The Saturday Author Spotlight today is not only talented, he's generous. When his last book came out Sometimes Love Lasts, he donated ALL proceeds to LGBT Homeless Shelters. All proceeds. He also did this with his first book, A White Coat is My Closet. So, the fact that his books are also great reads and he donates all the dollars; makes him sort of a hero.
It's an honor to have him on here today to answer my questions, showing off his work, and being generous once more to his readers by offering a $15.00 Amazon gift card to one person. I don't want to keep him all to myself so here you go...
Zack Sheldon doesn’t have time to be lonely. He’s in his last year as a pediatric resident, almost married to the job, and busy with the joys and sorrows that come with providing medical care to children. Professionally, he’s confident, accomplished, and respected. But personally he’s too insecure to approach a sexy man like Sergio Quartulli, or even to imagine that Sergio might be attracted to him.
Zack spots Sergio from across the gym, and then a chance meeting poolside somehow turns into a date. Before Zack knows it, they’ve become a couple, but Zack’s white coat is his closet at the hospital, and committing to a relationship with Sergio makes it difficult for Zack to continue hiding behind it. On the other hand, he grew up in a small town where being gay was shameful, and he works in an environment that can sometimes be homophobic, so it’s hard for him to open up about who he really is. Before Zack can make a choice on his own terms, circumstances force him to make a decision. He can continue to hide, or he can step out from behind his white coat and risk everything for love.
For Rone Forrester, life as a high school student is a roller coaster ride. Though he’s intelligent, good-looking, and athletic, true happiness eludes him. He’s lost his mother to cancer, his hypercritical father is a tyrant, and he spends most of his free time taking care of his little brother, Eli. And to make matters worse, Rone begins to have romantic feelings for his best friend, Carson Harrington.
When Rone is inadvertently outed, his life swirls into turmoil. His father’s homophobia and Rone’s embarrassment at the thought of facing Carson force him to flee to Los Angeles, where he hopes to find a safe haven. Instead, he quickly learns that every moment is dangerous for a homeless teenager. As time passes, Rone navigates through multiple challenges, makes friends who love him for who he is, works hard to achieve his goal of becoming a pediatric surgeon—with all its inherent triumphs and tragedies—and overcomes a failed relationship. Ultimately, his journey teaches him that in order to fulfill his dreams, he has to come to terms with his past.
Thank you, Jake, for agreeing to be my spotlight today! I really very excited about asking you a few questions. I have recently just discovered you and aside from finding you very talented, I found you intriguing. So, I thought I’d draw some attention to your books and get to know you a little better.
Let’s start out with something a little fun. Can you tell us 3 interesting or quirky things about yourself that we might not read in your bio?
Wow, if I presented this question to any one of a number of friends of mine to answer on my behalf, they would probably generate a list of answers three pages long and I’d be too embarrassed to ever again show my face on any form of social media. I think I’ll keep my answers a little more tame.
People might be surprised to know that I used to be a ski instructor and, though I now tend to avoid moguls, I can still get down the hill pretty well. Fun fact two, and I was a Portuguese major as an undergraduate and three, I have a huge aversion to the smell of dog shit. To most, this might seem like an oddity not worth mentioning but the fact is that I have two enormous dogs. I love walking them but the “poop scooping” aspect of the adventure invariably results in some involuntary dry heaving.
Your latest book Sometimes Love Lasts not only is amazing but it’s heartwarming in a way that it gives you hope. You are donating all proceeds from that book to L.A. Homeless youth centers. That’s incredible. I guess the question so many people are asking is why? I mean there’s the obvious that it’s a wonderful, kind, and much needed thing to do. But why did YOU choose to do this?
The answer to that question is a little involved. To begin with, I never dreamed that I would ever have anything published. One of the things that had always been on my bucket list was to attempt to write a book. When I hit fifty and was forced to acknowledge that my life was approaching the downhill slide, I thought why not start. And so, with a burst of enthusiasm, I began the project despite having no clue what I was doing. The progress was initially sure and steady but then, at about the forth chapter, I suddenly found myself thinking; “Shit, four chapters down probably twenty-two more to go!” I wasn’t sure I had twenty-two pages left in me much less whole chapters. Everything came to a screeching halt.
Then, miraculously, two years later, after multiple fits and starts, many agonizing hours of staring at an empty computer screen and with lots of encouragement from my friends, I ultimately scribed “the end” to the final page of “A White Coat is My Closet”. When it was finally completed I then found myself thinking, “Now what?” Kind of deciding that nothing ventured was nothing gained, I read the submission formatting requirements for Dreamspinner Press. Then, one afternoon when I was feeling particularly impetuous, I hit the send button.
Never in a million years did I imagine that I would receive a congratulatory letter for the editor –in-chief informing me that Dreamspinner intended to publish my novel. I guess because I never expected it to amount to anything more than a stack of wrinkled papers in in the back of my closet, to me, getting it published represented a twist of good fortune and I always believed that good fortune is best when played forward. And so, I decided to share my good fortune by donating all the royalties from my first book to the Homeless Youth Project at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and have since never looked back. I’m doing same thing with “Sometimes Love Lasts.” I am very lucky to be a physician and feel privileged to be able to use my books to improve the lives of youth who might otherwise be completely overlooked by society. Sometimes success in life starts with being given a chance.
June 26th marks the one year anniversary of Marriage Equality (throws confetti) that day was historic and emotional for so many. It’s one year later now… We have all sorts of “new” problems. And this fight, though ruled, is still going on. What are your thoughts on all of this, that day, and a year later?
