First let me say thanks to Jadette for kindly having me over to talk a bit about the inside-the-author/ behind-the-scenes skiny that went into the making of my latest release, Anything for You – now available from MLR Press.
Whenever I start a new book, it usually jumps off with some little kernel of an idea, which in this case sprang from my desire to write a coming out romantic comedy. Not usually the first thought that springs to mind when one thinks about a Rom-Com. But that was the challenge of it for me - to do a story in this sub-genre, while not making fun of the coming out process. I wanted to use the subject matter to set up the barriers which I would then be required to write around.
Before I could go any further, I then had to figure out who my characters were. I’ve known a lot of closeted guys over the last 20 years, many of whom have had an acidic personality. Obviously some people are just that way naturally – nothing wrong with that as long as it makes you happy. : ) But many of these men were simply nice guys who were, from my own perceptions, a little poisoned by the fact they were either unable or unwilling to come out of the closet. This made them NOT the most positive people to be around. This type of guy was my inspiration for Jason. A good guy trapped in a bad situation. Unfortunately Jason doesn’t handle himself very well, he’s kinda bitter – which has made him a teensy bit snarky…which is where I found the basis for much of the humor.
Jason wants to be happy for all his friends who are out, and happily co-existing in healthy relationships, but he can’t seem to get himself there. He’s aware that he’s being an asshole much of the time, but as he admits to himself toward the beginning of the story, “It’s difficult to stop doing something when it feels so good.” That makes him unlike the typical romantic hero. He isn’t always so sweet or all that deserving, but that doesn’t mean love won’t come calling all the same. This book was the result of what I imagined a romantic comedy would result in for this type of character.
Jason’s the type of guy who screws things up on a daily basis only to turn around and pull out the grand gesture that inevitably keeps him from getting dumped on his ass. For me, it was in those same grand gestures where I found his truth – the very redeemable real man hiding inside. He was biding his time until the right guy came along and shook him out of his complacency.
While he’s not always so easy to love, I do think he’s very funny and hugely entertaining. I hope everyone else does as well! : )
Website Link: http://ethanday.com/
Jason Miller is still in the closet. He's never found a reason to kick the door open, walk into the light of day, and tell the world he's gay. At least that's what he keeps telling himself -- along with a multitude of other solid arguments. As an ad man, he's used to hawking a bill of goods, he just never imagined he'd fall victim to his own hype.
When ex-activist/coming out guru, Chad Wellington came along, he was the one thing Jason never saw coming. Like a moth to a flame these two opposites ignite leaving Jason to decide if he can handle the heat.
As the two of us walked through the front door, I could smell a unique blend of Thai spices wafting out from the kitchen mixed with the faint aroma of the expensive leather coming from the living room furniture.
“They’re here!” Trent ran over with a cocktail in hand.
He looked a little too monochromatic with his light brown hair, brown corduroy pants, and a cream-colored silk shirt.
I shook my head disapprovingly. That boy will wear silk with anything. You’re supposed to be trying that whole nice thing, remember asshole? I reminded myself.
I glanced down, taking a second to concentrate on the warm hues of the slate tile under my feet. I threw on a forced smile, trying to ignore the fact it felt fake as all hell, before meeting Trent’s gaze. He had that judgy little smirk, like he could see right through me.
Screw it, no one can hear my thoughts anyway… The mere fact I actually have friends is proof of that.
The longer he dated my best friend, the more irritating Trent became to me. Like one of those commercials made more annoying thanks to the cheesy theme song that gets stuck in your head. Even though you hate the commercial, you end up singing along with it anyway.
His blue eyes were a little too blue. I suspected colored lenses, though he denied it. I was totally jealous of his perfect eyebrows. They had that slight Jack Nicholson arch—not too bushy, not too thin. I knew he plucked, but he vehemently denied that, too.
“Here, drink this quick,” Trent said, thrusting a martini glass at me.
“What?” I asked, beginning to laugh.
“Come on, suck it down,” Trent said. “They don't call you Cumbalina for nothing.”
I decided to let that bit of snark go and took the glass from him. I hadn’t planned to begin anesthetizing myself until well after dinner; that would’ve been rude. My momma raised me right! Even so, I complied joyfully, wondering what I’d done to get so lucky, as I sucked down the delicious appletini.
