Today we’re so pleased to welcome author Jake Wells to TNA, to tell us about his new book, Sometimes Love Lasts. Jake is donating all the royalties earned on the book to an organization that’s near and dear to his heart. Please join us in giving him a warm welcome.
To begin with, I would like to thank everyone at The Novel Approach for inviting me to participate in your blog. Posting here is like being welcomed home. This was one of the first sites to review my premier novel, A White Coat is My Closet. When it was initially released, I was hugely apprehensive reviewers would select toilet paper as being the most appropriate medium on which to chronicle their impressions. Getting positive feedback from a source as reputable as yours gave me a tremendous boost of confidence. Thank you so much! Sometimes Love Lasts came to fruition largely because of the encouragement I received from some of your readers.
In recent weeks, especially with the release date for Sometimes Love Lasts looming closer; more readers have been messaging me through Facebook. They recognize that my stories have a medical theme and they’re curious to know if I still feel passionate about being a doctor.
I guess in some ways, I feel more passionate than ever. I still get tremendous satisfaction taking care of my own patients and also fuel my enthusiasm for being a pediatrician by volunteering to care for children in countries where quality medical care is much more limited.
In fact, I just recently returned from working in Africa and feel that I’m a much better person for having gone. If nothing else, caring for kids in an impoverished part of the world serves as an unambiguous reminder of how privileged I am. It’s so easy for me to take basic necessities like adequate food, uncontaminated water and shelter for granted. I returned from my trip not only with a renewed sense of appreciation for everything I have, but also with a sense of awe. Despite having so little, the African people with whom I worked were happy, optimistic, and grateful. In some respects, I feel that they helped me more than I helped them.
The other thing people want to know is how I think of the stories I write. The real problem is actually being able to turn my imagination off. One minute I’m contemplating the details of some random occurrence in my life and the next minute my brain is building a story around it.
Sometimes Love Lasts was kind of the amalgamation of two thoughts.
To begin with, I have recently become very concerned the Los Angeles LGBT center is seeing a greater number of homeless youth than ever before. As is frequently the case in society, we’re currently witnessing the “one step forward, two steps backwards” phenomenon. In one respect, we’re living in an incredible time. Marriage equality was approved by the Supreme Court of the United States and now loving, committed gay families are being afforded some of the same civil rights that have been available to straight couples for centuries. On the flip side of things however, we are also witnessing a troubling backlash. Embolden by the likes of people in the Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee camp, there is a segment of our population who believe that their religion is under attack and they have become passionate about seeking retribution. They believe that being Gay is an abomination against God and they feel justified in kicking their children out of their home if they suspect them of embracing a contemptable lifestyle. Therefore, the number of gay youth finding themselves suddenly homeless is increasing at an alarming rate.
This realization led me to my second thought; the problem of homelessness.
Homelessness is kind of a foreign concept to me. Certainly, I spent some of my youth struggling with coming to terms with my sexuality but my childhood was mostly idyllic. My parents loved me. Even though I grew up in a small community where homosexuality was considered unacceptable, I never imagined for a second my parents would disown me were they to suspect I was gay. The possibility of being kicked out into the streets was unfathomable.
But, what if I hadn’t been so lucky? What if my parents had been bigoted homophobes and I had found myself tossed out like yesterday’s garbage. How would my life have been different? How would I have survived? What would have become of me?
Somewhere in the process of trying to reconcile these two issues, Rone’s life story came bounding into my head. Now, it was just a matter of spending the next several months putting his story to paper.
Borrowing from my book’s blurb: For Rone Forrester, life as a high school student is a roller coaster ride. Though he’s intelligent, good-looking, and athletic, true happiness eludes him. He’s lost his mother to cancer, his hypercritical father is a tyrant, and he spends most of his free time taking care of his little brother, Eli. And to make matters worse, Rone begins to have romantic feelings for his best friend, Carson Harrington.
