We’re so pleased to welcome author Lynn Kelling to TNA today, on the tour for her latest novel, bare. She’s got a great guest post to share today, as well as a giveaway, so be sure to check out those details below.
Trouble With Doing the Right Thing
College is a time of self-discovery. This is especially true of Ev Myers, the main character in my new novel, bare. Ev is almost twenty years old and, for the most part, he’s been living life on his parents’ terms. Though this is true for most young people, it’s even more so for Ev, since his father is a prominent politician. Ev has grown up in the spotlight with press scrutinizing the image his family projects. One of the main complications is his parents’ strictly conservative belief system. Politically and religiously, it’s hammered into Ev at a very young age that being gay is unacceptable. In Ev’s community, if any sign of “trouble” is spotted, the troublemaker is sent away to be reformed, whether they go voluntarily or not.
This is unfortunately a dynamic that is very real and currently exists all over the United States and the wider world. It happens mostly behind closed doors. Help for the persecuted is tough to find when a code of silence reinforces abusive dynamics. Not only is Ev too scared to tell anyone he might not be straight, he’s too scared even to privately suspect in his own mind and heart that he might not be straight.
He’s told, constantly, that he needs to do the right thing.
But what does it mean to do the right thing? Is it a matter of living up to expectations? Fulfilling a designated role? Satisfying imposed responsibilities? Being a good person? Listening to gut instincts?
The question of defining the exact right thing haunts Ev throughout the entire story. The answer for him keeps changing as his perceptions are challenged and his eyes opened in both good ways and bad. When the “right thing” for him doesn’t mesh with what it is for his parents, or his friends, or the person he’s attracted to, or his ex-girlfriend, or potential lovers of both sexes, or his church, or his school, or his football coach, he has to decide whether to stand his ground and defend himself. But how do you justify going against everyone when no one has your back? When you’re not even completely sure of yourself at all?
Ev is a good guy. He really does want to do the right thing. He wants to make people happy. He wants his parents to be proud of him. He wants to be accepted by his family. He wants the people he loves to be safe and be able to be themselves. He wants to be seen and appreciated, as is, without adjusting himself to align to other people’s labels. He wants the space to figure stuff out without being threatened or attacked.
He doesn’t get all of these things, or even most of them.
What do you do when the “right thing” means freedom is entirely stripped from you? When it means you’re taken against your will, tortured, terrorized, and imprisoned until you mentally, physically, and emotionally surrender everything that makes you, you?
Religion is one of the biggest motivators in the world. It starts wars, rips people from those they love, devastates lives, alters the course of humanity, and creates as much misery as it does desperately needed hope. For some, religion is the way to God or redemption. It’s life itself and everything that matters. For others, like Ev, it makes everything a thousand times harder than it needs to be. It makes it impossible for him to face himself in the mirror. It drives him away from home and family. It pursues him when he flees.
There are no simple answers here, in searching for the right thing. The solution is different for each of us, and changes constantly, from moment to moment. For Ev, one of the most difficult things he can do is to simply dare to ask himself what it means for him—what it really means, when no one else is watching, as well as when the whole wide world is listening, staring, and judging him as he’s stripped down and exposed, his closely held secrets all spilled.
What Ev begins to learn is maybe the important thing isn’t the answer at all. Maybe the key to all of it is being brave enough to just stop and ask.
About the Book
Ev Myers was looking for trouble when he signed up to do nude art modeling, but he wasn’t expecting this much trouble. All he’d wanted to do was rebel against the moral limits of his strict religious family and the PR requirements of his father’s senate seat. He saw how much bigger his world could be when Professor Adam Buchanan opened Ev to new passions and new experiences but when Ev’s family learned how far he had gone, they decided to resort to kidnapping and brainwashing to save their son from sin and scandal—even if it kills him.
About the Author
Lynn Kelling began writing in order to tell stories that aren’t afraid of the dark, don’t hold anything back and always strive to be memorable, forging lasting attachments between character and reader. Her inspiration comes from taking a closer look at behaviors and ideas lurking at the fringes of life—basically anything that people may hesitate to speak of in mixed company, but everyone wonders about anyway. Her work is driven by the taboo in order to expose the humanity within it. Lynn is an artist, designer and lover of any form of creative self-expression that comes from a place of honesty and emotion, whether it’s body art or opera. She has had multiple novels published, has written over seventy works of erotic fiction of varying lengths, and always has several novels in progress.