“What is your book about?”
Amazing how many times I’ve gotten that question over the past [insert ridiculous number here] years and how I’ve squirmed my way out of answering it. For a long time it was because I didn’t know what it was about. Truthfully it was a 500-page character analysis with no discernible storyline. I had a universe of characters and I wrote fan fiction.
Then I found the story. And it was written from the point of view of my lead female character because much of the story was rooted in personal experience and a female viewpoint was logical to me. I wrote a few chapters from the lead male’s view, but really just to provide some backstory.
Still, the novel wasn’t going anywhere. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Then I sent the chapters to my friend Ami, a voracious reader and smart cookie. She grouped together the many chapters from Daisy’s point of view and said, “These are good.” She grouped together a few chapters told by other characters and said, “These are a distraction.” And then she took the smallest grouping, the chapters told from Erik’s perspective and said, “These are the story.”
I was stunned. Write the novel from Erik’s point of view? That made no sense. But I tend to trust Miss Ami when it comes to books so I isolated those chapters. I read through them. And it hit me. Ami was right. The story was Erik’s. He had the evolution, not Daisy.
And then the world caught on fire.
“What is the book about?” Even with my protagonist fixed and my story in place, I was still reluctant to give people the nutshell version. The elevator pitch. The plot summary. Why? Probably fear. I’m writing a book. [Insert hysterical laughter here]. Seriously. Who the hell do I think I am? Right. A book. And this book is about…?
Well, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this. And it’s time to stop fucking around. So here it is, the blurb for “The Man I Love”:
Some seek the limelight and some hold the light in place.
Nineteen-year-old Erik Fiskare is drawn to the world of theater but prefers backstage to center stage. The moment he lays eyes on a beautiful, accomplished dancer named Daisy Bianco, his atoms rearrange themselves and he is drawn into a romance both youthfully passionate and maturely soulful. Their affinity is both quiet and complex, marked by deep understanding and intense sexuality. Until it is shattered by a shocking incident of violence on their college campus. A crime of passion which leaves Daisy seriously injured and Erik emotionally traumatized. With their world shaken to the core, the lovers strive to find their footing again. But a devastating betrayal drives Erik to a desperate flight from school, from the past and from Daisy.
“The Man I Love” follows Erik from college through his young adult years and into his thirties as he battles the long-lasting effects of post-traumatic stress and the consequences of unfinished business. Despite his unrelenting estrangement from Daisy, he continues to recall their uniquely cellular bond and mourns his inability to find it anywhere else. Slowly Erik heals the most wounded parts of himself, and comes to learn how the un-grieved grief of youth shapes adulthood. And learns that leaving is not always the end of loving.