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It Always Ends In Tears of Joy And Love

Vincent Traughber Meis Author Interview

Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year follows a black teen on a quest to meet his surrogate mom where he falls in love, almost loses one of his dads, confronts a racist cousin, and learns about love. What were some sources that informed the development of this novel?

I like to center my novels in a historic time with all the surrounding sociological issues. This story is set during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. But a number of other events were happening in 2020, including the rise of Black Lives Matter awareness which affects the main character, Colton, in a very personal way. It was also a time of political upheaval due to the upcoming election, issues that tore apart various members of Colton’s family. And then, like in many of my books, a nod to foreign travel with the family trip to Thailand confirms my belief that travel broadens one’s mind.

Colton’s character felt authentic. Was there anything about his character that you pulled from your own life?

As a part-time stepdad to a young man of mixed race, I drew from that experience. My real-life situation is much different from the one in the book, but being married to a Black man has made me imagine what it would be like if we had had a son through a surrogate mom and raised together. Some people have questioned how an older white cisgender gay male can write the story of a young Black apparently straight male. As writers we are observers, and I have had the great fortune of being surrounded by African-American family members, the two women of color who are the moms of my stepson, as well as a diverse community of different ethnicities and people on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.

What scene in the book was the most emotionally impactful to you?

In the latter part of Chapter Fourteen, Colton’s dad, Augie, is saying goodnight, and Colton begs to hear the story of his birth one more time, how Colton was taken from his birth mother’s arms and placed in the arms of his two dads. It is an emotional scene with both humor and tenderness, a bonding story that Colton never tires of hearing and Augie never tire of telling. And it always ends in tears of joy and love.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m almost finished with a sequel to my novel, The Mayor of Oak Street. The main part of the story takes place about 40 years after the end of that novel, but there are flashbacks throughout the book that pick up with the budding relationship between Nathan and Nick when Nathen is in his early twenties. It recounts the stories of love and traumatic loss in Nathan’s life and his surviving the AIDS pandemic. At sixty, it seems he is given one last chance at love that he’s sure he doesn’t deserve. Will he take it? The working title is Memories: Love Lurks and Pounces.

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Colton is on a quest to meet his surrogate mom who might help him navigate being a Black teenager in today’s America. The woman who gave birth to him is Black. His dads are not. His diverse community of family and friends includes lots of LGBTQ+ people, though his first love is a girl of mixed race like him.

Colton’s dads reluctantly introduce him to his birth mother, but she doesn’t turn out to be person he hoped for. On his journey of falling in love, nearly losing one of his dads, and confronting a racist cousin, he learns about love, non-traditional families, community, and what is important in life. The biggest challenge of all is something he discovers about his birth, causing friction with his dads. But like every difficulty in his life, the love of his dads ultimately carries him along and lifts him up.

Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year

Colton, a 14-year-old boy, lives with his dads. Being an only child, he is adored and doesn’t need to be corrected very often. Colton is dealing with the difficulties of adolescence, which can be challenging. The year seems to be jam-packed with events, from him and his best friends becoming involved in a shoplifting case, losing his cousin, and him developing a crush while on vacation. Colton yearns to see his surrogate mother, and his fathers are unsure of what Colton’s sexual orientation will be. He will experience a mental shift as a result of the pandemic and his encounter with the Saxton family. In any case, his parents are committed to guiding him toward becoming a good person.

Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year is a emotionally-resonant account of a young black boy who experiences racism and discrimination. Having two gay fathers does not improve the situation in a society that once forbade homosexuality. This impassioned book provides thoughtful insight into what it’s like to encounter prejudice based on race. Colton is a wonderful character. He’s smart, curious, compassionate, and adventurous. His parents’ unique love story and complementary personalities make for a compelling read all on their own. Colton is determined to avoid disappointing his parents, despite the ups and downs of adolescence. The author has done a fantastic job of accurately conveying the emotions of the characters which makes them feel authentic and relatable. There were many fascinating characters whose presence elevated the story and I think readers will be drawn in by the young character’s youthful mischief.

Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year is a compelling mix of teen drama, romance, friendship, and love. The well-crafted plot moved along smoothly, and the characters felt familiar yet unique. This stirring coming-of-age story is short and easy to read, making it accessible to a wide audience. Young adults will find this LGBTQ romance novel relevant and entertaining. I recommend Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year to teenagers and adults who enjoy reading young adult fiction that has heart and something to say.

Pages: 239 | ASIN: B0BRVFQLWM

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