If you’ve taken a peek at my Pimpin’ tab (and if you haven’t then get on that like nowish), then you’re familiar with the name Michael Rupured. He is more than just a great writer, he’s the best gay boyfriend a gal could want and the most awesome editor a writer could ask for. And I’ve allowed him to take over my blog for the day so he can talk about his latest book. Show him some love, wontcha?
Thanks so much, Amy, for allowing me on your blog to talk about Happy Independence Day, my new release from Dreamspinner Press.
As you well know, having held my hand through the entire first draft, my first novel, Until Thanksgiving, takes place in 1996 in Washington DC. Philip Potter plays a supporting role in this thriller around the budding relationship between his nephew, Thad Parker, and Josh Freeman. Philip tells Thad about a lover who’d committed suicide thirty years earlier—an insignificant aside that later inspired After Christmas Eve, a mystery set in the DC area with Philip as the protagonist.
Philip planted that little seed and encouraged me to write a story set in 1966 for his own purposes. Researching gay life in the mid twentieth century for his novel was a powerful and eye opening experience. The fifties and sixties were the Dark Ages for gay men and women in the United States. Homosexuality was immoral, illegal, and classified as a mental illness. Nobody came out of the closet by choice.
Effeminate men and masculine women, however, found no safety in the closet and bore the brunt of society’s mass homophobia. As teenagers, hundreds of thousands fled or were kicked out of homes where ignorance trumped love. Those who didn’t commit suicide or get killed migrated to larger cities.
By 1969, thousands of these undesirables—unfit for military service, employment, rental housing, and anything more than scorn or ridicule—lived in and around Greenwich Village. For the gayest of the gay, the Stonewall Inn was the place where everybody knew your name. Happy Independence Day is a tribute to the misfits and outcast who, in the early morning hours of June 28 1969, became heroes in the fight for equal rights.
Terrence Bottom wants to change the world. A prelaw student at Columbia University majoring in political science, his interests range from opposing the draft and the war in Vietnam, to civil rights for gays, to anything to do with Cameron McKenzie. Terrence notices the rugged blond hanging around the Stonewall Inn, but the handsome man—and rumored Mafia hustler—rebuffs his smiles and winks.
Cameron McKenzie dropped out of college and left tiny Paris, Kentucky after the death of the grandmother who raised him, dreaming of an acting career on Broadway. Although he claims to be straight, he becomes a prostitute to make ends meet. Now the Mafia is using him to entrap men for extortion schemes, he is in way over his head, and he can’t see a way out—at least not a way that doesn’t involve a swim to the bottom of the Hudson in a pair of cement flippers.
Cameron is left with a choice: endanger both their lives by telling Terrence everything or walk away from the only man he ever loved. The Mafia hustler and the student activist want to find a way to stay together, but first they need to find a way to stay alive.
Dreamspinner Press (http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_732)