Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Wade Kelly for taking the time to talk with us today. There is also a Giveaway, so don’t miss that.
Title: Names Can Never Hurt Me
Author: Wade Kelly
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Christy Caughie
10 “Interesting” facts about Wade Kelly:
I put this in quote marks because often I do not think myself interesting at all. I would describe myself as boring. So ten things could be a stretch. I can list items you MAY not know and we shall see how boring I am.
#1: I write about myself.
How do I do this if I am not gay? Well, I write the human experience. At our core we are all human. My bio on my website says, “I write what I feel, I write what I know, and I write what I think others need to hear. And if you think a character sounds like someone you know, think again… All my characters are ME.”
Writing in general gives me the chance to write about aspects of life that mean the most to me. I am able to explore ideas and concepts and talk “out loud” to thousands of people. My goal, I guess, is to connect with those who maybe thought they were alone in their thinking yesterday, and after reading my books find that someone else can see understand, relate, or mirror their same experiences. No, I am not gay personally, but that doesn’t mean I cannot project myself into a fictional character and feel pain, sorrow, anguish, or struggle. Life is a struggle and I do not think we should go through it alone.
#2: I’ve been ostracized (at one point) by everyone I knew.
Things have changed now, and my life is way better, but I know how that feels to be shunned. I know what it is like to be “defined” or classified by one aspect of your life by people who do not know you or care to GET to know you. So, I know that labels can hurt.
#3: I write my philosophies and religious beliefs into my books.
I chose to talk about THIS aspect of my writing on this particular blog because of their name. Prism Book Alliance. Their tag-line is “Celebrating diversity through literature.” The definition of “ally” is “to join (yourself) with another person, group, etc. in order to get or give support.” And the intransitive verb form is ally is “to form or enter into an alliance—two factions allying with each other.”
Am I an ally? You tell me. Do I write characters who have believable struggles with finding themselves and understanding God? Do any of my characters speak to you on a personal level and give you hope? Do you feel that you aren’t alone?
Personally, I think it is healthy to question life, question God, and seek out purpose. I don’t think any one person has the answers and in our humanity we need to seek truth. I write my beliefs as a way to explore my own thoughts. Will some agree? Maybe. Will some hate me? Probably. But even anger is healthy sometimes. My goal is to hold your hand so maybe we can support each other.
#4: I am extremely insecure.
Perhaps this is because I always question whether or not people will hate me. I lost all my friends in 2010, it could easily happen again. I question my abilities. I question whom I trust. I am paranoid that I’m doing it all wrong. I read my words and think I’m boring. I am working on this part of my personality, but it isn’t easy.
#5: I love e-mails
I get very few, but I cherish each and every word that fans and readers have to say. I’m insecure, right, so I need the encouragement you all have given me over the years. I never delete them, and I will always answer you back.
#6: I have a thing for dinosaurs.
Yes, random. That’s me. This is probably why I love my snakes and lizard. The lizard especially since he reminds me of a velociraptor. I am fascinated my his speed and vicious nature.
#7: My brain never stops
I might write slowly, but my mind is always going. Especially lately. I have so many ideas for books, but I lack the time to write everything down. I think I started slow, but I’m picking up speed like a barrel rolling down hill. I am finally seen as a writer by family and friends and having this support has been awesome. Don’t worry, oh fans of mine, there is so much more coming!
#8: I don’t read.
Probably the worst trait to have as a writer and I NEED to fix this, but I have never liked reading. It took years to find books I liked to read, but I am slow at it. Often I have to reread things which takes even more time. My life is so freaking busy most of the time that taking the TIME to read is what kills it for me. I normally read when I can not think of what to write and I need a distraction. Sometimes inspiration, but most of the time I read to get my mind on someone else’s characters. It’s like a jump-start. I read YOUR characters to reboot my own. So, please don’t take it personal if I do NOT read your book, I just don’t do it often. But I have lots of pretty books I’ve bought and gotten signed. ☺ I’ll read them eventually.
#9: Touch is my love language
Probably. I guess that is why I love hugs. And why I touch people’s hair all the time. Very few people touch randomly, but when it happens I’m like “Whoa, she/he touched me, hugged me, patted my shoulder, whatever, and I really like that!” I’m not saying that random strangers can just walk up and hug me, but I’m saying I am not really afraid of that. And a pat on my shoulder will go a long way.
#10: I don’t like sugar
Not completely true, but I don’t grab a chocolate bar when I need energy. I like chicken. :p I am borderline hypoglycemic so having juice or candy when I’m shaking only makes me feel weaker. I would much rather eat meet. I used to love having brownies for breakfast, but my body has changed. If you want to woo me, don’t send me chocolates. Cook me Thai food. I love chicken with any kind of fixings 😉
Sorry for the longest blog post in history. And now back to why I am here… my book!
In Names Can Never Hurt Me my character Nick undergoes a change in thinking. He struggles with understanding himself and the terminology surrounding sexual orientation. Why am I addressing this if I do not have this issue myself? Go back to #1, 2, &3… I do not think that the “coming out” experience is the same for everyone. I do not believe that knowing you are gay is the same for everyone. Each person is different, so I explore sexual confusion and attraction in Nick Jones because there could be someone out there who feels the same way.
I write about “Why do you have to “define” yourself?”
Nick questions one of his friends: “But…. Please don’t go.” I grabbed her arm and was relieved when she didn’t turn and slap me. She did glare though. “I just don’t get why I have to define myself. Gay, not gay. I don’t understand labels. Why can’t I simply work out how I feel without a specific classification?”
As I said in my previous blog stop over at Joyfully Jay, one of my goals as a writer is to make people think. Why NOT talk about labels? Maybe some people have no problem accepting a term associated with who they are, but not everyone can. Labels can be misleading. I said I write about myself and yet I am not identifying with the label “gay.” Does that matter? To some it does. But to others, I want to say that I may not go through the exact same struggles that you do, but I sympathize with it them. I have had my own issues in life and I write out of my own pain. I suppose I could fit into that category “ally” because I try very hard to incorporate the issues the LGBT community faces in society. Do I? You tell me. I want to write believable characters, believable struggles, real emotions, and wrap it all up into a romance with a HEA, so that those who want to escape real life, can identify, but also feel hope.
This excerpt is Nick having a conversation with his mom.
She left me alone for a little bit, but wound up at my bedroom door ten minutes later. “Are you ready? I don’t want to pry, but I always thought you and I had talked easily in the past. What’s so difficult this time?” she asked politely, sitting on my bed and rubbing my outstretched leg like she’d done a hundred times before. My mom was very affectionate, and I had never minded her comforting touch. Only now her compassion was going to break me, and I didn’t want to cry again.
“I don’t know where to start,” I huffed.
“Start anywhere. How about the beginning?”
“That’s too long,” I whined.
“Then start at the end and work in the details when appropriate.”
Why does she always have to be so understanding? If she were mean, it would make my job as a rebellious son easier. But she wasn’t. My mom’s wonderful. She’s always been there for me. I rolled over and buried my head under my pillow. I cried, “I don’t understand why I have to label myself, Mom. I’m just me. Can’t I live from one moment to the next without having to answer to other people’s opinions on how I should live?”
The sentence probably didn’t make sense out of context, but my mind had been a pinball machine of late. And if I couldn’t think straight, then she wasn’t getting any straight-up answers.
She squeezed my shoulder. “Oh, Nicky, life isn’t that simple.” She tried lifting my Invisibility Pillow—which was kind of like Harry Potter’s cloak—but I yanked the corner back down. I needed the safety it provided.
Through the feathers and cotton fibers, I heard her say, “But if it helps, I’m comfortable with whatever label you choose.”
I knew what she meant. I also knew she’d known long before me. I heaved a sigh. “Mom,” I groaned, still under my pillow. “Does Dad know?”
She chortled. “Your father is unaware of most things. But I also think he’ll accept you no matter what.”
I rolled over. My head was uncovered and resting on my protection device. I was exposed and vulnerable. My mom sat there looking at me with the most understanding expression I’d ever seen. “Mom… I’m gay.”
I huffed and rolled back over, covering my head again. I complained to her, but yelled into the mattress, “Why do you have to say it like you’ve known forever?”
