Stephen Vowles has a natter with Thomas O’Lorr about his new book The Men About My Town. It’s a racy, raunchy and very sexy story about a young man on a journey of discovery in a brand new city he now wants to call home.
Thomas, did anything in particular inspire you to write this book?
Although The Men About My Town falls in the fiction category, the story is my own, inspired by my life. The inspiration for this book was easy to come by. I wanted to tell my story, the tales of a gay Romanian immigrant in London. Growing up in a conservative family and influenced by a post-communist society, being different wasn’t easy.
However, after a few years in this magnificent city, the place I always wanted to be in, and after meeting various people, I concluded that it was not worth being scared of who I truly was. The Men About My Town is the story of my first two years in London, the fight with myself and depression, about the need to be honest with myself and those around me, for my sanity.
For more than two years, I had this short novel penning itself in my mind, and finally, I decided to share it with the world with the promise of excitement, thrill, sarcasm, wittiness, and a dash of drama. I wanted to make a difference, and if my novel touches one soul or sparks conversations about all things taboo, I consider my mission accomplished.
The main characters are very well formed, did you use various people in your life to create them?
Yes, I did. All the characters are inspired by men I met in my life. They all exist somewhere, in a better or worse format than the one presented in the novel. I love people, meeting them and discovering their trueness – you know, the person behind the quotidian mask we all tend to wear.
I wanted to showcase the unity of humans, how there are no two people alike, how we come together and influence each other; how we bond, laugh and cry together; how much we need someone in our lives, how fulfilling and destructive it can be, and how much those around us, influence us.
“If you want to feel better and be better, look at those around you. If their presence doesn’t feel right, you’re surrounded by the wrong people. So let them go and replace them with those that give you what you need to become a better you,” an older and much wiser friend of mine told me once when she saw me jumping head first into depression. It didn’t make much sense at that time, but her words stayed with me and influenced me, my vision of life, and implicitly my writing.
The sex scenes seem very personal, was that important to you to have them read in that way, which of course makes them very erotic?
They are very personal, as sex should be. We have an itch that needs scratching, and we should do it wisely. I started my sex life quite late, and I think this made me analyse more what sex means to me, what it brings and what it takes away, what I like and dislike.
I hear people say that sex is just sex, but in my opinion it’s more than that. I know it comes from the biological need to reproduce, and it has its benefits for mind and spirit, but it can be so much more. I need to like and connect with a man before pulling off his trousers, which inspired the complexity and the intricate style of the erotic scenes present in The Men About My Town. It was vital for me to surrender and hide little pieces of myself between the pages to connect with my readers to a higher, hotter and more personal level.
The book is a wonderful rollercoaster of emotions that come with meeting various people of all types and backgrounds – is that the London you have experienced?
One of the many things I love about London is the anonymity that comes with living here. It can make or break you. It’s like a complex stew: you put in an incredible amount of ingredients that you think will not work together, but when you taste the final dish, WOW! It’s the best thing you ever tried.
London gave me something that I never thought I’d find – the notion that I’m not alone, that it’s OK to be different. As I said before, I love meeting new people, and London is not short of them: an amalgam of strong, independent individuals with complex personalities and shockingly exciting life stories.
In all the city’s chaos, I found beauty, intricacy, freedom, love, support, and community.
Lastly please tell Boyz readers what’s in store for the sequel The Men About My City?
The second book of the series, The Men About My City, picks up the story from where I left it and follows Thomas’s rise from the dark place, bringing him closer to his goals. Again, it will be hot and at least as emotional as the first book while covering controversial subjects and looking more in-depth into the lives of the characters and the complexity of human beings and what makes us who we are.