A warm welcome to author Robert Winter joining us today to talk about his new release “September”.
My Favorite Character
Of course I love my main characters, David and Brandon, but there is a character in September that I must admit actually has first claim to my heart: Joe Mulholland. My fictional Joe is something of a fairy godfather, helping the MC’s when they lose their way. Here is how he is first introduced in chapter 4:
[David] made his way over to Terry’s partner and tried to shake hands, but Joe ignored the hand and hugged him instead. Joe was short—about five and a half feet tall—with white hair and big blue eyes that perpetually mirrored his smile. He wore a bright yellow sweater and lime-green trousers. “It’s a nice party, Joe. From your outfit I’m going to guess we’re celebrating Easter a bit early?”
“Terry didn’t tell you, darling?” Joe shot a fond look at his younger partner, who was gesturing broadly as he told a story to two friends across the room. “We got married yesterday.”
“Oh, Joe, that’s great. Congratulations. I would have brought something better than wine if I had realized.”
“Don’t be silly, dear boy. The wine is lovely. We decided to keep it simple, just the two of us and Guy over there, down at the courthouse.” Joe leaned in and whispered conspiratorially. “We’ve each been through enough big weddings and commitment ceremonies followed by nasty divorces to be superstitious.”
In my next book, Every Breath You Take (currently scheduled for release by Dreamspinner Press in April 2017), Joe plays a larger role than in September. Among other things, you’ll find that he used to be a Franciscan monk. Here is a snippet from the current draft of that work in progress:
Joe reached up and patted Zachary’s shoulder. “We had a little community of brothers in brown robes with lavender undergarments, if you’ll permit the metaphor. I felt it was my sacred duty to keep my sister-brothers informed of the doings in the head office. You know, my dear,” Joe said seriously, though his eye glinted, “before this Internet whatnot, there used to be just three ways to spread the gay news.” He ticked them off on his fingers. “Telephone. Telegraph. Tell-a-queen.”
That made Zachary laugh even harder, and Thomas and Terry as well.
“So what made you leave the order?” Zachary finally asked.
“Well, I’m ashamed to tell you that the bishop caught me listening in to a phone call with the abbot. When he mentioned replacing Sister Mary-Margaret O’Hurley as the principal of the high school, I gasped. Well, she’d been there since I was a boy. The bishop was incensed, the abbot was mortified, and it was suggested my true vocation might be as a telephone operator.”
The reason Joe means so much to me (and is so easy to write) is that he is heavily based on a friend named Peter Mulholland. I first met Peter when I was all of 22 and I had just moved to New York City from Austin, Texas. I stood by myself in a piano bar in Greenwich Village, and a small man with white hair tugged my hand and asked me to come join his friends so I wouldn’t be alone. Like Joe, Peter was a retired monk. At the time, he worked part-time for the American Theatre Wing (the organization that gives the Tony Awards) and as a result he would often have free theater tickets. He would call me at work and say in a raspy voice with traces of a Boston accent, “Darling, are you free tonight? Then you’re meeting me at the Monster, you’re buying me a drink, then I’m taking you to Broadway!”
One time Peter was visiting me in Washington, DC, and my mother phoned while I was out. She told me afterwards that she asked for me and heard this low voice say, “Oh, is this Mrs. Winter? It’s so lovely to talk to Robert’s mother! But my dear, I want you to know, I’m his mother too!” And he was.
This is a picture of me with Peter from 1991. If you’re curious what Joe looks like, well, here you go!
Peter was a huge part of my life, and my fondest hope is that when I am in my 60s (God, that used to sound so far away) I can spread light and fun as much as Peter did. He died when he was in his early 70s, and I miss him still, but I can keep him with me through the character of Joe Mulholland.
David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.
But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover. David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special.
Robert Winter is a recovering lawyer who likes writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other.
Robert divides his time between Washington, DC, and Provincetown, MA. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of fifteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.
Contact Robert at the following links: