who knows?

Well, that’s all the time we have today, Matt. I appreciate you stopping by. Good luck on finding the missing pieces to your past and on learning more about the handsome Craig and solving the mystery that is Gabriel.

*blog post image from Michael Taggart Photography /

Character Interview with Dutch Keller of 3

Today, I’ll be concluding my three-part interview series with characters from 3, which releases October 15, 2012, from Dreamspinner Press. I interviewed Justin Jimenez and Spencer Harrison in Parts 1 and 2 of the series. Those interviews can be found here and here.

Joining me today is struggling photographer Dutch Keller.

Dutch, I’m glad you were able to make it to the interview today. 

Dutch: Thanks, buddy. I appreciated being asked, but then I read the interviews you did with Justin and Spencer, and I thought about canceling.

Really? I thought the interviews went rather well.

Dutch: Oh, they did. You just asked some pretty tough questions. You have me kinda worried about what you’re gonna ask me.

Good. I was concerned I offended either Justin or Spencer.

Dutch: (laughing) Not at all. They’re big boys, although not as big as me (winks).

Why do I get the feeling you’re a bit of a flirt?

Dutch: I guess I kinda am, but it’s all in good fun.

Does that get you in trouble? Being such a big flirt?

Dutch: Hmmm, I’ve never really thought about it. I’m not much of a thinker. I’m not saying I’m stupid or anything, but I act mostly on impulse, with what feels good or right to me, whether it is or not. So, yeah, I guess it can get me in trouble. I’m a lot like Yosemite Sam in that way, at least that’s what my dad used to say.

Yosemite Sam? The angry little guy from Bugs Bunny with the red hair and a mustache?

Dutch: That’s the one.

Would you mind elaborating on that, please?

Dutch: Well, you remember how stubborn Yosemite Sam was? If he wanted to do something or go somewhere, he kept on trying to do it. No matter what Bugs did to stop him. That’s kind of the way I live. I charge through life with both barrels ready. Life’s short after all, so I try not to waste time weighing pros and cons on whether I should or shouldn’t do something. If I want to, I usually just do it. If not, then I don’t.

If I remember correctly, Yosemite Sam also possessed a pretty hot temper. Are you similar in that way too?

Dutch: Not really. I’m an easy going guy. I’m not quick to anger or anything like Sam was, but if someone’s intent on poking this bear, they better be prepared to deal with the consequences. Just because I may not want to fight doesn’t mean I won’t.

You mentioned earlier that your dad compared you to Yosemite Sam, and I couldn’t help but see the smile in your eyes when you mentioned him. Were you two close? 

Dutch: Oh, man, my dad was my best friend. I could always count on him to be there for me. As a kid, we always hung out together, just tossing the football or eating pizza. Those were good times. He also had no trouble showing me affection. Most dads are kinda distant with their sons. To try and teach them how to be a man, I guess. But not my dad, and I’m a better man for it. If I needed a hug, I got it, and he just knew I needed it. When I told him I was gay, I was worried how my big, man’s man dad would react, but he didn’t care. Didn’t miss one beat. He just nodded his head and laughed, saying how he should’ve bought me a Playgirl instead of a Playboy. He was my rock, you know? When he died, it was hard on us all.

He sounds like a great man, and it’s easy to see that his death still affects you deeply. What about the rest of your family? Are you all close?

Dutch: Yeah, we are. My mom recently passed away too, so it’s just me and my sister Heidi and my crazy niece and nephew. But they’re still living in Boston, and I’m here in San Antonio. It’s tough being so far away from my family, but Heidi and I talk at least twice a week, if not more.

It’s very obvious that your family dynamics differ greatly from Justin and Spencer’s. Spencer barely speaks to his family, and Justin hasn’t spoken to his father in years. But you seem to come from a loving family, who knew exactly how to show love and to remain together.

Dutch: Yeah. Justin and Spencer both had pretty tough childhoods. I feel for them sometimes.

Okay then, here’s my first tough question. You ready?

Dutch: Do I have a choice?

Not really. You come from such a loving family, with two parents who obviously loved each other and provided a good role model for a loving relationship, yet your love life is a veritable disaster. You became involved with Justin, who was for all intents and purposes a married man. How does someone who comes from such a functioning household fall into such dysfunctional relationships?

Dutch: Ouch.

I meant no offense, but you have to admit it’s a valid question.

