My Young Adult series, The Town of Superstition, follows the adventures of Thaddeus Cane, the fifteen-year-old son of a single father, Nathan. When we first meet Thaddeus at the beginning of The Midnight Gardener – The Town of Superstition: Book One, he is unpacking his room at the new house he and his father are renting. It’s the thirty-second time they’ve moved, and although Thaddeus is used to being uprooted and moving to a new house in a new town and forced to make new friends, he’s getting tired of it. And there’s never a good explanation from his father for it.
But this move will turn out to be decidedly different and will change both of their lives.
The second book in the series is now available. It’s titled The Well of Tears – The Town of Superstition: Book Two, and I wanted to use today’s post to touch on the subject of Gay Young Adult.
Some quick background about myself. I am fast approaching my 51st birthday, and while I have lived with my husband for over twenty years, we’ve only been married six months. We’re newlyweds!
I grew up loving to read. I read everything I could get my hands on. I fell in love with Stephen King from the first book I read—The Shining, which scared the crap out of me—and have read everything he’s published since (my favorites are The Stand and 11/22/63). I read the Narnia series and the Lord of the Rings. I was obsessed with Star Wars when the movie came out, and read the novelizations, losing myself in those far off worlds from long ago.
And yet, there were no characters going through quite the same experiences I was myself. There were no gay teenage boys trying to figure out how to have male best friends without falling for them and, ultimately, ruining the friendship. While some of the characters were bullied and faced hardships, it wasn’t for the same reasons I was being bullied.
So when I came up with the idea for The Town of Superstition series, I knew Thaddeus would be gay. I also knew that his father, Nathan, would not be bothered by it, even though he protests when Thaddeus falls for Teofil, the boy next door, who is just as smitten. Nathan’s protests aren’t over their genders, but rather the fact that Thaddeus has fallen for Teofil himself.
Many things are not what they seem in Superstition, and people aren’t always who they appear to be. There are wizards and witches and other magical creatures in and around the town, and the fact that Thaddeus has fallen for Teofil ultimately makes the truth Nathan has been hiding from Thaddeus even harder to keep secret.
Thaddeus’s relationship with Teofil deepens as the adventures of the second book unfold. Trouble arises all around them as they undertake a dangerous quest, but Teofil and Thaddeus stand strong against it all. This stability in their relationship—in their gay relationship—is important to how I approach each book in the series (the third book, tentatively titled The Battle of Iron Gulch – The Town of Superstition: Book Three, has just been contracted and the target release date is February 2017) for the simple reason that I wanted young gay readers to see an example of a strong, stable relationship inside an exciting fantasy tale. Although there has been great forward momentum in obtaining equal rights for LGBTQ people, much resistance has arisen to try and keep our community down. In my opinion, every little bit of hope helps, even if it comes in the form of a committed gay teenage couple in a Young Adult fantasy story.
The Well of Tears blurb:
Thaddeus Cane is on the journey of his life. Having just discovered he is the son of a wizard and witch, he sets off on a quest to find his mother, who was cursed when Thaddeus was just a baby. He is accompanied by his father, Nathan, his new love, Teofil Rhododendron, the garden gnome who lives next door, and Teofil’s mother, brother, and sister. Though the world they travel through is familiar to him, they encounter a number of magical beings, some friendly and others quite deadly. When Nathan is gravely wounded, Thaddeus must choose between finding his mother and saving his father’s life.
Harmony Ink Press: https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/the-town-of-superstition-341-s
All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=series&qString=The+Town+of+Superstition
Review by Elaine White
Book – The Well of Tears (The Town of Superstition #2)
Author – R.G. Thomas
Star rating – ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 127
Cover – Evocative!
POV – 3rd person POV
Would I read it again – Yes.
Genre – Young Adult, Paranormal, LGBT, Magic
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
Just as good, if not better than book 1, The Well of Tears is an action packed adventure.
Starting immediately from the end of book 1, I loved that we didn’t miss any part of Thaddeus’ journey to find his mother. Though there was a lot of adventure – death-defying moments, danger and so many more secrets revealed – I never felt as though the book dragged or gave away too much. Everything was done with the perfect amount of moderation, leaving the reader to figure out things on their own, before the big reveal.
Yes, that last sentence implies that I figured out the two biggest secrets that were mentioned in this story – one revealed before the end, the other only hinted at. However, that wouldn’t have been possible without the trail of clever little clues the author sprinkled into innocuous conversations and innocent proclamations.
Once again, Thaddeus and Teofil made excellent main characters. Though we only read the story in Thaddeus’ POV, I always felt connected to Teofil through him and the small, intimate chemistry they shared with each other.
Similarly, I grew to question everything out of Fetter’s mouth and, eventually, feel very sorry for him (not telling why!) and really liked the spark in Astrid. Diplomatic and dreamy, Astrid is very much like their mother, Miriam, while Fetter is much more blunt and has no tact. We also get a much closer view of Thaddeus’ dad, Nathan, in this book, though it’s all second-hand again. I’m with Thaddeus, that there are more secrets to reveal, but I just know it’s going to be an exciting ride discovering them.
Right from page one, with that fabulous intro, I was hooked on the continued journey of Thaddeus and the gang, searching through the Lost Forest for his mother. I can’t wait to continue the journey in the next book.
“Thaddeus Cane knew he was still in the United States; he knew this as a fact with his heart and his mind. But the landscape he had been traveling through the last few days seemed intent on convincing him he’d been dropped into a magical world. Which made sense, seeing as how he reached this far point by stepping through a magical doorway conjured up in the wall of his basement.”
“This strange journey he had suddenly found himself on, and the family secrets he had recently learned, seemed small in comparison to the – dare he say it? – love he had discovered with Teofil. Everything they had gone through, and everything yet to come, felt possible because of him, and Thaddeus almost couldn’t recall what his life before Teofil had been like.”
R. G. Thomas has been reading books from an early age. As a young gay man, however, he found very few characters with whom he could truly identify. Now that he’s an adult—or at least older than he used to be—he likes to write stories that revolve around gay characters. The Town of Superstition is his YA fantasy gay romance series that includes wizards, witches, and other magical creatures.
When he’s not writing, R. G. loves to read, go to movies, watch some TV, and putter around in the small suburban patch of ground he calls a yard. He visits his mother once a week, not just for the free cookies, and enjoys spending time with close friends drinking wine and making up ridiculous things that sometimes show up in his books. Although he hates the process of travel, he does enjoy experiencing new places. His dream trip is to one day visit the country of Greece, and he is currently saving his nickels and dimes to make that a reality.
Twenty years ago he met a man who understood and encouraged his strange, creative mind, and who made him laugh more often and more freely than anyone else. Today they still laugh often as they live in a suburb just north of Detroit with their two cats who act as both muse and distraction to him while he writes.