Saturday, April 20, 2013

Guest Spot: Andy Gordon

Hey, look who it is with us today - Andy Gordon!  He's here to talk about the concept of reality in romantic fiction.  Andy is the author of two titles out with Dreamspinner Press, The Last Grand Master and (Un)Masked, and he's presently working on a third, Purpose.  The floor is yours, Andy!

Reality, what a concept.

Read on for more:

When people find out I've had books published, they always asked, "What's your book about?" The first 'issue' to deal with is the M/M topic. But since anyone who knows me well enough to know I write, knows I'm gay, partnered, with a kid, it's not too tough to put that out there.  [We'll skip for today the "do you ever write about non-gay characters?"] But once you get passed that issue, they want to know the subject matter of the books. 

This always raises the question for me of what constitutes a romance novel? Does the romance need to be the central plot of the book or can it qualify if the romance is a strong sub-plot? Someone recently suggest to me that if there are two characters that get together–even if it's just a small sub-plot–and they stay together through the rest of the book, then it qualifies as a romance novel.  By this definition, almost everything can be a romance book.  So perhaps romance, isn't a good way to describe things then.

My most recent book, The Last Grand Master is relatively easy to explain. I can tell folks "High Fantasy" and those who read a lot will understand. If they don't I just say LOTR and they always get it.  If I want to confuse people I can toss in that there is a gay romance sub-plot. 

But how do you explain a guy with a curse that makes people see the person they most want to see?  That's the basic idea of (Un)Masked.  But it did/does take the whole book to explain what's going on. And even if I wanted to explain it by using a genre like high fantasy, what would it be? Paranormal? That encompasses enough different things to make it not terribly helpful. 

The same is going to be true when my next book, Purpose comes out. Blurbs can give you a good sense of what's going to happen, but they probably won't really explain enough of the elements to satisfy friends and family. They expect that since they have the 'ear' of the author, they'll get more.

Purpose is grounded in a reality found only inside my head. For me, creating a new world, even one that is almost entirely based on this one, but with just a minor little twist, is one of the allures of writing. Of course fiction books by their nature aren't grounded in reality. If they were, they wouldn't be fiction; they'd be something else. But when elements not found in this world, such as vampires, werewolves, wizards, aliens, super humans, etc, are introduced into the novel, our 'reality' is gone and a new alternative one is born.

So enough of the philosophy of genres, what is Purpose about? Forty years before the story begins, an eternal spirit of vengeance, a Purpose, takes William Morgan to be Its host.  As host, Will must avenge the innocent dead by killing the guilty.  After a time, Will needs to find a way to cope with what he's become and he retreats behind the alter ego of Gar.  Gar is cold, almost logical and feels very little for others. 

Into Gar's tidy orderly world comes Ryan, a young man who reminds Gar of someone from Will's past. But not just anyone, Ryan reminds Gar of David, Will murdered ex-lover who died the night the Purpose chose Will. 

So that's the reality I created for Purpose. One of the things I'm going to try to do for this book is release a series of short stories on my site and in guest posts that will take place forty years before Purpose. The stories will be short–couple thousand words at most–and will cover events that happened in the early years of Will being host to the spirit of vengeance.  Hopefully the use of 'prequels', if I can use that term, will help drum up interest in the main story.  If not, no problem, they are already written. They helped me conceptualize my new reality by giving me a bit of history to draw on while I was writing the story.

Like I said at the start, reality, what a concept. 

I can be found on my website: where I post a free flash fiction story most Wednesdays and Author Spotlights on most Thursdays.

You can also find me on my Dreamspinner Press Author Page

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