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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.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

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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Give Us Strength Or Tear Us Apart

Vincent Traughber Meis Author Interview

First Born Sons follows five different groups of people in the LGBTQ+ community whose lives end up intertwined due to a series of events. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

All the major characters in First Born Sons have come from three of my previously published novels, Four Calling Burds, Tio Jorge, and Deluge. Though I’ve never written sequels, several of my fans expressed an interest in knowing what happened with these characters. At the end of the respective books, all of them would have been living contemporaneously and in the same geographical area. I had the idea of not only continuing their stories, but having them interact and in one case fall in love. The background to the events is the Covid pandemic, but it’s not really about the pandemic. The personal issues the characters are dealing with are complicated by the health crisis though it’s only one of many crises that take place in 2019-20. Others include wildfires, Black Lives Matter protests, divisive politics, and general racism and homophobia.

What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

In general the characters confront the notion that families, both alternative and traditional, can give us strength or tear us apart depending on how one handles the issues. Simple love doesn’t alone conquer all. It takes perseverance and being true to oneself.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

One narrative tackles gender identity and how transition causes upheaval not only for the person changing but the loved ones around them. Another story revolves around extremist politics causing disastrous consequences for a family. Still another examines an older gay man finding love when he no longer believed it could happen. And one of the main themes is two gay men trying to protect their mixed-race son as he deals with the complications of becoming a teenager in a society that still struggles with racism.

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

Since I’ve gotten over my hesitancy to write sequels with this novel, I have embarked on a new project, which follows the story of the coming-of-age character in my novel The Mayor of Oak Street. It’s 45 years later and he is dealing with growing old after a life of love and loss. My intention is to make it more of a romance, but we’ll see how things develop.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

A group of coastal Californians battle wildfires, racism, and their own demons in five distinct narratives set in late 2019 and 2020.

First Born Sons is populated by a cast of LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies who struggle to find love, comfort, and fulfillment. As the novel progresses, characters interact across the separate narratives and are brought together for a birthday and a disastrous Black Lives Matter demonstration. A man returning to the horrors that made him leave Mississippi, a blind gay man flirting with love, an FTM transgender starting hormone therapy, a woman struggling to protect her sons from her ex-husband’s surge to right-wing politics, and a teenager with two gay dads searching for his Black surrogate mom paint a disturbing tableau of modern-day America.
Praise for First Born Sons:
“Vincent Meis’s First Born Sons is at once a sprawling epic with a global scope and an intimate mosaic of stories, touching on important issues like race, gender, pandemics, and prejudice — but never forgetting the humanity at their core. These are characters you’ll want to know, and this is truly a novel for our times.”
– Eric Peterson, author of Loyalty, Love & Vermouth
“Meis once again proves to be an assured chronicler of our times. Never one to shy away from humanity’s darker impulses, this spellbinding story of love and immigration, civil unrest, and political polarity amidst lush, tropical locales is the perfect book for summer. A rip roaring ride!”
– David Jackson Ambrose, author of Unlawful DISorderA Blind Eye, and State of the Nation

“I raced through the pages of First Born Sons, unable to put it down. Meis explores the traumatic events of 2020 through an engaging group of characters, whose personal lives are upended by events far away and close to home. This is an exciting work that deftly captures the tensions, anxieties, and hopes of our turbulent times.”
-Gar McVey-Russell, author of Sin Against the Race

First Born Sons

First Born Sons by Vincent Traughber Meis is an eye-opening, heartfelt story of the modern-day struggles of growing up in America. The characters, narrated in separate storylines set across the country, with various LGBTQ+ identities, are looking for solidarity and love in communities rife with racism, misogyny, and homophobia. As each character’s story progresses, the reader gets a glimpse into their reality, which is often plagued with the challenges of facing discrimination daily, while finding compassion and allies that provide much-needed love and support.

The author does an incredible job of tackling essential issues impacting society, from gender, equality, and race to the sudden shift from 2019 to 2020 as the pandemic changed lives worldwide. As each character navigates through their own individual challenges within their family and the greater community, their lives become interwoven during a Black Lives Matter demonstration and a birthday celebration. This book offers an essential view into the realities of growing up with continuous uncertainties each character faces while keeping humanity solid and hopeful throughout the narration.

Vincent Traughber Meis’ book is an essential read that delves into relevant subject matter without losing a sense of purpose as each character faces a new struggle. First Born Sons tackles the characters’ realities of facing racial tension and confrontation with the police and coping with the threats of bullies to taking a vacation to experience new cultures and people.

This book is easy to follow, with engaging scenes and lively characters that keep you turning the pages from one chapter to the next. I give Vincent Traughber Meis’ First Born Sons 5 out of 5 stars for creativity, remarkable story-telling, and the ability to tackle complex issues with a sense of resilience and strength throughout the book. This incredible story features vibrant characters and excellent development that keeps the reader invested in the story from beginning to end.


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