After meeting the talented Michael Rupured at RainbowCon 2014, I asked him to stop by and tell us a little about his books. Don’t let the titles fool you, these aren’t just seasonal tales.
Thanks so much, Brandon, for inviting me onto your blog to introduce myself and to share a little about the kind of books I write. Meeting you was one of many highlights of the recent RainbowCon in Tampa. It’s nice to finally have a face to go with the name.
After coming out in 1979 at the age of 21, I have lived what many consider to be an “interesting” life. Thinking I was going to hell for loving another man—as I believed for years after coming out—was oddly liberating. Since what I did no longer mattered, I did everything I was big enough to do…and then some.
Despite my reckless salad days, I’m one of the lucky ones. Many gay men I knew took their own lives—most before graduating from high school. Several died in car crashes, from drug overdoses, or as a result of other accidents. More than a few were stabbed, beaten to death, or shot. AIDS killed too many to count. Somehow, I survived. [tweet_dis]Because so many of my friends didn’t survive, I’m compelled to tell our stories.[/tweet_dis]
My first novel, Until Thanksgiving, is a thriller set in Washington, DC in the fall of 1996. The serial killer is a gay man with anger issues and a dishonorable discharge from the Marines. Josh Freeman and Thad Parker are out to everyone, including their employers, and they can eat together in “straight” restaurants without worrying about anyone beating them up or harassing them.
Josh Freeman knows his best days are behind him. After his partner of seventeen years has an affair with a younger man, Josh buries himself in takeout boxes, half-smoked joints, and self-pity until his best friend gently kicks him in the ass and encourages him to try out a new job in Washington DC—at least until Thanksgiving.
Though DC has its share of troubles, specifically in the form of a murderer targeting gay men, Josh soon discovers its charms as well. Unlike his old home, DC is crawling with men who want to date him—apparently he’s not as overweight, out of shape, or over the hill as the man he once loved made him believe. In particular, Josh would love a chance with relocation expert Thad Parker, but Josh is sure Thad is seeing someone, so he looks for love elsewhere. He tells himself he and Thad don’t have anything in common anyway.
Then Josh learns Thad really is available. Maybe they can work it out after all. Suddenly the future seems bright again. Of course, Josh doesn’t know he’s the murderer’s next target….
After Christmas Eve is a mystery set thirty years earlier in DC revolving around Philip Potter, Thad Parker’s gay uncle. Homosexuality in 1966 was a sin, a mental illness, a reason to get fired and/or evicted, and illegal in every state but Illinois. Nobody was out of the closet—not if they could help it. Police raids, entrapment, and extortion schemes were the norm. Homosexual teenagers ran away from cruel homes, or worse, were put out by parents who didn’t want them anymore.
As Philip Potter wraps up his last minute shopping on Christmas Eve, 1966, James Walker, his lover of six years, takes his life. Unaware of what waits for him at home, Philip drops off gifts to the homeless shelter, an act of generosity that later makes him a suspect in the murder of a male prostitute.
Two men drive yellow Continentals. One is a killer, with the blood of at least six hustlers on his hands. Both men have secrets. And as Philip is about to discover, James had kept secrets, too. But James wasn’t trying to frame him for murder…
Happy Independence Day, a sequel to After Christmas Eve, comes out this fall and is set two years later in New York City. The State Liquor Authority revoked the license of disorderly establishments and had decreed the mere presence of a homosexual made a bar disorderly. Legitimate businesses refused to serve alcohol to gays, clearing the way for the Mafia to move in with private clubs catering to homosexuals. The most famous of these Mafia-owned establishments was the Stonewall Inn; site of the 1969 uprising—a seminal event in the modern gay rights movement.
Terrence Bottom wants to change the world. A prelaw student at Columbia University majoring in political science, his interests range from opposing the draft and the war in Vietnam, to civil rights for gays, to anything to do with Cameron McKenzie.
Cameron McKenzie is in way over his head. Trawling fancy hotels for wealthy men with affection for handsome young men was supposed to be a means to an end. Now he couldn’t see a way out…or at least, a way that didn’t involve a one-way swim to the bottom of the Hudson in a pair of cement flippers.
Will Cameron tell Terrence everything, endangering his life too? Or will he walk away from the only man he ever loved?
The stories in my novels are fiction. But the backdrops are as real as I can make them, or as I like to say, true enough for government work.
Connect with Michael on Twitter.