When she didn’t answer, I peeked out from under the pillow. She was smirking. I tossed the pillow back and glared as I sat up. “Mom! Stop laughing. It isn’t funny!” I fussed.
“I’m not laughing at the situation. I’m laughing at you.”
She laughed even more. “I can’t help it. I think I had the same conversation with your sister about a boy she likes. So I’m laughing because you remind me of a sixteen-year-old girl. She huffed and buried her head under the pillow too.”
The mental picture was sobering, and my huffing and puffing ceased instantly. “Really? Jenn acted like me?”
“Exactly like you.”
“Oh, shit,” I lamented. I dragged my ass off the bed and over to the mirror to straighten out my hair. I couldn’t act like Jennifer. I had to be more mature then that. Once I was presentable, I turned around. I took a deep breath and said, “Okay. I can do this. I’m not acting like a girl. I can talk to you like an adult.”
I gaped. “Uh-ah! Yes. I certainly can.” She smirked. I complained, “Stop laughing!”
My mom crossed the room and cupped my face in both hands. “I’m sorry, sweetie. I don’t mean to laugh. I’m tickled pink you still talk to me after all these years. I had hoped it wouldn’t change when you became an adult.”
“It’s hard, ya know? I don’t know what I feel. Yet, I feel like I’ve been denying it all my life.”
“And Tara?” she asked, letting go of me.
“We broke up. She thinks it’s because of Corey, but it’s not.”
I shook my head. I looked down and notice a hole in RC’s sock; I’d worn his clothes home. “I think Corey played a role in some things. He helped me to realize I’ve been in denial for a long time. But he’s not the one I want to be with.”
I had to tell her. Even if he didn’t feel the same, my heart was set on RC. I looked at his sock on my foot sock and replied, “RC. I’m going to stay at his place a couple days. I need time to think about everything.” I moved toward the bed, and she stopped me.
“Is RC…. Do you…?” She let the question hang, but I knew what she meant.
I nodded. It was embarrassing to talk about, but she knew more about me than most. I owed her for being so fair with me all these years. “Yeah, I think so. I’m still working through it.”
I smiled. I knew she really liked him. “Corey’s a really good friend. He’ll be around.”
She nodded and let go of my arm. She understood. Mom always seemed to understand me. She caressed my cheek and then kissed it. “Thank you for being honest.”
What if sexuality wasn’t a definable thing and labels merely got in the way?
Nick Jones can’t remember a time when he wasn’t part of the in crowd. Everywhere he goes, he stands out as the best looking guy in the room, and women practically fall into bed with him. Then, after kissing Corey on a dare led much more and on many occasions, Nick’s “screw anything” reputation escalated, but he didn’t care.
When Nick meets RC at the restaurant where he works, it throws his whole life out of whack. Overweight, always sweaty, gay, and hairy like a bear, RC lives up to his dubbed nickname “Scruffy Dude.” He seems Nick’s complete opposite, but Nick can’t get him out of his head.
Because of peer-pressure and his fears about defining his sexuality, Nick struggles with stepping out of his comfort zone and caring about someone different than himself. If he’s lucky, somewhere between arrogance and ignorance, Nick might find out what it means to be an adult, but if he’s wrong, he could lose everything.
About the Author:
Wade Kelly lives and writes in conservative, small-town America on the east coast where it is not easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. She writes passionately about the controversial issues witnessed in real life and strives to make a difference by making people think. Wade does not have a background in writing or philosophy, but still draws from personal experience to ponder contentious subjects on paper. When not writing, she is thinking about writing, and more than likely scribbling ideas on sticky notes in the car while playing “taxi driver” for her three children. She likes snakes and has a tegu (lizard) living in her bathroom.
Visit Wade Kelly at http://www.writerwadekelly.com, http://writerwadekelly.blogspot.com/, or https://twitter.com/WriterWadeKelly. Contact Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wade Kelly has kindly offered Thank you for stopping by! I will try to do an Amazon gift card for the lucky winner. Comment below! (I say try because I’ve never done a gift card before.)
Contest will end 7 days from original posting date (or as stated on the Rafflecopter) at 8pm CDT. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.
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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