Welcome to Queer in Color! Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am Taylor V. Donovan, a part-time, accidental author of gay romantic fiction and suspense. Why ‘accidental’ you ask? Because writing, let alone publishing, was never a dream of mine. I’ve always been good at editing stories in my head, though. I can spot plot holes ten miles away and I love characterization, but that was it…until a friend asked me to co-write something with her to keep her accountable, as she had started writing several stories but was finding it difficult to finish any of them. It was at that time I found out I had a voice and was a chronic plotter with anal tendencies that needs a title and a playlist before I start writing, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Tell us about your one of your books!
As everyone who knows me or has read me knows, I’ve been on hiatus since 2014. Not from writing but from publishing. It was tough for a while. I wasn’t inspired to write and when I did write, I wasn’t satisfied with the stories. It is the reason I sat on ‘Six Degrees of Agony,’ a story my readers have been waiting both patiently and not-so-patiently for years. I am a tough costumer, especially when it comes to my own work, and I’m committed to only releasing my best, so my apologies for the delay but I had to make sure the story was up to my standards. You all will start seeing installments from ‘By Degrees’ in 2019.
Now, to the reason I’m writing again, my beloved Puerto Rico, which inspired when nothing else could, and, as a result, ‘The Caribbean Tales’ series was born.
‘Forces of Nature’ is the first book in this new series set in my hometown, featuring our culture, traditions, and a mostly Boricua cast. I can’t wait for you guys to read it and get familiar with who we are.
Five Questions with Taylor Donovan
1) What inspired you to write this story?
The inspiration for ‘Forces of Nature’ was Puerto Rico’s financial crisis and Hurricane María which, as everyone knows, devastated the island. I wanted to explore how unemployment has separated families and contributed to the ever-growing diaspora and why most of us can’t wait to get back home.
2) How did your characters come into being? Were you inspired by your own life experiences, by travels, someone in your neighborhood, etc.?
I can’t deny there’s a little bit of me in Saúl Cartagena Toro. Having moved to the United States seventeen years ago, I’ve dealt with homesickness, the pain from being away from my family, and the frustration from not being able to help as much as I wish I could when something happens down there and I can’t hop on a plane right away. I definitely shared some of my experiences with him, ;-)
3) What makes your story and/or characters unique and interesting?
Culture. I didn’t shy away from showing the good along with the bad, nor from portraying my people just like we are.
4) What themes and/or tropes are in your story? Have you written these themes/tropes before?
I have never set out to write any particular trope. Mostly, I want to cover themes but ‘Forces of Nature’ is a story of second chances…of realizing mistakes, owning up to the responsibility of hurting the person that means the world to you, fighting to win them back, making amends, and hoping love will prevail.
5) What is your most cherished writing accomplishment/accolade/memory?
‘Disasterology 101’ hands down. It is a story about a guy suffering from a bad case of obsessive compulsive disorder written in a completely realistic, true-to-the-condition way, at a time when stories about mental illness weren’t that popular in gay romance. Since then, many stories have been written dealing with mania, bipolar disorders, depression, you name it, but at the time it was a risk, and it paid off. I will always be proud of it and grateful to all the readers who gave it a chance and showed me there’s an audience in this genre for the kind of stories I want to contribute.
Taylor V. Donovan is a compulsive reader and author of gay romance and suspense. She is optimistically cynical about humanity and a lover of history, museums, and all things 80s. She shamelessly indulges in mind-numbing reality television, is crazy about fashion, and passionate about civil rights and equality for all.
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Pushed out by a stagnant economy, lack of professional opportunities and his own ambition, software engineer Saúl Cartagena Toro migrated from his beloved Puerto Rico to New York City in pursuit of his dream job. He took his partner for granted. He left his family behind. A day hasn’t gone by without Saúl thinking he made the biggest mistake of his life, and now all he wants is to get his better half back.
Years after having his existence turned upside down, Orlando Figueroa Valle is still trying to bounce back from a broken heart. Unable to forgive or forget, he lives consumed by the sense of betrayal, undying love, and the need to detach from his frustration, his bitterness, and his pain. Only the ocean between them and zero communication with the one that got away will keep him sane.
Then Mother Nature intervenes in the form of a potentially catastrophic hurricane, bringing Saúl and Orlando together again. Hunkered down in the home they once shared, the only thing left to do is weather the storm and wait. For the torrential rain to wash away the hurt. For the waves of desire to erode the mistrust. For them to realize they will always be each other’s ray of light.