Dinner parties and the zombie apocalypse
In Mended with Gold, the two main characters have very specific interests and distinct personalities. To let you get to know Alex and Joe a little better, author Lee Welch answers three revealing questions about them:
What famous person (dead or alive) would your main characters invite to dinner?
Alex would invite Yousuf Karsh, the Armenian-Canadian photographer who died in 2002. Alex discovered Karsh’s work as a teenager in the 1980s and it changed his life. Seeing Karshís dramatically-lit portraits of famous people (Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe) inspired Alex to go from photographing his friendsí bands ëfor funí, to studying photography seriously. Stylistically, Alex might have moved on, but he would love to meet the man who kick-started his career.
Joe would be tempted to invite his dead Granny, who he loved, and who left him her tiny house and her old white horse. But in the end, I think the comics fanatic in Joe would win out and heíd invite Alan Moore, the writer of seminal graphic novels such as From Hell and V for Vendetta. Joe’s own comics are gentler, but he shares Alan Mooreís dislike of injustice, and distrust of the establishment. Joe was born in 1991 (heís 26) so Alan Moore’s books have been a part of his life for as long as he can remember. Joe would be shy, but I think Alan Moore would recognise a kindred spirit in Joe ñ they’re both creative, neither make much concession to commercialism, and they’re both well-read and unkempt.
And what would they make for dinner?
Alex likes to impress in the kitchen (and other places), and since Wellington weather is often wild, heíd serve something hearty and majestic like koulibiak ñ a Russian pastry-wrapped salmon dish, cooked with cardamom and cinnamon rice.
Joe’s a plain cook, but a great fisherman. He’d make pan-fried terakihi or kahawai that he’d caught himself. He’d serve new potatoes (home-grown), and a salad with spinach (also home-grown) and puha (watercress) picked from a local stream. He’d beg a lemon to squeeze on the fish from the garden of one of the old ladies in his art group. They all love Joe and would give him as many lemons as he wanted, and probably supply a home-made pavlova as well (pavlova is a classic New Zealand dessert, made of meringue and cream).
And finally, who would survive longest in a zombie apocalypse?
Joe, without a doubt.
Alex is resourceful and independent, but doesn’t handle stress very well. Plus, he’s a city boy, used to creature comforts: central heating, gourmet food, nice clothes. He wouldn’t be the first to be eaten, but he wouldn’t last long.
Joe grew up in a commune in the New Zealand bush. He knows how to live off the land. He can gut a fish and ride a horse, and he’s used to roughing it and doing without. Because he’s so shy, he’s got superpowers for flying under the radar ñ even zombies wouldn’t notice him if he wanted to be ignored. Joe would take no joy in a zombie apocalypse, but at least he wouldnít have to speak in public or attend parties full of strangers (his true nightmares). He’s gentle, and hates to see people suffer, but heís got a core of steel. He’d be fine. In fact, he’d probably dream up a creative way to kill the zombies and save us all.
Alex began to cook spaghetti bolognaise. He would have liked to make something more impressive, but there wasn’t much in the cupboards. Joe said spaghetti sounded great. Avoiding carbs had probably never entered his head. Joe mentioned a couple of comics artists, but kept turning the conversation back to other things.
Alex said, You wonít bore me. Tell me some more about this Jim Woodring guy.
Alex’s laptop was on the table, and Joe started finding pictures for him to look at, pointing out what he liked, or didn’t like, or hoped to emulate. When discussing comics, Joe forgot to be shy. He contradicted Alex without apologising. He said, I have to lend you some comics. He pushed his hair off his face and his features leapt into focus: smooth brow, coffee-dark eyes, strong nose, clean jawline. He had a pale scar down the very middle of his bottom lip.
The scar caught the light, a white seam on pink. Slightly raised. Alex had a sudden, electric vision of Joe kneeling before him, mouth around his dick. He could almost feel the scar catching on the head, just a little. Could almost feel Joeís hair like silk beneath his hand. The kitchen was suddenly too bright and sweltering hot. He was longing to ask Joe if he could take his photograph, but something kept stopping him. Trust the instinct, because heíll say no. Alex tried instead to focus on the gaudy hallucinogenic animals Joe was currently displaying on the computer screen.
Alex showed Joe some photos. Joe had a good eye, although he critiqued photos in a surprising way, valuing atmosphere over narrative. He noticed things about lighting that most beginners didn’t pick up.
After dinner, Alex said, Why did he call you Jophiel?
It’s my name, Joe said to his empty spaghetti bowl. Awful, isn’t it? It’s after an angel. Mum’s a bit New Age. We lived in a commune until I was fourteen. Mind you, my best friend was called Blessing, and her brother was Windroval, so I suppose I got off lightly. He looked across the table at Alex. Don’t call me it, will you? I don’t like it.
Alex had known a number of people in New York and London who’d changed their names to be more noticeable, more unusual, more unforgettable. It seemed telling that Joe would go about life in the opposite way.
Later, he took Joe home.
Thanks, it was awesome,Joe said in the dark car. Thanks for the photograph, too. It’s amazing.
Before Laos, Alex would probably have gone in for a kiss, because, why not? Now, he felt very conscious of his age and his many weaknesses. He was hardly love’s young dream any more.
It was awesome, eh? We should do it again, he said.
Joe opened the car door and the light went on. He shot Alex a heart-stopping smile, got out, closed the car door and was gone into his tiny yellow house.
A photographer with post-traumatic stress disorder falls for a comics artist on a wild New Zealand beach, but can he find true love when he feels so wounded by life?
Everything changed when the bomb exploded. Forty-five-year old, Alex Cox worked as an international photographer until a deadly explosion left him with post-traumatic stress disorder. Emotionally wounded, and desperate for a sense of safety, he’s run all the way to wild and remote Kahawai Bay, New Zealand.
Under the worst possible circumstances, Alex meets Joe, a shy young comics artist. Joe lets Alex into his playful, gentle world of comics, and soon Alex is falling for him, hard. Alex longs for more. Joe is reticent. But is it shyness? Or does Joe not want a much older lover with ‘issues’? Or is something else keeping them apart?
This is a tender and uplifting story about creativity, adversity, true love, and comics.
November 17 – BooksLaidBareBoys, Slashsessed, Valerie Ullmer, Gay Media Reviews, The Geekery Book Review, MM Good Book Reviews
November 18 – Love Bytes
November 20 – BFD Book Blog, Zipper Rippers
November 21 – Gay Book Reviews
November 22 – Dog-Eared Daydreams, Making It Happen
November 23 – Diverse Reader
November 24 – A Book Lover’s Dream, Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books, OptimuMM, Jim’s Reading Room
November 25 – The Novel Approach
November 27 – Mirrigold: Musings & Mutterings, Hoards Jumble, Hearts On Fire Reviews, Diverse Reader, Au Boidoir Ecarlate
November 28 – Alpha Book Club
Lee Welch wrote her first book aged seven (a pastiche of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and first had an idea for an m/m romance aged twelve. She loves books and comics, and when sheís not writing, sheíll probably be reading. Her favourite authors include Ursula Le Guin, Graham Greene, Linda Medley, Dylan Horrocks and KJ Charles. By day, Lee works as an editor and business communications adviser, mainly persuading people not to say ëutiliseí when they mean ëuseí. Her job has led her to work in areas as diverse as mental health, nursing, accident prevention and the criminal justice sector.
|Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions|