We are absolutely thrilled to have another Kevin Craig novel with us. PRIDE Must Be a Place, Kevin's LGBTQ YA novel, releasing February 2018, is sure to resonate with many.
Thank you, Kevin, for coming in and giving us some insight to your inspiration on writing this book.
It’s All About Pride
by Kevin Craig
Why did I take on the subject I took on in Pride Must Be a Place, my new LGBTQ novel with MuseItUp Publishing? That’s a hard question to answer. Not because I don’t know the answer, but because I’m still sort of tap-dancing around it.
Ezra Caine and Alex Mills are the two main gay characters in this story about the formation of a gay-straight alliance in a small-town high school. Ezra struggles with coming out at home, afraid of how his family—especially his father—will react to the news. Alex is flamboyantly gay and has been the victim of homophobic bullying at school one too many times. The story follows the two as they work with Ezra's best friend Nettie to make their high school safer for the LGBTQ students and allies, while Ezra navigates the reality that this will inadvertently cause him to be out at home.
In short, I wrote this novel because, as an adult, I find myself constantly attempting to write the novel that would have saved ME as a teenager. I try to put books into my teen self's hands, to rescue him, to tell him he's not alone, to convince him he's not the monster he imagined himself to be. But as I contemplated writing this blog post, I realized I may still have a long way to go with that convincing. Perhaps I still need a little saving myself.
I realize that even though I'm essentially living my life as an out-gay man, I'm still not out in all the areas of my life. Not really, anyway. I'm certain this book (or possibly even this very blog post) may give me that final push I need to stop caring what others think about something as private as my own sexual orientation. The thing is, when you face a lot of bigotry in early life, you carry the legacy of that burden into your future life. You suspect every ally you discover along the way, you question their allegiance. Coming out is an ongoing process that constantly takes you out of your comfort zone. Who am I going to lose? What rights or conveniences am I going to lose? And then one day you realize you're becoming a happier, more authentic you. And then the threats you always worried about begin to evaporate. Happiness becomes more important than loses, real or imagined.
Some might say that gay-straight alliance high school stories are a thing of the past, but we have to keep reminding ourselves that we are not yet all on the same page. There really are still high schools in existence that do not have such a thing as LGBTQ support and alliance groups. There really are still gay teenagers suffering in silence, struggling to get through the day in environments that are not completely friendly towards them. High school is a battle zone in so many ways. It shouldn't be a hostile environment for those still coming to terms with their sexuality. Often, this is in itself an overwhelming obstacle. Especially if they are facing bigotry at home.
I wrote this novel because I think of those who may still be suffering in silence. The great American poet Emma Lazarus wrote, “Until we are all free, we are none of us free”. I believe that with all my being. It is true of racial discrimination, religious intolerance, and bigotry in all of its forms, including homophobia. As a gay man who isn't currently facing many instances of bigotry or intolerance himself, I can't simply sit back and relax in my bubble of acceptance. Not while others are still suffering. I can't coast on my own freedom. I wrote this book to keep the issues alive, to remind people that homophobia isn't only occurring in places like Chechnya, where gays are facing severe persecution. It is also alive and well in our streets and in our schools and in our childhood homes. Teens need to know they're not alone. I know this simply because it's what I always wanted to know as a teen myself.
We must continue to tell stories of coming out, of being out, of building bridges between straight and LGBTQ communities. I will continue to tell stories like this one until we are all free. I hope Ezra's story resonates with teens facing these issues today. I hope I have written a book that might go a little way in saving someone like me, someone who needs to be told they're life is worth saving.
Thank you, Kevin.
Also make sure to check out Kevin's YA Summer on Fire.
Zach Carson is a loyal friend. But is loyalty enough to keep best friends together when one of them sets fire to the rural barn they use as the local hangout?
Zach, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson struggle to pick up the pieces when news spreads that a body was discovered in the burnt out shell of the neighbouring home. When the word murder is used by the local police, the stakes grow even higher. When the police start searching for their most likely suspect—none other than Jeff’s older brother, and nemesis, Marty Barsell—the boys decide to join forces and come up with a way to prove his innocence.
But just how innocent is Marty Barsell? When Marty admits to being at the scene of the crime, the three friends enlist the help of Zach’s annoying sister, Sherry, as well as the sympathetic town eccentric, Ms. Halverton. But can they keep it together long enough to save Marty, and themselves, from eminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.