Phenomenal isn’t it? I never thought I’d see Marriage Equality occur in my life time. I was, and continue to be, ecstatic. I have to concede however that, as with every other monumental event in history, there has been a dark undercurrent to our progress. The religious right views the greater societal acceptance of all people being able to enter into committed relationships, regardless of their sexual orientation, as being a threat to their faith. They don’t appreciate that love is love. For them, love has to fit into a very specific construct; heterosexual Christian. And many of them stand ready to vehemently fight against anything that defies their narrow definition of both love and marriage. That’s one of the reasons the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Youth Project is seeing greater number of homeless adolescents than ever before. Regrettably, there are a shockingly high number of people who believe being gay is an abomination against God and thus feel justified in kicking their children out of their homes if they suspect them of embracing the gay “lifestyle”.
So, in one respect, I’m happy beyond description that our country is generally becoming more accepting of the great diversity that exists in the human race. In another respect, I’m deeply saddened that bigotry not only continues to be pervasive but that it results in children’s suffering.
Your bio says you’ve travelled all over the world. What are some of your favorite places you’ve visited?
Adventure is one of my great passions. I’ve canoed through parts of the Amazon jungle in Brazil, have helicopter skied in the Chilean Andes, have bicycled through many parts of Europe and have explored the remote corners of the Serengeti in Africa. It’s hard to say which trip was my favorite. I loved the beaches of the Greek Islands but was also captivated by views from the top of the Swiss Alps. I guess because one of the things I most enjoy about traveling is eating local cuisine, I’m always ready to return to Northern Italy. Delicious pasta pushes any destination towards to the top of my list.
What are some of your most favorite childhood books?
Funny you should ask. I’ll let your readers in on a little secret known only to my close friends and (by default) my editor. I’m horribly dyslexic! (You should see some of the errors my first manuscript had)
My third grade teacher didn’t know what was wrong with me but was convinced I’d never learn to read. She even tried to convince my parents that rather than being in a main stream classroom, I would be better suited for special education. Fortunately, a retired school teacher lived up the street from us. She was probably in her mid-seventies. She didn’t understand why I couldn’t read either but was convinced I had great potential. I went to her house every day after school and she read with me. The progress was initially slow and laborious but she was patient and encouraging. One day, perhaps in an act of desperation, she cut a little square in a 3 x 5 card and began sliding it slowly over the page instructing me to just look at one word at a time. For whatever reason, it worked!!
Apparently, my brain was incapable of interpreting a cluster of multiple words but when presented with a single word, I could read it.
I still remember that day as being the day that the mystery of reading was unlocked for me. I continued going to her house every day after school and, over the subsequent weeks, read the entire Winnie the Pooh series. Winnie the Pooh will always hold a special place in my heart!
I HAVE to ask this question, Doctor! You’re all real life saving lives. What are your thoughts on medical shows like Grey’s Anatomy and (I’m showing my age) ER?
Showing your age??? I grew up on St. Elsewhere! I never watched many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy but, particularly in the early years, loved ER. Though sensationalized, the medicine was pretty accurate and I think some of the social issues they confronted were ground breaking at the time. (And, as kind of a funny irony, I’ve been the pediatrician to some of the original cast members’ children)
Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Retired!!! Just joking…..kind of! I love medicine and still get tremendous satisfaction from taking care of patients but the administrative side of medicine is getting increasingly torturous. Insurance restrictions, ICD-10 claims coding, authorization requests, restricted formularies, electronic medical records, efficiency quotas.....Not only is it time consuming and over whelming but, in my opinion, has little to do with quality patient care.
I hope to be a practicing physician for many years to come but look forward to being able to do it without having to depend on it to pay the bills. I would like to do more volunteer work. I travel to Africa with a group of medical professionals every other year to work in orphanages and remote villages. I’d love to do more of that. Also, I’d like to have more free time to volunteer in the Los Angles LGBT Center’s medical clinic and treat some of the kids who show up desperate to have their medical needs taken care of.
And, I’d like to have more time to write. There are still a lot of stories I want to tell!
Can you tell us what you’re currently working on?
I’m in the process of outlining ideas for two books but they’re currently in such rough form that I hesitate to offer any hints. Stay tuned!!
How can we all follow you through social media? Facebook, twitter, website?
I love to correspond with my readers. You can contact me with through Facebook or via my e-mail. (I have yet to complete my class in remedial social media….. I don’t tweet!)
Now I have fast fire questions. I love this part! Ready? Okay!
Chocolate or vanilla? Is this really a question? Are there really people out there who eat a flavor other than chocolate?
Cupcakes or brownies? Brownies……they’re always chocolate.
Ocean or lake? I love both but if I had to choose, I’ll go with Ocean. I enjoy the sound as well as the view.
Plane or boat? I tend to be impatient. Planes ensure faster arrival times.
Night or day? Night! I function during the day but mornings are way over rated!
TV or Books? Books! Hands down.
Cats or dogs? I’m definitely a dog guy (now, if I could just figure out a way to teach them to pick up their own poop!)
What’s your favorite color? If I’m dressing myself, you’ll see blues and greens. What colors do I most gravitate to? Oranges and yellows.
Favorite food? If you don’t include chocolate on the list of favorite foods, I could live on pasta!
Favorite smell? A field of lavender!
Okay, I’m done torturing you. Thank you SO SO much, Jake!
Jake Wells (who I'm fairly certain had angel wings hiding under his lab coat)
is gifting one person a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card.
Simply fill out the rafflecopter below.
Contest ends on June 17th! Winner will be contacted
via email so please check your spam.
a Rafflecopter giveaway