A White Coat is My Closet — Jake Wells

Book Cover

 

Skylar, thank you so much for allowing me to talk a little bit about my new book.  In addition to being a complete newbie to this whole social media gig, I’m a little overwhelmed by the reality of actually seeing my words bound by a cover.

If someone had told me a couple years ago that I would actually succeed in getting a book published I would have told them that they were crazy.  Never in a million years did I dream that something I’d written would ever make it to print.  That’s one of the many reasons that I feel both surprised and privileged that “A White Coat is my Closet” will be hitting the stands Friday October 25.

The odyssey actually began about two years ago.  Writing a book has always been one of the things on my bucket list.   When I hit fifty and was forced to acknowledge that my life was approaching the downhill slide, I thought why not start?  And so, with a burst of enthusiasm, I began the project despite having no clue what I was going to write about.  The progress was initially sure and steady and then, at about the forth chapter, I suddenly found myself thinking;    “Shit, four chapters down, probably twenty-two more to go.”  I wasn’t sure that I had twenty-two pages left in me much less whole chapters.  Worse, I still hadn’t even begun to work out a storyline.  Things came to a screeching stand still.

What occurred over the subsequent months was surprising.  Despite trying desperately to give up the idea of writing a book, I somehow couldn’t shake it.  My partner and I have a little condo in the desert where we enjoy spending weekends.  Our time there is usually devoted to doing as little as possible.  We walk the dogs, hit the pool and soak up the sun.  Ironically however, during those idle hours, my brain kept mulling over different possibilities for my book and I found myself drawn back to the computer keyboard.   Somehow, the whole story started coming together.

My novel is a work of fiction but it ends up describing issues that are near and dear to my heart.  Because in my real life I’m a pediatrician, I’m extremely passionate about providing health care to children in a compassionate and loving manner.  In addition, I’m a gay man who grew up in a small community and really struggled with accepting who I really was.  Somehow, the combination of those two life experiences found a voice that evolved into a story.

Blurb:

Zack Sheldon doesn’t have time to be lonely. He’s in his last year as a pediatric resident, almost married to the job, and busy with the joys and sorrows that come with providing medical care to children. Professionally, he’s confident, accomplished, and respected. But personally he’s too insecure to approach a sexy man like Sergio Quartulli, or even to imagine that Sergio might be attracted to him.  

Zack spots Sergio from across the gym, and then a chance meeting poolside somehow turns into a date. Before Zack knows it, they’ve become a couple, but Zack’s white coat is his closet at the hospital, and committing to a relationship with Sergio makes it difficult for Zack to continue hiding behind it. On the other hand, he grew up in a small town where being gay was shameful and he works in an environment that can sometimes be homophobic, so it’s hard for him to open up about who he is. Before Zack can make a choice on his own terms, circumstances force him to make a decision. He can continue to hide, or he can step out from behind his white coat and risk everything for love

 

So there you have it. “A White Coat is my Closet” is cornucopia of experiences playing themselves out in a fictional story while attempting to remain true to those aspects of my life that were fundamentally most important;  seeking self-acceptance, the wonderful and yet challenging process of becoming a doctor, and falling in love.  Hopefully, if you are inclined to read the book, you will feel like you’ve participated in the journey.

It’s also worth mentioning that because I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to have my book published, I’ve decided to play the good fortune forward.  All the royalties from the sale of “A White Coat is my Closet” will go to the HOMELESS YOUTH PROJECT at the LA GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER.  By purchasing my book, you are not only lending your support to my dream of becoming an author, but are also contributing to improving the lives of homeless gay teens.  As it says in my book’s dedication, sometimes success in life starts with being given a chance.

Thanks again Skylar.  Wish me luck.  Best wishes to both you and your readers.

Jake Wells

Best of luck, Jake! It was my pleasure!

Links:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4325

https://www.facebook.com/jake.wells.16568

Link to the LA Gay and Lesbian Center’s Homeless Youth Services:

http://laglc.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=YW_Youth_Services

The LA Gay & Lesbian Center has created a link specifically for people who want to contribute directly to the program that the sales of my book is supporting.

http://www.lagaycenter.org/jakewells

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Sophie Bonaste

The_Sacrifices_We_Make_FINAL

BLURB:

Adam Jameson has always felt like an outsider in his own home, where his parents’ constant efforts to instill religious fervor have instead filled him with fear. Most of the time, he just wants to stay out of everybody’s way.  But when Adam is forced to volunteer at a homeless shelter his senior year in high school, everything changes. He’s introduced to people who care about more than religion and, as a result, he starts to come out of his shell. For the first time in his life, Adam finds people that he wants to be around.