Dutch: It is, but ouch all the same. I don’t know if I have an answer that’ll satisfy you, or anyone else. It’s true that I’ve gotten into some pretty bad relationships, and Justin wasn’t the first. Well, he’s the first “married” man, as you would say, that I’ve become involved with, but I approach my love life the same way I do everything else. Like Yosemite Sam. I wasn’t thinking about consequences or anything else. It just felt right, and I went with it. I don’t want anyone to think I intentionally set out to hurt anyone because that’s so far from the truth. I know that people did get hurt, and that’s part of what the book is about. Dealing with that guilt and what the consequences of my actions helped do to Justin and Spencer’s relationship. As well as to me.

I assume you’re referring to the fact that you “sought solace in a bottle” as the book’s blurb mentions?

Dutch: Yeah. Now that was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, and I paid the price for that too, but I won’t go into too much detail because that’ll be revealing more than I’m supposed to.

I understand. As the final question, the book blurb also mentions that “friendship, passion, and betrayal” are key components to the journey you, Justin, and Spencer undertake. With such a complicated dynamic already, can there really be friendship amidst the passion and betrayal that causes such heartache?

Dutch: Wow. Let me see if I can answer that without once again giving too much away. The three of us made some pretty big mistakes, individually as well as collectively. Those mistakes, or betrayals, rocked all of our worlds. We each paid a price for them, but I think that the reader will see three very flawed man, trying to survive the crapstorm that their lives have become. Granted, it’s one of their own making, but who hasn’t made a mistake? Who hasn’t done something they shouldn’t have and then tried to make it better? Whether it’s made better or not, we all try and that attempt comes from a good place, whether it’s motivated by love or friendship. The three of us aren’t any different really from anyone else. Justin, Spencer, and I are just trying to fix what we are all responsible for breaking. Whether we fix it or not, well, that I can’t say.

Dutch, thank you for stopping by. It’s been enlightening, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better. I wish you, Justin, and Spencer the best, and I also hope that there is happiness in your futures.

*blog post image from by imagerymajestic

Character Interview with Spencer Harrison of 3

Today, we move to part 2 of our 3 part interview series of the main characters from the soon-to-be released novel from Dreamspinner Press. Last time, I interviewed Justin Jimenez. If you missed it, you can read the interview by clicking here.

Today, I’ll be sitting down with Spencer Harrison, Professor of Spanish and French at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

Spencer, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us here.

Spencer: Thank you for asking me to be here. I’m really quite excited!

That’s quite a difference from Justin. He told me he was extremely nervous and that he got lost trying to get to the interview.

Spencer: Yes, well, Justin gets lost in our neighborhood. I’ve never met anyone with such a poor sense of direction. Even though he’s lived in San Antonio his entire life, he asks me how to get somewhere.

So, I take it you have a much better sense of direction?

Spencer: (laughing) Oh, God, yes! Justin says I’m like a homing pigeon because I just instinctively know where to go. I’ve always been that way. Maybe it’s from growing up as an army brat. I’ve lived all over the country. Germany and England too. I guess when you live in so many different locales, you have to get used to finding your way around.

Tell us about your family life. What was your life like growing up? Do you have brothers and sisters or are you an only child like Justin?

Spencer: I have an older brother and younger sister, and we’re not close. My brother Brandon and I have a general loathing for each other, which is sad to say, but the truth nonetheless. I think Brandon knew I was gay before I did. He resented me for that. For not being the alpha male dad wanted me to be. In their eyes, I was weaker because I wasn’t good at sports and because I actually expressed emotions that I was feeling. Harrison men are reared to be cold, heartless killers, which makes them perfect soldiers but awful human beings.

What about your sister?

Spencer: Carolyn and I aren’t close either. She at least makes attempts, at times, to reach out, but she’s such a bitch that I rarely expend energy to deal with her. You see, the Harrison women turn into shrews as a defense mechanism. They have to find a way to cope with the dominance the Harrison men impose upon them. The men in my family expect women to be subservient and they treat women like property rather than people. It’s quite sad and embarrassing for me to be a part of a family still living in the 1950’s.

That sounds like quite the tough up-bringing. How has your family affected the person you are today?

Spencer: Truthfully? It’s screwed me up. I grew up not feeling close to anyone, as if I was on my own. Most people feel as if their families have their back. That no matter what they go through, they can go home or call mom or dad and get whatever support was needed to get through the tough times. I don’t have that, and I proceeded through life with that mentality. The only one I could ever count on was me.

So, how does that affect your love life? Does it present problems with your relationships?

