The Unexpected Thing

Novel in suspension—complete in draft, but not yet on the market. YA, probably. Nifty combo of quest fantasy and paranormal gay romance, if one must label it.

For my birthday, instead of the promise of a car when I earned my license, I got plane tickets and the promise of a trip to a magical kingdom overseas. Technically not a kingdom: a principality.

Late/early on a June Friday night/Saturday morning in 2009,  as I read some novel or other in bed after a day of writing frustrations, a character to whom I had not previously been introduced interrupted me to talk about his summer trip to Europe. Doesn’t happen all that often, really.

I had lately been contemplating young-adult literature, I think (cast the blame at my friend Steve Berman, noble novelist, short-story writer, editor, and publisher), so it was not such a surprise Nate, the obtrusive narrator, should be a teenager

But then Nate went on to say it wasn’t Europe in general he would be visiting but, specifically, an island in the Adriatic off the coasts of Montenegro and Albania, an island that in itself constituted the fifth-smallest European sovereign nation, the Serene Principality of Mxhet. Mildly intrigued, I let him continue. He would be travelling, Nate said, with his mother’s baby brother Jonny and Jonny’s husband (they were married the month same-sex marriage became legal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts), who happened to be a member of Mxhet’s exiled royal family. And a wizard.

At 3.01 AM on Saturday, 6 June 2009, I created a new word-processing file on my little Mac. Not knowing what to call it I labelled the file “the unexpected thing” (some months later it stuck as a title, though market considerations may well require a change) and starting writing an unexpectedly involving story of political, supernatural, and magical intrigue and adventure set on the south coast of Massachusetts and in exotic Mxhet. A love story, naturally, as well.

Nearly three years later, around 7.30 AM on 19 April 2011, I wrote the last line (“Look,” I said.). Of the first draft. Needs another. If not another and another and another. Augh.