Hello and thanks to Divine Magazine for allowing me a chance to talk about my latest book, Crossroads. Crossroads is the latest release in the States of Love series by Dreamspinners Press. I’ve loved this series and am so pleased to be contributing the Indiana installment.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have noticed things around the US have been a little—let’s say—divisive lately. While this book isn’t political, the state by state focus of this series does present an interesting opportunity to see the vast variations of the LGBT experience based on geography.
If you look at an average electoral map of Indiana, you’ll see a sea of red with three consistently blue boxes. Those blue boxes represent Lake County, which is adjacent to the Chicago suburban area in the northwest corner, Marion Country in the center, which is Indianapolis, and lastly, Monroe County, which is Bloomington, Home to Indiana University.
In Crossroads, Ethan Yoder is born in a small, fictional town in the very real Elkhart County, which went overwhelming for President Trump (63%) in the 2016 election, and is arguably the poster child for the white, economically anxious, “Christian values”, Midwestern voter his campaign relentlessly targeted. Ethan’s backstory, which is alluded to in the book, has shaped him. Ethan was publicly outed in tenth grade when his exploration with Jeb, the all-star athlete and boy-next-door, is discovered. Jeb denies the entire relationship and paints Ethan as a pervert and aggressor. He turns the entire school against him and Ethan spends much of his youth fighting off bullies and trying to be the straightest version of himself, so to avoid unwanted attention.
In contrast, Marcus Light was born and raised in Indianapolis and attended college at IU, one of the most LGBT-friendly places in the State. Marcus has always had ready access to a gay community and is surrounded by allies. Until Marcus accompanies Ethan to his hometown, he really has very little appreciation for Ethan’s upbringing.
Throughout the story, you’ll notice the difference these early experiences play in their actions and in their relationship. I tried to show the hopeful trend toward acceptance, even in intensely red areas, while still acknowledging there is much work to do. But Crossroads is first and foremost a romance between two men from different backgrounds, both encouraging the other to live their most authentic life possible.
For Ethan, this involved exploring the expression of his personality through clothes, a different hairstyle, and makeup. What follows is a character interview with Ethan conducted before the start of the novella.
Hi, Ethan. Can you tell the readers a little about yourself?
Sure. Let’s see. I’m twenty-two-years-old and a recent college graduate with a BS in Informatics. I was raised in Middleburg, Indiana, on a farm that’s been in my family for three generations.
Congratulations on your graduation. What are your career plans now that you’ve finished school? Are you hoping to stay close to home?
Umm. No. Definitely not. I’ve been looking in Indianapolis mostly. I’m primarily applying to big companies, but it’s tough for a new graduate to get a foot in the door there, so now I’m exploring temp agencies. I want to be part of a diverse workforce.
Any particular reason?
I think that diversity is essential in general. Growing up in Middleburg, I’ve felt isolated for being different, and I’m looking for a more accepting environment to start my career.
In what ways?
In every way. Even though I’ve been out since I was fifteen and my immediate family loves me and wants the best for me, there’s always been pressure on me to be an “acceptable gay.” Like it’s okay if I’m attracted to men as long as we don’t talk about it too much, and I still look and act like a “man.” Once I was outted, a lot of people in my life made an effort to try to be accepting, but I’d still get shitty comments about my hair getting too long or, God forbid, I wore pink.
I think I felt so grateful that my parent’s hadn’t kicked me out that I didn’t want to rock the boat. I remember one time my dad made this big deal about me never wearing clothes my mom had bought me for back to school—things that all the other boys wore—camo prints, cargo shorts. He basically insinuated that people wouldn’t know I was gay if I tried a little harder to blend in. I retrospect, I think he was genuinely worried about my safety, but for a long time, those types of comments made me feel like I deserved to be beat up if I didn’t conform to some standard of masculinity.
What will you do differently when you move out of Middleburg?
It’s not a master plan, really. The first order of business is focused on my career. I need a job before I can go anywhere. After that, I just want to look the way I want to look and dress in clothes that make me feel good. I’d like to work on my self-confidence.
What about dating?
The pool of available guys is pretty shallow in my world. Once I’m in Indianapolis, who knows? If I met someone I was attracted to, I’d be open to the possibility.
Do you have a “perfect man” in mind?
HI don’t know if I have a “type” physically, per se. I’m attracted to a lot of body types and looks. I think it’s more important how this person makes me feel. I just really want someone I can be myself with. I’m confident that I’ll know him when I find him.
Anything you’re not looking for, then? What are your turn-offs?
Meanness is my biggest turn-off. I’ve had enough of that for a lifetime. I definitely notice when people are unkind to animals, or they continually put others down and judge them. Also, I don’t think I could date anyone in the closet. I’m also reasonably sure I would never date a Republican.
About the Book
Release Date: January 5, 2018
Despite the best-laid plans, life sometimes has other ideas.
Ethan Yoder has toiled to escape his small-minded farming community, and he’s finally earned his degree and made it to Indianapolis—where he lands a job at a pharmaceutical company and meets handsome and successful Marcus. Marcus introduces Ethan to the fun-filled life of his dreams—fancy dinners, courtside seats at NBA games, even a trip to the Indianapolis 500. But Marcus’s happy-go-lucky veneer hides a man frustrated with a job he hates and his failure at romance due to factors he’s only beginning to understand. Ethan still has his eyes on the prize—a lucrative career—and he must figure out how to hold on to one opportunity without letting another slip away. If he and Marcus can come to a deeper understanding, their road might lead to a happily ever after.
States of Love: Stories of love that span every corner of the United States.
About the Author
Logan Meredith began writing as a teenager when beautiful boys started keeping her company at night. Unfortunately, the voices she heard were imaginary, and their conversations resulted in horrible insomnia. They only let her sleep when she started to type their words down. Thankfully, being awkward as hell and a head taller than anyone else in the school afforded plenty of spare time for writing.
At first she tried to make them play with characters from her favorite television series or books. She found her lost tribe with a ravenous, crazy group of fan-fiction lovers online and started sharing her stories publicly. Then something amazing happened—new characters arrived and demanded their own stories. Only they wanted their own world to play in and they wanted to find their true loves. So, between her day job and making time for her family, she tries to keep up with the demands from her beautiful men for their happily ever afters.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, and a graduate of the University of Texas-San Antonio, Logan is an accomplished cross-country mover, having honed her skills bouncing between five states. She currently resides in Houston, Texas. In addition to writing, she spends her time reading and rereading her favorite books, cheering for the San Antonio Spurs, playing Words with Friends, and procrastinating pretty much everything else.
Logan is a proud member of the LGBTQA community and vocal advocate for mental health awareness, suicide prevention, and equality campaigns.
Logan welcomes the chance to interact with readers.