Spencer: Most certainly. It’s very difficult for me to let people in. I tend to keep barriers between me and everyone else just because I’ve grown accustomed to doing that with my family. If you have to protect yourself from family, then why would anyone else be different? That’s why personal relationships have been so difficult for me. To be in a good, healthy relationship, you have to expose yourself to risk. You are literally placing your heart in someone else’s hands, and the prospect terrified me. It was something I really wanted to try though, especially once I went to undergrad at Rice, and I was surrounded by all these people who were exploring their young lives to the fullest while I holed up in my room, studying.

College is a transformative time for many people. It’s where we take our first tentative steps as adults, so it makes sense that you would make progress in your personal relationships. What happened?

Spencer: I met this guy named Mike in English class. He was gorgeous and really in to me. I wanted to let my guard down for him, but it was hard for me to lower walls I had spent years fortifying around my heart. Mike persisted though. He chipped away until I finally broke down; I fell head over heels in love with him. The feeling, however, wasn’t mutual, something I didn’t learn until a few years later. It left me devastated and more determined than ever to not let another person inside where they could hurt me.

Heartbreaks are a part of falling in love though, and we all open ourselves up to pain when we give ourselves to someone else. As agonizing as it may be, we learn from those failed relationships and carry those lessons with us into the relationships that follow. Mike may have hurt you, but you recovered and grew from it. All of which prepared you for falling in love with Justin. 

Spencer: I suppose that’s true, but nothing could have ever prepared me for the pain of Justin’s betrayal.

I doubt anything can ever prepare us for that kind of pain. You and Justin had been together for ten years when you learned about his affair with Dutch. In fact, the two of you had been rebuilding your relationship, which had almost fallen apart the previous year. And it was during that time of separation that Dutch entered Justin’s life.

Spencer: Is there a question here?

Yes, sorry. I know this is painful to talk about, but what I want to ask is this: can a relationship recover from this?

Spencer: I suppose it’s possible for some people to work through this, but our situation is unique in so many ways. I don’t want to give too much information away, but as much as I would love to make Justin the scapegoat, I can’t. We both broke our relationship. We did things as a couple we shouldn’t have done. But even beyond that, I hid secrets of my own, secrets that I thought were better kept to save our relationship, but they only made things worse.

And these secrets somehow included Dutch?

Spencer: Yes, but I can’t share those with you here. That would definitely be giving too much away!

Well, Spencer, we have reached the end of our interview. I appreciate the fact that you stopped by today and shared some rather personal information. You have me, and possibly some readers out there, wondering just what these secrets might be, but I wish you the best on a happy resolution to the recent problems in your life.

*blog post image by Africa

Character Interview with Justin Jimenez of 3

I’m thrilled to announce that in celebration of the upcoming release (October 15, 2012) of 3 from Dreamspinner Press, I will be conducting a three-part interview series with the three main characters from the novel on “From Gay to Z.” Here, readers will get a chance to meet the characters and learn a little bit about Justin, Spencer, and Dutch prior to the book’s release.

To give everyone some background information, here’s the official blurb for 3:

Justin Jimenez has loved his partner, Spencer Harrison, for ten years. He’ll do anything for him—including bury his feelings for a man he met while he and Spencer were separated last year. Justin never planned to fall in love, and he certainly never planned to tell Spencer about it—but when a phone call wakes them in the middle of the night to inform Justin that his former lover, Dutch Keller, has been in an accident, he doesn’t have a choice.

Justin’s revelation shatters the fragile relationship he and Spencer were trying to rebuild. The weight of his guilt—both for hurting Spencer and for leaving a heartbroken Dutch to find solace in a bottle—crushes him. But what Justin doesn’t know is that Spencer and Dutch guard an explosive secret of their own. All three men are tangled in a communal web of lies, and unless they find the events in their lives that ultimately led them to friendship, passion, and betrayal, they won’t see the love at the heart of the pain.”

Today, I’ll be kicking off the interviews with Justin Jimenez, a high school principal at Burbank High School in San Antonio, Texas.

First of all, Justin, thanks for joining me here at “From Gay to Z.” I hope you didn’t have any difficulty finding the place.

Justin: Thanks for having me, and, well, I get lost pretty easy. I have no sense of direction. I always want to turn right for some reason!

It can’t be that bad, can it?

Justin: I wish it wasn’t, but it is. I don’t know if I’m just not paying attention to my surroundings or what, but I can get lost coming home from work. Now keep in mind, San Antonio always seems to be fixing itself. Detour here. Road construction there. If you miss your exit, you go for a mile or two in a completely different direction and then have no clue how to get back to where you need to go. It gets really confusing! Plus, today, I’m nervous, and when I’m this distracted, I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to going somewhere I’ve never been before.