“Okay, why the rush to get me drunk?” I asked, handing the now empty glass back to Trent. “I’ve already told you I’m not going to be your houseboy.”
“Oh sweetie…you should be so lucky,” he said. “No babe, I invited an old friend of mine from college along for the weekend. His name is Chad and I thought the two of you would be perfect for each other. Knowing you the way I do, I thought you’d take the news better after a nice, cool cocktail.”
“Oh shit,” I said. “Please tell me you didn’t bring me up here for a blind date?”
“He could.” Brent shrugged, grinning from ear to ear. “But he’d be totally lying.”
“And Chad is totally hot.” Trent gave me his evil eye. “You’d better be nice to him!” He turned to Brent. “He’s been so cranky lately.”
Brent shook his head at his boyfriend. “Did you really think one cocktail would have any effect? He’s like one step away from needing twelve.”
“Excuse me!” I smacked Brent in the stomach, hard enough to make him cough.
“Of course not, honey,” Trent said, rolling his eyes. “That’s why I crushed up one of my Valiums and mixed it in with his drink.”
“You did what?” Brent’s eyes widened. “You should have checked with me first. He can’t take Valium. He has an allergic reaction—it makes him stupid.”
“Good Christ!” I reached out to rest my hand on the wall as if it were the only thing holding me upright. “I haven’t been in the damn door five minutes and you’ve ambushed me with a sacrificial man and poisoned me! Why not give me ecstasy? I’d be nice and randy for just about anyone!”
“Well how the fuck was I supposed to know?” Trent shrugged, looking at Brent and completely ignoring me. “If he weren’t such a goddamn freak, I wouldn’t have had to drug the son of a bitch in the first place.”
“Hey!” I scowled at Trent and then shoved him. “Giving me a friggin’ poisoned apple—what are you, my wicked stepmother!?!”
Trent reached over and shoved me back. “I know, go stick your finger down your throat.”
“Hey, what’s going on?” a voice called out from the living room.
The three of us stood up straight, eyes wide like three deer in the forest that just sniffed out a mountain lion. Rick and Jim were standing in the kitchen entryway, peeking around the corner at us, laughing hysterically. Chad turned red, obviously realizing he’d walked in on something.
“Oh…um.” Trent held out his hand for Chad. “I’d like you to meet Brent’s best friend, Jason.”
Chad and his enormous blue eyes made their way over to us. He had sandy brown hair that was slightly disheveled and too long, but in that intentional way. Judging by what I could see of it, he also had a fan-freakin’tastic body to boot. His voice was deep, kind of Clooney, and I knew instantly if I ever heard it in the dark, I’d do whatever it commanded. He wore rumpled khaki cargos, brown leather sandals, and a wife beater.
I could feel that I was grinning like a newly crowned Miss America, but I couldn’t manage to control myself. “It’s very nice to meet you.”
Chad took a few steps toward the three of us and gently wrapped my hand up in both of his. I sort of chuckled like a goofy teenager for a moment before correcting myself and butching things back up.
“I’ve heard so much about you.” I directed a nasty glare at Trent.
“It’s nice to meet you as well.” Chad smiled like he had a secret. “Did I interrupt something here?”
“Oh no,” Brent jumped in, “I was just telling Trent that Jason is super wiped out. Work was hell for the boy this week. He’s exhausted, could barely keep his eyes open on the drive up.”
“Yes,” Trent said, “and I promised to get some food in him and send him directly to bed.”
“Trent,” Jim called out from the kitchen, “don’t forget Chad and Jason are sharing a room, remember? The other two spares are still torn up—mid-renovation and all.”
“I hope that’s okay?” Chad asked. “I’m afraid I may have invited myself last minute.”
Great, I thought, no telling what he’ll hear coming out of my mouth throughout the night.
“Of course I don’t mind, I mean we’re all adults here. Well maybe not all of us.” I glared once more at Trent who sneered back at me this time. “I just hope I don’t keep you awake with all my snoring.” Look at it this way, the drugs will keep me from being a slut, at least for the first night.
“I’d certainly hate for it to be your snoring that kept me awake all night as well.” Chad smiled.
Copyright 2011. Ethan Day.