Dave Joins Author/Podcaster Mark McNease on One Thing or Another

Mark McNease is an accomplished author of gay-themed murder/mystery novels and more. Visit markmcnease.com to discover his work. Mark also did a great job as editor of my first two retirement books.

Mark is a good friend who has been incredibly supportive of my writing for Retire Fabulously! and now, my fiction writing.

In August, 2022, Mark invited me to be a guest on his One Thing or Another podcast to discuss Fiction Writing and Pursuing Our Passions. We talk about Instant Adult and why I switched from writing retirement books to writing gay fiction. Click to listen!

10 Questions About “Maybe Next Year” for Author Dave Hughes

If you’re curious about my first novel, Maybe Next Year, but you’re not sure what it’s about or whether you would enjoy it, perhaps my answers to these ten questions will fill in the blanks.

What kind of book is Maybe Next Year? Is it a romance novel?

It’s definitely not a romance novel, in the formulaic or categorical sense. There is romance in the novel, as our two main characters, Bryan and Chris, are high school best friends who gradually figure out they’re in love. But an expectation of every romance novel is that it has a “happily ever after” ending, and (spoiler alert!) Maybe Next Year does not.

So what is it? To me, it’s simply a compelling story that centers around gay characters and gay issues – especially issues the LGBT+ community was facing in 2007. There’s coming out, humor, drama, romance, conflict, and some revealed secrets – all the things you want in a good story.

Fact vs. Fiction: The Joy of Making Stuff Up

In the front matter of most novels, there’s a statement such as the following:

This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is purely coincidental.

You’ve probably seen it so often you take it for granted and don’t think much about it.

Yet, I’ve discovered it’s difficult to write a fictional story that doesn’t make some reference to real-life people, places, and brands. I’ve already received questions such as, “Is [some character] based on [some real person]?” or “Is [some scene] autobiographical? Did that actually happen to you?”

Why Maybe Next Year Takes Place in 2007

The story in Maybe Next Year takes place in 2007.

There are two reasons why I chose to place the story in this timeframe.

First, I have six more novels in various stages of development. These books will follow some of these characters as they go to college, begin their careers, enter into relationships, and eventually deal with people and issues from their past. Starting the storyline when Bryan and Chris are teenagers in 2007 will allow them to age into their roles in future books.

Second, setting the book in the mid-2000s serves as a reminder of the social and political environment for LGBT people during that era. Starting in 2004, many states passed amendments that prohibited same-sex marriage. Those amendments were the culmination of the Republican party’s anti-gay agenda that they have been actively promoting since the early 1980s to appeal to conservative voters.

Writing Every Day

This is Room 264 at the Downtown branch of the Chandler Public Library. It’s just three miles from my home and I can usually get here in less than ten minutes. Every day, I spend two hours in this room writing.

Could I just as easily write at my desk at home for two hours a day? Yes, I could. I did it during the pandemic when the library was closed. But at home, there are too many distractions. There’s paperwork on my desk that needs to be dealt with, someone comes to the door, my husband says something, or my dog wants to be petted. I could be doing a load of laundry while I write.

And it’s true that while I sit in Room 264, I could be checking my email or Facebook or playing a computer game. But I don’t. (Usually.) I write. When I’m here I’m ‘in my zone.’ The only reason I’m here is to write. I think the very act of getting into my car and driving to a different place serves to delineate my writing time from the rest of my day. If I continued to sit at my desk, it wouldn’t feel any different.