Andy Stevenson Vs. Kage Alan & the Lord of the Loins
Posted on August 8, 2011
Did you know there were actually people with the name Andy Stevenson? I didn’t, not until the last year when my Google Alerts were actually producing a number of results, especially in social media, by guys with that name who weren’t related to my book. I imagine it must be a little strange for them to see a book title with their name on it and even more so when they realize it’s a gay comedy. At least I’ve never received a nasty e-mail because of it. And, truth be told, I almost didn’t bother revising it or submit it for publication. Almost.
I had some fun scenes from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation left over that had been cut in order to get Andy to California sooner and I hated the idea of throwing material away. You just don’t do that. So, if I was going to continue the adventures of Andy, why not start with those? A Funny Thing… had done well despite the poor quality of the book bindings and cover, so it seemed very natural to continue on with a good thing.
My first mistake was starting to write the sequel so quickly after finishing the first book. It was only a matter of a week between completing rewrites that I dove into it. The results were truly less than stellar. Funny note here is that I’d also called him Andy Richards for half the book before I realized it, checked the first book and figured out Richards wasn’t his last name. I have no clue how I screwed that up.
The second mistake was how many friggin’ cliches I used. It was horrific! There was even a reference made in a scene later cut from the book where Andy knocks someone out with a text book and his friends tells him he’d better be careful to make sure there are no witnesses, otherwise he might get an anonymous letter in the fall with “I know what you did last semester” written on it. See? Awful! Though it did seem amusing at the time.
A friend asked to read the first draft and I proudly handed it over. He told me a week later that it paled greatly in comparison to the first book. I naturally didn’t believe him and set it aside for about a year. Imagine my surprised when I did pull it out again, read it and was absolutely disgusted with it. I’ll take an educated guess and say that 85% of the book ended up being rewritten. What came out of the rewrite is the character of Miss Kim (a favorite of readers), some much funnier sequences between Andy and his best friend, Ryan, plus better chemistry between Andy and Alan.
The only thing I could never quite correct is the finale. It might be appropriate to say that I wrote myself into a corner in solving the problem between Andy and his nemesis, Tristan. It finishes the only way I could see it finishing, though. It worked for most people while others admitted they expected more. The truth is there should have been more to the end of that tale, only I still don’t know how I would have done it different. Not that I think it’s a horrible end. There’s just too much build-up for what actually ends up happening. The epilogue is a favorite of mine, though.
A Funny Thing… continues to outsell its sequel and I almost feel it’s not entirely fair. I almost like Andy Stevenson Vs… a tiny bit more than the first book. I think there’s more humor in it, more banter, a few more characters to help flesh out the story and it shows growth in my ability as a writer. Another snag I hadn’t counted on is that while I’d gotten older, so had the folks who enjoyed A Funny Thing… So in continuing on with the series a few months after the first book ended meant keeping readers who’d graduated from college years ago interested in a story actually set at college. Not so easy. Not so easy at all.
I think there’s still potential for Andy Stevenson Vs. the Lord of the Loins to do well or at least better than it has, but it will need to be discovered by a crowd able to embrace its setting, which helps define how the story unfolds. It’s also this book that forced me to try an experiment with my next book in terms of creating characters in their 30s who had already come out, already been through the hell of dating and were involved in a full-fledged relationship.
There is a large chunk of the third Andy book written–actually, a friend who won the grand prize at the Gaylias book launch has the first chapter of it–only I don’t anticipate finishing it until after the second Gaylias novel is completed. It’ll get there and I like the story it’s started to tell, which helps immensely. If anything, the trouble will be not making Andy and Alan sound like Nicholas and Anthony.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.