Interview With Kristian Daniels
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I wanted to write a story about growing up gay. I thought about how it was for me and if today’s youth goes through what we went through in my time. I began reading blogs. LGBTQ stories on growing up gay, discovering same-sex attraction. I remember how confusing and scary it was to have those feelings, especially when you had no one to talk to. Further, into my research, I noticed that some of the stuff I’ve gone through in the ’70s, today’s LGBTQ people, whether young or older, were going through similar situations my generation went through.
I wanted to show what certain behaviours and attitudes towards the LGBTQ community do to those individuals and the devastation it creates. Bullying, mocking and laughing at someone is still present in today’s society which made me wonder if we, as a society, have ever evolved at all. Why does seeing two men or two women together, whether they are raising a family or getting married, still creates prejudice? Small rural communities are usually very religion oriented, a very gossipy environment because everyone knows each other. I was raised in that type of environment. Suppose you’re different in such an environment. Most of the time, you’ll be ostracized, made fun of, and sometimes beaten up for that. I took all this as the base of the story I wanted to write and carried my characters to their adult life and the change it brought in them as they left their rural environment.
Tell us about why we will fall in love with your main character/s.
I tried to write characters that are strong and sympathetic. My main character starts in a vulnerable situation at home and school. From the start, the reader can’t help but care and root for him. This character is defenceless and experiences dramatic ups and downs throughout the story. His consolation is that he has a solid friendship that he can rely on when things get too much or when he doesn’t know where to turn. As his life unfolds, he only hopes that his life gets better and that one day he will meet Mr. Right. One of his most tragic moments is still back home, and it’s still buried in his heart, and he wonders if it will ever heal. Not all the characters are likeable, but then again, the reader may love to hate them. I wanted to take my readers on a journey through the main character surrounded by a cast of friendly and not-so-friendly people. My favourite character is Elliot because although he comes across as vulnerable, he also demonstrates moments of strength and courage. The characters in this book will make the reader cry, scream with anger but will also experience love through the eyes of Elliot.
What is your next project?
My next project is a story about two relationships that takes place in different cities. It is the story of two teenagers, Greg and Tyler, from different religious backgrounds who meet at a hockey match and the story of Neil and Trevor, who works for the same employer. The common thread between these two relationships is religion. The strain it brings into a family when the parents discover that their son is gay. The toxic environment that is created because of unacceptance and intolerance. The lies a person feeds themselves to cover their real self to please everyone. This story will talk about what conversion therapy does to a person and what a religious parent will do to have their child conform to the norm and stop sinning. How social media is used to manipulate the truth and expose people’s secrets. This story is about love, friendship, hate and people being manipulated. The title of it will be “The sins of our sons.”
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
I was in my late teens. I remember writing movie scripts and dialogue in my teens with the hope of making a homemade movie with my father’s Bell and Howell moviemaker. Writing is an extension of me, what I think, what I’d like to say. I’m an introvert, so writing gives me a voice to expose my emotions and expose my caring side. What I love about writing is the freedom to express myself, convey a story and touch people. I always wanted to be a writer but did not make the time for it because of my full-time work and other obligations. In the last three years, I finally made the time to fulfill this passion of mine.
Elaborate on the things that you edited out of this book, or that was originally planned but changed once you started writing.
The change came after I was editing the book. I wrote a scene, and after reading, it didn’t add anything to the story or didn’t seem plausible. The scene had one of the main characters at a crime scene. While talking to the police, I had an EMT noticed the tattoo on this character’s arm, but it would have been too dark for anyone to make the tattoo out on a dim-lit street, and the EMT’s attention would have been with the patient. Also, having kept that scene, it could have been misinterpreted as an enigmatic clue. So I remove the whole scene from the story.