Twisted Straight is probably the ultimate story. Back in 2005, I connected with a woman who had written a non-fiction book because we had the same last name. We ended up finding out that our husbands are cousins. Through these new family members, we were introduced to their son and his family, who live a little over an hour away from us now. Just recently, their son's wife posted a picture of a book (also non-fiction) on her Facebook page, which led me to meeting the lovely Elizabeth E. Zerman and featuring her at CLC. It's like we were meant to find each other.
Twisted Straight is Elizabeth's true story about what happens when she finds out her husband is gay. When she finds romance with a man from her past, she has to explore why she's still clinging to a marriage that can't go anywhere and fearing what could happen if she commits to a new relationship. As she struggles to define herself in the middle of two very different relationships, she discovers answers to questions about love, fear, separation, partnership, sexuality, and more.
When Elizabeth isn't writing, she is a consultant with own firm, specializing in corporate project management and communications. She is also an avid reader and painter (the painting on the front/back cover of Twisted Straight is one of hers), competes in triathlons and loves barre class. Elizabeth is currently working to publish her first novel. She lives with her husband, daughter, and two cats in St. Louis, Missouri.
You are welcome to contact her at e.e.zerman @ gmail, as she always welcomes questions and comments from readers. She can also be found on Facebook. Elizabeth has TWO paperbacks of Twisted Straight to share with readers anywhere in the world!
What inspired you to write a memoir about your relationship experiences?
When most people hear that my ex-husband is gay and that I helped him come out of the closet, they often want to know more about our story. I started thinking about my relationship with him, and how different it was from the next relationship I had with a very different (very straight!) man – and what the experience of those two relationships taught me about myself, and about love and friendship. It seemed like my story of self-discovery might be interesting and helpful to others.
What was the easiest part of writing Twisted Straight? Most challenging?
Throughout my life, especially during my struggles, I have kept journals. When I thought back over my relationships with these two men, I read my journals and realized I could translate my experiences into a book with authentic views into the actions and thoughts I had at the time because they were captured in my journals, emails, etc. It was more difficult to revisit my childhood, and past relationships, which clearly pointed to some of the dysfunctional reasons I found myself in a marriage with a gay man, and then struggling to make my next relationship work. It was hard to dig inside to put the honest truth about myself on paper. Once I worked through that barrier, the actual writing of the story was much easier. I love sharing stories about my life and the love I’ve experienced, so it was fun to think of other people reading about that in my life.
What do you hope people will gain from reading your book?
I really want my story to reach people who are struggling with a relationship, regardless of whether it involves a gay/straight dynamic. I want to show them that if a person means enough to you, there are ways to come through hard times in your relationship and still remain connected. You don’t necessarily have to give up all the love and friendship with someone just because you can’t or don’t want to be with them as a partner any more. I see this book as a way to show people a path toward a more positive outcome, more happy feelings and connections with the world, rather than assuming complete separation, hurt, and negativity have to be the results of divorce or dissolution of a partnership. Of course I hope people who find themselves in exactly my same situation will read it, but I think it applies to relationships more generally as well.
Ha! So many people have asked the three of us this question. I’ve had lots of folks tell me it should be a movie because it’s almost too wild to believe, and yet it’s all true. So…who should play us? I asked the guys to weigh in on the recommendations for themselves as well:
Elizabeth: Mary-Louise Parker
Jason: Matt Damon
Alex: Chris Noth (or Colin Firth… but he’d have to get rid of the accent, which would be a shame!)
What is the most memorable thing you've done so far this summer (aside from being published)?
Learned how to stand up paddle board! I think it’s my new obsession. I’ve always wanted to try it, and now that I’ve done it a few times, I just love it.
What is the last great book you read and would recommend to others?
Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
Thanks to Elizabeth for visiting with us and sharing her book with our readers!
~Introduction and interview by Melissa Amster
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