While authors can describe their fiction well, there’s nothing quite like a character’s perspective to let you know what’s going on. While co-author Salome was out to lunch, Talon sneaked in to conduct the following interview with Angelo, protagonist of the novella After the First Taste of Love, who goes from friends to lovers with his best friend, Nick, and must reap the consequences—for better and for worse.
Talon: I’m here at Kidd’s Bookstore—a hang-out for the characters in After the First Taste of Love—with handsome, young, gay graduate student Angelo Antonio del Valle. Angelo, hi. Let’s start with your name. It’s quite the moniker: a straightforward Latino name with little ambiguity. But one of the first things we learn about you in the novella is that your background is anything but straightforward. Can you tell us about that?
Angelo: I find it hard to check off boxes on application forms, that’s for sure. [laughs] My father is a Cuban with far more native blood than Spanish, though he denies it. From him, I get my coloring, my name, and a tendency to lead rather than follow. I’m quieter and less macho than my father, though, and that’s where my mother comes in. She was born in South Korea, but adopted and raised in Iowa by my grandparents, who—since they won’t be reading this, I can say with honesty—are the whitest people I’ve ever met. [smiles] Mom gave me the love and support I needed to grow, my Asian eyes and hair, and a love of learning. Why my eyes are gray is anyone’s guess—recessive trait or whim of the gods. By the way, thanks for the “handsome”. I’m still getting used to the “gay”.
Talon [chuckling]: You’re very handsome and very welcome. Have you always known you were gay?
Angelo: Always known it, absolutely. Never liked getting shit for it in high school, especially because I never thought I looked or acted “gay”. Whatever that means. But from the first shot of puberty hormones, I knew it. It’s the being “out” part that’s new, courtesy of Nick, the bratty love of my life over there making lattes [gestures to the coffee counter].
Talon [glancing over to be met by Nick’s cheerful middle finger]: I see. What do you mean that being out is new for you? Did you ever hide your sexuality?
Angelo [shaking head at Nick, who is now sticking out his tongue]: Isn’t he delightful? [sighs, and a hint of a blush appears] Yeah, being out is new. But I wasn’t hiding so much as private. Why is it anyone else’s business, you know? If that’s pretending to be straight, I guess I was pretending, but does that mean gay people act “gay”? Or is that just a stereotype? [shrugs] The truth is I mostly slept with closeted guys before Nick, didn’t much need to worry about being out when it was all flings or one-night-stands.
Talon [nodding]: I can appreciate that. You’ve always been a fairly private person, is that correct?
Angelo [smiling]: Been talking to my mother? She loves being the pot to my kettle. Yes, that’s true.
Nick [appearing at the table and wriggling his posterior]: My hot, Mexican-Jewish ass.
Angelo [grimacing as Nick kisses his cheek]: Yeah, that.
Talon [throwing her hands up]: Well, there you have it. For the rest, you’ll want to read After the First Taste of Love, the first book in a novella trilogy about Angelo and Nick, now available from Storm Moon Press.
Talon Rihai and Salome Wilde are the authors of After the First Taste of Love, their first novella, which is now available through Storm Moon Press. They can be found at their website, Sal & Tal Erotica.