Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Wade Kelly for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: Misplaced Affection
Author: Wade Kelly
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Wade Kelly
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Gay, New Adult, Romance
Clichés are overrated and loving the boy next door may not be as genuine as the love Flynn sacrifices along the way.
Knowing he’s gay and acting on it were two separate notions to Flynn Brewer until he’d met Keith, his first boyfriend, in high school. Before then, being gay wasn’t as real as the pain of living day-to-day. Flynn’s fear of coming out to his religious best friend Zach in their conservative community destroyed his relationship with Keith, but Flynn rationalized his avoidance and bottled up the truth until it was regrettably too late.
Zachary Mitchell was the perfect son and role model as far as the outside world could tell. Active in his church while attending college, Zach had a personality that could sell anything, do anything, or be anything. Except, he couldn’t sell the truth to himself. Just when he was ready to reveal his internal conflict to Flynn and expose the darkness lurking in his heart, and in his “perfect” family, Zach met a girl and got sucked deeper into his chasm of deception.
Caught in a living Newton’s Cradle of his own design, Flynn must choose between idealistic childhood fantasy, or a tempestuous passion that could ignite the very air he breathes.
On occasion there are bad guys in a story that make amends with the protagonist. Sometimes it is an “enemies to lovers” theme, and other times they come to an understanding and reconcile their differences.
In one of my other books, My Roommate’s A Jock? Well, Crap! I chose not to resolve the issues with Mike by the end of the book and I leave him in a bad place. Some readers didn’t like that and for them I guess they want the good to come out and prevail in the end. In Misplaced Affection I chose to give the bully his time to come to terms with his issues.
In the blog tour excerpt I posted on Rainbow Gold Reviews, I listed Bruce Merryman as a secondary character. He is also a “bad guy” in my story, but one who changes over time. Instead of running from a guy who could potentially beat his head into the ground, Flynn talks to Bruce and finds the real root of his problem. (Spoiler!) Bruce, the bully, has a cousin who is gay and he doesn’t know how to handle it. Flynn points out that Bruce is not looking at his cousin as a person, but as a definition.
I guess this stems from my theme in Names Can Never Hurt Me of labeling people. Sometimes definitions are useful, but they can also be destructive when a person doesn’t fit neatly into the box we made for them. Any number of examples can come out of this especially having to do with sexuality. Many people don’t fit into the conventional standards and this produces increasingly disastrous results when those individuals can’t find acceptance for who they are. In Misplaced Affection I don’t address the definitions too closely, just the fact that they exist. If we use the terms “gay or lesbian” to define homosexuality, then my character Zach falls outside of even that because he is bisexual.
With the increasing number of transgender teens, intersex, questioning, etc. it is more vital than ever to be sensitive to their needs. I think I attempt to address these questions when Bruce talks to Flynn in the coffee shop. And through non-confrontational communication, Bruce the bully mends his relationship with Flynn the protagonist.
I scanned the room and instantly felt a chill when my eyes landed on Bruce Merryman, standing on the sidewalk outside the café, glaring at me through the window.
My heart pounded when he entered and made his way over to our table. My mind cried, Where’s Keith?
He sat opposite me.“I’ve been watching you.”
Accusatory? Yes. I couldn’t form a reply.
“You and Leppo are mighty googly-eyed for straight guys.”
In the silent, contained, controlled part of my brain I cackled at hearing Bruce, the thug, use the word “googly-eyed,” but I would never let the amusement show on my face or escape my lips. Instead I opted for ignorance. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Cut the bullshit.” I jumped when he slapped the table. “I know there’s more going on, but I don’t care.”
“You don’t?” I asked, dubiously. “Then why the harassment?”
Bruce shrugged and for the first time in his life, appeared sheepish. “I don’t know. I guess because I don’t understand it.”
“Understand what? Me being gay?” And yes, I just came out. Shit. Where the fuck was Keith?
“Yes. No. I don’t know.” Bruce was flustered. “My cousin’s gay. I don’t understand him. He likes this other dude, ya know, and I don’t know what to do about it.” Bruce absently touched the side of Keith’s half-full mug. He looked so pathetic; I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him.
“You don’t have to do anything. Just be his cousin. Be his friend.” It seemed so logical to me. I guess I should have taken my own advice and just been myself, and when someone couldn’t relate, I could have told them just to be my friend. Easier said than done.
Bruce looked up. “That’s it?”
“That’s it. He isn’t a different person. You just see him differently. Stop. If you mentally paint labels on people’s foreheads, like ‘homosexual,’ ‘dyke,’ ‘puffster,’ or even the all-purpose insult: ‘loser,’ it unconsciously changes your perception of them. Without even realizing it, you no longer see them as a person, but as a definition. They are who they are. Your cousin is still your cousin, same as always.”
He nodded slowly, as if considering what I had to say very carefully. “You know, you’re even starting to sound like Keith.”
I smiled. That was the first time I’d ever heard Bruce use a first name to refer to someone. “I guess. He’s in the bathroom if you want to talk to him.”
Bruce stood up but lingered by the table. “Nah, that’s okay. Leppo’s too egotistical. He always has to be right.”
“True.” It amused me at how much that trait didn’t bother me. I rather liked Keith’s self-assurance.
“Thanks, man.” Bruce lifted his chin as a symbolic gesture of our moment of male bonding. It was odd, but I found myself doing the same chin-lift in return.
About the Author:
Wade Kelly lives and writes in conservative, small-town America on the east coast where it’s not easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. Wade writes passionately about controversial issues 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. There is a lot of pain in the world and people need hope. 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, can’t spell, and has a tendency to make people cry.
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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