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I am a gay male author living in the SF Bay Area in northern California. Happily (and legally) married to a wonderful man (celebrating our 20th anniversary this year)! Our house is filled to the brim with two exotic cats, a daughter and a hurricane of a granddaughter. This is a house filled with laughter, with voices that carry through the walls, and a whole lot of love in between.
In a nutshell, I write to keep the voice of actual gay men strong within our own community.
I specialize in character studies. It is important for me that you walk away with my work not so much with a sense of what happened, but why my main character makes the choices he (or she) makes. My work is often unapologetic, gritty, unfair and dark. Doesn't mean that there won't be one hell of a love story or some hot and heavy action going on – but it's not a given. There's not an automatic HEA (happily ever after) at the end. Because life is often like that for us. Anything else is puff pastry with rose colored glasses. Not that there's anything wrong with pastry, mind you. I just don't have the wherewithal to write it.
I pull no punches with my work.
John Rechy and Gordon Merrick are my virtual literary mentors. Their work from the late 70's onward molded my life, gave it definition when a young 16 year old didn't have anyone else to turn to so he could figure out what was going on inside. These literary giants saved me. In so many ways that I could not begin to express. It is to them, to the likes of Paul Monette, Larry Kramer, EM Forster, Oscar Wilde and others that I aspire to write and carry their torch forward. It is a high mark to strive for but I can't help but think that having that mark will make me better at my craft. These men, these brilliant gay men and their complex lives have enriched my own. I am the man I am today because they gave me the food that my soul craved to say I was all right. I was going to be okay.
While I am all for LGBTQI characters (told by any author who chooses to take up such a cause) in literature, media and the digital bytes and bits, I do not want it to be at the expense of those who actually live those lives. It is our house, and it is about time we, as LGBTQAIP authors, tended to it.
I also co-host a brilliant podcast where we talk to guest authors about queer literature and the craft of writing. I invite you to join us in the discussion - http://www.wrotepodcast.com
C. E. Ward
on April 04, 2015 :
Reviews are not something I normally do. And I am too old to be a fanboy. But having read “Angels of Mercy – Volume One: Elliot” [as well as his previous works, “Shrill of Sparrows” and “Henry O’Malley, Omega”], I find myself not only writing a review but also eagerly anticipating Mr. Collins’ next volume(s).
Collins has woven a rich tapestry of memorable, authentic characters. “Angels” is a unique, delightful and insightful presentation of Elliot’s struggles, both interpersonally and intrapsychically, of being a gay young man finding his first love. Given Elliot’s foibles, one wonders whether “Angels” is an autobiography, or an autobiography passed off as a novel. In any event, Collins’ characters exhibit a vividness that immediately draws the reader in. Written in the first person, the reader begins to care deeply about Elliot.
Elliot and his world require a massive book. Yet my greatest complaint is that the book is too short. I hope Mr. Collins will see fit to share with us Elliot’s earlier years.
The dark side of the story is, of course, the effect of homophobia. Its presence colours Elliot’s view of the world, causing him to constantly be wary. Seduced by the new-found security of his relationship with Marco, Elliot begins to grow more assertive and, perhaps, a bit less cautious. The end result is tragic and heart-rending.
“Angels” is no fluff piece. It stands out from contemporary “gay literature” or, heaven forbid, “M/M Romance”, and easily stands with Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward, Angel”, E. M. Forster’s “Maurice” and Edmund White’s “A Boy’s Own Story.” “Angels” deserves to be read by gay and straight alike. Perhaps it should be required reading for members of PFLAG or adopted in human sexuality courses.
If you are gay, “Angels” will ring true. If you are the parents of a gay son, “Angels” will provide insight and understanding, as well as a few “a ha!” moments. If you have gay friends, “Angels” will likewise give an appreciation of their world. And if you simply enjoy immersing yourself in a rich, authentic story, “Angels” is for you, too.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)