I love hosting authors,, in no small part because it allows me to get to know some interesting and cool people. My first guest in September is no exception. Posy Roberts is celebrating the release of her novel Spark and she’s here to tell us a little about it, and talk about a subject that’s very important to me. But, since she’s the guest, i’ll let her tell you.
Thanks for hosting me, Charley. I’m so excited to be here to talk about something I’m passionate about, bisexuality. And on the release day of my novel. How exciting!
I’ve heard people say and have even read, “Bisexual men don’t really exist.” Each time I do, I just shake my head and have the strong desire to drag those people over to my friends and point to them as proof. Instead, I decided to write about bisexual men in the hopes that maybe they will be better understood and appreciated. The B really does stand for something in LGBT.
In my new release Spark, Kevin Magnus comes to the realization that he’s not entirely straight. He’s sixteen when this new truth comes to him, and he’s not sure about how to handle his feelings.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 5 of Spark. You can read Chapter 1 here.
“Look. I’m not gay, okay? I don’t know why I kissed you.” [Kevin] was defensive.
Hugo felt like someone had stabbed him through the belly and he was bleeding all over the floor.
“I don’t know.” Kevin looked down and kicked at the seams between the clean tiles.
“But you kissed me,” Hugo said as if trying to convince himself he did nothing wrong. “I didn’t kiss you. So apparently something’s going on because the last time I checked, straight guys weren’t just walking up to gay guys like me and kissing them.”
Besides telling his sister, that was the first time Hugo had told anyone he was gay.
“I think I would’ve noticed, and I might not have been weeks away from my sixteenth birthday the first time I was kissed.” Hugo couldn’t keep the pathetic tone from leaking into his voice.
Kevin looked up sharply when the words finally sunk in. “Wait. That was the first time you kissed someone?”
Hugo nodded and added, “Aside from Kari Miller in sixth grade under the jungle gym on a dare, and that was a far cry from what happened in the woods.”
“Geez. I’m sorry, Hugo. Shit!” Kevin started to turn, and Hugo feared he was going to leave.
“So you’re not gay? I just assumed since you kissed me….” Hugo trailed off, upset with himself for making any sort of assumptions, especially when he’d noticed Kevin looking at girls in the past. And now someone else knew. Hugo wondered what Kevin might possibly do with his secret. Was he the type of guy who would tell their classmates about Hugo? Would he betray that trust? Beat him up? No matter what, now Kevin knew.
“I’ve always had girlfriends. I like girls. But I like you too.” Kevin faced Hugo again and released a huge sigh. “I don’t know how to explain it. I’ve never even looked at a guy before, not like that, but…. Shit, Hugo. What the hell is wrong with me?” Kevin ran his fingers through his long hair and grasped at it in a way that looked painful. His face was a worried mess, and Hugo could see unshed tears in his eyes.
“I’ve never liked girls in my life, and I don’t think anything’s wrong with me, so I obviously don’t think anything’s wrong with you.” Hugo tried hard to keep the defensiveness out of his voice.
“I’m confused,” Kevin admitted. “I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.
From my experience, people are comfortable with the labels straight and gay. Bisexuality stirs up something different though. I see people looking confused or else jumping to conclusions about what that means. If you’re bisexual like me, you’ve probably already run into some pretty awful assumptions.
Yet as a writer, I had to keep these assumptions in mind as I crafted Kevin so I didn’t feed the fire. He doesn’t even know he’s bisexual when we meet him as a high school student. Like myself, Kevin assumed he was straight. I chose to dismiss my first kiss with a girl as nothing more than experimentation. The enthusiastic interest I had in the girl down the block who was visiting her grandma was seen as me just having a new friend. New friend, my ass! I was totally into her. I mimicked her Tennessee accent for weeks after she returned home and even named my pet rabbit after her.
In Spark, Kevin met Hugo Thorson and something was awoken inside him. Kevin didn’t know what to make of it initially. Because of his confusion, he ended up fulfilling some of those stereotypes on his way to self-discovery and identifying as bisexual, but how many teens make amazing decision at all times? When we meet him again at age thirty-five, he has a much better grasp on his bisexuality, but for all intents and purposes, he has lived a life of a straight man. Kevin is still working toward finding out what being bisexual is about.
There is an assumption of heterosexuality or the heteronorm; much of Western culture assumes you’re straight unless you say differently or “appear” to not fit hetero stereotypes or roles. If you say you’re not straight, people assume you’re gay. They don’t assume you’re bisexual. When you see two men walking down the street holding hands, have you ever thought, “There goes a gay man and his bisexual partner,” as they passed? Nope. As human beings, we tend to think in dichotomous categories.
I think that’s why I like to write bisexual characters. There are already many topics I enjoy exploring when writing same-sex relationships, but when I add a bisexual man into the mix there are even more. Not only are bisexual men misunderstood by their straight male friends, but their gay friends don’t quite get them either. How could this guy possibly like cock and pussy? Kevin decidedly likes both and he shatters many of those stereotypes too. He falls in love with individuals, and Hugo just so happens to be the one he fell for when he’s sixteen. At thirty-five, Kevin falls for him again.
The North Star Trilogy is a story about Hugo and Kevin told over three books.
Spark is about second chances at love.
In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.
By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children.
When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.
Posy Roberts lives in the land of 10,000 lakes (plus a few thousand more). But even with more shoreline than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined, Minnesota has snow—lots of it—and the six months of winter makes us “hearty folk,” or so the locals say. The rest of the year is heat and humidity with a little bit of cool weather we call spring and autumn, which lasts about a week.
She loves a clean house, even if she can’t keep up with her daughter’s messes, and prefers foods that are enriched with meat, noodles, and cheese, or as we call it in Minnesota, hotdish. She also loves people, even though she has to spend considerable amounts of time away from them after helping to solve their interpersonal problems at her day job.
Posy is married to a wonderful man who makes sure she eats while she documents the lives of her characters. She also has a remarkable daughter who helps her come up with character names. When she’s not writing, she enjoys karaoke, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.
Read more at http://posyroberts.com