Michael Salvatore’s debut novel, BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS, is in stores now. This fresh, funny and sexy story is sure to get you attention on Fire Island, Provincetown…or even the Jersey Shore. Whatever your “situation”, BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS is sure to please.
Published by Kensington, Paperback, $15.00 ($17.95 Canada)
PINK: Why did you want to write this novel?
Michael: I simply set out to write a story about a gay man that is both honest and hysterically funny and I believe I achieved my goal.
Do you think your novel has crossover appeal to a straight audience?
Definitely. While Steven, the main character, and his friends are gay, what grounds the book is Steven’s relationship with his family, especially his mother. This relationship broadens the appeal of the book so it’s more of one man’s journey to find his place in this world and not just a gay man’s search for the perfect boyfriend. Because of that difference the characters and their exploits will appeal to everyone.
Is this novel autobiographical?
No, not in the true sense. There are elements of the book that mimic pieces of my own life such as being a Jersey boy and having strong family ties in New Jersey. My mother did live in the Rocco Impreveduto Towers which I turned into the Salvatore DeNuccio Towers so there are things like that, but sadly I don’t produce a soap opera nor am I friends with any Olympic figure skaters.
How did you pick the careers and likes of all the characters?
That’s where art does imitate life. I love figure skating, soap operas, theatre, ‘70s television, and London so I threw all of that stuff into the novel. I thought I may never get another chance to write a novel so I might as well use all my favorite things in this book. It also made it easier to focus on plot and characterization since I didn’t have to do any research to find out specific things like how to spell a certain Russian figure skater’s name.
Who should play Steven in the TV series?
I actually didn’t write the part of Steven with anyone specific in mind, but I think when it becomes a TV series, which it definitely needs to be since TV needs a new gay role model, it should be an unknown, somebody who doesn’t come with any baggage and someone the audience can relate to. Having said that, however, Kevin Rikaart, an actor on my favorite soap, The Young and The Restless, would be perfect. Beyond that, John Stamos would make the ideal Gus and I’m sure he can do a British accent. I also really like Marc Blucas who was Buffy’s boyfriend for a while as Flynn and there has to be a blonde Mario Cantone out there who could bring Lindsay to life.
The novel does have some dramatic elements, did you include these specifically to offset the humor?
Yes, I wanted the novel to portray the real year in the life of a gay man and in order for the reader to accept the madcap adventures I think they need to root for the protagonist, a good way to do that is to put him into some real, dramatic situations. The struggle for me has been to find a balance since I have a tendency to write a bit melodramatically in the first draft or in an outline. The dramatic beats are there, but I tend to overplay them and make them larger than life so they don’t have the same impact. Larger than life works when it’s comedy, but if you’re trying to convey honest, raw emotion, I believe, it’s best to simplify. Simply write the situation with some grace and the reader will have an emotional reaction. The most important thing I’ve discovered is that readers and audiences respond to the humor in my writing, whether it be a play or fiction, so I have decided to stick with what I know I can do.