'O&AN' staffer publishes first book

Sam P. Jones, a regular contributor to Out & About Newspaper, has published his debut novel, available now on Amazon.com.

In Sexy Funny Nashville, a third-person narrator describes the fictional story of a gay protagonist named Mark, a young professor who lives in Nashville. Mark is on a romantic quest to find a lover as part of his American dream. Joining Mark on this quest are his best female friends: Sharon, a weight-obsessed schlimazel who has a complicated relationship; Becky, a married Southern Baptist who struggles to conceive; and Rain, a distrusting and promiscuous female who learns to trust men after finding long-distance love.

Jones, a graduate of Vanderbilt University and vice-president of the institution's first Gay-Straight Alliance, holds a firm grasp on the eccentricities of Southern culture. That firsthand knowledge was a key in developing the novel.

"I really could have fictionalized Tennessee culture as an idealist's picture of what a gay man's experience should be like in Nashville," he says. "But, inspired by realism and regionalism like that in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I wanted to be a realist and to reflect local color in my dialogue and in the culture reflected by my characters' experiences.  So, Mark--the protagonist in Sexy Funny Nashville--is just as politically, socially, and culturally restricted in his options for an American dream as any gay man in Tennessee."  

According to Jones, Sexy Funny Nashville contains veiled theoretical links to political science, women's studies, queer studies, American and Southern studies, and communication studies. Though it was a challenging task, he set about portraying gay man's experience in the mainstream with a mix of humor and heart.

"Ultimately, I hope the reader will have a cathartic experience upon finishing this novel," Jones says. "I hope gay readers will latch onto the idea that they can realistically dream of having and planning a wedding one day and that, even in Tennessee, a gay man can strive for the American dream.  I hope straight and gay readers will find ways to identify with and to understand the characters in Sexy Funny Nashville through a variety of emotional reactions, but most importantly through laughter."

In these volatile times for the GLBT community, Jones hopes to offer ample evidence of how alike we really are.

"I think Sexy Funny Nashville has the potential to naturalize gay relationships among readers who have not recognized the normalcy of same-sex love," he says.

Sam Jones is a screenwriter, an author, and a staff writer and blogger for Out & About Newspaper. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Memphis in Tennessee.This
link will take you to the book's page on Amazon.

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