Michael Ampersant: Green Eyes --- an erotic novel (sort-of)
I featured Michael Ampersant before, in our series about bilingual writers, and there he is again, having now published his first novel, the GREEN EYES.
Is there anything wrong with your book?
Your “sort-of” in the title, why is that?
It’s M/M romance, trust me. At least, it’s constructed as M/M romance. Expectation are met. There’s a pure HEA ending, with John and Alex, the main protagonists…
…embracing in front of the crowd of the gay beach of Georgia Beach, GA, people applauding, it’s a bit over the top, in fact.
My aim was to make the reader really happy. Most readers of M/M romance will be used to happy endings, we can assume…
…and so we had to do something special, I felt. When you watch the crowd leaving the cinema, having just finished watching a good action comedy, say---those are the best when it comes to happy endings---the crowd leaving the cinema, there’s a victorious, lustful simper on each face. The feel-good that underlies these simpers, that’s what I’m trying to achieve.
Yes, feel-good, unapologetically.
The “sort-of,” in the title what does it mean, then?
The book is a bit untypical in someother respects.
The high-low voice in which it is written?
Yes, that’s perhaps the most important aspect. A stand-up artist could speak like this into his mike. I hope. Most parts of the text.
You did this intentionally?
No, it seemed the natural way to position John, the narrator, in some convicing way, create some sense of double-sense.
Or irony. John is really stricken, stricken with Alex, the main object of desire, but also stricken with his destiny, the way he bumbles along, seredipitously, always on the edge of sheer slapstick, and yet, he’s serious, and the story is serious, people really get killed, ditched, there’s a lot of hurt, not less than in any bona-fide romance without “sort-of” in the title.
How about sex?
We’re covered. Six percent of the text is explicit sex. That’s roughly the percentage of time people spend per day thinking about sex.
We’ll let me say it this way. Tom of Finland, the erotic drawsman, his principle was: if it doesn’t arouse, it’s no good.
So, you write to arouse.
Sure, people wanna have fun, don’t they.
It’s pure M/M.
No-no, John starts his own excort service, having been inspired by an chance encounter with two desperate housewives. Motto: “Consenting adults, unite.”
So it’s what, M/M/F?
In Part I, the book we’re talking about, the m/f thing is just sex, escort work. But we’re anticipating Part II of the series already, where we’ll have at least one story line of Romeo-Juliet proportions, emotionally, played out by two characters surprisingly called Romeo and Juliette. The first part, when it comes to emotional engagement, it’s M/M/m or M/M/m/m, because John is trolling. He can’t help it.
Anything else what?
There’s a political angle. John’s a liberal, in the American sense of the word, and we have a cameo-appearance of Paul Krugman, the leading thinker of the American left.
Paul Krugman is real?
Yes, Nobel prize of Economics, New York Times columnist. And we have the Tea Party. John’s father turns out to be a member of the Tea Party. John and his father exchange
views about the gov’ment.
Yes, the gov’ment. If you didn’t know, the “gov’ment” is the problem.
Why not goVERNment.
We’ll John’s Tea-Party father manages to quote an entire page---with some editorial modifications---an entire page of the book of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain’s book, a tirade of of Huck’s redneck father against the gov’ment and against the n’s of course.
Yes, the people to which the N-word was appliedthen (and still is).
The point being that this whole thing about “the government is the problem”---it’s usually attributed to Ronald Reagan these days, but it goes back much further. It has been a classical redneck position, even during the 19th century, when typical rednecks would come out in support of slavery and what not. There’s a lot of continuity there.
I read Tom Sawyer twenty times as a boy. If there’s a writer who has influenced me, it would be Mark Twain.
You do have literary pretensions?
Depends what that means. I make an effort, style-wise, the reason being that I’m very impatient.
The concept of a page-turner, you know, for me it’s not enough that the plot keeps me going, I need constant stimuli to continue reading, more than a plot---any plot---could provide. The additional stimuli, that’s style, a good turn of phrase, a clever simile, something funny. I revise endlessly. I love revising. It’s my favorite activity, always has been.
But this is your first novel?
Yes, but not my first book. I’ve been an academic, I wrote academic books.