Why are you so nervous?

Justin: Are you kidding me? This is my first public appearance. I’m not used to being put out there on display. It’s a tad overwhelming. It took me an hour just to do my hair!

Okay, so you have no sense of direction and a touch of vanity?

Justin: Hey! I’m not vain. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good. Is there?

No, I guess not. But an hour?

Justin: My hair doesn’t always want to behave. I have a pretty wicked cowlick, and when my hair gets longer, it’s more difficult to tame. If you want to talk vanity with someone, ask Spencer. Vanity and Spencer are best friends.

I’ll be sure to ask him about it, but we’re talking about you, not Spencer. So, tell us about yourself in three sentences or less.

Justin: (groaning) I’d rather talk about Spencer’s vanity. I hate talking about myself, but if you insist, here goes: I tend to be pretty focused on whatever I’m trying to accomplish. It’s what helped me move out of the barrio and create a different life for myself. Unfortunately, it had some side effects; I can be pretty darn stubborn and a tad selfish, as a result.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting more out of life. And being stubborn and selfish can sometimes help someone achieve those goals. But, what problems have those character traits created for you?

Justin: Wow, that’s pretty deep! But I have to say that I sometimes ignore the needs of others in my life in pursuit of what I want. It’s funny really. In order to achieve the life I always imagined, I had to stay focused on my ultimate goal. Nothing could stand in my way. Not people who thought I would never climb my way out of poverty or boyfriends who wanted me to ease up on my education or career to spend more time with them. I was a man on a mission. I had a path before me, and I had to walk it at my own pace. With or without anyone else. But now that I finally have the life I envisioned, a good job, financial stability, and a relationship, I need to work on opening my eyes more to the needs of those I love. I can’t have the only-child mentality anymore. The world is bigger than me and my wants.

That’s a pretty common conflict for only children, so I’m sure you’re not alone there. But since you bring up your family, tell us about them. How have they helped shape the man you are today?

Justin: They’ve had everything to do with the man I am. My mom and I are pretty close. As long as I’m happy, she’s happy. Same goes for everyone else in my family. They all support me unconditionally. Having that in my life has made me think that anything is possible.

Now, I know your father is a sensitive subject for you, but what about your relationship with him? How has that affected you?

Justin: The man is non-existent for me. He abandoned me and my mom a long time ago.

And it’s had no affect on you as an adult?

Justin: Well, it’s certainly created trust issues. One of my biggest fears is that someone I love will leave me the way he did. I mean, if a father can abandon his son, why can’t a lover just as easily pack up and walk out the door? That’s why I don’t do well with confrontation. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem wading into a disagreement, I can even provoke them, but on the inside I can’t help but wonder: is this it? Will he leave me after this fight?

That’s a pretty tough way to approach a relationship. Does it affect how you fall in love? Is it at first sight or does it happen over a period of time?

Justin: You know, you’d think it would be something that would happen over a period of time for me, but it hasn’t worked that way at all. When I fall in love, it’s like the universe has presented me with a gift that I just reach out and grab, not thinking about the consequences at all. For someone who lives on a pre-set path, that seems weird, I know, but for me falling in love has been, well, magical. Both times that it’s happened to me, that’s how it’s been. One minute I’m going about my life like usual, then BAM! I’m in love. That’s weird, right?

I don’t think so. How people fall in love is fascinating to me as a person and a reader. It’s not something we can control. If we could, I doubt love would truly exist. But since we’re on the subject of love, 3 is about your relationships with Spencer and Dutch, which seems quite complicated to the every day person. Without giving too much away, tell us about those relationships.  

Justin: That’s a tough one. All I’ll say is that our relationship goes beyond people’s preconceived notions of m/m/m fiction. It’s not about men who are led around by their, um, manhoods. I’m not saying we don’t have sex. We are human! But sex is really a minor part of our relationship. Our story is about the events that led us to a pretty difficult point in our lives. How we as men screwed up a lot of things, by lying to others but more importantly to ourselves. What we had to do was evaluate those mistakes and take a good hard look at our actions. It’s more of a journey, really. As for where we might end up, well, who ever knows how things will work out. All of us, readers included, will just have to wait and see.

Well, that’s all the time we have for today, Justin. Thanks for stopping by. I wish you good luck on your journey.

*blog post image from by photostock