Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Shae Connor for stopping by today.
Title: Wayward Son
Author: Shae Connor
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
Sequel to Unfortunate Son
Sons: Book Two
After his move to Atlanta and away from the influence of his conservative parents, Mikey O’Malley finally feels free to be himself: art student, aspiring animator, and out gay man. He has friends, a new job, and not one, but two men interested in him. Cory Lassiter and Jimmy Black have been a happy couple for years, occasionally bringing a twink into their bed, but only for a brief roll in the hay. When Mikey meets the pair, the attraction is immediate, and it runs three ways. Mikey just can’t believe they’d have room in their lives for a permanent addition.
When Mikey’s newfound life is shattered by a lawsuit that accuses him of molesting a child years earlier, he’s determined to face his troubles on his own, but Cory and Jimmy are just as determined that he not have to go it alone. To reconcile his need for independence and his desire for love, Mikey has to learn that being a man isn’t just about standing on your own two feet. It’s about letting yourself lean on the ones who love you.
Religion and the Young Gay Man
By Shae Connor
One of the themes in Wayward Son is religion. The main character, Mikey, grew up in a conservative Christian household with a pastor for a father, and Mikey’s father figures heavily into the plot in the story as an indirect target of the civil lawsuit Mikey faces. But writing the religious aspects in Wayward Son didn’t go exactly as I’d expected. Things rarely do. 🙂
For starters, in my initial blurb and story treatment, I referred to Rev. O’Malley as pastor of a “megachurch.” In talking with friends, though, it became clear that the term didn’t mean the same thing to the general public as it does to someone who’s grown up around the Southern religious community. By my standards, megachurches are common the South; I could probably name a dozen just in the Atlanta area. They’re heavily attended (membership usually runs into the tens of thousands), usually have their services broadcast on local television, and generally are known even by non-religious people who live in the area.
For most people, though, the term “megachurch” brings to mind the Joel Osteens and the Robert Schullers: preachers who have truly huge, nationally prominent churches with widely televised services and large tie-in ministries, not to mention budgets that run into the tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. Rev. O’Malley’s church doesn’t fall into that category. He’s locally known and has a large church property and congregation, and he’s certainly not hurting for money. But he’s no millionaire, and the only people outside the Orlando area who would have heard of him would probably be very much tied into the larger religious community. As a result, the term “megachurch” never appears in Wayward Son, though the general feel of things is similar, just on a less “mega” scale.
On a more personal level, the issue of religion has come up for Mikey before. He and Riley (half of the pairing from Unfortunate Son) had been friends as children in Atlanta until Mikey’s father took on a job with a large church in Orlando and they moved away. Mikey and Riley both suspect (and are probably right) that Mikey’s parents were relieved to get Mikey away from Riley because they believed Riley was gay. They were right, but what they didn’t realize was that Mikey was gay too—and separating him from Riley wasn’t going to do a thing to change that, except to make things more difficult for Mikey in the long run.
When Wayward Son begins, Mikey has been out for a couple of years, after moving away from his parents’ home to room with his friend Kitty, but even after his relocation to Atlanta, he’s still finding his footing as an out gay man. When he returns to visit his father, he’s understandably nervous about how he’ll be received. Things go much more smoothly than he anticipated with his father, but his mother is a different story. That dichotomy ends up opening Mikey’s eyes about his father, with both positive and negative results.
An aspect that doesn’t enter into things is Mikey’s personal religious beliefs. He’s not anti-Christian. He recognizes that his father’s church isn’t representative of all Christians, and Kitty, who’s active in a more progressive church, is part of the reason for that. But Mikey doesn’t have much personal interest in religion either.
Writing about religion is always interesting for me. I grew up with a background much like Mikey’s, though my parents always encouraged me and my sister to think for ourselves. My sister turned out to be much more religious than I am, but we’re both Christian and toward the more liberal end. It’s interesting to see where we’re the same and where we’re different. Faith is a very personal thing.
A lot of people have lost faith, or lost trust in organized religion, for many good reasons. I think, in Mikey’s case, he hasn’t completely lost his connection to the faith he grew up in. He believes in God on some level, but at this point in his life, he feels more connected to his friends than to any higher power. Maybe that’ll change over time, and maybe not. What’s certain is that, whatever path he takes, he’ll have Cory and Jimmy there to support him.
About the Author
hae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisical government worker for a living and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She’s been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down. She’s conned several companies into publishing her work and adds a new notch on her bedpost each time another story is unleashed onto an unsuspecting universe.
A member of the Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Writers chapter, Shae was first published in 2010 and has a lineup of short stories, novellas, and novels available from Dreamspinner Press, Wilde City Press, MLR Press, and Amber Allure.
Shae is part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why she never shuts up. When she’s not chained to her laptop, she enjoys cooking, traveling, watching baseball, and reading voraciously, and she’s an annual volunteer for the Dragon Con on-site publication, the Daily Dragon. You can find her hanging out on Twitter most any time @shaeconnor, but for the more direct route, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at shaeconnorwrites.com.
Shae is giving away a copy of Unfortunate Son (or another backlist book if you already have Unfortunate Son!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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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