Why the switch to fiction?
I didn’t intend to write this book, in fact. I started a new blog, on Blogger, the Google platform, and converted it to the then-new Dynamic View. And then blog froze (it’s in Chapter 19 of the Green Eyes). Three months later, I tried again, and the blog unfroze, and first thing, I posted a picture by Joe Phillips, “Latino Boy,” the picture on the cover of the book. And then I thought, let’s add a story to the picture. That became Chapter 1. It ended on a cliffhanger, the story. So I had to continue, wrote another short piece, which also ended on a cliffhanger. I soon realized I had the material for a book. Everything was sheer coincidence. The book is set in Georgia because of the Palmetto trees on Joe’s picture, and so on.
But now you are working on Part II?
Yes, because I fell in love with the characters. I distributed my personality over John, Alex, and a third guy, Maurice, and then embellished them, the characters, made them smarter (Alex in particular), younger, better looking (much better looking), and voila. And now they have sex all the time, and fall in love, and so on. It’s fun. It’s fun to write about sex.
How far are you with Part II?
Well, we need another spoiler alert here…
Alex labors under a clinical depression, intially, and he will attempt suicide. He’s saved, of course, and when he wakes up with amnesia, his personal memory is gone, including the memory of his depression. He feels so relieved, he develops the theory that he has succeeded suicidally and arrived in heaven. “This Is Heaven” is the title of the second part. But it’s a fairly special kind of heaven. In particular, it’s a vampire festival, the yearly jamboree of Georgia Beach themed to the undead at this occasion. Alex and John get involved in this festival.
Alex and John will stay together?
Yes, sure, but John will continue to troll.
This could go on for quite some time.
Yes, hopefully. Alex will morph into a neo-neo Sherlock Holmes, bodily fluids will continue to flow, etc.
Any other projects?
I’ve started a Young Adult novel, set in a non-standard future.
Yes, because in my future, Einstein’s natural laws still hold. There won’t be much intergalactic space travel because of the limits that the speed of light imposes on acceleration; we won’t even have laser swords. But we have robots. They’ve become so smart, the robots, there’s nothing left to do for humans. We look at a world society that is extremely rich, leasurely, and decadent. There’s one dissident corner of the planet, however, that hasn’t kept up with the general progress, the United States under God, located somewhere in the Middle East. My hero, Xandara, a 16-old girl, has somehow escaped from the USG, and been adopted by “The Senator,” a member of the World
Government. She misses her brother. You see it coming.
A last word?
I’d suggest people should read the blurb of the GREEN EYES. If they arrive at the end, they’ll like the book.
Michael’s web site:
|Author revising the manuscript|
Alpha males, delicate souls, and a killer-psychopath hit it off in an impossible scramble for the last happy ending.
Yes, the GREEN EYES take you on a roller-coaster ride of gay romance (“When bipolar John meets mesmerizing Alex in the cruising area of Georgia Beach, little does he know about Alex’s haunted past…”). And, yes, the book is about lithe, tapered bodies, perfect abs, and outsized male organs. It’s about love. And hurt. And murder. And redemption. Glands fire. People talk during intercourse. There’s a hilarious supporting cast. Expectations are met.
Yet we do more. We have Nobel laureates. We have an even-handed discussion of the orthographic skills of the Tea Party (“No pubic option”). We have educational content about the mysteries of vasocongestion. We have neologisms (“Ikea moment,” “Armani minimum”).You learn about the 302 neurons that constitute the brain of a microscopic worm---and how this all relates to the IQ of John’s hated, child-abusing father.
You participate in an in-flagrante masterclass. You get a hitchhiker’s guide to gay sex.You learn about the unheard-of provisions still on the Georgia books prohibiting all but intra-marriage intercourse (Title 16, Ch. 6). You hear about Torre’s observation (“The other line is moving faster”). You’ll be amazed by our avant-garde art and music, or by the voracious appetites of two desperate housewives (“Consenting adults, unite”). We have secret drugs, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Albert Camus, Mark Twain, and countable near-death experiences. Pizzas are undercooked. Our bears (hairy middle-aged homosexuals) are ticklish. And there’s a table of contents.