Mickey Stafford lives on the streets, a teen kicked out by his parents for being gay. He comes to the shelter for food and medical care, and after they literally run into each other, the two boys strike up a friendship. As Mickey introduces his new friend to the world he lives in, Adam starts to question everything: his parents, their religion, even his own beliefs . Once Mickey kisses him, Adam starts soul-searching and finds his heart, which is full of love for Mickey. But these two young men will have their love put to the test, as they face a future of uncertainty and fear.

Interview With Sophie:

  • How do you find your ideas?

I have no idea. The specifics of this story came to me right before I fell asleep one night. I guess my muse just has a good imagination.

  • Do you plan it or wing it?

I mostly wing it. I do have a basic outline that I try to follow so I know where the story is ultimately ending, but all of the details are made up on the fly.

  • What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who try to interrupt me when I’m writing. I have a hard enough time staying focusing, since I’m hyperactive. I don’t need more distractions.

  • What is your main character’s best quality? Why?

Adam’s best quality is that he really does want to help people. He’s a good person and cares deeply about helping others, especially Mickey.

  • What is his biggest vice?

Adam really doesn’t have a vice. He’s lived a very pure life. His biggest problem is that he is very sheltered and doesn’t fully understand how the world works.

  • If your main character had one superpower, what would it be?

Adam’s superpower would probably be teleportation. He spends a lot of the book wishing that he was in a different situation, so I think that would be a good power for him. Of course, if he could teleport, there wouldn’t be a book!

  • Do you enjoy revision or editing? Do you dread it?

Dread it! I absolutely hate editing. For me, the best part of writing is telling a story and, while I know it’s important, commas and their placement is not important in the overall telling.

  • Do you like writing sex scenes? What heat level do you write?

I don’t like or dislike writing sex scenes. I just see it as part of the story. The heat level depends on the book. For example, this book has no sex scenes in it. The two teens in question are just going through too much. But I have written an adult novel, which has quite a few sex scenes. That book would probably be about a 4 out of 5 in terms of heat. But I’m sure that will be judged by others if it ever gets published.

  • What insights to the publishing world can you pass on?

I think that everyone’s journey into publishing is different, but I have to say that I’ve absolutely loved working with the people at Dreamspinner and Harmony Ink. They have been fabulous. That being said, for anyone entering the world of publishing, be prepared to wait a long time. There is waiting at every stage and it is so very, very hard. Totally worth it, but very hard.

  • Do you listen to music when you write?

I don’t really listen to music, but I do watch a lot of television. Typically, I put on either a show or a movie that I’ve seen before and listen to it. I like it better than music because it tells a story and can help me get unblocked if I get stuck. Sometimes, I even use actor’s names as the names for my secondary characters.

  • Without spoiling us too much, what part of this novel did you enjoy writing the most?

Well, I can’t tell you the exact scene without giving a huge part of the book away. But I will just say Chapter 14. When everyone reads the book I’m sure they will see what I mean. There is a scene in that chapter that practically wrote itself. This novel went through about eight drafts and that one scene barely changed at all.

  • What part was a struggle?

No part of this book was too bad to write. Adam and Mickey had a story that they wanted to tell and they made it very clear. Probably the hardest part was the second chapter. That chapter was originally about 5,000 words and I had to cut it down to about 3,500. There was a lot more in that chapter showing Adam and how he interacted with his peers at school that ended up getting cut. Trying to decide what to leave in and what to take out was tough.

  • What are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m working on a new YA M/M series. The books are science fiction and very reflective of old-school sci-fi. The first book is currently entitled “Journey to Xibalta”.

  • Where can people find you online?

Readers can find me on Twitter @SophieBonaste and Facebook under the name Sophie Bonaste. I also have a blog at sophiebonaste.blogspot.com, where readers can find writing updates, free reads and GIVEAWAYS! I can also be reached through e-mail at sophiebonaste@gmail.com.

Buy Link:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4285

  • Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Absolutely. Enjoy!

Excerpt:

“YOU are going to come and help me at the church tomorrow afternoon, aren’t you, Adam?”

Adam Matthew Jameson swallowed the steak in his mouth and looked at his mother from across the dining room table. Margaret Jameson was a beautiful woman for her age. She was very thin and her features very delicate; her skin was pale, as if she did not spend much time in the sun. Today, her shiny blonde hair was pulled back into a tight bun, and she was wearing a blue floral-print dress that brought out the color in her eyes. “I am sorry, Mother, but I will not be able to help. Tomorrow is the day I start work at the homeless shelter across town. I will be home for dinner at five thirty, but I will be volunteering prior to that.”

“Oh, I was hoping you would be able to help me,” his mother said with disappointment. “The tables we use for Bible study are so very heavy.”

