Today I am so pleased to welcome Hans M Hirschi to Joyfully Jay. Hans has come as part of the GRL Blog Tour to talk to us about Shorts – Stories from Beneath the Rainbow. He has also brought along three copies to give away. Please join me in giving Hans a big welcome!
Release Day – Still as exciting the eleventh time, as it was the first time
Saturday and release day. No, not a joke. Probably a miss in our planning. “Everybody” knows that Wednesdays and Thursdays are better for that, but for some odd reason, we chose today, July 9th. And I’m nervous. Shorts – Stories from Beneath the Rainbow is different than any of my previous ten releases. It’s not a novel, it’s a collection of short stories. It’s not just “gay”, it’s encompassing most of the rainbow, and – maybe the biggest step for me – not all stories have a happy ending. In fact, in line with an ancient tradition within short storytelling, most stories don’t really have an ending at all. Well, they do, within the realm of the story, which ends, but for the characters, life goes on, new chapters may begin, or their life moves on just as it did before we got a glance.
I enjoy writing short stories. They are very different than novels. Fewer rules to follow (or break), and much more freedom to begin and end them. I remember when Alice Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature three years ago. It was as if the format of the short story was finally admitted into the main ball room. Short stories were often regarded as something lesser, smaller somehow, like children’s literature. And if you’ve ever attempted to write for children you know just how difficult it is. Much more so than writing for adults…
I’m very proud of Shorts, a book that starts back in 1990, a period of my life when I had just come out of the proverbial closet. The Christmas Story was written back then. The last story I wrote just a couple of months ago is The Pink Triangle, a story about being gay in Germany in the days leading up to World War II. In between those two dates, I have written a total of seventeen short stories, about all kinds of topics, from a first kiss, to motherhood or looking in the mirror and seeing someone else.
Releasing a book is always nerve-wrecking. And while it’s not the same experience as it was the first time around, almost three years ago when Jonathan’s Hope was released on July 18th. That was an eerie experience for sure. Never having released a novel before, never having done so on a global scale with Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble at the same time, without a plan, without really knowing what I got myself into, I remember the day as chaotic and seeing my name and the book’s cover on Amazon as mind-boggling.
Release days always make my knees feel like Jell-O, but every book is different, of course. Not that I “like” one book better than the other. I am, after all, a parent, and in a way, books are like kids. We love all the same, but I also recognize that they’re different, in terms of genre, and the topics dealt with. My erotic novel, released in January was probably the easiest release (pun intended), and part of an educational process which included some of my life’s most difficult conversations about sex, taboos and the place of erotica in literature. My deep thanks to fellow authors Mary Newman, Muffy Wilson, J.B. Rogers and particularly J. Johanis for teaching the old dogs some new tricks, or, as it may be, opening my eyes to new insights. In a very odd way, I learned more after releasing Ross Deere – Handy Man after the release than I did before.
This year’s second release was probably the most difficult one to date. Jonathan’s Promise was a book I never intended to write. I don’t do series (I can literally hear all my fans laugh at me), and it did take me three years to write that sequel. One of the main reasons not wanting to write one was all the bad sequels I’ve read in my time. Needless to say I was scared to have made the same mistake, to have written a sequel to fulfill the need of fans, rather than having a story to tell. Like many authors I suffer from imposter syndrome, and for every review I read, I expect to be exposed as the fraud I believe to be, and no matter how many reviews and editor comments I read to the contrary, this never really goes away. Needless to say that I’m scared witless of the final release this year, days before GRL begins, on September 29: Jonathan’s Legacy. Yeah… Not only did I write a sequel, I wrote TWO. And the third and final book was written not because fans wanted me to, but because I had to. It was pure therapy for me, to deal with the ending (as planned as it may have be) of the second book.
2016 is an odd year, for many reasons: five book releases in one year, a good month for my friend Andrew, but a total record for me; four completely different genres: erotica, fiction, management literature & short stories. Shorts – Stories from Beneath the Rainbow is the “middle” child, the third release this year, and today, I don’t want to linger too much on the two releases still to come. I simply want to enjoy this day, revel in the fact that readers around the world get to meet some of the gentlest and most amazing characters I’ve ever met, and I hope that you’ll take them to your heart the way I have. They deserve it.
Finally, a big thank you to Jay for allowing us GRL authors to visit her great blog and speak to you directly. A great opportunity and I’m grateful for it. I look forward to seeing you all in Kansas City this fall. Until then. Enjoy your summer.
Hans M Hirschi
“Shorts – Stories from Beneath the Rainbow” is a collection of LGBTQ-themed short stories. In happy or dire circumstances, this collection offers glimpses into contemporary LGBTQ life from many different angles and perspectives, and from diverse cultures—
a beggar trying to survive, the mother of a drug addict, a groom on his wedding day, a gay family running from impending war, a refugee above the Arctic circle, a bullied kid, a gay man witnessing a crime, a rushed middle-aged man, a banker in love, a lesbian mom in Las Vegas, a public servant getting ready for her intern, an Alzheimer patient in Bombay, a cop in Los Angeles, a doctor in Atlanta, a man celebrating Christmas on his own, a ruthless killer, a survivor of a WWII concentration camp
—all different, yet alike in their humanity.
“Shorts – Stories from Beneath the Rainbow” is a kaleidoscope, a colorful sample of the rainbow in its true form: life.
Hans M Hirschi, is a Sweden based author of LGBT fiction. His first fictional release, Jonathan’s Hope was released in 2013. Social scientist by training, Hirschi has been writing fiction full time since 2013. Shorts is his eleventh release this year.
Hirschi is married to Alex and together they’re raising their son Sascha. They live in the Gothenburg archipelago.
Hans has brought three copies of Shorts to give away to three lucky readers. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday, July 13th at 11:59 pm EST.
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