Title: Midlife Crisis
Author: Rob Rosen
Release Date: August 20th 2016
Genre: Gay fiction, romance, comedy
Jack is thirty-five and single once again. He is not, as he as quick to point out, going through a midlife crisis. Still, it would be nice to have a partner, and so he sets out on an adventure to find the one-time love of his life, Bing, a man he hasn’t seen in more than fifteen years, a man who has seemingly vanished off the face of the planet. With the help of his family and friends, not to mention the family dog and his high school bully, he goes searching for Bing, only to unearth an ages-old mystery that puts them all in grave danger. In this hysterically funny tale, the question remains right on up to the surprise ending: can we return to our past in order to better our future?
“Parsnips?” Greg asked me.
I looked over at him from the living room couch as he in turn poked his head out from the kitchen. “Um, huh?” I said, wondering if this was some new pet name he’d thought of for me, as he was forever coming up with new ones. Last I checked, I was being referred to as Professor.
FYI, I teach business at a local college. My students call me Jack or Mister Nelson. Professor makes me sound a.) old and b.) like a character in a television show. Also FYI, I am neither, though if he had to come up with anything from the latter category, I was rooting for Pepper, a la Angie Dickinson in Police Woman.
“Parsnips,” he repeated, already looking peeved with me, which was, sad to say, par for the course as of late. Par, bogie and eagle, in fact. Heck, let’s just toss in the entire golfing green and call it a day.
In any case, it wasn’t a question or a comment anyone had ever thrown my way. I squinted my eyes as I pondered this. In truth, I hadn’t a clue what a parsnip even was. Had I ever eaten one before? Would I still seem professorial if I asked what the hell one was? Did I even want to ask and risk his wrath, which consisted of him ignoring me the rest of the evening? Greg, you see, hated confrontation―though he loved being a world-class bitch.
“Just to be clear,” I asked, forcing a smile so as to divert the inevitable kerfuffle, “are you asking me if I want some with dinner?”
He matched my squint with a scowl. He started to say something, realized a fight of some kind would probably ensue, took his nine-iron and golf ball, and promptly left that aforementioned course. In other words, Professor zero, kerfuffle one. And yes, we had parsnips with our entirely silent dinner. Yuck.
Rob Rosen is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, Sparkle: The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love, the Lambda Literary Award Nominated Divas Las Vegas, which was the winner of the 2010 TLA Gaybies for Best Gay Fiction, Hot Lava, Southern Fried, the Lambda Literary Award Nominated Queerwolf, Vamp, Queens of the Apocalypse, Creature Comfort, and Fate, winner of the 2016 TRR Readers’ Choice Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. His short stories have appeared in more than 200 anthologies. You can find 20 of them in his erotic romance anthology, Good & Hot. He is also the editor of Lust in Time: Erotic Romance Through the Ages, Men of the Manor, Best Gay Erotica 2015 and Best Gay Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1 and 2.
Today I’m chatting with Rob Rosen about writing, life, and his current project. Welcome! Let’s talk a little about what inspired him to write Midlife Crisis.
I’ve often wondered what it would be like if I could go back and date an early love of mine. What would I do differently? I mean, I’m not the same person that I was fresh out of college, so presumably I’d be more mature if I could go back, would do and say things differently than I had. Perhaps on of those relationships would’ve ended differently as well, or maybe not ended at all. This is the general theme of Midlife Crisis.
Jack, my narrator, is thirty-five and single. He has a good job, a good life, great friends, but he’s lonely. An odd conversation makes him realize that he never really broke up with his first boyfriend, the great love of his life, Bing. And so he sets out to find Bing, for a chance to do it all over again.
That was my inspiration, the do-over part. Of course, me being a comedy writer, just because you get the chance to do it all over again doesn’t mean you’ll get it right the second time around either. I wanted to explore this as well, to see if what you know now can actually fix something in your past, can actually fix you. Life being what it is, and humans being who they are, the answer is rarely yes. Jack is no exception, though the situations he soon finds himself in are exceptional.
And then I wanted see how Jack would react to finding his first love, even though he might not be worth keeping fifteen years later. To add some spice to the mix, another love interest gets added to the pot, that and a juicy murder mystery.
In the end…well, you’ll have to read the book for that part!
Are there any types of scene you find hard to write (action, love, death, etc.)? Love ‘em all. I like to make myself laugh. I like to make myself cry. And so I enjoy writing everything, every genre, too. The only thing I don’t write is standard drama. Everything I write has comic undertones. This I can’t help. Even when I start writing a story without comedy, it ends up being funny just the same. Chalk it up to watching too many sitcoms.
What do you do when you feel stuck (writer’s block)? Here’s the answer that many writers will give you: put the story down. Leave it alone. Your brain will almost always keep working on the plot, even when you’re not thinking about it. Soon enough, it will offer up the solution to your block. I know it sounds odd, but it works every time. I can be in bed or walking down the street, and, boom, there it suddenly is, the solution!
How do you handle a story that doesn’t go as you planned? Hah! Almost none of my stories go as planned. Sometimes they veer off right from the very beginning. Sometimes in the middle. Or sometimes the ending completely changes. To me, this is the fun part about writing. It’s like being given a jigsaw puzzle you have to solve, and one without the picture on the box. I just keep putting the pieces together until I have the finished puzzle.