Contemporary LGBT Fiction, Published by Harmony Ink, an imprint of Dreamspinner Press
The story of Shoulder Pads and Flannel actually begins with a different novel. And a reality TV show, and a misunderstood Spanish word.
My older daughter’s best friends are two boys who have, as I write this, been a couple for three years. One evening in 2012, they were at our house. One of them, for whatever reason, kept repeating “la chuga,” something he’d apparently heard in Spanish class that had just gotten stuck in his head and amused him. He said it meant lettuce.
My daughter, her friends, and I are all fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race, a cable show on which drag queens compete to be named a superstar. As we were talking about that week’s episode of the show, the one boy kept saying “la chuga.” His boyfriend and I agreed that would be a good name for a drag queen.
Thus was born the character of Evan Granger, a sixteen-year-old boy who wants to be a drag queen when he grows up. As the most openly gay boy at his school, Evan is bullied, but in the course of Nail Polish and Feathers, the novel that features him as a main character, he finds support from his family and from Guillermo Garcia, a closeted gay football player at Evan’s school who has a crush on—and begins a relationship with—Evan.
When Nail Polish and Feathers was released in August 2013, I was blown away by how much readers liked Evan and his story. And some of them enjoyed the budding relationship between Evan and Guillermo enough that they asked me if I would write Guillermo’s story.
I seem to have a habit of ending up with series when I thought I was only writing one novel…
At first, I had a hard time figuring out what Guillermo’s story was. But once I sat down to write it, Guillermo’s voice in my mind got louder, and I knew exactly who he was and why, and where he was going. A couple of unexpected subplots threw themselves into the story, opening the door to additional books about other characters. And Guillermo found his way through all of the problems and obstacles.
Hopefully readers will enjoy Guillermo’s story as much as Evan’s. And I hope they’ll watch for a continuation of Guillermo and Evan’s lives through other characters’ eyes.
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