Today I am so pleased to welcome Andrew Q. Gordon to Joyfully Jay. Andrew has come to talk to us about her latest release, A Closed Door. He has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and a great giveaway! Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
First let me say thank you to Jay for letting me invade her space for a while. The timing of this post is pretty great as I’m at GRL and today is the Supporting Author book signing. But I’m not here to talk about that, but rather about my new release – A Closed Door.
A Closed Door represented a couple of firsts for me. It’s my first short story first and it is my contemporary MM romance story that I’ve published. [I’ve released a few on the Gay Author’s website and on my blog] That’s makes it doubly nerve wracking for me, but then again, getting them both under my belt at once means I’m not going to prolong my agony.
One reason I’ve tended toward the sweeping epic type stories—you know the ones, they can go on for two or more books—is that typically I need more words to tell the story. When I want to write a story, I have an entire lifetime of details I ‘see’ and I want to get out. But by their nature, short stories are—wait for it—short. They’re not novels or even novellas. And therein lies the big problem for me. How much is enough and how much is too little. I always worry that I’m not going into enough depth. But when I expand, the story turns into a novella—at least. So for A Closed Door I really wanted it to be a true short story. Only time—and reviews—will tell if I wrote too little or just enough.
The reason this is my other ‘first’—first published MM romance—is somewhat tied to the short vs. long issue. The first MM romance I wrote was posted for free on the Gay Authors website. It was somewhere north of 300k words. Which is about three to four typically sized MM romance novels. Why was it so bleeding long? Well it followed the MC on a yearlong journey. His coming out, dating, falling love, having the relationship fall into a dark patch and eventually making it work. But I did show a lot of scenes, things that flesh out their lives. It turned into more of an on-line soap opera than a novel.
Ideally I would love to be able to write a serialized set of books that take a couple from first date to wherever it goes (and being geared toward a romance biased audience, it most certainly wouldn’t end with a break up) but then where would that end? When would I ‘jump the shark’ so to speak? More importantly, I suspect readers would get bored of their lives and move onto something new and fresh. Only a handful of diehard fans would stay with the story after the first couple installments.
All of that is very nice and theoretical, but cycling back to A Closed Door, my goal was to tell the story of what happens when you leave home to escape, but need to come back and confront your past. And, as I said, to do it in a true short story format. Unfortunately that means there will be scenes people would have liked to read about that I didn’t write. Fodder for another book perhaps.
I hope readers enjoy it.
He searched Thomas’s eyes, looking for some hint it was a lie. That tomorrow he’d be gone and take the last bit of dignity Orin had left. He knew this wasn’t the thirteen-year-old Thomas who, along with the other kids, called him a sissy, a girl, a fag. This Thomas wanted him, he could feel it in their kiss. But one kiss, even as amazing as the one they’d just shared, couldn’t erase the fear borne of fifteen years of rejection.
Thomas took his hands and brought them to his lips. “I know I’ve given you no reason to trust me and words won’t change the past. But give me—us—a chance, and I’ll spend the rest of my life proving I’m better than my thirteen-year-old self.”
Orin closed his eyes and squeezed them tight. He’d wanted this moment for the longest time, but his insecurities, carefully hidden and sequestered from others, reminded him of their past. His gut told him to seize the moment, but while that worked for most other things, he found he cared more about protecting his heart and not letting someone stomp on it again.
“Orin….” Thomas gently touched his face. “Don’t open your eyes, just listen to me. Okay?”
He nodded and a finger traced his brow and down his nose.
“If you tell me to go, I will, and I won’t bother you again if that’s what you want, but before I go, I’m going to fight for what I want.”
With his eyes closed, Orin could still see the handsome face tighten as Thomas struggled to find the right words.
“I’ve spent years regretting how I betrayed you. I never really thought I’d get a second chance and maybe I still don’t, but I’ve never wanted anything more in my life.
“Last week you said I’d become the grown-up version of the boy you loved. Give me the chance to prove to you that I am that person, to love you back the way you deserve. Life is short, too short, to have regrets. I want to make you happy. I want to see you smile again, smile at me like you used to. No, we’re not those kids anymore, but I think we’re better. I know I’m a better person. And I think you’ll know I am, too, if you give me a chance.”
Orin felt tears squeeze out through his closed lids. “Thomas….”
“Please say yes.” He kissed Orin’s hands. “Please.”
Outted at thirteen, Orin Merritt left home after high school hoping to escape the hell his life had become. Ten years later when a tornado destroys his childhood home and kills his parents, Orin finds himself in an entirely new nightmare. One he can’t run away from.
Blaming himself for failing the two people who always loved and supported him, he returns home and confronts his past in the person of his one-time best friend, Thomas Kennett. Thomas not only rejected him when Orin came out, he led the group that tormented Orin into leaving.
As he struggles to deal with his grief, Orin also labors to fulfill the pledge he made to his parents before their death. In the process, Orin learns that sometimes when you go away to find yourself, you leave the answers you’re looking for behind.
Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.
He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of eighteen years, their young daughter and dog. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day.
Andrew has brought either a signed paperback or an electronic copy of A Closed Door to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Monday, October 20th at 11:59 pm EST.
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