Today, I am sitting down to talk with Kevin of Private Display of Affection by Winter Sandberg. Check out my review here. If you love Posy Roberts’ North Star series, this is a must read for you!
Tell us about yourself.
I’m sort of a nerd. I like to study and mess around with photography and do research and science stuff like that. I’ve been groomed (I guess that’s the best word) by my dad to seem like this confident guy that has it all. I don’t. And I’m far from confident, but I’m really good at hiding behind the façade I’ve been building my whole life, and I’m good at useless things like small talk. I’ve been forced by my dad to always look at myself as a marketable product, so everything I do, should have some purpose, according to him. I’m just trying to get through high school so I can move away and start to live my life rather than his dream.
Now for a less emo answer: I’m Kevin Magnus, Hugo Thorson’s boyfriend. I’m bisexual, but I figured that out just last year. I have long blond hair my dad hates, but I keep it long because that’s the one way I can rebel that won’t get me in major trouble. I’m not used to having genuine friends, so having Hugo in my life has been really cool. More than anything I want to be a veterinarian. I love to fish and hike and spend time in nature. I’m a lover not a fighter. And Hugo calls me a hopeless romantic.
Tell us about how you see Hugo.
Hugo. Hmmm. I know I’m smiling right now, but I can’t help it. Hugo is great. He has so much strength inside of him, but all anyone at school sees is the short, skinny guy, so they underestimate him. He’s super friendly and loyal and forgiving. He’s the best friend I’ve ever had, and I’m really lucky that he wanted to be more. He’s funny, and cute, and his smile is amazing. But really, he just knows how to get inside my head and make that whole mess in there seem manageable. He was the first person to care enough to peel back the mask and see the real me. That fact that he still liked me, even loved me in spite of that was probably the best gift I’d ever been given.
When did you first know you wanted more with him?
It sort of came as a surprise for me, or at least the physical stuff did. I always thought I was straight. I kissed him because he just looked so kissable; his mouth just begged to be tasted. But when did I know I wanted more? It’s going to sound dorky and pathetic, but I knew I wanted to get really serious with him when I realized I felt empty and pathetic without him. See? I’m a total dork. Hugo has a way of making everyone around them feel better about themselves. Since he sees the good in me, I can see it easier too. And he’s sexy as hell. Who wouldn’t want more from him?
When last we saw you, Senior year was just starting. What are you looking forward to most this year? Why?
Graduation. Haha. But seriously, I’m looking forward to hanging out with Hugo at all those typical high school things. We’ll be able to do that stuff together this year, unlike last year. Maybe we can go to some of the parties and dances without “dates” this year and just go together instead. And I’m looking forward to hanging out with Hugo in private too. But that’s as far as I’ll go with that line of thinking.
Conversely, what are you looking forward to least and why?
I’m dreading taking AP English. I suck at all that literature stuff. Hugo helped me survive last year’s regular class, but I did so well that I was stuck in the AP class. At least Hugo is in it with me. The other part I’m dreading is having to pretend Hugo is less important to me than he is, but I’ve been faking things my whole life just to get by at home, so it won’t be the end of the world.
Valentines day is just a few days away, do you have anything special planned for Hugo?
Ruby, Hugo’s mom, is helping me cook his favorite meal, Tater Tot hotdish, as a surprise. I never cooked until recently, but Ruby has been teaching me how to make simple things. When Hugo comes home from work that day, I hope to eat a good meal by candlelight. Mostly, I just want to spend time with him and maybe cuddle on the couch while we talk or pretend to watch a movie.
As an outsider, I have a hard time rationalizing just why you listen to your father. So why do you let him talk to you that way?
That’s hard to explain to people because they only see me how I am now, tall and strong enough to maybe take him on, but Dad started talking to me that way when I was a little boy, maybe five or six years old. I guess I’ve been conditioned to endure. Ruby thinks Dad emotionally abuses me. I don’t know about that, but he is cruel. He’s really unpredictable. It’s just easier to agree and do my best to meet… no exceed his expectations.
He’s been pulling me into his office for his grandiose speeches and teaching sessions since before I was smart enough to defend myself. When I got smart enough to argue, he did things to prove how powerless I was. He gave my dog away cuz I was cocky. I remember coming home from middle school and the only thing in my room was my bed and a laundry basket of clothes. That’s all that was in there for weeks on end. Once he cut the cords off any electrical equipment I used in the house. It was never logical. I think I was in trouble for not mowing the grass that day because I’d been helping mom weed the garden instead.
No one even knows this part except for my mom, but for some stupid reason, I want him to finally look at me one day and be proud. I think I keep holding out for that, even if it doesn’t make sense.
I’ve learned to shut out a lot of what he says, and if I work really hard at being the best I can, then I stay out of trouble. That’s not that hard, or at least is shouldn’t be. Besides I get the rest of my life to live how I want to. He only gets the first eighteen years.
Even with that long answer, I’m sure no one will understand. I guess that’s why Hugo is so great for me. He knows I’m messed up, and he still loves me.
What advice would you give someone else coming to terms with their sexuality in light of a, lets just say, less than supportive family.
For me, it’s always been about safety, so I have zero plans to let my parents know while I live there. My mom might be okay with it, but Dad would eventually work the truth out of her. The secret keeping makes me feel as if something is wrong with me, but there isn’t. I hate the secrets, but they’re necessary for me to be safe right now. They won’t always be though.
I’m really lucky I found Hugo. Not only did I fall in love with this amazing man, but I inherited his supporting family too. Some of the thoughts and feelings we have to sift through when realizing we aren’t straight can be mind-boggling. I’m not sure I would’ve sorted it out nearly as well without Ruby’s help.
I know not every LGBTQ kid in the world has a Ruby in their life, but there are places today like The Trevor Project where teens can talk to someone. There are Safe Zones (denoted by pink triangle or rainbow stickers) that can be found. I know in some places it is harder than in others, but the internet is a great tool too. Find someone to talk to so you know you aren’t alone.
When will we see you and Hugo again?
Winter is currently working hard on spying on us during our senior year. She’s always there scribbling in her orange notebook. It might be several months for the rest of our teen story to be told. From what I heard from Winter the other day when she was talking on the phone, she hopes to have our next story submitted to Harmony Ink Press by the end of February. I don’t know how she’ll manage to do that, but then again, Hugo and I are teens in 1996, so maybe she travels with The Doctor in the TARDIS.
Where can we find more information about you and Hugo on the web?
Winter keeps up to date on us at http://wintersandberg.tumblr.com as well as http://wintersandberg.wordpress.com. She is also found chatting with readers at https://www.facebook.com/winter.sandberg.1 and @wintersandberg on Twitter.
Winter has kindly agreed to give one lucky commenter their very won copy of Private Display of Affection
contest ends 14 Feb @7pm CST
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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