“Margaret, leave the boy alone. He is doing the Lord’s work by helping at that shelter. I am sure Adam would be happy to help you set up the tables after dinner. We can just leave a little early for Bible Study and do it then. If you have everything else set up beforehand, it should not take long.”

“Yes, Matthew. I suppose you are right. As always.”

“Of course,” Matthew Jameson replied, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. He shot his wife a look that could only be called a warning before turning his attention to his youngest child.

“Now, Elisabeth, why don’t you tell us how your day at school was?”

Adam, thrilled that the heat was now off him, refocused on his dinner. He loved his family, but somehow the nightly dinners always seemed like another cold war, everyone holding their breath, waiting for something or, in this case, someone, to blow up. Matthew was an imposing figure in many ways. At six foot three and tipping the scale at two hundred and fifty pounds, he was built more like a linebacker than an accountant. But what always put the Jameson family on edge was his personality. His father was quick to anger, brown eyes capable of igniting in rage in seconds. Adam had learned early on to avoid confrontation with his father and was usually successful, but there was something about him that sent chills down Adam’s spine.

“Father, did you hear there is a chance that Abigail Mallory is pregnant? The whole school is talking about it,” Elisabeth said.

“I certainly hope that is not true. I am friends with Abigail’s father. He is a good man, and he has raised his family the right way. If it is true that Abigail has sinned so egregiously against the Lord’s wishes, then it will bring great shame to his entire family. And I certainly hope that you were not one of these children gossiping about the wayward children in your school.”

“No, Father. I just thought you would want to know because I know you are acquainted with Mr. Mallory.”

“Good. Now is everyone finished?” the patriarch asked. Getting the three affirmative answers he was looking for, Matthew announced they would now be having their after-dinner prayer. Adam clasped hands with his parents and looked at his sister doing the same, the Jameson family forming a circle. Adam listened to the prayer, eyes closed and head bowed, adding in his own silent prayer, thanking the Lord for helping him get through yet another family dinner.

After the prayer had concluded, Adam and Elisabeth cleared and straightened up the table while their mother washed dishes. Matthew retreated to his office, refusing to take part in such domesticity. Between the three family members, it only took twenty minutes to clean everything up, and Adam was free to escape to his own sanctuary.

Adam walked through the spacious living room, shoes clacking on the hardwood floors. He never really liked hanging out in the living room. It always felt more like a museum than a place to hang out. The plain white couch and matching wing chairs were as unblemished as the day they were bought. All the wooden furniture in the room was the same shade, from the bookshelves that flanked the front window, to the end tables next to the couch and between the chairs. Everything was in order as he climbed the stairs, glancing at all the family portraits that lined the staircase walls. He quickly walked down the hallway past the bathroom and his parent’s room, just in case his father had come out of his downstairs office without him hearing. Seeing his father again was the last thing Adam wanted, even though he had no real justification for feeling that way. Finally, he reached the white door at the very end of the hall and, with an audible sigh of relief, slipped inside.

For as long as he could remember, Adam’s room was his sanctuary. There was no other way to describe it. It was the only place in the entire world Adam felt he could be himself. Of course, he had to keep the place neat, and he was not allowed to have many things that could be found in a normal teenager’s room, like posters of hot women, a television, or even sports equipment. As Adam looked around his room, he was reminded that he didn’t really have much at all. His twin-sized bed was in the middle of the room, neatly made with a light-blue duvet, a small brown nightstand by the head of the bed. His desk was on the opposite wall, his laptop closed in the middle and a stack of schoolbooks on the side. A simple set of drawers that matched the nightstand held most of his clothes, with everything else behind the white, sliding closet door. There was no personality in his room. It could have belonged to anyone. Even the brown bookshelf under the window did not have any unique books on its shelves, just the classics and many books on the Christian faith that had been approved by their church.

Adam leaned against the door, trying to let the tension of the day seep out of him. He started to unbutton the simple, green, button-up shirt he had worn to dinner. His father always required them to wear business-casual attire to dinner. He said it was important to look nice as a sign of respect to those around you. Adam did not think it was necessary. They were a family, and they loved each other. That should have circumvented the need to show respect in that manner, right? But Adam would never dare to cross his father. Though he would never admit it aloud, Adam was terrified of the man. The few times he had seen his father really mad, he had been afraid he would be witness to serious violence. Matthew Jameson had some very intense views on life, and when something around him clashed with those beliefs, he had a tendency to get very angry, very fast. Adam had been very lucky to avoid that rage so far, but he had been witness to it in the past. Especially after what his father had done to John….

No. Don’t go there, Adam thought fiercely. It is not going to end up like it did with John. I am not going to get kicked out like my brother.