Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Writing for Just One Reader

As an author, I have a mighty responsibility. I must engage a reader, who has taken his or her time to invest in my story. Therefore, any story I write must be relevant and find its way into a reader’s imagination. The world bustles around us and reading is an escape.

Therefore, all my books have an element of fantasy, and like all fantasies, they must deliver the truth encapsulated in lies. Whether I take the reader to ancient China, a gay bar in Greenwich Village or a suburb in the wilds of New Jersey, they get there in the minds and hearts of my characters, who provide a view of my world through my eyes.

All my novels have a gay theme. However, they are not gay books. Sometimes I explore current and past gay community issues, and every novel has gay characters, but while I am gay, my reader is ... a reader. I make no assumptions that my audience is gay and looking for hot steamy sex scenes or political discussions or equality discourses. When it comes to creating a novel, I’m only seeking a reader.

Enough of the abstract. My novels are about the human condition, reality as I see it ~ in short, like any author, I’m a liar. I have a scholastic background in Chinese History. Therefore, I write Chinese fantasy works filled with drag queens, Cherokee warriors and wacky paranormal relics. I have written historical novels based on 12th century, homosexual Chinese scholar-officials.

Then there’s a suite of gay-themed social novels ~ the usual stuff. NOT. A gay murder mystery mixing an original edition of Moby Dick and internet strippers (of course); a Boyz in the Band-esque gay activist gathering that dissolves into a general round of back stabbing; a stint in the U.S. Army before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; a little tale about a ghost and a priest and a computer programmer; a domestic drama about teenage love and widowhood. The usual mix. NOT.

One of my latest work takes on the AIDS crisis of the 90’s from Act Up to the NAMES Project. In short, I write on a range of topics that transcend genre, but I guarantee you this. All are written for that one person out there looking for hours of engaged reading and who doesn’t mind seeing the world ... through my eyes.

Edward C. Patterson

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