Who is the star of your book?
Franklin! He’s an eighteen-year-old neuro-diverse gay man who is absolutely, positively, one hundred percent (well, almost) ready for his first boyfriend. He needs order, structure, and clarity—all of which goes out the window when an apocalyptic man-made virus is loosed upon the world, killing nearly everyone. But at least the disaster brings Patrick into his life. If only Patrick wasn’t…what was it again…ace?…grey ace? Demisexual?
What is your story about?
Franklin in Paradise is a queer post-apocalypse romance. It’s about overcoming labels and the constraints we all place on ourselves and others. It’s about finding love and community against the odds. After all, every TEOTWAWKI needs a happy ending, right?
When is it set?
The book is set in the near future. I starting writing it before COVID, so you can imagine I needed to tweak it a bit once an actual real-life virus started disrupting all of our lives.
Where is it set?
Much of the story takes place at the fictional Paradise Shaker Village in northern Maine. The Shakers were a religious community consisting of many thousands of members at their peak in the mid-1800s. They lived apart from the rest of the world in well-developed villages with successful, respected industries such as furniture making and textiles. Paradise Shaker Village is such a community, restored to its pre-industrial age glory as a living history museum.
Why this story?
It’s about the labels really. There is such a broad spectrum of conditions under the autism umbrella, and each individual has their own complexities—which is true for all of us, of course. Queer neuro-diverse young people face their own unique challenges, and I thought it would be both enlightening and entertaining to see the ever-changing LBTQIA+ acronym through the eyes of a young queer person who needs definition and clarity. Spoiler Alert: Love wins out in the end. It always does.
Life is good for eighteen-year-old Franklin. He lives on the spectrum, structuring and organizing his days, avoiding messy situations and ambiguity. But what he really wants is a boyfriend.
Twenty-one-year-old Patrick has a past he can’t seem to shake, and a sexual identity that’s hard to describe—or maybe it’s just evolving.
When a manmade virus sweeps the globe, killing nearly everyone, the two young men find themselves thrust together, dependent on each other for survival. As they begin to rebuild their world, their feelings for each other deepen. But Franklin needs definition and clarity, and Patrick’s identity as asexual—or demisexual, or grey ace?—isn’t helping.
These two men will need to look beyond their labels if they are going to find love at the end of the world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ohn Patrick lives in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, where he is supported in his writing by his husband and their terrier, who is convinced he could do battle with the bears that come through the woods on occasion (the terrier, that is, not the husband).
John is an introvert and can often be found doing introverted things like reading or writing, cooking, and thinking deep, contemplative thoughts (his husband might call this napping). He loves to spend time in nature—“forest bathing” is the Japanese term for it—feeling connected with the universe. But he also loathes heat and humidity, bugs of any sort, and unsteady footing in the form of rocks, mud, tree roots, snow, or ice. So, his love of nature is tempered; he’s complicated that way.
John and his husband enjoy traveling and have visited over a dozen countries, meeting new people, exploring new cultures, and—most importantly—discovering new foods. After such travels, John invariably comes down with a cold. During a trip to Japan in 2019, he was amazed by how many people wore surgical masks in public to protect both themselves and others from viruses. “Gosh,” John thought, “wouldn’t it be great if we’d do this in the US?” John sometimes regrets the wishes he makes.
Thanks for stopping by, John. Best of luck with the new book!