It is my pleasure to welcome Pd Singer, who is my surprise Valentine Blogger. She has a new book out, a book I had the privilege to read few months ago. I can’t recommend it highly enough – let’s see what Pd Singer has to say about it!
What better day than Valentine’s Day to share a tale of young love. Chad and Warren go from friends to lovers, but that’s only part of their arc. They also have to learn how to translate “fun in bed” (and out) into a long term partnership.
Chad’s medical condition is actually a third and unwelcome member of their relationship, dictating in no uncertain terms what he’s capable of, and even how he feels. Poor guy, his hormones to date have never been quite normal. He’d never, short of happy accident, connect his dormant sex drive to his near-constant headaches. Dumb sinuses, he thinks. Much of his and Warren’s arc involves solving this mystery and dealing with the following shit storm.
How did I come up with this honker of a plot point, Kate asked me.
There’s a display rack by the stairs at my favorite library, where some thoughtful person sets out books on a theme. My challenge to myself is to read the book in the lower left corner, regardless of what it is. Just to keep my horizons broad, and boy has it worked. That corner has sent me through the creation of Charles Babbage’s nineteenth century mechanical computer to the crash of Lehman Brothers in the recent mortgage meltdown (that one led directly to The Rare Event http://amzn.com/B007PZICEO to a memoir of a man with the health condition I eventually gave to Chad. Ken Baker’s story went in some different directions, but the physical condition he describes living with intrigued me. And then he detailed a scene where he was mistaken for gay. He was horrified, BTW, and that got me thinking. What if a gay man had this ailment?
And then I was off and running, learning the surgical details (thankfully, technique has improved since Baker’s treatment), researching the emotional turmoil, the physical changes, and trying to develop a character who could deal with a man going through this particular brand of hell.
I toned down the surgical aspects for the book. If you really wanted the whole gory story, you’d be reading horror. Be glad I exercised restraint. Also, thank G-d for improved laparoscopic cameras and remote control curettes. And anesthesia. Chad’s sister Caroline wanted to know how many instruments Chad had shoved up his nose (three) but I kept the details minimal. (At least by my standards. YMMV. One of my medical-phobic betas gave me the shaky finger.)
But as much fun as I had with the medical issues, the true story is what they do to Chad, and through Chad, to Warren. So many of us have had a dear one experience health problems that shake the foundations of their budding romance. A serious medical problem can rattle even the most solid relationships, and when the couple are very, very new together? And when the emotional and sexual aftermath are hormonally driven? That’s what I wanted to explore with Chad and Warren. I had to find out if Warren could love the new Chad, and if the new Chad could let himself be loved.
Senior year of college is for studying, partying, and having fun before getting serious about life. Instead, Chad’s days are filled with headaches and exhaustion, and his fencing skills are getting worse with practice, not better. Then there’s his nonexistent love life, full of girls he’s shunted to the friend zone. Is he asexual? Gay?
Grad student Warren Douglas could be out clubbing, but his roommate is better company, even without kisses. He’s torn up watching Chad suffer, gobbling ibuprofen and coming home early on Friday nights. If Chad weren’t straight, Warren would keep him up past midnight. They’re great as friends. Benefits might answer Chad’s questions.
A brief encounter with lab rats reveals Chad’s illness—he needs surgery, STAT, and can’t rely on his dysfunctional parents for medical decisions. Warren’s both trustworthy and likely to get overruled—unless they’re married. “You can throw me back later,” Warren says, and he may throw himself back after his husband turns out moody and hard to get along with, no matter how much fun his new sex drive is. Surgery turns Chad into a new man, all right…
…but Warren fell in love with the old one.