Title: Tyler Buckspan
Author: Jere’ M. Fishback
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: April 10
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: No Romance
Genre: Literary Fiction, YA, Lit/General Fiction, Historical, Family-drama, Coming of age, non-explicit, gay, bi, cisgender, homophobia, in the closet, psychic/medium, sports
Fifteen-year-old Tyler Buckspan lives with his mom and grandmother in 1960s Cassadaga, a Florida community where spiritual “mediums” ply their trade. The mediums—Tyler’s grandmother among them—read palms and tarot cards, conduct séances and speak with the dead.
Tyler’s a loner, a bookish boy with few interests, until his half-brother Devin, nineteen and a convicted arsonist, comes to live in Tyler’s home. For years, Tyler has ignored his attraction to other boys. But with Devin in the house, Tyler can’t deny his urges any longer. He falls hopelessly in love with his miscreant half-brother, and with the sport of basketball, once Devin teaches Tyler the finer points of the game.
In a time when love between men was forbidden, even criminalized, can Tyler find the love he needs from another boy? And is Devin a person to be trusted? Is he truly clairvoyant, or simply a con artist playing Tyler and others for fools? What does Devin really know about a local murder? And can Tyler trust his own psychic twinges?
When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it?
I wrote my first story in 2006 for submission to the Writers in Paradise Conference at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL. The story was based on a ghost story I made up while my boys and I were spending a week at our fishing camp on the Gulf Coast. The title of the story is “Crawford Creek”. It won the Best of Conference award and was later published in Eckerd College’s literary journal called “Sabal”.
Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?
I follow a pretty strict writing schedule. I am a “butt in chair” (BIC) writer, meaning I sit my rear end in front of the keyboard at nine AM most every morning, and I stay there until noon. I don’t let anything disturb me. No phone, e-mails, visitors, radio, stereo or TV. I write only fresh material. Revisions I save for the afternoon or evening.
Briefly describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first? Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?
I never outline. I write “by the headlights”, as E. L. Doctorow once put it, meaning I can only see as far as my fictional “headlights” shine. When I start a new story I never have any idea how it will end. At some point in the story the characters start taking over. They tell me what should happen. I know that may sound strange but it’s true. For me, the hardest part of writing a story is when I’m about two-thirds of the way through writing the first draft and I stall out. I have to work my way through the stall, and that’s always tough, but that’s how I get to my story’s conclusion.
Where did the desire to write LGBTQIA+ stories come from?
I came out of the closet when I was in law school, in 1975. I have lived my entire adult life as an openly gay male. So I’ve always wanted to write about gay characters. But I never had time to write fiction until I retired from practicing law. I retired when I was 49 years old, and thereafter I’ve devoted myself to writing LGBTQ themed fiction.
How much research do you do when writing a story and what are the best sources you’ve found for giving an authentic voice to your characters?
It depends on the type of story I am writing. My first novel, “Josef Jaeger” was published in 2009. It was a historical novel set in 1933 Germany, just when the Nazis were coming into power. I lived in Berlin for an entire summer when I wrote the book. I studied everything from political history, to trees and shrubs that grow in Germany. I studied German architecture from the 1930’s too. Other novels I’ve written have not required too much research, as they are set in contemporary times and don’t involve a lot of technical subjects. Of course it’s important to get things right, so I may have to do some digging for information about things I know little about. “Tyler Buckspan” involves several areas I knew little about: auto mechanics, basketball, ESP and spiritualism. So I had to research those areas pretty thoroughly.
What’s harder, naming your characters, creating the title for your book or the cover design process?
Naming characters is always tough. You want your main characters to have names that are distinct and memorable, but don’t sound too contrived. I’m always reading newspaper obituaries for unique-sounding names.
How do you answer the question “Oh, you’re an author…what do you write?”
I get that question all the time, along with, “Have you had anything published?” My answers? “I write fiction in varying genres. And most everything I write gets published.”
What does your family think of your writing?
They don’t read it, but they know what sorts of books and stories I write about. They tolerate my weirdness. I had a short fiction anthology published a few years ago; it’s titled “Troubling Tales from Florida”. All the stories in it are bizarre. My sister tried reading it but only made it half-way through the first story. She said it was “too weird.”
Tell us about your current work in process and what you’ve got planned for the future.
I just finished a 55,000-word novel tentatively titled “On the Way to San Jose”. It’s about two college-age boys driving cross–country in a panel van. One boy is an intellect but suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, so he’s very withdrawn socially. The other boy plays clarinet for a living and is moving to San Jose to live with a man he met over the Internet. The two start out as total strangers, but quickly form a friendship that grows in its intensity over the course of their trip.
Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?
Get your butt in the chair every day, even if you only crank out 300 words per day. Have a quiet place to do your writing in, and don’t let anything disturb you. And write about what interests YOU, not what you think might sell. If you like history then write historical novels. If you like who-done-its, then that’s what you should write. Same with romance. And don’t expect your first draft to be any good. Revisions are what makes a story shine. And the difference between good fiction and so-so fiction is detail. Focus on detail in your descriptive passages.
If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?
This may sound strange, but I’m perfectly satisfied with being where I am right now.
We’ve all got a little voyeurism in us right? If you could be a fly on the wall during an intimate encounter (does not need to be sexual) between two characters, not your own, who would they be?
I’d like to watch two prison cellmates make love in the dark while doing their best not to make any noise. How sexy would that be?
If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?
Beer and a box of spinach dip with an expiration date long since passed.
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I would like to be able to read others’ thoughts. I find people’s private thoughts and desires to be fascinating. To an extent I suppose we all lead double lives, but some of us to a greater degree than others. I’d like to explore that part of people’s minds.
If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
If we’re talking about the characters in “Tyler Buckspan”, I would choose Tyler’s half-brother, Devin. He’s pretty damned sexy and uninhibited, and he has seductive powers I’d kill for. Oh, and he has ESP too.
If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing, where would you go and what would the environment be like?
A friend of mine has a lakefront cottage in a remote area of Maine. I love it there and I would like to spend a week at the cottage by myself with my laptop, just writing.
What’s the one thing, you can’t live without?
Besides beer and wine? That’s easy: writing fiction. I’m addicted to it.
What internet site do you surf to the most?
H-m-m-m, let’s see. I like the website for the Gay Surfer Association. http://www.gaysurfers.net/ A lot of cool people hang out there, and they published one of my stories on their site. I’ve surfed since I was a teenager, and while I am not very good, I still try to go surfing on the Atlantic coast of Florida a few times per year. It’s liberating to ride a wave.
If you had your own talk show, who would your first three author guests be and why?
Michael Chabon, John Irving and Annie Proulx. They are three of the best writers alive right now, in my opinion.
When you got your very first manuscript acceptance letter, what was your initial reaction and who was the first person you told?
I almost wet my pants. Then I told my partner. I think we celebrated with a bottle of wine on our dock. That was nine years ago.
Jere’ M. Fishback © 2017
All Rights Reserved
Spring water beaded on Eric Rupp’s shoulders. The drops looked like gemstones, reflecting sunlight. I stood behind Eric, waist-deep in the spring, my arms wrapped about his chest, my hips pressed to his buttocks. We had just made love on a bedsheet; it lay crumpled on the shore. June’s heat had made our sex a sweaty, sticky affair, but now the spring cooled our flesh.
I listened to water drip, to Eric’s soft breathing. My chin rested against the back of his neck, and I buried the tip of my nose in his damp hair.
Since my first visit to Eric’s home, we had made love any number of places: his house, my grandma’s, the spring, and even the backseat of the Chevrolet one afternoon when a thunderstorm raged. I’d never felt so close to someone; I had touched every part of Eric’s body.
His dad owned a tent and sleeping bags. On weekends, we’d often camp by the spring’s edge. We had constructed a fire pit, girding its walls with chunks of lime rock, and thereafter we always burned pine limbs during our evenings there, listening to sap crackle and hiss, watching sparks rise into the night sky.
“Will it always be like this?” Eric asked me one evening.
We lay side by side on our backs in his tent. The mildewed smell of the canvas made my nose crinkle. Beyond the tent flaps, a campfire smoldered. My gaze was fixed on the canvas overhead.
“I hope so,” I said.
Shifting his weight, Eric asked me, “Are you and I queers?”
I cleared my throat. “I suppose,” I said.
Eric turned toward me; he crooked an elbow and propped his head against his hand. “Does it scare you, being…different?”
“A little. We’ll have to be careful, always.”
After draping his arm across my belly, Eric laid his cheek against my sternum. “I think I’m in love with you, Tyler. Is that okay?”
My windpipe flexed, and then my eyes watered.
“Of course it is,” I whispered.
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Jere’ M. Fishback is a former journalist and trial lawyer who now writes fiction full time. He lives with his partner Greg on a barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast. When he’s not writing, Jere’ enjoys reading, playing his guitar, jogging, swimming laps, fishing, and watching sunsets from his deck overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
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