Inside The Mind of A Writer: Plotting “Not In For The Love”
“Not In It For The Love:”
” A brillant story you can’t help but inhale whole non-stop till you reach the end … this is not your everyday romance, this is not your everyday fiction either. This story is like taking a peek out there in the lives of real people in the real world.”
MM Good Book Reviews
Three events converged in my percolating writer’s mind as the inspiration behind my romantic novel, “Not In It for The Love,” available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble: a vacation in Key Largo, entry point to the Florida Keys; my loveship with my Upstate New York wheelchair bound buddy, Vinnie; and my personal experience with 9/11.
It was 2008 and my partner and I, down for the winter at my home in Fort Lauderdale, decided to spend a few days in the Keys and booked an inexpensive motel on the water in Key Largo. Watching the handsome men serving us in the motel’s outdoor restaurant that jutted out to the sea, l wondered if any of them had left nowhere existences and perhaps, straight or gay, used their good looks as “sex therapists” to the mostly str8 couples l saw at the motel who looked pretty bored with one another.
Thus my inspiration for my protagonist, Josh, who leaves his drug addicted trailer park parents in North Florida to work at his Uncle Cappy’s motel in – you guessed it – Key Largo. It is there that Josh, unsure of his sexuality, comes out of the closet, has a brief affair with one of the motel’s humpy young workers, and learns how to make some real money by spicing up the sex lives of motel guests. It is also there that he meets Bishop, a wealthy Wall Street player, canvassing motels for possible acquisition by hotel conglomerates he represents, who “adopts” him and brings him back to NYC to be his trophy boy. Bishop is modeled after my partner G who, like the character, is a Middle Eastern American who worked on “The Street” most of his professional life.
I met Vinnie, wheelchair bound as a result of a rare viral spinal infection, while spending a summer up at our home in northeast PA. We rendezvoused a few times at a motel equal distance from both us and I fell immediately in love with my handsome stranger, not out of pity, but instead deeply moved by his resiliency and determination to enjoy life whatever shit was thrown at him. Vinnie and l have stayed in touch over the years and, as of this writing, he plans to sell his home in Poughkeepsie, New York, and relocate to Fort Lauderdale.
In my book, Vinnie became Hylan, the young interracial musician with whom Josh, playing the field in the Big Apple, and up to that point in my story, an opportunist when it came to having sex with men (thus my title, “Not In It For The Love”), falls deeply in love. Despite the fact they are both broke, Josh is determined to make it happen when 9/11 intervenes, changing their lives and Bishop’s forever.
I was the PR director for a hospital on Staten Island, NYC’s forgotten borough at the time and was there in lower Manhattan that fateful Tuesday for a system-wide meeting at St. Vincent’s, Manhattan, who we had merged with the year before. The description of what happens to Josh who is thrown into the whirlwind is based largely on my experiences that day. And I made 9/11 as the critical plot twist in my book.
It was also because I wanted to use my 9/11 experience that I decided to place my story in the NYC of the late nineties. The gay scene l describe in the book is of that era, a scene that has now largely disappeared.
Next: Plotting my novella, “Buy Guys.”