|Wade with his friend Nicole|
Wade Rouse is "The Go-To Gay" here at Chick Lit Central. After all, without gay guys, a lot of our chick lit heroines would be missing out on some awesome best friends! If you missed his first post for this new series, check it out here. This month, Wade is sharing exactly why gay guys are the perfect friends for our chick lit heroines.
The writings of bestselling humorist Wade Rouse – called “wise, witty and wicked” by USA Today and the lovechild of Erma Bombeck and David Sedaris – have been featured multiple times on NBC’s Today Show as well as on Chelsea Lately on E! and People.com. His latest memoir, "It’s All Relative: 2 Families, 3 Dogs, 34 Holidays and 50 Boxes of Wine," just launched in paperback February 1st from Broadway, and he is creator and editor of the humorous dog anthology, "I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales about Man’s Best from America’s Favorite Humorists" (NAL). The book features a Foreword by Chelsea Handler’s dog, Chunk, essays by such beloved chick lit authors as Jane Green, and 50 percent of the book’s net royalties go to the Humane Society of the United States. For more, visit his website, or friend him on Facebook or Twitter.
This month, Wade is also giving away one signed copy of "It's All Relative" to a lucky US reader!
The Importance of the Gay Bestie in Chick Lit
I believe a good writer must also be a great reader.
Which is why I read – when I am not on deadline to complete a book – a vast range of literature: Memoir, of course, as well as biography, mysteries, romance, fantasy, YA, the classics, humor, travel, history, short story collections, and fiction, “literary” fiction as well as consumer-driven fiction written by men and women, mostly for men and women (or lad-lit and chick-lit).
I have always been such a schizophrenic reader. I honed my writing teeth on the whack-a-doodle duet of Erma Bombeck and John Steinbeck. In college, I fell in love with freaky foursome of Shakespeare, Dorothy Parker, Bret Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney. In my career as a journalist and PR pro, I became best friends with the quirky quintet of Joan Didion, David Sedaris, David Rakoff, Candace Bushnell and Jane Green.
Each of these authors not only entertained and enraptured me – like a best friend – they also taught me new things about the craft of writing.
I remember reading Jane Green’s novel, Bookends, and being totally caught up in the lives of her main characters, Cath and Si. Si – Cath’s gay bestie – is first introduced to readers by showing up to audition for a role in Cabaret. As Sally Bowles. Despite being totally tone-deaf. But Si loves center stage.
Si, meet Wade. Wade, Si.
Bookends was published around the time I was trying to write my first memoir – what would become America’s Boy – about growing up gay in the Ozarks thanks to the unconditional love of my unconventional family, and Jane’s character of Si helped let me know the world was ready to read about – and care about – gay characters. Moreover, I began to realize I could write honestly and humorously about not only growing up but also the quirks and flaws of my family and me.
The more books I write, the more “fancy” parties and “literate” events I am invited. I am often asked at such parties – much like a doctor is asked at such parties about an ominous creak or a bad back – what I read. When I say “everything” and list all those genres above, I often receive a bemused look or dismissive smirk.
“You read that?” bespectacled folk will say, swirling their wine.
“You don’t?” I will respond, sucking down my vino. “What a shame.”
And it truly is, because every genre of literature opens new worlds. But you have to be open to them, just like life and new friends, to receive their many gifts.
Chick-lit can be too often dismissed for the many devices, characters and conventions that unite the genre, but there are devices, characters and conventions that unite every genre. In chick lit, we have:
-The Wrong Guy
-The Overbearing Mother
-The Snippy Boss
-The Shoe Addiction
-The Cheating Husband
|Gary, Nicole and Wade|
I am the Fabulous Gay Best Friend.
Gay men make not only great characters but also great best friends for chick-lit heroines because – just like in life – we are often larger-than-life. We serve as chick-lit heroines’ foils, the ones who challenge the way they think, dress, behave. We are honest about who they date (and should be dating), their career paths, their families. We are quick with a quip, or a hug. We are the ones who listen over coffee, share over wine, bond while shopping. We are the first ones to be called in an emergency.
Because that is often the way it is in real life, too. Gay men love women. Gay men love to help. Gay men love to love.
I’ve asked many of my author-friends why they include gay men in their novels, and most say simply, “Because they are such a vital part of my real life”, or “They have changed my life for the better.”
Yes, art does imitate life. And that is the beauty of literature, no matter the genre. Just like your best friend, books can change your life for the better. They can open you to new worlds and experiences.
Great books and great friends have changed me. And I’m betting they have done the same for you.
If we were going to write a book about a girl and her gay best friend, Wade would be our character model. Gary would also be featured because we love him too. We also want to thank them for sharing "It's All Relative" with our readers.
Answer one of these questions:
1. Tell us about your gay best friend in one sentence.
2. Who is your favorite gay best friend of a chick lit heroine?
3. Which celebrity or TV/movie character would you want for your gay best friend?
One entry per person (even if you decide to answer more than one question).
US only. Giveaway ends March 13th at midnight EST.