People often ask me about what got me into writing fiction... the story behind how I became an author in the first place as well as how I became "Pride Inspired" so to speak.
To be honest, I came late to it. In my younger years the notion of writing fiction never entered my mind. Even reading fiction was something I rarely managed. In fact, I can remember being asked by my freshman biology professor to list the last three books I had read. When I answered The Collected Dialogues of Plato, Miller’s Field Guide to North American Mushrooms and a textbook entitled Greek Realities: Life and Thought in Ancient Greece, Dr. Freeman just laughed... “I meant fiction books,” he clarified. I had to admit, science geek that I was, that I hadn’t read more than a handful of novels in my entire life. He just sighed and told me that if I wanted to pass his class that I would have to read a novel a week and discuss each book with him at length. I was most likely the only student at Wayne State University who got an A in biology largely by reading popular fiction. Yet, as a result of Dr. Freeman’s efforts I had learned to love literature—and I took my first step toward becoming an author without even realizing it.
Over the years I found that my taste in literature favored genre fiction—in particular, epic fantasy or anything with a paranormal or supernatural bent. My favorite authors included Patricia McKillip, Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, Stephen Donaldson, Frank Herbert, Stephen King, Anne Rice, and if I am being honest, from time to time I did toy with the idea of writing something myself. I had gone so far as to jot down some notes and even pen a chapter or two, but I wasn’t driven to see it through.
One day, I went searching for something to read—I had a hankering for something paranormal with a gay theme to boot. To my surprise, I found quite a selection. Even more surprising, I found that much of what had been published had been written by authors who happened to be straight.
I have to confess that I was shocked to learn that many straight women were writing gay themed books under male names or initials that hid their gender. At the risk of alienating part of my audience, I was more that shocked, I was bothered—bothered because I could imagine some young man in the suburbs , desperate to touch another gay soul for the very first time by exploring the thoughts and imaginations of a kindred spirit one page at a time. I could more than imagine it—I remembered it—once upon a time, that young man had been me.
When I was sixteen I saw an unlikely copy of Gordon Merrick’s The Lord Won’t Mind in shopping mall book store, and while I didn’t have the courage to buy it, I possessed a copy by the end of the night. I felt so guilty afterward that I sent a twenty dollar bill to the publisher apologizing for the theft and asking them to make sure that Mr. Merrick got proper compensation. The twenty dollars was overkill, nearly five times the cover price, but it helped me ease my conscience and set things right.
That was my first foray into the gay world—living vicariously through a book. And as I sit here writing I realize that there had been nothing vicariously about it at all. Gordon Merrick was gay man and when I read his words I invited him to enter my mind, to stir my feelings and to touch a part of my soul in a way it had never been touched. I can’t imagine how betrayed and violated I would have felt if had I later learned that Gordon Merrick was a non-gay persona used as a marketing tool.
In the decades that had passed since reading The Lord Won’t Mind, the possibility of such a betrayal never once entered my mind—not until my search on Amazon.com that opened my eyes. A few weeks later, my gestalt became a topic of discussion at a dinner party and most everyone was as surprised as I to learn that gay literature is often written by people who aren’t particularly gay. There was a general consensus that at one level it shouldn’t matter—good writing is good writing and human experiences are human experiences. Yet, looking though the eyes of one who had once nicked a book just to be able make a connection with another gay soul—it made a difference to me.
I made my case and one of the guests, playing the devil’s staunchest advocate, abruptly threw down the gauntlet and flat out told me to put up or shut up. He argued that if I felt there was a need for more gay authored novels that I should stop talking about it and start writing. I thought about what he said for a moment and decided to take up a pen on the spot.
It almost seemed as though a puzzle was completing itself before my eyes. For weeks, I had been day dreaming each and every time I mounted the treadmill for my morning ride. Without realizing it, I had been writing a first draft while jogging in step to old gay dance classics like Can you feel it and You Sexy Thing. Getting it down on paper seemed the most logical next step.
I was fortunate to have a small group of loyal friends first humored and later encouraged me. As days passed into weeks, writing became an obsession and rarely spent fewer than twelve hours a day at my computer. As weeks rolled into months and months folded into the better part of two years, my debut novel grew into an epic tale that spanned three volumes, collectively known as The Disciples of Goedric.
After a great deal of research into the world of publishing, my friends took it upon themselves to setup a micro-publishing company to help promote gay literature and to help LGBT authors develop their craft and find their voice—Pride Inspired Publications—and I am happy to say that The Disciples of Goedric Trilogy is a Pride Inspired publication!
One of the things that Jeffrey Jude hates doing, apart from house work, is talking about himself. So, let me tell you a little about him—Michael Lyrihn, Pride Inspired Publications.
Jeff was born in Detroit Michigan and earned a B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Plant Ecology from Wayne State University before moving to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago where he studied Evolutionary Biology, and wrote a number of articles for prestigious scientific journals including Evolution and the American Journal of Botany.
While in Chicago Jeff was a volunteer at Gay and Lesbian Horizons serving as a peer counselor as well as an instructor of gay sensitivity for the Chicago Police Department. He was also...
One of my favorite lines from a film in recent memory was when Jacob said “It’s a wolf thing” in New Moon of the Twilight saga…
For me it was a great line because so many things in my life revolve around my pack of wolf-dog hybrids who make up such an important part of my family. How is it that I came to live with a pack of wolves, one might ask… well I’ll tell you… shit happens!
Actually, it began with a trip to Hillsboro, Ohio where I took a little road trip to find a couple faithful companions to keep me company on my hikes into the coastal jungles of Nayarit, Mexico. While the jungles are just a kilometer or two