Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Jay Bell

Gay romance novelist Jay Bell (b. 1977) won the 25th annual Lambda Literary Award in Gay Romance for his novel Kamikaze Boys (Kindle and other e-book formats). His German-born husband Andeas is an artist and industrial designer who provides the cover art for Jay’s novels (example below), and at present the couple resides in Germany.

Most gay romance novels are little more than same-sex soap opera scripts (the great majority of them written by women*), but Mr. Bell has the literary chops to deliver full-fleshed characters in plots that engage the reader. Most of us can relate to many of the situations in Bell’s books, and the first three of his “Four Seasons” quartet of novels take a set of characters through more than a thousand pages of adventurous, bumpy romance.

*It's always a dead giveaway. No man would describe the color of his shirt as "champagne."

Bell’s fans are eagerly awaiting the final installment of this quartet of gay romance novels. Something Like Summer, Something Like Autumn and Something Like Winter are soon to be followed by Something Like Spring (estimated publication date early 2014).

From Jay Bell’s AMAZON page:

Jay Bell never gave much thought to Germany until he met a handsome foreign exchange student. At that moment, beer and pretzels became the most important thing in the world. After moving to Germany and getting married, Jay found himself desperate to communicate the feelings of alienation, adventure, and love that surrounded this decision, and has been putting pen to paper ever since.

Jay met his partner at a Lawrence, Kansas, bar’s “gay night.” Three months later, Andreas’ student visa expired, so he returned to Germany. Jay wrote him a “Dear John” letter expressing his chagrin that their affair was over, but Andreas misunderstood, thinking that Jay meant “over for the summer.” At the onset of the fall semester, Andreas reappeared, having decided to pursue his masters degree in industrial design at the University of Kansas (KU). Such misunderstandings are the foundation of Jay’s novels, with the volume turned up. Way up.

Once Andreas completed his degree, the couple moved to Germany. At first the plan was to live there for three years, but that eventually turned into more than ten. Their return to the U.S. is delayed until immigration legislation is passed that will allow full recognition of their same-sex marriage. Unable to work in a country where he didn’t have fluency in German, Jay began to write. When no publisher expressed interest in Something Like Summer, Jay decided to self-publish (, and legions of fans have enjoyed the output of his writings. Sales have been so successful that Jay can support himself from royalties alone, and he states that e-book format sales far outstrip receipts from print editions.

Jay relates that writing down a story is the easy part – dreaming up the characters and plots is far more difficult and time consuming. He says the people who buy his books are a “breathtaking mix of teenagers, middle-aged people and senior citizens from all walks of life and every hue of sexuality.”

“Luckily,” Bell says, “I’m extremely immature, so my inner adult rarely gets in the way.” He continues, “I’ve always been the sort of person who goes to desperate lengths in the name of love. My characters, like me, might be aware of the mistakes they are about to make, but they also weigh the odds and decide it might be worth it to get what they want. Whether that’s creepy or charming depends on what the intended target thinks. It’s probably for the best that I’m safely married now.”

Something Like Autumn cover art by Jay's husband Andreas:

The film version of Something Like Summer is scheduled for a 2014 release from Blue Seraph Productions, with Carlos Pedraza and J. T. Tepnapa, the creative team behind the gay indie hit, Judas Kiss, writing and directing. The film has still to be cast and Bell says, “I’d honestly prefer they find young talent that’s relatively unknown.” Bell says when he sees a picture of the fashion model, Bruno Santos (below), he thinks, “Hey! You remind me a little of that Tim guy in my head!” Bell says he hand-picked Kevin R. Free to narrate the audio version of Something Like Summer because Kevin’s voice had the youth and humor he felt was needed to bring Ben to life.

Bruno Santos, reminiscent of Tim:

Source: Jay Bell interview by Dick Smart
Complete interview:

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