It is my pleasure to welcome Angel Martinez to my Thursday Morning Coffee Blog this week. Angel, an accomplished and well-published author, PM’ed me with a question about my recently released “Breakfall” – it turns out I’m not the only one who bit the bullet and tackled the difficult issue of male –on-male sexual assault.
Angel Martinez reveals more about her book, “Restoration,” in her answers below. She also shares an excerpt at the very end.
Angel, tell us a bit about you and your writing background. How long have you been writing professionally? Do you focus on M/M primarily or do you delve into other genres?
I’ve always written, but I’m one of those people who graduated long before Creative Writing was considered a legitimate degree or even a course of study. Writing fiction was not something you did for a living. Period. So most of my adult life was spent meandering from one job to another—retail, banking, nursing, insurance claims, etc. Obviously, nothing stuck.
It wasn’t until I was nearing forty that I started thinking about writing for publication. My first short story was picked up in 2005, my first novella in 2006. While I write M/M exclusively under Angel Martinez, (somewhere around twenty published stories at this point) I also have science fiction novels published under my given name.
This story sounds very intense and well researched. Was this based on a true story?
It’s not based on any one true story but on an amalgam of stories and experiences. There are young men I’ve known who suffered through assault, years ago. Keep in mind that support for male survivors was almost non-existent back then, and the authorities were not likely to treat the case with anything approaching sympathy.
Things have progressed, but not enough. The impetus for the story came from a talk radio program during which some idiot still claimed (and this was in 2005, not 1955) that men can’t be raped. Restoration is, to date, the one story I have written in anger.
The prominent theme in this book is sexual assault. That is a very sensitive subject matter. Why did you decide to tackle it? Did you have any hesitations about exploring such a heavy subject in your novel?
That’s a good question. If you look at my work, you won’t find many contemporary pieces. Urban fantasy, science fiction – magic, spaceships, and mayhem are more usual for me. Even as a reader, I don’t tend to gravitate toward angst-ridden subjects. You know the books, the ones where pages and pages are dedicated to tortured soul-searching.
Exactly two of my words, Restoration and Invisible Faun, are real-world contemporary pieces and both were written as reactions to things that made me angry. So for me to set aside my indifference to contemporary fiction, there has to be a subject that really sets me off in some way. With Invisible Faun, it was bullying at school and how the victim often feels isolated and without allies. With Restoration, it was male rape and how we, as a society and as individuals, don’t want to talk about it. Yes, I had hesitations and moments of doubt. I didn’t want to treat the rape as drama and creating a likeable character for this purpose almost felt like a betrayal of the character. It’s perhaps the most personally painful story I’ve even written.
What message do you want readers to take away with?
The message is twofold:
First – yes, males are raped and though they are traumatized in many of the same ways female survivors are, they experience the aftermath differently.
Second – there is support available and no one should feel that he is less of a man because it happened or alone in his experiences.
Do you have other projects in the pipeline, or other subjects that you plan to tackle like you have here in Restoration?
I may come back to this sort of story in the future, though it would have to be something I feel very passionate about. While themes of inequality and the struggle for acceptance and identity run throughout my work, I may come back to contemporary fiction to tackle specific identity issues like bi-erasure in the future.
RAINN: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) (for male and female survivors)
What genre would you like to try writing that you haven’t yet?
Might be odd to hear from someone who writes almost exclusively in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres, but I’ve never written High Fantasy (that sub-genre of Fantasy in a completely non-Earth, often medieval-esque setting.) One of these days, I might give it a try.
Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
Someday, I hope to make it to some of the world’s ancient places, those astounding feats of architecture that stun you speechless. Machu Pichu, Angkor Wat – it may be a bit before I’ll have funds to travel again, but someday.
Thank you for dropping by, Angel! To the rest of you, this is not a simple boy-meet-boy. This book has depth, and it deserves to be read and understood. Enjoy the excerpt below and make use of the handy buy-links. Consider supporting an author who has something relevant to say, even though the truth of her words will probably steer you into that infamous “tissue box territory.” It sure had that effect on me – but I’m glad I read it.
by Angel Martinez
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Release date: 9/13/14
Word Count: 29,266
Victor and Cody have the American dream – a house, two cars, upwardly mobile income, and each other – but all is not well in paradise. Cody’s trust in other people’s goodwill led to one recent assault. A few months later, a friend’s betrayal leads to another. Battered every waking moment by fear and shame, all his joyful creative energy transforms into brittle, aggressive lashing out.
Victor, wracked by guilt and shackled to a grueling, time-devouring career, must find a way to help Cody back from the darkness and to keep him safe from his self-destructive behavior. With the help of a common-sense therapist, some loyal friends and Cody’s own impetuous nature, their recovery and their relationship might even stand a chance.
Please Note: This is a re-edited third addition with expanded content. (Formerly titled Aftermath)
When did they drain all the colors out of everything? Cody stared out the window of his hospital room. Even with the drugs in his system, mood levelers one of the doctors had said, everything hurt. Strange things made him nauseous and irritable, like watching the clouds drift and change. Clouds shouldn’t have made him angry, the dull red of the blanket his mother had brought him shouldn’t have, but they did. The curve of a chair arm, the lift in a nurse’s voice, the squeak of shoes all made him angry in a terrible, gray way, anger through a miasmic fog.
It’s my own fault. Not strong enough or man enough to defend myself. Not smart enough to stay clear of trouble. Stupid. Weak. Worthless.
He wanted to claw his brain out of his skull. He wanted to scream but didn’t have the energy. He wanted the flickering images to stop replaying behind his eyes, awake, asleep, he couldn’t escape them. Worst of all, he wanted that horrible, cigarette-ruined voice to stop whispering in his ear.
Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres who writes mainly Science Fiction and Fantasy with gay heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, two cats, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.
For more information on Angel’s work, please visit:
Website: Erotic Fiction for the Hungry Mind