Sometime over ten years ago I decided to write a novel. In my early years I loved writing stories but gave away this early passion during puberty. For some reason as a thirty-something, I decided to put pen to paper and write again.
I had a plot where characters in the Afterlife found themselves in the theater district, rehearsing plays which highlighted each actor’s unfinished business. They’d finally need to face the life lessons they avoided, here in the hereafter.
But thankfully that idea was lost as I began to write. A lot happened during the many years, and during the many drafts, that first novel took shape. But the best thing to happen, happened early in its life. I was put in touch with an assessor.
Over three more drafts she helped shape the manuscript, and through many more drafts, I expanded the lesser elements of the story, giving them new life. I was on a mission to be published, and to cut a long story short, I finally was offered a contract, but only after many rejection letters.
There’s a lot of time between signing a contract and finally seeing your book in print. So, while I waited, I started working on the sequel.
As reviews began to be published through various blogs and book sites, one reoccurring opinion about Drama Queens with Love Scenes was that everyone had fallen in love with my angel character, Guy. This took me by surprise. My assessor’s favorite character was Maudi, the late 19th century thespian. I was advised on expanding the world of this individual. There were a few suggestions for my angel guide, but both my assessor and I felt he was just one of the ‘gang’ in this story. Maudi was the main co-star.
Not so according to many others. A friend of mine described Guy as the silent but strong companion who keeps you on the straight and narrow, without judgment. Yet, he himself never knew his parents and has his own insecurities to contend with – including the fact that he doesn’t know how to fly. The perfect friend to have looking after your interests, and to care for as he deals with his own issues.
Bloggers have mentioned that they’ve put in their own request for Guy as their guardian angel. Others described him as the emotional center of the story. Some even wanted the romance in the novel to be between Guy and the main character, Allan, and not between Allan and Warwick.
Thankfully, Guy was a main component of the sequel, but like any writer reading his reviews, I took on board what was being said. I expanded his role, giving insight to my new protagonist’s relationship to the famed character through childhood and later adult years.
In the meantime I also wrote a companion tale to bridge both the first book and the second, giving a little more insight into my angel in a free short story available on my website and on various writer’s sites.
So over two books, and another which is still a work in progress, theatrical drama-queens deal with unrequited passion, artistically-questionable plays, the mysticism of the Afterlife, and a loveable self-doubting angel named Guy.
Close friends Allan and Warwick are dead. They’re not crazy about the idea so to help them deal with this dilemma are Samantha, a blond bombshell from the 1950s, and Guy, an insecure angel.
Allan also has a secret. He has a romantic crush on his friend, Warwick, but shortly after confiding in his new angel pal, his love interest falls for the cock-sure playwright, Pedro.
EXCERPT FROM DRAMA QUEENS WITH LOVE SCENES:
“Allan, what’s the one thing you need to say to Warwick?”
“I just need to tell him that I love him.”
“He knows that, Allan. Think harder.”
Guy was still dragging me along the streets of the Limelight Quarter. The crisp night air was reviving my spirits, albeit through my drunken stupor. Many colorful folk whisked past, some briefly staring at us as they made their way.
“You realize Pedro will be there,” I said.
“That’s why we’re going to call Warwick to come downstairs. You need to talk privately.”
We arrived outside of their balcony. I rubbed my arms to keep warm as Guy placed his hand on my shoulder.
“Warwick!” I yelled. “Are you there?”
There was no answer. A couple adorned in bohemian black, stopped in their tracks the moment I shouted to my ex-lover.
“Broken heart,” whispered Guy to the interested onlookers.
“I understand,” replied the woman. She looked up to her man. “Poor thing.”
“Go on, Allan, call out again.”
“Warwick! Warwick! I love you.” My voice echoed from the building as I looked to my angel friend. He nodded and caressed my shoulder. The couple nodded as well. “Warwick, are you home? I need to talk to you. Will you come down, please?”
“Keep going, Allan.”
“I really need to talk to you. I have so much more to say to you. I should never have let you walk out of my door the other night. I’ve wanted to talk to you so many times during the last few days, but there’s nowhere private at the theater. Plus I’d probably break down, which is not a good look when you’re wearing white grease paint.”
A few onlookers came out from their balconies. I glanced at Guy who was joined by a small audience. Some parents had let their kids stay up well after bedtime, and their freckled little girl was giggling at me. Her mother shushed her so she sat on the ground, sulking.
“Don’t worry about it, Allan. Just go on.”
“Yes, we’re right behind you,” said an elderly lady with bad teeth. “You make him listen.”
“Warwick, I love you, and I know you love me. You told me so. You said you’ve been waiting all year for me to make a move, and as you know, I’ve been waiting for you to make that move too.”
“You tell him, love!” interrupted the old woman.
My support team began to chant Warwick’s name. I was empowered. I encouraged them to clap their hands in time. They did. There was about ten of them now, and their support gave me a warm glow in that frosty breeze. However, Guy looked worried.
Adam can’t stop fantasizing about Mannix, the young nude model in his art class. But Adam has been with his husband, Wade, for nearly two decades.
