More About My Latest Book, “Buy Guys”
“Buy Guys” is my latest piece of serious erotic gay fiction, published by Wilde City Press.
So l got these two handsome gay young guys from Jersey, short, stocky, furry Pete, and tall surfer boy Blaze, with nowhere jobs and nowhere futures who decide to drive down to sunny Fort Lauderdale to play male hustlers to frustrated locals, partying vacationers and wealthy retirees. The title, “Buy Guys,” comes from the name of the fictional escort site they use to advertise their talents, a rip-off of the now defunct Renboy.com. But they soon see their dream of a breezy lifestyle turn into their own private existential nightmare.
Hey, l’m a Jersey boy, born and bred in Bergen County, in the extreme northeast sector of the state, a fart and a few heavy tolls from Manhattan. So it’s only natural l’d use the working class neighborhoods l grew up as locales for some of my fiction. “Buy Guys” begins in Garfield, New Jersey, where my lead characters, renting a flat in a two family house modeled after my grandparents’ where l spent my childhood, decide to try out a new life as paid escorts in the land of the moneyed gay retired, Fort Lauderdale. I’ve used contemporary Fort Lauderdale, my adopted home since 2002, as a setting for a good portion of my fiction as much for its breezy, “Forever Summer” environment as for its “throw caution to the wind” decadent gay lifestyle which offers a writer of erotic fiction endless possibilities.
The storyline, with its series of sexual escapades, was perfect for replicating the style of the book that has probably influenced me the most, Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn.” Considered America’s first true novel, it uses a rite of passage and episodic approach that enriches the plot with stories within the story, and explodes the opportunity for introducing new, fresh characters that help change the dimensions of your protagonist.
In my very first draft, l had one of my protagonists, methodical Pete, with a girlfriend who he doesn’t know he got pregnant until the end when he and cocky Blaze return from their adventures down South. But l soon dropped that storyline since l felt it was a distraction from the budding romance l wanted to develop between my two guys.
Now l can already predict your immediate knee jerk reaction to all this: pretty standard fare for male gay erotic fiction, huh?
But ripping off a technique from Alfred Hitchcock, famed movie director of such terror classics as “The Birds” and Psycho,” l came up with what Hitch called a “MacGuffin,” a plot device or hook. So what could have been a ho-hum boring fuckfest turned into a male version of “Thelma and Louise,” with my protagonists, who thought things would be easy, breezy, instead finding themselves running for their lives.
In the beginning when Blaze, who is trying to convince Pete to join him on this adventure, asks “What have we got to lose?” the answer should be “Everything.”
But if l told you more about my “MacGuffin” you wouldn’t buy my book now, would you?
One hint: it revolves around a Jersey funeral home where Blaze works at the beginning of my book as an all-around guy, and who discovers, quite by accident, the home isn’t just in the business of handling corpses. My first time experience with a funeral home was not when a family member died but came when I was twelve helping my mother clean a local home not far from us on Saturday mornings after the grieving families had departed with their loved one for the cemetery. My job was to vacuum up all those damn flower petals in the viewing rooms, and when Mom needed some more Windex or Ajax, I trotted down to the basement to the supply closet which happened to be in the embalming room with all those caskets lining the walls. No wonder to this day I have a somewhat warped view of death.
BTW, most of the sex my two guys experience as dicks for hire is based on experiences l had as a private citizen, shall we say, and as a Rentboy which l played a month to research my book.
Hey, anything for my art, right?
Wednesday: More on “Buy Guys”: My One Month Career as a “Rentboy.”