Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest in your Purple Rose Tea House. It was such a pleasure to be able to speak to you in person in Atlanta at the Gay Romance Literature Retreat. From the minute I first appeared in the Dreamspinner author forum you’ve been both gracious and encouraging. Making a space available for me on your blog is just an extension of your colorful hospitality. Indeed, it’s as warm and bright as was the red bow you were wearing in your hair when we first met!!
Some of my friends have recently been asking me how I happened to end up writing “A White Coat is My Closet”. It’s hard to say exactly how this odyssey began. Writing a book has always been one of the things on my bucket list. When I hit fifty and was forced to acknowledge that my life was approaching the downhill slide, I thought why not start? And so, with a burst of enthusiasm, I began the project despite having no clue what I was going to write about. The progress was initially sure and steady and then, at about the forth chapter, I suddenly found myself thinking; “Shit, four chapters down, probably twenty-two more to go.” I wasn’t sure that I had twenty-two pages left in me much less whole chapters. Worse, I still hadn’t even begun to work out a storyline. Things came to a screeching stand still.
What occurred over the subsequent months was surprising. Despite trying desperately to give up the idea of writing a book, I somehow couldn’t shake it. Somewhere, in the deep recesses of my mind, the whole story started coming together. My novel is a work of fiction but it ends up describing issues that are near and dear to my heart. Because in my real life I’m a pediatrician, I’m extremely passionate about providing health care to children in a compassionate and loving manner. In addition, I’m a gay man who grew up in a small community and really struggled with accepting who I really was. Somehow, the combination of those two life experiences found a voice that evolved into a story.
Zack Sheldon doesn’t have time to be lonely. He’s in his last year as a pediatric resident, almost married to the job, and busy with the joys and sorrows that come with providing medical care to children. Professionally, he’s confident, accomplished, and respected. But personally he’s too insecure to approach a sexy man like Sergio Quartulli, or even to imagine that Sergio might be attracted to him.
Zack spots Sergio from across the gym, and then a chance meeting poolside somehow turns into a date. Before Zack knows it, they’ve become a couple, but Zack’s white coat is his closet at the hospital, and committing to a relationship with Sergio makes it difficult for Zack to continue hiding behind it. On the other hand, he grew up in a small town where being gay was shameful and he works in an environment that can sometimes be homophobic, so it’s hard for him to open up about who he is. Before Zack can make a choice on his own terms, circumstances force him to make a decision. He can continue to hide, or he can step out from behind his white coat and risk everything for love.
So there you have it. “A White Coat is my Closet” is cornucopia of experiences playing themselves out in a fictional story while attempting to remain true to those aspects of my life that were fundamentally most important; seeking self-acceptance, the wonderful and yet challenging process of becoming a doctor, and falling in love. Hopefully, if you are inclined to read the book, you will feel like you’ve participated in the journey.
It’s also worth mentioning that because I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to have my book published, I’ve decided to pay the good fortune forward. All the royalties from the sale of “A White Coat is my Closet” will go to the HOMELESS YOUTH PROJECT at the LA GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER. By purchasing my book, you are not only lending your support to my dream of becoming an author, but are also contributing to improving the lives of homeless gay teens. As it says in my book’s dedication, sometimes success in life starts with being given a chance.
Before I sign off, I wanted to share a few links with you. The first is the website for youth services at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center so your readers can familiarize themselves with some of the work they do. The other is a link the center has established should anyone want to consider making an individual donation to the charity I’m supporting. Oh….. and the third is where your readers can go to find my book!!!
Again Charlie, thanks for giving me an opportunity to send a shout out to your readers. I really appreciate it!!