Watching their drama unfold is Fabien, a warlock in the Afterlife who has wickedly cast the spell of lust on Adam and Mannix.
But Adam’s guardian angel, Guy, is also watching, clueless to what is causing this mid-life crisis!
EXCERPT FROM DRAMA QUEENS AND ADULT THEMES:
Maude, or at least a version of her, was in a couple of dreams I had when I was a kid. They were the same dreams that sparked my angel fascination. And although I have trouble remembering my nighttime adventures minutes after waking, these particular dreams have haunted me all my life.
The first began with a lone woman’s voice asking a question as if I had no right to be in my own dream.
“Who’s the child?”
While still peddling his bike, an angel with soft dove gray wings smiled at me.
“A special friend who’s joining us for the day,” he replied.
I was riding the red bicycle Santa gave me for Christmas, and had a grin from ear to ear as I thought I was traveling next to a fairy. That very night, my dad read me a story with stepsisters and a glass slipper, where a fairy godmother helps a girl who’s down on her luck. I’m not sure what Dad was thinking when he picked such a girly story for an impressionable four-year-old boy, but maybe he’d worked out something about me I was yet to discover.
“Hello, little one,” said the voice. “What’s your name?”
On the opposite side was an old man and woman, also riding bikes.
“Such an important biblical name for such a young man,” she replied. “And where did you live?”
“He still does live,” replied the fairy.
“Guy, do you think that’s wise?” asked the man.
“Trust me, I know what I’m doing.” My fairy god-person winked at me. “Adam’s my cheer squad.”
The couple shared concerned glances similar to the ones my mum used to share with Tess from next door, when Dad came home late. He’d stumble in before my bedtime making sure he’d read me a story, while our neighbor drank tea with Mum in our kitchen.
But, let’s get back to my dream.
My tires flattened a path in the lush field ahead, spinning water droplets into the air. My socks gradually became more and more damp. But I didn’t care. After all, like Cinderella, I had my own magical fairy.
“What do you eat, young man?” the woman asked.
Her loose gown flowed behind her.
“I like chocolate.”
“Hmm. I’m not sure I have chocolate in my basket. But how about some boiled lollies?”
“What are they?”
She looked to the fairy.
“What century is this one from? Do they not indulge in the delights of boiled treats in his decade?”
“I’m sure we have something for you, young man,” said the grandpa figure.
I shook my head at their silly talk.
“This is a very important day,” the woman continued. “We’re helping Guy become a strong angel by helping him fly.”
“An angel?” I said. “I thought you were a fairy.”
“If you want me to be a fairy, then I’m a fairy.”
He had a proud grin.
“Why can’t you fly?”
“Oh, I can fly, just not very well. I can only do short flights.”
“Can you piggyback me while you fly?”
“You might fall off his back, Adam,” said the man.
“But I think he’s a good flyer. You’re a good flyer, aren’t you, Mr. Guy?”
“I promise I’ll piggyback you one day. But today is not the day.”
“As long as you promise.”
I peddled as hard as I could. The dusty pink sky highlighted the candy floss clouds, while the trees opened their branches to welcome us as we passed. The breeze whistled a tune in my ear, tickling my earlobes.
My dreamtime grandparents began singing a strange song about bottles falling off a wall, in perfect harmony to the wind’s flutelike voice. I looked to my big brother with wings, and soon, we both sang as well.
When the old people eventually stopped cycling, I helped them unpack their picnic basket, while the angel kept riding his bike in circles.
“Now, dear Adam, my name is Maudi, and my friend here is Frederick.”
“They’re funny names.”
She shook her head before popping a candy in my mouth. Her friend chuckled.
“Little boys shouldn’t be judgmental.”
Guy rode in a straight line, picking up speed along the way.
“Why is the fairy going so fast?”
“And little boys shouldn’t talk with their mouths full.”
“Keep watching, Adam,” replied Frederick.
Guy’s hectic pace made him puff loud enough for us to hear him twenty meters away. Another little boy was watching with his mum, pointing at the frenzied angel. His wings flapped wildly. He let go of the handlebars and flew forward. The bike slowed down of its own accord before its stand flung out, making it rest on the grass.
“Oh my lord,” said Maudi. “His confidence is waning.”
Guy used his hands for extra thrust, but the awkward flutter of his wings caused him to dart in random directions. The other small boy clutched onto his mother’s leg, hiding his face while taking panicked peeks from time to time.
“Come on, Mr. Guy,” I yelled. I stood up. “Fairies can fly, and you’re a good flyer!”
“Yes, Guy,” Frederick called out. “It’s important that fairies can fly.”
“Precisely,” shouted Maudi. Her booming voice startled me. “Adam will be disappointed if you don’t!”
Guy’s arm movements were now as manic as his wings. He started falling. I raced in his direction.
Author Bio: Kevin lives with his long-term partner in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.
From an early age Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his social circumstances changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, snuck the notebook out to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his novel. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.
His longest running passion is a weekly radio program he produces with Warren for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander station, Koori Radio. Since 2004 they have been discovering music, both new and old, and interviewing local artists and community leaders. Every Friday night, The Rhythm Divine is heard across Sydney and via the world wide web.