One of the awesome things about doing this Q&A series is finally having an excuse to reach out to some authors I’ve shared table of contents with but haven’t actually met. Jay Neal is one such author, and by virtue of this wee project and the magic that is the internet, I was able to connect with him. Happily, he was willing to come aboard, so I can bring you our chat today, and talk about Jay’s story in The Biggest Lover.
We have all heard the term Rubenesque as a compliment for plus-sized women. The baroque painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens was fond of painting women of the day that were curvaceous and full-figured. The men in his art were not. What is the comparable term for men? Because not every gay man is obsessed with twinks who list the number of visible rib bones on their Grindr profile. Or men who can remember the number of reps at the gym but not their phone number. Some of us appreciate buying in bulk and that includes looking for love. Or just plain sex. Thank goodness for Bear culture which embraces girth. During Bear Week in Provincetown the stores do not even bother to sell clothes smaller than an XL and a man’s virility is often like the potency of moonshine: the more Xs on the jug the better, so XXXL is a chub in high demand.
It has taken too long for an erotica anthology to feature such men. As Girth & Mirth founding father Reed Wilgoren stated, “Just as people are coming out every day—men and women realizing their sexuality—new Bears and new Chubbies and new chasers are also evolving in the world. There have to be people waiting to embrace them and show them the way, much as who helped me to become what I am and who I am today.” It is our hope that readers who felt denied of attention and affection will read these stories and realize that love has no weight limit, no threshold, and neither should self-esteem.
NB: Tell us about “He’s Five-One, He’s Beautiful, and He’s Mine.” What are we in for?
JN: I decided early on that I wanted to tell a love story about a big guy longing to be dominated, and his surprise when he discovered it could happen with a man much smaller than he is; the thought never crossed his mind. The story blossomed in my mind when, at once, the ideas arrived that 1) the boyfriend would be Mexican-American, and 2) the story could take place in a Wal-Mart in West Texas. These two guys’ personalities grew on me real fast. The hostage situation at the Wal-Mart with the open-carry advocate who helps them resolve their relationship miscommunication was just a bonus. I like happy endings.
NB: I love those magic moments when a story suddenly gels. And I’m a fan of the happy ending, too, in erotica as well as romance. Speaking of, you’re no stranger to the erotica world. We’ve shared a table of contents quite a few times now, in erotica collections with themes of food, circuses, trains, magic, and of course, bears. The Biggest Lover has gone somewhere rarely traveled, though, in exploring big guys and the fellows who admire them. Are there any themes you’ve not seen explored that you’d like to see?
JN: We certainly have, and each of them was an inspiration, usually a quirky inspiration, which is my favorite kind. I like to write in response to these unexpected themes, and I’ve been pretty happy with most of the results. That usually finds me wanting to see what will stimulate my next story, but it also seems to mean that I don’t have stories very often just wanting to be written on their own. I seem to need to have an outlet in mind to get my writing in high gear. Still, I’d like to see a science-fiction type of theme that would inspire me in that direction.
NB: You know, I’m not sure I can think of an SF erotica anthology off the top of my head. Good call.
JN: I also need to figure out vampires someday.
NB: I’ve been told this is a mean question, but I can live with that. Do you have a favourite child… uh, I mean story that you’ve written?
JN: Several, since I see different qualities in them. Since the question is so mean, though, I get to name more than one. When I want to introduce someone to my fiction, I usually start with “A Bedtime Story”, a classic fairy tale that gave me nothing but trouble in the writing but came out as near perfect as one could hope. “Confessions of a Failed Pervert” is probably my funniest story–I seem to have a bit of a reputation for screwball-comedy porn.
I’m fond of “The Lighthouse Keep” for the sadistic ghost who appeared in it, and a sex scene that turned me on more than I ever expected. “My Best Friend, Frank”, a sex farce involving an alien doing research on [human] bears, took me several years to find the right voice to tell it in, but it covered a lot of ground that I hadn’t expected and I was very satisfied with the result. There there’s the scandal of “Time Out” and the guy who stops time by farting….
I put all of them in my collection, Waking Up Bear, and Other Stories, by Jay Neal, from
Bear Bones Books / Lethe Press, along with all the other children I adore but was forced not to mention. You’re mean!
NB: Warned you.
You can find The Biggest Lover through Lethe Press’s website here, or, of course, you can check Indiebound to locate your nearest brick and mortar. Otherwise, you’ll find it wherever quality LGBT books are sold.