To Discover Myself
Posted by Literary Titan
Jayne and the Average North Dakotan follows a 32-year-old gay accountant who moves to Washington, DC, to come out and discover who he really is. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?
Randy’s story has some parallels to my own life. I was born in Bryan, Ohio, a very small town near the borders of Michigan and Indiana. In my later 20s, I moved to Washington, DC, ostensibly to discover myself. Randy did much the same thing, only with his mother’s encouragement. While there are many parallels between my life and the story’s premise, only one event happened to me, as described in the book.
The original short story was written just as the country experienced lockdowns due to COVID-19. I have some notable health conditions, so that period was particularly stressful. I decided to write positive stories, including likable characters, to keep me in a good frame of mind. It was important that every character had some positive attribute, even those who didn’t serve an outwardly affirming role in the story.
When I finished the short story, I couldn’t get the Jayne and Randy characters out of my head. I kept thinking of their lives before the High Heel Race. I also wondered what would happen if Jayne stayed with Randy as a mentor in his coming-out process. So, as my mind continued to explore these situations, I began to think I needed to write a book.
Most of the characters are amalgamations of people I’ve known. The longer I worked on the book, the more the characters became real to me. I quite often felt I was sitting in the room taking dictation from their conversations rather than writing them. It was an amazing experience.
The one scene that is based on my real life is Randy getting hit on by an older man at the bar. I was 27 or 28 when I went to JR’s (a Washington gay bar) for the first time. I was alone and hadn’t been there long when a man in his 50s or 60s became very friendly. I tried to leave, but he followed me to the bar down the street, and I went home early to get away. Randy handled it much better than I did!
Randy spent his life hiding who he was and now has entered a new world of acceptance. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Randy’s journey is familiar to nearly all gay men “of a certain age.” We spent our developing years with longings and attractions we heard were wrong, and we had no role models. So, we built various walls around ourselves, including religion, female friends, and studiousness, and tried to get by with as little conflict as possible. Many of us also moved to large cities to find our kind. The experience can be jarring, as it was for Randy. I thought it would be interesting to explore what would happen if a pushy drag queen fairy godmother came along to help through this difficult transition.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
This single biggest theme is self-discovery. Everyone can relate to learning about themselves regardless of the parallels to sexual orientation. The story of a man-child coming into his own in his early 30s felt like a little-explored area. Yes, it mirrored some of my own experiences, but I think it’s more common than is represented in film and literature.
I also believe very few things in life are black or white, mostly an infinite rainbow of gray shades. My desire to focus on the positive is meant to help people see the good in others. Our current society too often condemns people for a single trait or act when we should see them through a more holistic lens.
What is the next book that you are working on, and when will it be available?
My next book is based on the real estate agent Sarah Horowitz from Jayne. She’s renamed and moved to New York, but many attributes remain the same. It’s the story of two widowed best friends who are unexpectedly ensnarled in an international crime syndicate as they near their 70th birthdays. The working title is Who Disturbs My Peace This Lovely Evening. It should be finished later this year.
About Literary TitanThe Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.
Posted on February 23, 2023, in Interviews and tagged author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Chandler Myer, ebook, fiction, gay fiction, goodreads, humor, indie author, kindle, kobo, lgbt, lgbtq, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
Comment Cancel reply
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Leave a comment