When Rone is inadvertently outed, his life swirls into turmoil. His father’s homophobia and Rone’s embarrassment at the thought of facing Carson force him to flee to Los Angeles, where he hopes to find a safe haven. Instead, he quickly learns that every moment is dangerous for a homeless teenager. As time passes, Rone navigates through multiple challenges, makes friends who love him for who he is, works hard to achieve his goal of becoming a pediatric surgeon—with all its inherent triumphs and tragedies—and overcomes a failed relationship. Ultimately, his journey teaches him that in order to fulfill his dreams, he has to come to terms with his past.
At the risk of sounding like an overly enthusiastic teen, it would be “awesome” if you would consider reading Sometimes Love Lasts. If you need additional incentive, let me take this opportunity to share with you the fact that all the royalties from my book’s sales will be donated to the Homeless Youth Project at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. I feel like I have led a very privileged life and being able to make this donation gives me a chance to pay some of my good fortune forward.
Perhaps you would consider joining me in this endeavor. Consider the following:
Far too often, school and home are two of the most dangerous places for our LGBT youth. They are twice as likely to be physically attacked, kicked, or shoved at school; 28 percent of LGBT youth drop out of school because of harassment. After coming out or being discovered, many of our LGBT youth are mistreated or thrown out of their homes. Tragically, fleeing the trauma suffered at the hands of classmates and parents means choosing an even more dangerous option for survival: life on the streets. A staggering 40 percent of the 6,000 homeless youth (ages 24 and younger) on the streets of Los Angeles every night identify as LGBT.
No other organization offers a wider range of programs and services to help LGBT youth build lives that are healthy, equal, and complete. The Los Angeles LGBT Center is an entry point for youth making the transition from the streets to independent living. Its school and community outreach programs help create safe and affirming spaces for young people to thrive.
The Los Angeles LGBT Youth Center on Highland—open seven days a week—offers a place to stay for a night or up to 30 nights, three meals/day, clothing and support groups. Youth can also access a charter high school; GED and college prep program; and an employment preparation, training and placement program. The Center exists to provide whatever support youth need to get off the streets.
In addition, the Center offers medical care, counseling, a 24-bed Transitional Living Program (TLP) where youth can stay for up to 18 months, and affordable apartments for the youth who graduate from TLP. More than 90% of youth exiting the TLP have secured stable housing, and employment and/or scholarships to post-secondary institutions that enable them to live independently. It also offers all LGBT youth (ages 24 and younger) the help they need to achieve their full potential through the Center’s LifeWorks program, which provides one-on-one mentoring; a charter high school for LGBT youth who don’t feel safe or comfortable in traditional schools; college and trade school scholarships, workshops, social activities; and the world’s largest free conference for LGBT young people (Models of Pride).
Thousands of LGBT youth in Los Angeles are in desperate need of our help. They are young, disenfranchised, frightened and without resources. The Los Angeles LGBT Center is doing important and vital work on behalf of these youth but their programs depend on the generosity of donors to exist. If you would like to join me in supporting Youth Services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, please consider making a tax deductible donation directly to them. This can be easily done by going to the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s website. The Center has created a link associated with my name to ensure your donation is specifically directed to Youth Services.
Thank you for your consideration. Your generosity helps to save lives.
Oh yeah…… and I hope you enjoy my book!!
Buy the Book
About the Author
Jake Wells was born a dreamer. He dreamed of distant lands, of trying to make a difference in people’s lives, of falling in love, of writing a book, and of all things chocolate. Imagine how fortunate he feels to have seen most of his dreams come true. He’s adventured through the far corners of the world, has a successful career practicing medicine, and shares his life with an amazing partner. Though eating chocolate continues to play a prominent role in his dreams, the icing on the cake has been writing about falling in love in a world where equality is only beginning to be embraced.
When he’s not playing doctor, Jake can usually be found traipsing local hiking trails with his dogs near his West Coast home, in the kitchen trying to replicate some sumptuous dish he saw on one of the cooking channels, or sipping a glass of fine red wine with his friends.